New Jersey Department of Education

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English Language Arts

The New Jersey Student Learning Standards for English Language Arts (NJSLS-ELA) build on the best of existing standards and reflect the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in college, career, and life. They define general, cross-disciplinary literacy expectations that must be met for students to be prepared to enter college and workforce training programs ready to succeed. The K-12 grade-specific standards define end-of-year expectations and a cumulative progression designed to enable students to meet college and career readiness expectations no later than the end of high school.

Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards, retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades, and work steadily toward meeting the more general expectations described by the standards.

Students reading at a table with a teacher in a library

2016 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for
English Language Arts

The ELA Standards were revised in 2016, with the recommendations of teams of teachers, parents, administrators, supervisors and other stakeholders and reflect the strong beliefs that: 

  • Literature and informational (nonfiction) text are important for our students and should maintain their rightful place in our classrooms; 
  • Background knowledge and motivation are critical to the success of students when learning to read and when accessing complex text; 
  • Research by students provides the opportunity to learn more about a subject, but equally as important, provides students the opportunity to look beyond their research to questions left unanswered (new avenues for student research); 
  • Using evidence remains a critical skill, interspersed throughout the standards, allowing students to ground their thinking in the work of authors and experts in literature and in the content areas; 
  • Literacy must be recognized and guided in content areas so that students recognize the academic vocabulary, media representations, and power of language inherent in the work of scholars and experts; and 
  • The importance of foundational skills in the early grades, as students learn to read, cannot be overstated and calls for targeted, sustained intervention at any point of struggle for a student. 

The NJDOE recommends 90-minutes of uninterrupted literacy instruction for all students in grades K-5, and 80 minutes for grades 6 through 8. 

Contact Us

Office of Standards

standards@doe.nj.gov

The resources provided on this webpage are for informational purposes only. All resources must meet the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) accessibility guidelines. Currently, the Department aims to conform to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). However, the Department does not guarantee that linked external sites conform to Level AA of the WCAG 2.1. Neither the Department of Education nor its officers, employees or agents specifically endorse, recommend or favor these resources or the organizations that created them. Please note that the Department of Education has not reviewed or approved the materials related to the programs.

Page Last Updated: 01/11/2022

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