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Revised 2017 National Standards for Preparation of Social Studies Teachers Available

NCSS is pleased to announce the approval of the NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers by the CAEP SPA Standards Review Committee.

For the last three years, the NCSS Task Force on Teacher Education Standards has been working diligently to develop a set of standards that reflected the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for associated living in an interdependent society. This process included careful vetting by numerous members of the social studies education community in order to ensure that the standards expressed the rigor and criticality that our field demands.

Drawing on recent trends in the field of social studies education and the empiricism of social studies teacher education research, the NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers represents a substantive update to the 2002 standards currently used for national recognition. Most notably, the 2017 standards are not organized around ten themes, but instead, five principles of social studies teaching and learning: content knowledge; application of content through planning; design and implementation of instruction and assessment; social studies learners and learning; and professional responsibility and informed action. Each standard is refined through a set of three to five elements that add depth and detail to the knowledge, skill, or disposition expressed in the standard.

With the approval from the CAEP SPA Standards Review Committee, the standards are now eligible for a final vote of approval by the CAEP Board of Directors in June 2017, which we expect to receive. For teacher education programs, this means that the new standards become operational on July 1, 2017.  This date also signifies the start of a two-year sunset period for the 2002 standards, which will expire on June 30, 2019. All programs seeking national recognition during the fall 2019 cycle and beyond will be required to submit using the standards found in the 2017 NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers. Because at least two applications of each assessment are required for national recognition, the fall 2018 cycle is the earliest that programs would be able to submit using the revised 2017 standards.

A pre-publication draft of the approved standards are now available for download at Over the next few months, the task force will develop processes and procedures to guide programs during the transition. It will also be soliciting examples of powerful social studies teacher education practices and authentic assessments emblematic of the expectations in the 2017 standards. The transition guides and exemplars will be available on the NCSS website.

The NCSS National Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers is an opportunity for the social studies teacher education community to share, communicate, and engage in a critically-minded dialogue about the best ways to prepare social studies teachers. It is our hope that the standards multiply occasions for self-reflection and learning for social studies teacher educators. If you have any questions about the standards or the transition, please feel free to contact task force chair Alexander Cuenca at

NCSS Task Force on Teacher Education Standards

Chair: Alexander Cuenca, Indiana University;
Brandie Benton, Henderson State University;
Tony Castro, University of Missouri;
Tina Heafner, University of North Carolina-Charlotte;
Andy Hostetler, Vanderbilt University;
Emma Thacker, James Madison University