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2020 CAS - Social Studies Standards Summary of Changes


Colorado state law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards every six years with the first review to be completed by July 2018. Stronger alignment of learning expectations within and across grades had been the primary focus of the review and revision process. This includes additions, deletions, revisions and reorganizations of the standards. Listed below is a summary of the substantive revisions of the Social Studies Standards. 

Notable Changes to All Content Area Standards:

The review committees made changes to the structure of the standards that apply to all content areas:

  • Changes to the title of the Prepared Graduate Competencies section of the standards document to Prepared Graduate Statements to reduce confusion with competency-based learning systems of instruction and assessment practices.
  • Changes to the title of the right side of the standards document from 21st Century Skills and Readiness Competencies to Academic Context and Connections. The sections within the Academic Context and Connections continue to focus on essential skills and relevant connections to the Grade Level Expectations.
  • Revisions to the preschool standards for all content areas contain revisions to align the expectations with Colorado’s Early Learning and Development Guidelines and the latest revision of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework.

Revisions Applicable to All Grades in Social Studies:

  • The right side sections within the Academic Context and Connections have been re-titled to Colorado Essential Skills, Inquiry Questions, Nature and Skills of the Discipline (e.g., Economics), and Disciplinary, Information and Media Literacy. This alignment of the right-hand side of document illuminates considerations of essential skills, inquiry, and disciplinary practices relevant to the given Prepared Graduate Statements (PGSs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).
  • All applicable math PFL Evidence Outcomes (EOs) have been moved into the economics (PFL) GLEs and EOs.

Revisions for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade:

  • The history EOs include more disciplinary-based language (i.e.: primary and secondary sources, compare/contrast, sequence, etc.) for better alignment within and across grade levels.
  • The geography and civics EOs have been revised to promote critical thinking, inquiry, and consideration of multiple perspectives. 
  • The economics GLEs and EOs shifted to improve alignment and increase rigor by including common economics language.
  • The PFL EOs focus on costs and benefits of making informed financial decisions.

Revisions for 3rd grade:

  • Minimal revisions were made to the 3rd grade social studies standards.
  • The language in the history EOs was revised to include more disciplinary-based language, such as primary and secondary sources, that better aligns them across grade levels and underscores the importance of disciplinary inquiry.
  • The PFL Evidence Outcomes engage learners in higher-level thinking and action to plan and set financial goals.

Revisions for 4th grade:

  • Include clarification of language to better define the focus of the content and the expected outcomes.
  • Content examples were provided to add clarification to the EOs.
  • Removed risk management from the EOs, leaving a cohesive focus on opportunity cost.

Revisions for Middle School (6th grade through 8th grade):

  • The foci of both the 6th and 7th grade shifted from a historical to a regional lens (Western and Eastern Hemisphere respectively), in an effort to better integrate, align, and focus the 6th and 7th grade standards.
  • Grade 6 PFL: 
    • In an effort to address disconnects between the PFL EOs and middle grade-level social studies concepts, the Grade 6 PFL GLE and EOs were revised to align with the study of the Western Hemisphere.
    • The revised EOs focus on the role of consumers, competition, resource distribution, and marketing within market economies.
  • Grade 7 PFL:
    • In an effort to address disconnects between the PFL EOs and middle grade-level social studies concepts, the Grade 7 PFL GLE and EOs were revised by moving tax concepts to Grade 8 and aligning the revised EOs with the study of the Eastern Hemisphere.
    • The revised 7th Grade EOs focus on comparing financial systems, workplace conditions, consumer choices, and the role of government among global economies.
  • Few revisions were made at the 8th grade level. 
    • Revisions include improving the clarity of the time period to be studied and language to improve understanding.
    • Content examples were provided to add clarification to the EOs.
  • Grade 8 PFL:
    • In an effort to address disconnects between PFL EOs and middle grade-level social studies concepts, the Grade 8 PFL GLE and EOs were revised to address fundamental consumer and employment issues as relevant to the study of U.S. History.

Revisions for High School History (9th grade through 12th grade):

  • All United States History EOs have been moved into GLE 2 and the World History EOs have been moved to GLE 3.
  • Inclusion of inquiry as central to students’ understanding of the historical method is outlined in the PGSs, GLE 1, and the EOs, creating a sequential skills-based approach to the study of history.

Revisions for High School Geography (9th grade through 12th grade):

  • Evidence Outcomes were added about the impact of climate patterns and land use over the course of history.
  • The practices of the discipline, as well as focus on interconnectivity and human-environment interaction have been emphasized through the addition of specific geographic language. 
  • There was some shifting of EOs between GLEs to clarify focus and alignment with the GLEs.

Revisions for High School Economics (9th grade through 12th grade):

  • The focus shifted to decision making, micro-economics, macro-economics, and global economics which more closely aligns with the true principles of economics.
  • The PFL expectations focus on the four themes of financial planning and decision-making.
    • GLEs 5 through 8 are organized into four fundamental personal finance themes: Earning Capability, Investing, Spending and Saving, and Risk Management.
    • Adjusted language for rigor, higher-level thinking, logically grouping concepts to reinforce skills introduced in the earlier grades, and leading learners to apply basic lifelong financial decision-making skills.

Revisions for High School Civics (9th grade through 12th grade):

  • Duplicate content has been removed and gaps in the content of the political process and increase the focus on civic virtue and democratic principles have been filled.

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