School Improvement in Maryland

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic A. The Foundations and Function of Government

Indicator 2. Analyze the impact of historic documents and practices that became the foundations of the American political system during the early national period

Objective d. Describe the significance of principles in the development of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Preamble, U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

Have students script talk show-style interviews in which prominent Founders explain how their guiding principles influenced the content of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Preamble, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_039.xml

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Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

2006 NAEP Civics Item:

The following question refers to the passage below from the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

According to the passage, which is more important, the individual or the government? Fill in the oval next to your choice. Then give two reasons, based on the words from the Declaration of Independence, to support your answer.

[oval] The individual is more important. [oval] The government is more important.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_043.xml

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Extended Constructed Response (ECR) Item

2010 NAEP Civics Item:

The chart below shows how each of the three separate branches of the federal government can limit the powers of the other two. Complete the chart by filling in each of the empty boxes. The completed chart should have one power for each branch of government and one way in which that branch's power is checked by another branch.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_044.xml

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Selected Response Item

2010 NAEP Civics Item:

The process for amending the United States Constitution is described in Article V of the Constitution. According to Article V, both Congress and the states must participate in the amendment process. This requirement reflects which of the following ideas about the distribution of power in America?

  1. Separation of powers among the three branches of government
  2. Separation of church and state
  3. The importance of local government control
  4. The importance of federalism
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_045.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item

2008 NAEP Civics Item:

What are the three parts of the national (federal) government of the United States?

  1. President, Governor, Supreme Court
  2. President, Congress, Supreme Court
  3. Congress, State Legislature, Supreme Court
  4. Congress, Mayor, Supreme Court
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_047.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

1998 NAEP Civics Item:

Give two specific examples of how the United States Constitution limits the power of the government.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_048.xml

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Selected Response Item

2010 NAEP Civics Item:

Which of the following is a true statement about the United States Constitution?

  1. It created a democratic socialist state.
  2. It established a parliamentary government like that in Great Britain.
  3. It proclaimed that the government was based upon the consent of the people.
  4. It allowed a totalitarian government to function.
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_046.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item

2006 NAEP Civics Item:

The following question refers to the passage below from the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

According to the passage, the most important purpose of government is to protect

  1. people from harm
  2. the church
  3. the truth
  4. people’s rights
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_040.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item

2006 NAEP Civics Item:

The following question refers to the passage below from the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Which statement best summarizes the main point being made in the passage?

  1. The people should be in control of their own government.
  2. The church should help governments determine what is right.
  3. The main function of government is to keep people happy.
  4. Governments need to be changed regularly to keep them from becoming unjust.
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_041.xml

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item

2006 NAEP Civics Item:

The following question refers to the passage below from the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence was written to

  1. appeal to other countries for help in fighting Great Britain
  2. convince Great Britain to repeal the Stamp Act
  3. make laws for a new form of government
  4. explain why the colonies were breaking away from Great Britain
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_042.xml

Correct Answer:
D

Selected Response Item

2010 NAEP Civics Item:

The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution of the United States to

  1. ensure that the federal government would be run by a system of checks and balances
  2. set up two parties that would share control of the federal government
  3. establish and protect various civil liberties
  4. guarantee that large states would not overpower smaller ones
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_049.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Extended Constructed Response (ECR) Item

NAEP U.S. History Item:

Explain why the framers of the Constitution established a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_social_studies_8_050.xml

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Resources for Objective 1.A.2.d:
Clarifications | Lesson Seeds | SAMPLE ASSESSMENTS | Resource Links