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Colorado Academic Standards Fact Sheets and FAQs

Fact Sheets

  • 2020 Colorado Academic Standards (PDF)
    This fact sheet explains the Colorado Academic Standards development process as well as a high-level look at the purpose of each content area. 
  • Computer Science Grant Programs (PDF)
    This fact sheet explains all of the grants available to train educators on computer science and to expand computer science programming for Colorado students.

Frequently Asked Questions

The frequently asked questions are grouped into categories for easier navigation. This section continues to be updated. Please check back often for additional information!

Colorado Academic Standards Overview

What are educational standards?

Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be on course toward college or career readiness by providing clear goals for student learning at each grade level. Standards establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Instead, schools and teachers decide how best to help students reach the standards. Put another way, standards are not a curriculum (lesson plans); it’s up to school districts to design curricula that aligns to the standards.

What are the Colorado Academic Standards?

The Colorado Academic Standards are the expectations of what students need to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. They also stand as the values and content organizers of what Colorado sees as the future skills and essential knowledge for our next generation to be more successful. All Colorado districts are required to adopt local standards that meet or exceed the Colorado Academic Standards. The Colorado Academic Standards are also the basis of the annual state assessment.

What content areas are included in the Colorado Academic Standards?

Colorado has academic standards in eight content areas for preschool through 12th grade: 

  • Arts (Includes: Drama/Theater Arts, Music, Dance, Visual Arts)
  • Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Reading, Writing, Communicating
  • Science
  • Social Studies (includes: Personal Financial Literacy)
  • World Languages

In addition, the state has developed Extended Evidence Outcomes aligned to the standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Colorado also adopted Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) standards to support English language learners.

Assessments Aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards

How do we know if students are mastering the standards? 

Meaningful and relevant assessments work hand in hand with rigorous academic standards. State tests, known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), measure students' mastery of the standards and the complex thinking and other critical skills students need to be successful in school and in life. The data from assessments is critical in determining if educational goals are being met and if students are on track to graduate prepared for college and career. 

What tests do students take to measure their progress in mastering the Colorado Academic Standards? 

CMAS is the state’s common measurement of students’ progress at the end of the school year in English language arts, math and science. 

  • Students in grades three through eight take the CMAS tests in math and English language arts.
  • Students in fifth, eighth and 11th grades take the CMAS science assessment.

Visit the Assessment Fact Sheet and FAQ webpage for more information.


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