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Introduction:
Below are the OUSD 11th grade U.S. History writing assessment questions and instructional support materials for fall and spring semesters. 
 
The six questions, three related to fall semester topics and three related to spring semester topics, are rotated yearly.  All the questions and instructional support materials are provided on this site so that teachers may use with their students any or all of the questions and support materials not being assessed in a particular year. 
 
 
 
The assessment questions for the 2011 - 2012 school year are:

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Topic:    The Progressive Era

 

Question/Prompt:

The Progressive Era philosopher John Dewey wrote, “The task of democracy is to create a freer and more humane experience in which all [people] share and all contribute.”

 

How successful were Progressive Era reformers, from 1900 – 1920, in making America a more free and more humane society?

Topic:    The Great Society

 

Question/Prompt:

How successful were the “Great Society”

programs, begun in 1964, in ending poverty,

eliminating racial injustice, and improving

opportunities for a better life?

 
 
Introduction - The presentation and notes below are provided to help teachers prepare students for success on the the assessment.
 
 

Fall Semester Questions and Instructional Support Materials:
 
 2012 Question:
The Progressive Era philosopher John Dewey wrote, “The task of democracy is to create a freer and more humane experience in which all [people] share and all contribute.”
 
How successful were Progressive Era reformers, from 1900 – 1920, in making America a more free and more humane society? 
 
Support Materials:
  • Setting the Historical Context: This slide show, developed Mr. Long, an AP U.S. History teacher, highlights many of the social, political, and economic issues the nation faced during this time period.   It provides students historical context to better understand the source documents and goals of Progressives. 

Progressive Era Overview - from Mr. Long's AP U.S. history website

  • Setting the Historical Context II:  "Reform's Crusade: The Progressive Era, 1890 - 1917"  A slide presentation from the November 8 district wide professional development session.  This presentation was developed by the speaker at the session, Haley Pollack, University of California, Berkeley.
"Reform's Crusade: The Progressive Era, 1890 - 1917"
(powerpoint presentation)
  • Hook Activity:  “What is a free and humane society?”  This activity is designed to help students develop and refine a criterion for evaluating the work of Progressive Era reformers.  Students work with historical and contemporary governmental actions to decide, based on specific definitions of “free” and “humane," whether it made or is currently making America a more free, and/or a more humane society.

Getting Ready to Write - Hook Activity

  • Note to Teachers and Work with Practice Documents: This note and discusses the need for students to have criteria through which to answer the question.  Students also work with practice documents to develop a tentative beginning to an introductory paragraph they might use in their essay

Preparing for the assessment - Note to teachers and practice documents for student use

 
 
 
2010 Question:
In its war with Spain and expansion into the Philippines did the United States demonstrate humanitarian goals or concern for its own economic interests and political power?
 
2010 - 2011 High school assessment rubric:  10 - 11 rubric
 
Support Materials:
  • Basic information - implementation guidlines and testing window.
  • This memo discusses the prompt and what students need to understand in order to thoughtfully respond to the assessment question
  • Gathering background information: “Point of View” Study GuideThis activity is connected to the 11th grade history textbook and is designed to help students gather background information necessary for developing a thoughtful response to the assessment question.  It asks students to interpret how important individuals and groups mentioned in the book might view or respond to a specific historic event or individual.
Point of View Study - Working with the History Textbook
  • In this activity students work with primary source documents that shed light on  U.S. expansionism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The goal is to provide students practice at "sourcing" a document; responding to questions on who created the document, and why.  As well as considering audience and purpose.
Working With History Evidence - a "SOAPS" activity
Supporting student success - a focus on the thesis statement. These activities are designed, in response to analyis student writing at district-wide history assessment scoring sessions, to support the development and inclusion of strong, thoughtful, thesis statements.    
  • #1 - Identifies some basic qualities of a strong thesis and uses those qualities to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of thesis statements taken from the 2009 fall semester OUSD history writing assessment anchor papers.
  • #2 - Working with the inquiry question Why did African Americans disagree about the annexation of the Philippines in 1898?”  this activity includes four primary sources and asks students to: 1) select the two strongest thesis statements from four thesis statements that respond to the inquiry question and then explain why they are strong; 2) match the thesis statements with the qualities identified in the previous lesson.
  • #3 - Developing a thesis statement - hook activity: this activity asks students to develop and then revise or refine a thesis as they encounter new evidence. This activity, which was developed by Oakland teacher Christie Blakely, (Architecture) asks the students to work with evidence in order to answer the question "Was Mr. X a successful teachers?"
  • #4 - Developing a thesis statement (applying the previous lesson) - this activity, still uses the question Why did African Americans disagree about the annexation of the Philippines in 1898?”  and asks students to develop and refine their thesis as they encounter new information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2009 Question:
Is Andrew Carnegie an American Hero?
 
Support Materials:
  • Setting the Historical Context  – This slide show is designed to provide students an introduction to Carnegie and his historical period.  It highlights key events and ideas in Carnegie's rise to prominence within the context of a national discussion of wealth, poverty, industry, and labor.

Introduction to Andrew Carnegie - Slide Presentation

  • Hook activity - This activity is designed to get students thinking about some of the key issues they will be using to evaluate whether Andrew Carnegie is an American hero?

Carnegie Assessment hook activity

  • Gathering background information: “Point of View” Study GuideThis activity is connected to the 11th grade history textbook and is designed to help students gather background information necessary for developing a thoughtful response to the assessment question.  It asks students to interpret how important individuals and groups mentioned in the book might view or respond to a specific historic event or individual.
Gathering Background Information - Working with the Textbook 

 

2008 Question:
The Progressive Era philosopher John Dewey wrote, “The task of democracy is to create a freer and more humane experience in which all [people] share and all contribute.”
How successful were Progressive Era reformers, from 1900 – 1920, in making America a freer and more humane society? 
 
