Beginning in 2003, there will be no standardized or norm referenced test in history-social science for California students. This test was replaced by assessments at grades 6 - 8, 10, and 11 based on California History-Social Science Content Standards. As of the November 2004 Board decision, the H-SS Standards Tests at grades 10 and 11 count for 15% of the API for those grades. The weight of the grade 8 test for 2004 is 20%.
The Blueprints for the California History-Social Science Standards Tests for grades 6 - 8, 10, and 11, will remain the same. The percent of the tests questions devoted to a topic are given in the column at the far right of the main standard. Questions may be drawn from any of the sub-standards under that main standard that have a check mark. Virtually every sub-standard has a check mark. Note that the standards covered in the latter parts of the grade 10 and 11 courses of study are part of the test content even though the assessment is given before the school year is finished and many teachers have not taught all the content. It will be important to set a pacing calendar so that as much of the curriculum as possible is actually taught in advance of the test.
At least 25% of all questions will be critical thinking questions based on the Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills for either Grades 6-8 or 9-12. There is no test at grade 9, since there are no H-SS standards for grade 9. The Blueprint shows that the 8th grade test reaches back to grades six and seven for question content. The approximated breakdown is 22% from grade 6, 31% from grade 7, and 47% from grade 8. This means that clear articulation among the grades is essential and that instructional methods must emphasize ways to make the content memorable for students.
Results for the History Social-Science tests will be reported by scaled score.
At grade 8 the clusters relate to all three grade levels tested:
Cluster 1 = Standards 6.1-6.7 (all of grade 6)
Cluster 2 = Standards 7.1-7.7
Cluster 3 = Standards 7.8-7.11
Cluster 4 = Standards 8.1-8.8
Cluster 5 = Standards 8.9-8.12
At grade 10, the clusters relate fairly equally to all standards.
Cluster 1 = Standards 10.1-10.2
Cluster 2 = Standards 10.3-10.4
Cluster 3 = Standards 10.5-10.6
Cluster 4 = Standards 10.7-10.8
Cluster 5 = Standards 10.9-10.11
At grade 11, the clusters are fairly even with the first and second clusters organized out of sequence.
Cluster 1 = Standards 11.1 and 11.3
Cluster 2 = Standards 11.2 and 11.4
Cluster 3 = Standards 11.5 and11.6
Cluster 4 = Standards 11.7 and 11.9
Cluster 5 = Standards 11.8, 11.10, and 11.11
The History-Social Science Standards Test for grade 8 will be 75 questions and take approximately 90 minutes of administration time. At grades 10 and 11 there are a total of 60 Standards aligned questions based on the Blueprints. In addition each test includes 6 field test questions to make the total number of questions 81 and 66 respectively. 50% of the questions change each year.
At all grades, I recommend that H-SS teachers access the Language Arts Blueprints (grades 2-11) http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/blueprints.asp 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.
Direct your H-SS assessment questions to John Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org
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