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NCSS National Standards for Social Studies Teachers

Note: For information on CAEP program review standards, please see



This publication of National Council for the Social Studies describes and explains the council's national standards for social studies teachers-standards that were approved initially by the NCSS Board of Directors on April 27, 1997, revised, and approved as revised by the board in September 2002. The publication consists of two general sections: (1) an introduction, which contains, in addition to this overview, information about the background and contexts in which the standards were developed, and a description of the audiences to which the standards are addressed; and (2) the standards themselves. The standards are of two types: (1) Subject Matter Standards, which outline in some detail the social studies content that social studies teachers should know and the skills and disposition they should possess in order to teach social studies to students appropriately, and (2) Pedagogical Standards, which outline in very general ways the pedagogical knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for general teacher effectiveness.

The subject matter standards are the main focus of this publication. They are described in detail because they are the primary areas of expertise and responsibility of NCSS and its members in the national education professional community. They describe the subject matter that NCSS as an organization believes teachers should know and be able to teach. They are intended to be used to assess and help improve (1) the professional knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions of individuals seeking initial state licensure (or certification) to teach social studies in the classrooms of the United States; and (2) the quality of college and university social studies teacher education programs that prepare these individuals.

The pedagogical standards, on the other hand, are more general and are stated very briefly because NCSS is only one of many professional education expert organizations that have described and explained expectations of these types. The pedagogical standards are identified here primarily to indicate that NCSS concurs with the thrusts of these nine standards or principles. The nine are best described in more detail in the document, Model Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing and Development: A Resource for State Dialogue, of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) (Washington, DC: INTASC).

Institutions seeking program review through CAEP should refer to the Program Standards for the Initial Preparation of Social Studies Teachers. All programs must use the 2004 NCSS Standards. New NCSS-CAEP program standards are currently in the process of being developed and approved.

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