Novel Approaches to Developing and Updating Social Studies Curricula in Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Persistent declines in student achievement in history, civics, and geography have prompted many school leaders to rethink their approach to developing meaningful social studies courses and curricula. Data from the 2022 U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) social studies assessments, for example, reveal large gaps in civics and history achievement scores across various groups (e.g., by socio-economic status, race/ethnicity). As a result, we’re seeing novel approaches to curriculum development—including new materials that prioritize equity, reinforce democratic values, and examine global citizenship—take shape in classrooms across the country.
Experts from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) partnered with Louisiana in 2022 to design a rubric that defines and evaluates high-quality instructional materials in social studies. As a result, the Louisiana Department of Education started pinpointing deficiencies in the availability of high-quality instructional materials that align with their updated social studies standards. Concurrently, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education started the process of creating innovative, comprehensive new social studies curriculum materials aligned to their new standards.
On December 11, 2023, AIR led a virtual conversation with representatives from Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the U.S. Virgin Islands who reflected on their experiences and responded to questions about the process. Discussion topics included:
- Challenges associated with evaluating, developing, and updating social studies curricula;
- Considerations for social studies curriculum implementation and alignment of materials with state social studies standards; and
- Advice for other states seeking to evaluate, develop, or revise their social studies curricula.
Policymakers, educators, practitioners, technical assistance providers, and others who work on social studies standards and curricula development attended this virtual event.
Senior Technical Assistance Consultant, AIR
Louisiana Department of Education
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Virgin Islands Department of Education
December 11, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET