Civic Education Policies: State Profile

Civic Education Policies: State Profile - Virginia

December 2016


Data are collected using publicly available state statute, administrative code and, in some cases, curriculum and standards frameworks. A profile was sent to each state for review and modification, as needed.


Description Citation/Link
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies High School Graduation Requirements
Are there high school graduation requirement in civics or citizenship education? 3 Credits: For students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-2012 and beyond: Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The Board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/standard.shtml#note3
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Standards and Curriculum Frameworks
State standards include civics or citizenship education Virginia’s History and Social Science Standards of Learning (grade-level standards for K-3 only) include a strand of standards for Civics (grades K-3) and standards for “Civics and Economics” (not grade-specific), and “Virginia and United States Government” (not grade-specific) courses. According to the standards, “the goal of civics instruction is to develop in all students the requisite knowledge and skills for informed, responsible participation in public life. Civics instruction should provide regular opportunities at each grade level for students to develop a basic understanding of politics and government and to practice the skills of good citizenship. It should instill relevant skills so that students can assess political resources, deal intelligently with controversy, and understand the consequences of policy decisions.”

Sample standards/benchmarks include: recognizing the symbols and traditional practices that honor the Commonwealth of Virginia (grade 1), recognizing the importance of government in the community, Virginia and the USA (grade 3), taking informed action to address school, community, local, state, national, and global issues (civics and economics), and applying civic virtues and democratic principles to make collaborative decisions (Virginia and United States Government).

History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools (2015)

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/history_socialscience/2015/stds_history_social_science.pdf
Curriculum frameworks include civics or citizenship education The History and Social Science Standards of Learning Curriculum Frameworks are based on Virginia’s History and Social Science Standards of Learning. Curriculum Framework documents are provided for grades K-3 and for “Civics and Economics” and “Virginia and U.S. History” courses.

Sample content examples in the curriculum guides include: understanding examples of being a good citizen (e.g. taking turns, sharing, participating in making classroom decisions) (Kindergarten), determining which responsibilities of citizenship are the most important (Civics and Economics), and collecting and analyzing data to explain major influences on voter turnout in three different localities in the Commonwealth (Virginia and the U.S. Government).
History and Social Science Standards of Learning Curriculum Frameworks (2016)

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/history_socialscience/2015/index.shtml
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Inclusion in Assessment and Accountability Systems
State assessments include civics, citizenship education or social studies Students are required to take Standards of Learning assessments in grades K-8, which include history and social sciences. However, State Board of Education recommends students failing assessments in these subject areas not be held back in grades K-8.

Students promoted from eighth grade to high school should have attained basic mastery in the areas of history and social science.

8VAC20-131-30
State accountability system includes civics, citizenship education or social studies Test scores for history and social science are incorporated into school accreditation benchmarks for accountability purposes. Fully accredited schools will have over 70% students receiving passing grades on history and social science exams. 8VAC20-131-300
Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Addressed in Other State Statutes or Administrative Code
State statutes (laws) that address civics, citizenship education or social studies Local school boards are required to establish a character education program with State Board of Education developed curriculum guidelines. The purpose is to "instill in students civic virtues and character traits so as to ... develop civic-minded students of high character." Character traits taught may include "citizenship, including patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance, respect for the American flag, concern for the common good, respect for authority and the law, and community-mindedness." It continues, "This provision is intended to educate students regarding those core civic values and virtues which are efficacious to civilized society and are common to the diverse social, cultural, and religious groups of the Commonwealth."

"To increase knowledge of citizens’ rights and responsibilities thereunder and to enhance the understanding of Virginia's unique role in the history of the United States," K-12 students are required to become familiar with a number of state and national founding documents. "Emphasis shall be given to the relationship between these documents and Virginia history, and to citizenship responsibilities inherent in the rights included in these documents."
Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-208.01 & Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-201
State administrative code addressed civics, citizenship education or social studies N/A

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