Reference that this mini lesson on text complexity draws heavily on Appendix A of the CCSS.
Please note in the interest of time that the quantitative measures have been run and are included at the bottom of each passage. The quantitative measures place the text in a grade-band, and the next exercise to analyze the text to place it at the appropriate grade for text complexity.
Processing theCommon Core ELA Shifts 6-12 Advanced Tuesday, July 17
The CCSS require three tightly interrelatedinstructional shifts: 1. Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction 2. Reading and writing grounded in evidence from text: both literary and informational 3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language Processing the shifts – where are you now?
Shift One: Building knowledge throughcontent-rich nonfiction: Why? • Students have been required to read very little informational text in elementary and middle school • Non-fiction makes up the vast majority of required reading in college/workplace • Informational text is harder for students to comprehend than narrative text – more instructional time is needed so this comprehension is achieved
Shift Two: Reading, writing and speakinggrounded in evidence from text, bothliterary and informational: Why?• Most college and workplace writing requires evidence.• Ability to cite evidence differentiates strong from weak student performance on NAEP• Evidence is a major emphasis of the ELA Standards: Reading Standard 1, Writing Standard 9, Speaking and Listening standards 2, 3 and 4, all focus on the gathering, evaluating and presenting of evidence from text.• Being able to locate and deploy evidence are hallmarks of strong readers and writers
Shift Three: Regular practice with complextext and its academic language: Why?• Gap between complexity of college and high school texts is huge• What students can read, in terms of complexity is greatest predictor of success in college (ACT study)• Too many students are reading at too low a level (<50% of graduates can read sufficiently complex texts)• Standards include a staircase of increasing text complexity from elementary through high school• Standards also focus on building general academic vocabulary so critical to comprehension
What are the features of complex text?• Subtle and/or frequent transitions• Multiple and/or subtle themes and purposes• Density of information• Unfamiliar settings, topics or events• Lack of repetition, overlap or similarity in words and sentences• Complex sentences *• Uncommon vocabulary *• Lack of words, sentences or paragraphs that review or pull things together for the student• Longer paragraphs• Any text structure which is less narrative and/or mixes structures
Scaffolding Complex TextThe standards require that students read appropriatelycomplex text at each grade level – independently (Standard10).There are many ways to scaffold student learning as theymeet the standard:• Multiple readings• Read Aloud• Chunking text (a little at a time)Provide support while reading, rather than before.
Lets Review our Goals for TodayBy the end of today participants will... • Understand why these three shifts for instruction • Have a deeper sense of how the CCSS ELA standards interrelate • Know how to analyze texts using qualitative and quantitative measures• Understand how to identify text based questions and why they are important for instruction
Naming the Standards•Start with the anchor reading standards.•Use a 1-4 word phrase to quickly name each•Work in groups or alone, as you wish•If you finish, go to the history-social studies and/or science-technology standards and do the same. (Anchors)•If you finish with that, go to the Language Anchor standards and name them.
Lets review how were spendingour time today to achieve our goals10:45 - 11:00: Processing the Shifts11:00 - 11:15: Naming the Anchor Standards11:15 - 11:25: Examine insights gleaned from Naming the Shift Activity as a Group11:15 - 11:40: Learning to Analyze a Text using Quantitative and Qualitative Measures11:40 - 11:55: Read and analyze a passage11:55 - 12:00: Debrief the analysis on the passage1:00 - 2:00: Analyze text based questions
Text ComplexityWhen choosing texts for instruction and assessment at any gradelevel, educators should consider three dimensions of text complexity. • Quantitative Considerations • Qualitative Considerations • Reader and Task Considerations
Quantitative Considerations• Quantitative complexity takes into account the features of text computers can analyze.• To place a passage within an grade band (K-2, 3-5. 6- 8, 9-10 , 11-CCR), run the passage through at least one quantitative analysis tool (see “Access to Quantitative Analysis Tools” handout).
Qualitative Considerations• Qualitative complexity takes into account features of text that cannot currently be measured by computers, but must be evaluated by educators.• To place a passage in a specific grade, systematically analyze passage for qualitative features using the qualitative scale.
Reader and Task Considerations• Professional judgment takes into account how suited a text is for a specific instructional purpose with a particular set of students.• (Tomorrow, you’ll be examining and working with assessment considerations to gain insight into text and task selection criteria in play for the CCSS new generation ELA tests).
Let’s practice using these tools toanalyze the text we will be workingwith over the next two days• In grades 6-8, we will be analyzing “Tornadoes: Earth’s Most Violent Thunderstorms” USA Today 9.12.2006• In grades 9-12, we will be analyzing an excerpt from Susan B. Anthony’s “Speech After Being Convicted Of Voting In The 1872 Presidential Election”
Now let’s roll up our sleeves and analyze these texts.• Please take the next 15 minutes to read the text at your pertinent grade level and use the qualitative scale to analyze the text complexity of this passage and determine the grade-level of the text.• After 15 minutes are up, we will review our analysis of the piece and place the text in a grade for instructional purposes.
“Tornadoes” Is High Quality. An Analysis Using the Qualitative Scale.• Structure The central idea is complex, and is supported using a cause and effect structure in chronological order.• Language Clarity and Conventions Some domain specific, scientific terms. Nice use of transitional phrases to establish cause and effect.• Knowledge demands Students may be familiar with the concept of tornadoes. Text types should be familiar from science texts.
“Tornadoes” Is High Quality. AnAnalysis Using the Qualitative Scale.• Levels of meaning/purpose Single meaning that is explicitly stated. Clear purpose: writing to inform• Overall Placement Grade 7.Why?• There is a simple, explicit, central idea that is complicated by dense propositions and demanding vocabulary. There is less structural support because it was written as a newspaper article
The Susan B Anthony Excerpt Is High Quality. An Analysis Using the Qualitative Scale.• Structure The text type is tricky. It’s a persuasive speech that changes without warning to a (uncredited) quote from the U.S. Constitution. Sentence structure is extremely complex• Language Clarity and Conventions Vocabulary demands are high. Words are used mostly literally, but some figurative uses.• Knowledge demands Allusions to other seminal assume basic understanding of the intent of the documents. Speech should be a familiar text type for HS students, but cannot assume so.
The Susan B. Antony excerpt is High Quality. An Analysis Using the Qualitative Scale.• Levels of meaning: Though the text does not have multiple purposes its one purpose is complex in itself; certain rights are “natural” and “inalienable” hence cannot be “bartered”• Overall Placement: Grade 10 with considerable teacher support. Although the message is clearly stated, the vocabulary and sentence structure makes this piece challenging to navigate. Some knowledge of US history and seminal texts required.
Debrief and Break for Lunch• When we return, we’ll be working with questions customized for “Tornadoes”:• judging whether text dependent or not,• whether high quality or not.• The primary focus of discussion will be on the “Tornadoes” piece though equivalent Susan B Anthony materials are provided for you also.• Why the middle school text? Pure informational articles represent more of a shift for ELA practice and practitioners.