Michigan's Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs)

Instructor: Chelsey Wilt
Find out how Michigan's GLCEs influence the curricula for grades K-12. This article describes how the GLCEs are divided into content areas and how they guide students to meet learning objectives and gain key academic skills.

Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) in Michigan

In Michigan, the Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) are formally recognized standards that set a framework for curriculum development and instruction in major content areas, such as math and science. The state of Michigan divides its GLCEs among age groups:

  • Grades K-8 GLCEs (sometimes further divided into K-5 and grades 6-8)
  • High School GLCEs (sometimes called High School Content Expectations or HSCEs)

The goal of these standards is to provide a guideline of topics and skills that should be achieved in each grade level, but they do not mandate how curricula and instruction are organized. They give schools flexibility in planning their curricula, especially at the high school level, and preparing their students for life after graduation. Michigan state assessments, like the Michigan Merit Exams (MME), are also designed around these academic standards.

GLCEs - Content Areas

Let's take a closer look at how the GLCEs are organized to cover the K-12 range of learning. There are four main subjects covered by the GLCEs:

English Language Arts

The ELA standards are designated individually for grades K-8 and divided into groups of grades 9-10 and 11-12 in high school. There are five areas covered by the ELA standards: reading, writing, listening, speaking, and language (sometimes called viewing). The GLCE standards also emphasize research and media skills.


There are standards for each individual grade of K-8 that focus on developing students' abilities to perform arithmetic operations, understand measurements, model data, solve simple algebraic expressions, and identify patterns and geometric figures. As they advance to high school, students' skills are developed through competencies that cover number and quantity, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability, functions, and modeling.


This subject's GLCEs are based upon building students' knowledge of core concepts that can be found in all scientific subjects as well as discipline-specific core ideas and science and engineering practices. Science standards are often grouped into K-5, middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12) grade bands. They address physical science, life science, and Earth and space science topics.

Social Studies

The social studies GLCEs are designed to build skills in four key areas: reading and communication; inquiry, research, and analysis; public discourse and decision making; and citizen involvement. The topics of study for each grade are organized into disciplines such as: world history and U.S. history, geography, civics, and economics.

More Content Areas

In addition to these major content areas, Michigan has also developed content standards for:

  • Arts (subdivided into four areas: dance, music, theatre, and visual arts)
  • Health and Physical Education (subdivided into four areas: motor skills and movement patterns, content knowledge, fitness and physical activity, and personal/social behaviors and values)
  • Technology (focused on students' abilities to responsibly use technology in design, research, communication, and collaboration)
  • World Languages (subdivided into five areas of study: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, communities)

You can find links to PDFs providing the latest Michigan GLCEs (which are periodically updated with new versions) on the Michigan Department of Education website. These documents provide an exceptionally thorough overview of the different topics studied and competencies gained in each grade for each content area.

Michigan Merit Exams

Students in grade 11 must take a series of exams to assess their competencies in the GLCEs for ELA, math, science and social studies. Study.com provides numerous resources for these Michigan state assessments, such as the Michigan Merit Exams (MME). These resources can be used by high school teachers and students alike:

These courses include self-paced lessons, quizzes, practice tests, and a collection of flashcards for specific topics covered in these exams. For example, if you're preparing for the MME - Science, you can review topics such as the Sun, the rock cycle, types of energy, homeostasis, genetics, and ecosystems. Available MME - Math resources cover content areas such as 3-D figures, probability, linear functions, and quadratic functions.

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