Content Standards

What are content standards? In education, content standards are what a student is expected to know at a certain time. For example, by the end of first grade, in mathematics, each student is expected to have learned how to “count, read, and write whole numbers to 100.”

You may have seen the books along the lines of, “What every first grade should know”—those would be the content standards for first grade (if written accurately).

In the United States, each state is responsible for writing its own content standards. Even though these are written at the state level, the standards are basically the same across the United States. You can google your state name and the words “content standards,” and you will see the official state webpage listing of the standards for your state. I have attached a link for the content standards for the state of California as a guideline for you to review.

Here is an example of the reading standards for phonemic awareness and decoding and word recognition for the first grade:

Phonemic Awareness

1.4 Distinguish initial, medial, and final sounds in single-syllable words.

1.5 Distinguish long-and short-vowel sounds in orally stated single-syllable words [e.g., bit/bite].

1.6 Create and state a series of rhyming words, including consonant blends.

1.7 Add, delete, or change target sounds to change words [e.g., change cow to how; pan to an].

1.8 Blend two to four phonemes into recognizable words [e.g., /c/ a/ t/ = cat; /f/ l/ a/ t/ = flat].

1.9 Segment single-syllable words into their components [e.g., /c/ a/ t/ = cat; /s/ p/ l/ a/ t/ = splat; /r/ i/ ch/ = rich].

Decoding and Word Recognition

1.10 Generate the sounds from all the letters and letter patterns, including consonant blends and long- and short-vowel patterns (i.e., phonograms), and blend those sounds into recognizable words.

1.11 Read common, irregular sight words [e.g., the, have, said, come, give, of].

1.12 Use knowledge of vowel digraphs and r- controlled letter-sound associations to read words.

1.13 Read compound words and contractions.

1.14 Read inflectional forms [e.g., -s, -ed, -ing] and root words [e.g., look, looked, looking].

1.15 Read common word families [e.g., -ite, -ate].

1.16 Read aloud with fluency in a manner that sounds like natural speech.

Not all students progress at the same rate. As such, teachers and parents can use the content standards to guide their students’ progress. When I write goals for my students in special education, I always use the content standards as my guide. They are systematic and they are progressive. If a child is in second grade, but reading at the beginning first grade level, then you are going to need to teach the child the concepts at the first grade level before he or she will be able to master the second grade reading standards. Also, it enables a teacher to customize a student’s education. Each subject has its own set of standards. Additionally, content standards can be used as a guide if your child is functioning at a higher level.

I hope you find this a helpful explanation of content standards. Please contact me with any further questions.

See the link for the state of California’s content standards. I like to open the “word version” of the standards. I find it the easiest to read. I also keep a printed copy of the standards in a binder for easy access as well.

California Content Standards