Standards, Curriculum and Instruction

The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards define expectations for the educational achievement of public school students across the state in grades K-12. The standards and benchmarks are important because they: 1) identify the knowledge and skills that all students must achieve by the end of a grade level or grade band; 2) help define the course credit requirements for graduation; and, 3) serve as a guide for the local adoption and design of curricula. Student mastery of the standards is measured through state and local assessments.

State standards are in place for English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and physical education. State standards also are available in the arts, or districts may choose to develop their own. Local standards must be developed by districts for health, world languages, and career and technical education.

Minnesota and the Common Core State Standards
In 2010, Minnesota adopted the Common Core English language arts standards in their entirety and added some supplementary content. Public schools in Minnesota are required to implement the 2010 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts no later than the 2012-2013 school year. 

Minnesota has not adopted the Common Core mathematics standards. The academic standards are revised according to a timetable specified in state statute (Minn. Stat. § 120B.021, Subd. 4). The 2007 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Mathematics were revised prior to the development of the Common Core mathematics standards, and legislative action would be needed in order for the state to adopt the Common Core mathematics standards before the next scheduled revision, in 2015.

Minnesota is not a member of either of the two national testing consortia related to the Common Core standards, and has instead developed its own state assessments aligned to the standards. View the Statewide Testing page, found under Related MDE Resources, to learn more about testing.

Read Frequently Asked Questions below for more information including how Minnesota’s standards are developed, how student achievement of the standards is measured, and the relationship of the standards to the Common Core.

Visit the K-12 Academic Standards page to view the academic standards in each subject area as well as related information.

New Social Studies Standards (2011)
After proceeding through the state’s formal administrative rulemaking process, Minnesota’s new social studies standards were officially adopted into rule on May 6, 2013, and became effective May 13, 2013. The 2011 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies and a Frequently Asked Questions document related to the standards are available in the Social Studies section of the K-12 Academic Standards page.


Early Learning Standards

A large and growing body of research supports the critical relationship between early childhood experiences and successful learning outcomes. Early learning standards express shared expectations for young children's learning and provide a common language for measuring progress.


English Learner Standards

The Minnesota Department of Education joined the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium in 2011.  Minnesota’s standards for English language development are the current standards developed by the WIDA Consortium. The WIDA ACCESS for ELLs® test will be administered to students who qualify for English learner services. The standards are grounded in scientifically based research and best practices in English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education.

These standards, along with their performance indicators and related framework, provide Minnesota schools with a national model representing social, instructional and academic language guidelines.