How to Read the Standards

ESSENTIAL LEARNING TARGETS - Organizational Hierarchy

AOS 93's Essential Learning Targets exist in three categories - Academic standards, Guiding Principles/21st Century Skills and Habits of Work. 

  1. Academic Standards exist for each of the eight content areas required by Maine law (Maine Learning Results).  These standards represent the core set of essential learning expectations students must meet in order to graduate.  Our academic standards are organized by Domain, Content Standard, Performance Indicator and Learning Target.
  2.  Guiding Principles or 21st Century Skills refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed to be critically important to success in today’s world.
  3. Habits of Work are the skills that are important for all students to have and exhibit to maximize their learning.

Helpful information when reading the standards.

Each section is divided into strands. K-5 and 6-12 ELA have Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language strands; the 6-12 history/social studies, science, and technical subjects section focuses on Reading and Writing. Each strand is headed by a strand-specific set of College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards (CCRS) that is identical across all grades and content areas.

Standards for each grade within K-8 and for grades 9-10 and 11-12 follow the CCR anchor standards in each strand. Each grade-specific standard (as these standards are collectively referred to) corresponds to the same-numbered CCR anchor standard. Put another way, each CCR anchor standard has an accompanying grade-specific standard translating the broader CCR statement into grade-appropriate end-of-year expectations.

Individual CCR anchor standards can be identified by their strand, CCR status, and number (R.CCR.6, for example). Individual grade-specific standards can be identified by their strand, grade, and number (or number and letter, where applicable), so that RI.4.3, for example, stands for Reading, Informational Text, grade 4, standard 3 and W.5.1a stands for Writing, grade 5, standard 1a. Strand designations can be found in brackets alongside the full strand title.


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are distinct from prior science standards in that they integrate three dimensions within each standard and have intentional connections across standards. To provide guidance and clarification to all users of the standards, the writers have created a system architecture that highlights the NGSS as well as each of the three integral dimensions and connections to other grade bands and subjects. The standards are organized in a table with three main sections:

1) performance expectation(s), 2) the foundation boxes, and 3) the connection boxes.

In the figure below, from top to bottom are seen the title, the topic label row, the performance expectation(s) (the assessable component), the foundation boxes (containing Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts), and the connection boxes. Detailed information about this architecture can be found online here.