The social studies content standards provide a set of clear and rigorous expectations for all students. The seven standards clearly define a balanced program of knowledge and skills necessary for active citizenship. The standards are divided into two categories:
People in Societies
Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities
Social Studies Skills and Methods
Social Studies Skills and Methods is listed separately as a process standard to emphasize its application throughout the social studies program. These skills are meant to be taught as students are learning the content associated with the other standards. Students need to use these skills on a regular basis as they learn content knowledge.
Whenever possible, students should have opportunities to learn social studies in real-world contexts. They should be able to examine artifacts, read primary source materials, engage in authentic experiences and take field trips. Research shows that learning is enhanced when students make meaningful connections between new information that they are learning and their own experiences. Combining social studies instruction with the study of other disciplines, such as art and literature, helps to reinforce the learning within each discipline. It also helps the students to develop conceptual frameworks that lead to broader understandings.
New technologies enable students to communicate with people in other locations and engage in realistic simulations. Students and teachers have greater access to timely social studies information including primary sources, statistics and maps. Easy access to information requires that students develop skills to enable them to evaluate the reliability and credibility of information.
Students learn knowledge and skills from each of the seven standards at every grade, but the content emphasis will vary from grade to grade. For example, the emphasis on geography is greatest in grades five and six and the emphasis on history is greatest in grades seven through 10. The scope and sequence for the social studies standards is described on the following pages, but it is necessary to read the benchmarks and grade-level indicators at each grade band in order to fully understand what students are expected to learn
The following terms and definitions are used in the document:
An overarching goal or theme. A standard statement describes, in broad terms, what students should know and be able to do as a result of their studies.
A specific statement of what a student should know and be able to do at a specific time in his/her schooling. Benchmarks are used to measure a student's progress toward meeting a standard. Benchmarks are defined for grade bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12.
A specific statement of the knowledge and/or skills that a student is expected to demonstrate at each grade level. These indicators serve as checkpoints that monitor progress toward the benchmarks.
Academic Content Standards The process for developing academic content standards began in 1997 when the State Board of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents created a Joint Council to oversee the implementation of recommendations made by the Secondary and Higher Education Remediation Advisory Commission. The boards began to build a common long-term agenda for pre-kindergarten through 16 education.
The Joint Council started its work by establishing a set of common expectations for what all students should know and be able to do upon completion of high school. The initial work established “common expectations” in six content areas: (1)the arts; (2)English language arts; (3)foreign languages; (4)mathematics; (5)science; and (6)social studies. These drafts were transformed into Ohio’s academic content standards.
The Joint Council assembled advisory groups to assist in completing preliminary planning for the process to draft Ohio’s new academic content standards. This preliminary planning included review of exemplary world-class standards from the United States and other countries, and the formulation of strategic policy recommendations. The recommendations assured that the drafting and refining of academic content standards would respect Ohio’s history for sharing responsibility for curriculum decisions with Ohio’s diverse learning communities.
Writing teams were made up of representatives from all 12 regions served by the Ohio Department of Education’s Regional Professional Development Centers and included educators from each grade level, kindergarten through 12, as well as career-technical educators and educators of exceptional children. Ohio’s diverse ethnicity, geography, types of school districts, and colleges and universities were represented on the writing teams. The writing teams also included parent and business/community representatives. All original members of the teams who wrote the “common expectations” were invited back to join the writing teams.
When the writing teams completed the draft academic content standards documents, these documents were subjected to a period of extensive public engagement and rigorous review. Focus group meetings and electronic feedback via the Web page allowed all stakeholders to express their opinions. The writing teams reviewed the public feedback and made revision recommendations in response to the issues raised by feedback. The draft standards presented to the State Board of Education for adoption reflect the final recommendations of this writing process and include grade-level indicators of progress (kindergarten through 12), benchmarks that will serve as checkpoints at key grade bands, philosophies and guiding assumptions.
Development and Implementation Timeline
Based on Amended Substitute Senate Bill 1
Social Studies Writing Teams
The Ohio Department of Education wishes to express appreciation and gratitude to the writing teams who contributed expertise and time to the development of Ohio’s social studies content standards. Many hours were devoted to research and thoughtful consideration of issues to ensure that the standards reflect wise and responsible thinking regarding social studies teaching and learning. The writing team members represent the many caring and concerned individuals across the state dedicated to their profession and to high quality social studies education for all Ohio students.
