Grades 5 to 8 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation

Implementation Overview: Grades 5 to 8
Planning for Instruction and Classroom Assessment
Using Learning Outcomes - Part 1

Learning outcomes and standards assist classroom teachers and other educators to:

  • plan learning activities that support student achievement
  • establish goals for learning, instruction, and assessment
  • monitor student progress in achieving learning outcomes and standards
  • communicate with students, parents, and guardians about student progress
  • develop a literacy plan for a school

Reading the Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes identify knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes that students are expected to achieve by the end of a grade. The kinds of learning described in the learning outcomes can be categorized as:

  • declarative knowledge -- facts, concepts, principles, and knowledge about processes
  • procedural knowledge -- skills, strategies, and steps in processes
  • attitudes and habits of mind -- values and beliefs regarding literacy learning

Few of the learning outcomes refer to only one kind of learning, and because of this, they must be read carefully to determine the most appropriate:

  • content
  • learning materials
  • instructional methods
  • assessment tools and processes

See the examples below.

Reading Learning Outcomes to Determine Instruction and Assessment Purposes

Example: Grade 7: Outcome 1.2.1 (Clarify and Extend — Develop Understanding)

Recognize and articulate the value of connecting prior knowledge and new knowledge and experiences to shape and extend understanding.

This learning outcome indicates that the student is to understand the value of connecting new knowledge to prior knowledge (declarative knowledge). It also indicates that the student will display the language arts skills and strategies necessary to communicate his/her understanding of the value of connecting prior and new knowledge (procedural knowledge).

Example: Grade 8:Outcome 4.2.2 (Enhance and Improve — Revise Content)

Revise to enhance meaning and effect according to audience and purpose.

This learning outcome indicates that the student requires declarative knowledge about the effect and role of audience and purpose in writing and composing. It also indicates that the student uses that knowledge when revising his/her own work (procedural knowledge) and that s/he has both the attitude and will to complete this task independently (attitudes and habits of mind).

Reading Learning Outcomes to Determine Texts and Purposes

The learning outcomes integrate the six language arts: listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing. Students learn the similarities among the six language arts. They also develop knowledge, skills, and strategies specific to oral, literary, and media texts and to various purposes. Most learning outcomes require instruction in more than one of the language arts. Planning needs to include a careful analysis of the learning outcome statement to determine appropriate instructional materials. The following example shows how various language arts are integrated in the instruction of one learning outcome.

Example: Grade 5: Outcome 2.2.3 (Respond to Texts — Appreciate the Artistry of Texts)

Identify descriptive and figurative language in oral, literary, and media text.

This learning outcome indicates that students will need instruction in identifying descriptive and figurative language in oral text when they are listening, in written text when they are reading, and in visual text when they are viewing.

Reading the Bracketed Examples in Learning Outcomes

Many specific learning outcomes provide examples enclosed within brackets.

  • Bracketed examples prefaced by "such as" indicate the range and variety of examples teachers need to consider when planning instruction.
  • Bracketed examples prefaced by "including" indicate mandatory aspects of the curriculum.

The following example illustrates the interpretation of the "including" clause of a learning outcome.

Examples: Grade 5: Outcome 3.2.4 (Select and Process — Access Information)

Use a variety of tools [including chapter heading and encyclopedia guide words] to access information and ideas; use visual and auditory cues [such as graphics, voice overs, scene changes, body language, background music] to identify key ideas.

This learning outcome indicates that Grade 5 students are taught to use chapter headings and encyclopedia guide words to access information from print sources, and visual and auditory cues when accessing information from media sources. Examples of the visual and auditory cues that students may be taught are listed at the beginning of General Learning Outcome 3.

By reviewing this learning outcome for Grade 4, Grade 5 teachers can see that students will have been taught to use the following: indices, maps, atlases, charts, glossaries, card or electronic catalogues, and dictionaries. Because learning is cumulative, Grade 5 teachers need to review and maintain students’ knowledge, skills, and strategies in the areas identified as Grade 4 learning outcomes.


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