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2020 CAS - Reading, Writing, and Communicating Standards Summary of Changes


Colorado state law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards every six years with the first review to be completed by July 2018. Stronger alignment of learning expectations within and across grades was the primary focus of the review and revision process. This includes additions, deletions, revisions and reorganizations of the standards. Listed below is a summary of the substantive revisions of the Reading, Writing, and Communicating Standards. 

Notable Changes to All Content Area Standards:

The review committees made changes to the structure of the standards that apply to all content areas:

  • Changes to the title of the Prepared Graduate Competencies section of the standards document to Prepared Graduate Statements to reduce confusion with competency-based learning systems of instruction and assessment practices.
  • Changes to the title of the right side of the standards document from 21st Century Skills and Readiness Competencies to Academic Context and Connections. The sections within the Academic Context and Connections continue to focus on essential skills and relevant connections to the Grade Level Expectations.
  • Revisions to the preschool standards for all content areas contain revisions to align the expectations with Colorado’s Early Learning and Development Guidelines and the latest revision of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework.

Reading, Writing, and Communicating Revisions Applicable to All Grades:

  • Reduction of the Prepared Graduate Competencies from 22 to 10 while aligning existing Grade Level Expectations.  Redundancies across and between grade levels have been reduced.
  • The sections within the Academic Context and Connections changed to Colorado Essential Skills, Essential Questions and Essential Reasoning Skills to create a rich context for literacy learning and its application in other disciplines and authentic situations beyond the classroom.  The alignment of the right-hand side of the document illuminates considerations of essential skills, inquiry, and reasoning practices relevant to specific Prepared Graduate Competencies and Grade Level Expectations.
  • Reorganization of writing expectations to ensure consistent, complex, and varied writing experiences across all grade levels.
  • Standard 4 is now named Research Inquiry and Design. This revision allows for clearer expectations and student demonstration of research skills throughout grade levels. In addition, the revision reinforces expectations of student application of reasoning skills into relevant context within the reading, writing, speaking and listening, and research standards.
  • Clarification through parenthetical statements throughout the document to ensure that stakeholders understand them as possible content considerations, not requirements or limitations.

Revisions for Preschool through 5th grade:

  • Evidence Outcomes for spelling were added to provide a clearer progression of expected skill proficiency.
  • (For grades K-3 only) Evidence Outcomes in Standard 1: Oral Expression and Listening and in Standard 2: Reading for all Purposes marked with an asterisk (*) are the minimum skills competencies identified in the READ Act. There is a section titled “Minimum Skills Competencies” on the right-hand side of the standards document with an explanation of the asterisk (*).  

Revisions for 6th through 8th grade:                                                        

  • There are no revisions to the 6th through 8th grade standards beyond mentioned in the above section for all grades.

Revisions for High School (9th through 12th grade):

High school standards are banded into grades 9-10 and 11-12 to provide for greater local flexibility and control of curricular choices.

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