Understanding Argument Writing Standards

By on October 6, 2016

LiteracyTA's LTA Toolkit offers useful resources for teaching argument in K-12 classrooms. Free and Pro accounts give access to planning guides, classroom ready presentation slides, language starters, rubrics, and peer evaluation tools to help teach students how to craft well reasoned arguments. Students in all subjects need to learn how to state a claim and support it with sufficient evidence. Our Toolkit can help.  

Get your FREE LTA Toolkit today!

A question I always here is where should we start. Students will need to know that speakers/writers make claims and support those claims with evidence and reasoning. Students need to see how arguments are constructed before they start writing their own. 

Let’s start by reviewing the two argument standards.

Reading RI8 

Delineate and evaluate the arguments and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Writing W1 

Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Although there are only two standards that focus on argument, many of the reading and writing standards support the skills needed to analyze, evaluate, and produce quality arguments.

Vertically Aligned Argument Standards

Educators can use the table below to learn how RI8 vertically aligns from grades 3-12. The bold text identifies features of the standard that are unique to the grade levels.

Features of Reading Standard RI8 by Grade Level

Grades Features of Standard RI8
3-4

Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

5-6

Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not

7-8

Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

9-10

Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

11-12

Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and argument.

This next table shows how W1 vertically aligns from grades 3-12. The bold text identifies features of the standard that are unique to the grade levels.

Features of Writing Standard W1 by Grade Level

Grades Features of Standard W1
3-4

Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

5-6

Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.

Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidenceusing credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

7-8

Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

9-10

Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

11-12

Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

Reflection

What did you notice after reading the information in these two tables? How do the standards build on one another? How do they change? What will you need to teach in order to prepare students for the Common Core argument standards? When will you teach these skills? How will you teach these skills?

Vocabulary List

When teaching argument, there are a number of vocabulary words students should learn. Here is a list of words teachers can use when teaching argument. The bulleted words can be used as synonyms or can be treated as additional vocabulary words.

We recommend using Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary for the definitions.

  • audience
  • argument
  • claim
  • bias
  • attitude
  • context
  • situation (time and place)
  • credibility
  • evidence
  • supporting details
  • fact
  • motivation
  • opinion
  • commentary
  • opposition
  • purpose
  • reasoning
  • logic
  • source
  • texts (video, image, graphic, print, or digital)
  • viewpoint
  • perspective
  • experience

Literacy Skills

To further support our community of inspired educators, we have identified high-level literacy skills that can support the argument standards. We have provided a link to the resources below.

Get your FREE LTA Toolkit today!

Share with Colleagues and Friends

Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

R8
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
W1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
LTA Toolkit Free
You have clicked on premium content only available through LTA Toolkit.