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Implement the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards

Implement the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards

During the Spring of 2018, the State Board of Education approved revisions to the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), as required by statute. This approval completed the first four phases of the standards review and revision timeline, moving Colorado into the final two phases ending in full implementation of the CAS. CDE's Office of Standards and Instructional Support is committed to supporting districts to take full advantage of the two-year transition period to the revised CAS, with appropriate and meaningful attention given to curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, communications, and alignment of local policies and practices. CDE's support will include both online and in-person components with materials designed specifically for local school and district leaders to use with their teachers and staff.

Timeline from 2016 through 2018 depicting the 6 phases for standards review and revision

Transition to the 2020 Standards with CDE's Professional Learning Modules


Standards - broad goals articulating what students should know, understand, and be able to do over a given time period - are the foundation of teaching and learning. For students to achieve the goals set by the standards, teachers need to be standards-literate. This means they must:

  1. Possess working knowledge of the terms and categories that structure the standards;
  2. Effectively apply standards to develop and revise curriculum; and,
  3. Demonstrate best, first instruction when implementing standards-aligned curricula.

Learning Modules

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support (SIS) has developed 16 learning modules to build leaders' and educators' standards literacy in an effort to support their understanding of the 2020 CAS. These modules were intentionally designed to support smaller and rural districts who may not have district-level content specialists, however, any and all systems can use the materials.

The following values were drivers of this development:

  • All standards for all students
  • Designed for ease of use with small rural school districts
  • Takes advantage of the time available for a phased-in implementation approach
  • The principal and the principal’s supervisor as the unit of change
  • Implementation will be designed for the unique needs of the elementary and secondary levels

These modules will roll out in three phases:

  • Transition Phase 1 includes the topics of disciplinary literacy and readiness. (Release Fall 2018)
  • Transition Phase 2 includes the topics of curriculum and resource alignment to the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards. (Release Winter 2019)
  • Transition Phase 3 incorporates mapping instructional strategies to the innovations within the standards for Best First Instruction. (Release Fall 2019)

SIS highly recommends that each learning module is delivered in sequence using dedicated time during staff meetings or professional development days and that the learning leader (Fullan, 2014) of the school is responsible for facilitating each learning module. This co-learning model is shown to have significant, positive effects on student achievement (Robinson, 2007).

Each of the modules begins with goals and objectives to establish a purpose for learning. Then the module will explore the skills, concepts, and knowledge educators will need to demonstrate their progress towards standards literacy as measured by a variety of formative assessments. Embedded in each module are instructional strategies based in disciplinary literacy, including close reading; analysis of text and text structure; compare/contrast; critique; distinguishing fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment; and thinking, writing, and speaking in discipline/content-specific ways.

This professional development also includes a comprehensive Standards Implementation Facilitator's Guide and opportunities for educators to give direct feedback to the standards and instructional support team. These materials will be considered "living resources" and will be updated based on feedback to be responsive to needs. If a resource set is updated there will be an "updated" icon and date to track versions.

Graphic for modules zero through six

Modules 0-6

Transition Phase 1 includes the topics of disciplinary literacy and readiness.

0. Introductory Module: 2020 CAS Implementation

1. An introduction to Disciplinary Literacy (Featuring a Pre-Assessment to establish a baseline of teachers' standards literacy and the overall purpose and the definition of standards literacy and how utilizing these Modules will help to prepare educators to implement the 2020 CAS)

2. An introduction to Standards Literacy

3. A historical perspective of the development and revision of the CAS

4. Differences between the 2009/2010 CAS and the 2020 CAS

5. A close read of the 2020 CAS

6. Connections within the standards pages

Click on the green icon to be directed to the professional development platform. You may enter as a guest. Once you have successfully completed all modules in succession, you will have an opportunity to offer feedback and submit a request for a certificate at the end of module 6.

Graphic for modules 7 through 11

Modules 7-11: Coming Winter 2019

Transition Phase 2 includes the topics of curriculum and resource alignment to the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards

7. Introductory Module

8. Interpreting the Standards

9. Mapping 2020 Standards to current curriculum

10. Gap analysis of current curriculum

11. Creating a plan to fill the gaps

Modules 12-16: Coming Fall 2019

Transition Phase 3 incorporates mapping instructional strategies to the innovations within the standards for Best, First Instruction.

12. Introductory Module

13. Best, First Instruction

14. High-Impact Instructional Strategies

15. Attending to the innovations within the standards

16. Classroom Instruction

Alignment to Colorado Measures of Academic Success

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessments will be reviewed for their alignment to the revised standards and any needed adjustments will be made accordingly with inclusion in the scored assessments expected no earlier than 2020-21.

Approaches to assessment revisions may differ across the content areas and/or grades depending on the level of modification required.

Any needed revisions to CoAlt are anticipated to be reflected on the same schedule as CMAS.

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Mountain shield

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