Wisconsin Academic Standards

Relationship Between Vision Principles, Process Content Graphic

Academic standards specify what students should know and be able to do. Wisconsin has academic standards for 21 separate content areas, and adopted Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics in 2010. In addition, Wisconsin adopted Common Core State Standards for Literacy in All Subjects.

For more general information on general common core standards, please click here.

Order Wisconsin Common Core State Standards Guidance Documents.


Standards serve as rigorous goals for teaching and learning. Setting high standards enables students, parents, educators, and citizens to know what students should have learned at a given point in time. Clear statements about what students must know and be able to do are essential to ensure that our schools offer students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success. In addition, public education is a state responsibility. The state superintendent and legislature must ensure that all children have equal access to high quality education programs. This requires clear statements of what all children in the state should know and be able to do as well as evidence that students are meeting these expectations. Furthermore, academic standards form a sound basis on which to establish the content of a statewide assessment system.


Wisconsin’s Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning inform the design and implementation of all academic standards. All educational initiatives are guided and impacted by important and often unstated attitudes or principles for teaching and learning. The Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning emerge from research and provide the touchstone for practices that truly affect the vision of every child a graduate prepared for college and career. When made transparent, these principles inform what happens in the classroom, the implementation and evaluation of programs, and most important, remind us of our own beliefs and expectations for students. For more information, follow the links below.

Wisconsin Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning

  1. Every student has the right to learn.
  2. Instruction must be rigorous and relevant.
  3. Purposeful assessment drives instruction and affects learning.
  4. Learning is a collaborative responsibility.
  5. Students bring strengths and experiences to learning.
  6. Responsive environments engage learners.
    PDF of Guiding Principles one pager
    PDF of Guiding Principles research briefs

English Language Arts


Wisconsin's Approach to Literacy in All Subject Areas


Statewide CESA Resources

CESA CCSS Suite of Services


2012 WASCD CCSS Symposium Presentation January 11, 2012

Every Child a Graduate Conference (January 2011):

  1. Implementing Wisconsin Common Core Standards Locally
  2. CESA Foundations PowerPoint
Useful CCSS videos

Teaching and Learning Resources

Parent Resources

  • PTA Parent Guides: State education agencies, school districts, state boards of education, and state/local PTAs may co-brand the Guides. The modifiable Guides are available online here (Username: pta user, Password: global).
Connecting International Education to the CCSS

  • Global Wisconsin: Produced by the Educational Communications Board (ECB) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Global Wisconsin showcases the very best examples of international education from across the state of Wisconsin.
Connecting Career and Technical Education to the CCSS

Connecting to Early Learning

Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS)
DPI Early Childhood Home Page

Connecting to Higher Education

Implementation Resources

  • CCSSO Communications Toolkit
  • Content Alignment Tool
    Purpose: CCSSO’s long-standing Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) SCASS created an online tool in summer 2010 to help states compare their current state standards, their enacted curriculum (what teachers are actually teaching in the classroom), and the Common Core State Standards in order to identify their degree of alignment to one another. This alignment tool can be found here. For a tutorial on how to use the tool, please click here.
Working with Special Education Students

Working with English Language Learners

Assessment Resources

Wisconsin's state assessment is based on state standards. As Wisconsin transitions to the next generation assessment system announced last fall, DPI is supporting an assessment system built around the Common Core State Standards. Wisconsin is a governing state within the multi-state consortium called the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The guiding principles of SBAC mirror the recommendations of Wisconsin’s Next Generation Assessment Task Force report. Through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium a common state summative assessment will be created and will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam in 2014-2015 at the earliest. Visit Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium's new website for resources and updated information.

In addition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Wisconsin is involved in developing both new alternate achievement standards and a new alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. DPI is a member of a second multi state consortium called Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM). DLM is charged with developing new alternate achievement standards, called Common Core Essential Elements (CCEEs), which are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Upon the completion of the CCEEs, DLM will begin developing a summative alternate assessment, along with formative evaluation materials and supportive professional development. We expect that this summative alternate assessment will replace the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Student with Disabilities in 2014-15, following the same timeframe as the SBAC.

For questions about this information, contact Emilie Amundson (608) 267-3726