The essential skills are not "locked in" by grade level since new learning, regardless of age/grade often starts at a novice/beginner level. The guiding principles for each of the four key categories are a listing of the skills Colorado graduates should demonstrate (Entrepreneurial, Personal, Civic/Interpersonal, Professional).
As students progress throughout their pre-K-12 education experience, they acquire these skills through a developmental approach. This approach was derived from the model of novice-to-expert skill acquisition (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1980, 2005). "The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition describes changes in skill performance as moving from reliance on rules, to analysis, toward intuition based on past experience." (Maine Department of Education (n.d.), p.iii). [i]The Dreyfus model delineates five stages of development: Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient and Expert.
"This model reflects changes over years of active engagement and learning by doing including learning from failure".[i] (Maine Department of Education (n.d.), p.iii). For the pre-K-12 purpose of this guidance document, the developmental stages have been modified using the four milestones derived from the Maine Guiding Principles document of Novice, Advanced Beginner, Strategic Learner, and Emerging Expert in recognition of the continued development that occurs beyond the pre-K–12 system and learners' increased growth and learning throughout adulthood.
[i] Maine Department of Education. (n.d.) Understanding Maine's Guiding Principles report. Retrieved from http://www.maine.gov/doe/proficiency/standards/guiding-principles.html