English Language Arts Education

2021 English Language Arts Standards

Nebraska’s College and Career Ready Standards for English Language Arts

Adopted by the State Board of Education on September 2, 2021

2021 ELA Standards (vertical) (pdf)

Key Instructional Shifts for Quality Implementation CCR Standards

Academic standards provide a framework for ensuring quality teaching and learning. Recent revisions and updates to Nebraska content standards, per Nebraska Revised Statute 79-760.01, require a number of key shifts that are essential to fulfill the vision of Nebraska’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. These shifts require thoughtful changes in instruction. Practitioners must develop a deep understanding of the CCR standards as well as their implications for teaching and learning. By doing so, they equip students with the body of knowledge and skills that prepares them for success in college, career, and civic life. This document provides an overview of the key instructional shifts in the subject areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

2021 Key Instructional Shifts for ELA (pdf)

2021 ELA Standards Rollout Resources

An Overview of ELA Standards:

Standards establish what students should know and be able to do by the end of a specified grade level. English Language Arts (ELA) standards are created and revised by stakeholders across the state, and are adopted by the Nebraska State Board of Education at the end of a 7-year cycle. The standards challenge students to develop the essential literacy skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life. They cover a broad array of core knowledge and  proficiencies in areas such as reading, writing, and listening and speaking.

Nebraska’s standards are organized with three levels of specificity:

  • K-12 Comprehensive Statements – Identify broad, general statements that are not grade-level specific and cover big ides in English Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Multiple Literacies.)
  • Grade-Level Expectations – Statements that identify what students should know and be able to do by the end of each identified grade/band. These are organized into categories, but not course specific.
  • Curricular Indicators – Specific information to distinguish expectations between grade levels. They are no longer simply examples, but are considered an integral part of the standard to be taught.

Nebraska has historically been a local control state with no mandated curriculum or textbooks. The standards are not meant to be a curriculum. Rather, districts are expected to align their local curriculum to the Nebraska Standards to add more specificity. Nebraska’s draft standards are written using verbiage that describes the knowledge and skills students are expected to master at the various grade levels rather than using performance expectation language. Districts also have the choice to adopt their own standards only if they are more rigorous than the state standards.

Overview of ELA Revision Process

ELA Rollout Session 1: The Standards in Instruction

Presented by Marissa Payzant (ELA Specialist), Abby Burke (Reading Specialist), Angela Dubuc (Early Literacy Education Specialist)

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Becky Michael

English Language Arts Specialist


Updated October 18, 2022 10:14am