Common Core State Standards
and History Education
What exactly are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and where did they come from?
The Common Core State Standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association as a state-based initiative focusing on curricula in English Language Arts and Mathematics. To date, 45 states have adopted CCSS. Each participating state is now responsible for designing and implementing specific curriculum around CCSS. Check out http://www.corestandards.org/ to learn more.
How is history education addressed by these standards?
The ELA anchor standards are built around a commitment to deep reading, effective writing, and critical, reflective thinking, coupled with a greatly increased focus on informational, non-fiction texts. These are school/career/life skills that apply to all disciplines, including history. In fact, the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts also include Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. The Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies focuses on deep and critical, discipline-specific reading, writing, and thinking at grades 6-12. Beyond offering some examples appropriate to grade-level bands, the Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies do not include content knowledge requirements or standards. These remain under the control of states and districts.
How will the course(s) I teach be affected by my state's participation in this initiative?
With respect to history education, the overall CCSS do not propose a sequence of courses or subject requirements. The Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies do, however, outline skills-based standards for reading and writing in broad subject fields. State/district history curricula might be amended to reflect these standards. Contact your local curriculum coordinator to find out how these changes will affect you.
Where should I turn for assistance in refining my professional skills, in order to address the Literacy Standards in history classes?
The National Council for History Education has been, for more than twenty years, a leader in history education and professional development for history teachers at all grade levels. We have experts in CCSS who can help you in developing effective teaching strategies to meet the needs of your students. Contact Justin Jakovac, NCHE Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Learn More about NCHE Common Core Professional Development Opportunities >>