Study Guide

Field 204: Middle Grades (5–8) Social Science
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices. Read each question and its answer choices carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

During the test you should try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for choosing an incorrect response.

Objective 0001
Understand basic concepts, sources, and methods in the social sciences and the use of analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

1. Which of the following historical developments provides the best example of the concept of cultural diffusion?

  1. the formation of China's Tang dynasty
  2. the development of the examination system in China
  3. the rise of Buddhism in Japan
  4. the unification of Japan under Tokugawa rule
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The term cultural diffusion describes the spread of cultural beliefs and practices. The process by which Buddhism reached Japan from India by way of China provides a good example of cultural diffusion.

Objective 0001
Understand basic concepts, sources, and methods in the social sciences and the use of analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

2. A social science teacher is planning a writing assignment for a U.S. history unit on the transcontinental railroad. Which of the following prompts would be most likely to assess students' ability to analyze cause-and-effect relationships?

  1. Explore the difficulties involved in traveling across the United States before the first transcontinental railroad was built.
  2. Discuss individuals and groups who made major contributions to the development of the first transcontinental railroad.
  3. Explain the impact of the development of the first transcontinental railroad in U.S. history.
  4. Describe important challenges faced by those involved in building the first transcontinental railroad.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The spread of railroads greatly lowered transportation costs and travel times across the United States. An exploration of these effects would stimulate students to develop the key social science skill of cause-and-effect thinking.

Objective 0002
Understand how to use the tools and methods of social science inquiry to conduct research and interpret findings.

3. A social science researcher wishes to evaluate the credibility of a source of information on a topic of interest. Which of the following questions could best help the researcher achieve this goal?

  1. How many times has this source been cited in academic publications?
  2. Should this source be considered a primary source or a secondary source?
  3. Would this source serve to support my central arguments or refute them?
  4. Does the source include more than one interpretation of the author's findings?
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
Articles that appear in academic publications are typically peer reviewed. Although some peer-reviewed articles have been found to contain inaccuracies or reflect biases, writers who submit work to such publications generally rely on credible sources. For these reasons, the citation of a given source by academic publications is a strong indicator of its credibility.

Objective 0003
Apply knowledge of foundations of research-based disciplinary literacy instruction and assessment.

4. An eighth-grade social science teacher begins a lesson by establishing a purpose for reading a primary source document. The teacher projects the document on the board and conducts a close reading of the first section while modeling for students how to annotate the text during reading. The teacher then guides the students in reading the next section of the document while the students annotate their own copies of the text. In the context of a "gradual release of responsibility approach" to comprehension instruction, which of the following steps would be most appropriate for the teacher to take next in this lesson?

  1. assigning the students the rest of the primary document to read independently
  2. using a formal assessment to determine what the students understood from the guided reading portion of the lesson
  3. creating opportunities for the students to engage in collaborative conversations about the document to refine their understanding
  4. conducting an interactive shared reading of a secondary source document on the same or closely related topic
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The close-reading process leads students to engage with a text in a critical and analytical way. It is important to teach students how to methodically examine text independently so they are college and career ready. Close reading as a comprehension strategy involves multiple components, including careful, analytical reading and rereading of a text; annotating the text; and engaging in text-based discussions to refine understanding of the text. In a "gradual release of responsibility approach" to comprehension instruction, a teacher follows a series of steps in which students gradually take on more responsibility in the lesson, with the ultimate goal of learning to work independently. In this lesson, the teacher has already provided explicit modeling and guided practice in various components of close reading in a whole-class setting. The students are now ready to engage in collaborative discussions with their peers to refine their understanding of the text as the teacher takes a step back and monitors the discussions.

Objective 0004
Apply knowledge of academic-language and vocabulary development to support students' disciplinary literacy development in the social science classroom.

5. When selecting vocabulary for explicit word study, a middle school social science teacher makes a point whenever possible of including antonyms of target words on the weekly word-study list. For example, if a target word is democracy, the teacher might also include dictatorship and monarchy on the list. The teacher's practice of including antonyms when selecting words for word study demonstrates the teacher's understanding of which important concept related to the acquisition of new vocabulary?

  1. Teaching words that are morphologically complex promotes students' skill in using structural analysis.
  2. Teaching words that are semantically related enhances students' depth of understanding of the words.
  3. Teaching words that are orthographically related promotes students' long-term retention of new vocabulary.
  4. Teaching words that are similar in meaning enhances students' ability to attend to nuances of meaning.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Students' ability to evaluate a word's attributes and understand nuances in its meaning is an important aspect of vocabulary development. Promoting students' knowledge of a word's antonyms (words that mean the opposite) helps students see how the words are semantically related. Such knowledge helps students develop word consciousness and leads to a deeper understanding of a word's meaning.

Objective 0005
Apply knowledge of reading comprehension to support students' disciplinary literacy development in the social science classroom.

