PARCC Model Content Framework for ELA/Literacy for Grade 8

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In grade 8, the Common Core State Standards call for students to grapple with high-quality, complex nonfiction texts and great works of literature (RL/RI.8.10). Starting in grade 8, the focus of informational texts begins to shift from narrative to exposition. Students who leave grade 8 know how to cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis or critique (RL/RI.8.1). Students in grade 8 are primed to question an author’s assumptions and assess the accuracy of his or her claims, and by the end of grade 8, they are adept at reading closely and uncovering evidence to use in their own writing. Students can, for instance, analyze in writing two or more texts that provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify whether the disagreement is over facts or interpretation. They can analyze how point of view can be manipulated to create specific effects such as dramatic irony and investigate how particular passages within a text connect to one another to advance the plot, reveal a character, or highlight an idea. Additional Standards for Reading Literature (RL.8.2-9) and Standards for Reading Informational Text (RI.8.2-9) offer detailed expectations for student academic performance in preparation for college and careers.

The Speaking and Listening Standards detail how students are to draw explicitly on their reading and research in discussions. They respond to questions constructively by offering up relevant evidence, observations, and ideas. By grade 8, students have developed a rich vocabulary of academic words, which they use to speak and write with more precision.

In addition, grade 8 students write with increasing sophistication, focusing on organizing ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; choosing relevant facts well; and using varied transitions to clarify or show the relationships among elements. The Writing Standards specify that students should be able to distinguish their claims from alternate or opposing claims and use words and phrases to clarify the relationships and transitions among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Literacy Standards for Other Disciplines in Grades 6-8

Central to the vision for literacy embedded within the standards and the Model Content Frameworks is the idea that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language is a shared responsibility within schools. All fields of study demand analysis of complex texts and strong oral and written communication skills using discipline-specific discourse. Because each discipline acquires, develops, and shares knowledge in distinct ways, educators in each field must take ownership of building robust instruction around discipline-specific literacy skills to better prepare students for college and careers. The Model Content Frameworks provide all educators with foundational ideas for incorporating disciplinary literacy skills and practice into instructional programming. Accordingly, the Model Content Frameworks require educators in all disciplines to bear some responsibility for ensuring the literacy of the students in their classes.

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