Common Core Standards: Grades 6-12 Writing about History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

By Jared Myracle

One unified set of Common Core Standards applies to writing history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. The structure and content of these standards closely resemble the writing standards for English language arts, including an emphasis on three purposes for writing: argue, inform/explain, and narrate.

However, unlike the writing standards for English language arts, the literacy standards for these subjects don’t contain a separate strand for narrative writing. The expectation is that narrative writing is addressed in students’ argumentative and informative or explanatory writing because they describe how an event unfolds or a specific process or procedure works. If you think about it, this makes sense for these subjects.

Another difference between the two sets of writing standards is that the topics students write about in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are specific to the subject being studied. So, as your child moves from grade to grade, the writing he does in these classes increases in complexity and changes to fit the content he is studying in each class.

The writing standards for these subjects are grouped into the following grade bands:

  • Grades 6-8

  • Grades 9-10

  • Grades 11-12

Note that the writing standards for English language arts are separate for Grades 6, 7, and 8 but are combined into a Grade 6-8 band in the literacy standards.

You’ll notice that the writing standards for this grade band most closely resemble the writing standards for Grade 8 in the English language arts standards. That’s because the expectations of the grade band are reflective of where students should be when they reach the end of Grade 8.

Don’t forget that students’ abilities will vary. Because the standards cover more than one grade level, you need to keep a close eye on your child’s progress to ensure that he is mastering new skills. If your child is in a grade level on the lower end of a grade band, reach out to your child’s teacher if you want a more specific list of skills that he can practice.