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CCRStandardsAdultEd

APPENDIX C. RATIONALES

APPENDIX C. RATIONALES FOR THE SELECTION OF THE COMMON CORE 106 The panel selected a full progression of informational text standards for the 10 Reading Anchor Standards, and only a few—but central—literature standards. Besides focusing on evidence (Reading Standard 1) and text complexity (Reading Standard 10) for all kinds of texts, panelists included standards that ask students to determine a theme or a main idea in texts (Reading Standard 2) or determine the meaning of words in context (Reading Standard 4). Panelists also included a complement of standards requiring students to analyze how and why events and ideas interact over the course of an informational text (Reading Standard 3), because this was a critical skill for comprehending factual accounts and other nonfiction texts (including digital sources) written for a broad audience. They noted this skill as critical to informed civic engagement. Data from the ACT survey of college faculty supports their decision: the relationship of ideas and the relationship between sentences were rated as a high priority. The postsecondary faculty survey gave this standard a strong rating as well. Panelists believed that several standards—besides being important for developing students’ reading comprehension skills—would also help to improve student writing. These include analyzing in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (Reading Standard 5) and evaluating the claims, reasoning, and evidence of authors’ arguments (Reading Standard 8) to understand the art of developing arguments and employing rhetoric to advance a particular purpose. Panelists stressed the importance (while noting that such instruction could be time consuming) of grasping authors’ points of view (Reading Standard 6) and evaluating content presented in diverse formats and media (Reading Standard 7) to understanding political discourse and preparing for active civic engagement (e.g., voting, serving on a jury, campaigning, lobbying, testifying at hearings, demonstrating, petitioning), as well as making sound decisions as consumers. David Coleman, one of the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/literacy, made a single recommendation: that the panel reconsider and select the standards pertaining to reading and comprehending the United States Founding Documents and the Great Conversation that followed. While the panel was not unanimously in favor of including these standards as a backbone for the adult education standards, a majority of the panel saw the wisdom of the recommendations. In choosing these standards (Reading Standard 9 in both grades 9–10 and 11–12), panelists cited four reasons:

APPENDIX C. RATIONALES FOR THE SELECTION OF THE COMMON CORE 107 1. They are practical and educationally powerful, ensuring rigor and quality in terms of what students will be asked to read. Being able to handle informational texts of this nature is a strong predictor of college and career readiness and prepares students for a wide range of reading challenges. By requiring these documents alone, adult education instructors can be assured that they will be dealing with texts of sufficient rigor to meet the standards. 2. Overall, they invite careful and close analysis, making them ideal for instruction and for assessment. They are brief enough to be ideal for classroom use and typically can be excerpted beautifully for assessment use because of the density and repetition of ideas. 3. They ensure that adults will be ready for citizenship. Grasping the import of these works reflects an understanding of and commitment to participating in the civic life of the country. It is striking how much political conversation in the United States returns to the Founding Documents and the Great Conversation that they continue to generate. They are essential for participation in public discourse and being an informed citizen. 4. They provide important signals to the broader public that the selected standards for adult education are of high quality. Several standards were not selected for inclusion, such as analyzing how complex characters develop and interact with other characters and analyzing the impact of the author’s choices on developing and relating elements of a story. Panelists indicated that the former was too literature-focused and the latter focused more on analyzing the author’s craft and style, rather than the text content. Both were viewed as much less critical than other comprehension standards. Panelists also decided not to select analyzing 18th-, 19th- and early-20th-century foundational works of American literature. Since adult students have limited time, panelists determined that a literature genre study should not be a priority. This standard also was rated very low by college faculty on the EPIC survey. Stakeholders also made suggestions about other skills they believed students need to be prepared for college and other training beyond the CCSS for ELA/literacy, including study skills, test-taking skills, taking notes in class, and others. While states and programs have the autonomy to add content to the CCSS, this project was limited to selecting from only the CCSS for ELA/literacy those standards that are relevant and important for adult education, thus panelists did not add these skills.

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