WELCOME to the Kansas State Department of Education 
English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Website!

Over time this site will continue to grow and improve. Please feel free to explore the tabs at the top of the screen to access information about English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects standards and assessments.

If you are an English Language Arts and Literacy educator from Kansas, please register at the top right-hand corner of this page to apply for access to additional materials, including blogs, wikis and forums on ELA education in Kansas.

KSDE has an email listserv available to English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects content educators across the state. If you would like to be added to this list please email Kris Shaw or Suzy Oertel.

Mission Statement

Below is our mission statement for the new ELA webpage.

The Mission of English Language Arts and Literacy Education: English Language Arts and Literacy in History/ Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects education in Kansas prepares students to become accomplished in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language across all content areas.

To Accomplish this Mission:
The complete English Language Arts and Literacy education program will:

  • Employ high quality classroom instruction.
  • Develop students’ ability to access and communicate effectively through reading, writing, speaking and listening .
  • Prepare students to be confident participants in educational and career settings.

We aspire for excellence as we recruit, prepare and encourage individuals to participate in our English Language Arts initiatives throughout the state.

We serve schools and communities by offering young people opportunities to actively engage in learning through authentic reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks.

Language Arts and Literacy Education should prepare students to participate as competent leaders in educational and career settings.

Common Core Shifts for English Language Arts and Literacy

1. Building knowledge through
content rich nonfiction

Building knowledge through content rich non-­‐fiction plays an essential role in literacy and in the Standards. In K-­5, fulfilling the standards requires a 50-­50 balance between informational  and literary reading.  Informational reading primarily includes content rich non-­fiction in history/social studies, science and the arts; the K-­‐5 Standards strongly recommend that students build coherent general knowledge both within each year and across years.  In 6-­12, ELA classes place much greater attention to a specific category of informational  text—literary nonfiction—than  has been traditional.  In grades 6-­12, the Standards for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects ensure that students can independently  build knowledge in these disciplines through reading and writing.  

To be clear, the Standards do require substantial attention to literature throughout K-­12, as half of the required work in K-­5 and the core of the work of 6-­12 ELA teachers.   

2. Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

The Standards place a premium on students writing to sources, i.e., using evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-­‐defended claims, and clear information. Rather than asking students questions they can answer solely from their prior knowledge or experience, the Standards expect students to answer questions that depend on their having read the text or texts with care.   The Standards also require the cultivation of narrative writing throughout the grades, and in later grades a command of sequence and detail will be essential for effective argumentative  and informational writing.   

Likewise, the reading standards focus on students’ ability to read carefully and grasp information, arguments, ideas and details based on text evidence. Students should be able to answer a range of text-­dependent questions, questions in which the answers require inferences based on careful attention to the text. 

3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

Rather than focusing solely on the skills of reading and writing, the Standards highlight the growing complexity of the texts students must read to be ready for the demands of college and careers.  The Standards build a staircase of text complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college-­‐ and career-­‐level reading no later than the end of high school.

Closely related to text complexity—and inextricably connected to reading comprehension—is a focus on academic vocabulary: words that appear in a variety of content areas (such as ignite and commit).  

KSDE 2014 Summer Academies

Deep Dive into the Kansas College and Career Ready Standard–2014 Summer Academy.

The 2014 KSDE Summer Academy will focus on advancing instruction in the classroom using the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. The sessions will deepen understanding of the standards by engaging participants in active discussion and collaborative development of instructional units. Participants register for one option from a menu of professional learning sessions and take a three-day dive into maximizing student learning. All sessions are designed to model best practices of instruction and will engage the participants in reflecting on classroom instruction and improving student learning. On the third day of the Academy, we will be collaborating across content areas to develop instructional units that have students tackle big questions. By the end of each Academy, participants will return to their building with a renewed passion for teaching and collaboratively developed instructional resources. Additional information is located on the registration site.

Audience:  Classroom teachers, instructional coaches, school counselors, curriculum directors and administrators

Cost: $200 per person for the 3-day Academy.  Costs include the professional learning as well as breakfast, lunch and snacks each day. 

Registration:  All of the information for the registration page is available at either of the following links:

1.    The event flyer
 (http://events.ksde.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=iCyfF52fojc%3d&tabid=704&mid=1690) or,
2.    The registration home page

Thanks your for your interest in Deep Diving into the KCCRS!

ELA Newsletter Archives
2013-2014 Transitional Assessment Update
For information on the 2014 Transitional Assessment for English Language Arts and Literacy please visit our Assessment page at the top.
Writing Assessment Update

Assessment of Writing in Kansas

As we move forward with transitioning to our new assessments aligned to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards (KCCRS), one of the many questions we must work to answer is how the Kansas English Language Arts (ELA) Assessment will address all four strands of the ELA standards. The 2014 ELA assessment has been a positive stepping stone on our path toward KCCRS-aligned assessments, and we will continue along this path for 2015.

As you may know, the 2014 ELA assessment included only writing items that could be machine-scored, and did not include any items requiring students to compose text. This will change in 2015. While we still are discussing and working on a number of issues, including but not limited to scoring, number of sessions, and length of sessions, the following details seem clear, based on our knowledge at this time:

1)     Students will be assessed on written composition annually because the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards include writing as one of the four strands of the ELA Standards, and because writing is a focal point in the Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects.

2)      In 2015, we will field test composition as a portion of the ELA assessment, following passage and prompt development, as well as passage and prompt reviews in 2014. We are unsure yet at which point during the ELA assessment students will write. More details will be released as those decisions are made.

3)      Most prompts will require students to engage with/read a series of related resources (articles, narratives, videos, charts, graphs, diagrams, etc.) and then write. These resources may be narrative, informational, or argumentative, and the content may focus on topics from science, social science, math, or other content areas.

4)      KSDE's intent at this time is to not “assign” specific text types to certain grades, which is a change from past practice.

We continue to meet with CETE regularly, and will update the field as best we can with the most recent information available regarding the assessment of writing in Kansas.

If you have further questions contact Suzy Oertel at soertel@ksde.org.

Contact Information
 Sharon Beck   Kris Shaw   Suzy Oertel  Jackie Lakin   
Administrative Assistant    Language Arts and Literacy Consultant  Language Arts and Literacy Consultant    Education Program Consultant   
 sbeck@ksde.org      kshaw@ksde.org  soertel@ksde.org    jlakin@ksde.org
785.296.3261    785.296.4926  785.296.5060    785.296.2144   
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