The release of the national CommonCore Standards for English Language Arts includes standards for Literacy in History /Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12. While they are not intended to replace the current NYS History/Social Studies content standards (pages 102-109 in this document), they can however, serve as a bridge that connects content knowledge to literacy skills for the 21St century learner.
Reading historical texts proficiently requires the reader to understand the nuances and features specific to the discipline of history/social studies.
Students of history in grades 9-12 will interact with a variety of historical text types from a wide range of complexity levels. By the end of grade 12, these students should be able to:
1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
3. Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refiners the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No.10)
5. Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
6. Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the author’s claims, reasoning and evidence.
7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
8. Evaluate an author’s premises, claims and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
9. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
10. Read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
AP World History
The AP World History course content is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present.
• The Four Historical Thinking Skills
The framework defines a set of shared historical thinking skills, which allows teachers to make more informed choices about appropriate ways of linking content and thinking skills.
• Key Concepts and Themes
The use of key concepts and themes to organize the course facilitates both chronological and thematic approaches to teaching AP World History. Given the vast nature of the subject matter, using both approaches — even alternating between the two — often aids instruction.
The key concepts support the investigation of historical developments within a chronological framework, while the course themes allow students to make crucial connections across the six historical periods and across geographical regions.
The concepts are designed to provide structure for teaching the course, serving as instructional units that can be addressed separately or in conjunction with other key concepts within any given period. By framing historical processes and developments beyond a perceived list of facts, events, and dates, the key concepts help teachers and their students understand, organize, and prioritize historical developments within each period. So the framework provides a comprehensive content outline organized by key concepts.
Overall, the framework gives teachers the flexibility to teach each key
concept in a variety of ways, providing greater options for designing
instruction. The AP World History course develops students’ capacity
and ability to think and reason in a deeper, more systematic way, better preparing them for subsequent college courses. The skills, course themes, periodization, and key concepts are explained in detail in the curriculum framework that follows.
AP U.S. History
The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and enduring understandings necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An AP United States History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in an essay format