Spotlight on Strategies

ACES for Students

Big Idea

Students are often expected to demonstrate their learning through a written response. On most state assessments, you may read one or two passages that relate to a prompt and create a written response to that prompt.

The text-based response requires students to use evidence from the passage to support their ideas. Responses are graded on a rubric that includes an "evidence and elaboration" score. It can be difficult for you to write beyond the basic answer, so the ACES strategy is an excellent way to teach you how to develop a solid response.


A = answer the question using a question stem
C = cite evidence from the text, using an evidence based term
E = expand, or explain how your evidence supports the answer
S = summarize

For now, we will focus on the ACE of ACES. As we master our skill, we'll add the final S.

Target Goals:
I can answer questions to show what I understand about the text. (3.RL.1, 3.RI.1)
I can use evidence from the text to support my answer. (3.RL.1, 3.RI.1)


1. Read the question for the text or passage.
2. Begin your response with the A, "answer the question." Remember, you must also include part of the question, or question stem.
3. The C stands for "cite evidence", or an example. You must also include an evidence based term.
4. The E stands for "explain, or expand" on your example. Consider how the evidence supports the answer. You may need to tap into your background knowledge to make this connection. It's the "how you know that evidence is what proves the answer."

Your responses will be graded as an 80, 90, or 100. Your response may be worth 80 points, where the A of ACE is valued at 80, the C is valued at 90, and a complete ACE response is 100.

Depending on where you might be, you may only begin by mastering one part of ACE at a time, or you may be required to include multiple examples. Ask your teacher if you aren't sure where you are in this learning process.

Choose a link below to access a 2nd, 4th, or 6th grade level article about Target changing their boys and girls bedroom brands.

Use the ACE strategy to develop a response to one of the questions below. Submit your response in Google Classroom as a Word document and on Padlet.

2nd Grade: Why did Target make the new brand?
4th Grade: What caused Guggemos to decide it was time to change?
6th Grade: Does Target think the new brand will be popular?

Click the Padlet link to share your ACE response!

Library Lion

View the online story use the ACE strategy to answer the question. "How did the people feel when the lion returned?" According to the story, how does everyone feel when the lion returns to the library? Use evidence from the story, including images.

Credits / Citations

3rd Grade Common Core Standards
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

Pencil & notebook image

Rogowsky, B. (2007). ACES writing strategy. Retrieved from

Common Core Standards

Evidence Based Terms examples, ACE anchor chart, and student sample page - created by Esperanza Lopez

"Stores Sell New Styles of Bedroom Things for Both Boys and Girls." Newsela. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.