Common Core Standards: Grades 6-12 Speaking and Listening

Building on the speaking and listening skills developed in kindergarten through Grade 5, the Common Core Standards in Grades 6-12 continue to support students in their ability to engage with peers in conversations based on specific texts, ideas, and concepts. The expectations of student presentations also expand in these grades as the content and style of presentations grows more complex.

Grade 6

In Grade 6, students take part in conversations that vary in format, including talking with one other student, discussing a topic in groups, and participating in an activity that is facilitated by the teacher. Regardless of the structure, students should study relevant information in advance so they are ready to play an active role in the conversation.

When collaborating with partners, students are expected to establish goals and a timeline for completion (if they are working on a project) and understand the responsibilities of the group members. Within conversation, students dive into details and ask one another questions that require specific evidence and explanations. When speaking to others, students should make eye contact and speak at a pace and volume that others can understand.

If visual aids, data, or other representations of information are used, students need to be able to make sense of those, as well. Regardless of the type or format of evidence introduced, students should be able to tell whether it supports a specific position. When presenting material, students should make use of key facts and details, along with any visual aids or other media.

The Common Core Standards assume that students will follow the conventions of the English language in formal speech and writing.

Grade 7

The speaking and listening standards for Grade 7 include many of the skills introduced in Grade 6, while also introducing a variety of new expectations. Students learn to track their own progress and monitor the group to get back on track when discussion wanders off topic. When listening to others speak, students take into consideration the information they hear and consider how it may make them refine their own perspective.

They also determine whether someone has accurately interpreted a source used in support of his or her statements. When presenting information, students focus on the most important aspects of their presentation and use some type of visual aid or other media to underscore the significance of what they’re presenting.

Grade 8

In Grade 8, students continue to use prior research and incorporate that information into conversations. When working in groups, students practice making decisions as a group. They also synthesize information presented by multiple people and make adjustments to or defend their position based on the material that is presented.

They begin to examine why a speaker chooses to use certain information, along with making note of how well evidence is used and whether any of the information is irrelevant. Students continue making presentations that are understandable and well organized and that make effective use of supporting facts and details. They are also asked to incorporate forms of media that may make their presentations more interesting.

Grades 9-10

In Grades 9-10, students use prior research in discussion even more. So it is imperative that students approach conversation and collaboration with partners forearmed with understanding of what they have read. The guidelines for working with other students become more complex, and students are expected to make group decisions that reach as much consensus as possible in an effort to meet established goals.

In group discussions, students ask questions that stimulate further conversation, that make connections with the ideas of others, and that clarify what has been said. Another expectation is that students carefully consider information that is presented so they can point out when sources and evidence have been misconstrued. When presenting information, students make sure that others can understand their main points and use various media to support their presentation.

Grades 11-12

Students in Grades 11-12 continue to draw on research and evidence when they enter into conversations, making sure that discussions are based on relevant evidence. A point of emphasis at this level is ensuring that students are polite and fair when they are discussing their points of view and allow for everyone to be heard.

This is important because hearing from a variety of viewpoints allows for new ways of thinking that may have been previously overlooked.

After hearing a presentation, students identify when more information is needed on a particular topic. They also analyze how others use content, style, organization, and sources of information in presentations.

When doing their own research, students continue using sources that are appropriate for a given topic, and they are able to point out when sources don’t agree. Based on evidence found in sources, students develop a stance that is understandable and that makes sense for the purpose of the presentation. Students continue to use visual aids and other media to support their goals for a presentation.

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