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"... there are two types of laws: There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws ..." --Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," 1963

What response to an unjust law is most consistent with the ideas of Martin Luther King Jr.?

(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Leaving the country rather than obeying the unjust law
  2. Engaging the police in street battles
  3. Urging people to carry guns to protect themselves
  4. Public violation of unjust laws and acceptance of the consequences

"Absolute arbitrary power, or governing without settled laws, can neither of them be consistent with the ends of society and government." -- John Locke

Which of the following statements is most consistent with the Locke quotation above?

(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Weak government is worse than no government.
  2. Governmental power should be limited.
  3. Laws should never be changed.
  4. Only wise people can exercise power.

"I often wondered whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it." -- Judge Learned Hand, 1941

Which of the following best summarizes Judge Hand's argument about constitutional democracy in the United States?

(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Constitutions are a serious obstacle to individual liberties.
  2. Constitutions allow governments to disregard individual liberties.
  3. Individual liberties depend on citizens committed to protecting those liberties.
  4. Individual liberties can only be safeguarded by a written constitution.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." -- Preamble to the United States Constitution

Which of the following principles does the Preamble set forth?

(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. A republic is the best form of government.
  2. The legislative branch of government is supreme.
  3. Ultimate sovereignty resides in the people.
  4. Ultimate sovereignty resides in the states.

Altruism
(Scale: 1 = Never, 2 = Once or twice, 3 = 3-5 times, 4 = 6-10 times, 5 = More than 10 times)

During the past year, about how often:

a. have you helped or gotten help for someone who was hurt?
b. have you stood up for someone who was being picked on?
c. have you comforted someone who was hurt or feeling sad?
d. have you donated money, toys, clothes or other things to a charity?
e. have you helped a classmate with homework?

(source:Developmental Studies Center)


Citizens in a Democracy
(4-point scale using large and small stars; here with revisions)

Problems in the community like pollution and hunger
Are something no one needs to know about......Are something everyone should know about.

Giving up something to help my community
Is something no one has to do......Is something everyone should do.

Being willing to change their mind to help the group get its work done
Is something no one has to do......Is something everyone should do.

Keeping the environment clean
Is something no one has to do......Is something everyone should do.

Making a city or town a better place
Is not something most people can do......Is something that anyone can do.

(source:CART)


Civic Efficacy
(3-point scale for elementary, 6-point scale for middle school and high school, from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree)

Elementary and middle school:

I know what I can do to help make the community a better place.
I feel like I can make a difference in the community.
I try to think of ways to help other people.

High school:

I participate in political or social causes to improve the community.
I feel I have the power to make a difference in the community.
I try to encourage others to participate in the community.
I believe I have enough influence to impact community decisions.

(source:The UC Berkeley Service-Learning Center)


Civic Organization Skills at School
(Scale: 1 = Cannot do this, 6 = Can do this very well, intermediate points not labeled)
These are some skills that people have. Please rate how well you can do each.

Organize other students to take action on a school problem.
Develop ideas about how to take action on a problem in the school.
Know who to contact to get something done about a problem in the school.
Persuade other students that a problem in the school needs to be solved.

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project (Revised for the high school level))


Civic Organization Skills in the Community
(Scale: 1 = Cannot do this, 6 = Can do this very well, intermediate points not labeled)
These are some skills that people have. Please rate how well you can do each.

Organize other students to take action on a problem in the community.
Develop ideas about how to take action on a problem in the community.
Know who to contact to get something done about a problem in the community.
Persuade other people that a problem in the community needs to be solved.

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Study of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Civic Presentation Skills
(Scale: 1 = Cannot do this, 6 = Can do this very well, intermediate points not labeled)
These are some skills that people have. Please rate how well you can do each.

Explain my ideas about politics to others.
Weigh the pros and cons of different political positions.
Gather information about political issues from different sources.
Understand articles in the newspaper about politics.
Recognize the difference between facts and opinions.

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Civility
(Scale: 1 = Disagree a lot, 5 = Agree a lot, intermediate points not labeled)

a. I can always find a way to help people end arguments.
b. I'm good at taking turns and sharing things with others.
c. It's easy for me to make suggestions without being bossy.
d. I'm very good at working with other students.
e. I know how to disagree without starting a fight or argument.
f. I'm good at finding fair ways to solve problems.

(source:Developmental Studies Center)


Community Awareness
(3 point scale for elementary, 6 point scale for middle school, from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree)

Doing something that helps others is important to me.
I like to help other people, even if it is hard work.
Helping other people is something everyone should do, including myself.

Additional items on awareness used with high school students:

It is my responsibility to help improve the community.
I am aware of important needs in the community.
Helping other people is something that I am personally responsible for.

(source:The UC Berkeley Service-Learning Center)


Community Connection
(3-point scale for elementary, 6-point scale for middle school, from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree)

I feel like I am part of a community.
I pay attention to news events that affect the community.
I know a lot of people in the community, and they know me.
Everyone should pay attention to the news about their community.

