New Jersey Department of Education

Social Studies

The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) are reviewed and revised every five years. The 2020 NJSLS in Social Studies were adopted by the State Board of Education on June 3, 2020. Districts are required to implement these standards through the updating of social studies curricula by September 2022. The standards provide the framework for curricular instructions as well as provide the performance expectations students are expected to meet by the end of each grade band.

Implementation of the standards is mandated by the New Jersey Administrative Code. District boards of education shall ensure that curriculum and instruction are designed and delivered in such a way that all students are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills specified by the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1(a)). The district must provide sufficient time and resources to ensure that all students can demonstrate that they have met or exceeded the expectations set forth in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.


2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for
Social Studies


Intent and Spirit

All students receive social studies instruction from Kindergarten through grade 12. Today’s challenges are complex, have global implications, and are connected to people, places, and events of the past. The study of social studies focuses on deep understanding of concepts that enable students to think critically and systematically about local, regional, national, and global issues. Authentic learning experiences that enable students to apply content knowledge, develop social studies skills, and collaborate with students from around the world prepare New Jersey students for college, careers, and civic life. The natural integration of technology in social studies education allows students to overcome geographic borders, apply scientific and mathematical analysis to historical questions and contemporary issues, appreciate cultural diversity, and experience events through the examination of primary sources. The 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards — Social Studies (NJSLS-2020) are informed by national and state standards and other documents such as the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, as well as those published by the National Center for History Education, National Council for Social Studies, National Council for Geographic Education, Center for Civic Education, National Council on Economic Education, National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Social studies instruction occurs throughout the K-12 spectrum, building in sophistication of learning about history, economics, geography, and civics at all ages.


Social studies education provides learners with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and perspectives needed to become active, informed, and contributing members of local, state, national, and global communities. 


An education in social studies fosters a population that: 

  • Is civic-minded, globally aware, and socially responsible; 
  • Exemplifies fundamental values of democracy and human rights through active participation in local, state, national and global communities;
  • Makes informed decisions about local, state, national, and global events based on inquiry and analysis; 
  • Considers multiple perspectives, values diversity, and promotes cultural understanding; 
  • Recognizes the relationships between people, places, and resources as well as the implications of an interconnected global economy; 
  • Applies an understanding of critical media literacy skills when utilizing technology to learn, communicate, and collaborate with diverse people around the world; and 
  • Discerns fact from falsehood and critically analyzes information for validity and relevance.

Contact Us

Ashley Woolsey-Greene 

Social Studies Coordinator

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Page Last Updated: 08/24/2023

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