Standards-based education in Colorado begins with clear expectations that outline what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and content area. These expectations are outlined in the Colorado Academic Standards. The Colorado Academic Standards include 10 content areas for preschool through 12th grade (comprehensive health and physical education; dance; drama and theater arts; mathematics; music; reading, writing and communicating; science; social studies; visual arts; and world languages) and incorporate the Common Core State Standards in reading, writing and communicating and mathematics.
The updated standards are constructed backwards, starting with the competencies of prepared high school graduates to create learning expectations for what students should understand, know and be able to do at each grade level and content area. They provide clear understanding of the concepts and skills students need to master to help ensure they are successful in college, careers and life.
The state law that initiated the development of the Colorado Academic Standards (SB 08-212, Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K)) requires the review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards by July 2018 and every six years thereafter. The Colorado Department of Education is currently developing a strategic plan to guide implementation of this provision of CAP4K along with other major plans and implementation efforts underway (e.g. ESSA state plan, graduation guidelines, adjustments to the state assessment system) in order to ensure that all of the connections among the work are coherently addressed. The department is actively seeking input from all interested parties to inform its planning process.