Curriculum & Instruction » ELA/Literature and Composition, Grades 9-12

ELA/Literature and Composition, Grades 9-12

For more information, visit the Georgia Standards website –

Because of the flexibility of English Language Arts course offerings at the high school level, the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) for grades 9 through 12 is organized into grade bands comprised of 9-10 and 11-12. The 9-12 Standards define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade band. As students progress towards the successful culmination of their high school careers, they will consolidate and internalize all of the skills instilled through the full progression of the GSE. High school students will employ strong, thorough, and explicit textual evidence in their literary analyses and technical research. They will understand the development of multiple ideas through details and structure and track the development of complex characters and advanced elements of plot such as frame narratives and parallel storylines. Student writing will reflect the ability to argue effectively, employing the structure, evidence, and rhetoric necessary in the composition of effective, persuasive texts. Students will be able to construct college-ready research papers of significant length in accordance with the guidelines of standard format styles such as APA and MLA. Students in high school will have built strong and varied vocabularies across multiple content areas, including technical subjects. They will skillfully employ rhetoric and figurative language, purposefully construct tone and mood, and identify lapses in reason or ambiguities in texts. Students will recognize nuances of meaning imparted by mode of presentation, whether it is live drama, spoken word, digital media, film, dance, or fine art. Confident familiarity with important foundational documents from American history and from the development of literature over time will accrue before the end of grade 12. Students will graduate with the fully developed ability to communicate in multiple modes of discourse demonstrating a strong command of the rules of Standard English. Text complexity levels are assessed based upon a variety of indicators. 

The 9-12 Standards are organized in the following Domains and Strands and include identical categories across grades.

Reading for Literature (RL)

Key Ideas and Details: RL1, RL2, RL3

Craft and Structure: RL4, RL5, RL6

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RL7, RL9

Range of Reading/Text Complexity: RL10

Reading for Information (RI)

Key Ideas and Details: RI1, RI2, RI3

Craft and Structure: RI4, RI5, RI6

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RI7, RI8, RI9

Range of Reading/Text Complexity: RI10


Writing (W)

Text Types and Purposes: W1, W2, W3

Production/Distribution: W4, W5, W6

Research/Present Knowledge: W7, W8, W9

Range of Writing: W10

Speaking and Listening (SL)

Comprehension and Collaboration: SL1, SL2, SL3

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: SL4, SL5, SL6


Language (L)

Conventions of Standard English: L1, L2

Knowledge of Language: L3

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: L4, L5, L6

The Standards by grade level and band provide useful specificity but allow schools and districts flexibility in course design. Teachers are free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards. (