Standards and Benchmarks

The Standards and Benchmarks of the Diocese of Des Moines were written as a collaborative effort between the Diocesan Schools Office, administrators and teachers. These Standards, Benchmarks and Grade/Course Level Expectations drive our classroom lesson planning and our reporting system.  The Standards and Benchmarks may undergo periodic revisions in an effort to stay consistent with current educational best practices.

To help the reader understand how to read and understand these standards, benchmarks, and grade/course-level expectations (often called "course-level expectations in middle and high school), it may be useful to define these here:

Standard: A standard is an established level of achievement; it’s what the student is expected to know and be able to do in a given curriculum area.  It is broadly defined.

Benchmark: A benchmark is an interpretation of a standard; it’s an articulation of various pieces needed to achieve the standard.  Achieving benchmarks helps show the student has addressed the standard.  Benchmarks are more specifically stated than standards are.  Benchmarks contain specific action verbs that reflect higher-order thinking skills, skills which are necessary from the youngest students all the way through high school.

Grade/Course-Level Expectation (GLE/CLE):  A grade/course-level expectation is found under the benchmark.  It's a very specific expectation of students that diocesan teachers hold for work performed under that benchmark and standard.  Grade/course-level expectations help precisely define and differentiate the work expected from students in different grade levels, since students continually grow in their development, skills and intelligence.  On the K-8 grade/course-level expectations power GLE/CLEs are indicated with a purple highlight.  Power GLE/CLEs are the expectations that will be reported on the standards-based progress reports.

It is our intent that these standards, benchmarks, and grade/course-level expectations drive our education. These are what the professional educators of the Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools have determined that students should know and be able to do.


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