NC Standard Course of Study

North Carolina's Standard Course of Study defines the appropriate content standards for each grade level and each high school course to provide a uniform set of learning standards for every public school in North Carolina. These standards define what students know and should be able to do.

Based on a philosophy of teaching and learning that is consistent with current research, exemplary practices, and national standards, the Standard Course of Study is designed to support North Carolina educators in providing the most challenging education possible for the state’s students. The goal of these standards is to prepare all students to become career and college ready.

With these standards as the foundation, local school leaders make decisions about the comprehensive curriculum that they choose to deliver to students so that they can reach the content standards for every grade and subject. In addition, local schools and districts may offer electives and coursework that is above and beyond the NC Standard Course of Study's content standards. Classroom instruction is a partnership between the state, which sets content standards in the Standard Course of Study, and local educators who determine which curriculum materials they will use to deliver instruction to reach the standards.

*Note: To access the standards, visit the Public Schools of North Carolina website, which is the authoritative source for all standards approved by the NC State Board of Education.

NC Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) Policy

The State Board of Education policy SCOS-012 defines the Process for the Review, Revision, and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study (SCOS) (Approved March 2018).

The policy ensures a system for standards review, revision, and implementation that promotes transparency and stakeholder engagement and unifies and formalizes the standards development process, which is:

  • Feedback-Based
  • Research-Informed
  • Improvement-Oriented, and
  • Process-Driven.


According to State Board of Education policy, the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) shall include the content areas of:

  • Arts Education
      • Dance
      • Music
      • Theatre Arts
      • Visual Arts
  • Career Technical Education
      • Agricultural Education
      • Business, Finance and Information Technology
      • Career Development Education
      • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
      • Health Sciences Education
      • Marketing and Entrepreneurship Education
      • Technology Engineering and Design Education
      • Trade & Industrial Education
    • Computer Science
    • English Language Arts
    • English Language Development
    • Guidance
    • Healthful Living
    • Information and Technology
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • World Languages

Revision Cycle

The NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will review the standards for each content area every five to seven years to ensure the NCSCOS consists of clear, relevant standards and objectives. The standards Review, Revision, and Implementation process provides a comprehensive study of each content area organized by grade level, proficiency level, and/or course. The five-to-seven-year cycle allows time for review, revision, and consistent implementation of the standards. Alignment with the statewide assessment program, extended content standards, and materials adoption will be addressed throughout the process, as appropriate.

Timeline for Standards Revision

  • Information and Technology Standards
    • (Approved July 2019; installation in 2019-20; required implementation in 2020-21)
  • 4th Level High School Math Standards
    • (Approved August 2019; installation in 2019-20; required implementation in 2020-21)
  • K-12 Social Studies
      • (Review/Revisions during the 2019-20 school year; installation in 2020-21; required implementation in 2021-22 school year)
        • Required Economics and Personal Finance Course
          • (Development in 2019-20 school year; required implementation with incoming freshmen in 2020-21 school year)
  • K-12 Computer Science
      • (Review/Revisions during the 2019-20 school year; installation in 2020-21; required implementation in 2021-22 school year)

Public Announcement: K-12 Social Studies Standards Revision

The Draft 1 Standards public review took place from January 13, 2019 - February 15, 2020. The external writing and review teams will utilize survey data, focus group data, and other stakeholder feedback from this review to make changes for draft two. Draft two of the proposed standards will be available for public review and comment in the spring. For more information, please contact: Dr. Lori Major Carlin, Section Chief, K-12 Social Studies and Arts Education; 919-807-3836 (Phone);

Quick Reference Guides

This Quick Reference Guide for The North Carolina Standard Course of Study is a resource for teachers as they plan instruction to implement the North Carolina Standard Course of Study across multiple content areas. There are nine Quick Reference Guides available – one for each of the grade levels from kindergarten through 8th grade. The inclusion of standards for all subject areas within single, grade-specific documents is intended to make planning for instruction more efficient and may be particularly useful for educators teaching multiple disciplines or collaborating to plan integrated instruction

Quick Reference Guides


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Eight Grade