One of the lenses that we recommend for looking at the standards, no matter what arm of Language Arts you are analyzing, is looking across grade levels to see how the standards change and evolve as children’s reading and writing becomes more sophisticated. As we have been examining the writing standards, we have attempted to follow our own advice and looked across the grade levels. We stumbled upon an important discovery.
Here is the breakdown of anchor standards 4, 9, and 10 in grades K-2. At first glance, it surprised us to see that three out of ten anchor standards don’t apply to children in grades kindergarten through second (and one doesn’t even apply to third graders). We immediately became curious about which of the Common Core writing standards had no place in primary classrooms and discovered the following:
Writing Anchor Standard 4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Writing Anchor Standard 9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Writing Anchor Standard 10
Write routinely over extended times (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes and audiences.
For us, these recommendations raise important questions. We wonder about the origins of these guidelines. Were these recommendations a casualty of the top-down design of the standards? Do they reflect the lack of educational experience of the authors? Most importantly, do the writing standards for K-2 set high enough expectations for our youngest writers to develop the proficiency they need, both for the CCSS in 3-12 and for life in general?
This week we will explore our response to these questions. In the meantime, we encourage you to do the same!