Common Core Standards in Delaware

Instructor: Bill Sands
Like many other states, Delaware has fully adopted and integrated Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into its curricula. Learn more about these standards and how they are used in Delaware.

Delaware's Common Core Standards

Delaware is one of more than 40 states that has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for its education system. The state first adopted CCSS in 2010, before fully implementing the standards in the 2012-2013 school year.

The use of these nationwide standards is voluntary, and individual states have the power to make modifications and adapt the standards as they see fit. Two particular subject areas form the basis of Common Core Standards: English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Delaware also uses the standards to guide instruction in other subjects, including science, social studies, and the visual and performing arts.

English Language Arts

ELA standards in Delaware focus on developing students' skills in five key areas: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, Language, Media & Technology. The primary focus of each area is detailed below:

  • Reading: This domain focuses on developing students' reading comprehension skills by exposing them to a wide range of printed material, including classic literature, founding U.S. documents, American literature, and Shakespeare. Students are expected to begin with simple reading tasks and then advance to more difficult texts.
  • Writing: In conjunction with reading, students also need to learn essential writing skills so that they may express thoughts and opinions. Reasoning, use of evidence, and research are stressed as students progress through the curriculum, with opinion writing being taught at all grades.
  • Speaking & Listening: This communication-based domain teaches students how to evaluate and analyze information expressed through different types of media. Students will also develop their speaking skills in a variety of settings, from one-on-one dialogues to discussions with the entire class.
  • Language: A vital skill for the three previously mentioned domains, the Language domain focuses on students' understanding of how language works. The goal of this domain is also to improve their vocabulary.
  • Media & Technology: In response to the prevalence of technology in modern society, classrooms incorporating CCSS will work on critical analysis and production skills as they relate to media and technology as a whole.


Math is considered an essential skill for students to acquire, and much like ELA, students work with progressively complex ideas as they mature. Lesson plans often return to the same topic (such as geometry or algebra) and use previously-taught concepts to introduce more advanced formulas and equations once students are able to understand them. Examples of concepts by grade include:

  • Kindergarten-2nd Grade: Students learn how to count and write numbers up to 20 before exploring the concepts of addition and subtraction. They develop an understanding of place value while also learning how to count money, tell time, and compare or measure shapes.
  • 3rd-5th Grade: At this stage, students learn how to multiply, divide, and find the area or volume of geometric shapes. They also use their knowledge of place value to perform arithmetic operations with 2- and 3-digit whole numbers and work with fractions and decimals.
  • 6th and 7th Grade: Students learn to solve arithmetic problems in which they multiply or divide one fraction by another. They are also introduced to rates, ratios, and proportional relationships as well as algebraic expressions and basic statistics.
  • 8th Grade: In this grade, students graph linear functions and explore their real-world applications. They also explore such concepts as congruence and the Pythagorean Theorem.
  • High School: Students develop their ability to work with polynomials and rational expressions. They also apply their knowledge of function operations to the study of trigonometry, geometry, and mathematical modeling. They learn how to interpret a variety of quantitative and categorical data as well.

Smarter Balanced Assessments

Delaware is one of several states that has also implemented the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. These exams are aligned with the Common Core Standards and assess students' knowledge of English language arts and mathematics. Students first take these exams in grade 3, continue testing through 8th grade, and then take them once more in the 11th grade to ensure progress and development.

If you have a student getting ready to take these tests, check out these Smarter Balanced Assessments Study Guides to explore test content or help your student brush up on areas he or she is struggling with in class.

Additional Resources

To learn more about CCSS, check out these Common Core State Standards courses, which include instruction aligned with ELA and math standards for middle and high school. These self-paced video lessons might prove useful for supplementing classroom instruction or helping your student complete homework assignments.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.