Grade 9: Building Evidence-Based Arguments – “What is the virtue of a proportional response?”


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Reading Informational Text

RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).

RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.

RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.


W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

 W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


This Grade 9 unit titled “Building Evidence-Based Arguments – “What is the virtue of a proportional response?” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program. The instructional focus of this unit is on analyzing and writing evidence-based arguments with specific attention to argumentative perspective, position, claims, evidence and reasoning. Throughout unit activities, students engage with a variety of complex informational texts from various perspectives to develop an understanding of domestic terrorism and form a position on an appropriate national response. The culminating task asks students to develop an argumentative essay that explains and supports their position, acknowledges the perspectives and positions of others, and uses evidence gleaned through close reading and analysis to support their claims.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively, especially in regard to pacing of instruction. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. The articles included in the text sets are somewhat dated for this timely topic and could be updated. If this unit is used in a social studies classroom, standards for Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards should be substituted for the standards listed above. It is also suggested that social studies teachers add standards from the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks. For direct links to these sources see below.

Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards

CT Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks


The design of this unit is exemplary. In addition to reading and writing, it incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. Instruction in this unit links to a sequence of text sets. Each text set provides multiple entry points into the issue, giving teachers and students flexibility with respect to the time and depth with which they wish to explore the topic. The unit includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time; it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Varied modes of assessment provide guidance for interpreting student performance.