The Kansas State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Tuesday on adopting new curriculum standards for history, government and social studies.
Don Gifford, the program consultant for the Department of Education who led the standards writing process, says the new standards will put more emphasis on developing practical skills and less on having students memorize facts and dates.
"In the previous standards, we evaluated discrete bits of information that were void of any kind of context in history, government, geography, economics," he said. "In the new standards, we focused on trying to create broader, overarching statements, and then taking kids through a particular process so they can demonstrate they have knowledge of the content and can actually use the content to do something authentic with it."
The standards are organized around five main concepts: the ideas that choices have consequences; individuals have rights and responsibilities; societies are shaped by beliefs, ideas and diversity; societies experience continuity and change over time; and relationships among people, places, ideas, and environments are dynamic.
Gifford said the social studies standards were last updated in 2003. They cover instruction in history, civics and government, economics and geography, as well as so-called "soft sciences" of psychology and sociology.
Also on Tuesday, the state board will hear a report on the final draft of the Next Generation Science Standards, a document developed by a consortium of 26 states, including Kansas.
The state board is expected to vote on whether to adopt those standards later this year.
The regular monthly meeting of the state board begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Department of Education building at 10th and Quincy in Topeka. The meeting continues on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m.