6. A sixth-grade social science teacher has developed sets of text frames to support students' comprehension of assigned readings. Each text frame includes questions that are designed to prompt students to think about relationships between key ideas, concepts, and/or events addressed in a given text. For example, a comparison/contrast text frame includes questions about similarities and differences expressed in a text, while a cause/effect text frame includes questions about why something happened. Having middle school students use text frames such as these is likely to promote their comprehension of assigned texts primarily by helping them:

  1. synthesize information from multiple texts into a coherent understanding of a social science topic.
  2. identify and evaluate the arguments and specific claims in a social science text.
  3. pinpoint content in a social science text that indicates the author's perspective or point of view.
  4. recognize and analyze the organizational structure of a social science text.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
The ability to recognize features of organizational text structures common to a specific discipline helps students understand the way sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text relate to each other. Students who are taught strategies for identifying text structures are better able to approach a text with a reading plan, anticipate how the text will unfold, and understand the overall content of the text. For example, they are able to recognize that a text that follows a comparison/contrast text structure presents information about similarities and differences between individuals, ideas, or concepts, while a text that follows a cause/effect text structure presents information related to why something happened.

Objective 0007
Understand basic historical concepts, terms, explanations, and interpretations.

7. Which of the following responses best describes the primary purpose of historical periodization?

  1. to facilitate analysis of the causes of historical events
  2. to provide a basis for challenging arguments of historical inevitability
  3. to make the study of the past more manageable
  4. to promote the development of diverse historical perspectives
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
Without some form of periodization, history would be little more than a series of random events. By dividing the past into discrete blocks of time, periodization makes the study of the past more manageable by providing a framework for the collection, organization, and analysis of historical information.

Objective 0008
Understand major political, social, cultural, scientific, geographic, and economic developments; and analyze patterns of continuity and change in the United States and Illinois.

8. Which of the following factors contributed most to the demand for a new state constitution in Illinois less than 30 years after ratification of the state's original constitution in 1818?

  1. demands for reforms in social welfare and labor relations policies
  2. changing perspectives related to the legality of the ownership of slaves
  3. pressures from growing urban areas for more freedom in self-governance
  4. increasing public debt and changing settlement patterns due to rapid growth
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Between 1818 and 1848, the population of Illinois multiplied by a factor of approximately 15, creating new political needs. In addition, the state was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1847. The 1848 constitution shifted some powers to the expanding polity and limited the legislature's ability to spend and contract debts.

Objective 0008
Understand major political, social, cultural, scientific, geographic, and economic developments; and analyze patterns of continuity and change in the United States and Illinois.

9. After students in a social science class read and discuss a textbook chapter on the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the teacher assigns them to read excerpts from memoirs written by individuals involved in the movement. These excerpts are likely to be most useful for helping students:

  1. deepen their understanding of views and perspectives shaped during an earlier time.
  2. gain insight into the importance of objectivity in historical sources and research.
  3. predict how previous events can influence people and events in the present.
  4. sharpen their ability to distinguish between evidence and assertion in social science.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
Memoirs from participants in a historical event are primary sources that can support numerous learning goals. As a supplement to reading and discussing the textbook chapter, the excerpts described in this question should help students to see a range of thoughts and attitudes beyond the factual record of the events of the civil rights era.

Objective 0009
Understand major political, social, cultural, scientific, geographic, and economic developments; and analyze patterns of continuity and change in different regions of the world.

10. During the late Neolithic period, the development of complex human societies characterized by the specialization of labor into a variety of occupations was most directly a result of the:

  1. adoption of agricultural processes for producing, storing, and distributing food.
  2. invention of systems of writing to record and retrieve information.
  3. discovery of processes for smelting and manufacturing metal tools and weapons.
  4. creation of political systems to structure, manage, and defend societies.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
The Neolithic revolution was fundamentally a transition of human societies from a dependence on hunting and gathering to an agriculture-based way of life. The adoption of agriculture led to complex, sedentary societies characterized by labor specialization.

Objective 0009
Understand major political, social, cultural, scientific, geographic, and economic developments; and analyze patterns of continuity and change in different regions of the world.

11. During the nineteenth century, the declining strength and authority of China's Qing dynasty was exemplified by which of the following developments?

  1. longstanding tensions among historically independent regions of the country
  2. the government's efforts to resist expanding trade relations with foreign nations
  3. conflict with Japan over control of trade in the western and southern Pacific
  4. invasions from regions bordering the country to the north and west
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Beginning around 1841—a period known in China as the "Century of Humiliation"—China was pressured into a series of unequal treaties with foreign nations. Under the treaties, China was required to pay reparations, open ports for trade, cede or lease territories, and grant extraterritoriality to foreign agents.

Objective 0010
Understand geographic representations, tools, and technologies and the physical and human characteristics of places and regions.

12. A researcher who is seeking to chart wildlife habitats in the Amazon Basin would likely find which of the following technologies most useful for gathering data?

  1. remote sensing technology
  2. a geographic information system
  3. geostatistical techniques
  4. a geographic positioning system
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
Remote sensing technology provides a means of obtaining information from a distance, usually through aerial photography or satellite imagery. It is particularly useful for the collection of data in relatively inaccessible areas such as the Amazon Basin.

Objective 0011
Understand the relationship between cultural experiences and perceptions of places and regions and how human and physical processes influence spatial distributions.

