Social Studies Content Standards Overview
Select from the links at left to view specific grade level standards

The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for grades K-5. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades K-5 and are not to be assessed in isolation.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills

In addition to the standards for grades 1-5, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection and research skills:

Grades K-5

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1. students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying both in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret timelines
2. students apply terms related to time correctly, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation
3. students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same
4. students use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through the map's legend, scale, and symbolic representations
5. students judge the significance of the relative location of a place (e.g., close to a harbor, trade routes) and analyze how those relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time

Research, Evidence and Point of View

1. students differentiate between primary and secondary sources
2. students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture
3. students distinguish fact from fiction by comparing documentary sources on historical figures and events with fictionalized characters and events

Historical Interpretation

1. students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain their historical contexts
2. students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying and explain how these features form the unique character of these places
3. students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events
4. students conduct cost/benefit analyses of historical and current events


Grades 6-8

The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, content standards for grades 6-8. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades 6-8 and are not to be assessed in isolation.
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills

In addition to the standards for grades 6-8, students demonstrate the following intellectual reasoning, reflection and research skills:

Grades 6-8

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1. students explain how major events are related to each other in time
2. students construct various timelines of key events, people, and periods of the historical era being studied
3. students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries and to explain the historical migration of people, expansion and disintegration of empires, and the growth of economic systems

Research, Evidence and Point of View

1. students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research
2. students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories
3. students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories
4. students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them
5. students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author's perspectives)

Historical Interpretation

1. students explain the central issues and problems of the past, placing people and events in a matrix of time and place
2. students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and correlation in historical events, including the long- and short-term causal relations
3. students explain the sources of historical continuity and how the combination of ideas and events explains the emergence of new patterns
4. students recognize the role of chance, oversight, and error in history
5. students recognize interpretations of history are subject to change as new information is uncovered
6. students interpret basic indicators of economic performance and conduct cost/benefit analyses in order to analyze economic and political issues


The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for grades 9-12. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades 9-12 and are not to be assessed in isolation.


Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills


In addition to the standards for grades 9-12, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection and research skills:


Grades 9-12


Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1. students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons learned
2. students analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; that some aspects can change while others remain the same; that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics, but also values and beliefs
3. students use a variety of maps and documents to interpret human movement, including major patterns of domestic and international migration; changing environmental preferences and settlement patterns; the frictions that develop between population groups; and the diffusion of ideas, technological innovations, and goods
4. students relate current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and regions

Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View

1. students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations
2. students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations
3. students evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past, including an analysis of authors' use of evidence and the distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications
4. students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations

Historical Interpretation

1. students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic and political trends and developments
2. students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect
3. students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present day norms and values
4. students understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events while recognizing that events could have taken other directions
5. students analyze human modifications of a landscapes, and examine the resulting environmental policy issues
6. students conduct cost/benefit analyses and apply basic economic indicators to analyze the aggregate economic behavior of the U.S. economy