English/Language Arts High School Learning Objectives

To become ready for college and career, high school students work independently and confidently to learn to evaluate intricate arguments and surmount the challenges posed by complex written materials.

Students expand their literary and cultural knowledge and better understand references and images by reading literature and literary nonfiction of increasing sophistication. They also develop the flexibility, concentration, and fluency to produce high-quality first drafts of writing under tight deadlines. They are able to revisit and make improvements to a piece of writing over multiple drafts if needed.

High school students master the essential “rules” of standard written and spoken English and resolve usage issues by consulting style and usage guides. By writing and participating in a variety of conversations, they assert and defend claims and show their knowledge of a subject by using appropriate examples and evidence.

Examples of Your Child’s Work at School:


  • Understand more from, and make fuller use of, written materials that include using a wider range of evidence to support analysis.
  • Make more connections about how complex ideas interact and develop within a book, essay, or article.
  • Evaluate arguments and specific claims; assess whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is sufficient, and detect inconsistencies and ambiguities when appropriate.
  • Analyze the meaning of foundational U.S. documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights).


  • Make an argument that is logical, well-reasoned, and supported by evidence.
  • Write a literary analysis, report, or summary that develops a central idea and a coherent focus, and is well-supported with relevant examples, facts, and details.
  • Conduct several research projects that address different aspects of the same topic by using more complex books, articles, and other sources.

Speaking and Listening

  • Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; and resolve contradictions when possible.
  • Share research, findings, and evidence clearly and concisely.
  • Make strategic use of digital media (animations, video, websites, podcasts) to enhance interest in, and understanding of, findings.


  • Determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases by using multiple strategies such as using context, Greek and Latin roots (bene as in benefactor or benevolent), patterns of words (conceive, conception, conceivable), and consulting specialized reference materials (dictionary, glossary, thesaurus).
  • Interpret figures of speech (hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the written materials.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).
Read the complete standards at www.iowacore.gov.