Instructionally, moot court activities can provide students with a number of rich learning opportunities. When students participate in moot courts, they learn how to work together to analyze complex text, synthesize facts, and formulate arguments. Students must listen and respond to their peers as they take on the roles of petitioners, respondents and justices. These simulations of judicial processes prepare students for civic life and build understanding of important disciplinary knowledge. 

The Common Core State Standards were created to provide a clear articulation of the knowledge and skills that all American students need for success in college and careers. Teachers of all subjects—including social studies, government, and history—are expected to help students meet the Core’s high standards, and Street Law resources such as moot court activities can play a valuable role in this process. Moot court activities specifically provide an authentic platform from which teachers can design ways for students to demonstrate proficiency related to a number of Common Core English Language Arts standards.

The following 11th and 12th grade English Language Arts Common Core standards align with moot court activities:

(Note: While the standards mentioned are 11th and 12th grade standards, the same 9th and 10th grade standards would align with moot court activities if used at that grade level.)


Speaking and Listening

  • Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1a)

  • Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1b)

  • Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1c)

  • Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1d)

  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4)

Reading: Informational Text

If students use case summaries (e.g., case brief, opinion summary, majority opinion, dissenting opinion) to prepare for a moot court activity, students could demonstrate proficiency in the following standards:

  • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. (CCSS ELA Literacy RI Standard 11-12.1)

  • Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text. (CCSS ELA Literacy RI Standard 11-12.2)

  • Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text. (CCSS ELA Literacy RI Standard 11-12.3)

  • Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses). (CCSS ELA Literacy RI Standard 11-12.8)

History/Social Sciences

  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1)

  • Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2)

  • Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3)

Writing

If students write summaries or reflections of their moot court experience, students could demonstrate proficiency in the following standard:

  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1)