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English Language Arts and Literacy

Page history last edited by kieran.ohare@... 10 years, 3 months ago


Adult Education and the Common Core Learning Standards for ELA

On this page, you will find:



*Please note: Any text that you see in red on this page and the rest of the ELA pages will take you to links or pages to download documents.


Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy

Produced by the Teaching Channel, this video provides an introduction to the new Common Core state standards including background on the design process, key features, and major differences.



The Common Core in Language Arts/Literacy: Overview

John B. King, Jr., New York State Commissioner of Education, frames the opportunities and challenges facing New York State educators in implementing the Common Core State Standards. David Coleman, Contributing Author, Common Core State Standards, offers a national context and outlines six "shifts"--changes in approaches to instruction--each of which will be discussed in more depth in following segments.


The Common Core in English Language Arts/Literacy: Overview from EngageNY on Vimeo.


Read the Common Core Learning Standards for ELA


The Common Core Learning Standards are a comprehensive set of Learning Standards for K-12 developed by the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State Officers.  The standards were developed with the intention of ensuring that all students graduating from high school would have the necessary skills and knowledge to be career and college ready. 


 The English Language Arts Standards are divided into the following categories:

  •  Reading
  •  Writing
  •  Speaking and Listening
  •  Language


The standards in each category increase in difficulty and complexity from grade to grade.  To see the Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts, and learn more about their development, click here.



What are the changes in the field of High School Equivalency?


The field of high school equivalency is undergoing a major transition due to the adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) by 45 states.  Based on this change, the GED Testing Service announced a new version of the GED for 2014, which would be based on the Common Core. 


For a number of reasons, the New York State Board of Regents made the decision to seek a new vendor for New York State’s high school equivalency test.  An RFP for a new vendor was released in December 2012 and in March, 2013 a contract was awarded to CTB/McGraw Hill.  To see the press release, click here.



What is the TASC?


The Test Assessing Secondary Completion, developed by CTB/McGraw Hill, will replace the GED in New York State beginning in January, 2014.  The TASC will be free to test-takers, and will operate at the same testing centers as previously.  Procedures for registering to take the test will be similar.


Based on the Common Core Standards, the Reading, Writing, Science and Social Studies tests will differ from the GED 2002 test in a number of ways:

  •  Longer, more complex texts, with an emphasis on informational rather than literary texts

  •  More academic vocabulary

  •  Argumentative or informational essay based on sources, as opposed to a personal essay

  •  Content area tests (social studies and science) based on prior knowledge


To view sample TASC questions, click here



How you can adjust your teaching to help students meet new standards


Below you find a brief description of the Instructional Shifts in ELA teaching for adults.  Each category links to its own wiki page where you will get a sense of what each shift is all about in more depth.  In addition, you will also be supplied with guidelines for how to incorporate those shifts into your lesson planning.  Soon, you will also find sample lessons to see those guidelines put into action.  You will also find links to additional teaching resources. 


Instructional Shifts


1. Complex Text

In order to prepare adult students for new common core standards, teachers are going to have to bring a lot more non-fiction into the classroom, at a variety of levels.  There will also be a greater emphasis on primary texts (historical documents, political cartoons, etc.) and students will have to develop new strategies for reading them.  Students will also experience layering, in which they're exposed to texts of increasing complexity.  Click on the Complex Text page to learn more.  


2. Building Background Knowledge in Content Areas

Adult students must be encouraged and supported to read widely and independently, especially books that will help build scientific and historical background knowledge such as trade books and young adult historical fiction.  Students must have opportunities to systematically build content knowledge through well-designed series of lessons, so curricula must be designed based on content.  Teachers must introduce, model and help students develop meta-cognitive awareness of reading strategies appropriate to texts of different disciplines.  Extensive modeling and practice with summarizing, which will enable students to identify important information in a text that needs to be retained.  Click on the Building Background Knowledge page to learn more.


3. Academic Vocabulary

As students encounter more complex texts and continuously build academic background knowledge, developing a greater lexicon of text- and content-specific words will be crucial.  In the field of adult education, teachers are familiar with the difficulties that can arise for students, both in reading and testing, when they encounter unfamiliar vocabulary.  As the field becomes aligned with Common Core standards, helping students develop academic vocabulary must become a focus of our teaching.


4. Writing from Sources

The move from a personal essay to a persuasive essay is one of the most significant shifts of the Common Core.   To learn to write persuasively, and especially to write arguments that draw from texts, is a process which involves many sub-skills.  Click on the Writing from Sources Page to learn more.


5. Balancing Information and Literary Texts

One major shift identified by EngageNY in the transition to Common Core instruction is a focus on informational text.  What are the implications of this instructional shift for teachers and students?  As we move toward the Common Core, adult education teachers will need to emphasize informational texts and introduce strategies for teaching them.  Click on the Balancing Information and Literary Texts page to learn more.


6. Higher Order Questions and Tasks

The creators of the Common Core Standards had the goal of educating students in order to be “career and college ready.”  In order to be so, students need to develop critical thinking skills and a depth of knowledge which will allow them to successfully complete complex, multi-step tasks.  Click on the Higher Order Questions and Tasks page to learn more.


ELA Resources

On this page, you will find a complete listing of all the CUNY Word documents and PDF's available in the Instructional Shift pages.  Additional materials include a PDF's organized by subject matter.





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