Illinois Learning Standards
The Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science were developed using the 1985 Illinois State Goals for Social Science, the National Standards for World History, the National Standards for United States History, the National Geography Standards, the National Standards for Civics and Government, other various state and national work, and local standards contributed by team members.
The integrated study of the social sciences and humanities promotes civic competence. Within the school program social science provides coordinated, systematic study of such disciplines as anthropology, economics, geography, history, law, political science, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics and natural sciences. The study of social science helps people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
The individual disciplines that comprise social science are often taught independently, yet all of these disciplines recognize that they owe much to the others. Students who achieve the standards for social science will have a broad understanding of political and economic systems. They will better understand events, trends, personalities and movements in local, state, national and world history. They will know local, state, national and world geography. They also will grasp how the concepts of social science can help interpret human actions and prepare them for careers and lifelong learning.
Illinois Social Science Standards Revision Task Force
Among the recommendations of the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education ( Public Act 98-0301) is a call for revisions to current Illinois Social Science Standards, last updated in 1997, with guidance from the National Council for the Social Studies’ College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) instructed the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, convened by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, to lead this charge and deliver new social studies standards for ISBE’s consideration by June 2015. A separate social science standards task force has been formed and is composed primarily of classroom practitioners representative of the various social studies disciplines, grade bands, and geographic regions of Illinois. Working in partnership with ISBE and the Midwest Comprehensive Center of the American Institutes of Research, the standards task force meets monthly throughout the fall and winter of 2014-2015.
Illinois has already adopted Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, and most recently, the Next Generation Science Standards. Social studies will soon assume its natural seat at the table among the core disciplines. With an assist from the C3 Framework, Illinois graduates will reap the benefits of being prepared for college, career, and civic life.
Social Science Standards Adopted
On June 17, 2015, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted to adopt new Social Science Standards.
- Board Memo re: Revised Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science (Adopted June 17, 2015)
The standards now proceed to the rule-making process to incorporate them into the rules for Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision (23 Illinois Administrative Code 1). It is anticipated that staff present the proposed rules to the Board for initial review at its September meeting with a 45-day public comment period to follow. Their official implementation may occur within two years of final adoption, and districts will be encouraged to align their courses and curriculum with them post-rule-making.
- Why does the Illinois State Board of Education support a process to revise current Social Science Standards?
Among the recommendations of the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education ( Public Act 98-0301) is a call for revisions to current Illinois Social Science Standards, last updated in 1997, with guidance from the National Council for the Social Studies’ College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) instructed the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, convened by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, to lead this charge and deliver new social studies standards for ISBE’s consideration by June 2015. For further details, please read ISBE’s August 27, 2014 press release announcing this work.
- What is the current status of the standards revision work?
The Illinois Social Science Standards Revision Task Force was formed in the fall of 2014, and in partnership with ISBE and the Midwest Comprehensive Center of the American Institutes of Research, the Task Force has met monthly since October 2014 and works independently in grade band and content area teams between meetings. Its efforts are guided by the National Council for the Social Studies’ College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. The Task Force is on pace to deliver new social studies standards for ISBE’s consideration by June 2015.
- Who are the members of the Illinois Social Science Standards Revision Task Force?
The Task Force is composed primarily of classroom practitioners representative of the various social studies disciplines, grade bands, and geographic regions of Illinois. Click here for a full list of Task Force members.
- How were Illinois Social Science Standards Revision Task Force selected?
Task Force members were selected from nominations provided by ISBE, including 2014 Illinois State Teacher of the Year finalists, the Illinois Education Association, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Additionally, nominees were solicited from the Illinois Council for the Social Studies and the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition. Task Force organizers composed a group reflective of the social studies field, grades K-12, Illinois’ geography, and key educational stakeholders in the state.
- What are the outcomes and timelines for adoption and implementation?
The Task Force intends to deliver recommended revisions to Illinois Social Science Standards to the Illinois State Board of Education by June 2015. Its report will also outline the work processes employed, alignment with existing Common Core State Standards and the Illinois School Code, and suggested resources to support implementation. Assuming ISBE recommends adoption of these revised standards, a 45-day public comment period will follow, and ISBE staff will provide a written response to each inquiry. At the conclusion of this process, the Joint Committee on Legislative Rules of the Illinois General Assembly would consider the revised standards alongside public comments, and assuming approval, would make requisite revisions to the Illinois School Code. As of this writing, a specific timeline for implementation has not determined.
- How can interested residents contribute to the revisions process?
More than 100 social studies teachers, department chairs, district-wide curriculum directors and related educational organizational representatives attended the Illinois Social Science Standards Revision Task Force meeting on March 6 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott in Normal. Participants provided feedback on the task force’s draft standards. A summative report is forthcoming.
Applications of Learning
Through Applications of Learning, students demonstrate and deepen their understanding of basic knowledge and skills. These applied learning skills cross academic disciplines and reinforce the important learning of the disciplines. The ability to use these skills will greatly influence students' success in school, in the workplace and in the community.
Recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence.
In social science, solving problems helps students to recognize that individual decisions and actions have consequencesand these consequences affect the way people, groups and nations associate with each other. Students of social science are asked to analyze information from a variety of sources and to solve problems through a rational process based on goals and criteria.
Express and interpret information and ideas.
To gather a range of opinions and determine the best course of action, students must interpret information. To study and draw conclusions about social science issues, students need to read and interpret textual and visual information, be able to listen carefully to others, and be able to organize and explain their own ideas using various media.
Use appropriate instruments, electronic equipment, computers and networks to access information, process ideas and communicate results.
Technology today provides a channel through which students can gather knowledge of the past, search information about today and make hypotheses regarding the future. This technology includes databases, computer programs, on-line services and interactive telecommunications. It allows students to gather and process data from a variety of sources, from archives in the Library of Congress to historical art works from around the world. Students can share ideas and information not only with their classmates, but with a "virtual classroom" of students from across the worldsocial science in action.
Working on Teams
Learn and contribute productively as individuals and as members of groups.
Social science is about people's interactions. Study in this field encourages students to listen carefully to the views of all members of a group and to represent their own points of view appropriately and effectively. The group benefits from the individual knowledge and skills of its members. Each individuallike each part of social science itselfholds an important relationship to the whole.
Recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas.
Social science is a highly integrated set of disciplines. Understanding economics requires knowing mathematics; understanding geography requires knowledge of earth science. Students must grasp that the connections between the parts of social scienceand their relations to other academic areasare the key to better understanding how people interact. Students in social science must know data collection and analysis, library and field research, debate, discussion and decision makingall of which are key elements to successful careers.