College and Career-Ready Standards

In school year 2013-2014, Maryland implemented new, higher standards for student learning - the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards -- in all schools across the State. Maryland’s new standards are based on the Common Core State Standards, a set of consistent, high-quality academic goals in English/language arts (ELA) and mathematics, adopted by Maryland and over 40 other states, as well as state curriculum standards, and curricular frameworks in science, social, studies, physical well-being and motor development, health, and fine arts.  

The Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each grade level so that they can graduate from high school prepared to enter college and the workforce.

Here are some key points you should understand about the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards:

  • The goal of the standards is college and workforce readiness for students - Maryland students will receive an education that not only leads to a high school diploma, but also to success in college, career, and life after graduation.
  • The standards were developed by the State and not the federal government. Maryland started with the Common Core Standards and refined them to meet the State’s specific needs for its children.
  • The standards are not a curriculum and do not tell you how to teach. The standards are the foundation for a curriculum - describing what students need to learn, but not dictating how you have to teach the standards.
  • The standards focus on 21st century skills, like problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity that are vital for success in college and today’s workplace.
  • The standards create consistent learning goals for all students regardless of where they live or go to school. Having consistent standards gives you a clear understanding of what students should be learning at each grade level.
  • Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards delve deeper into core concepts, carving out more time for you to teach subjects in greater detail and help students master critical skills and key concepts. 

It’s Up to You

The standards give you guidance for what children need to learn. It’s still up to you - based on your own experiences and your understanding of your particular group of children - to determine how best to teach them. Remember, the Division of Early Childhood Development is here to help.


Whether you work with preschoolers or second-graders, gaining an understanding of what those children will be expected to know and do can help you prepare them for their future. Learn more about Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards.