social studies

the youngest learners

social studies

social studies

Seeking a balance

Scrutinizing Content

Five questions

Standards reset

Academic standards

Standards review

Civics lesson

Pet Subject

The Guidelines they are a-changin'

Changing History

New York

Instead of eliminating global studies exam, state could revamp it

State Education Commissioner John King presented education proposals before the Board of Regents today. ALBANY — Months after considering a plan to stop requiring students to pass a global history final exam in order to graduate from high school, state education officials are instead contemplating overhauling the test. Under a proposal that the officials presented before the Board of Regents today, the state's two-year high school global studies course would be divided in two. The first year would cover "foundational skills" economics, world history, geography, and civics and culminate in an end-of-course exam. The second year would focus on themes and trends across world cultures and be aligned to more rigorous standards that the state is developing for social studies instruction. Only the material from the second year would appear on a Regents exam required for graduation. Adjusting the current exam to conclude the second course would cost between $500,000 and $1 million, officials said. Creating a new test for the first course would cost more. The proposal is the second one floated about the global studies exam in less than six months. Back in April, state education officials asked the Regents to allow them to make the exam optional in order to let students take other courses instead, particularly math and science classes that are seen as increasingly important in preparing students for college. That proposal has been tabled for now, after social studies educators and some Regents balked at the idea. The exam, which covers about 2.5 million years worth of world history over the span of freshman and sophomore years, has the lowest pass rate of any of the five Regents tests currently required for graduation, and some critics said the state wanted to make it easier for students to graduate at the expense of a core subject.
New York

DOE: Budget cuts fuel social studies, science score shortfalls

City schools are scoring higher on state math and reading tests, but they remain near the bottom of all districts statewide on science and social studies tests, a situation that schools officials attribute to budget cuts. Although social studies and science scores rose last year, they remain very low compared to scores in the rest of the state. Only five of the city's 32 school districts performed scored at better than the 10th percentile in science, meaning that 90 percent of districts statewide scored better than 27 city districts. In contrast, 18 districts scored at the 10th percentile or higher in math. Even in high-performing districts, fourth and eighth graders perform poorly on science and social studies tests compared to other students in the state. For example, Manhattan's District 2 outperformed 86 percent of districts in the state in math. In reading, District 2 students beat out students in 78 percent of districts. But in science, the district scored in just the 27th percentile, meaning that 73 percent of districts had higher average science scores.  The discrepancy, highlighted in the test score comparison tool launched by the New York Times today, gives ammunition to critics who say the city schools have focused so much on math and reading that they have given short shrift to other subjects. The early years of Mayor Bloomberg's Children First reforms did focus most heavily on math and reading, a department spokesman said today. Now, the city is trying to boost science and social studies performance by introducing some of the same strategies that worked for math and reading, such as offering a standardized curriculum in each subject, said the spokesman, Will Havemann.