Illinois Common Core Social Studies Standards

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Social studies provide students with a broad look into the world of human interaction and helps develop important skills. While the Common Core doesn't encompass social studies in Illinois, the state's standards provide pivotal structure to its social studies programs. Read on to learn more.

Goals And Organization Of Illinois Social Studies Standards

While Illinois does not employ the Common Core for social studies, its state standards provide a framework of skills and expectations for students as they progress through each grade. The curriculum itself is developed locally by individual instructors. Courses can vary and increase in difficulty as students reach higher grade levels.

Social studies offer students the chance to learn crucial communication and analysis skills, as well as knowledge about the world. The standards permeate through history, geography, and other courses because all of these subjects seek to develop the same kind of skills in different formats. The standards revolve around two categories: inquiry skills and disciplinary concepts.

  • Inquiry skills involve questioning and critical thinking skills. Social studies should provide lessons that make students ask important questions and employ reasoning in their studies.
  • Disciplinary concepts refer to the content at hand. Students will develop their inquiry skills by studying the various social subjects. Students will use the material to answer questions and develop understanding.

Standard Organization

The Illinois standards for social studies range from K-12, but they are distinctly grouped into 3 grade level structures. Below the standards are broken down.

Elementary School Standards

Unlike the other two social studies standards, the standards for elementary school social studies are broken down by individual grade levels. Each grade level from K-5 is assigned specific themes/narratives to study. These themes are not necessarily content-specific, but should still exercise students' inquiry skills, critical reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. Below are the elementary themes:

  • Kindergarten: My Social World
  • First Grade: Living, Learning, and Working Together
  • Second Grade: Families, Neighborhoods, and Communities
  • Third Grade: Communities Near and Far
  • Fourth Grade: Our State, Our Nation
  • Fifth Grade: Our Nation, Our World

Middle School Standards

The middle school standards are grouped from grades 6-8. This is where skills really begin to build on top of one another as students delve into more complex materials. Students will begin developing complicated questions, analyzing and utilizing evidence, comprehending different sources, and reaching conclusions. Courses can include civic, economic, geography, and history topics, among others.

High School Standards

Illinois' 9-12th grade standards naturally build on the other grade levels, but are geared towards preparing students for college and practical skills for careers. Curriculum subjects can include history, civics, psychology, economics, anthropology, and other courses that are more in-depth and difficult with the higher grade levels. Here the inquiry standards will be focused on gathering evidence and using them to support original claims. Students will also be responsible for clearly defining their conclusions, being critical of other conclusions, and more. These are crucial critical thinking skills that will develop independent, articulate thinkers. Resources

As you delve into social studies, has several courses to help you understand the criteria and standards mentioned above. Our course library offers social studies courses for virtually every grade level and subject. The content is highlighted in video lessons and transcripts, along with practice quizzes and tests to keep you on track. Below are just a few selections of our available resources.

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