(source:The UC Berkeley Service-Learning Center)


Confidence in the Value of School Participation
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

Electing student representatives to suggest changes in how the school is run makes schools better.
Lots of positive changes happen in this school when students work together.
Organizing groups of students to state their opinions could help solve problems in this school.
Students acting together can have more influence on what happens in this school than students acting alone.

(source:IEA)


Connection to Community
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, 4 = Strongly agree)

a. I spend time on projects with other people to help the community.
b. I have done things to help people in my community.
c. I believe that I can make a difference in my community.
d. I think it is imortant to change things that are unfair in my community.

(source:Chi)


Efficacy in Community Contexts
(Scale: 1 = Impossible to get this done, 6 = Easy to get this done, intermediate points not labeled.)

Working with other young people and adults, how hard would it be for you to accomplish these goals?

a. Organizing an event to benefit a charity
b. Starting an after school program for students whose parents work
c. Organizing an annual clean-up program for a city park

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Efficacy in Political Institutions
(Scale: 1 = Impossible to get this done, 6 = Easy to get this done, intermediate points not labeled.)

Working with other young people and adults, how hard would it be for you to accomplish these goals?

a. Getting the town government to build an addition to the local youth center
b. Influencing a policy or budget decision of your local school board
c. Influencing the outcome of a local election

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Empathy
(Scale: 1 = Not at all like me, 5 = Always like me, intermediate points not labeled.)

a. I often feel sorry for people who don't have the things I have.
b. Sometimes I feel very sorry for other people when they are having problems.
c. When I see someone being picked on, I feel kind of sorry for them.
d. I often feel sorry for other children who are sad or in trouble.
e. When I see someone being treated mean, it bothers me.
f. I am a person who cares about the feelings of others.

(source:Schonert-Reichl)


Engagement in Solving Problems in School
Suppose you found out about a problem in your school that you wanted to do something about. Please rate how well you can do each.

(Scale: 1 = Cannot do this, 6 = Can do this very well, intermediate points not labeled.)

___ I would be able to create a plan to address the issue.

___ I would be able to get people to care about the problem.

___ I would be able to organize and run a meeting.

___ I would be able to make a public speech.

___ I would be able to find and examine research related to the issue.

___ I would be able to express my views in front of a group of people.

(source:California Civic Index)


Expectations for Future Electoral Action
(Scale: 1 = Will certainly not do this, 6 = Will certainly do this, intermediate points not labeled.)

Below is a list of activities. In the future, what do you expect that you will do?

a. Vote in local elections
b. Vote in national elections
c. Work for a candidate's election campaign
d. Put a candidate's sticker on your car or place a sign in front of your house

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project as adapted from Keeter)


Expectations for Future Political Voice
(Scale: 1 = Will certainly not do this, 6 = Will certainly do this, intermediate points not labeled.)

Below is a list of activities. In the future, what do you expect that you will do?

a. Write to a newspaper or magazine to express your opinion on an issue
b. Sign a written or e-mail petition about a political or social issue
c. NOT buy something because of the conditions under which it was made
d. Call in to a radio or television talk show to express your opinion

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Expectations of Community Participation
(Scale: 1 = I will certainly not do this. 2. I will probably not do this. 3. I will probably do this. 4. I will certainly do this.)

Listed below are several types of action that you as a young person could take over the next few years. What do you expect that you will do?

a. Volunteer time to help people in the community
b. Collect money for a social cause
c. Collect signatures for a petition

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


Expectations of Informed Voting
(Scale: 1 = I will certainly not do this. 2. I will probably not do this. 3. I will probably do this. 4. I will certainly do this.)

When you are an adult, what do you expect that you will do?

Vote in national elections
Get information about candidates before voting in an election

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


Expectations of Political Activities
(Scale: 1 = I will certainly not do this. 2. I will probably not do this. 3. I will probably do this. 4. I will certainly do this.)

When you are an adult, what do you expect that you will do?

Join a political party
Write letters to a newspaper about social or political concerns
Be a candidate for local or city office

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


General Participation Skills Measure
(Scale: 1 = Not well, 5 = Extremely well, intermediate points not labeled.)

Listed below are skills that people use in various situations. Please rate how well you can do each skill by placing the corresponding scale number in the blank next to the skill.

___ a. Communicate my ideas to others
___ b. Listen to others' ideas
___ c. Reach a compromise
___ d. Know where to call or whom to contact to get things done
___ e. Weigh pros and cons
___ f. Persuade others
___ g. Deal with conflict when it comes up

(source:Project 540)


Internal Efficacy
(Scale: 1 = Very strongly disagree, 6 = Very strongly agree, intermediate points not labeled.)

How true is each statement?

a. I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of the political issues facing this country.
b. When political issues are being discussed, I usually have something to say.
c. I think I am better informed about politics and government than most students.

