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Common Core Fact of the Day: Standards v. Curriculum

• Kristy Campbell

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

About the author

Kristy Campbell @kristymcampbell

Kristy Campbell most recently served as the Deputy Communications Director for Media Affairs for the Romney-Ryan 2012 Presidential Campaign. Prior to joining the Romney Campaign, Kristy served as the National Communications Director of the American Conservative Union, America’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization and the host of CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference. In 2011, Kristy served as a Senior Transition Advisor to New Mexico Public Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera in Governor Susana Martinez’s Administration. Previously, Kristy served as the Communications Director for both the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future. Kristy also formerly served as Press Secretary to Florida Governor Jeb Bush during his second term and was the Communications Director for former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s 2010 gubernatorial bid in the Sunshine State.