Common Core Standards for Language: FREE GRAMMAR DIAGNOSTIC TOOL!

LITERACY AND THE COMMON COREMany of my clients these days are writing/revising curriculum, and it occurred to me that they could use a Grammar Diagnostic Tool. It would be nice if all of our students arrived performing at grade-level when it comes to grammar, but that is simply not happening yet. The Common Core Standards for Language are rigorous (How is your 3rd-grader with producing simple, compound, and complex sentences? Can s/he pick an abstract noun out of a lineup?), and as a result, many students suffer from Grammar Gaps. But where are they, exactly, on the trajectory for the Language Standards?

I asked around but could not find an appropriate Common Core Grammar Diagnostic Tool. So I made my own.

This Tool targets grades 3-5, where the most fundamental skills are addressed. It includes a separate spreadsheet for each grade, listing the Language Standards that specifically deal with grammar (there are some for spelling), offering either sample assessment questions or suggestions about how to create those questions, and including resources for teaching or assessing these standards. Most of the resources are Web-based, but I’ve also referred to pages from Jeff Anderson’s MECHANICALLY INCLINED, my favorite book of all time for integrating grammar with writing instruction.

This Tool will enable you to create customized Grammar Pre-tests for your students. I recommend assessing students on standards two grades below where they should be, as well as the grade they are supposed to be on, so you can easily identify their needs.

Teachers: I suspect you will need to devote time to filling in Grammar Gaps in your first two units (or so), then you can spend the remaining four units addressing the grammar standards for your grade level.

Here’s a snippet of the 3rd-grade spreadsheet:

Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs,

adjectives, and adverbs in general and their

functions in particular sentences.

L.3.1a OPTIONS: 1) Matching with definitions. 2) Given a sentence with a HIGHLIGHTED word, tell what part of speech it is. 3) Label (diagram) sentences.
Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns. L.3.1b


Sample questions: 1) There are 25 childs/children in this class. 2) How many mans/men live in this town?
Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood). L.3.1c


See the “Abstract Nouns Quiz” here:
Form and use regular and irregular verbs. L.3.1d


Sample questions: 1) We begun/began to work on the test. 2) I have wrote/written a story. 3) They had went/gone to the library several times before. MECHANICALLY INCLINED by Jeff Anderson, page 174, for “25 Irregular Verbs to Know.”

Click on this Grammar Diagnostic Tool, Grades 3-5 to download the entire Tool, which is also available on the TLC “Grammar” page.

For additional useful tools like this one, please check out The Literacy Cookbook Website, The Literacy Cookbook, and my forthcoming book, Literacy and the Common Core: Recipes for Action, which will be out in early August (available for pre-order now!). I hope this is of use to y’all. If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement, please Email me at



About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Assessment(s), Curriculum, ELA Common Core Standards, Grammar, Resources, TLC Website Resources, Trajectory Analysis, Unit-planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Common Core Standards for Language: FREE GRAMMAR DIAGNOSTIC TOOL!

  1. Pingback: OUTLINING YOUR FIRST UNIT | The Literacy Cookbook blog

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