History-Social Science in the Age of Standards

By Burstein, Stanley | Social Studies Review, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

History-Social Science in the Age of Standards


Burstein, Stanley, Social Studies Review


INTRODUCTION

It has been almost fifteen years since the Social Studies Review devoted a special issue to the teaching of History. That issue came at the beginning of the revolution in the teaching of History-Social Science in California school caused by the adoption of the History-Social Science Framework in 1987. As we all know, the Framework changed Social Studies instruction fundamentally, making History the focus of the Social Studies curriculum and substituting two three year course sequences for the survey courses that previously dominated the curriculum. The eight articles in that issue explored how to implement the Framework's World History curriculum, but even as they were being written a second and even more far reaching revolution was in the making: the standards revolution.

The concept of standards is deceptively simple. Unlike frameworks, which confine themselves to laying out general goals for curriculum development and instruction and leave school administrators and teachers broad latitude in determining how those goals are to be achieved, content standards are inherently prescriptive. They mandate specific educational outcomes that can be assessed. History standards take the form of model curriculum outlines in which each item is defined in terms of a desired outcome. Demonstration of that outcome in prescribed by statements such as "Students will be able to describe, analyze, or compare, etc."

The impetus for the development of content standards in History-Social Science was the recommendation of the 1989 Governor's Conference that voluntary national standards be developed in five core subject areas including History. The story of what followed is familiar. Decisions about what children are taught about their country's past and place in the world are political by nature. When the National History Standards were overwhelmed by a partisan political firestorm, California like many other states stepped in and filled the gap by creating the California Commission for the Establishment of Content and Performance Standards. Work on the History-Social Science Content Standards was complete by late summer 1998 and on October 9,1998 the State Board of Education adopted them, thereby providing California for the first time with a detailed statewide History-Social Science curriculum.

In the five years since the adoption of the History-Social Science Content Standards social studies instruction in California has changed dramatically. Throughout the state school districts modified curricula in order to bring them into alignment with the standards. Teachers revised their classes to ensure "covering the standards" and the "standard of the day" became a familiar sight in the state's classrooms. Nor were the changes confined to classroom instruction. Although the standards commission did not issue performance standards before dissolving, a new series of legislatively authorized tests aligned with the content standards-the STAR tests-administered annually in grades eight, ten, and eleven were developed to facilitate assessment of schools districts' effectiveness in implementation of the standards. Finally, the standards revolution also redefined the relationship of the state's public schools and universities. Courses and teacher preparation programs were revised to align them with the standards and teachers and university faculty have been brought together in a new alliance to improve the education of California's children.

The jury is still out on the ultimate significance of the standards revolution. However, each year more and more teachers are being exposed to standards and an increasing number of publishing companies write exclusively to them. Many of the authors of the ten articles in this special issue of the Social Studies Review have been intimately involved with its various phases and, their essays provide a revealing progress report on its prospects.

THINKING HISTORICALLY: CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PAST

A major innovation of the California History-Social Science Framework that was maintained in the Content Standards was its insistence that how students learn was as important as what they learn. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

History-Social Science in the Age of Standards
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.