Standards-in-Action: English Language Arts/Literacy Foundational Units to Fulfill the Instructional Shifts

These foundational-level Standards-in-Action (SIA) resources and professional development provide educators with practical knowledge about the key shifts in instruction required to align with college and career readiness standards in English language arts (ELA)/literacy.

StandardsWork, Inc.
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
StandardsWork, Inc.
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material

The College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards ELA/Literacy Foundational Units 1-4 were produced by StandardsWork Inc. as part of the Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education project, under contract to the U.S. Department of Education (Contract # ED-VAE-13-C-0066). The activities that make up Units 1 – 4 will help participants explore what it means to implement CCR standards for ELA/literacy in adult education. Participants will receive a practical and transferable understanding of the fundamental shifts in instruction embedded in CCR standards—including in your state standards—crucial to preparing adult students to meet the real-world demands of college and careers. At the heart of the instructional shifts is carefully examining the texts that students read and the questions students should address as they write and speak about them. 

  • Foundational Unit 1 Connecting CCR Standards to Key Advances explores the fundamental elements, structure, and meaning of the CCR standards. 
  • Foundational Unit 2 Selecting Texts Worth Reading introduces text complexity, its central role in the CCR standards, and the complex texts students need to read. 
  • Foundational Unit 3, Identifying Questions Worth Answering focuses on the value of building students’ ability to draw evidence from texts and teachers’ ability to use text-based questions.
  • Foundational Unit 4 Creating High-Quality Prompts teaches instructors how to build a culminating writing assignment that assesses student knowledge. 

Each ready-to-use unit includes a facilitator’s guide, an annotated PowerPoint presentation, and participant materials. While training is not required before using this resource, fundamental awareness of the CCR standards for ELA/literacy is recommended. Experienced SIA trainers are available to provide this training to states and programs. For more information, please email the LINCS Technical Assistance Center at

Benefits and Uses

This resource supports state and program efforts to implement adult education content standards aligned with college and career readiness to support rigorous and high-quality instruction. Usage of the ELA/Literacy Foundational Units 1-4 will strengthen the capacity of adult educators to implement CCR standards to better prepare adult students for success in college and careers. These activities provide the field with opportunities to dig into the CCR standards and explore what it means to adopt CCR-aligned standards in classrooms and how to do so sustainably. Understanding how CCR standards differ from previous sets of standards—and the necessary shifts or advances they call for—is essential to implementing CCR standards well.

Engagement in these four units of activities will enable adult educators to identify the most significant elements of CCR standards for ELA/literacy and to determine how best to integrate them into instruction and curriculum. The goal of Units 1 - 4 is for participants to leave with specific ideas, resources, and actions they can implement immediately. Designed primarily for group use, these units also support independent study.

The four units should be worked through sequentially. The units can be facilitated during a single daylong training or multiple trainings over several weeks or months. Each ready-to-use unit contains all the materials required to facilitate these training activities, including a facilitator’s guide, an annotated PowerPoint Presentation, and a packet of participant materials. 

The participant materials include directions, charts, worksheets, answer keys, and other resource materials that guide the use of each unit. The PowerPoint presentations are a digital aid for presenters/facilitators who lead CCR ELA/literacy training activities. Notes are provided within the PowerPoint presentations to help you prepare for each session. This information accompanies the information offered in the facilitator guides—including the research base, rationale, advice, and other guidelines—to provide the support and guidance you may require. 

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