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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Leveraging the vertical progressions in ELA: An introduction

By studying the progression of standards, educators can create a seamless flow of instruction from one grade to the next.

As a teacher, it can sometimes feel like you’re starting from scratch every fall. When learning goals don’t extend from one grade to the next, it can be challenging for teachers to support students in building on and deepening their skills and knowledge.

The standards provide a clear progression of learning goals that flow from one grade to the next.  Anchor standards act as a sort of umbrella, giving us a big picture view of what students need in order to be college and career ready; grade-level standards offer additional specificity, outlining the discrete knowledge and skills students need to know and be able to do by the end of each grade.  Vertical Progressions act as a bridge between the anchor and grade-level standards, showing us how a given standard evolves over time and extends previous learning.

Here's an activity you can use in school-wide planning meetings to zoom in on one standard and study the Vertical Progression across grades.

In this activity, teachers trace a standard from one grade to the next, identifying how expectations for students change over time and using those new learnings to revise lesson plans.  By studying the progression of standards, teachers are able to pinpoint grade-specific expectations and create a seamless flow of instruction from one grade to the next.