Grade 12: Building Evidence-Based Arguments – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

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Reading Informational Text

RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

RI.11-12.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

RI.11-12.9Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.


W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.2 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.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)

W.11-12.5 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. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)

W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


This Grade 12 unit titled “Building Evidence-Based Arguments – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  from Odell Education is part of a developing core proficiencies program. The instructional focus of the unit is on analyzing and writing evidence-based arguments with specific attention to argumentative perspective, position claims, evidence, and reasoning.  Through instruction and practice, students learn to: think about a complex societal issue; read, research and discuss to better understand the issue and various perspectives; form a position of their own; and develop an argument in support of that position.  The summative assessment asks students to independently write an evidence-based argument.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. 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 necessary. The instructional time needed to complete this unit is unclear; teachers will need to create their own pacing guide. Before this unit is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the 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 assessments and/or rubric revision.


This exemplary unit makes reading text(s) closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. It routinely expects that students draw evidence from texts to produce clear and coherent writing that informs, explains, or makes an argument. The unit plan 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 with corresponding criteria checklists and/or scoring rubrics provide guidance for interpreting student performance.  Files are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials and find everything needed for instruction, including a variety of suggestions for implementation.  The materials have been intentionally designed for easy adaptation to new texts.