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Understanding the Colorado Academic Standards

In order to implement the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) with fidelity and transform teaching and learning as the standards intend, educators at all levels must gain a deep understanding of the intentional design principles used to develop the standards. The resources here can be used for independent learning of the CAS or adapted to be delivered as professional development for pre-service and in-service educators.

Standards Organization and Construction The new design is intended to provide more clarity and direction for teachers, and to show how 21st century skills and the elements of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness indicators give depth and context to essential learning. The following links provide more details and clarification.

Standards Template


Reference Codes for the CAS To assist districts in aligning curriculum with standards, CDE has established a system to identify each element of the Colorado Academic Standards. The links below will provide you with a color coded explanation of the system as well as a black and white version.

Color Version

Black and White Version

Instructional Shifts Based on the design principles of the standards and the intended impact for teaching and learning in the State of Colorado, emphasis is placed on four specific shifts in instruction.

Instructional Shifts PowerPoint

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) The CAS with the "end in mind" - Colorado's description of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness - what all students should master to ensure success after graduation.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Description

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Description Visual