Frequently Asked Questions
Standards and NYS K-12 Framework
What are Learning Standards?
Learning Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills, and understandings that individuals habitually demonstrate over time as a consequence of instruction and experience.
What are the Learning Standards for Social Studies?
New York State has five specific content area standards for social studies, which are indicators of what students should learn and be able to do upon completion of the K-12 Social Studies program:
Standard 1: History of the United States and New York
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.
Standard 2: World History
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.
Standard 3: Geography
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live—local, national, and global—including the distribution of people, places, and environments over Earth’s surface.
Standard 4: Economics
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of how the United States and other societies develop economic systems and associated institutions to allocate scarce resources, how major decision-making units function in the United States and other national economies, and how an economy solves the scarcity problem through market and nonmarket mechanisms.
Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental systems of the United States and other nations; the United States Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.
What is the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework?
The Framework is the guide for local curriculum development in social studies. It fuses the New York State Learning Standards with social studies practices and content key ideas, conceptual understandings and content specifications. See https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-k-12-social-studies-framework
What are Social Studies Practices?
The Social Studies Practices represent the social science and historical thinking skills that students should develop throughout their K-12 education in order to be prepared for civic participation, college, and careers. The Practices were created based on the existing New York State Social Studies Learning Standards, the National Geography Standards, the historical thinking skills articulated within the new Advanced Placement World History Curriculum Framework, the Disciplinary Tools of Dimension 2 of the C3 Framework, National Council for the Social Studies Standards, and Habits of the Mind published by the National Council for History Education. Social Studies Practices are identified for each of the grades K-8, and then for the high school, and are found in the Framework documents. These practices are organized under the following headings:
1) Gathering, Interpreting and Using Evidence
2) Chronological Reasoning and Causation
3) Comparison and Contextualization
4) Geographic Reasoning
5) Economics and Economic Systems
6) Civic Participation
What are Key Ideas?
Key Ideas are aligned to the standards and represent enduring understandings that should be the focus of teaching and learning for each grade. Key Ideas are designed to address larger social studies perspectives, trends, and issues.
What are Conceptual Understandings?
Conceptual Understandings are more specific statements designed to support each Key Idea. Each Key Idea is comprised of approximately two to seven conceptual understandings that are designed to support the larger Key Idea. Together, the Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings represent the body of Social Studies concepts that should be the focus of teaching and learning.
What are Content Specifications?
Content specifications, crafted as “Students will…” statements, add further clarity and depth to the Conceptual Understanding by articulating specific content that can be taught to illuminate the Conceptual Understanding.
What social studies textbooks or instructional materials would
New York is a “non-adoption” state. The New York State Education Department cannot recommend a particular textbook, piece of software, instructional resource, etc. School districts have the flexibility and responsibility to identify appropriate content and resources to implement instruction aligned to the NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework.
What is the Social Studies Field Guide?
This document was written to help illustrate the Instructional Shifts that help to implement the NYS K-12 Framework. It explains these shifts and then uses the example of Reconstruction to illustrate how these shifts can be implemented. It can be found at https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-k-12-social-studies-field-guide
What is the Resource Toolkit?
The Resource Toolkit is a series of Inquiries, developed by New York State teachers, aligned to the Framework and using the Inquiry Design Model (IDM). IDM embraces the Inquiry Arc, found in the College, Career and Civic Life Framework, published by the National Council for the Social Studies (2013). See http://www.socialstudies.org/c3
What is an Inquiry?
Each Inquiry is more than a single lesson, but less than a unit. It may address an entire key idea or a portion of the key idea. An Inquiry can be adapted and modified by teachers; although they are identified by grade level, sources may be appropriate for use in other grades.
For information about the Resource Toolkit see: https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-k-12-social-studies-resource-toolkit and http://www.c3teachers.org/new-york-hub/
Social Studies Instruction and Assessment
What are the regulations for social studies instruction?
All students in New York State are required to receive social studies instruction at every grade level, prekindergarten – grade 12. According to the Part 100 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to General Education & Diploma Requirements this requirement includes:
- Prekindergarten and Kindergarten: instruction in the content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts, including dance, music, theatre and visual arts; that is designed to facilitate student attainment of the State learning standards and is aligned with the instructional program in the early elementary grades. See Part 100.3(a)(3)(iii)
- Grades 1 – 4: all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State elementary learning standards in social studies, including geography and United States history. See Part 100.3(b)(1) (iii)
- Grades 5 – 6: all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State intermediate learning standards in the seven general curriculum areas: social studies, including geography and United States history. See Part 100.4(b)(1)(iii)
- Grades 7 – 8: all students shall be provided instruction designed to enable them to achieve, by the end of grade eight, State intermediate learning standards through: social studies, two units of study. See Part 100.4(c)(1)(ii)
- High School: All students first entering grade nine in September 2016 and thereafter shall earn four units of credit in social studies. Such requirement shall include:
- one unit of credit in American history;
- one half unit of credit in participation in government and one half unit of credit in economics; and
- two units of credit in global history and geography; or
- the equivalent of clauses (a), (b) and/or (c) of this subparagraph, as approved by the local public school superintendent or his or her designee or by the chief administrative officer of a registered nonpublic high school. See Part 100.5(a)(6)(ii).
