State Standards

Common Core Graphic

Cleveland County Schools and districts throughout the state are undergoing curriculum changes this year due to North Carolina's adoption of the new Common Core State Standards and the N.C. Essential Standards.

Teachers are preparing new lessons and teaching strategies to match new teaching and learning standards in every grade and every subject this year. This is the first time that North Carolina has implemented a completely revised Standard Course of Study in all areas and grades at once.

These new standards describe what students are supposed to know from kindergarten through 12th grade. They also provide parents with a clear and common understanding of what their child is expected to learn and know.

Why the change?

North Carolina is among 48 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in K-12 Mathematics and English Language Arts. The CCSS resulted from collaboration by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to provide consistent expectations for student learning in these core subjects across the nation. These standards are based on research, comparisons with other countries and input from educators, policymakers and business leaders. The CCSS provide academic rigor so that students graduate prepared to go to college or enter the workplace.

What to Expect

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) encourage students to make better connections between topics, to see the relevancy of what they are learning and to go more in-depth at each grade level. There are goals designed to help students all along the way prepare for career and college readiness.

In English language arts, students and parents will notice three major shifts in what teachers emphasize:

  • Vocabulary - how to properly use words in different contexts and uses.
  • Use of Evidence - students will be asked to explain and to use examples to support their ideas.
  • Information Texts - All types of reading material that adults use in their day-to-day lives and in workplaces - everything from newspapers to computer manuals - will be used.

Click here for more on the Key Points of the Common Core/English language arts.

In mathematics, the major shift is in the depth of the new curriculum. Students will continue to learn and master the same core concepts that are so critical in mathematics, but lessons and studies will be organized to allow students to learn concepts at a greater level of understanding and depth. The new mathematics curriculum features:

  • Better conceptual understanding.
  • Mastery of procedural skills.
  • Application to the real world.

Click here for more information on the Key Points of the Common Core/Mathematics.

The full Common Core standards can be viewed at

NC Essential Standards

North Carolina teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade will follow Common Core state standards in mathematics and language arts. In other subjects, the state's own revised Essential Standards will be their guide.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction developed the N.C. Essential Standards for Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Arts Education, Healthful Living and Career and Technical Education (CTE). These new Essential Standards align with the national Common Core State Standards.

All of the new standards are available online at the K-12 Curriculum and Instruction/NC Standard Course of Study .

More information on the Common Core is available at

More for CORE