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Social Studies

Social Studies

Published: 5/4/2020 9:08 AM

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) states that social studies "is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence." For students to become fully empowered participants in democracy, students must draw upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology as well as content from the humanities to develop broad conceptual understandings in social studies. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions as citizens of a diverse democratic society in an interdependent world. 

Waiver Suspends Requirement for Civics Test

Interim Commissioner of Education, Kevin C. Brown, issued a waiver on April 3, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Pursuant to the authority granted in EO 2020-243 and with the approval of Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the waiver suspends KRS 158.141, which requires students to pass a 100-question civics test to graduate from a Kentucky public high school, for the 2019-2020 school year.

While most students scheduled to graduate at the end of the current school year have already completed this requirement, a small number of students had not done so prior to Gov. Beshear's recommendation to suspend in-person classes beginning March 16. There is an online option that will satisfy the requirement, but the KDE recognizes that not all students have a computer and internet access. The suspension of this statute removes a barrier to graduation for students who would otherwise graduate this spring.

Standards Revision Process 
Senate Bill 1 (2017) calls for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to implement a process for reviewing all academic standards and aligned assessments beginning in the 2017-18 school year. This process began for social studies in January 2018. New Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Social Studies have been adopted and schools are required to use the KAS for Social Studies as the basis of their curricula and instruction as implementation of these standards will occur in the 2019-2020 school year.

Questions on this process can be directed to

For more information on the social studies standards revision process, view the Social Studies Standards Revision Process Critical Fact Sheet, or visit the Social Studies Standards webpage.

2019-20 Assessment Information

For information on 2019-20 testing, visit the Office of Standards, Assessment and Accountability’s Assessment webpage. Assessment inquires may be directed to

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Please email the social studies team with any questions.

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