(source:Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Political Engagement Project)


Justice-Oriented Citizen
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Slightly Disagree, Slightly Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

When thinking about what needs to be done, I often focus on the root causes of social problems.
In the next three years, I will work to promote justice.
I think it's important to work for positive social change.
In the next three years, I will work with others to evaluate and try to change unjust laws.
By organizing and participating in protests, people make society better.

(source:Kahne, Chi and Middaugh)


Leadership Skills acquired during a civic-related experience
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 4 = Strongly agree, intermediate points not labeled.)

During this experience (activity), I have:

a. become committed to activities that are important to me.
b. learned to work with others.
c. learned to respect different opinions.
d. become open to new ideas.

(source:CEDARS - Wilkenfeld)


Participatory Citizen
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Slightly Disagree, Slightly Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

Being actively involved in community issues is my responsibility.
Being concerned about state and local issues is an important responsibility for everybody.
In the next three years, I expect to work on at least one community project that involves a government agency.
Everyone should be involved in working with community organizations and local government on issues that affect the community.
In the next three years, I expect to be involved in improving my community.

(source:Kahne, Chi and Middaugh)


Personally Responsible Behaviors
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, 4 = Strongly agree)

a. I think it is important for people to follow the rules.
b. It is important for me to follow the rules even if no one is watching.
c. I usually do what I am supposed to do.

(source:Chi)


Personally Responsible Citizen/Person
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Slightly Disagree, Slightly Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

I think it's important to take care of people who have difficulty caring for themselves.
I think it's important for people to follow the rules and laws.
I try to help when I see people in need.
I am willing to help others without being paid.
I feel personally responsible for keeping the community clean and safe.
I try to be kind to other people.
I always try to tell the truth.

(source:Kahne, Chi and Middaugh)


Perspective Taking
(Scale: 1 = Not at all like me, 5 = Always like me, intermediate points not labeled.)

a. It is easy for me to understand why other people do the things they do.
b. Sometimes I try to understand my friends by imagining how they think about things.
c. Even when I'm mad at someone, I try to understand how they feel.
d. I try to understand how other kids feel before I decide what to say to them.
e. Even when I know I'm right I listen to what other people think.
f. There are different ways to think about a problem, and I try to look at all of them.

(source:University of British Columbia Project)


Positive Attitudes Toward Ethnic Minorities
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, 4 = Strongly agree)

a. All ethnic groups should have equal chances to get a good education in this country.
b. All ethnic groups should have equal chances to get good jobs in this country.
c. Schools should teach students to respect members of all ethnic groups.
d. Members of all ethnic groups should be encouraged to run in elections for political office.

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


Positive Attitudes Toward Women's Economic and Political Rights
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, 4 = Strongly agree)

a. Women should run for public office to take part in the government just as men do.
b. Women should have the same rights as men in every way.
c. Men and women should get equal pay when they are in the same jobs.
d. (R) Women should stay out of politics.
e. (R) When jobs are scarce, men have more right to a job than women.
f. (R) Men are better qualified to be political leaders than women.

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


Problem Solving Skills
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 4 = Strongly agree, intermediate points not labeled.)

a. When a problem arises, I try to think about different ways of solving it.
b. When I make a decision, I think about what might happen afterwards.
c. I tend to think before acting.

(source:CASEL)


Sense of Internal Efficacy at School
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

I am interested in participating in discussions about school problems.
When school problems are being discussed, I usually have something to say.

(source:IEA)


Skills for Community Action
Suppose you found out about a problem in your community that you wanted to do something about. Please rate how well you can do each.

(Scale: 1 = Cannot do this, 6 = Can do this very well, intermediate points not labeled.)

___ I would be able to create a plan to address the issue.

___ I would be able to get people to care about the problem.

___ I would be able to organize and run a meeting.

___ I would be able to make a public speech.

___ I would be able to find and examine research related to the issue.

___I would be able to express my views in front of a group of people.

(source:California Civic Index)


Social Problem Solving Skills acquired during a civic-related experience
(Scale: 1 = Strongly disagree, 4 = Strongly agree, intermediate points not labeled.)

a. I have learned how to examine social problems.
b. I have learned ways of addressing community problems.
c. I have learned how political action by groups can solve social problems.
d. I have learned about individuals' responsibility to their community.

(source:CEDARS - Wilkenfeld)


Social Responsibility
Young people can play an important role in making their communities better.
It is good for democracy when young people are obligated to help people in the community.
Young people have a responsibility to help people in their communities.
Young people have a responsibility to help solve environmental problems in their communities.
Young people should be involved in working with community organizations and local government to improve their communities.

(source:Peterson and Seligman, Shiarella, Kahne and IEA (several sources merged, items revised))


Socially Responsible Actions
(Scale: 1 = never, 2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = always)

How often do you:

a. try to do what your teacher asks you to do?
b. try to be quiet when others are trying to study?
c. try to keep working even when you are tired?
d. try to keep working even when other kids are goofing off?
e. try to keep promises that you've made to other kids?
f. try to do the things you've told other kids you would do?

