California Standards

California State Standards

The California State Standards grew out from the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a national initiative led by states to establish a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English Language Arts and Mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.

What are content standards?

Content standards help define what educators will teach students in each grade level and subject area. They are a road map for educators and parents to ensure that what students learn is consistent across schools and school districts.

Content standards are the "what" students will learn. School districts, schools and teachers must then work together to determine "how" this information is delivered to students. One of the roles of the MVWSD Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department is to facilitate this process and ensure that students have access to quality standards-based instruction.

History of California's Content Standards

California implemented statewide educational standards in the late 1990s, and has annually assessed students on how well they have learned these standards since 2001. In 2010, California adopted a set of standards, the Common Core State Standards for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. History/social science, science, health, art, visual and performing arts, world language and physical education standards continue to be those developed specifically by California.

What are the California State Standards?

The California State Standards are a set of common educational standards in English language arts and math that have been adopted by almost all of the states in the nation. Having the same standards helps to ensure all students receive a quality education, even if they change schools or move to a different state.

The effort to create a set of common standards was led by educators and state leaders who wanted to promote consistency among the nation's public schools. Teachers, parents, school administrators, state departments of education, assessment developers, scholars, students, and community members provided input into the development of the CCSS.

The standards were written using a combination of the best and highest state standards already in existence throughout the country, research around effective instruction, and are internationally benchmarked, and aligned with college and work expectations. To learn more about the CCSS, visit

What do standards mean for my child?

We have always aligned curriculum, instruction and assessment to the content standards. The new standards expect students to have deeper understanding of concepts and be able to use knowledge and skills to solve real world problems and explain their thinking both orally and in writing. These are critical skills for success in college and career.

A behind-the-wheel driver's test requires an individual to demonstrate that he or she has moved beyond simply memorizing the rules of the road to being able to apply knowledge to real-life experiences. In the same way, the standards will require students to demonstrate that they can independently apply multiple knowledge areas to solve complex problems.

Great teachers are, and have always been, at the heart of great education, and standards don't change that fact, but they will be used by educators in MVWSD to improve the way we help every child achieve success.

How will my child be assessed on standards?

Students in grades 3-8 participate in state assessments that measure mastery of grade level standards each Spring. These tests, developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)  are computer adaptive and provide a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their understanding of subject matter. In addition to state assessments, the District uses a variety of assessments for students in all grades to monitor progress throughout the year. If you are interested in seeing what state assessments look like please visit: The Smarter Balanced Sample Items.

Where can I go to find more information?

To learn more about California's new content standards, please visit

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