Test Bank of Benchmark Items
In order to increase scores on California's State Testing and Reporting (STAR) measures, many schools are monitoring student performance closely. Educators are creating grade level tests to periodically assess the progress that students are making in order to determine the topics and skills to target for review and to align classroom grading to standards-based performance.
However, many are finding that creating multiple choice items is an extremely time consuming task. It is much easier to select appropriate questions from a set of already developed questions called a test bank. Some of these may need to be adapted for use by another grade level by simplifying vocabulary. Some may need tweaking to make them more specifically relate to the standard being assessed,
In any case, a rich bank of questions from which to draw is helpful. There are many sources for these questions, especially the adopted text supplemental assessment materials. The Internet also offers help. The following websites have been evaluated for the quality of their assessment resources.
Texas End-of-Course Examinations:
Here are 8th grade end-of-course assessments in history-social science from 2003. The questions cover all of U.S. history and will be useful for reviewing for both the 9th and 8th grade STAR.
Regents Exam Prep Center
This site has a rich array of excellent questions in U.S. history, government, and world history. They may be found in the section identified as "Multiple Choice" after selecting either U.S. History or Global History on the homepage. Organized by topic, these questions are easy to access and use. In addition there is a review section covering main topics with brief, highly targeted information that will assist educators in filling gaps in the understanding of selected students and classes.
Louisiana Department of Student and School Performance
When you reach this site select Released Test Items or Practice Tests. These questions are well written and easy to adapt to classroom use. However, their format more generally matches the SAT9 than the California Standards History-Social Science assessments.
National Assessment for Educational Progress
Maine: Supporting Schools in Local Assessment Development
Here there are models of performance assessments for many topics, including those from social studies.