(source:Wentzel (1993))


Support for Citizens' norms -- Conventional Citizenship
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

Good citizens should vote in every election.
Good citizens should know about the country's history.
Good citizens should follow political issues in the newspaper, radio or TV.
Good citizens should engage in political discussion.

(source:IEA)


Support for Citizens' norms -- Social-Movement Oriented Citizenship
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree)

Good citizens should participate in activities to benefit people in the community.
Good citizens should know about organizations in the community that help people.
Good citizens should participate in activities to protect the environment.
Good citizens should participate in activities promoting human rights.

(source:IEA)


Trust in Government-Related Institutions
(Scale: 1 = Never, 2 = Some of the time, 3 = Most of the time, 4 = Always)

How much of the time can you trust each of the following institutions?

a. The national government in Washington, DC
b. The local council or government in your town or city
c. Courts
d. The police
e. Political parties
f. Congress

(source:IEA/CEDARS)


A city had many requests to provide more places for children to play. In response to parents and other voters, the city decided to create a new park for children. The city made a new park with skateboard ramps, outdoor basketball hoops, a baseball diamond and a bicycle track for stunt riding and racing. The city council made a new rule after the park opened: NO GLASS BOTTLES ALLOWED. The city council can make rules for the park because
(source:Michigan Department of Education, Winter 2003 Released Items)

  1. they are adults.
  2. they are elected by the people.
  3. the mayor told them to.
  4. the police listen to them.

A police officer arrests a suspected criminal and neglects to inform the suspect of his/her rights.

Which of these best describes the above situation?

(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. A failure to ensure separation of powers
  2. A violation of due process
  3. The abuse of executive privilege
  4. The misuse of the power of eminent domain

A student notices the playground at her school has become littered with trash. How could she best show her civic responsibility?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Complain to her friends that no one at the school cares about the way it looks
  2. Ignore the mess and take her friends to play in an area that is still clean
  3. Present the problem to the student council and ask it to devise an answer to the problem
  4. Call the police to report the school's fields are dirty

A woman who has a young child is interviewed for a job at a travel agency. Which of the following is an example of discrimination? She does not get the job because
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. she has no previous experience.
  2. she is a mother.
  3. she speaks only one language.
  4. she demands a high salary.

According to the Declaration of Independence, who has the power to "alter or abolish their government" if it fails to protect their rights?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. The people
  2. Government officials
  3. Supreme Court judges
  4. The United Nations

According to the United States Constitution, which of the following has the power to declare war?
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. United States Supreme Court
  2. United States Congress
  3. United Nations
  4. Joint Chiefs of Staff

All of the following are requirements for voting in a national election EXCEPT the need to
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. be registered to vote.
  2. be a United States citizen.
  3. pay a poll tax.
  4. meet the age requirement.

An alliance between two nations is usually made
(source:CEDARS)

  1. for environmental reasons
  2. for defense and security reasons
  3. to increase opportunities for education
  4. to increase the income of citizens

Ann: "People tend to be too critical of the government. How can elected officials ever do their work if people are criticizing them all the time?"
Fran: "I think it's important for people to let their opinions be known. How else will government officials know what we are thinking? Protests are okay as long as they aren't violent."

The values at issue in this situation are

(source:1989 British Columbia Assessment of Social Studies)

  1. maintenance of order versus freedom of expression.
  2. representative government versus responsible government.
  3. dictatorship versus authoritarian rule.
  4. economic rights versus citizens' rights.

Ann: "People tend to be too critical of the government. How can elected officials ever do their work if people are criticizing them all the time?"
Fran: "I think it's important for people to let their opinions be known. How else will government officials know what we are thinking? Protests are okay as long as they aren't violent."

To further her argument, which additional statement could Fran make?

(source:1989 British Columbia Assessment of Social Studies)

  1. Protests waste valuable time and resources.
  2. Peaceful protests can make government more responsive to the citizens.
  3. People should wait for an election to voice their protest.
  4. In a democracy protests are not allowed.

At a public meeting, political candidates running for federal, state and local offices were ready to answer questions from the audience. An audience member asked, "How do members of the panel feel about United States involvement in foreign wars?" This person went on to state his view that "the United States should not worry about others. Let them fight their own battles."

The view of this audience member is an example of

(source:Michigan State Department of Education, Winter 2003 Released Items)

  1. capitalism.
  2. communism.
  3. expansionism.
  4. isolationism.

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, I saw a sign saying that a games arcade is opening in the shopping mall. Arcades are not good places for young people to be. It stops them from doing their homework. Arcade owners don't care about kids.

Sincerely yours,

Concerned Parent

A student was researching the value of arcades for a report. He included information from this letter because

(source:1989 British Columbia Assessment of Social Studies)

  1. it showed why the arcade was opening.
  2. it showed what most parents think about arcades.
  3. it showed one parent's view.
  4. it showed what arcade owners think.

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, I saw a sign saying that a games arcade is opening in the shopping mall. Arcades are not good places for young people to be. It stops them from doing their homework. Arcade owners don't care about kids.

Sincerely yours,

Concerned Parent

Which statement is a fact found in the letter?

(source:1989 British Columbia Assessment of Social Studies)

  1. Arcades stop students from doing their homework.
  2. Arcades are not good places for young people.
  3. An arcade is opening in the shopping mall.
  4. Arcade owners do not care about kids.

Describe an action the federal government has taken to prevent discrimination.
*How effective do you think this action has been?
*Include examples to support your answer.

(source:Maryland State Department of Education)


Give two reasons why someone would vote for a candidate who was not from their own political party.
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)


How did women in the United States get the right to vote?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. By Constitutional amendment
  2. By an act of Congress
  3. By a proclamation of the President
  4. By a decision of the Supreme Court

How do people in a democracy most directly exercise their rights as citizens?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. Getting a job
  2. Voting in elections
  3. Buying American products
  4. Helping people in need

How is the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court selected?
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. By a national election with approval by a majority of the state governors
  2. Through a majority vote by the current Supreme Court justices
  3. By constitutional amendment and presidential signature
  4. Through appointment by the President with the consent of the Senate

How many representatives does each state have in the United States House of Representatives?
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. Two
  2. Three
  3. The number varies according to the area of the state.
  4. The number varies according to the population of the state.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

What does the sentence "I pledge allegiance to the flag" mean?

(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. I promise to be loyal to the ideals of the United States.
  2. I promise to salute the flag when I see it in parades.
  3. I promise to join the army of the United States.
  4. I promise to study the laws of the United States.

In a court, which one of the following has the job of making sure that the trial is fair and run according to the rules?
(source:NAEP 1973)

  1. the judge
  2. the lawyer
  3. the jury
  4. the person on trial

In a democratic classroom, how would class officers be chosen?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. The smartest students would get to vote for officers.
  2. The teacher would choose the officers based on their grades.
  3. All the students would get to vote for officers.
  4. The principal and parents would choose the officers.

In a democratic country having many organizations for people to join is important because this provides
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. a group to defend members who are arrested.
  2. many sources of taxes for the government.
  3. opportunities to express different points of view.
  4. a way for the government to tell people about new laws.

In a democratic political system, which of the following ought to govern the country?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. Moral or religious leaders
  2. A small group of well-educated people
  3. Popularly elected representatives
  4. Experts on government and political affairs

In a democratic society, which of the following would make laws and regulations about closing a road through a city park?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. The city police
  2. The city judge
  3. The city council
  4. The city mayor

In addition to voting and being a candidate, what are two ways that citizens can be involved in political campaigns and elections?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)


In the United States, people who are arrested have the right to
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. stay in a private cell.
  2. choose a judge.
  3. talk to a laywer.
  4. refuse to wear handcuffs.

In the United States, what do labor unions, civil rights groups, business associations and environmental organizations all have in common?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. They try to influence public policy and get people elected.
  2. They share the same ideas about political issues.
  3. They are all funded by the federal government.
  4. They have to pay federal income tax.

In which of the following situations has the United States Supreme Court ruled that a student's individual freedom can be limited?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. A student decides to attend a private school.
  2. A student wears clothing likely to disrupt instruction.
  3. A student writes a letter to the editor of her school newspaper.
  4. Two students quietly say grace in the school cafeteria before eating.

July 4 is a national holiday that celebrates the day when
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. the American colonies declared their independence.
  2. the Pilgrims arrived in the New World.
  3. women won the right to vote in elections.
  4. the Civil War officially ended.

Knowledge of and Connection with Organizations:


(source:Root)


Leaders discussing how to resolve a conflict between their countries are involved in
(source:CEDARS)

  1. confrontation
  2. competition
  3. negotiation
  4. free trade

Licensing for certain occupations is an example of a government regulation that
(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. controls wages in licensed occupations.
  2. encourages monopolies in competing occupations.
  3. limits entry into an occupation by setting standards.
  4. guarantees lifetime employment for licensed workers.

Look at the diagram below and answer the question.


What action could be taken to reverse any of the court decisions in the graph?

(source:Oregon Department of Education, 2003-2005 Sample Test, CIM (Certificate of Initial Mastery) Benchmark)

  1. A state court could reverse the Supreme Court's decision.
  2. A state legislature could re-pass the same law.
  3. The people could directly vote on the law.
  4. The Constitution could be amended.

Look at the diagram below and answer the question.


What power of the Supreme Court is illustrated by the graphic?

(source:Oregon Department of Education, 2003-2005 Sample Test, CIM (Certificate of Initial Mastery) Benchmark)

  1. Law enforcement
  2. Judicial review
  3. Civil disobedience
  4. Impeachment

Look at the sample ballot below and answer the question following it.


How many people will be elected to the town council?

(source:NAEP 1990)

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

No freeman shall be seized, imprisoned,...or in any way destroyed; nor will we (the king) proceed against or prosecute him except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. --Magna Carta, 1215

Which democratic principle is based on the excerpt above?

(source:Texas Exit Exam)

  1. Right to bear arms
  2. Freedom of speech
  3. Freedom of the press
  4. Right to a trial by jury

One important job of the U.S. Department of State is to
(source:CEDARS)

  1. enforce national laws at the local level.
  2. manage our relations with other countries.
  3. propose amendments to the Constitution.
  4. appoint judges to the Supreme Court.

One way a person can become a United States citizen is by
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. buying property in the United States.
  2. visiting the United States many times as a tourist.
  3. opening a business in the United States in partnership with a citizen.
  4. living in the United States for five years and passing a special test.

Radio stations in a country are forbidden to play a song because the song criticizes the government. Which civil right is being violated?
(source:CEDARS)

  1. the right to freedom of expression
  2. the right to not be discriminated against
  3. the right of personal freedom
  4. the right to education

Read the headlines below.

What is the intent of the government actions described in all the headlines?


(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. To maintain public safety
  2. To raise tax revenue
  3. To reduce crime
  4. To maintain social order

Recently, a state law has been passed to raise the driving age to 19.

*Describe two ways someone opposed to this law could try to get it changed.
*Explain why each of your choices would be effective.

(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)


Should a member of Congress pay attention to the opinions and concerns of people whose views are different from those of the majority?

Why or why not?

(source:NAEP 1973)


Should a newspaper be allowed to publish something that criticizes a policy proposed by an elected official? Please give a reason for your answer.
(source:NAEP 1973)


Should citizens who are younger than the legal voting age have the right to write letters to elected officials about political issues? Please explain your answer.
(source:NAEP 1973)


Some people believe that the right to voice minority opinions and viewpoints in a society should always be protected. Others believe that the point of view of the majority should prevail over the opinion of minorities in the interest of preserving the stability of society.

To what extent should the right to express minority viewpoints be protected?
Answer in 3-5 sentences.

(source:Released Question: Alberta, Canada 2004)


Soon after the Constitution of the United States was approved, 10 amendments were added to it. These 10 amendments are known as the
(source:Georgia Department of Education)

  1. Bill of Rights.
  2. Mayflower Compact.
  3. Articles of Confederation.
  4. Declaration of Independence.

The ability of the United States Supreme Court to declare an act of Congress, or an act of the President, unconstitutional is an example of
(source:Kentucky Department of Education)

  1. capitalism.
  2. states' rights.
  3. federalism.
  4. judicial review.

The ballot below was used in a general election.


In that election, you could vote for all of the following combinations except

(source:NAEP 1973)

  1. Kirk and Jones.
  2. Kirk and O'Connor.
  3. Davis and Merwin.
  4. Davis and Moss.

The following is an imaginary political leaflet.

We citizens have had enough!
A vote for the Silver Party means a vote for higher taxes.
It means an end to economic growth and a waste of our nation's resources.
Vote instead for economic growth and free enterprise.
Vote for more money left in everyone's wallet.
Let's not waste another 4 years! VOTE FOR THE GOLD PARTY.

The authors of the leaflet think that higher taxes are

(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. a good thing.
  2. necessary in a (free) market economy.
  3. necessary for economic growth.
  4. a bad thing.

The following is an imaginary political leaflet.

We citizens have had enough!
A vote for the Silver Party means a vote for higher taxes.
It means an end to economic growth and a waste of our nation's resources.
Vote instead for economic growth and free enterprise.
Vote for more money left in everyone's wallet.
Let's not waste another 4 years! VOTE FOR THE GOLD PARTY.

The party or group that has issued this leaflet is likely also to be in favor of

(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. reducing government control of the economy.
  2. lowering of the voting age.
  3. capital punishment.
  4. more frequent elections.

The following is an imaginary political leaflet.

We citizens have had enough!
A vote for the Silver Party means a vote for higher taxes.
It means an end to economic growth and a waste of our nation's resources.
Vote instead for economic growth and free enterprise.
Vote for more money left in everyone's wallet.
Let's not waste another 4 years! VOTE FOR THE GOLD PARTY.

This is an election leaflet which has probably been issued by

(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. the Silver Party.
  2. a party running against the Silver Party.
  3. a group which tries to be sure elections are fair.
  4. the Silver Party and the Gold Party together.

The function of a referendum is to
(source:CEDARS)

  1. minimize the influence of newspapers.
  2. involve citizens directly in decision making.
  3. elect political leaders.
  4. strengthen political parties.

The graph shows that


(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. wealthy people tend to have different political views than do people with less money.
  2. the incomes of certain groups of voters have increased dramatically.
  3. the higher someone's income is, the more likely he or she is to vote.
  4. young people are more likely to vote than are older people.

The number of electoral votes each state is allotted is based on the state's
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. physical/geographic size.
  2. representation in Congress.
  3. average income.
  4. number of years as a state.

The primary purpose of the Bill of Rights was to
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. limit the spread of slavery in the United States.
  2. limit the power of the national government.
  3. establish judicial review.
  4. allot specific powers to the states.

