Study Guide

Field 115: Social Studies

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Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001
United States History

1. Read the passage below from a 1787 letter by James Madison, then answer the question that follows.

In general I find men of reflection much less sanguine as to a new than despondent as to the present System. Indeed the present System neither has nor deserves advocates; and if some very strong props are not applied will quickly tumble to the ground. No money is paid into the public Treasury; no respect is paid to the federal authority. Not a single State complies with the requisitions, several pass them over in silence, and some positively reject them. The payments ever since the peace have been decreasing, and of late fall short even of the pittance necessary for the Civil list of the Confederacy. It is not possible that a Government can last long under these circumstances. If the approaching Convention should not agree on some remedy, I am persuaded that some very different arrangement will ensue.

The problem described by Madison in the letter above is most directly addressed by which congressional power listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution?

  1. to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States
  2. to borrow Money on the credit of the United States
  3. to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes
  4. to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures
Correct Response: A. This item requires the candidate to use analytical and evaluative skills to demonstrate understanding of major political developments in United States history during the establishment of the new nation. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States Congress had no power to tax individuals directly and had to ask the states for funds. In this and in other national-level issues, the states were not always sympathetic to the needs of the distant central government. The ability to set and collect taxes to fund the activities of the national government was established in Article 1 of the Constitution, in the congressional power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises."

Competency 0002
Global History

2. A historian studying the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 could best begin to analyze the relative impacts of the crisis on the economies of Africa and of Western Europe by comparing:

  1. distribution of wealth in countries of the two regions.
  2. the relative importance of the construction sector in the economies of the two regions.
  3. measures of corruption in countries of the two regions.
  4. the extent to which the economies of the two regions are integrated into international markets.
Correct Response: D. This item requires candidates to demonstrate understanding of major economic developments and turning points in global history during an era of conflict and globalization, as well as patterns of continuity and change and how they relate to larger historical processes. Greater integration into global markets puts nations at greater risk of losses when other nations or regions experience a financial crisis. During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, nations and regions that were integrated into international markets were generally more highly affected by the crisis than were nations and regions that were less interdependent. African economies were not unaffected by the crisis, but because they had fewer ties to global markets for trade and investments than European economies, they experienced less direct impact than European economies did.

Competency 0003

3. A high school social studies teacher is planning a lesson on contemporary population distribution trends for an advanced geography class. The teacher could best use the demographic transition model to guide students in examining:

  1. the causes of population declines in some developed countries.
  2. the obstacles that restrict economic productivity in some developing countries.
  3. the environmental impact of increasing consumption in developed countries.
  4. the likely effect of industrial growth on birth and death rates in developing countries.
Correct Response: D. This item requires candidates to use analytical and evaluative skills to demonstrate understanding of how to use geographic tools to examine questions concerning spatial patterns of cultural characteristics, as well as to demonstrate understanding of the distribution and characteristics of human populations. The demographic transition model describes stages of population growth related to changes in a country's birth and death rates as social and economic factors affect the birth and death rates. Historically, death rates have dropped in response to the modernization of medical practice, described as the second stage in the model. The third stage occurs when societies develop an industrial economic base and their birth rates tend to slow. As an interpretation of these shifts in the growth and composition of a society's population, the demographic transition model can be used to analyze trends in population distribution.

Competency 0004

4. Use the graph below to answer the question that follows.

In this graph, the shift from the first aggregate demand curve (AD1) to the second aggregate demand curve (AD2) best illustrates the likely effect of which development?

  1. Major benchmark interest rates are increased.
  2. Limits on government purchases reduce deficit spending.
  3. Expectations of future incomes improve in a majority of households.
  4. The value of the national currency increases relative to foreign currencies.
Correct Response: C. This item requires candidates to use analytical and evaluative skills to demonstrate understanding of how markets, prices, competition, and supply and demand help determine the production and allocation of goods and services. The aggregate demand curve represents the total quantity of all goods and services demanded by an economy at different price levels. The upward shift in the curve shown in the graph indicates that at the same price levels, the quantity demanded has increased. An expectation of higher household incomes would contribute to that rise in demand.

Competency 0005
Civics, Citizenship, and Government

5. Read the excerpt below from a dissenting opinion by United States Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy in Korematsu v. United States (1944); then answer the question that follows.

No one denies, of course, that there were some disloyal persons of Japanese descent on the Pacific Coast who did all in their power to aid their ancestral land. Similar disloyal activities have been engaged in by many persons of German, Italian and even more pioneer stock in our country. But to infer that examples of individual disloyalty prove group disloyalty and justify discriminatory action against the entire group is to deny that under our system of law individual guilt is the sole basis for deprivation of rights.

A high school social studies teacher is preparing an instructional unit on civil rights and civil liberties for a Participation in Government and Civics class. The teacher can best use this excerpt to develop student understanding of which constitutional principle?

  1. the rule of law
  2. right to petition
  3. due process of law
  4. freedom of association
Correct Response: C. This item requires the candidate to use analytical skills to demonstrate understanding of the role of the judiciary as reflected in landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court. In Korematsu v. United States, the Court upheld Executive Order 9066, which excluded Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II and ordered them into internment camps, arguing that the hardships it imposed on those affected were outweighed by the need to protect the United States. In his dissent, Justice Murphy argued that although some individuals of Japanese descent may have been disloyal, such individual cases cannot justify actions against the entire group. In the United States legal system, only proof of "individual guilt" can be used to deprive people of their rights. This argument echoes the constitutional principle of due process of law, including the guarantee that individuals will have an opportunity to be heard in a fair legal proceeding before the government can act to take away their life, liberty, or property.

Competency 0006
Social Studies Literacy

6. A social science researcher is beginning a study of Pacific Rim economies during the twenty-first century. A major focus will be the impact of China's economic growth on other Pacific Rim nations, particularly in Asia. The best initial step for the researcher would be to:

  1. consult business periodicals and Web sites for perspectives on economic activity in Pacific Rim nations.
  2. review recent publications of the National Council for the Social Studies for information on economic growth in China.
  3. search for articles on trade in eastern Asia using research databases in economics and other social sciences.
  4. find economic indicators for Pacific Rim nations on the Web sites of the World Bank and other international organizations.
Correct Response: C. This item requires candidates to evaluate the appropriateness of various resources and research methodologies for meeting specific information needs. An effective first step in exploring the impact of China's economic growth on the region would be to obtain background information on economic relationships among nations in the region and trade with nations in other regions. Discipline-specific databases provide access to academic articles on topics such as trade in eastern Asia. Consulting research databases in economics and other social sciences will enable the researcher to gather information and analyses of the roles of Asian nations in regional and global trade, the importance of those trade relations to national economies and growth, and the effect of economic activity in China on other countries in the region.