Study Guide

Field 127: Middle Level Social Studies 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

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  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Apply knowledge of major events in U.S. history from the colonial period until 17 89.

1. Which of the following developments was essential to the survival of the colony at Jamestown?

  1. strengthening defenses against neighboring Spanish colonies
  2. improving economic viability through the cultivation of tobacco
  3. motivating colonists by adopting a representative government
  4. forging lasting alliances with nearby American Indian groups

Correct Response: B. The Jamestown colony, founded in 16 oh 7, suffered near extinction in its first year and remained very small and weak for more than a decade. Tobacco was introduced by John Rolfe and became the first profitable crop in the new colony. Since Jamestown had been founded as a commercial enterprise, the beginning of the tobacco industry provided an attraction for the continued influx of settlers needed for the colony's survival. The first enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown in 16 19. As slavery became legally institutionalized in mid-century, Jamestown's expanded economic success increasingly depended on African labor.


Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of major events in U.S. history from 18 77 to the present.

2. Public support for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 19 20 was most decisively influenced by the role of women in:

  1. contributing to collective national efforts during World War 1.
  2. coordinating high-profile protests on behalf of national organizations.
  3. drawing attention to the corruption and fraud within government.
  4. predominating in professional fields such as medicine and education.

Correct Response: A. Women had been campaigning for suffrage rights for much of the nineteenth century. They began winning voting rights in some states in the years shortly before and during World War 1, but the movement gathered momentum and moral force during the war. By the immediate post-war period, the years of parades, marches, and women's contributions to the war effort had changed public opinion in enough parts of the country to allow passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. This amendment made no distinctions on the basis of race, but in practice most African American women continued to be denied the right to vote for several more decades.


Competency 0004 
Apply knowledge of the physical geography of the earth.

3. Which of the following countries form the best examples of archipelagos?

  1. Somalia and Colombia
  2. Iraq and Iran
  3. Japan and Indonesia
  4. Italy and Norway

Correct Response: C. An archipelago is a set of islands in close proximity to each other. Japan and Indonesia are both island nations comprising a cluster of many islands.


Competency 0006 
Apply knowledge of the interactions between the environment and climate and human populations.

4. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration, established during the New Deal, addressed the ecological crisis of the Dust Bowl primarily by:

  1. mechanizing the production of cash crops such as cotton and wheat.
  2. coordinating the resettlement of impoverished sharecroppers.
  3. constructing irrigation systems to increase the amount of arable land.
  4. providing subsidies to farmers to reduce acreage under cultivation.

Correct Response: D. The Agricultural Adjustment Act was originally designed to raise agricultural prices, and therefore incomes of farm families, by restricting the production and supply of seven basic commodities. In 19 36 the measure was ruled unconstitutional, but was then revised to establish permissible subsidies to farmers to produce on only a portion of their land. By then the additional motive of conserving soil by preventing erosion had emerged as a pressing national priority because of the Dust Bowl.


Competency 0007 
Apply knowledge of the role of government, different forms of government, and the roles of citizenship.

5. Allowing citizens unlimited access to news and information is most essential to which of the following conditions of maintaining a democratic government?

  1. fostering community engagement and investment
  2. respecting the dignity and rights of individuals
  3. acknowledging the decision-making authority of the people
  4. encouraging obedience and respect for the rule of law

Correct Response: C. Popular sovereignty is one of the foundational political principals of a republican form of government. The concept means that authority ultimately derives from the people. As such, the people need to be informed about public affairs in order to be effective in exercising their voting rights and other ways of influencing public policy.


Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of the political and historical foundations of the U.S. government.

6.  start bold Read the excerpt below from the Federalist Papers; then answer the question that follows. end bold 

The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers and designed for different purposes. The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject…

The argument most used by Federalist supporters of the Constitution in the excerpt was to point out the ways in which the:

  1. system of checks and balances would prevent the excessive accumulation of executive power.
  2. concept of federalism would limit the power of government.
  3. principle of constitutional supremacy would be invoked to settle disputes between different levels of government.
  4. rule of law would restrain the power of government officials.

