The Social Studies Review Vol. 54, Spring 2016, Measuring Student Performance in Social Studies
A Tool to Support Schools and Districts in Meeting LCAP Priorities
The Spring 2016 edition of the “Social Studies Review” (SSR) was solely dedicated to helping schools develop HSS-related programs, lesson plans and projects to include in their LCAPs. Under state law, each district/school will be required to include priority activities and student outcomes in their LCAPs, whichmust be updated and published annually. Those areas of the LCAP designated for "local determination" include the metrics for "college and career readiness" and ‘"other student achievement," as well as parts of the priority area called "school climate". The district can report the student outcomes in several of the areas at the same time.
The goal of the Spring 2016 Social Studies Review is to provide a ready-to-use resource that will help districts meet their reporting requirements by using student outcomes from measurable social studies performance activities. Below we share one example for integrating history-social studies outcomes into your LCAP.
LCAP Toolkit Talking Points for Social Studies 2016-1
The purpose of the LCAP Toolkit Talking Points for Social Studies is to provide the rationale and language in the encouragement of social studies implementation, accountability, and improved instruction in high-quality history/social studies. Our goal is to return social studies to the forefront of core academic instruction. To achieve this, we are encouraging schools and districts to go beyond math and English-language arts test scores for school accountability (the LCAP process) and consider performance, literacy, and projects in social studies as indicators of meaningful student learning.
Because the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Program) gives a fair amount of self-determination to the schools, this set of LCAP Talking Points for Social Studies provides a common language and philosophical base on which to begin speaking with a common message to encourage high-quality social studies instruction. As individuals and groups attend local LCAP meetings and work with their schools and districts, each presentation will need to be personalized at the local level. We expect that many of these presentations will be more of a dialogue so the Toolkit will help prepare your arguments ahead of time or on the spot.
The spring 2016 Social Studies Review Vol. 54, Measuring Student Performance in Social Studies, will be the most helpful tool for specific suggestions on how schools can use measurements other than standardized test scores. The CCSS Position Papers (particularly the Assessment, LCAP, and Instruction position statements) will also give our advocates more language, rationale, and ideas for supporting arguments. The Social Studies Review and the CCSS Position Papers are available on the CCSS website.
With the advent of LCFF (local control funding formula) and LCAPs (local control accountability plans), advocates for more robust history-social science (HSS) education have an unprecedented opportunity. In this new era of "subsidiarity" as described by Governor Brown and the newly reauthorized ESSA, schools and local districts have greater autonomy from the state and federal government but greater responsibility to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded education for all students. While accountability isn't going away, LEAs (local education agencies) now have a greater say in how they will hold themselves accountable and how they will spend their LCFF funds, including curricular and instructional priorities.
This toolkit is designed to assist you in supporting high-quality history-social science education and influencing LEA decision makers in your community, including county offices of education, district and site officials, and their elected representatives to implement a well-rounded curriculum that provides all students the skills and understanding that come from robust economics, geography, history and civic education learning opportunities.
Talking Points and Rationale
Since the advent of high-stakes testing and API test scores derived solely from those test scores, History-Social Science (HSS) has been squeezed-out due to a proliferation of assessments that focus almost exclusively on English-language arts (ELA), math and, in more recent years, science. The erosion of HSS instructional time has been especially pronounced in grades K-8 where there are no statutory course mandates. While curricular narrowing hasn't been limited to California, as one of the states that led the high-stakes accountability movement in the early 1990s, this troubling phenomenon has been especially prevalent here.
The results speak for themselves, as voter and civic engagement continue to wane, our citizens are less informed about basic economics and personal finance, and students have lost touch with their historical and geographical context. Many young people lack the skills and dispositions to critically analyze information and civilly engage others when conflicts arise. The health and future of our Republic hangs in the balance.
Locally determined LCAPs present an unprecedented opportunity to turn things around. LEAs are now empowered to set their own curricular and programmatic priorities. They are no longer bound to an assessment and accountability regime that fixates on a narrow slice of K-12 curricula but to establish and monitor a comprehensive system that includes all of the core curriculum disciplines. Now is the time for our community schools to truly serve the best interest of our youth by offering them a robust and broad education that better prepares them for sustaining careers, higher education and civic responsibilities.
Purpose of Public Education
Educational leaders need to ask themselves: What is the fundamental purpose of public education? Or to put it another way, what justifies spending the hard-earned money of taxpayers to educate other people's children? At a bare minimum, taxpayers expect that mandatory elementary and secondary education will adequately prepare the next generation of Americans to be self-sufficient, responsible and contributing members of society and history-social science is the vehicle for that purpose. Anything short of that will inevitably lead to growing distrust and voter backlash against teachers, administrators and locally elected trustees.
An essential outcome of a well-rounded education must be the infusion of effective citizenship skills and understanding. In fact, this was the primary purpose behind the early “community schools” in a our nation’s history. Public and compelled education was primarily dedicated to teaching American students about both individual rights and collective rights as well as the obligations as citizens in order to sustain a fragile democracy from generation to generation.
Benefits of Robust HSS
To accomplish the fundamental mission of public education, every school must provide their students a rich curricula and inspiring programs, including robust history-social science, that engages students and encourages deep thinking and application of knowledge. Quality, balanced and in-depth social studies instruction and activities instill the core knowledge, analytical skills and intellectual dispositions to enable students to become life-learners and engaged citizens. Students who have participated in history-social science programs and courses understand that incoming data alone is insufficient on which to base decisions. They have learned to dig deeper from multiple sources, understand multiple perspectives, collaborate with their peers, and effectively communicate their positions with reasoning and logic. These are in-demand labor market skills, as well as critical elements of life-long learning. Every student deserves in-depth instruction of state, U.S. and world history; basic economics and personal finance; regional and global geography; and civic understandings of a democratic society.
LCAP Elements Fulfilled by HSS
Meaningful HSS will assist LEAs accomplish several of the 8 state priorities, which are Student Achievement, Student Engagement, School Climate, Course Access, Parental Involvement, Basic Services, Implementation of Common Core, and Other Student Outcomes. County/district/site programs should include specific history-social science activities, simulations, projects, and authentic assessment strategies (e.g., debate, mock trials, current events, community involvement, service learning, etc.) in the locally-developed LCAP. These programs and projects engage students and promote civic understanding in a 21st Century world, and touch upon several of the 8 state priorities mandated by law.
ESSA Federal Guidelines for a "Well-Rounded Education"
A "Key Policy Letter" signed by the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Education was released on July 13, 2016 to provide guidance in the use of federal funds in state education programs. The letter clearly lists the essential components of a "well-rounded education." Geography, civic education/government, economics, and history are specifically listed. The letter can be accessed at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/160713.html
The Resource: Social Studies Review Vol. 54, Spring 2016, Measuring Student Performance in Social Studies
The Spring 2016 edition of the “Social Studies Review” (SSR) was solely dedicated to helping schools develop HSS-related programs, lesson plans and projects to include in their LCAPs. Under state law, each district/school will be required to include priority activities and student outcomes in their LCAPs, which must be updated and published annually. Those areas of the LCAP designated for "local determination" include the metrics for "college and career readiness" and ‘"other student achievement," as well as parts of the priority area called "school climate". The district can report the student outcomes in several of the areas at the same time.
The goal of the Spring 2016 Social Studies Review is to provide a ready-to-use resource that will help districts meet their reporting requirements by using student outcomes from measurable social studies performance activities. We recommend you request a copy of the SSR from CCSS to use in your advocacy efforts as well as provide ideas, suggestions, and templates for instructional use in the classroom. In it, you will find detailed explanations and illustrations for how your school/district could do the following: