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

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 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.

Areas of Emphasis for English Language Arts Standards


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).  

Introduction to Learning Resource Sets

"Introduction to Resource Sets", a two day presentation by Kris Shaw and Suzy Oertel, Kansas State Department of Education, was hosted by the ESU School of Library & Information Management on the campus of Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. Resource Sets expand on the idea of developing text sets for curriculum units in the classroom. Resource Sets focus on the process of building a set of materials, texts, audio and video clips, art, science hypotheses, or social studies essential questions into a unit. The step-by-step process is clarified by the use of an easy-to-read game board. You can access this introduction on You Tube at http://youtu.be/imxlJA8AXPk

2015 ELA Assessment

Overview
The Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts is being built to address all four strands of the ELA standards – Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. For information about each portion of what will contribute to the ELA Assessment scores, please refer to the fact sheets below.

Machine-Scored Items for ELA Assessment
The Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts includes some machine-scored items. Please refer to the 2014-15 Assessment Overview Document for more specifics on the ELA Assessment.

Multidisciplinary Performance Task
The Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts includes a multidisciplinary performance assessment. Please see this FAQ document for more information.


Multidisciplinary Performance Task Rubrics
Rubrics for the scoring of the MDPT have been developed, reviewed both internally and externally, revised, and edited, and redesigned over the past several months. Educators can now find the rubrics for each grade band here:


Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
High School

A recorded presentation and accompanying PowerPoint slides about the MDPT task and rubrics are available at the links below.

Recorded Presentation
PowerPoint Slides
Contact Information
Sharon Beck    Suzy Myers-Oertel  Jackie Lakin   
Administrative Assistant    English Language Arts Consultant    Education Program Consultant   
sbeck@ksde.org      soertel@ksde.org    jlakin@ksde.org
785.296.3261    785.296.5060    785.296.2144   
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