Grade 8: Making Evidence-Based Claims – Truth, Chisholm, Williams


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Reading Informational Text

RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.


W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.8.9(b) Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction

Speaking & Listening

SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


This Grade 8 unit titled “Making Evidence-Based Claims: Truth, Chisholm, Williams” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program that is intended to be completed in three weeks of direct ELA/Literacy instruction. This unit  incorporates social studies key ideas and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections. The unit’s primary instructional focus is on making evidence-based claims as readers and writers; it is explicitly and intentionally framed as skills-based instruction. Students first learn the importance and elements of making evidence-based claims through close readings of text. Instruction culminates with students independently writing evidence-based claims that are clear, compelling, and well-supported by textual evidence.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that additional time may be needed to address instruction in the control of language and grammar since this is one of four components that is evaluated on the Evidence-Based Writing Rubric used in the assessments. Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. The texts included in the unit connect with topics and events typically addressed in social studies. Before this unit is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA CCSS listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this unit, additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards, and possible assessment and/or rubric revision.


This exemplary unit includes a clear and explicit purpose for daily instruction which integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students learn to apply and synthesize the core proficiency of making evidence-based claims.  It draws on several strategies for teaching academic and disciplinary vocabulary in context throughout instruction. The unit contains excellent templates for instruction, assessment guidelines, and aligned CCSS rubrics for interpreting student performance.