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Education Standards

About the Education Standards Standing Committee

The Education Standards Committee monitors and provides recommendations related to:
  1. State academic standards
  2. High school graduation requirements
  3. Standards for high school equivalence credentials
  4. State standards for homeschooling
  5. Statewide literacy

As of October 19, 2022:

Chair: Allister Chang, Ward 2
Members: Liv Birnstad, Student Representative; Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 3; Frazier O'Leary, Ward 4; Zachary Parker, Ward 5; Jessica Sutter, Ward 6 (ex-officio*)

*The SBOE President sits as an ex-officio member on all committees

Meeting Information:
Find the joining information for the State Board’s committee meetings on our events page.
All committee meetings are recorded and uploaded to the State Board’s YouTube channel. Meeting materials are posted here. Learn more about committee assignments here.


The State Board of Education is responsible for approving state academic standards. The State Board is also responsible for ensuring that those standards specify what students are expected to know and be able to do, contain coherent and rigorous content, encourage the teaching of advanced skills, and are updated on a regular basis.

Adopted standards for the District of Columbia can be found below.

Common Core State Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

Physical Education and Health Standards

The State Board voted to approve updated physical education standards in March 2017. These academic standards cover all students from pre-kindergarten through high school, and are intended to help develop students who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthy physical activity. The State Board’s final vote in March 2017 was the culmination of a yearlong process undertaken in conjunction with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

In April 2016, the State Board voted unanimously to update the District’s health education standards, which are vital to ensuring that students learn to be healthy and safe citizens. The standards address bullying, addiction, sexual and mental health issues and provide students with a framework for building the skills they need to be healthy for the rest of their lives.

You can read the approved 2017 physical education standards here. You can find more about the approved health education standards here.

Additional Standards

Standards Under Review

Social Studies Standards

The District's social studies standards were last revised in 2006. The State Board, in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), began its review and update of the District’s statewide social studies standards in July 2020. To conduct this substantive review, the State Board convened a Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is responsible for drafting guiding principles and making recommendations to the State Board and to OSSE on how the state standards should be revised and updated to reflect the needs of students and teachers in the District. The initial work of the Advisory Committee included soliciting public input on social studies in the District and drafting 19 guiding principles. The guiding principles make recommendations to the State Board and OSSE on how the state standards should be revised and updated to reflect the needs of students and teachers in the District. The guiding principles were distributed for public comment in November 2020, and then presented and voted on at the State Board’s December 2020 public meeting in SR20-15. The final set of Guiding Principles can be found here.

In February 2021, OSSE launched the DC Social Studies Standards Technical Writing Committee, which will review and revise the social studies standards and submit a revised draft to the SBOE in fall 2021. The writing committee is comprised of K-12 social studies educators from DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools, as well as local and national technical experts in social studies. The work of the writing committee will be grounded in the Advisory Committee’s Social Studies Standards Guiding Principles.

Learn more about the revision process here.

High School Graduation Requirements Task Force (2017–2018)

In 2017, while District of Columbia high school graduation rates were increasing, those increases came under scrutiny, and several data points indicated that DC public school students were not ready for the next steps in college or careers when they graduate from high school. To analyze and update the requirements, Laura Wilson Phelan (former Ward 1 Representative) and Markus Batchelor (former Ward 8 Representative) convened a task force in June 2017 comprised of District education stakeholders.

The State Board unanimously passed the recommendations of its High School Graduation Requirements Task Force at the May 16, 2018 public meeting. The recommendations moved forward to OSSE for consideration.

Task force members reached consensus on the following recommendations for the consideration of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to put forward into regulatory policy:

  • Provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate they have mastered course content for world language and mathematics in lieu of taking the course.
  • Reduce the number of required community service hours from 100 to 50.
  • Create a personalized learning plan for each public school student in the District, and revisit this plan in elementary, middle, and high school to ensure the student is on track to graduate.

Learn more about the High School Graduation Requirements Task Force here.

Competency-Based Learning

The High School Graduation Requirements Task Force’s proposed recommendations would introduce flexibility for local education agencies to incorporate competency-based learning frameworks into their credit accrual policies. Competency-based learning de-emphasizes in-seat hours of class time in favor of allowing students to demonstrate mastery of a subject to earn class credit. This would allow some students to test out of entry-level classes and move on to higher-level classes or classes in different subjects. The State Board approved Credit Flexibility Regulations in March 2016.

For more information on competency-based learning, please visit the following: