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History-Social Science Framework

History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools

The History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools was adopted by the State Board of Education on July 14, 2016. Although the framework does not change the state History-Social Science standards, it does have several implications for curriculum and instruction.

The framework identifies and defines four key elements of the discipline that are interwoven throughout the framework: content, inquiry, literacy, and citizenship. 

Instead of only focusing on memorizing historical narrative, the framework features ways to guide students through an investigation of the discipline, using the lenses of economists, geographers, historians, and political scientists. The History-Social Science Framework is full of helpful resources and guidance to support educators as they align their curriculum and instruction to this approach.

Framework Resources

Instructional Practices

In addition to providing history-social science content, teachers must emphasize disciplinary and literacy practices – investigation, close reading, analysis of evidence, and argumentative writing.

Themes and Questions

Presenting analytical problems and posing significant questions about human thought and action in the past should be at the heart of history education.

Classroom Examples

In response to new insights into how children learn and the effectiveness of an inquiry-based approach, the framework provides both a theoretical rationale and concrete classroom examples to support the implementation of the state standards. 

Equity and Access

The framework highlights some groups of students for whom it is especially important to acknowledge and value the resources they bring to school. But teachers should know their students as individuals. In order to ensure that all students thrive in history–social science classrooms, the framework identifies principles by which teachers can adopt an additive stance toward the culture and language of their students. 


There currently is no state mandated assessment for history-social science. Assessment for student learning is still an important part of instruction in this discipline. 

Criteria for Evaluating Instructional Materials

The Framework outlines five criteria for evaluating and selecting instructional materials in kindergarten through grade eight.

Download the Framework Resources Toolkit