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College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards: Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, Economics, Geography, and History

C3 Framework Cover
The result of a three year state-led collaborative effort, the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards was developed to serve two audiences: for states to upgrade their state social studies standards and for practitioners — local school districts, schools, teachers and curriculum writers — to strengthen their social studies programs. Its objectives are to: a) enhance the rigor of the social studies disciplines; b) build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills to become engaged citizens; and c) align academic programs to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.

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What does the C3 Framework look like in a fifth grade classroom? This five-minute video produced by Social Studies School Service provides a snapshot of high quality C3 social studies instruction designed to prepare students for active and engaged citizenship.

Lead the Way! Tips and Tools to Introduce, Plan, and Implement the C3 Framework at your School Site/District

Explore resources and suggestions for guiding educators through various implementation phases of the C3 Framework.


Michelle Herczog
2014-15 NCSS President
Consultant III, History-Social Science, Los Angeles County Office of Education

Michael Lovorn
2014-15 NSSSA President
Department of Instruction & Learning, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


Grade K-12 instructional leaders, administrators, department chairs


Develop Your Own C3 Lessons

Describe how Social Studies and English Language Arts Methods Instructors at Schools of Education can utilize the C3 Framework as a vehicle for training teacher education students how to use the C3 Framework to meet the Common Core State Standards through the social studies curriculum.


Michelle Herczog
2014-15 NCSS President
Consultant III, History-Social Science, Los Angeles County Office of Education


Grade K-12 teachers, school administrators

Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools

In this investigation we will learn to better understand the disciplinary concepts and tools used within the four core disciplines within the social studies: civics, economics, geography, and history. This dimension of the C3 Framework does not focus on specific content that students should learn in each of these disciplines.

Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence

Purpose: This investigation looks at Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence. This includes the skills students need to analyze information and come to conclusions in an inquiry. These skills focus on gathering and evaluating sources, and then developing claims and using evidence to support those claims.


As a result of participating in this investigation, you will:

Design Principles and Rubrics for Assessing Historical Thinking: Connections to the C3 and the ELA Common Core

Standardized test items, and summative classroom tests that look like them (e.g., multiple choice questions about historical details), are rather limited in giving us good data about students' thinking and engagement.  If we want to cultivate 21st-century, cognitive habits of mind among our students, we need better assessment tools to help us see if our teaching practices actually promote them.

Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries

To describe the criteria for developing compelling and supporting questions to spark inquiry at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Examples of compelling and supporting questions will be provided. Teachers will be invited to develop compelling and supporting questions for existing or new lessons. C3 Framework lesson templates will be introduced to guide teachers through the process of adapting existing lessons or developing new lessons.


Completing the Inquiry Arc: Exploring Dimension 4 of the C3 Framework

This investigation is designed to explore Dimension Four of the C3 Framework and provide a rational and examples of how Dimension Four creates a richer social studies experience. 
  • Overview the C3 Framework and the Inquiry Arc. 
  • Provide a rationale, goal and purpose of Dimension Four.
  • Provide examples of what Dimension Four looks like in the classroom.
This investigation has three parts: Investigate, Create

Connecting Social Studies and ELA Shifts in the Elementary Classroom

This investigation is designed to provide information on the development, purpose, and structure of shifts in ELA shifts and Social Studies and how they relate to the Core. 
  • Identify the key shifts in ELA and Social Studies.
  • Identify shift connections between the curricular areas.
  • Reflect on critical components of ELA Standards and where/how they fit into Social Studies.
This investigation has three parts: Investi


C3 Literacy Collaborative Project (C3LC)

The C3LC Project provides free professional learning, tools, and resources to support teachers from across the nation to utilize the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

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The C3 Framework and the National Social Studies Standards

NCSS published the national curriculum standards for social studies in 2010. This article by Michelle Herczog describes the ways in which the C3 Framework for Enhancing State Social Studies Standards, published in 2013, corresponds with the national standards. The article identifies the distinctive contribution made by the C3 Framework.

The Links between the C3 Framework and the NCSS National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

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