Common Core State Standards in Colorado

Instructor: Fola Rae
Colorado has adopted the Common Core standards in an effort to prepare students for college or career paths after high school. Read on to learn more about the standards and to find helpful resources.

Colorado and the Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards are the result of a nationwide initiative to create uniform learning objectives for English language arts and mathematics. These standards consist of tasks or abilities that schools want students to be proficient in by the time they graduate from high school so that they are prepared to move on to college or to start working.

In Colorado, Common Core standards were integrated into the state's Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) starting in 2010. Since the Common Core standards have also been adopted by many other states, teachers in Colorado are able to work with teachers from all over the country in an effort to ensure their curricula will help students meet these educational goals.

Math Standards

The Common Core mathematics standards are designed to help students understand what steps need to be taken to solve math problems and to develop their ability to apply these math skills to real-life scenarios.

In Colorado, the math skills and abilities students should focus on have been organized into the following four main areas within the CAS mathematics standards:

  • Number Sense, Properties and Operations - Students learn about number properties and the different ways numbers can be represented. They also improve their ability to conduct basic arithmetic operations and work with square roots and exponents.
  • Patterns, Functions and Algebraic Structures - Instruction in this area shows students the connections between functions, algebraic expressions and their representations on a chart, table or graph.
  • Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability - Students learn about some of the ways data can be collected and described. They also explore how data can be used to draw inferences about the outcome of an event.
  • Shape, Dimension and Geometric Relationships - This area is concerned with making sure students understand basic shape properties and the steps involved in determining the measurements of two- and three-dimensional objects.

To help students master these concepts, teachers might place students in groups to complete projects and talk about what they learned. Math teachers are trying to move away from teaching methods that have students work independently in favor of methods that encourage engagement in classroom practice and discussion time.

English Language Arts/Literacy Standards

Common Core English language arts/literacy standards are designed to develop students' critical-thinking skills as well as their ability to extract information from a work of literature or nonfiction and use it to express themselves or develop an argument.

In Colorado, these ELA/literacy goals have been integrated into the CAS Reading, Writing and Communication standards. They cover these four main areas:

  • Oral Expression and Listening - Instruction in this area develops students' speaking and listening skills so they can adequately express themselves and improve their ability to learn.
  • Reading for All Purposes - Students learn how to interpret a variety of informational, literary and practical texts so they can become functional members of society.
  • Writing and Comprehension - This area ensures students can write persuasive, informative and argumentative texts, not to mention critique the effectiveness of their work and others'.
  • Research and Reasoning - Students learn how to conduct research, incorporate others' ideas into their work and evaluate the reasoning presented in an argument.

Teachers implementing these standards may ask students to talk about what they learned once they've completed a reading assignment or compare the viewpoints expressed in two different types of texts.

Common Core Resources

Teachers and parents looking for instructional resources or study aids aligned with these standards can take advantage of's Common Core resources. These courses are easy to use and convenient to access. They feature short video lessons designed to help 7th through 12th grade students meet ELA and math learning standards. Quizzes and exams are also included to give students the chance to review the information and gauge their understanding of it as they go along.

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