Understanding Education Standards

Understanding Education Standards

Aligning education standards to your park education program helps ensure that a higher level of learning is attained. Education standards are the learning goals that students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The curriculum you write for students might include Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, or College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies; you might even use a specific state standard. Understanding education standards and how to use them is important.

The purpose of this resource is to help you choose, assess, and connect standards that will help achieve desired outcomes. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

How to Use this Resource:

  • Complete the following activities.
  • Review and use the Additional Resources.
  • Leave a review (how useful was this resource?).
  • Join our group in the CLP Commons.

Guiding Questions

  • What are education standards?
  • What’s the difference between education standards and a curriculum?
  • What is the Common Core?
  • How does your existing park curriculum support local educational needs?


  1. Watch this Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and discuss the following two questions with your team:
    • Does the state your park resides in use CCSS?
    • What standards are used in your state? What standards does your education program use?
  2. Using the Common Core State Standards and an existing program or lesson plan (even if CCSS isn’t used in your state, we still recommend completing this activity as it will help you become more familiar with standards and how they are written):
    • Explore the Standards by choosing either English Language Arts/Literacy Standards or Mathematics and a grade level and area or Anchor Standard (i.e. speaking & listening or writing).
    • Evaluate your program or lesson to determine whether your goals and objectives might require updating or not. Note: your educational goal should focus on building critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life.
  3. Using the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and an existing program or lesson plan:
    • Explore the Next Generation Science Standards by completing the following search filters: grade, practice, disciplinary core idea, discipline, and crosscutting concept. How can you use the standard that was created from your search?
    • Assess your education curriculum. How does it use the three dimensions of science learning, which includes: crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas?
  4. Using the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies:
    • Review the C3 Framework Organization (pg.12) and create an action plan on how you can integrate this practice into your education program curriculum.
    • For Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and using Evidence and Dimension 4: Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action, identify ways to reach cross discipline with your existing education program or lesson.
    • Take a deep dive into Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Tools and Concepts and choose either Civics (pg. 32-34), Economics (pg. 36-39), Geography (pg. 41-44), or History (pg. 46-49). Choose the grade, review the standards, and determine which standards can be integrated into your existing curriculum or new curriculum.
  5. After reviewing NGSS, CCSS, C3, or your state education learning standards, identify three new learning connections you can make in your programs. You can add these new specific connections to your program marketing to broaden your program reach.

Additional Resources

Write a Review

  1. One other great thing about aligning your programs to state or national standards is this adds “value.” Funding and transportation are big barriers for schools and having the value of the benchmarks the students will learn is helpful for teachers when working with their administrations to secure the resources needed to attend the trip.

  2. Our site’s themes have been updated recently, but our education programs have not yet been updated to reflect those changes. This will be a helpful resource for new and experienced staff as we revisit our programs to ensure we are still meeting curriculum standards while hitting on new material.

  3. This will be extremely helpful with communicating with educators. Many schools have trouble funding field trips. When we align our programs with state and national education standards, we lower a barrier to some students visiting, which is justification of the field trip. I think this will also help us standardize our education programs and help with each rangers development.

  4. This helps as it puts the links to all of the various standards in one place! I have been stumbling through these trying to understand what is being required and if any of our current programs could fulfill any of the requirements as currently established or if the program needs just a little “tweaking”. Speaking as a non-teacher and unfamiliar with the standard “teacher speak” used in the standards, I am struggling with understanding just where current, or even future programs, will fit into the standards. Being able to make that connection will help us not only with traditional classes, but also homeschool, un-school and other non-traditional family education groups. I’d actually like to link our regular public programs to the standards as it will help in fulfilling the needs of the non-traditional groups.


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