History, Government, & Social Studies

Understanding the Formative Tools for HGSS

Each tested grade, grade 6, grade 8, and grade 11 (US History), has several texts available. These texts, generally primary and secondary source documents, may be used in instruction.

Some of the texts have associated writing prompts for benchmarks 1, 2, and 3 from the HGSS standards. These are organized by big ideas that were identified by educators as important topics in HGSS. Teachers may use the prompts as part of a student research/writing project.

It is recommended that teachers present the “general prompt” to students, allow students time to read the documents, and provide opportunities for research and co-construction of knowledge prior to asking the students to write to one or more of the prompts.

Teachers may excerpt the documents, but it is recommended that teachers do not rewrite or restate the documents. Instead, teachers may take an opportunity to help students understand and analyze primary source documents, which may contain unfamiliar or archaic language.

Educators are encouraged to preview all available resources to determine which ones best address their needs and the needs of their students.

Please note: The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) developed these materials to provide educators and students with a selection of writing tasks to help students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and prepare them to be informed citizens. The current formative tools do not include any machine-scorable items (multiple choice, multi-select multiple choice, or technology-enhanced items) such as students may encounter on the summative tests.