The CBAL™ English Language Arts (ELA) Competency Model and Provisional Learning Progressions

The Common Core State Standards offers a general roadmap of goals and sequences for the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. However, the Standards was not intended to be the sole source for guiding instruction, assessment and professional development. Rather, one would want to elaborate on the Standards with sound, empirically-based guidance from some 40 years of learning-sciences research. The goal of the CBAL™ ELA Competency Model and Provisional Learning Progressions is to provide such an elaboration, one that we think can offer new insights into how best to design assessment, instruction and professional development so that they have maximum positive impact.

The CBAL ELA Competency Model and Provisional Learning Progressions offers:

  1. A general framework that classifies literacy skills as reflecting three major modes of cognitive processing and five major modes of cognitive representation.
  2. A taxonomy of skill foci identifying specific groups of skills and related strategies that (a) draw consistently upon a specific type of cognitive skill, and (b) form the basis for particular types of literate activity systems.
  3. A series of learning progressions, coordinated across modes of cognitive processing, that represents hypotheses about how students progress towards high levels of skill from elementary school through college.

The CBAL ELA Competency Model and Provisional Learning Progressions is a work-in-progress subject to validation. We hope that it will stimulate discussion, encourage debate and promote empirical research about the best ways to bring the learning sciences to bear in assessment reform.

Read an executive summary.

View the complete the CBAL ELA Competency Model and Provisional Learning Progressions.

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ETS Research Forum: Paul Deane

ETS Research Form: Paul Deane video

Learn about the CBAL Language Arts learning progressions and their relationship to the Common Core State Standards (4:48).

The CBAL™ Research Program: Overview

The CBAL Research Program: Overview Video

Get an overview of the CBAL™ research program, including how the CBAL assessment prototypes are being used in the classroom (8:02).