Wisconsin 's Model Academic Standards for English Language Arts


These content and performance standards represent the best thinking of language educators and interested members of the public. They were drawn from two years of work in Wisconsin's Standards Development projects, from the Modern Red Schoolhouse standards, from the standards of other states, such as Virginia and Colorado, from the work of the New Standards Project, and from the National Standards for the English Language Arts.

Language Arts: A Developmental Subject

Much of what we expect students to be able to do at the end of their formal education is introduced as early as kindergarten. Students listen, read, speak, write, use language, and enjoy literature at all levels and grades. The difficulty of the materials, the complexity of what students do with them, and the sophistication of their skills change as they grow older. For economy of space, knowledge and skills introduced as standards at the lower levels are not repeated as standards at the upper levels. In practice, teachers build on what students have already achieved at one level to help them meet higher standards at the next level.

Great Authors and Literary Works

Human beings have produced a rich treasury of great writing. The language arts standards, like those of most states, do not specify a list of authors or works that must be read by all students. Selection of authors and works is left to language arts specialists who create the curriculum in each school district. What is most important is that students learn to read well and read enough to meet their various needs and interests, that they have opportunities to read quality literature, and that they love to read. Exactly which works are read may vary from community to community. Selected resources are listed after the reading/literature standard.


Finally, although the domain of language arts is divided into six sets of standards for focus and clarity, these divisions, in the classroom and in practical use of the language, are artificial. To use media, one must read or listen. To write, one must acquire knowledge by reading, listening, and viewing. To do research, one must read. To communicate in any form, one must know how the language works. Most performance standards expect students to achieve a level of proficiency in more than one content standard. Moreover, since all communication has content, the language arts standards are closely connected to Wisconsin Academic Standards in other subjects.

English Language Arts Content & Performance Standards

Content Standard Performance Standard
Standard A--Reading/Literature Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Standard B--Writing Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Standard C--Oral Language Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Standard D--Language Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Standard E--Media and Technology Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Standard F--Research and Inquiry Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
For questions about this information, contact Emilie Amundson (608) 267-3726