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Social Studies

Good day Missouri Social Studies educators,

Like so many other previously seemingly routine tasks, even drafting a back-to school message is proving a bit more complex this August. It is not a typical year and these are not typical times for schools and school communities, so the usual adages about journeys, adventures and paths seem painfully inadequate.

For many of us, it is difficult to know just when and where to begin thinking about schools and/or school buildings re-opening, plus how to plan for teaching and learning as the uncertainties of resources, time and, sadly, even life, seem to change daily.    

And yet, as social studies educators, we know people have faced greater challenges throughout history. And, they did it with little scientific understanding, meager resources, a dearth of accurate information and absent timely communication.

Comparatively, we have vast assets of knowledge, experience and human capital to use as we re-open our schools, restructure our institutions and rebuild our communities. Here at DESE, it is our responsibility to support you as you work with Missouri students and their families. We have been focused over the past months on providing useful, accurate and reliable information as you seek to make informed decisions regarding teaching and learning in our Missouri schools.

I want to call your attention to two sets of rich resources that can provide guidance for the many important decisions you will make in the coming days. 

  1. In June, 100+ Missouri educators, including three representatives from the Missouri Council for the Social Studies, worked to craft recommendations pertinent to school re-opening. You can access those recommendations as well as a wealth of relevant resources for teaching and learning at: https://dese.mo.gov/college-career-readiness/curriculum/task-force-learning-acceleration
  2. In July, DESE sponsored a week of virtual Professional Learning, including three days focused on returning-to-learn ideals for social studies, science, ELA and ELD.  Recordings and materials from those sessions can be found though the hub at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mONPqxtKjFR4CO9BteB6ggGciPwzVCQHOwA2m7Tkn10/edit

Use your specific educator lens-- teacher, curriculum specialist, instructional coach, administrator or social studies friend—to explore these multi-leveled assets. They contain a wealth of ideas generated by educators across our state and nation. I am confident you will find some tools and strategies to address the many challenges posed by your current circumstance.  

As we work through this time together, the mindset of ‘challenge as opportunity’ remains paramount in our work and in our lives. Please feel free to reach out with thoughts, questions or ideas in the coming days. I want to support you and your mission.

Dixie Johnson Grupe​
Director, Social Studies
Office of College and Career Readiness
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Social Studies Missouri Learning Standards

Current Standards

The standards, approved on April 19, 2016 are for implementation beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year. They will be assessed in Government and HS American History (optional) EOC assessments in a census field test in 2018-2019 and then in operational form beginning in 2019-2020.

Social Studies - K-5: K-5 PDF | K-5 Word
Social Studies - 6-12: 6-12 PDF | 6-12 Word
Social Studies - K-12: K-12 Excel (Updated 02.15.19) 


*Updated 5.30.18
K-5 | MS American History | MS World Geography | MS World History | HS American Government. | HS American History | HS World History 

Teacher View

These are the new Missouri Learning Standards K-12 Expectations for Social Studies, but the alternative layout includes details and resources classroom teachers may find helpful. 

Additional Resources

Professional Development Opportunities​

Missouri Council for History Education

Build your own Professional Development: Sponsored by Missouri Council for History Education. The Missouri Humanities Council has partnered with MOCHE to sponsor a Visiting Scholars Program.  They will line up a team of experts (subject and curriculum development) to meet with your faculty and either talk about improving history education overall and/or how to improve teaching about specific topic areas your faculty suggests. They will bring in university researchers, authors, and seasoned teachers to help your faculty start the year with ideas to energize their classrooms; all at no cost to your district. Interested school districts’ in-service coordinator should contact Flannery Burke, Visiting Scholars Coordinator to set a date. fburke@slu.edu

US Holocaust Memorial Museum: History Unfolded

US Holocaust Memorial Museum: History Unfolded is a new project at the museum asking “citizen historians” to help research the way the Holocaust was reported in local US newspapers from 1933 to 1945. For more information on this project:ushmm.org/history-unfolded

Veterans National Education Program

This on-line resource includes free resources tied to modern history, culture, geography and current events. For more information http://v-nep.org/global-awareness-map/ 

Professional Development Series Resources




All Social Studies awards are currently on hold due to the ongoing pandemic. Check back for more information.

Social Studies Colloquia


Colloquia Resources

Resources for Social Studies Colloquia

These historical resources are primary source documents and are thusly reflective of the time and place in which they were written. Take caution in the use of these texts. The documents may contain objectionable content and are not appropriate for all students.

