About the North Carolina Standard Course of Study
An explanation of the state curriculum and how LEARN NC aligns resources to it.
Understanding the Standard Course of Study
The North Carolina Standard Course of Study is the official curriculum of the Public Schools of North Carolina. Each curriculum area has its own curriculum:
- Career Development
- Computer/Technology Skills
- Dance Education
- English Language Arts
- Healthful Living
- Information Skills
- Music Education
- Second Languages
- Social Studies
- Theater Arts Education
- Visual Arts Education
Each curriculum is divided into courses. There may be one course per grade level (such as grade 3 English language arts); a course may cover multiple grade levels (such as grades 6–8 guidance); or a range of grade levels may have multiple courses (such as the various courses for high school science, social studies, or mathematics).
Each course is then divided into goals and objectives that explain what the student should learn.
Versions of the curriculum
Every five years, each curriculum is revised and updated. Typically, a curriculum goes through several stages:
- A draft curriculum is developed by NCDPI and submitted to the State Board of Education.
- The curriculum is approved for future implementation by the State Board of Education.
- The curriculum is implemented in North Carolina schools.
- The curriculum is tested in North Carolina schools, usually a year after implementation. It may be field-tested during the first year of implementation.
- The curriculum becomes outdated when it is replaced by a new version of the curriculum.
Additionally, implementation may be staggered, so that different grade levels or courses are on different schedules. Teachers should refer to NCDPI for complete implementation schedules.
The ELD curriculum
The English Language Development (ELD) curriculum is a supplement to the Standard Course of Study designed to guide teachers in instructing English language learners. Because of its special nature, it is organized differently from the rest of the Standard Course of Study. More information about the ELD curriculum is provided in a separate document.
The Standard Course of Study on LEARN NC
LEARN NC’s resources reflect the Standard Course of Study, and each of our lesson plans is aligned to specific curriculum objectives. We also maintain the full text of the Standard Course of Study on our website. The exception is the Career Development curriculum, which we do not maintain and to which we do not align resources because it is an extremely broad curriculum of which each piece pertains to only a small number of teachers.
Frequency of update
When a new version of a curriculum is approved by the Board of Education, we make the new curriculum available on our website. Between its adoption and its implementation in classrooms, we re-align all of our lesson plans to reflect the new curriculum. During that transition, there will be lesson plans aligned to multiple versions of a curriculum, which may be confusing to teachers. We strive to keep this transition as short as possible.
Alignment of resources
A resource such as a lesson plan is aligned to objectives of the Standard Course of Study only if it has clear learning outcomes, activities, and assessments designed to teach that curriculum objective. Typically, therefore, we align only lesson plans to the Standard Course of Study.
Of course, our collections contain many resources that can be used to teach the Standard Course of Study but cannot reasonably be aligned to specific objectives. For example, a website may contain images that could be used in social studies classes at various grade levels and to teach dozens if not hundreds of curriculum objectives. Because no specific learning context is provided for such resources, we do not align them to the curriculum. Teachers looking for such resources should search by key word or phrase rather than by curriculum objective.
Whom to contact with questions about curriculum
If you find an error or inaccuracy in our copy of the Standard Course of Study, please contact us to let us know. All questions about the content of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study should be directed to NCDPI.