Curriculum Review



Use of the NCSS Social Studies Standards Course of Study Framework:
Grades 6-12


Curriculum Review Project > Recommendations > Framework> Middle School > Upper School



The NCSS Social Studies Standard Course of Study Framework identifies what students are expected to know and be able to do as a result of a balanced and effective social studies program in grades 6 - 12. These standards provide focus and direction for instructional design. It allows for flexibility and creativity in instructional delivery.

Purpose of the Standards

These components provide a foundation and outline the scope of the K-12 social studies program; however, this framework is NOT intended to be a stand-alone guide for instruction. Rather, these standards define the curriculum in very broad terms and are designed as starting points for planning purposes. The standards are intended to help teachers as they plan and organize for instruction, and to assist teachers in fully implementing a comprehensive social science curriculum.

In order for teachers to have a context for their grade or course, it is essential that teachers meet at both the department and grade level to discuss specific applications of the framework as they apply to their courses, and to set general standards within each grade level.  Any attempts to use the goals and objectives in isolation may result in a fragmented approach to instructional design and delivery.

With that in mind, it is important to remember that the integrity of departmental content and skills goals can be maintained while variations are made to accommodate students' needs, individual instructional approaches, and scheduling decisions.  In fact, individual teachers should be encouraged to vary the emphasis and specific teaching tools used within each grade level framework in order to achieve the best results.  However, in all cases serious consideration should be given to the impact of these changes on subsequent courses.

CautionThe school and departmental curriculum goals and objectives should provide the scope of a grade or course, NOT the content of a textbook or other instructional resource such as this framework.

Essential Components

Before beginning instructional planning, all teachers regardless of grade or course assignment, need to understand the following components:

Curriculum Articulation

It is absolutely essential that all teachers to have a basic understanding of the content that precedes and follows their grade or course. Such an understanding is necessary in order for them to be able to convey the interconnective and interdisciplinary nature of the social science curriculum to students, and to adequate prepare students for success at every level of the social sciences.

Middle School Level

The Middle school level (grades 6 - 8) program is characterized as follows:

Upper School

The secondary level program is characterized as follows: