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Social Studies

The State Board of Education has the authority to adopt academic standards for each subject area in grades K-12.

The state board adopted the current state social studies standards in July 2013. The current social studies standards have recently been through the review process and updated standards will be presented to the State Board of Education for final read in July 2017. If approved, the new social studies standards will be implemented in the 2019-20 school year.

Note: The State Board of Education sets the requirements for high school graduation (see the High School Policy 2.103). Per SBE Rule, students must achieve three high school level units of social studies in order to graduate with a high school diploma. Course content must include United States History and Geography, World History and Geography, Economics, and Government.

Current K-8 Standards

Select the grade level to view a description of the course and the standards adopted by the state board.

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Social Studies Strands

The standards for social studies are divided into six content strands:

  • C: Culture
  • E: Economics
  • G: Geography
  • H: History
  • P: Politics, Government, and/or Civics
  • T: Tennessee History

Example coding for social studies standards:

7.2

  • 7 means grade level
  • 2 means standard number

Current High School Standards (Required & Elective)

Select the grade level to view a description of the course and the standards adopted by the state board.

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Advanced Placement

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Writing Rubric

The Tennessee writing rubrics are designed to score the student responses from the writing portion of the TNReady assessment. Each rubric is aligned to the appropriate grade-level standards. Though the rubrics are not explicitly designed to be used as instructional resources, the department provides the writing rubrics in advance so that educators can prepare students for the writing portion of the TNReady assessment.

Instructional Materials

To support Social Studies instruction in Tennessee, the department has created a series of correlation documents showing the links between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies. They are intended to serve as reference documents as LEAs prepare for the implementation of the revised standards in 2019. Please note that high school elective courses do not have correlation documents.

To support social studies instruction in Tennessee and in response to feedback from educators over gaps between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies, the department has created sample gap unit plans for grades 3 and 4.

Content students cover in grade 4 in the current standards (2014) will shift to grade 3 in the revised standards (2019), and content students cover in grade 5 in the current standards (2014) will shift to grade 4 in the revised standards (2019). These shifts will cause one-time content gaps for students who are in grades 3 and 4 during the 2018-19 school year.

To ensure that students cover this material, the department has developed a series of six sample unit plans that focus specifically on this content. The resources found in each of these unit plans serve as a model to reference as educators begin designing units and becoming more familiar with the revised standards. These lessons are intended to be used at the end of the 2018-19 school year to cover one-time content gaps some students will experience as a result of the shifts in standards.

To address differences between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies, the department has created instructional guides for grades 3 and 4. The resources found in these instructional guides are intended to support instruction and to serve as reference materials as educators design units and become more familiar with the revised standards and any new content. These guides (and resources) are only suggestions; teachers should use their own judgment as to which resources they should employ for their students and which should be modified for their classroom.