History-Social Science Standards Tests for grades 9-11

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Performance Levels

Here is the newly released Blueprints for the 2001 California History-Social Science Standards Tests for grades 9-11. The percentage of test questions devoted to a topic are given in the column to the right of the main standard. Questions may be drawn from any of the sub-standards under that main standard. Note that the standards covered in the latter parts of the grade 10 and 11 courses of study are usually weighted less, but still are part of the test content even though it is given before the school year is finished. Since there are no H-SS standards for grade 9, the Blueprint shows that the 9th grade test reaches back as far as grade four for question content. Each grade level from four through eight has progressively more content on the exam, shown by the percent in the right hand column. This means that clear articulation among the grades is essential and will be a special challenge for high school districts.

According to Phil Spears, Director CDE Standards and Assessment Division, beginning December 2000 the History-Social Science Standards Test will be 2 sessions of 40 minutes each or 80 minutes total. There are a total of 60 Standards aligned questions based on the 2001 Blueprints. He also stated that the voluntary portions of the SAT9, including H-SS for Grades 4-8 will be removed from the booklet this year.

At all grades, I recommend that H-SS teachers access the Language Arts Blueprint at http://www.cde.ca.gov/statetests/star/s2blueprt.html and include these standards in their instruction. Many of these standards relate specifically to content reading and writing. The level of performance expected of all students on the state tests will only be achieved if H-SS teachers re-enforce skills learned in Language Arts classes, especially in expository reading, writing and literary analysis.

The H-SS Blueprint is not yet on the California Department of Education website, but will soon be posted at http://www.cde.ca.gov/statetests/star/s2blueprt.html in pdf format. The document is also available on the SCORE History-Social Science website http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/standards.html in readable and printable format. I will provide any updates or new information about H-SS assessment at that site as they become available.

John Burns, History Social Science Standards and Assessment Consultant, has indicated that the State School Board has strong interest in a standards test in H-SS for grades 5 and 8. There is now an effort to acquire legislative support for this change in the existing testing laws. Direct your questions to John at jburns@cde.ca.gov

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