North Carolina Common Core State Standards

Instructor: A Ray Tatum

A. Ray has taught junior high, high school and college English and has a master's degree in curriculum.

North Carolina's Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE) for public education addresses the educational standards for the state, including Common Core State Standards. This article gives information about the standards and support available to teachers, parents and students.

Common Core Standards for North Carolina

The state of North Carolina has adopted Common Core standards for math and English language arts as part of their New Essential Standards. The English Language Arts standards also include literacy standards designed to inform curriculum across disciplines. North Carolina's standards address key learning objectives for elementary, middle and high schoolers, with the aim of making sure 21st-century students are career and college ready.

Use of Bloom's Taxonomy in the Standards

This set of standards was written using the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy (RBT) as a means of developing complex thinking skills in students. North Carolina uses RBT to outline two key aspects of each standard, knowledge dimensions and cognitive processes. Knowledge dimensions identifies four different types of learning:

  • Meta-cognitive
  • Conceptual
  • Procedural
  • Factual

The cognitive processes are based on key verbs that stress specific learning outcomes. For example, educators might develop lessons that use cause and effect models as part of the explaining process, or have students use inferring to draw conclusions based on a set of data. All educators are expected to use RBT in meeting the state standards.


Kindergarten students are expected to know whole numbers and be able to count them up to 100 in ones or tens. They also work with basic measurement and geometry, such as shape identification. As students progress through to fifth grade, they work on increasingly complex concepts related to numbers and operations, including both base-ten and fractions depending on grade level; measurement and data; algebraic operations; and geometry.

Sixth through eighth graders work with concepts related to ratios and proportions; the number system; expressions and equations; statistics and probability; and geometry. Eighth grade students also begin work on functions.

By high school, students are expected to apply more complex mathematics reasoning to the real number system; quantities; expressions, equations and inequalities; functions; linear, quadratic and exponential models; congruence; geometric properties with equations; geometric measurement; and categorical and quantitative data. More advanced high school math topics include polynomials, rational expressions, trigonometry, geometric modeling, conditional probability, the complex number system, probability and statistics.

English Language Arts

North Carolina's English Language Arts (ELA) Standards encompass three areas: K-5 ELA, 6-12 ELA and 6-12 literacy for history/social studies, science and technical subjects. These standards are designed to promote proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, listening and language for all curricular areas, not just language arts. The ELA standards do not replace the existing content standards for non-ELA subject areas, but rather serve as a method of ensuring students can read, write, speak, listen and use language effectively in that subject area.

In short, students graduating from North Carolina high schools are expected to be able to demonstrate literacy in the reading of textbooks, fiction and nonfiction literature and research material. Over the course of their education, they should progressively develop the ability to write, speak and use language effectively in expressing themselves.

Common Core Resources offers a number of educational resources that are designed to support Common Core standards. We offer video lessons, quizzes, exams, and lesson planning resources to aid in student learning, to check progress in a subject or as curriculum development tools for teachers. These Common Core resources can be accessed on just about any device with an Internet connection and are available anytime, day or night.

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