Common Core Standards Initiative – Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks Grades 11-CCR (2013)

Selecting Text Exemplars

The following text samples primarily serve to exemplify the level of complexity and quality that the Standards require
All students in a given grade band to engage with. Additionally, they are suggestive of the breadth of texts that students should encounter in the text types required by the Standards. The choices should serve as useful guideposts in
helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms. They expressly do
not represent a partial or complete reading list.
The process of text selection was guided by the following criteria:

  • Complexity. Appendix A describes in detail a three-part model of measuring text complexity based on qualitative and quantitative indices of inherent text difficulty balanced with educators’ professional judgment in matching readers and texts in light of particular tasks. In selecting texts to serve as exemplars, the work group began by soliciting contributions from teachers, educational leaders, and researchers who have experience working with students in the grades for which the texts have been selected. These contributors were asked to
    recommend texts that they or their colleagues have used successfully with students in a given grade band. The work group made final selections based in part on whether qualitative and quantitative measures indicated that the recommended texts were of sufficient complexity for the grade band. For those types of texts—particularly poetry and multimedia sources—for which these measures are not as well suited, professional judgment necessarily played a greater role in selection.

  • Quality. While it is possible to have high-complexity texts of low inherent quality, the work group solicited only texts of recognized value. From the pool of submissions gathered from outside contributors, the work group selected classic or historically significant texts as well as contemporary works of comparable literary merit, cultural significance, and rich content.

  • Range. After identifying texts of appropriate complexity and quality, the work group applied other criteria to ensure that the samples presented in each band represented as broad a range of sufficiently complex, highquality texts as possible. Among the factors considered were initial publication date, authorship, and subject
    matter.

(For more, see Appendix B of the Common Core Standards Initiative, “English Language Arts Standards”.)


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