Academic Standards (K-12)

The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards are the statewide expectations for student learning in K-12 public schools. School districts are required to put state standards into place so all students have access to high-quality content and instruction.

An academic standard is a summary description of student learning in a content area. Academic standards are comprised of one or more benchmarks. A benchmark supplements the standard and is the specific knowledge or skill that a student must master to complete part of an academic standard by the end of a grade level or grade band.

Academic Standards are Reviewed and Revised on 10-Year Cycle

In accordance with Minnesota Statutes, Minnesota’s academic standards are reviewed and revised on a 10-year cycle. One content area of academic standards is reviewed and revised each year based on a schedule approved by the Minnesota legislature. Learn more about the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards Review Schedule. During 2020-21, the department is in the process of facilitating a review of the K-12 academic standards for social studies. Visit the social studies standards webpage to learn more.

Minnesotans from Varying Perspectives and Backgrounds Draft Standards

Academic standards are drafted for Minnesota public schools, by Minnesotans. The process of reviewing and revising academic standards begins with the formation of a standards committee. Anyone may apply to serve on a standards review committee. Committees consist of people from varying perspectives and backgrounds. Minnesota Statutes outline who must be represented on the committee, including parents, currently licensed and in the classroom teachers, licensed school administrators, school board members, postsecondary institution faculty teaching core subjects, and business community members.

What is the Role of Local School Districts in Academic Standards?

School districts are required to put state standards into place. School districts determine how their students will meet the standards and benchmarks by developing courses and curriculum and choosing teaching methods.

What Content Areas have State Academic Standards in Minnesota?

  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Physical Education
  • The Arts
School districts must develop their own district academic standards in three content areas, which are:
  • Health
  • World Languages, using current world languages standards developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
  • Career and Technical Education

Local School Districts, Schools, and Educators Make Curriculum and Instruction Decisions

Educators make the decisions on the “how” to deliver instruction on the standards. Curriculum is the resources and plans that educators need to present the content to students. By statute (Minn. Stat. § 120B.021, subd. 2(b)), Minnesota academic standards do not require a specific curriculum. Districts, schools, and educators make curriculum and instruction decisions to support the teaching and student mastery of standards.
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Rigorous Course Waiver
The rigorous course of study waiver is an opportunity for students to be waived from specific academic standards required for graduation. For more information, view the Rigorous Course of Study Waiver guidance document.

English Language Arts (ELA) Standards Review Committee Selected

The Minnesota Department of Education is pleased to announce the formation of the 2019-20 Minnesota K-12 ELA Education Standards Committee. As required by state law, this committee will review the current (2010) K-12 ELA standards during the 2019-20 school year. For more information, visit the ELA webpage

Science Education Standards Review Process – Committee's Recommended Draft to Commissioner Now Available!

The recommended draft of the 2019 Minnesota K-12 Science Education Standards is now available. The date by which all schools must implement the new standards will be determined during the rulemaking process. For more information, visit the Science Education Standards page.

Transition to 2018 Arts Standards

MDE and the Perpich Center for Arts Education are partnering to develop supports and materials to aid local education agencies and arts educators in the transition to the 2018 arts standards. For more information, visit the Arts Education Standards page.

2018 Minnesota Academic Standards in Physical Education

New! Physical Education Sample Assessments
As requested by the Minnesota State Legislature (Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.021), the Minnesota Department of Education has released some sample assessments for measuring student performance aligned with the 2018 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Physical Education and Grade-Level Benchmarks. To view the sample assessments and more information, visit the Physical Education Standards page.

Minnesota Kindergarten Academic Standards

The Minnesota Kindergarten Academic Standards contain all of the state academic standards for kindergarten in the following content areas: Arts (2008), English Language Arts (2010), Mathematics (2007), Science (2009) and Social Studies (2011). A short overview is provided in each content area as well as information about how the standards are organized. The standards in this document are a reference to the official versions of the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards.


Standards and Related Information