Social Studies Common Expectations Writing Team
The kindergarten year is a time for getting acquainted with the school setting and routines. Students begin to understand the importance of rules, responsibility and decision-making. They are introduced to the cultural heritage of the United States and democratic principles through the study of national symbols and holidays. They also learn about other cultures so that they can begin to form concepts about the world beyond their own classroom and community.
Families Now and Long Ago, Near and Far
The first-grade year builds on the concepts developed in kindergarten by focusing on the individual as a member of a family. Students begin to understand how families lived long ago and how they live in other cultures. They develop concepts about how the world is organized spatially through beginning map skills. They build the foundations for understanding principles of government and their role as citizens.
People Working Together
Work serves as an organizing theme for the second grade. Students learn about jobs today and long ago in the United States and in other parts of the world. They become familiar with biographies of people whose work has made a difference and use historical artifacts as clues to the past. They deepen their knowledge of diverse cultures and begin to understand how cooperation can help to achieve goals.
Communities: Past and Present, Near and Far
The local community serves as the focal point for third grade as students begin to understand how their community has changed over time and to make comparisons with communities in other places. The study of local history comes alive through the use of artifacts and documents. They also learn how communities are governed and how the local economy is organized.
Ohio: Its Past, Its Location, Its Government
The state of Ohio is the focus for fourth grade. Students learn about the geography, history, government and economy of their state. They learn about issues and ways that citizens participate in Ohio’s government. Students develop their research skills through individual and group activities.
Regions and People of North America
The fifth-grade year focuses on the geography of the continent of North America. Students learn how people came to the continent and about the land and resources that they found. Citizenship skills build as students learn about U.S. history and the democratic government of the United States. Students continue to develop their research skills by obtaining information from multiple sources.
Regions and People of the World
The sixth-grade year focuses on the study of world regions. The concentration is geographic rather than historic. Students study some of the earliest people who lived in each region in order to understand how humans interacted with the environmental conditions at that time. Connections are made to present-day world regions including characteristics of governments and economic interactions.
World Studies from 1000 B.C. to 1750: Ancient Civilizations Through the First Global Age
In the seventh grade, students begin the four-year historical sequence with a study of the ancient world. This study incorporates each of the seven standards into the chronology. Students learn that each historic event is shaped by its geographic setting, culture of the people, economic conditions, governmental decisions and citizen action. Students also expand their command of social studies skills and methods.
U.S. Studies from 1607 to 1877: Colonization Through Reconstruction
The historical sequence continues in the eighth grade with an in-depth study of the early years of our country. This study incorporates each of the seven standards into the chronology. While students are studying a particular historic event in the United States they also look at its geographic settings, economic implications, developments in government and the role of citizens.
World Studies from 1750 to the Present:
Age of Revolutions Through the 20th Century
Ninth-grade students continue the chronological study of world history. This study incorporates each of the seven standards. As students study historic eras, they consider the influence of geographic settings, cultural perspectives, economic systems and various forms of government. Students gain a deeper understanding of the role of citizens and continue to develop their research skills.
U.S. Studies from 1877 to the Present:
Post-Reconstruction Through the 20th Century
Tenth-grade students continue the chronological study of the history of the United States with emphasis on domestic affairs. This study incorporates each of the seven standards. As students study historic eras, they consider the geographic, cultural, economic and governmental changes that have occurred. Students develop a deeper understanding of their role as citizens and continue to expand their command of social studies skills and methods.
Political and Economic Decisions
The focus of 11th grade is an in-depth study of the U.S. government and economy. This study incorporates all seven standards. Students study the historic roots of the political system and how it has changed over time. They continue to develop an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as personal economic responsibilities.
Preparing for Citizenship
The 12th grade year serves as a capstone in which students apply the knowledge and skills that they have learned during previous grades. It focuses on current events and recent history while allowing students to choose topics of particular interest. Students demonstrate skills necessary for active, effective citizenship.
Ohio’s K-12 Social Studies Standards
Students use materials drawn from the diversity of human experience to analyze and interpret significant events, patterns and themes in the history of Ohio, the United States and the world.
People in Societies
Students use knowledge of perspectives, practices and products of cultural, ethnic and social groups to analyze the impact of their commonality and diversity within local, national, regional and global settings.
Students use knowledge of geographic locations, patterns and processes to show the interrelationship between the physical environment and human activity, and to explain the interactions that occur in an increasingly interdependent world.
Students use economic reasoning skills and knowledge of major economic concepts, issues and systems in order to make informed choices as producers, consumers, savers, investors, workers and citizens in an interdependent world.
