Social Studies Learning Standards & Graduation Requirements

Contact Information

Andrew Miller

Associate Director, Social Studies

The Social Studies K-12 Learning Standards, adopted September 17, 2019, consist of Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) that describe what students should know and be able to do in social studies skills, civics, economics, geography, and history.

Students who are equipped with skills of authentic inquiry and who know geography, civics, economics, and history can move forward with the confidence that they are prepared to engage with the world. The goal of the Learning Standards is to help teachers and local districts design the scope and sequence of their social studies programs.

Attribution Instructions for Edited Version of Standards

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Learning Standards by Grade Band

Standards Grades K–5
Standards Grades 6–8
Standards Grades 9–12


Scope & Sequence

The revised Scope and Sequence includes references to the OSPI-Developed Assessments, or CBAs, for Social Studies. While we are working on updated versions, please be aware that they are still aligned with the previous standards document.

View OSPI's Recommended Scope and Sequence for Social Studies grades K–12

Social Studies Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirement rules (WAC 180-51-067, WAC 180-51-068, and WAC 180-51-210) require three credits of social studies for graduation. The requirement includes:

  • one (1) credit of US History;
  • one-half (.5) credit of Contemporary World History, Geography and Problems (often referred to as Contemporary World Problems or CWP);
  • one-half (.5) credit of Civics; and
  • one (1) credit of social studies elective. 

The State Board of Education reduced the required credits in CWP from one credit to one-half credits and increased the social studies elective from one-half to one credit (new and amended rules were adopted at the November 2019 Board meeting, going into effect immediately). The purpose for this change was to provide districts with greater flexibility in meeting social studies requirements, including the civics requirement. It is recommended that one-half credits of a social studies elective remain in world history, to best align with the learning standards. Districts that wish to keep CWP as a one credit course may do so. 

For additional information, visit the Graduation Requirements page.