The purpose of the system of checks and balances in the United States Constitution is to
(source:Texas Exit Exam)

  1. grant most legislative power to the House of Representatives.
  2. establish judicial guidelines at the state and local levels.
  3. balance the interests and power of large and small states.
  4. prevent one branch of the federal government from becoming too powerful.

The statue shown below is a symbol of


(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. power.
  2. equality.
  3. intelligence.
  4. liberty.

The town of Talbot has clean air and the river provides people with fish. Near the town of Talbot, a large company has decided to open a chemical factory. This factory will be built next to Green River.

Why would the townspeople be happy that the factory is opening up in their town?

(source:1989 British Columbia Assessment of Social Studies)

  1. The factory will bring new jobs to the town.
  2. Everyone in the town will be rich.
  3. Chemicals will be cheaper for townspeople to buy.
  4. The town will charge less for water.

The United States and each of the 50 states have a written constitution. Give two reasons why it is important for the country and each state to have a written constitution.
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)


Three of these statements are facts and one is an opinion. Which of the following is an OPINION?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. Actions by individual countries are the best way to solve environmental problems.
  2. Many countries contribute to the pollution of the environment.
  3. Some countries offer to co-operate in order to diminish acid rain.
  4. Water pollution often comes from several different sources.

Three of these statements are opinions and one is a fact. Which of the following is a FACT?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. People with very low incomes should not pay any taxes.
  2. In many countries, richer people pay higher taxes than poorer people.
  3. It is fair that some citizens pay higher taxes than others.
  4. Donations to charity are the best way to reduce differences between richer and poorer.

Traffic congestion is a problem in a large metropolitan region.
*Propose possible actions the government could take to solve this problem.
*Explain why some people would oppose these actions.

(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)


Under our system of checks and balances, the United States Supreme Court can limit the power of both the Congress and the President by
(source:Kentucky Department of Education)

  1. impeaching public officials.
  2. vetoing a law.
  3. making appointments.
  4. declaring a law unconstitutional.

Under the law, United States citizens may work to change government policy by doing all of the following, EXCEPT
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. making public speeches.
  2. writing letters of protest.
  3. persuading legislators to change laws.
  4. refusing to pay taxes.

Under the United States Constitution, the power to tax belongs to the
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. President.
  2. Department of Treasury.
  3. Supreme Court.
  4. Congress.

What American document contains this passage?

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

(source:Illinois ISAT 2001 Social Science Grade 7 Sample)

  1. The United States Constitution
  2. The Bill of Rights
  3. The Declaration of Independence
  4. The Treaty of Paris

What are the three branches of the national government of the United States?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Republican, Democrat and Independent
  2. Legislative, executive and judicial
  3. Local, state and federal
  4. State, national and international

What best describes the idea of consent of the governed?
(source:Hoge revised)

  1. Citizens choose leaders in fair elections.
  2. Political parties support the leaders.
  3. Freedom of the press is respected.
  4. Leaders agree with each other.

What is an essential characteristic of "free elections"?
(source:CEDARS)

  1. There is more than one candidate.
  2. The mass media supervises the voting process.
  3. Candidates are not members of political parties.
  4. Persons who already hold office cannot be candidates.

What is an important reason some people in the United States might agree to have taxes increased?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. To pay for public schools
  2. To get people to vote in elections
  3. To help businesses earn more money
  4. To build more churches

What is the basic presumption in the United States legal system about a person charged with a crime?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. The person is innocent.
  2. The person must prove his or her innocence.
  3. The person is guilty.
  4. The person must help find the guilty party.

What is the major purpose of the United Nations?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. Safeguarding trade between countries
  2. Maintaining peace and security among countries
  3. Deciding where countries' boundaries should be
  4. Keeping criminals from escaping to other countries

What is the President's role in making laws? The President can
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. rewrite parts of the Constitution.
  2. declare laws unconstitutional.
  3. sign congressional bills into law.
  4. remove members of Congress from office.

What is the primary source of money to operate the national government?
(source:CEDARS)

  1. Fees collected from importers
  2. Taxes on personal income
  3. Fees collected from exporters
  4. Sales taxes paid by consumers

What is the purpose of giving federal judges lifetime appointments?
(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. To protect them from control by elected officials
  2. To attract people with experience to the job
  3. To guarantee that states retain their powers
  4. To protect the wishes of the majority of citizens

When flooding occurs, which of the following actions could a governor take immediately to preserve order and ensure the safety of citizens?
(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. Mobilize the National Guard to protect private property
  2. Order the construction of more bridges
  3. Propose state legislation aimed at protecting the wetlands
  4. Propose federal legislation for low-interest loans

Which activity is an example of civil society rather than an example of government?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. The sanitation department picks up Town X's garbage once a week.
  2. The school board of Town X decides on its yearly budget.
  3. A builder asks Town X's planning board to approve his plans for a housing development.
  4. The places of worship in Town X provide food and shelter for the homeless.

