What are academic content standards?

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Standards-based education guides the content that students should master in each grade and shapes curriculum development at every grade level. Teachers and local school officials, in collaboration with families and community partners, use these standards to help students achieve academic success. Although the standards are intended to provide objectives for students and teachers, decisions about classroom instruction are generally made at the local level by the teacher, local administrator, and/or the locally-elected school board.

California’s standards have been hailed for their rigor, setting high expectations for all students. Starting in 1997, California has adopted content standards in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, history–social science, science, visual and performing arts, health, world language, physical education, school library standards, and career technical education. California also has standards in English language development (ELD), which outline the stages of English proficiency English learners progress through as they become proficient in the English language. All of the content standards are posted in PDF and Word format on the CDE Content Standards web page.

All of California’s content standards provide detailed expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The ultimate goal of the education system in California is to ensure that all students have access to high-quality curriculum and instruction in order that they may meet or exceed the knowledge and skills outlined in the State’s academic content standards.