Support Materials:
  • Setting the Historical Context: This slide show highlights many of the social, political, and economic issues the nation faced during this time period.   It provides students  historical context to better understand the source documents and goals of Progressives.

Coming soon.

  • Hook Activity:  “What is a free and humane society?”  This activity is designed to help students develop and refine a criterion for evaluating the work of Progressive Era reformers.  Students work with historical and contemporary governmental actions to decide, based on specific definitions of “free” and “humane," whether it made or is currently making America a more free, and/or a more humane society.

Progressive Era Assessment - Hook Activity

  • Note to Students and Work with Practice Documents: This note and activity reminds students of the need to have criteria through which to answer the question.  Students also work with practice documents to develop a tentative body paragraph they might use in their essay

.Progressive Era Assessment - Note to Students and Practice Documents

 
Spring Semeseter Questions and Instructional Support Materials: 
Spring Semester, 2011 Question:
Were America’s policies and actions (1945-1975) toward Vietnam in the best interests of the American people?
 
Support Materials:
  • Note to teachers - preparing students for the assessment and what students need to know before writing. 
 
  • Working with counter evidence/develping counter arguments - This activity, focused on the question "Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. right to connect the struggle for Civil Rights of the 1960s with the movement opposing the War in Vietnam?" is designed to help students write essays in which they account for evidence that may challenge their thesis.   The assignment includes primary source documents selected to help students answer the above question and essay templates designed to support students as they develop this crucial academic skill. 

(adapted from assignment by Christie Blakely, College Prep and Architecture Academy, OUSD) 

Working with counter evidence/developing counter argument - a focus on Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech
  • Helping students connect what they learned in class to their work with the assessment question and source documents - These two activities are designed to help students bring what they learned in class to their essays,providing historical context to the question and the source documents. Activity #1 asks to students to write what they know about "Why did President Johnson pursue the war in Vietnam?" and then rewrite their answer to include a evidence from a primary source.  Activity #2 asks students to write about "Why did some people oppose the war in Vietnam?" and then rerwrite their answer to include evidence from two primary sources.

Connecting background knowledge an primary source evidence:

 
 
 
  • Gathering background information: “Point of View” Study GuideThis activity is connected to the 11th grade history textbook and is designed to help students gather background information necessary for developing a thoughtful response to the assessment question.  It asks students to interpret how important individuals and groups mentioned in the book might view or respond to a specific historic event or individual.
Gathering Background Information - Working with the Textbook
  • Working With MLK's "Beyond Vietnam Speech," a  Lesson Plan from "History Magazine" by Erin Cook and Stan Pesick
Vietnam Assessment - Working with MLK's Beyond Vietnam Speech
  • An Oral history project on the Vietnam War
Vietnam Oral History Project
 
 
Question:
In 1876, at the end of Reconstruction many of the political, social, and economic goals of African Americans had not been fulfilled.  The right to vote was greatly limited, laws and practices enforced segregation and discrimination, and, consequently, African Americans had great difficulty in achieving economic advancement. 
 
Agree or disagree:  The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s successfully met the political, economic, and social goals of African Americans that had not been achieved during the Era of Reconstruction.
 
Support Materials:

 

  • Note to Teachers - What does the prompt ask students to consider?  What do they need to know and understand?  Helping students develop an evaluation criteria. 
  • Setting the Historical Context- This slide reviews the events of Reconstruction and then highlights many of the social, political, and economic goals and achievements of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  It provides students some historical context so they can better understand and analyze the source documents on the assessment. 
  • Student worksheet to use while viewing slide presentation.
 
 
 
 

 

  • Gathering background information: “Point of View” Study GuideThis activity is connected to the 11th grade history textbook and is designed to help students gather background information necessary for developing a thoughtful response to the assessment question.  It asks students to interpret how important individuals and groups mentioned in the book might view or respond to a specific historic event or individual.
Civi Rights Assessment - Point of View Study Guide
Question:
How successful were the “Great Society” programs and policies of President Lyndon B. Johnson?  By 1972 had America become a “great,” “almost great,” or “not so great” society?
 
Support Materials
  • Setting the Historical Context - This slide show highlights many of the social, political, and economic issues the nation faced during this time.  It provides students some historical context so they can better understand the source documents and goals of Johnson’s Great Society programs.

Coming soon.

  • Note to students on evaluation criteria, and a focus on integrating content and evidence -
    This activity is designed to help students develop and evaluation criteria for the “Great Society,” and to address a particular writing issue noticed by teachers as they read student essays on previous assessments.  Teachers observed that a number of students had some difficulty in writing an essay in which they include both evidence from source documents and information taken from what was learned in class through readings and discussion.  Weaving the two together is an important skill because it means you are able to successfully demonstrate a fundamental academic literacy task—making an historical argument [a claim], providing background to the argument, and then supporting the argument with evidence.   In this activity students work with background information and source documents about a number of New Deal programs to write potential body paragraphs the integrate the two.

Great Society Assessment - Note to Students with Practice Documents

  • A focus on working with charts and graphs - The Great Society assessment includes a number of graphs and charts as evidence students can use to develop and support their arguments.  In past assessments, teachers observed that students often avoided using these documents because they were not skilled in reading and analyzing th information.  This activity is designed to give them practice with types of documents and to use them in developing a tentative thesis about the Great Society.
Great Society Assessment - Working with Charts and Graphs

 

 
 
Last Modified on April 7, 2012