13. During a geography lesson on places and regions, a teacher leads students in brainstorming a list of features that characterize Florida. As the list grows, it becomes clear that the students have many different ideas about what Florida is like. The teacher asks them to explain how they know what they do about Florida. Responses include learning from books they have read, movies they have seen, and lessons in the previous year's geography class. This discussion is most likely to promote the students' development of an understanding that:

  1. the spatial organization of a place reflects cultural activities.
  2. places and regions can serve as cultural symbols for people.
  3. experience can influence how people perceive places and regions.
  4. the environment does not determine the cultural features of a place.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The discussion described in this question centers on the students' own diverse and partial background knowledge. For this reason, it is likely to help teach about the ways that personal experience and exposure influence geographical perceptions.

Objective 0012
Understand human interactions with the physical environment; the role of science and technology in modifying physical and human environments; and the nature and significance of global interdependence.

14. During the seventeenth century, which of the following activities of European colonists in North America had the greatest impact on local ecosystems?

  1. hybridizing Old and New World plants and animals
  2. clearing and cultivating land for agricultural production
  3. extracting fossil fuels and precious metal resources
  4. developing routes for the movement of people and goods
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Much of the world saw a sharp increase in deforestation in the Early Modern period. In North America, this phenomenon was tied to European colonists' need to make land available for production of food crops and tobacco, as well as rising demand for ship timbers, masts, and spars.

Objective 0013
Understand basic political concepts and systems, constitutional government in the United States and Illinois, the rule of law, and the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens in the United States and Illinois.

15. The Great Compromise at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which determined the question of representation in the Senate and House of Representatives, was designed primarily to resolve differences between:

  1. conservative elites and democratic populists within states.
  2. less populous states and more populous states.
  3. backcountry rural areas and coastal urban centers within states.
  4. slave states and states that had taken steps to abolish slavery.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
The Great Compromise, also known as the Connecticut Compromise, helped to resolve differences between less populous and more populous states. The terms of the compromise gave all states equal representation in the Senate and established a form of proportional representation in the House that was based on each state’s population.

Objective 0014
Understand the organization and functions of government in the United States at the national, state, and local levels; the formation and implementation of public policy; and the role of international organizations and global connections in world affairs.

16. According to Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." A social science teacher could best use this provision to illustrate how the Constitution:

  1. forces Congress to cooperate with the executive branch.
  2. establishes a form of power-sharing between Congress and the executive branch.
  3. gives Congress the power to limit executive action.
  4. enables Congress to influence the policies of certain executive agencies.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The constitutional provision stating "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law" gives Congress the power of the purse. This authority enables Congress to limit executive action through its control over how federal funds are spent.

Objective 0015
Understand economic concepts and systems and the operation of the U.S. and world economies.

17. A social science researcher would be most likely to use the concept of opportunity cost to:

  1. analyze the business cycle in an economy.
  2. show the adverse effects of limiting equality of opportunity.
  3. analyze the causes of inflation.
  4. explore the problem of scarcity in an economy.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Opportunity cost is the benefit sacrificed when one is forced to choose between mutually exclusive economic alternatives. By focusing attention on the necessity of choice in a world of scarcity, the concept of opportunity cost plays an important role in efforts to determine whether limited resources are being used efficiently.

Objective 0015
Understand economic concepts and systems and the operation of the U.S. and world economies.

18. A social science teacher is planning a lesson on entrepreneurship. The teacher could most effectively launch the lesson by initiating a class discussion designed to deepen student understanding of which of the following sets of economic concepts?

  1. causes of inflation, money supply, and price stability
  2. risk, cost/benefit analysis, and innovation
  3. economic growth, distribution of income, and gross domestic product
  4. currency, functions of money, and interest rates
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Entrepreneurship, the act of combining land, labor, and capital resources in productive ways to create new businesses, requires the assumption of risk. Entrepreneurs generally seek to minimize risk through the application of cost/benefit analysis and other risk-reduction techniques while maximizing innovation to increase the likelihood new businesses will grow and prosper. Understanding these concepts will help students recognize the economic significance of entrepreneurship.

Objective 0016
Understand concepts, terms, and theories related to human behavior and development.

19. Which of the following factors associated with moral development typically gains importance during adolescence?

  1. the need for the approval of others
  2. cultural perceptions of identity
  3. the emotional response to stimuli
  4. social relationships with peers
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
During adolescence, the amount of time individuals spend with their peers typically increases, and peer relations increase in social and emotional importance. These social relationships begin to influence moral development as adolescents seek to please their peers and win their approval.

Objective 0017
Understand concepts, terms, and theories related to the study of cultures; the structure and organization of human societies; and the process of social interaction.

20. A social science teacher who is attempting to explain the difference between caste and class would likely find which of the following concepts most useful?

  1. division of labor
  2. role conflict
  3. relative deprivation
  4. ascribed status
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Ascribed status is a social position that one receives at birth or assumes involuntarily at a later period in life. The concept is particularly useful for distinguishing between caste systems, in which social stratification is determined by birth alone, and class systems, in which people born into lower status groups may have opportunities to advance socially through individual achievement.