8th Grade ELA Standards

The standards for English Language Arts fall into 5 strands: Reading Literature (RL), Reading Information (RI), Writing (W), Language (L), and Speaking and Listening (S&L). Within those strands, the following standards have been identified as "POWER" standards. That means that these standards are critical to success and may be emphasized more often in the classroom. 

Standard Identifier

Standard Highlights/ Italics indicate change from previous grade level


RI/ RL 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/RL 8.2

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.

RL 8.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.


RI/RL 8.3

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

RL 8.3: Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.


RI/RL 8.4

RI/RL 8.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.


RI/ RL 8.5

RI 8.5: Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.

RL 8.5: Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.


RI/ RL 8.6

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.

RL 8.6: Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.


RI 8.8

RI 8.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.


W 8.1

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  1. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

  2. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

  3. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

  4. Establish and maintain a formal style.

  5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


W 8.2

Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  1. Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

  2. Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

  3. Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

  4. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

  5. Establish and maintain a formal style.

  6. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.


W 8.10

W 8.5

W 8.10: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

W 8.5: With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.


W 8.7

W 8.8

8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

8.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.


L 8.1

L 8.2

L 8.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  1. Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.

  2. Form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.

  3. Form and use verbs in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood.

  4. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.

L 8.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  1. Use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break.

  2. Use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.

  3. Spell correctly.


L 8.4

L 8.5

L 4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 8 reading by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

L5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

  1. Interpret figures of speech (e.g. verbal irony, puns) in context.

  2. Use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words.

  3. Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute).


SL 8.1

SL 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.

  1. Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

  2. Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

  3. Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.

  4. Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.


SL 8.4/ SL 8.5

SL 4: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

SL 5: Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

(Click here to view all CCSS with highlighted vertical changes)