Social Studies

Social Studies education helps students become responsible citizens in a culturally diverse, democratic society within an interdependent world. Through the exploration of history, geography, economics, and civics, students learn about the people, places, issues, eras, and events that shape our world.

Social Studies recognizes the challenges and benefits of living in a diverse cultural and ideological society. The resulting interactions are contextualized in space and time and have social, political, economic, and geographical dimensions. Based on appropriate investigations and reflections within Social Studies, students develop distinctive skills and a critical awareness of the human condition and emerging spatial patterns and the processes and events that shape them.

Learning Standards & Graduation Requirements

K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards - the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) - describe what students should know and be able to do in civics, economics, geography, history, and skills for effective participation in public life. All public high school students are required to meet statewide graduation requirements in order to earn a diploma. 

Social Studies Laws & Regulations

Relevant Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and Revised Code of Washington (RCW) for social studies. 

OSPI-Developed Assessments

Social studies classroom-based assessments are designed to help districts, schools, teachers, parents, and students determine the level of proficiency students achieve in their understanding and application of the social studies learning standards.

Resources for K-12 Social Studies

This page contains links to resources, programs, organizations, and legislative actions - examples of effective social studies education.

Social Studies Grant Opportunities

Grant programs offered through OSPI Social Studies are intended to support and enhance the teaching of civics education in the community.

Holocaust Education

Gain knowledge about the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, find resources and best practices for lesson plans, and learn the importance of speaking out against bigotry and indifference, promoting equity, and taking action.

Washington History Day

Washington History Day is a state-level affiliate of National History Day, a nationwide social studies program for grades 6-12. OSPI administers this program in Washington State, in partnership with the Washington State Historical Society.

#FutureVoter Temperance & Good Citizenship Day

In 2018, the Washington State Legislature created the Future Voter program in an effort to increase access to voter registration and recognize the importance of lifelong civic participation.