A Common Core-aligned assignment for English Language Arts/literacy has essential features. First and foremost, it must be aligned to the appropriate grade-level standard. The standard(s) then set the frame for instructional goals and the assignment’s content and tasks. Alignment also means that the assignment embraces the instructional shifts articulated by the Common Core. In ELA/literacy, these shifts require students to have regular practice with complex texts and their academic language; read, write, and speak using evidence from texts, both literary and informational; and build knowledge through content. Finally, an aligned assignment is clearly articulated so that students can fully understand what is expected of them.

Guiding Questions

  • How often do students read, discuss, and write about complex texts in a way that honors the spirit of the
    Common Core?
  • How do I ensure that my assignments and expectations for student work are clear? What language and guidance do I provide to ensure clarity?

Questions for Analysis


Does the assignment align to the appropriate grade-level, Common Core State Standard?

  1. No

  2. Yes

  • Alignment with at least one CCSS, aside from R10 and W10, is necessary to meet this criterion.

  • ELA assignments should align with a specific, grade-level CCSS.

  • Science and social studies assignments for grades 6-12 should align with Common Core literacy standard(s) in that content area.

Does the assignment clearly articulate the task?

  • Directions are clear and easily interpreted OR the assignment’s format signals a routine procedure that is well known by the students in the class.