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New KS history / government standards: Not your father’s standards

I’ve spent today sitting with a small group of social studies studs to finalize the templates for the new Kansas social studies standards. We’ve been working to create rough drafts for 4th grade social studies, 7th grade Kansas history, 8th grade US history, and high school world history.

The process has been incredibly interesting. We’re in a place right now with an opportunity to do some very cool things and it’s been fun thinking and writing and arguing and re-thinking about all of this. The new standards are designed to focus on historical thinking skills, not historical content. We’ve struggled, and continue to struggle, with how to develop a document that clearly defines what we want. And with how to measure it.

This means we won’t have specific indicators that will be tested with a multiple choice question test. We won’t have a required list of historical content. What we do have is a list of required content specific “doing” skills. That’s the cool part. The pendulum is swinging away from drill and kill back towards quality history instruction.

But swinging back will be uncomfortable. So we’ve created an instructional narrative and content outline that provides guidance for the creation of instructional units.

We think we’re very close.

I’ve attached three PDFs below. The first is the document introduction and the second is the actual standards. This is what will be measured by the state assessment. The third document is the instructional narrative and content outline intended to provide grade level instructional suggestions.

8th Grade Narrative and Content Outline

We’re getting to the point where a lot of changes will be difficult. I’m curious what people are thinking. Are we still on the right track?

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sue Snodgrass #

    Just read the new Kansas standards and 8th grade course of study you and your group have developed! It is very well organized and very easy to follow. The narrative is well done, it really seems to guide social studies teachers through the “big picture” ideas, not just the nitty gritty of facts. I think it will be very user friendly, even for new teachers just getting started. I will continue to look for updates on your site!
    Thank you and your team for all your work!
    Sue Snodgrass

    May 10, 2012
    • glennw #


      Thanks for writing! We’re excited about how the document might be used to support historical thinking in the classroom. Your comments about ease of use are very helpful – we want it to be as practical as possible.


      May 12, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kansas State Social Studies Standards in home stretch « History Tech
  2. Week 3: History Tech Blog | A Flash to the Past and Back

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