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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

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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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A State Led Effort to Develop Standards in Social Studies

In January, 2010, NCSS and the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) convened a meeting of national organizations in civics, economics, geography, and history, to discuss working together on State Created Standards for Social Studies. (See TSSP of March/April 2010, page 1). That meeting concluded with agreement on a common definition of social studies that acknowledges the importance of the individual disciplines, affirms how and why they are connected, and includes the “literacies” outlined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
"The social studies is an interdisciplinary exploration of the social sciences and humanities, including civics, history, economics, and geography in order to develop responsible, informed and engaged citizens and to foster civic, global, historical, geographic, and economic literacy."

Beginning the summer of 2010, the professional organizations began to confer with Social Studies Assessment Curriculum and Instruction (SSACI), a collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The two groups met three times from October, 2010 through May, 2011 and there is now a shared framework focused on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary ways of thinking about civics, economics, geography, and history. The ultimate goal is to produce a set of fewer, higher, clearer standards that prepare all students for college, career, and citizenship.

NCSS is very pleased to be part of this state-led process. As the groups continue their conversations, we will share any additional information and updates. Below is a list of the other participating organizations and current members of SSACI. States or organizations interested in helping should contact: Susan Griffin: or Kathy Swan:

  • American Association of Geographers
  • American Bar Association
  • American Historical Association
  • Center for Civic Education?
  • Civic Mission of Schools Campaign
  • Constitutional Rights Foundation/USA
  • Constitutional Rights Foundation/Chicago
  • Council for Economic Education?
  • National Council for Geographic Education
  • National Council for History Education
  • National Council for the Social Studies
  • National Geographic Society
  • National History Day
  • Street Law, Inc.
  • World History Association

Current Members of SSACI:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Los Angeles County (Affiliate member)
  • University of Delaware (Affiliate Member)
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