Which of the following actions is directly available to citizens as a means of influencing political affairs?
(source:Alberta, Canada, Grade 12 Social Studies 1985)

  1. Selecting members of the electoral college
  2. Impeaching corrupt politicians
  3. Joining special interest groups
  4. Changing boundaries of voting districts

Which of the following activities is an example of cooperation between state and national governments?
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. Printing money
  2. Building interstate highways
  3. Collecting and delivering mail
  4. Making treaties

Which of the following best describes the way in which the United States Constitution assigns governmental power?
(source:NAEP 1990 Civics Report Card)

  1. It assigns it entirely to the states.
  2. It assigns it entirely to the national government.
  3. It divides it between the states and the national government.
  4. It divides it between the states and the federal courts.

Which of the following best summarizes the information presented in the table below?


(source:NAEP 1990)

  1. The more education people have, the more likely they are to be politically active.
  2. The more education people have, the less likely they are to be politically active.
  3. The kind of education people have is more important than the amount of education in influencing political participation.
  4. There is no relationship between educational levels and political activity.

Which of the following documents describes the powers of the President of the United States?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. The Declaration of Independence
  2. The Mayflower Compact
  3. The U.S. Constitution
  4. The Articles of Confederation

Which of the following has a two-year term of office?
(source:CEDARS)

  1. A member of the House of Representatives.
  2. A United States Senator.
  3. A member of the President's Cabinet.
  4. A Supreme Court Justice.

Which of the following is a characteristic of a non-democratic government?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. People are not allowed to criticize the government.
  2. The political parties criticize each other often.
  3. People must pay very high taxes.
  4. Every citizen has the right to a job.

Which of the following is a political right? The right
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. of pupils to learn about politics in school.
  2. of citizens to vote and run for election.
  3. of adults to have a job.
  4. of politicians to have a salary.

Which of the following is an accurate statement about laws in a democratic country?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. Laws forbid or require certain actions.
  2. Laws are made by the police.
  3. Laws are valid only if all citizens have voted to accept them.
  4. Laws prevent criticism of the government.

Which of the following is most likely to happen if a large publisher buys many of the [smaller] newspapers in a country?
(source:IEA Released Items)

  1. Government censorship of the news is more likely.
  2. There will be less diversity of opinions presented.
  3. The price of the country's newspapers will be lowered.
  4. The amount of advertising in the newspapers will be reduced.

Which of the following is the best example of tension between national security and freedom of press? Newspapers reporting
(source:CEDARS)

  1. personal problems within the President's family.
  2. a secret government plan to raise taxes.
  3. secret plans to free hostages from terrorists.
  4. a government plan to close an army base.

Which of the following is true about laws in the United States?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Laws are to be applied to everyone equally.
  2. Judges can make laws.
  3. Large states make more laws than small states.
  4. It takes two years for a law to go into effect.

Which of the following practices of student government would be least consistent with representative democracy? The student council
(source:CEDARS)

  1. votes to cut off debate of a rule.
  2. adopts a rule that is unpopular with students.
  3. selects members of next year's council.
  4. asks students to vote on changes to its constitution.

Which of the following types of private information might a school have a legitimate need to know?
(source:Hoge revised Foundations Test Items)

  1. whom
  2. what your family's vacation plans are
  3. what chores you have at home
  4. whether you have a learning disability

Which of these explains a difference between political parties and interest groups?
(source:Maryland State Department of Education)

  1. Political parties evaluate government policy; interest groups set government policy.
  2. Political parties influence laws; interest groups ratify laws.
  3. Political parties address many issues; interest groups usually focus on one issue.
  4. Political parties support candidates; interest groups nominate candidates.

Which of these has the authority to make laws?
(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. The Cabinet
  2. The Congress
  3. The President
  4. The Supreme Court

Which of these people make local laws?
(source:NAEP NQT v2.0)

  1. Police officers
  2. Newspaper reporters
  3. City council members
  4. Business leaders

Which of these principles of government is demonstrated when the governor of a state vetoes a bill?
(source:Maryland State Department of Education, Public Release, Fall 2003)

  1. Federalism
  2. Popular sovereignty
  3. Checks and balances
  4. Representative democracy

Which technique was used by Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States?
(source:Kentucky Department of Education, Sample Released Questions, January 2004)

  1. Aid from foreign nations
  2. Nonviolent civil disobedience
  3. Violent revolution
  4. Court injunctions

Why does the legal system in the United States protect a citizen's right to appeal to a higher court?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. To give every defendant an opportunity for a second hearing
  2. To allow more witnesses to be heard in the case
  3. To allow another lawyer to argue the case
  4. To ensure the law was properly applied in the lower court

Write a letter to a newspaper editor explaining why it is important for citizens to pay taxes. Include at least three specific examples to show how you, your family and others benefit from taxes.
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)


Your city government has decided to close a park. Some people stand at the park holding signs to protest the closing. Which two rights from the First Amendment are they using?
(source:CCSSO CSSAP)

  1. Freedom of speech and freedom to assemble peaceably
  2. Freedom of religion and freedom to assemble peaceably
  3. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press
  4. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion

 
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