Social Studies

Good day,

Though spring is always awaited with hopeful anticipation, this year the promise of sunshine, fresh air and new beginnings seems especially compelling. And, no one desires spring 2022 more than educators.  Playground supervision and even bus duty beckon, as we ponder the possibilities spring may hold.

Likewise, there are numerous spring and summer professional opportunities available to Missouri social studies educators. 

  • The National Endowment for the Humanities offers summer institutes and workshops for K-12 teachers. A stipend in included to defray costs. Applications are due March 1, 2022. 
    This summer’s offerings include:
    • Courting Liberty: Slavery and Equality Under the Constitution, 1770-1870—Atlanta, GA  and Charleston, SC
    • Teaching the History and Culture of Vast Early America-Williamsburg, VA
    • World War I in the Middle East-KC, MO
    • Pandemics in History and Literature-Fayetteville, AR
    • Art and Culture in South Asian History-San Diego, CA
    • Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture-Brunswick, ME                                                                                            
      For more information:
  • If you teach world history, you might also be interested in the Dar al Islam Summer institute. For thirty years, this organization has hosted a residential Teachers’ Institute in beautiful Abiquiu, New Mexico. This year’s program is June 19-July 2, 2022. Taught by University professors, the institute focuses on history, Islamic faith and practices and contemporary issues. Books and materials, on-site room and board, and transportation to and from Albuquerque are included. Participants pay only their roundtrip travel expenses to New Mexico.
    For more information:
  • If you teach American history, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is available to K-12 educators whose schools participate in the Affiliate School Program. Their programs offer access to renowned scholars, discussion with skilled master teachers and interaction with colleagues from around the country. Topics for 2021 included, The Making of America: Colonial Era to the Reconstruction and a Council of Foreign Relations symposium.
    For more information:
  • If you teach about the Holocaust or would just like to learn more, consider attending The Belfer National Conference for Educators. Designed to support meaningful teaching about the Holocaust, this conference is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s flagship event for educators across the country.  The conference invites partipants to engage in current historical research and instructional best practices. The free 3-day virtual conference will be held from Monday June 27-Wednesday June 29, 2022. For more information, click here.
  • If you teach almost any social studies class, an exploration of law and justice is part of your work. The Supreme Court of Missouri Committee on Civic Education offers wide range of resources, including speakers on diverse topics including A Constitution that Still Works: The Fourth Amendment to Cell Phones and The Case of the Missing Recess. These free resources and many others are available through their website:
  • Finally, please note: the Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award deadline has been extended to March 7, 2022, in response to fluctuations in school calendars during January and February. Each high school in Missouri may nominate a student to be recognized for academic achievement, civic participation, and school and community service. Consider a student who embodies the values your school represents and nominate that deserving young person for recognition. 

For additional information and an application:

Our mission at DESE is to provide access to opportunity for Missouri students and educators. My goal is to serve and support you in the important work you do educating our children to become capable, contributing citizens. 


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

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

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.

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

Veterans National Education Program

This on-line resource includes free resources tied to modern history, culture, geography and current events. For more information 

Professional Development Series Resources




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


To Be Updated


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



Personal Finance

Personal Finance

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-
    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

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
Other Resources

Other Resources

Item Specifications

Item Specifications

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)