School Improvement in Maryland

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic C. Protecting Rights and Maintaining Order

Indicator 1. Examine the impact of governmental decisions on individual rights and responsibilities in the United States

Objective b. Explain how rules and laws protect individual rights and protect the common good

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

2010 NAEP Civics Item:

Think of a rule in your school that is important for helping or protecting people. Write it down on the line below.

Now explain how the rule you identified helps or protects people.


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Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke declares that “the end [purpose] of law is not to restrain or punish, but to preserve or enlarge freedom.”

Have the students select a school or community rule that impacts them on a daily basis, or a rule or law from early U.S. history, and then write a blog post, journal entry, or brief essay arguing that the rule or law they have chosen either illustrates or contradicts Locke’s words.


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Selected Response Item

Maryland law requires that an individual must wear a helmet when riding on, or driving a motorcycle.

What is the purpose of this law?

  1. to decrease the sale of motorcycles
  2. to prevent crashes involving motorcycles
  3. to protect motorcycle riders from possible injuries
  4. to increase the sales of protective gear for motorcycle riders

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Study the information below. Then answer the following item.

Executive Order 9981 (1948)

“There shall be equality of treatment… for all persons in the armed forces….”

Executive Order 11141 (1964)

“[The government shall] assure that older people are not discriminated against because of their age. . . .”

Executive Order 11246 (1965)

“The government . . . [will] provide equal opportunity in Federal employment for all qualified persons. . . .”

What is the intent of each of these executive orders?

  1. to guarantee the safety of the people
  2. to maintain public order
  3. to protect the rights of individuals and groups
  4. to respect the constitutional rights of states

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Read the news headline below.

Question Image

Based on the headline, which of these is a purpose of this action?

  1. to protect workers from injury
  2. to teach workers how to use machines
  3. to make new machine parts
  4. to find jobs for unemployed workers

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Maryland is considering a law banning handheld cell phone use while driving.

Which of these best explains why the General Assembly would pass this law?

  1. to promote safety over individual rights
  2. to promote regional interests over national policy
  3. to promote equity over security
  4. to promote productivity over education

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Read the quotation below.

“Americans are free … to disagree with the law but not to disobey it. For in a government of laws and not of men, no man, however prominent or powerful, and no mob however unruly or boisterous, is entitled to defy a court of law.”

—President John F. Kennedy

The quotation above most directly supports presidential actions that

  1. improve international relations
  2. improve the economy
  3. ensure public order and safety
  4. ensure individual rights

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

After purchasing a new car, the owner had the steering wheel repaired at least four times within one year. Under Maryland law, the person is entitled to a new car or a refund.

The purpose of this law is to protect the

  1. consumer
  2. government
  3. automobile salesperson
  4. automobile manufacturer

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Which of these best describes why the government often requires the construction of wheelchair ramps in certain types of buildings?

  1. to protect the safety of citizens
  2. to improve the education system
  3. to provide equal access for all citizens
  4. to provide training for all people wanting to learn new skills

Correct Answer:

Selected Response Item

Read the information below.

“ place qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings...The Federal Government ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to live close to their families and friends...and to participate in community life.”

—Executive Order 13217

What was the purpose of the executive order above?

  1. to maintain public order
  2. to reduce unemployment
  3. to protect the rights of individuals
  4. to guarantee the safety of all citizens

Correct Answer:

Resources for Objective 1.C.1.b:
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