Navigation

Illinois Learning Standards


Social ScienceILS Social Science Standards

The Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science were developed using the 1985 Illinois State Goals for Social Science, the National Standards for World History, the National Standards for United States History, the National Geography Standards, the National Standards for Civics and Government, other various state and national work, and local standards contributed by team members.

The integrated study of the social sciences and humanities promotes civic competence. Within the school program social science provides coordinated, systematic study of such disciplines as anthropology, economics, geography, history, law, political science, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics and natural sciences. The study of social science helps people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

The individual disciplines that comprise social science are often taught independently, yet all of these disciplines recognize that they owe much to the others. Students who achieve the standards for social science will have a broad understanding of political and economic systems. They will better understand events, trends, personalities and movements in local, state, national and world history. They will know local, state, national and world geography. They also will grasp how the concepts of social science can help interpret human actions and prepare them for careers and lifelong learning.

Applications of Learning

Through Applications of Learning, students demonstrate and deepen their understanding of basic knowledge and skills. These applied learning skills cross academic disciplines and reinforce the important learning of the disciplines. The ability to use these skills will greatly influence students' success in school, in the workplace and in the community.

Solving Problems

Recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence.

In social science, solving problems helps students to recognize that individual decisions and actions have consequences—and these consequences affect the way people, groups and nations associate with each other. Students of social science are asked to analyze information from a variety of sources and to solve problems through a rational process based on goals and criteria.

Communicating

Express and interpret information and ideas.

To gather a range of opinions and determine the best course of action, students must interpret information. To study and draw conclusions about social science issues, students need to read and interpret textual and visual information, be able to listen carefully to others, and be able to organize and explain their own ideas using various media.

Using Technology

Use appropriate instruments, electronic equipment, computers and networks to access information, process ideas and communicate results.

Technology today provides a channel through which students can gather knowledge of the past, search information about today and make hypotheses regarding the future. This technology includes databases, computer programs, on-line services and interactive telecommunications. It allows students to gather and process data from a variety of sources, from archives in the Library of Congress to historical art works from around the world. Students can share ideas and information not only with their classmates, but with a "virtual classroom" of students from across the world—social science in action.

Working on Teams

Learn and contribute productively as individuals and as members of groups.

Social science is about people's interactions. Study in this field encourages students to listen carefully to the views of all members of a group and to represent their own points of view appropriately and effectively. The group benefits from the individual knowledge and skills of its members. Each individual—like each part of social science itself—holds an important relationship to the whole.

Making Connections

Recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas.

Social science is a highly integrated set of disciplines. Understanding economics requires knowing mathematics; understanding geography requires knowledge of earth science. Students must grasp that the connections between the parts of social science—and their relations to other academic areas—are the key to better understanding how people interact. Students in social science must know data collection and analysis, library and field research, debate, discussion and decision making—all of which are key elements to successful careers.

Goals