Social Studies

Social Studies

Assessment Development Recruitment

As a part of the assessment development cycle, DESE Assessment invites Missouri educators to participate in the process to help provide expertise. Missouri is always looking for educators to participate in these meetings. If you wish to be considered for participation for any future development meetings, please complete the online submission form at Once finished, you will receive an email to the personal email address provided to confirm your submission.


Colloquia Resources

Constitution Day and Other Resources
  • Constitution Day is September 17, 2023
    • Missouri Bar
    • The Missouri Bar has a wealth of resources for teachers including recommended websites for learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, exploring the philosophical and historical foundations, and for information about the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the constitutional ratification process.
    • The Missouri Bar also has targeted resources for social studies learning k-5. Go to The Missouri Bar’s Online Order Form  
      • What Do Lawyers and Judges Do?   This is a coloring book that describes the various roles of judges and lawyers. 
      • How Does Our Government Work?  This is a coloring and activity book that talks about rules and how our government works at both the federal and state levels.
    • Unlock the World of Justice: With Missouri Courts' Engaging Presentations! 
      • Dive into the fascinating realm of the judicial system with Missouri Courts' dynamic presentations, tailored for students of all ages. Missouri judges will visit your school, igniting curiosity and understanding through content-rich discussions. Their engaging sessions delve into real-life cases, weaving together law and life, making the legal world come alive for learners. The presentations will lead students to an educational journey that empowers minds and fosters a deeper appreciation of Missouri’s justice system. Educators may explore the offerings by visiting the website:
    • Missouri Supreme Court Education 


Other 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

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

Missouri Holocaust Education

Holocaust Education

On June 30, 2022, Governor Parson signed into law Senate Bill 681 and 662 (2022) mandating Holocaust education in the state of MO for students in grades 6 – 12 as determined by each school district.  This mandate will be phased in via a pilot program beginning in the 2023-24 school year with all school districts participating by the 2025-26 school year.

Per Section 161.700 RSMo, phase one of this pilot program shall be made available to up to twenty-five school districts or schools within a district, with at least one district or school within each of the nine Regional Professional Development Centers as defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Each school district participating in the pilot shall adopt the curriculum framework provided by the department in the 2023-24 school year and provide a plan of professional development for teachers to ensure such teachers are adequately prepared to provide the required instruction.

To address this requirement, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in consultation with the Missouri Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission, is developing a curriculum framework of instruction with suggested resources for teaching the Holocaust as well as a high-quality professional development training course for participants.

Benefits of Participation:

State-funded professional development and high-quality resources for educators Mentors to support implementation of the curriculum framework


For program-specific questions or more information on applying, contact Cammy Goucher, English Language Development Director, at 573-751-3926 or

  • Opportunity to provide feedback on the curriculum framework
  • Involvement in a cadre of Missouri Holocaust educators

To learn more about the work of the Missouri Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission, please visit


Missouri Holocaust and Awareness Commission website

Midwest Center for Holocaust Education Kansas City

On-Demand Professional Development Videos from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Belfer National Conference for Educators

This virtual conference addresses two critical themes: confronting antisemitism and teaching with primary sources, including historical artifacts. By participating in this event, you will:

Earn 24 professional development credit hours Access historically accurate classroom-ready lessons and resources based on the Museum's extensive collections

More information may be found at 

  • Learn how teaching about the Holocaust meets curricular goals and standards
  • Hear directly from Holocaust survivors and seasoned educators


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

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
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



Scholarships, Competitions, and Awards

United States Senate Youth Program 

USSYP vertical logo
The United States Senate Youth Program was created in 1962 by United States Senate Resolution and is financed by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The scholarship program is designed to encourage elected high school student leaders across the nation to “deepen their interest in and understanding of their country's political processes.”

This year, two Missouri high school students will be selected to participate in the USSYP for 2024.  Each of our Missouri winners will participate in a Washington D.C. week and will also receive a $10,000 scholarship award. The week of intense study provides delegates with an introduction into the work and functions of the U.S. Senate in particular and of the federal government in general. .

Per the USSYP webpage, “The 62nd annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned to be held in person in Washington, D.C. March 2-9, 2024.”

An updated (8/23/23) Checklist and Application are found below.

Learn more about the national program and scholarship at

For a brief Missouri-specific overview of past student participation, you may review Senator and Delegate reception photos by state at the following link: Please post on your website if you senator attended the event.

You may also review 2023 Delegate Essays at the following link:

Two 2022 Missouri Student Washington Week essays may be reviewed here.  The 2022 Missouri Delegate pictures with their elected Senators can be found here.

