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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

22 Pa. Code § 4.12. Academic standards.

§ 4.12. Academic standards.

 (a)  School entities may develop, expand or improve existing academic standards in the following content areas:

   (1)  The following apply:

     (i)   Through June 30, 2025Science and technology. Study of the natural world and facts, principles, theories and laws in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences. Technology is the application of science to enable societal development, including food and fiber production, manufacturing, building, transportation and communication. Science and technology share the use of the senses, science processes, inquiry, investigation, analysis and problem solving strategies. The Pennsylvania Core Standards for Reading in Science and Technology and the Pennsylvania Core Standards for Writing in Science and Technology will be an appendix to the Commonwealth’s academic standards for Science and Technology upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

     (ii)   Effective July 1, 2025Pennsylvania Integrated Standards for Science, Environment, Ecology, Technology and Engineering (Grades K—5). Guide the elementary-level study of the natural and human-made world through inquiry, problem-solving, critical thinking and authentic exploration. The integration of these disciplines in the elementary grades highlights the interconnectedness of scientific study and the integral relationship between humans and the environment.

   (2)  The following apply:

     (i)   Through June 30, 2025Environment and ecology. Understanding the components of ecological systems and their interrelationships with social systems and technologies. These components incorporate the disciplines of resource management, agricultural diversity, government and the impact of human actions on natural systems. This interaction leads to the study of watersheds, threatened and endangered species, pest management and the development of laws and regulations.

     (ii)   Effective July 1, 2025Pennsylvania Integrated Standards for Science, Environment and Ecology (Grades 6—12). Utilize a three-dimensional approach to guide the study of physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences at the middle and high school levels. The standards highlight the critical intersections of these disciplines with environmental science, ecology, and agriculture. These three-dimensional standards integrate disciplinary core ideas, practices in science and engineering, and crosscutting concepts into coherent learning progressions across the grade bands.

     (iii)   Effective July 1, 2025Pennsylvania Technology and Engineering Standards (Grades 6—12). Define the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for establishing literacy in technology and engineering literacy. Students develop a practical understanding of how humans are influenced by science and technology. Four core disciplinary standards describe practices in technology and engineering and include specific benchmarks for students in grade bands 6—8 and 9—12.

   (3)  Social studies.

     (i)   History. Study of the record of human experience including important events; interactions of culture, race and ideas; the nature of prejudice; change and continuity in political systems; effects of technology; importance of global-international perspectives; and the integration of geography, economics and civics studies on major developments in the history of the Commonwealth, the United States and the world.

     (ii)   Geography. Study of relationships among people, places and environments, of geographic tools and methods, characteristics of place, concept of region and physical processes.

     (iii)   Civics and government. Study of United States constitutional democracy, its values and principles, study of the Constitution of the Commonwealth and government including the study of principles, operations and documents of government, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, how governments work and international relations.

     (iv)   Economics. Study of how individuals and societies choose to use resources to produce, distribute and consume goods and services. Knowledge of how economies work, economic reasoning and basic economic concepts, economic decision making, economic systems, the Commonwealth and the United States economy and international trade.

     (v)   Appendix. The Pennsylvania Core Standards for Reading in History and Social Studies and the Pennsylvania Core Standards in Writing for History and Social Studies will be an appendix to the Commonwealth’s academic standards for History upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   (4)  Arts and humanities. Study of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, language and literature including forms of expression, historical and cultural context, critical and aesthetic judgment and production, performance or exhibition of work.

   (5)  Career education and work. Understanding career options in relationship to individual interests, aptitudes and skills including the relationship between changes in society, technology, government and economy and their effect on individuals and careers. Development of knowledge and skill in job-seeking and job-retaining skills and, for students completing career and technical education programs, the skills to succeed in the occupation for which they are prepared.

   (6)  Health, safety and physical education. Study of concepts and skills which affect personal, family and community health and safety, nutrition, physical fitness, movement concepts and strategies, safety in physical activity settings, and leadership and cooperation in physical activities.

   (7)  Family and consumer science. Understanding the role of consumers as a foundation for managing available resources to provide for personal and family needs and to provide basic knowledge of child health and child care skills.

   (8)  Through June 30, 2013: Reading, writing, speaking and listening.

