Performance objectives for any class should be at the forefront of an instructor's mind as he develops a curriculum for a course. Standards are goals that you hope your students master by the time they leave your class. The Common Core State Standards, or CCSS, were implemented in 45 states in the 2012-2013 school year and they provide a clear map of what performance objectives educators should set for students at all grade levels. Reading is an essential component of these standards, and it is important for teachers to be knowledgeable of what is expected for students.

Key Ideas and Details

Key ideas in the CCSS 8th-grade reading standards deal with the overall text and its connection to the world. Students should be able to provide an objective summary of the text and analyze how a theme is developed throughout it. Analysis of the text for character action, plot advancement or real-world connections is another highlight of these standards. Students should be able to analyze a plot while citing textual evidence to support their claims.

Craft and Structure

The craft and structure standards deal with the actual writing style of an author. Using context clues, students should be able to determine the meaning of unknown words, including understanding connotation and denotation. Learners should also be able to compare and contrast the structure of two texts and critique the organization of a paragraph. They should also analyze the point of view of a writer to understand literary elements or conflicting ideas.

Knowledge and Ideas in Literature

The standards stress reading texts that are of adequate complexity for 8th-grade students. While reading literature such as novels or dramas, students are expected to examine differences in film or live production of stories in relation to the original text. Readers should also develop skills to analyze how modern works of fiction draw on myths, legends or religious works to renew themes or character types. These standards are centered around drawing connections between literary texts.

Knowledge and Ideas in Informational Texts

The standards assume a balance of both fiction and nonfiction texts in an 8th-grade language arts classroom. Students should evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various mediums -- print, digital or multimedia -- and their impact on the overall message. Readers should also assess the relevance and credibility of an author and understand that sources may be opinionated. At some point in the course, students should read two or more texts on the same topic and analyze the differences of opinion and fact.


To test whether a performance objective is well-written or attainable, use the acronym SMART. A standard should be Specific to clear up any doubt or misinterpretation. The objective must be Measurable by using an active verb that can be monitored and appraised. Eighth-grade reading students must be able to Achieve the performance objective. Expecting students to be able to do things that are above their ability or reading levels is not a valid aim. The goals set should be Relevant to the learner and their growth. All performance objectives should be Time bound, meaning they are set with an end in mind. In a classroom, the typical timeline to meet set goals is the end of the year or semester.

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