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Curriculum and Instruction

The Revision of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

The Department is working in close consultation with a panel of PK-12 educators, curriculum specialists, and others to revise the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. The public had an initial opportunity to provide recommendations for the revision through a public survey administered early in the process.

After the work of the review panel is complete, the Department will solicit additional public comment on the revised draft of the framework. This input will further help to refine the content standards and other supporting material contained in the framework before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) votes on whether to formally adopt the revised standards. See Overview of the Review Process/Current Timeline below.

Rationale for review of the history and social science standards:

  • Massachusetts reviews all curriculum frameworks on a periodic basis to ensure that they align with current research and developments in curriculum, instruction and assessment in the respective disciplines
  • Massachusetts has a unique opportunity to revise the learning standards as the state moves to an updated assessment system

Panel charge:

  • To make recommendations for the revision of the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

History Social Science Review Panel Members:

  • There are currently 43 educators serving on the History and Social Science Curriculum Framework Review Panel. The panelists, selected from more than 160 applicants, bring significant knowledge, teaching experience, and expertise in the history and the other disciplines of the social sciences; background in aspects of education such as curriculum and assessment development; and expertise in teaching all ages and populations of students, including those with disabilities and English learners. They are broadly representative of the geographic regions of the state (e.g., western MA), types of district (e.g., urban), types of school (e.g., vocational-technical), professional roles (e.g., classroom teacher), and professional organizations (e.g., MA Council for the Social Studies).

  • Current list of Panel Members

Contact:

Please direct inquiries about the History & Social Science (HSS) Review Panel to historycivics@doe.mass.edu.

Background:

As part of the response to recommendations from a report by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's (BESE) Working Group on Civic Learning and Engagement, the Board voted to accept the Working Group's report and endorse the recommendation to initiate the revision of the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework in concert with other initiatives to support improved civic education, engagement and learning.

Overview of the Review Process/Current Timeline:

ActionTimeline
Phase 1 
Select Panel Members for the History and Social Science Review PanelJuly/August 2016
Public survey administered from November 1, 2016 to February 6, 2017 to gain input from stakeholdersNovember 1, 2016 -February 6, 2017
Phase 2 
First meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review the charge, consider preliminary recommendations, and conduct an analysis of the 2003 framework's overall structure and organizationJanuary 19, 2017
Second meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review public survey results, analyze possible models for the revision of the history and social science curriculum framework-, and establish main panel recommendations for the revisionsMarch 9, 2017
Third meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review supporting features of the framework; establish the scope and sequence and topics of study at each grade level; begin revisions of content standardsJune 14, 2017
Fourth meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review supporting features of the framework; continue revision of content standardsJuly 19, 2017
Fifth meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review draft revisions of the content standardsSeptember 28, 2017
Sixth meeting of the History and Social Science Review Panel - to review supporting features of the framework and revised content standardsNovember 8, 2017
Phase 3 
Draft revised standards presented to the BoardDecember 19, 2017
Board vote on whether to make revised standards available for public commentJanuary 23, 2018 - (tentative)
Final draft of revised standards presented to Board for vote on whether to formally adopt themJune 26, 2018
(tentative)
Phase 4 
Dissemination of standards; district curriculum adjustment and implementationJuly 2018 - June 2020
Phase 5 
Development of state assessment/first administrationTo be determined
Phase 6 
Incorporate HSS assessment as part of Competency Determination (CD)To be determined

Civic Learning and Engagement:

The Department currently has the following initiatives underway to support improved student civic engagement and learning:

  • Revised Definition of College and Career Readiness Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document to include readiness for civic life.
    The definition underscores the central role of civic engagement and learning in preparing students for active participation in society, as students and as adults. The Department is integrating the revised definition in other initiatives and documents developed by the agency, most notably in references to it in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics which the Board adopted in March 2017. The definition is also included as Appendix C of the Civic Learning and Engagement Strategic Plan.

  • Civic Learning and Engagement Task Force

  • Civic Learning and Engagement Strategic Plan

    Download MS WORD Document
    Civic Learning and Engagement Strategic Plan
    Download PowerPoint Presentation
    Civic Learning and Engagement Powerpoint

    The Department worked with partners with expertise in civic education , the Civic Learning and Engagement Task Force, and gained public input to develop a multi-year strategic plan to support civic learning and engagement.

  • The First Annual Civics Literacy Conference - 2016

  • The Second Annual Civics Literacy Conference - 2017

  • Revision of the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

Related Resources:

Commissioner's Memos to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

View HTML Page
Updated Response to Recommendations from Working Group on Civic Learning and Engagement -October 9, 2015
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Approved Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness and Civic Preparation - February 23, 2016
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Civic Learning and Engagement: Progress Report including Proposed Timetable for Review and Revision of History/Social Science Curriculum Framework and Related Student Assessment - January 15, 2016
View HTML Page
Update on Civic Learning and Engagement - June 27, 2016
View HTML Page
History and Social Science Curriculum Framework Review Panel - September 16, 2016
View HTML Page
Civic Learning and Engagement - Progress Report - April 7, 2017
View HTML Page
Update on Review of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework - June 16, 2017
View HTML Page
Update on Review of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework - September 15, 2017

Reports:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Working Group on Civic Learning and Engagement: 2015 Report
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Civic Learning and Engagement: Department Action Plan
View External Link
Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools report, Guardian of Democracy: the Civic Mission of Schools
Download MS WORD Document
Civic Learning and Engagement Strategic Plan
Download PowerPoint Presentation
Civic Learning and Engagement Powerpoint


Last Updated: October 18, 2017
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