Minnesota State Language Arts Standards

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Ensuring that students receive the vital language arts skills needed to succeed in college and career, Minnesota combines the ELA Common Core along with its own unique features. Learn about Minnesota's language arts standards below.

What Are The Minnesota State Language Arts Standards?

Minnesota only uses the ELA standards of the Common Core. Combining its unique state standards with the Common Core, the state of Minnesota establishes consistent expectations and goals for its students as they progress in their studies. As with the other states, Minnesota approaches these standards uniquely. The standards don't mandate curriculum content, but merely outline skills that students should obtain through their studies. Lesson design is totally at the discretion of individual teachers and institutions.

The state's language arts standards, or ELA standards, focus on developing English literacy and communication skills. To develop well-rounded students, these standards encompass several subdisciplines that serve to expose students to different subjects while developing language arts skills such as reading and writing. The subjects covered include English, science, history/social studies, and technical subjects. As part of Minnesota's goal to create fully literate students, the standards address technology and media literacy in regards to communication.


The standards are provided for grades K-12 and divided into three main sections. These sections are then divided into strands that mark learning progressions necessary for college and career readiness. Below is a breakdown of these standards.

K-5 English Language Arts and History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subject Literacy Strands: writing; reading; speaking, viewing, listening and media literacy; and language

6-12 English Language Arts Strands: writing; reading; speaking, viewing, listening and media literacy; and language

6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Strands: reading and writing

You'll note that all of the K-5 strands are grouped together while the 6-12 strands are split into two categories. This is because during grades K-5, a single teacher is responsible for introducing students to these concepts and developing their literacy skills in these subjects. On the other hand, 6-12 standards are split because multiple teachers will specialize in the different subjects in order to give students deeper exposure to various kinds of informational text.


The standards focus on meeting benchmarks, or specific expectations, for each of these strands. These benchmarks are assigned individually to each grade in K-8 and then as combined units for grades 9-10 and 11-12 respectively. Thy indicate skill sets students should be achieving at each level in preparation for college and career readiness.

As grade levels increase the benchmarks mirror the complexity of the students' growing skills. For example, 9th graders are expected to make use of digital media in presentations in order to cite evidence, add intrigue to a project, and help the audience better understand the material.

College And Career Readiness

The standard benchmarks make sure that students' language arts skills are developing in a way that they'll be ready for college and career life. As described above, different grades or grade ranges are expected to master and develop certain skills as they progress. These skills (writing, reading, speaking, etc.) are honed in the various language arts subjects. All of these skills culminate in a student that is prepared for the future. Here are some of the qualities the standards aim to foster in students:

  • Independence: Students can draw upon knowledge and make educated reasoning, assessments, and conclusions without any prompting. Students demonstrate command of English and use resources to educate themselves and potentially others.
  • Knowledge: Students retain information from various subjects and can express their knowledge through speaking and writing.
  • Adaptive: Students can adapt to the needs of audience, subject, and purpose. They can fluidly change their writing and speaking styles, to address needs of the moment. Students must also be able to differentiate various kinds of information and evidence.
  • Comprehend and Critique: Students understand information and are engaged. However, they can also question reasoning and pose alternative ideas.
  • Use Evidence: Students must be able to effectively collect and utilize evidence in order to substantiate claims. They can also critique how others use evidence, or question the validity of one's evidence.
  • Technology and Media Literate: In an age of growing technology, students must be able to apply technology in their work and navigate online resources. Students must be able to interpret media communications as well, bearing in mind the limits of technology and perspectives.
  • Understand Perspectives: Students appreciate and understand the views and beliefs of various cultures and perspectives through listening and reading. They can also evaluate the various perspectives critically and draw knowledge from them.

Learn More

You can continue to research Minnesota's specific language arts standards via the state's education department website. As you delve further into the standards, take advantage of Study.com's comprehensive resources that will give you details on the various standards you'll encounter. Learn about how ELA standards give structure to curriculum and help prepare students for more difficult learning levels. Below is a small sampling of our courses:

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