What other requirements are in New York State Education Law related to social studies education?
Periodically, the New York State Legislature passes laws that have a direct impact on social studies curriculum and instruction. These laws are summarized in the following Education Law:
ARTICLE 17–INSTRUCTION IN CERTAIN SUBJECTS
Section 801. Courses of instruction in patriotism and citizenship and in certain historic documents.
Section 801a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education.
Section 802. Instruction relating to the flag; holidays.
Section 802a. Instruction relating to general elections.
Which Regents Exams in Social Studies must a student pass to receive a high school diploma?
Regents Exams are offered in Global History and Geography and United States History and Government. In order to receive a high school diploma, a student must pass 5 Regents Exams. The student MUST pass one Regents Exam in English, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies or department-approved alternative examinations. Additionally, the student must pass an additional Regents Exam or approved Pathways Assessment.
For information about General Education and Diploma Requirements see: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/gradreq/intro.html
For information about Multiple Pathways see: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/multiple-pathways/
For information about Department-Approved Alternative examination see: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/hsgen/archive/list.pdf
For information about Regents Exams in Social Studies see: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/ss/home.html
Where can I find information about the new Regents Exam aligned to the NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework?
Information about the new Regents Exam can be found at: https://www.engageny.org/resource/regents-exam-global-history-and-geography-ii. This provides information about the test development and some prototype items.
Where can I find information about the time table for implementation of the new Exam?
Details about the transition can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/ss/hs/ghg-faqtransitiontimeline.pdf
Where can I find the "old" Core Curriculum and Resource Guide?
This information is found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/ssrg.html . Core Part 2 contains Global History and Geography and United States History and Government.
I would like to be involved in test development. How to I apply?
In order to become involved in test development for either Regents Exams or New York State Teacher Certification Exams, you must complete the online application found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/teacher/home.html#process
Other Common Questions
Can a school replace the Participation in Government and Economics
courses with either Advanced Placement (AP) Government or AP Economics
No single AP course can adequately address the focus and content
requirements for both courses. AP courses in government may be
an equivalent alternative to the Participation in Government core
curriculum; AP courses in economics may be an equivalent alternative
to the Economics, The Enterprise System, and Finance core curriculum.
Equivalency is approved by the local public school superintendent
or his or her designee or by the chief administrative officer of
a registered nonpublic high school.
Which students may be admitted to January Social Studies Regents
All students must complete their course of study before they are entitled to take a social studies Regents examination. Therefore, students who are completing their course of study in January or who have completed the course, albeit unsuccessfully, in a previous school year may take a social studies Regents examination in January. Schools may not administer January Regents Examinations to classes of students who are enrolled in a full year social studies course of study in Global History and Geography or U.S. History and Government.
The rules governing this issue are provided in Section One of the School Administrator’s Manual (2015 edition) for the secondary-level testing programs.
The only circumstance in which schools are permitted to administer Regents examinations to students who have not completed the corresponding course of study is in the context of awarding “credit by examination,” as provided in Part 100.5(d)(1) of Commissioner’s Regulations.
Can 8th grade students take the United States History and Government Regents Exam?
The Regents Exam in the United States History and Government is aligned to the high school course of study: United States History and Government. The middle level course of study is United States and New York State History. These are two distinct courses, and completion of the two-year middle level course is NOT considered course completion to be admitted to a Regents Exam.
Additionally, the Regents Exam is designed for high school students, and the corresponding field tests which help determine final scores on essay questions are administered to high school students. The writing expectations at this level include the ability to make knowledgeable claims using the most relevant evidence.
Whom do I contact for more information about social studies at
the State Education Department?
Please contact the Associates listed below:
Office of Curriculum and Instruction: (518) 474-5922
Patricia Polan (Patricia.Polan@nysed.gov)
Office of State Assessment: (518) 474-5900
Donna Merlau (Donna.Merlau@nysed.gov)
Greg Wilsey (Gregory.Wilsey@nysed.gov)