Ohio's Learning Standards - Terminology Definitions

Academic Standards are clearly defined statements and illustrations of what all students, teachers, schools and school districts are expected to know and be able to do. Educators generally discuss three types of standards:

  • Content Standards describe the knowledge and skills that students should attain, often called the "what" of "what students should know and be able to do." They indicate the ways of thinking, working, communicating, reasoning and investigating the important and enduring ideas, concepts, issues, dilemmas and knowledge essential to the discipline.
  • Performance Standards are concrete statements of how well students must learn what is set out in the content standards, often called the "be able to do" of "what students should know and be able to do" Performance standards specify "how good is good enough." They are the indicators of quality that specify how adept or competent a student demonstration must be.
  • Operating Standards describe the conditions for learning. These can include specific expectations and additional guidelines for school districts, communities and families to use in creating the best learning conditions for meeting student needs and achieving state and local educational goals and objectives.

Benchmark is the specific component of the knowledge or skill identified by an academic content, performance or operational standard. It can be characterized as being declarative, procedural or contextual in the type of knowledge it describes. Attainment is communicated through:

  • Performance Task, the construction of a response;
  • Performance Level, the defined score point on formal assessment.

Courses of Study align with the local district mission, philosophy and educational goals and specify learning and performance objectives. They establish a scope and sequence of knowledge and skills to be taught grade-by-grade. They provide a way to assess student progress and the need for intervention.

Curriculum is the way content is designed and delivered. It includes the structure, organization, balance and presentation of expected or recommended study topics that address content standards and meet local expectations. A curriculum contains three primary elements: substance, purpose and practice:

  • Substance communicates what should be taught. It is the field of instruction.
  • Purpose communicates why a topic should be taught. It is the context of instruction.
  • Practice communicates how a topic should be taught and learned. It is the methodology of instruction, (including the methodology of collecting and using evidence of students’ learning to inform and to adjust instruction).

Curriculum Model recommends topics for study that reflect and are aligned with the adopted academic content and performance standards.

Standards-Based Education is an academic program in which clearly defined academic content, performance and operating standards are aligned. A standards-based education spells out what educators, schools and communities need to do to ensure achievement of expectations.

Last Modified: 7/17/2015 4:19:40 PM

Pursuant to ORC 3301.079 (B) (3) and 3313.60, it is the responsibility of Ohio's local boards of education to vet and approve curriculum and educational materials for use in the public schools within their district. The use of any materials posted or linked to on the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce website, including materials within Ohio’s Learning Standards or Appendices or any state model curricula or other educational resource material, is entirely up to the discretion of each local board of education.