Developing Indiana’s Own Academic Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics

In 2013, the governor signed a bill calling for a legislative review, public hearings, and financial analysis of the Common Core State Standards. This legislation included a withdrawal of state support from districts for Common Core implementation. The state superintendent for public instruction had vowed to work toward reducing time spent on testing in Indiana schools. Vendor-responsible computer problems disrupted approximately 30,000 testing sessions in the state, contaminating student data and greatly inconveniencing schools and districts. Taken together, these factors gave the state an impetus to discontinue implementation of the Common Core, withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and develop its own set of academic standards for college and career readiness.

Task and Approach

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) requested Great Lakes Comprehensive Center's (GLCC's) assistance in conducting the academic standards and assessments study and preparing a proposal to the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE). GLCC identified and facilitated an IDOE review of valuable resources for developing new standards for English language arts and mathematics. The resources included the Center on College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS); Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI); and the Appalachia Regional, Midwest, North Central, Northwest, and Texas Comprehensive Centers. GLCC also brought in CSAI to facilitate a series of stakeholder workshops to identify, align, vet, and reconcile the standards. Armed with critical resources and support, IDOE developed the new standards and began implementation of the standards and assessments in the 2014–15 school year.

Key Activities

  • Identifying resources and critical partners. GLCC brokered a relationship between IDOE and CSAI to help design and develop the process of writing the new standards. IDOE developed its new standards by building them around the best of the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics, National Council of Teachers of English standards, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, and Indiana Academic Standards of 2010.
  • Building knowledge. GLCC collaborated with CCRS and regional comprehensive centers to compile information on standards and assessments in Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia, and Texas—states that opted out of Common Core—to help IDOE understand how state-developed standards can remain rigorous as they depart from Common Core where appropriate.
  • Facilitating dialogue. GLCC served as thought partner, coach, and process facilitator as IDOE and CSAI prepared for presentation to the Indiana Education Roundtable and SBOE for approval and adoption.
  • Supporting implementation. GLCC assisted IDOE in planning and presenting a series of 10 professional development sessions on the implementation of the new standards and aligned assessments.


  • With assistance from GLCC and CSAI, IDOE trained the academic standards review panel, developed the Indiana Academic Standards, and presented the new standards and a plan for annual assessments to the Indiana Education Roundtable and SBOE.
  • The standards and assessments plan was approved in April 2014 by the Indiana Education Roundtable, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, IDOE, SBOE, and Indiana Center for Education and Career Innovation.
  • GLCC facilitated the use of IDOE’s internal strategic plan to help IDOE lead local education agencies (LEAs) in implementation of the new standards and assessments by delivering targeted professional development opportunities across the state.
  • Since the 2015–16 school year, LEAs across the state have been fully implementing the new Indiana Academic Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics and administering statewide spring assessments.