  1. Songs from the Civil War - Confluence Spring/Summer 2011
  2. Worker Number 74530 - Kate L. Gregg - Confluence Fall 2009
  3. When Sleepy Hollow came to St. Louis - Irving - Confluence Spring/Summer 2015
  4. A Mean Race Report - CV May 1909
  5. Memoir of Faithful Slaves - CV August 1911 
  6. Monument to Faithful Slaves - CV March 1905
  7. Monument to Family Slaves - CV October 1914
  8. Monument to Slaves - CV September 1904
  9. Problem of the - CV January 1907
  10. Tribute to Our Faithful Slaves - CV July 1905
  11. Major Ewing's New Book Ad 1906
  12. Confederate History in Memorials - CV 
  13. Stowe Opposition - CV 1902
  14. Slave Monument Question - CV November 1904
  15. The Lost Cause Ideology and Civil War Memory at the Semicentennial: A Look at the Confederate Monument in St. Louis - Patrick Burkhardt - Confluence Spring/Summer 2011
  16. A Confederate Monument for St. Louis - CV
  17. St. Louis to Have Confederate Monument - CV January 1906


Economics Contests

National Economics Challenge


Economics Professional Development

Teacher Professional Development from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City


Teacher Resources and Professional Development from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



In 2016 the State Board of Education authorized the organization of a workgroup to evaluate, and possibly make recommendations to modify or revise Personal Finance learning standards.  These standards have not changed since 2006 when the State Board of Education revised graduation requirements for Missouri’s students to include one-half credit of Personal Finance.

The workgroup, comprised of Missouri educators and community leaders from across the state, began work in December 2016. After more than nine months of work, three public hearings, feedback from educators, higher education representatives and business community members and revisions based on that input, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education presented the standards for approval.

On September 19, 2017, the State Board of Education approved the new standards.  Districts should begin preparing local curriculum based on the new standards for implementation in the 2018-2019 school year. Development of a new online assessment tool aligned to the new standards will begin immediately for implementation in the 2019-2020 school year.

Resources for Personal Finance Curriculum Development    

  1. Personal Finance Course Level Expectations: approved September 2017
  2. Personal Finance Crosswalk: 2016 Standards/2017 Standards/Coding
  3. Personal Finance Course Level Expectation Excel 2017
  4. Personal Finance Competencies: 2006​
  5. Resources through the St. Louis Federal Reserve
    1. Go to- www.econlowdown.org
    2. Log in as a teacher
    3. Go to the resource gallery
    4. Select resource types and click on Syllabus
    5. Select Sample Personal Finance Syllabus with 2017 Missouri Standards to preview
    6. Create a classroom
    7. Add the syllabus to the classroom and assign desired items.
  6. Resources through the Kansas City Federal Reserve

​​        https://www.kansascityfed.org/education

Personal Finance Assessment:

  • As part of their curriculum, students in Missouri must earn a 1/2 credit in the area of Personal Finance.
  • Students who are receiving personal finance credit from embedded coursework: The online assessment is REQUIRED. The pass rate is the district’s decision.
  • Students attempting to “test out” and receive personal finance credit toward graduation: The online assessment is REQUIRED. Students must attain a score of 90% or higher to receive personal finance credit.
  • Students who are enrolled in a stand-alone personal finance course: The online assessment is OPTIONAL. Participation, however, permits the district to evaluate student achievement with an assessment fully aligned to state standards.
  • A student may take the Personal Finance Assessment ONE time per testing window.
  • The Personal Finance Assessment is provided at no cost to districts


In 2014 Missouri legislators passed House Bill 1490, mandating the development of the Missouri Learning Expectations. In April of 2016, these Missouri Learning Expectations were adopted by the State Board of Education. Groups of Missouri educators from across the state collaborated to create the documents necessary to support the implementation of these expectations.

One of the documents developed is the item specification document, which includes all Missouri grade level/course expectations arranged by domains/strands. It defines what could be measured on a variety of assessments. The document serves as the foundation of the assessment development process.

Although teachers may use this document to provide clarity to the expectations, these specifications are intended for summative, benchmark, and large‐scale assessment purposes.

Components of the item specifications include:

  • Expectation Unwrapped breaks down a list of clearly delineated content and skills the students are expected to know and be able to do upon mastery of the Expectation.
  • Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Ceiling indicates the highest level of cognitive complexity that would typically be assessed on a large scale assessment. The DOK ceiling is not intended to limit the complexity one might reach in classroom instruction.
  • Item Format indicates the types of items used in large scale assessment. For each expectation, the item format specifies the type best suited for that particular expectation.
  • Content Limits/Assessment Boundaries are parameters that item writers should consider when developing a large scale assessment. For example, some expectations should not be assessed on a large scale assessment but are better suited for local assessment.
  • Sample stems are examples that address the specific elements of each expectation and address varying DOK levels. The sample stems provided in this document are in no way intended to limit the depth and breadth of possible item stems. The expectation should be assessed in a variety of ways.
  • Text Types suggests a broad list of text types for both literary and informational expectations. This list is not intended to be all inclusive: other text types may be used in the classroom setting. The expectations were written in grade level bands; for this reason, the progression of the expectations relies upon increasing levels of quantitative and qualitative text complexities. (English Language Arts Only)
  • Calculator Designation indicates whether a calculator will be available for test questions written to a particular expectations on the large-scale assessment. (Mathematics Only)
  • Stimulus Materials defines types of stimulus materials that can be used in the item stems. (Science and Social Studies Only)
  • Possible Evidence indicates observable methods in which a student can show understanding of the expectations. (Science Only)

Social Studies Item Specifications (Updated 5.30.18)