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The EdFly Blog

Common Core Fact of the Day: Standards v. Curriculum

  • College and Career Pathways

    College and Career Pathways

    Rigorous academic standards, such as the Common Core State Standards, will prepare students for college and careers. The Foundation supports policies that set high academic standards and provide rigorous preparatory courses and dual-enrollment options for students.

The number one question raised by parents and community members alike when it comes to Common Core is: What is the difference between standards and curriculum?

Standards are expectations. For instance, we expect students to know that 2+2=4, and why. Curriculum is the program created by local school districts to teach students to learn that 2+2 =4, and why.

Standards are statements. Curriculum includes many resources: activities, lessons, units, assessments, and can include publisher textbooks.

Standards define what is to be learned by the end of a school year. Curriculum is the detailed plan for day to day teaching.

In education terms, decisions about standards are made at the state level, defining for teachers, school leaders and parents what students are expected to know by the end of the year. Curriculum decisions, including which textbook and programs to use, are made by local districts. Instructional decisions regarding student progress throughout the year are made in the classroom.

Standards are the end. Curriculum is the means.

Want to learn more about Common Core State Standards? Visit the Foundation for Excellence in Education. But, don’t just take our word for it. Take a moment to read the actual standards at