Topic or Focus:

Character Analysis


English language arts


High School

Key Standard(s): (from the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts)

  • RL.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • RL.9-10.3. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Text/Resources to be Used (Optional):

Any grade-level text


When students make connections to characters, many students connect only to the literal, superficial details about the character, and neglect to connect to implicit characteristics about the character. This is because they do not know how to analyze a character based on inferential clues.


Students will read a grade-level passage about a particular character. Then they will answer one of the following questions which target a specific aspect of the character:

  • "What does 's actions tell you about the type of character (he/she) is? Give specific text evidence to support your answer."
  • "In what ways does the author use 's effect on others to develop the character? Give specific text evidence to support your answer."
  • "What is 's motivation for doing ? Give specific text evidence to support your answer."
  • "How does the author use __'s speech to develop (him/her) as a character? Give specific text evidence to support your answer."

[Editor's Note: the assessment could be modified by asking students to first highlight the target information (e.g., the character's actions, the character's effect on others, etc.)]


  • One point for each targeted piece of information identified.
  • One point for correctly answering the question.
  • One point for identification and use of appropriate text evidence to answer the question.
[Editor's Note: Keeping the total score to a convenient number, such as 10 pts, makes quick determination of proficiency possible.]


This assessment will distinguish among the following:
  • Students who can correctly locate the specific type of information in a grade-level text.
  • Students who can correctly answer text-based questions based on character analysis, using a grade-level text.
  • Students who can substantiate their answers about character with appropriate textual evidence from a grade-level text.



Joe Wilk, English Teacher, Windham Regional Technical High School, Willimantic, CT
Editor: Kim M. Bennett, Consultant, Northside Consulting, Hartford, CT
Submitted 02/29/2012