Common Core State Standards in Wisconsin

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Wisconsin uses Common Core State Standards in math, English language arts, and literacy. Read on to learn how these standards are structured and what they mean for student learning from kindergarten through high school.

Overview of Common Core State Standards in Wisconsin

Wisconsin adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, joining dozens of other states in aiming to ensure that all high school graduates are properly prepared for post-secondary education and careers. To reach that goal, the standards outline internationally benchmarked skills and knowledge students should master at each grade level; each school district then uses the standards as a guide to developing a curriculum. These standards focus on English language arts and literacy, and math, with the former applying not only to English classes, but also emphasizing literacy skills as critical in the learning of other subjects, such as science, social studies and technology.

Common Core ELA and Literacy Standards

These standards are arranged into four overarching categories: reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening. Within each of these categories, anchor standards, outlined below, define overall goals and apply to all grades and subjects.

Category Anchor Standards
Reading Read a range of age-appropriate informational and literary texts and be able to identify meaning, story development, make accurate evidence-based conclusions, analyze writing structure and understand the role of the author's point of view
Writing Write well-structured, researched and accurate narratives, informational pieces and arguments that exhibit proper reasoning and evidence, and are audience-appropriate; publish written works using appropriate technology; conduct research utilizing a variety of accurate sources
Language Demonstrate mastery of grammar and language usage verbally and in writing, continually increase vocabulary, understand vocabulary by analyzing context
Speaking and Listening Converse and collaborate effectively with others, make presentations that are properly supported and audience-appropriate, understand information that is presented by others and evaluate the effectiveness of the delivery

The standards are then broken into three sections: an ELA section for grades 6 - 12, a literacy for other subjects section for grades 6 - 12 (which includes only reading and writing standards), and a comprehensive ELA and literacy section for grades K - 5. Within each of these, individual standards are defined by grade for grades K - 8 and by two-year intervals (grades 9 and 10, and grades 11 and 12) for high school students. For grade-specific ELA and literacy standards, see the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's website (

Common Core Math Standards

Common Core math standards are clustered into different content areas, or domains, for elementary, middle and high school. For grades K - 8, there are specific standards within those domains for each grade. For high school, the standards are grouped by subject matter for all grades, 9 - 12.

Grade Range Content Focus
Elementary School Thinking algebraically, conducting operations with base ten and fractional numbers, understanding cardinality, compiling and using data, understanding measurement units and operations, and understanding basic geometric principles and functions
Middle School Understanding the number system; using functions and relationship modeling; solving problems with equations, expressions, geometry, proportional relationships and ratios; understanding the foundations of statistics
High School Algebra: interpreting and solving problems with expressions; operating with polynomials; creating numbers, relationships, and systems of equations; solving one-variable problems
Number and Quantity: mastering number and quantity with rational and irrational numbers; using quantitative reasoning; understanding complex number operations, complex polynomials, and the complex plane; using vector and matrix models and operations
Functions: notating, analyzing and modeling functions; solving problems using models, understanding the unit circle and trigonometry
Statistics: making inferences, analyzing data, using probability
Modeling: constructing effective models in all math content areas
Geometry: constructing theorems, understanding congruence, solving geometric-based problems and equations, modeling using geometry

The standards also dictate mathematical practice skills that students should master, with increasing difficulty, throughout their K - 12 math classes. These mathematical practice standards, therefore, must be integrated into all math instruction at all grade levels. They are: problem solving, reasoning, using mathematical arguments, using models, clearly communicating, using patterns and structure, utilizing appropriate mathematical tools, and understanding repeated reasoning.

Teacher Resources for Implementing Common Core Standards

For teachers seeking ideas and resources to help them develop instructional plans that align with Common Core State Standards, offers dozens of online courses that may be used for reference or as supplemental lessons. Common Core ELA Resources

Grade Level Courses
K - 5 English Language Arts for Kids
6 - 8 Grade 7: Speaking & Listening, Grade 7: Writing, Grade 7: Language, Grade 7: Literature
Grade 8: Literature, Grade 8: Writing, Grade 8 Language
9 - 12 Grades 9-10: Literature, Grades 9-10: Writing, Grades 9-10 Language, Grades 9-10: Informational Text, Grades 9-10: Speaking and Listening
Grades 11-12: Language, Grades 11-12: Writing, Grades 11-12: Literature, Grades 11-12: Speaking and Listening, Grades 11-12: Informational Text Common Core Math Resources

Grade Level Courses
K - 5 Elementary Math Lesson Plans and Games, Math for Kids, 3rd-5th Grade Math
6 - 8 Grade 6: Statistics and Probability, The Number System, Geometry
Grade 7: Geometry, The Number System, Statistics and Probability, Expressions and Equations, Ratios and Proportional Relationships
Grade 8: The Number System, Functions, Geometry, Expressions and Equations, Statistics and Probability
9 - 12 Geometry, Algebra, Statistics and Probability, Functions, Number and Quantity

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