The three 3 structural changes in the k 12 social studies essential standards
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The Three (3) Structural Changes In The K-12 Social Studies Essential Standards. Pre-Assessment. What are the critical changes in how the new social studies essential standards have been written?. Begin with the basics:.

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The Three (3) Structural Changes In The K-12 Social Studies Essential Standards

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The Three (3) Structural Changes In The K-12 Social Studies Essential Standards


  • What are the critical changes in how the new social studies essential standards have been written?

Begin with the basics:

When you go back to your LEA or Charter School to start organizing how you plan to roll out your initial training with social studies teachers there are some basic components that you want to make sure everyone understands …

  • The content changes (where content has changed from one grade to another or where content has been added to a course or taken away)

  • The changes in the organizational structure of the standards

    • Use of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

    • Use of Conceptual Strands

    • Shift to a Conceptual focus

Change #1The New Social Studies Essential Standards Are Written Using The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Provides the cognitive framework used for all of the North Carolina Essential Standards

  • Provides common language for all curriculum areas

  • Use of one verb in a standard/objective

Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy uses the 25 verbs below.

  • Do not add to the 25 verbs

  • When you begin adding the specificity needed in identifying the cognitive behavior and use of a common language loses its fidelity.

Slide Adapted from Arter, Judy, Jan Chappuis, Stephen Chappuis, and Richard Stiggins. Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right-Using It Well. Educational Testing Service, 2006.

  • This two dimensional table is used to help determine the type of knowledge and targeted cognitive behavior of a standard.

  • The knowledge dimension tells you the type of knowledge that the standard wants the student to acquire.

  • The cognitive dimension tells you the verb which, in turn, informs you of what the student is supposed to do with the type of learning.

  • The majority of the total K-12 clarifying objectives have been written to the understand level of RBT and at a level of conceptual knowledge.

Change #2The New Social Studies Essential Standards Are Organized Around Five (5) Conceptual Strands

  • In order to develop fewer standards, which was the charge from the NC State Board of Education, NC SS consolidated the 10 national thematic strands 5 conceptual strands.

  • The strands provide a framework by which to organize concepts, generalizations and critical content

    that are important for understanding

    the disciplines of social studies.

National Thematic Strands

Click to see the consolidation of the 10 national strands into the 5 conceptual strands.

Global Connections

Time, Continuity & Change


Groups & Institutions


Groups & Institutions

Science, Technology & Society

People, Places & Environments

Global Connections

Global Connections

Civic Ideals & Practices


Power, Authority & Governance

Individual Development & Identity

Global Connections

Production, Distribution & Consumption

Global Connections

Change # 3The New Social Studies Essential Standards Are Written To A Conceptual Framework

  • The old standards and curriculum are topic-based and are written to focus primarily on facts.

  • The new conceptually-written standards and curriculum are broadly stated and focus on concepts and transferable ideas.

  • The topics and facts still have to be taught; however, the new essential standards are designed to move beyond the topics and facts to focus on conceptual ideas andgeneralizations that transfer.

Remember Concepts Have The Following Attributes

  • Timeless

  • Universal

  • Transferable

  • Abstract and broad

  • Examples share common attributes

  • Represented by 1-2 words

Concepts Are…

Practice Activity: Concept vs. Topic?Keeping in mind the attributes on the previous slide decide if these words are concepts or topics.


Manifest Destiny

Computer Age

Great Depression


Supply and Demand



Civil War

Environment C

Manifest Destiny T

Computer Age T

Great Depression T


Supply and Demand C

Movement C

System C

Civil War C

Traditional Standards and Curriculum…

have beentopic-based and focused mostlyon the facts

History: Colonial Era, Lost Colony American Revolution,American Civil War

Cultural Geography: South America and Europe, Swahili, Aborigines, Buddhism

Civics & Economics: American Revolution, U.S. capitalism, Brown vs. Board of Education, mercantilism

Conceptual Standards and Curriculum… are concept-based andfocusedon “transferable ideas”

History: continuity and change, leadership, revolution, war, conflict

Cultural Geography: climate change, location, resources, environmental challenges, human migration, cultural development

Civics & Economics: scarcity, justice, freedom, authority, trade

Q. Where are the facts?A. The facts are still there.

Teacher Note:

“Concept-based instruction first requires that the teacher has made the mental shift from teaching to facts alone, to teaching to conceptual ideas using the facts as a supporting tool.”

The facts are a supportive tool…




Factual Content

Erickson, H.L. (2007). Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom. p.98.


Q. What are the critical changes in how the new social studies essential standards have been written?


  • Written using RBT (Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy)

  • Organized around 5 conceptual strands

    • History

    • Geography & Environmental Literacy

    • Economics & PFL

    • Civics & Government

    • Culture

      • Culture

  • Written to a Conceptual Framework (Based on the work of Lynn Erickson and Concept Based Curriculum & Instruction)

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