Social Studies

Social Studies is the interdisciplinary study of citizenship and government, economics, geography, history, and other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities in which students develop the content, concepts, skills, and dispositions necessary to be informed and engaged citizens in the contemporary world.

Standards, Assessments and Graduation Requirements

Minnesota State Statute requires all students to satisfactorily complete all social studies standards and their corresponding benchmarks in order to graduate (Minn. Stat. § 120B.024, subd. 1(5)).

The Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies 2011 sets the minimum statewide requirements for K-12 student achievement in the disciplines of citizenship and government, economics, geography, and history. Although the standards in this document are organized by discipline, they may be delivered in an interdisciplinary context.

For grades K-8, there are grade-specific standards for each of the four main disciplines. In grades 4-8, there is one lead discipline for each grade level.

The high school social studies standards are banded and must be taught within the grade span of 9-12. Schools may offer courses in additional disciplines including anthropology, psychology, and sociology.

Additionally, social studies students in grades 6-12 must complete the Literacy in History/Social Studies standards included in the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts (2010)  (pages 80-90).

Graduation requirements for social studies state that all students are required to satisfactorily complete three and one-half (3.5) credits of social studies, including U.S. history, geography, government and citizenship, world history and economics sufficient to satisfy all of the academic standards in social studies. Read more on the graduation requirements page.

For more information about the 2011 Social Studies Standards, read the Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Filiz Yargici.

The 2011 Social Studies Standards will be reviewed in 2020-21 and every ten years thereafter (Minn Stat. § 120B.021, subd 4(f)).

Civics Test Requirement

In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring Minnesota students in public schools to pass a civics test. The test consists of 50 out of the 100 questions in the INS Naturalization Test. The 50 questions are selected by Learning Law and Democracy Foundation in consultation with civics teachers, and are posted on the Minnesota's Legacy website.  Schools or districts determine how to administer the test questions and the logistics for recording the results, which are not reported to the Minnesota Department of Education. Students must pass 30 of the 50 questions, and may be given the questions as often as necessary to pass. Passing this test is not required for graduation. Read the Civics Test Questions FAQ for more information.

Collaboration

The Minnesota Department of Education works in collaboration with the Minnesota Center for Social Studies Education (CSSE) to provide professional development on social studies standards implementation, best practices, and research-based instructional strategies for K-12 educators.

Doing Social Studies Video Series!
The Doing Social Studies video series supports implementation of the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards for Social Studies. The K-5 videos provide benchmark-by-benchmark explanations along with suggested instructional strategies for educators and activities for students. The 6-12 videos offer effective social studies instructional strategies. Use the guides as you view these videos: 
K-5 Video Guide   6-12 Video Guide 

K-5 Summary Overview
Kindergarten
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3 - Part 1
Grade 3 - Part 2
Grade 4 - Part 1
Grade 4 - Part 2
Grade 5 - Part 1
Grade 5 - Part 2
6-12 Summary Overview
Concept-based Instruction
Inquiry-based Instruction
Inquiry Process for Grades 6-8