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Social Studies

Welcome to the new school year,

The 2019-2020 school year is just around the bend and Social Studies educators across our state are already hard at work getting ready for the students’ arrival in the coming days.  I hope you found moments of restoration during the summer months and are looking forward to a great new school year.

Summer has been a busy time for DESE Social Studies.  In June, Missouri social studies educators worked on fine tuning potential items for the EOC exams. Later that month, Missouri educators from grades 3-8 worked on developing social studies assessment resources for younger students. In July, nearly 300 educators participated in the DESE Professional Learning Series examining the benefits of integrated curriculum on student achievement and student engagement. If you joined us for assessment projects or for an exploration of integrated curriculum in ELA, Science and Social Studies, I hope you found your time well spent.

As you begin to plan your school calendar, I want share three important opportunities with you.

  • United States Senate Youth Scholarship Program application for Missouri is now available. Every Missouri high school is eligible to submit a student application. Two Missouri high school students will spend a week in Washington DC in March 2020 and both of those winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship. Please consider a deserving student from your high school and share this information with your school’s principal or counselor. Click on the bullet in the Quick Links box for additional information and for an application. 
  • The fourth year of our Missouri Social Studies Professional Development series, Thinking like a Social Scientist is set. In addition to featuring a social science scholar to share her/his current research at each session, our year’s focus will be on assessment:
    • Tuesday, September 24, 2019
      What did we learn about Missouri student skills and understanding from the EOC field test? How can we use that information to positively impact teaching, learning and assessment in our K-12 classrooms?                
    • Tuesday, November 12, 2019 
      What are the attributes of high-quality assessment? What Assessment Resource Packets are in development for grades 3-8? What tools do we have to support educators as they create high quality assessments in their classrooms or across their grade-levels?    
    • Tuesday January 14, 2020 
      ​How can we translate data from assessments into meaningful information for decision-making in the classroom and beyond?
  • On October 6 and 7, 2019, The St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center, in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, presents a FREE two-part professional development event that will provide resources and pedagogical approaches to teach about the Holocaust, including a special focus on immigration and refugee issues. Resources from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum will be provided. The workshop is open to middle and high school educators Registration is required.
    Registration Link

If you have questions or additional ideas to share, please contact me.  My hope and my goal is to serve and support you in the important work you do educating all 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

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 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



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


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)