Correct Response: B. The excerpt emphasizes the different powers of federal and state governments. The term for the allocation of powers to the central, national government and state governments, and also to localities such as counties and cities, is federalism. The United States began as a union of semi-sovereign colonies in rebellion against the British Empire, and it was important to the founders that the powers of government be limited, particularly by distributing many of those powers to the more local levels in a system of federalism.


Competency 0009 
Apply knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the functions of the U.S. government, and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens.

7. Ratified amendments to the Constitution have most commonly addressed which of the following issues in U.S. law and government?

  1. preserving state authority from the overreach of the federal government
  2. recognizing the changing requirements of national security
  3. expanding the authority of the president to address urgent challenges
  4. equalizing personal freedoms and liberties for all citizens

Correct Response: D. Most of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, explicitly enumerate the rights of citizens and reserve other unenumerated rights to the people. The three Reconstruction amendments, the Thirteenth through Fifteenth, expand on those rights in far-reaching ways. The Seventeenth Amendment expanded popular elections to the U.S. Senate, and several other amendments expanded voting rights to women, to residents of the District of Columbia, to younger adults, and to those who had been prevented from voting by poll taxes.


Competency 0010 
Apply knowledge of fundamental economic concepts, the organization and operation of the domestic and international economy, and the significance of resources and trade.

8. Which of the following actions by a country's government would most likely be undertaken to yield a more favorable balance of trade?

  1. decreasing interest rates in order to influence the value of the currency
  2. decreasing taxes in order to influence consumers' spending activity
  3. increasing enforcement of antitrust laws in order to influence business investment
  4. increasing government spending in order to influence the national debt

Correct Response: A. A favorable balance of trade is one in which the value of exports exceeds the value of imports. A depreciated currency makes imports more expensive and thus tends to produce a favorable balance of trade. Countries often reduce their domestic interest rates in order to depreciate their currency's value with this motive in mind. The mechanism is that lower interest rates reduce the demand of people around the world to buy the country's interest-bearing assets, which reduces their demand for that country's currency and, through the supply-and-demand model, the value of the currency.


Competency 0011 
Apply knowledge of major political, social, economic, and technological developments in world history prior to the Industrial Revolution.

9. The movement toward a Spanish nation-state in the fifteenth century most directly resulted from which of the following developments?

  1. efforts of Christian kingdoms to remove a Muslim presence
  2. advances in technologies for transportation and exploration
  3. expanding rates of literacy after the Protestant Reformation
  4. a series of military victories over rivals in France and England

Correct Response: A. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the area of Spain consisted of a set of Christian kingdoms in the north and the Muslim kingdom of Granada in the south. Eventually the two largest Christian kingdoms were brought together in a dynastic union by the marriage of the queen of Castile and the king of Aragon. They renewed the centuries-long period of wars against Granada, culminating in a 14 91 victory for the Christian force and the exile of many Muslims, and later the expulsion of the Muslimsí descendants.


Competency 0012 
Apply knowledge of major political, social, economic, and technological developments in world history since the Industrial Revolution.

10. A significant difference between industrialization in Great Britain during the eighteenth century and industrialization in Russia and Japan during the late nineteenth century was that in the latter two countries:

  1. the standard of living of the working classes started at a higher level.
  2. the greater need for raw materials led to the establishment of overseas empires.
  3. the demand for labor required the importation of more labor from neighboring states.
  4. the state played a greater role in determining and directing economic policy.

Correct Response: D. Much of the process of industrialization in Great Britain occurred as the outgrowth of labor-saving efforts of minor producers looking for improvements over many decades . The British government was relatively small and not directly involved in the process. By contrast, the governments of Russian and Japan a century later self-consciously felt the need to industrialize to keep up with the Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and other industrialized or industrializing nations. They supported industrialization through subsidies, tariffs, and other governmental policies.