Teaching Social Science BS

Program Purpose


The Teaching Social Science Program is designed to prepare competent and caring teachers who serve secondary students and their families by preparing young people for active participation in our social and political democracy. This program prepares entry-level teachers who (1) understand and apply the moral dimensions of teaching (stewardship for schools, access to knowledge, nurturing pedagogy, enculturation for democracy), (2) demonstrate academic excellence, (3) act with social competence, and (4) engage in meaningful collaboration.

Connections between University and Educator Preparation Program (EPP) Aims.

Career Opportunities

This program is designed to prepare undergraduate students (teacher candidates) for licensure to teach Social Studies in Grades 9-12 from the Utah State Office of Education. Many states have reciprocal agreements with Utah, where few or no additional courses, tests, or other requirements are necessary for the license to be recognized.

Curricular Structure

Catalog Information

Major Academic Plan

Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of the Teaching Social Science Program, teacher candidates meet the needs of secondary students through competencies related to the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). The primary learning outcomes of this program include:

Subject Matter

Candidates can identify the core concepts and standards associated with the social science curricula taught in secondary classrooms (subject areas: history, political science, geography, psychology) and can create learning experiences that make these concepts meaningful for students.

Courses that Contribute: HIST 364 HIST 477 HIST 478
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Learning and Learning

Candidates can articulate how young people learn and develop, acknowledging individual and cultural differences, in order to create environments that motivate collaborative learning.

Courses that Contribute: HIST 477 HIST 478
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Instructional Strategies

Candidates use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students? development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills, and use assessments to inform instruction.

Courses that Contribute: HIST 477 HIST 478
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Professional Development

Candidates continually reflect on and evaluate their teaching practices, actively seek opportunities to grow professionally, engage in ethical behavior, and collaborate with stakeholders (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community).

Courses that Contribute: HIST 477 HIST 478
Linked to BYU Aims: Character, Lifelong learning
INTASC Core Standards

Demonstrate basic competency in the INTASC Core Standards (Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) as specified by The Council of Chief State School Officers and as established by the Department of Education of the State of Utah.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: None

Evidence of Learning


Assessment Tools

The assessment system that is used to evaluate students' mastery of learning outcomes is a common system used across programs that are associated with the Educator Preparation Program at Brigham Young University. It includes four assessment instruments, with one administered multiple times in order to identify students' development throughout their years in the program.

Before students can graduate with a Teaching Social Science degree or History Teaching degree and meet the state of Utah's requirements for certification, they must pass the Praxis II exam. This test, which is administered through Educational Testing Services at students' expense, measures students' social studies and/or historical content knowledge. It provides evidence of students' mastery of the first learning outcome, Subject Matter.  

As part of their student teaching experience students working toward either the Teaching Social Science or History Teaching degree must complete a Teacher Work Sample (TWS), which is a portfolio that includes teaching materials, evidence of their students' learning, personal reflections, and plans for improving their teaching. The TWS is used to evaluate students' mastery of each learning outcome, with different sections of the TWS associated with different learning outcomes. For instance, the TWS requires student teachers to tell how they made adaptations to instruments to meet the needs of their pupils with special needs. This section of the TWS corresponds with the department's learning outcome dealing with acknowledging learners' individual and cultural differences.

The Professional Dispositional Instrument (PDI) is currently being developed in cooperation with the McKay School of Education. The purpose of this instrument is to assess students' mastery of learning outcomes associated with the learner and learning, instructional strategies, and professional development.

The Clinical Performance Assessment System (CPAS) is an observation instrument used to evaluate students' mastery of learning outcomes during both their practicum field experience and during student teaching. It is used at multiple stages of the students' coursework in order to observe the development of students as they move through the program. The CPAS has 10 items with multiple items measuring each learning outcome. The Educator Preparation Program at BYU is currently developing a new assessment instrument that will replace the CPAS. This instrument is being prepared in collaboration with institutions across the state of Utah and will match more closely a new assessment instrument that is used to assess practicing teachers. The intent in switching to this new instrument is to allow stakeholders to use a standardized assessment to compare teachers across institutions and school districts and across their careers.

All assessment information is kept in the files of the department secretary.

Direct Measures

Praxis II Exam

CPAS (Clinical Performance Assessment System)

TWS (Teacher Work Sample)

PDI (Professional Dispositional Instrument)

Indirect Measures

At this time, the program does not use any indirect measures, as the direct measures seem to be sufficient.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


The data from the assessments is collected by the Teacher Education faculty and shared with the History Department's curriculum committee.  The Teacher Education faculty also coordinate with the other EPP programs on campus to evaluate the data and make recommendations for pedagogical adjustments.