What are learning standards?

Learning standards describe what a student in a particular grade should know and be able to do. Although standards are often confused with curricula, it’s important to note the difference. Standards are goals for student understanding, while curricula are the paths to get there. It’s possible to meet standards using many different teaching approaches and types of educational resources. In Illinois, all students are expected to learn the same material and skills, but local educators make the decisions about how to help them do so.

Why do they matter?

Preparing students for college and career is first and foremost about ensuring that students are acquiring the knowledge and developing the skills that they need to succeed in today’s modern economy. More than ever, students need to be able to think critically, to be creative, to communicate their ideas, and to collaborate with their peers. They need to be well-versed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. Strong social-emotional skills, such as self-management and interpersonal skills, will prepare them for life’s challenges, and lessons in the social sciences and civics will ensure that they are ready for democratic citizenship and engagement in their communities.

What is Advance Illinois doing?



Find information and resources on the new Illinois Learning Standards on the Illinois State Board of Education website.

The Cognitive Science Behind the Common Core by the Center for American Progress provides a review of the research base for the standards.

Learn about the what and why of Common Core in this three-minute video by the Council of the Great City Schools.

Visit the Real Learning for Real Life website for resources on the new Illinois Learning Standards for parents and educators in English and Spanish.

Watch videos by noted experts in the Common Core State Standards section on the Advance Illinois YouTube channel.

Expect More Arizona has created a Parent Brochure and Grade by Grade Academic Sheets for grades K-8 and high school in English and Spanish.