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Social Studies

Happy June,

For many Missouri educators, summer is a time to reflect on the past school year, make plans for the upcoming year and, hopefully, find much-needed time to recharge one’s own batteries after a busy school year. 

At DESE, summer is a busy time too for social studies teaching and learning.  We are continuing EOC development work for Government and the optional American History assessments with teams of Missouri educators reviewing drafted questions for the 2018-2019 field test.   The new blueprints for both these EOC assessments will be posted by July 1, 2018.  You will be able to access that new blueprint at https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/asmt-eoc-blueprint.pdf.

At the bottom of this page, you will find updated resources developed by Missouri educators to support your own classroom, school or district work: an Excel spreadsheet of K-12 Missouri Learning Standards Expectations for Social Studies, crosswalks for previous to now-current K-12 Social Studies Expectations, K-12 Social Studies Item Specifications used in state-wide assessment development as well as applicable to local curriculum and assessment work, K-5 ELA/Social Studies Crosswalks, a Government/ELA Crosswalk and a Curriculum Framework document to support your local work.   If curriculum writing or assessment development are part of your summer plans, I hope these resources will be useful.

Here are some other summer opportunities, which may be of interest to you:

  • African Americans in World War I: June 24, 2018
    Many African Americans saw the war as an opportunity to redefine their U.S. citizenship and improve social, political and economic conditions. Join U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Bernard Harris for a discussion on African American officers’ training camps at Fort Des Moines and the complex challenges many soldiers faced abroad and at home during the war. Presented in observation of Juneteenth in partnership with the National Archives at Kansas and the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group. FREE with RSVP | Edward Jones Research Center  https://my.theworldwar.org/events?view=list&span=month&k=public%20programs 
  • Teaching Primary Sources in Missouri History: June 29, 2018. 
    Are you teaching from a textbook instead of taking advantage of the rich heritage of St. Louis and St. Charles areas? There are many new technology resources making primary sources available to teachers free! This one-day workshop focuses on using local resources and technology to teach primary sources in Missouri history in middle and high school classrooms. For more information and to register visit: https://tinyurl.com/LU-History 
  • Expanding Citizenship from Civil War to Civil Rights Educator WorkshopJuly 11-12, 2018
    Join Teaching with Primary Sources—MTSU and the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site for a special two-day workshop open to all educators. The workshop will take place at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site located 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, MO 63123. There is no cost to attend and lunch is provided on both days. To register, contact Julie Northrip at julie_northrip@nps.gov or 314-842-1867 ext. 223 
  • The Missouri Humanities Council is organizing a Bicentennial Penny Drive in spring 2018. Funds raised will be used for much needed conservation of important state founding documents in celebration of our state’s approaching 200thanniversary. Funds raised will also be used for creation and publication of the digital online Encyclopedia of Missouri History by the Missouri Historical Society.   For information on how you might participate contact Claire Bruntrager, Associate Director of Missouri Humanities Council at Claire@mohumanities.org 

As always, please feel free to reach out by phone or email, if we can help you in the important work you do.  Our goal is to support you in every way we can; that success begins with communication.


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

The Missouri Civics Education Initiative, passed by the Missouri legislature and signed by Governor Nixon in June 2016, requires any student entering 9th grade after July 1, 2017 to pass an examination on the provisions and principles of American civics.

The law states that the examination shall consist of 100 questions similar to the one hundred questions used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and may be included in any other examination that is administered on the provisions and principles of the United States and the State of Missouri, and in American history and American institutions.   The full text of the law can be found at http://www.senate.mo.gov/16info/pdf-bill/tat/SB638.pdf

So what does that mean for Missouri Social Studies?

  • We will continue with the current Government EOC exam and the voluntary American History EOC exam.
  • Local districts will assure compliance.
  • School districts may use an online test to comply.  See http://civicseducationinitiative.org/take-the-test/ for ideas.
  • Districts may choose to create a crosswalk of the USCIS questions and their existing American Government, Missouri Government and American History assessment, and then to amend those assessments to comply with the USCIS content. Districts are encouraged to maintain the crosswalk and adjustments as verification of content assessed.  The USCIS site testing materials are available at https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test

If you have additional questions about this law and social studies testing, please contact curriculum@dese.mo.gov

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 beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.

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 05.30.18) 


*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



Teacher Awards

James Madison Fellowship

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level. Fellowship applicants compete only against other applicants from the states of their legal residence. As funding permits, the Foundation plans to offer one fellowship per state per year.   Deadline is March 1, 2018.  For more information  go to  http://www.jamesmadison.gov/

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The National History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country. The national winner receives a $10,000 prize presented at an award ceremony in their honor in New York City. State winners receive a $1,000 prize, an archive of classroom resources, and recognition at a ceremony within their state. Deadline for application is March 31, 2018.   For more information go to https://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year


Student Awards

Senate Youth 2018

The United States Senate Youth Program, established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service.  Service delegations will hear major policy addresses from Senators, cabinet members, and officials from several federal agencies as well as participate in a meeting with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.  Last year, students also spent a morning at the White House and met the President of the United States.

Students are nominated by their high school principal and selected through a rigorous application and interview process. In addition to the week in Washington, students will receive a $10,000 college scholarship.

Applications for Missouri students are due no later than 11:59 pm on Wednesday September 27, 2017.


Social Studies Colloquia 2017-2018

This four-part series will bring together Missouri educators, K-12, who have an interest in Social Studies content, pedagogy and instruction. In addition to providing DESE updates on curriculum and assessment developments, sessions will focus on the theme, Thinking like a Social Scientist, an idea central to the Missouri Learning Standards Social Studies K-12 Expectations.

Each colloquium focuses on a specific critical thinking skill related directly to improving students’ learning.  Each session will identify a skill highlighted in the MLS K-12 Expectations, demonstrate anchor experiences to introduce that social science thinking skill to students, suggest ways to teach that skill in K-12 classrooms throughout a variety of content areas and grade levels, and elicit ideas for implementation from teachers and other social studies practitioners.

Each colloquium will also feature a social scientist who is currently conducting research which implements that skill. Speakers will share their most recent research and answer questions regarding current scholarship and controversies in their field.  This is a unique opportunity for Missouri K-12 social studies educators to learn about the most current social science research. 

2017-2018 Colloquia dates: 

September 14, 2017            Continuity and Change over Time
November 2, 2017               Contextualization
February 14, 2018               Use of Historical Evidence (Part 1) 
May 10, 2018                      Use of Historical Evidence (Part 2)

: none to participants
Times: 9 a.m.--3 p.m.
Lunch: on your own           Note: this is a change from last year’s sessions
Location (s):                      September 14:         MU Art and Archeology Museum, Columbia, Missouri
                                           November, February and May: Harry S Truman Building, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Registration:  Space is limited. Please email me at dixie.grupe@dese.mo.gov to register and identify which session(s) you will attend. I will respond with an acceptance email. As we move closer to each session, I will send out a reminder/confirmation with additional details.

As always, please feel free to email or call with questions.  My responsibility is to support you in the challenging work you do and to provide resources and guidance as you request. My pleasure is to know and learn with you.


Colloquia Resources



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.

For information on Personal Finance Assessment go to the DESE Assessment page at


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)