Social Studies

The State Board of Education has the authority to adopt academic standards for each subject area in grades K-12.

The State Board of Education adopted the current state social studies standards in July 2017.

Note: The State Board of Education sets the requirements for high school graduation (see the High School Policy 2.103). Per SBE Rule, students must achieve three high school level units of social studies in order to graduate with a high school diploma. Course content must include United States History and Geography, World History and Geography, Economics, and Government.

K-12 Standards

The Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies are available for download.

To underscore how content and practice progress throughout students’ academic careers, the standards document is available for download as a whole rather than broken into grade-level or grade-banded pieces.

Bible Standards

Advanced Placement

Download PDF:


Instructional Materials

To support Social Studies instruction in Tennessee, the department has created a series of correlation documents showing the links between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies. They are intended to serve as reference documents. Please note that high school elective courses do not have correlation documents.

Constitution Day is observed each year on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Each educational institution that receives federal funds for a fiscal year is required to hold an education program about the U.S. Constitution for its students.

T.C.A. § 49-6-1014 designates Sept. 16-20 as “Celebrate Freedom Week” in every Tennessee public school. The week-long celebration is intended to coincide with Constitution Day to help students learn more about the original intent, meaning, and importance of documents like the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and U.S. Constitution.

To assist in planning Constitution Day and Celebrate Freedom Week programs, we encourage directors to share the following resources with school principals:

To support social studies instruction in Tennessee and in response to feedback from educators over gaps between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies, the department has created sample gap unit plans for grades 3 and 4.

Content students cover in grade 4 in the current standards (2014) will shift to grade 3 in the revised standards (2019), and content students cover in grade 5 in the current standards (2014) will shift to grade 4 in the revised standards (2019). These shifts will cause one-time content gaps for students who are in grades 3 and 4 during the 2018-19 school year.

To ensure that students cover this material, the department has developed a series of six sample unit plans that focus specifically on this content. The resources found in each of these unit plans serve as a model to reference as educators begin designing units and becoming more familiar with the revised standards. These lessons are intended to be used at the end of the 2018-19 school year to cover one-time content gaps some students will experience as a result of the shifts in standards.

To address differences between the current (2014) and revised (2019) Tennessee Academic Standards for Social Studies, the department has created instructional guides for grades 3 and 4. The resources found in these instructional guides are intended to support instruction and to serve as reference materials as educators design units and become more familiar with the revised standards and any new content. These guides (and resources) are only suggestions; teachers should use their own judgment as to which resources they should employ for their students and which should be modified for their classroom.