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Overview of Changes in the Reading, Writing and Communicating Standards

Principles of the Standards Review Process

The Colorado Model Content Standards in Reading and Writing revision process was informed by these guiding principles:

  • Begin with the end in mind; define what prepared graduates need in order to be successful using 21st century skills in our global economy.
  • Align K-12 standards with early childhood expectations and higher education.
  • In order to be globally competitive, international and national benchmarking strongly informs the new standards.
  • Change is necessary.
  • Standards will be deliberately designed for clarity, rigor, and coherence.
  • There will be fewer, higher, and clearer standards.
  • Standards will be actionable.

Notable Changes to the Colorado Reading and Writing Model Content Standards

  1. Content name change. The subcommittee made a significant decision to rename the Reading and Writing standards to the Reading, Writing, and Communicating standards. They made this change due to overwhelming belief that communication is a very important aspect of reading and writing. The subcommittee wants Colorado's students to encompass effective communication skills in their everyday lives. These skills are essential to Colorado's 21st century learners whether they go into college, the workforce, or technical training.
  2. Conceptual change in the standards. The major change to the reading and writing standards is the move from six broad standards to four solid, unique standards. Each of the four proposed standards represents vital aspects to acquiring reading and writing skills in the 21st century.
  3. Impact of standards articulation by grade level. The standards revision subcommittee was charged with providing a more specific learning trajectory of concepts and skills across grade levels, from early school readiness to postsecondary preparedness. Articulating standards by grade level in each area affords greater specificity (clearer standards) in describing the learning path across levels (higher standards), while focusing on a few key ideas at each grade level (fewer standards).
  4. Intentional integration of 21st century skills and readiness competencies. The content necessary to read, write and communicate is inseparable from the skill-sets and imbedded discipline knowledge. The decision was made to more accurately reflect the complex nature of communication by integrating skills and readiness competencies in the same document.
  5. Integration of the Common Core State Standards. These revised standards reflect the inclusion of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects.
  6. Integration of P-2 Council’s recommendations. The reading, writing, and communicating subcommittee has integrated the Building Blocks to the Colorado K-12 Content Standards document into the P-12 reading, writing, and communicating standards, aligning expectations to a great degree. Important reading, writing, and communicating concepts and skills are clearly defined across these foundational years, detailing expectations to a much greater extent for teachers and parents.
  7. Standards are written for mastery. The proposed revisions to standards define mastery of concepts and skills. Mastery means that a student has facility with a skill or concept in multiple contexts. This is not an indication that instruction at a grade-level expectation begins and only occurs at that grade level. Maintenance of previously mastered concepts and skills and scaffolding future learning are the domain of curriculum and instruction – not standards. Interrelationships of the standards may require some grade-level skills to appear in more than one expectation or standard.

Below is a quick guide to other changes in the reading and writing standards:

Area of Change

1995 Colorado Model Content Standards in Reading and Writing

2010 Colorado Academic Standards in Reading, Writing, and Communicating

Number of standards Six Standards Four Standards
Names of standards Standard 1
Students read and understand a variety of materials.

Standard 2
Students write and speak for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Standard 3
Students write and speak using conventional grammar, usage, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

Standard 4
Students apply thinking skills to their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.

Standard 5
Students read to locate, select, and make use of relevant information from a variety of media, reference, and technological resources.

Standard 6
Students read and recognize literature as a record of human experience.

Standard 1
Oral Expression and Listening

Standard 2
Reading for All Purposes

Standard 3
Writing and Composition

Standard 4
Research and Reasoning

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects include a separate standard for Language. In this document, those Language expectations are integrated into the four standards above as appropriate.

Integration of 21st century skills and postsecondary workforce readiness competencies Not deliberately addressed in original document. 21st century skills and postsecondary workforce readiness skills were embedded throughout the evidence outcomes of P-12 and in the prepared graduate expectations.
P-2 Standards articulated for grade band beginning with kindergarten.

Benchmarks articulated by grade band of K-4 with most geared to upper grades.

Pre-K included.

Grade level expectations articulated for each elementary grade.

Clear expectations articulated for grades P-2.

Number of grade level expectations Average of six benchmarks per grade level span Average of 11 grade level expectations per grade level.

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