     (i)   Reading. The application of phonemic awareness, phonics and word study, vocabulary, fluency and text comprehension in reading critically across subject areas; the interpretation and analysis of literary expression with analysis of the origins and structures of the English language and learning how to search a variety of texts to conduct research.

     (ii)   Writing. Narrative, informational and persuasive formal writing for an audience, including spelling and editing skills; and informal writing to capture and organize information for individual use.

     (iii)   Speaking and listening. Participation in conversation and formal speaking presentations.

     (iv)   English Language Arts. Upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, following full implementation of a transition plan to be developed by the Department in collaboration with education stakeholders, academic standards will be based on the Pennsylvania Core Standards for English Language Arts.

   (9)  Mathematics. The understanding of fundamental ideas and the development of proficient mathematical skills in numbers, computation, measurement, statistics and data analysis, probability and predictions, algebra and functions, geometry, trigonometry and concepts of calculus. Using this content, students will learn to think, reason and communicate mathematically. Students will learn to model real-world situations by creating appropriate representations of numerical quantities and plan and implement problem-solving strategies to answer the question in the context of the situation. Upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, following implementation of a transition plan to be developed by the Department in collaboration with education stakeholders, academic standards will be based on the Pennsylvania Core Standards for Mathematics.

 (b)  In designing educational programs, school entities shall provide for the attainment of the academic standards under subsections (a) and (c) and any additional academic standards as determined by the school entity. Attaining the academic standards in this section requires students to demonstrate the acquisition and application of knowledge.

 (c)  School entities shall prepare students to attain academic standards in mathematics and English Language Arts in Appendix A-2 and incorporated here by reference and additional standards as may be adopted by the Board and promulgated as amendments to this chapter.

 (d)  A school entity’s curriculum shall be designed to provide students with planned instruction needed to attain these academic standards.

 (e)  School entities shall apply academic standards for students in all areas described under subsections (a) and (c). The local assessment plan under §  4.52 (relating to local assessment system) must include a description of how the academic standards will be measured and how information from the assessments is used to assist students having difficulty meeting the academic standards.

 (f)  School entities shall assess the attainment of academic standards developed under subsections (a) and (c) and any other academic standards that they develop under §  4.52(c) for purposes of high school graduation and strategies for assisting students to attain them. Plans for assessment developed by school entities must take into account that academic standards in subsections (a) and (c) may be attained by students in various ways and shall be assessed in various ways. Children with disabilities may attain the academic standards by completion of their individualized education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and this part.

 (g)  In planning any revision of the academic standards in subsection (a) content areas, the Secretary will consult with educators, business and community leaders and parents.

 (h)  School entities are responsible under subsections (a), (c) and (f) for assessing individual student attainment of academic standards and for assisting those students having difficulty attaining them. Upon request by a school entity, the Department will provide the requestor with technical assistance in the development of academic standards and assessments that are sufficient to assure that students are making progress toward the attainment of standards required for high school graduation under subsection (f).

 (i)  No sooner than every 5 years and no later than every 10 years, the Board will review the State academic standards and State assessments under this section to determine if they are appropriate, clear, specific and challenging, and will make revisions as necessary by revising this chapter.

 (j)  The Department may not expand the collection of student data and, in accordance with section 444 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C.A. §  1232g), regarding family educational and privacy rights, may not collect personal family data due to the implementation of Pennsylvania Core Standards in Appendix A-2.


   The provisions of this §  4.12 amended under the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. § §  1-101—27-2702).


   The provisions of this §  4.12 amended February 15, 2008, effective February 16, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 872; amended October 15, 2010, effective October 16, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 5903; amended February 28, 2014, effective March 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 1131; amended July 15, 2022, effective July 16, 2022, 52 Pa.B. 3946. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (371076) to (371078) and (382417).

Cross References

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  4.3 (relating to definitions); 22 Pa. Code §  4.4 (relating to general policies); 22 Pa. Code §  4.11 (relating to purpose of public education); 22 Pa. Code §  4.26 (relating to ESOL); 22 Pa. Code §  4.31 (relating to career and technical education); 22 Pa. Code §  4.51 (relating to State assessment system); 22 Pa. Code §  4.51a (relating to Pennsylvania System of School Assessment); 22 Pa. Code §  4.52 (relating to local assessment system); and 22 Pa. Code §  4.82 (relating to exceptions).

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