English/Language Arts Curriculum Benchmarks/Measures of Progress

   English Language Arts is a unique educational discipline that encompasses the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and is integrated across all content areas of the curriculum. The goal of the English Language Arts program is to provide meaningful and purposeful contexts for developing students’ life-long literacy skills that are demonstrated in authentic applications and performances.

We believe that ongoing assessment is essential for monitoring student growth and for planning future instructional directions.  Using this data we evaluate and make instructional changes allowing us to improve the effectiveness of our instructional program and its effectiveness for all students K-12.  Assessment data also allows us to measure our students in relation to other students in the state and nation.  Data from the following measures and assessment tools will be analyzed on an ongoing basis in order to monitor the progress of our students:

1.  Formative assessments include observations, checklists, rubrics, low stakes writing, on-demand and prompted writing samples, and reflective practices. 

2.  Reading assessments using quantitative and qualitative measures, including DRA and QRI in K-6, DRP in 7-8, and critical reading assessments in grades 9-12 inform student progress and areas of need.

3. Student writing portfolios and writing folders measure and reflect student growth over time in grades K-12. Course portfolios in grades 9-12 assess student growth and progress in analytical, creative, personal, and reflective writing.

4. Reading and English Language Arts MCAS performance data analysis both in the aggregate and by sub-group in grades three to six, eight, and ten. 

5. Number and percent of students completing SATs and the aggregate scores compared with the national average.

6.  Number and percent of students selecting the honors or Advanced Placement option in English at the high school (also disaggregated by race and gender).

 

These profiles illustrate what students know and are able to do by the end of the following benchmark years.

1.   By the end of second grade students understand that reading and writing are meaning making processes.  They read and write for personal interest and pleasure, to gain or express information and to deepen understandings.  Students grow in their effectiveness to choose books that are appropriate to their ability and demonstrate use of language structure, word knowledge skills and comprehension strategies in order to read with fluency and monitor for meaning.  As writers they self-select topics, develop ideas and produce sequential texts.  They create their own art, books, poetry, and dramatic presentations and convey their growing appreciation of literacy across genres and cultures. 

2.   By the end of fourth grade, students understand the purpose of various literary genres and have insight into the structures of those genres for both reading and writing.  They are able to read for extended periods of time, monitor their comprehension and share perspectives and ideas about their understanding.  Students have the language and reasoning skills necessary to verbally express and substantiate their thoughts and are developing essay writing skills in relation to their understanding of text.  As writers students self select topics, engage in using writers’ craft techniques and write for sustained periods of time.  They are able to reflect on their writing and engage in the revision process in order to make it more appealing to the reader.

3.    By the end of sixth grade, students understand the elements of a literary text and gain a grasp of the interrelationship among author’s purpose, characterization, plot structure, mood and theme.  They are working to apply this understanding as they read, engage in discussions, and craft their own writing for various purposes and audiences.  These responses are conveyed with their own personal convictions, an increasing world view, and growing awareness and responsiveness to social issues.  As readers and writers, students utilize technology to research and develop presentations on assigned or self-selected topics.

4.      By the end of eighth grade, students understand how to employ reading strategies to explore and comprehend a variety of texts. They identify and utilize the essential elements of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for literary analysis. Through literature, they increase their understanding of multiple perspectives, broaden their world view, and act as members of a global society. In addition to selecting effective modes of writing and speaking for various purposes and audiences, students will begin to synthesize their reading and research to develop and defend original ideas. As students hone their critical thinking skills, they will also continue to develop skills in language choice, editing and revision.

5.      By the end of tenth grade, all students have completed four trimesters of English Language Arts study with specific concentrations on literary analysis, composition, and oral communication. Students will develop and hone the analytic skills (critical reading, comprehension, research, and interpretation) necessary to respond insightfully to diverse texts that address race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, age and ability. Additionally, students will gain greater skill, fluency, and confidence as they write and speak for a wide variety of purposes and audiences and enhance their precise and creative facility with language by practicing many modes of discourse.

Benchmark Assignments for Tenth Grade English Language Arts

After completing Literature as Social Criticism and Oral Communication, students will demonstrate proficiency [a holistic score of 3.5 or better] in one or more writings/performances from each of the following categories.

 

I.    Analytical Writing: [See Analytical Essay Rubric]

A.      Analytical Essay based on close reading of a passage

B.      Analytical Essay tracing a symbol or theme through a text

C.      Comparative Poetry Essay

D.      Character Analysis

II.  Creative Writing: [See Imaginative Writing Rubric]

A.      Dramatic Monologue

B.      Dramatic Script

C.      Character Voice Paper

D.      Commemorative Poems

E.      Imaginative Essay

III.  Formal Public Speaking Presentation or Oral Interpretation of Literature:  [See Oral Presentation Rubric]

A.      Tribute/Eulogy

B.      Informative or Persuasive Speech

C.      Oral Interpretation of Poetry

D.      Dramatic Monologue

IV.  Personal or Reflective Writing [See Portfolio Rubric]

A.      Portfolio Reflection

B.      Personal Commentary on a Social Issue or Literary Passage

C.      Reflection on Personal Growth in Reading, Writing, Speaking, & Listening

D.      Speaker and/or Audience Analysis

 

The required 9th and 10th grade courses will provide students with the literacy skills necessary to continue with the 11th and 12th grade English elective program which provides a deeper understanding of literary genres and themes, exposure to and application of literary theory, and more complex and sophisticated approaches to speaking and writing. By graduation, students will be able to read and listen critically, speak and write effectively, and actively participate in a democratic society committed to equity for all.   

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