Students use knowledge of the purposes, structures and processes of political systems at the local, state, national and international levels to understand that people create systems of government as structures of power and authority to provide order, maintain stability and promote the general welfare.
Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities
Students use knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in order to examine and evaluate civic ideals and to participate in community life and the American democratic system.
Social Studies Skills and Methods
Students collect, organize, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources to draw logical conclusions. Students communicate this information using appropriate social studies terminology in oral, written or multimedia form and apply what they have learned to societal issues in simulated or real-world settings.
National Council for the Social Studies
The ten themes that form the framework of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) social studies standards are:
The study of culture prepares students to ask and answer questions such as: What are the common characteristics of different cultures? How do belief systems, such as religion or political ideals, influence other parts of the culture? How does the culture change to accommodate different ideas and beliefs? What does language tell us about the culture?
II. Time, Continuity and Change
Human beings seek to understand their historical roots and to locate themselves in time. Knowing how to read and reconstruct the past allows one to develop a historical perspective and to answer questions such as: Who am I? What happened in the past? How am I connected to those in the past? How has the world changed and how might it change in the future? Why does our personal sense of relatedness to the past change?
III. People, Places and Environments
The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world beyond their personal locations. Students need the knowledge, skills and understanding to ask and answer questions such as: Where are things located? Why are they located where they are? What do we mean by region? How do landforms change? What implications do these changes have for people?
IV. Individual Development and Identity
Personal identity is shaped by one’s culture, by groups, and by institutional influences. Students should consider such questions as: How do people learn? Why do people behave as they do? What influences how people learn, perceive and grow? How do people meet their basic needs in a variety of contexts? How do individuals develop from youth to adulthood?
V. Individuals, Groups and Institutions
Institutions such as schools, churches, families, government agencies and the courts play an integral role in people’s lives. It is important that students learn how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they influence individuals and culture, and how they are maintained or changed.
Students may address such questions as: What is the role of institutions in this and other societies? How am I influenced by institutions? How do institutions change? What is my role in institutional change?
VI. Power, Authority and Governance
Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society and other parts of the world is essential for developing civic competence. In exploring this theme, students confront questions such as: What is power? What forms does it take? Who holds it? How is it gained, used and justified? What is legitimate authority? How are governments created, structured, maintained and changed? How can individual rights be protected within the context of majority rule?
VII. Production, Distribution and Consumption
Because people have wants that often exceed the resources available to them, a variety of ways have evolved to answer such questions as: What is to be produced? How is production to be organized? How are goods and services to be distributed? What is the most effective allocation of the factors of production (land, labor, capital, and management)?
VIII. Science, Technology and Society
Modern life as we know it would be impossible without technology and the science that supports it. But technology brings with it many questions: Is new technology always better than old? What can we learn from the past about how new technologies result in broader social change, some of which is unanticipated? How can we cope with the ever-increasing pace of change? How can we manage technology so that the greatest number of people benefit from it? How can we preserve our fundamental values and beliefs in the midst of technological change?
IX. Global Connections
The realities of global interdependence require understanding the increasingly important and diverse global connections among world societies and the frequent tension between national interests and global priorities. Students will need to be able to address such international issues as health care, the environment, human rights, economic competition and interdependence, age-old ethic enmities, and political and military alliances.
X. Civic Ideals and Practices
An understanding of civic ideals and practices of citizenship is critical to full participation in society and is a central purpose of the social studies. Students confront such questions as: What is civic participation and how can I be involved? How has the meaning of citizenship evolved? What is the balance between rights and responsibilities? What is the role of the citizen in the community and the nation, and as a member of the world community? How can I make a positive difference?
It should be noted that Ohio’s social studies skills and methods standard does not specify content to be taught. However, the process/thinking skills that are to be achieved in the benchmarks and indicators can be taught through all 10 of the NCSS standards and the other six Ohio social studies content standards.
It should also be noted that the following four documents were consulted in the writing and of Ohio’s social studies content standards:
National Standards for History National Center for History in the Schools
University of California, Los Angeles
1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 927
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1588
www.sscnet.ucla.edu/nchs/ Geography for Life
National Geographic Society
P.O. Box 1640
Washington, D.C. 20013-1640
www.nationalgeographic.com/ National Standards for Civics and Government
Center for Civic Education
5146 Douglas Fir Road
Calabasas, CA 91302-1467
www.civiced.org/ Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics