The premiere of the newly revised English Language Arts Georgia Standards of Excellence (ELAGSE) occurs in the upcoming school year 2015-2016. As a result, Georgia’s English teachers will find that all their work to transition from the former Georgia Performance Standards to the CCGPS and now to the ELAGSE will begin to pay dividends in the form of higher student achievement. As a natural outgrowth of meeting the challenge to prepare students for real life, whether that will be the world of careers or the world of higher education, the Georgia Standards of Excellence lays out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the 21st century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and in digital format. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. Students who meet the standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.
English Language Arts Georgia Standards
of Excellence (ELAGSE K-12)
The Georgia Standards of Excellence describe a vertically aligned, benchmarked set of performance standards for students in English Language Arts and Literacy. The standards establish a staircase of increasing complexity in what students must be able to read and write so that all students are ready for the demands of college and/or career level communication no later than the end of high school. Students read a diverse array of classic and contemporary literature as well as challenging informational texts in a range of subjects. The standards mandate certain critical types of content for all students, including classical myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, seminal works of American literature, and the writings of Shakespeare. The ability to write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning, and relevant text evidence is a cornerstone of the writing standards, with opinion writing – a basic form or argument – extending down into the earliest grades. Narrative and explanatory writing, as well as technical writing and research are also foundational.
The standards require that students gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media. The standards help prepare students for real life experience at college and in 21st century careers. The standards recognize that students must be able to use formal English in their writing and speaking but that they must also be able to make informed, skillful choices among the many ways to express themselves through language. It is important to note the impact of the standards on classroom instruction:
- Informational text and literary text are both of critical importance, for one informs and the other reflects and captures the human spirit in the context of time, place, and culture. Literacy is a shared obligation of all the disciplines, for all learning is connected.
- Vocabulary, key to understanding grade level texts, provides students with the tools for a deeper understanding of the texts they study. Building the academic vocabulary is an on-going demand from one grade level to the next. Disciplines also must emphasize the content specific vocabulary that informs math, science, social studies, and English. The language of the standards is critical for students to master.
- All the standards in English are important (Reading Literary Texts, Reading Informational Texts, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language); they are recursive but gain complexity from one grade level to the next; they are synthesized or blended, that is students must read for deep understanding and be able to write about what they have read. Additionally, students must be able to speak about topics or themes they have studied and do so by using the appropriate standards of language (grammar and usage). Thus, all standards are of equal importance; there is more power in the standards if they are taught together rather than separately. Standards build upon the foundational skills learned in the primary grades.
Suggested Websites for ELAGSE Implementation
Information for Parents and Students
Information for Administrators, Counselors, and Educators
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2014 Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition
The Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE)
will be facilitating the Young Georgia Author's contest again this year 2013-2014. Information will be posted on the GCTE Website. The GaDOE will also include communication on the ELA Program page as soon as updated GCTE Guidelines are posted.