Essential Standards Defined


ESSENTIAL STANDARDS: “Learning standards that are most essential because they possess qualities of endurance, leverage, and readiness for success at the next level” (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker and Many, 2010, p. 71). 


Douglas Reeves offers “a three-part test for teams to consider as they assess the significance of a particular standard: 


  • “Does the standard have ENDURANCE? Do we really expect students to retain the knowledge and skills [throughout their lifetimes] as opposed to merely learning it for a test?  [i.e. Learning how to read and how to interpret a map]  


  • “Does the standard have LEVERAGE? Will proficiency in this standard help the student in other areas of the curriculum and other academic disciplines? [i.e. The ability to interpret and construct graphs, tables, and charts will help the student in math, science, history/social science


  • “Does the standard provide READINESS FOR THE NEXT LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION? Is it essential for success in the next unit, course, or grade level? [i.e. Knowledge of multiplication and division facts is necessary to develop proficiency in adding & subtracting unlike fractions and in reducing answers to lowest terms]" (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker and Many, 2010, p. 65).

DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., and Many, T. (2010). Learning by Doing. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.