Groups Want Social Studies Added To Statewide Tests

Teachers, Community Members Make Request

Some teachers and community members are asking the State Board of Education to add social studies to the new state assessment system.

"Until social studies is recognized as an academic subject on equal footing with reading, writing, mathematics and science, our state and nation will continue to struggle to produce students who possess the knowledge, skills and civic values necessary to participate in our state and our nation’s democracy and in an increasingly interdependent world," said a resolution submitted by the board of directors of the Colorado Historical Society. "The domestic and international issues facing us are so complex and pressing that, to preserve democracy as we know it, citizens must have some depth of historical, political and cultural understanding."

A memo sent to the state board was signed by 18 groups including Junior Achievement, the Colorado Council for Social Studies, the Center for Teaching International Relations and the School of Business, Metropolitan State College of Denver.

The board is expected to discuss the issue further in December when it meets to approve the attributes it desires in the new assessment system.

"I am convinced social studies should be a tested area," said board member Elaine Gantz Berman.

Jo O’Brien, assistant commissioner for standards and assessment, said the assessment stakeholders, an advisory group assembled to help frame assessment issues and recommend what should be included in a new state assessment program, is recommending the new assessment program use only the subjects currently being tested -- reading, writing, math and science.