News Topic

Advocacy, History Education


Teaching Methods

AHA Topics

K–12 Education, Social Studies Standards, Teaching & Learning


United States

In collaboration with over 20 states and 15 social studies content organizations, including the American Historical Association, the National Council for the Social Studies has released a guide to help states strengthen their social studies standards.  The C3 Framework emphasizes the acquisition and application of knowledge to prepare students for college, career, and civic life.

“Many state standards in social studies are overwhelmed with lists of dates, places and names to memorize – information students quickly forget,” Susan Griffin, Executive Director of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), said today as the organization released its College, Career and Civic Life (C-3) Framework. “The C-3 Framework is a powerful tool that will assist states in establishing fewer, higher, and clearer standards for instruction in civics, economics, geography, and history, from kindergarten through high school.  The document emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, and inquiry – skills that are critical to becoming active and engaged citizens.”  Elaine Carey, Vice President of the AHA’s Teaching Division added, “The framework embraces the best learning practices in the disciplines by focusing on the development of an argument based on research and evidence rather than names, dates, and places.”

The C-3 Framework offers a new vision to enhance state standards in civics, economics, geography, and history at the K-12 levels, with additional guidance for high school anthropology, psychology, and sociology.  C3 is intended to be implemented by teachers, school districts, and curriculum writers to strengthen their social studies programs to

  1. enhance the rigor of the individual disciplines,
  2. build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills vital to engaged citizenship, and
  3. make appropriate connections to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

Maryland and Kentucky are already using the C-3 Framework to update their social studies standards and others are expected to follow.

Over 3,000 social studies professionals, university scholars, and others reviewed and commented on the C-3 Framework throughout the development process that took over three years.

The full document is available free of charge at: 

About National Council for the Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies was founded in 1921. Its members include K-16 classroom teachers, curriculum supervisors and specialists, curriculum writers and designers, and teacher educators. NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for teachers of civics, economics, geography, history, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology and law-related education. Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. For more information, visit:

About the American Historical Association
The American Historical Association (AHA) is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies.  The AHA provides leadership for the discipline, protects academic freedom, develops professional standards, aids in the pursuit and publication of scholarship, and supplies various services to sustain and enhance the work of its members.  The association’s principal functions fall within four realms: publication, teaching, advocacy, and community. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area.  The nearly 14,000 members include historians working in universities, two- and four-year colleges, museums, historical organizations, libraries and archives, as well as independent historians, students, K–12 teachers, government and business professionals, and countless people who, whatever their profession, possess an abiding interest in history. For more information visit