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 Myers.

 Professional Learning Opportunities
Be a valued part of a Virtual Community of Practice, built especially for K-12 teachers of English Language Arts. Click here for more information.

FREE on-site training available for Istation, the new Kansas Reading Success Program. Click here for more details.

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

2016 Assessment

The Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts will eventually 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 resources below.

Listening Field Test-Fall 2015!
CETE, our assessment vendor, will be field testing listening items the week of October 26-30, 2015. This is an optional field test for schools and districts. For more information, please click here to be routed to ksassessments.org.

Questions about Accommodations?
The Accommodations Manual presents a five-step process educational teams can use in the selection, administration, and evaluation of the effective use of instructional and assessment accommodations. CLICK HERE for the 2015-16 Accommodations Manual.

Scribing Guidelines
Scribing is an appropriate accommodation for students who can write but have a documented disability in the area of written expression that results in a significant interference with their ability to express their knowledge in writing. CLICK HERE for 2015-16 scribing guidelines.

Machine-Scored Items for ELA Assessment
The Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts includes some machine-scored items. Please refer to the 2015-2016 Assessment Overview Document for more specifics on the ELA Assessment.

Multidisciplinary Performance Task (MDPT)
In 2016, the Kansas Assessment for English Language Arts will include a performance task for grades 3-8, and this year will field test the MDPT for 10th grade in ELA. Please see this FAQ document for more information.

Multidisciplinary Performance Task (MDPT) Rubrics
Rubrics for the scoring of the MDPT for all text types are grade-banded and can be found here:

Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
High School

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

Recorded Presentation
PowerPoint Slides

Multidisciplinary Performance Task Presentation

Learning Forward Conference Presentation Slides - February 4, 2015

Sample Multidisciplinary Performance Tasks and Accompanying Guide

In the winter of 2014-15, a group of Kansas educators worked to develop sample Multidisciplinary Performance Tasks for use by Kansas educators. The samples provided below are intended for use by Kansas educators wishing to gain greater insight into what students will experience during the MDPT. They may be used with students, or used as examples for educators to create similar performance tasks for students using existing course curriculum.

We recommend first accessing the "MDPT Sample GUIDE", which will explain how the samples are organized, and possibly answer questions you may have about them. As additional samples become available, they will be posted below.

*Updated 08/24/15
        Read this first!
        MDPT Sample GUIDE

        3-5 Grade Band MDPT Samples
        MDPT Sample Grade 3       
        MDPT Sample Grade 4
        MDPT Sample Grade 5

        6-8 Grade Band MDPT Samples
        MDPT Sample Grade 6
        MDPT Sample Grade 7
                Resource 2 for Grade 7 Sample
        MDPT Sample 1 Grade 8
                Resource 1 for Grade 8 Sample 1
                Resource 2 for Grade 8 Sample 1
                Resource 3 for Grade 8 Sample 1
                Resource 4 for Grade 8 Sample 1
        MDPT Sample 2 Grade 8

        High School MDPT Sample
        MDPT Sample High School
        MDPT Sample 2 High School

Graphic Organizer Guidance
Some educators have been asking for guidance about which graphic organizers are acceptable for students to use during the Multidisciplinary Performance Task. There are several questions we have been encouraging people to ask about the graphic organizers they intend to use. Those questions are presented in this document: Graphic Organizer Flow Chart.

Writing Workshops
In February and March 2015, KSDE sponsored six free writing workshops for educators across the state. Two of these workshops were streamed live and recorded for later viewing. Links are provided below. The PowerPoint presentation below includes a link to resources and handouts used during the workshops.

Elementary Writing Workshop - March 6, 2015
Secondary Writing Workshop - March 13, 2015

Writing Workshop PowerPoint Presentation

Writing On Demand
Many teachers have had questions about how to adequately prepare students for writing in an "on demand" environment. These questions are not unique to Kansas teachers. The Plymouth Writing Project, a National Writing Project site in New Hampshire, engaged in a careful study to define specific skills required for successfully completing on demand writing tasks. The group, comprised of teachers from elementary through college settings, then worked to create a set of lessons designed to help students develop those skills.

Thank you to the Director of the Plymouth Writing Project, as well as the teachers involved in this work, for granting us permission to post it on our site. An explanation of their work, including their lesson plans, can be found HERE.

 Standards Alignment
Achieve the Core Resources
Achieve the Core is a nonprofit group working to support teachers across the country by creating materials that will assist with preparing standards-based instruction, evaluating lessons and materials, designing classroom assessments, and more. Their English Language Arts resources can be found HERE.
Contact Information
Suzy Myers                                                Jackie Lakin                                       JR Loppnow
English Language Arts Consultant      Education Program Consultant     Senior Adminstrative Assistant 
semyers@ksde.org                                jlakin@ksde.org                                 jloppnow@ksde.org            
 785.296.5060                                          785.296.2144                                     785.296.2078                       
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