How to List National & State Standards of Education in APA Style

Understanding how and when to apply American Psychological Association style to research papers can mean the difference between passing and failing an assignment or class. Also, failing to properly cite sources may lead to accusations of plagiarism and even expulsion. Avoid these pitfalls by learning to cite references and apply APA style to your writing.

National Standards

The United States does not currently maintain education standards at the federal level. Rather, the responsibility for education standards falls to state governments. However, in an effort to achieve consistency and measurable student preparation across the country, states joined forces to create the Common Core State Standards in 2009. The standards have since been completed, and although there is still significant debate as to the necessity, effectiveness and fairness of the standards, according to the Common Core Initiative, 43 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have adopted the standards. States and territories that have yet to adopt the standards include Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Puerto Rico.

State Standards

Though many states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the responsibility for implementing these standards and maintaining them lies with the individual states. States that have not adopted the Common Core must develop and maintain their own educational standards. Detailed information and legislation on state education standards can be found on each state’s department of education web site. These may be accessed via the Common Core Initiative Standards in your State page or through the individual states’ portals.

In-Text References

As you address educational standards in you writing, it is important to cite them to detail where you obtained the information. When using APA style, the first place to cite your references is within the text of your paper. You will need to cite your source within the text any time that you paraphrase, quote or present information that you obtained from a source.

To cite standards in-text, include the author’s name, copyright date, and, when available, the page number where you found the information within parenthesis at the end of the sentence or paragraph, for example:

The Standards aim to align instruction with this framework so that many more students than at present can meet the requirements of college and career readiness (Common Core Standards Initiative, 2010, p. 5).

References Page Citations

There are multiple formats for citations on a reference page within an APA-styled document. However, education standards will take the format of a government document or document from a private organization. To cite educational standards on a references page, include the author’s name, copyright year, title, publisher and location of publication. Format standards in the following manner:

Author(s). (Year published). Title of standard. City of publication: Publisher.

Also, if you locate the standards online, include information on where you retrieved the standard online at the end of the citation. For example, you would cite the Common Core State Standards for mathematics as follows:

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards for mathematics: Kindergarten introduction. Retrieved from

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