Breaking Down the TEKS - Texas Social Studies Standards

social studies test prep Oct 02, 2022

It can be a little tricky navigating the many standards Texas has in the social studies curriculum. In this blog post, I will be breaking down the meaning of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (known as TEKS) for Grades 3-5!


When was the TEKS Social Studies standards implemented?


The streamlined social studies TEKS for kindergarten-grade 5 were adopted in 2018, were effective on August 1, 2020, and were implemented in classrooms beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.



Introduction of the TEKS Social Studies Standards


Here are some main things to know about the TEKS standards:

  • The first paragraph of the introduction gives an overview of concepts taught for a each grade level. The focus of 3rd grade is individuals and heroes in communities, past and present; 4th grade focuses on Texas history; 5th grade focuses on the history of the United States from 1565 to present.
  • Use a variety of materials to support the teaching of the essential knowledge and skills (songs, artwork, founding documents, biographies, etc.).
  • The 8 social studies strands are integrated for instructional purposes.
  • Keep in mind specific wording in each TEKS standard: "including" are concepts that MUST be mastered, and "such as" are examples of topics that should be taught.
  • Celebrate Freedom Week is required to teach.



8 Domains of the TEKS Social Studies Standards


Here's a look at each of the 8 strands or domains. This is featured in all grade levels from K-12.



A chronological record of significant events (such as those affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes.



A description, distribution, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological, and cultural features of the earth's surface.



A description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.



A system of rules and the people who make and administer them. 



Everything that has to do with being a citizen, or full member, of a country.



A pattern of behavior shared by a society, or group of people.


Science, Technology, and Society

This discusses the impact of science and technology on a society.


Social Studies Skills

These are critical-thinking skills to organize and use information from a variety of sources.



Social Studies STAAR Testing


In Texas, students are not assessed through standardized testing until 8th grade. While 3rd-5th grade lays the foundation for communities around the world, Texas history, and U.S. history, 6th grade focuses on contemporary world cultures, 7th grade focuses on Texas history, and 8th grade focuses on U.S history. 



Are the TEKS changing again?


There have been talks in 2022 of the curriculum to completely change from Kindergarten-8th grade in Texas. The State Board of Education (SBOE) met to discuss this potential change. One of the changes discussed changing 4th and 7th grade Texas history into a broader Texas history course. 


After discussed, the SBOE voted to delay any changes other than the necessary SB3 requirements until 2025. So for now, the TEKS will be the same.


You can find the specific skills for TEKS social studies (K-5) here.


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