Civics & Social Studies

The Rhode Island Grade Span Expectations (GSEs) for Social Studies have been developed as a means to identify the content knowledge and skills expected of all students (grades K-high school).

 General George Washington visits with students
General George Washington visits with students at Nathanael Greene Elementary School


If you would like free updates on professional development, resources, events, grant opportunities, and awards, you are welcome to join the RI-SOCST listserv.  Email Marie Parys with a request to join.  Please include your name, school, and district.

United States Senate Youth Program

High-schools encouraged to participate in United States Senate Youth Program

RIDE is pleased to announce an exciting scholarship opportunity for Rhode Island students. High-school juniors and seniors are eligible to participate in the 53rd Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). All 50 states offer this program, and Rhode Island has participated for many years. Each state selects two students to represent their state for a week of special activities in Washington, D.C., where the students interact with elected officials and people in top government positions. Each student selected will also receive a $5,000 scholarship. The students RIDE has selected to represent Rhode Island have always reported that they enjoyed a unique and valuable educational experience.

RIDE will use a three-phase screening process, including a test, an essay, and an interview, to select the two student representatives and two alternates. Each school that wishes to participate must name a program coordinator who will be responsible for administering the test and essay portion of this process at their high school.

We have sent information on this program to those high schools who have coordinated this program in past years. For high schools who do not have a coordinator for this program, principals are welcome to contact RIDE about participation this year.

High-school principal(s) should please forward to RIDE no later than September 14 the name and e-mail address of the coordinator for each high school to

Questions about this program, may be directed to Dana Wilson, at the above e-mail address or at 222-4690. More information and program forms are available at

ALL Strands Social Studies GSES

(C&G, HP 1-3 - APPROVED DEC. 2008 ~ HP 4-5, G, E - APPROVED NOV. 2012)
DOC [395KB]  |  PDF [173KB] 

Civics & Government Strand

DOC [110KB]  |  PDF [81KB]

Historical Perspectives / Rhode Island History Strand

(HP 1-3 APPROVED DEC. 2008 ~ HP 4-5 APPROVED NOV. 2012)
DOC [110KB]  |  PDF [81KB]

Geography Strand

DOC [158KB]  |  PDF [91KB]

Economics Strand

DOC [106KB]  |  PDF [60KB]

Grade Span Specific Documents

These documents contain the Civics GSEs for each grade span, essential questions generated from the GSEs, and suggested topics or resources for lessons. The newly adopted strands have been added to these documents.

RI Social Studies GSEs: Grade K-4

DOC[141KB]   |   PDF[59KB]

RI Social Studies GSEs: Grade 5-8

DOC [182KB]  |  PDF [71KB] 

RI Social Studies GSEs: Grade 9-12

DOC [203KB]  | PDF [77KB]

Appendices for the Civics GSES

Appendix A: Glossary

PDF [52KB]

Appendix B: Suggested Resources

PDF [38KB]

Supporting Documents for the Civics GSES

Civics GSEs Informational PowerPoint

PDF [297KB]

Preliminary Depth of Knowledge Levels

DOC [59KB]

Review of Resources and Readings

DOC [50KB]

Developing Curriculum & Units of Study Using RI's CSEs

DOC [46KB]

The Social Studies GSEs were drafted in accordance with a Rhode Island statute mandating the implementation of civics education standards statewide in K-12 education.

The first two strands of the Social Studies GSEs (Civics & Government and Historical Perspectives / R.I. History) were developed in the summer of 2006 by a team composed of educators from all grade spans, specialists from the Rhode Island Department of Education and the National Center for Assessment, and other professionals in the field (see the supporting materials below for further details, including a guide for resource alignment to the Social Studies GSEs). 

In addition to revisions based on review feedback, the Social Studies GSEs now have a glossary of terms and an appendix of suggested online resources for teachers and students.

The Social Studies GSEs were given final approval by the Board of Regents on December 10, 2008. In 2012, the Civics GSEs were expanded to include strands in economics and geography, as well as two additional "big ideas" added to the Historical Perspectives (HP) / R.I. History strand. The HP extension and the new strands were given final approval by the Board of Regents on November 1, 2012.

Read more about the expansion process.

Site Documents

Documents on this site require the use of the following programs:

DOC - Microsoft Word

PDF - Acrobat Reader

PPT - Microsoft PowerPoint

XLS - Microsoft Excel