The National Geography Standards represent the consensus of the geography education community around what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from the 12th grade.
The first ever National Geography Standards, “Geography for Life”, were published in 1994 and revised in 2012. While every state has adopted geography curriculum standards based on “Geography for Life”, most students in the United States will not have had enough explicit geography instruction to meet all of these standards unless or until they enroll in an undergraduate program. Curriculum developers, K-12 teachers, and parents can help by increasing their own understanding of the value and power of a geographic education.
The 18 geographic knowledge standards are grouped by 6 Essential Elements:
- The World in Spatial Terms
- Places and Regions
- Physical Systems
- Human Systems
- Environment and Society
- The Uses of Geography
The second edition further delineates knowledge statements and performance statements for three grade bands:
- (up to and including) 4th grade
- (up to and including) 8th grade
- (up to and including) 12th grade