This year, the 8th grade TAAS test will count in our school accountability ratings.

The National Council for Social Studies defines it as “the integration of social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.”

RISD is committed to developing active future citizens who understand the models and traditions that have forged social and political institutions. We want students to understand themselves as individuals within larger groups, to understand their historical roots and the impact of change, and to be able to apply geographic knowledge and key economic concepts to a wide range of fields.

As you can imagine, our curriculum is more than memorizing dates in history. Just as we have integrated language and math across all subjects, we must do the same with social studies.

To give you a flavor for what this more comprehensive view of social studies means, here are example TAAS test questions.

  1. The Quakers had an impact on the United States by:

A. Helping to resolve regional differences between the North and South.

B. Working actively against slavery.

C. Encouraging the acquisition of lands from Mexico.

D. Supporting European settlement in Native American territories.

  1. In which order did these Presidents serve?

1=George Washington, 2=Abraham Lincoln, 3=Thomas Jefferson, 4=Andrew Jackson

F. 2, 1, 4, 3

G. 1, 3, 4, 2

H. 4, 2, 3, 1

J. 1, 4, 3, 2

Use the quote to answer the following question.

I [had] dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith…When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and…marched in order to the place of our destination.”

  1. The quote was most likely written by:

K. A colonist who was protesting against the Quartering Act.

L. On of the Sons of Liberty, who enforced the Stamp Act.

M. A colonist who participated in the Boston Tea Party.

N. A British soldier who participated in the Boston Massacre.

  1. By the 1830’s, New York City had become the major U.S. trade center for all the following reasons EXCEPT that:

P. It had a good natural harbor.

Q. New York laws prevented tariffs on imports.

R. The Erie Canal linked New York City with the Great Lakes.

S. The large population was a major market for goods.

Answers: B, G, M, Q