The State Board of Education approved the first Georgia Standards of Excellence for social studies, which will be implemented during the 2017-18 school year following a full year of teacher training. The new standards were developed based on public feedback from teachers, parents and families, students, post-secondary institutions, business and industry representatives, and community members, who shared their input through survey opportunities and committee participation.

The standards were posted for a 60-day public comment period, which ran from January 15 to March 14 of this year. Following the initial public comment period, the State Board of Education tabled the standards so they could revisit several modifications/clarifications with committee members. A second public comment period was provided from May 5 to June 3.

As part of the process of review that produced the new standards, social studies teachers across the state were asked to provide feedback for every standard and element in their grade level or high school course. To see a side-by-side comparison of the standards, click here. The surveys drew more than 9,000 teachers, with participation from every school district. Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) assisted in development of the survey, and the University System of Georgia provided a third-party analysis of the survey results.

Students, parents and families, business and industry, and community members were also invited to provide feedback on the existing standards through an additional survey. SEDL, an affiliate of American Institutes for Research, assisted in management of this survey, and Georgia State University provided a third-party analysis of the results.

Survey results by practicing Georgia social studies teachers were used to guide revisions made to the existing standards. Working, Advisory, and Academic Review committees also took part in the revision; these included district-level instructional leaders, parents, and representatives from business and industry, Georgia’s university and technical college systems, nonprofit organizations and other education-related state agencies.

The proposed standards were then posted for 60 days of public comment. Following that period, committee members reconvened to review the survey data and make recommendations by grade level and high school course. Because clarifications were necessary after the committee’s vote, the committee was reconvened and a second public comment period provided. During the public comment periods, the Georgia Department of Education received 21,260 responses to the social studies survey.