Grade 3: Literacy – Investigating Sharks


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Reading for Information

RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.


This Grade 3 assessment titled “Literacy—Investigating Sharks” cited on is intended to be completed in 3 to 5 ELA/Literacy sessions. The first two days of the performance task target how to support an opinion with facts.  Because compare-contrast and making inferences are precursor skills needed for this assessment, the teacher and students also read and discuss several short texts together. As part of the assessment, the teacher completes a shared reading and discusses tier 3 as well as domain specific words.  Students then begin the task of writing an opinion on an informational text reading, using reasons and facts from the text to support their opinions.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that this assessment should only be used as a stand-alone task if students have already been introduced to the skills and understandings needed to independently write an opinion based on an informational text reading, using reasons and facts to support their opinions.  If students have not yet acquired these skills and understandings, the full unit can be accessed at  Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively.


This performance task is an excellent example of an assessment that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the targeted standards. Each step of the task is purposefully scaffolded as it assesses student proficiency using methods that are unbiased and accessible to all students.  Common Core-aligned rubrics as well as annotated student work samples are included.