The 2010 ELA Standards in Minnesota are based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts. The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS) is a collaborative project driven by states to define the k-12 knowledge and skills that all students need in order to be ready for college and careers. The “Common Core” Standards are research-based and reflect internationally benchmarked standards. Minnesota educators were heavily involved in the development of the Common Core State Standards, and used these standards as the basis for the 2010 Minnesota K-12 English Language Arts Standards and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.
The 2013 Omnibus E-12 Education Act clarifies the link between standards and credits required for graduation. The legislation defines “academic standard” as a “summary description of student learning in a required content area under section 120B.021 or elective content area under section 120B.022.” Students are required to complete a specified number of credits in each subject in order to satisfy all of the academic standards. In language arts, students must successfully complete “four credits of language arts sufficient to satisfy all of the academic standards in English language arts.” This requirement includes satisfactory completion of the benchmarks. Benchmarks are defined as “specific knowledge or skills that a student must master to complete part of an academic standard by the end of the grade level or grade band.”