Curriculum framework 2008 Virginia Studies

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istory and Social Science Standards of Learning


Virginia Studies

Board of Education

Commonwealth of Virginia

Copyright © 2008

by the

Virginia Department of Education

P. O. Box 2120

Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120
All rights reserved. Reproduction of these materials for instructional purposes in public school classrooms in Virginia is permitted.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction

Patricia I. Wright

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

Linda M. Wallinger

Office of Elementary Instructional Services

Mark R. Allan, Director

Betsy S. Barton, History and Social Science Specialist
Office of Middle and High School Instructional Services

Felicia D. Dyke, Director

Beverly M. Thurston, History and Social Science Coordinator

Edited by the CTE Resource Center


The Virginia Department of Education does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in employment or in its educational programs or services.


The History and Social Science Standards of Learning Curriculum Framework 2008, approved by the Board of Education on July 17, 2008, is a companion document to the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools. The Curriculum Framework amplifies the Standards of Learning by defining the content understandings, knowledge, and skills that are measured by the Standards of Learning assessments. The Curriculum Framework provides additional guidance to school divisions and their teachers as they develop an instructional program appropriate for their students. It assists teachers in their lesson planning by identifying the essential content understandings, knowledge, and intellectual skills that should be the focus of instruction for each standard. Hence, the framework delineates with greater specificity the content that all teachers should teach and all students should learn.

The Curriculum Framework consists of at least one framework page for every Standard of Learning. Each of these pages is divided into four columns, as described below:
Essential Understandings

This column includes the fundamental background information necessary for answering the essential questions and acquiring the essential knowledge. Teachers should use these understandings as a basis for lesson planning.

Essential Questions

In this column are found questions that teachers may use to stimulate student thinking and classroom discussion. The questions are based on the standard and the essential understandings, but may use different vocabulary and may go beyond them.

Essential Knowledge

This column delineates the key content facts, concepts, and ideas that students should grasp in order to demonstrate understanding of the standard. This information is not meant to be exhaustive or a limitation on what is taught in the classroom. Rather, it is meant to be the principal knowledge defining the standard.

Essential Skills

This column enumerates the fundamental intellectual abilities that students should have—what they should be able to do—to be successful in accomplishing historical and geographical analysis and achieving responsible citizenship.

The Curriculum Framework serves as a guide for Standards of Learning assessment development; however, assessment items may not and should not be verbatim reflections of the information presented in the Curriculum Framework.

STANDARD VS.1a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i

The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible citizenship, including the ability to

a) identify and interpret artifacts and primary and secondary source documents to understand events in history;

b) determine cause-and-effect relationships;

c) compare and contrast historical events;

d) draw conclusions and make generalizations;

e) make connections between past and present;

f) sequence events in Virginia history;

g) interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives;

h) evaluate and discuss issues orally and in writing;

i) analyze and interpret maps to explain relationships among landforms, water features, climatic characteristics, and historical events.
The skills identified in standard VS.1a–i are cited, as applicable, in the “Essential Skills” column of each chart for Virginia Studies, with the exception of skill “h.” Students should have opportunities to practice speaking and writing, but these skills will not be assessed on the Standards of Learning test. All other skills listed above will be assessed on the Standards of Learning test. Teachers should incorporate these skills into instruction throughout the year.


The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by

a) locating Virginia and its bordering states on maps of the United States.

Essential Understandings

Essential Questions

Essential Knowledge

Essential Skills

Locations of places can be described in relative terms.

What are some ways that relative location can be described?

What large bodies of water border Virginia?
What states border Virginia?

Relative location may be described by using terms that show connections between two places, such as next to, near, and bordering.

Bordering bodies of water

  • Atlantic Ocean

  • Chesapeake Bay

Bordering states

  • Maryland

  • West Virginia

  • Kentucky

  • Tennessee

  • North Carolina

Analyze and interpret maps to explain relationships among landforms and water features. (VS.1i)

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