Candidates must be nominated by their high school principal. Schools may use any fair, appropriate procedure to select one candidate per high school.  Following are the requirements for eligibility set by The Hearst Foundation:

  • The nominee must be a junior or senior who has not served previously as one of Missouri’s program delegates.
  • The nominee must serve in an elected capacity in one of the following offices which represents a constituency for the entire academic year in which they apply for USSYP:
    • (a) Student body president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer
    • (b) Class president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer
    • (c) Student council representative
    • (d) Student representative to a district, regional, or state-level civic or educational organization elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization approved by the state selection administrator, where the student holds a high-level position of representation to a constituency in a year-round capacity providing service to others
    • PLEASE NOTE:  Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and/or educational competition programs/conferences or organizations designed primarily for the student’s personal development and enrichment do not qualify a student for USSYP, although many students who qualify for USSYP do participate in these activities. The positions listed below DO NOT qualify the student for the program:
      • Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation or State summer conference
      • Member of the National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer for the organization for the entire school year is acceptable)
      • Member or leader of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or a sports team
      • A founder or chairperson of a self-created group
      • A participant, captain, or officer in Mock Trial, Debate Team, Model U.N. or other academic club, mock legislature, conference, or competition where the primary engagement is for the individual educational enrichment or benefit.
    • For more information, see the USSYP website (“How to Qualify”):
  • The nominee must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application.
  • The nominee must be currently enrolled in a Missouri public or private secondary school located in the state in which either one of his or her parents or guardians legally resides.

Completed applications for Missouri students are due on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.

Note: Candidates will need to download/save the form or document before completing.

Feel welcome to contact Cassandra Beaty, Director of Curriculum - Language Arts, 573-751-4898,

A change for 2024:  We will accept JROTC students who hold officer-level leadership positions within their cadet corps for the entire academic year as qualified to apply to the USSYP. These leadership positions, often called Cadet Corps Commanders, will be allowed as qualifying leadership positions for USSYP. Serving as a general JROTC cadet alone will NOT qualify. Please check with this and ALL leadership positions under 1(e), that you verify the year-round, officer-level high level of responsibility and public service component for each position prior to submitting your delegates.

Missouri Citizenship Award Application

Senate Bill 198, passed in 1989 by the Missouri General Assembly, revised Missouri law (Section 170.011.RsMo) pertaining to the teaching of the federal and state constitutions and U.S. history and institutions in the state's public and private schools. The law included a number of new provisions, one of which established a special award for outstanding achievement in citizenship. The wording of that portion of the law is as follows: "In the 1990-91 school year and each year thereafter, each school district maintaining a high school may annually nominate to the state board of education a student who has demonstrated knowledge of the principles of government and citizenship through academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, and service to the community. Annually, the state board of education shall select fifteen students from those nominated by the local school districts and shall recognize and award them for their academic achievement, participation and service." Students will also be recognized on the American Bar Association's Civics and Law Honor Roll for their commitments to civic learning and engagement.
The following application describes eligibility and selection criteria. The application must be received by March 4. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. 

Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition

The Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition was founded by The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) in 1979 and is BAMSL's longest-running program. The competition is financially supported by the Saint Louis Bar Foundation and the Missouri Lawyer Trust Account Foundation with program support from the Lawyers Association of Kansas City Young Lawyers Section and the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association.

The mock trials are structured like real courtroom trials and follow similar rules and procedures. Students learn first-hand how the legal system works and what role judges, lawyers, juries, and witnesses play in the court system. This increased understanding helps students develop a deeper appreciation for our justice system and the administration of justice. The competition also helps students develop and improve their public speaking and critical thinking skills.

As BAMSL's only statewide Law-Related Education program, the Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition annually serves more than 500 students from more than 40 schools throughout Missouri and is supported by up to 400 attorneys who volunteer as coaches, judges, and evaluators. The school that wins the Missouri State Championship has the opportunity to represent the State of Missouri at the National High School Mock Trial Competition.

The Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition is open to students from all backgrounds, with each mock trial team consisting of 6-10 students who assume various roles. Schools are encouraged to field multiple teams, ensuring broad participation.

Teacher coaches manage logistics and practice schedules, and attorney coaches guide trial preparation. BAMSL will offer assistance in locating attorney coaches.

Join us in celebrating 44 years of empowering and educating our future leaders through the Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition.

Key Details:

  • Team Registration: Opens from October 16 to December 15.
  • Contact: For information, participation, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Danny Barnett-Foster, Missouri’s State Coordinator, at or 314-485-3803.


Join us in celebrating 44 years of empowering and educating our future leaders through the Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition.


For over four decades, the Missouri High School Mock Trial Competition has been a catalyst for legal education, offering students a unique platform to explore the intricacies of the legal system while honing essential life skills.


Visit for more information. 

Constitutional Democracy Academy at Missouri University - Columbia

Rising juniors and seniors in high school who are deeply interested in American history and American politics are invited to apply to Constitutional Democracy Academy, a weeklong, discussion-based, residential summer program for up to 20 students, held at and supported through the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy on the University of Missouri – Columbia campus. Discussion topics include the Constitutional Convention; separation of powers and the control of the effects of faction, founding mothers, slavery and the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court.  On-campus housing, meals, and recreational activities are provided by the Kinder Institute.    

The program is non-partisan and interdisciplinary (with a focus on history, political science, and law).  On-campus housing, meals, and recreational activities are fully covered by the Kinder Institute. Each student only pays a $100.00 registration fee, and there is financial aid for that, if needed.

 To learn more about this exciting summer program and to find detailed application instructions, please visit