Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inferences and the Common Core Standards

Inferences are central to the Common Core Standards. For instance, one standard for grades 5-12 specifically states that students must draw “inferences from the text.” Moreover, many of the subsequent standards require that students must continue to make inferences. These standards, for example, state that students must be able to
  • determine a theme;
  • compare and contrast two characters;
  • determine the meaning . . . of metaphors;
  • explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story;
  • describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described; and
  • compare and contrast stories in the same genre . . . on their approaches to similar themes.
Specifically, here are some of the standards that require inferential thinking for grade 5*:

RL.5.1. Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. [This standard also applies to grades 6-12.]

RL.5.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

RL.5.3. Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

RL.5.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

RL.5.5. Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

RL.5.6. Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

RL.5.9. Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

*NB: The corresponding standards for grades 6-12 are more sophisticated variations of these standards for grade 5 and require even higher levels of inferential thinking. 



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