U.S. History: Sample Standard

June 01, 1994 3 min read

What Students Should Know:

The causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in forging the revolutionary movement, and the reasons for the American victory.

What Students Should Be Able To Do:

Demonstrate understanding of the causes of the American Revolution by:

  • Explaining the consequences of the Seven Years War and the overhaul of English imperial policy following the Treaty of Paris in 1763, demonstrating the connections between the antecedent and consequent events. (Grades 5-12)
  • Comparing the arguments advanced by defenders and opponents of the new imperial policy on the traditional rights of English people and the legitimacy of asking the colonies to pay a share of the costs of empire. (Grades 5-12)
  • Reconstructing the chronology of the critical events leading to the outbreak of armed conflict between the American colonies and England. (Grades 5-12)
  • Analyzing the connection between political ideas and economic interests and comparing the ideas and interests of different groups. (Grades 7-12)
  • Reconstructing the arguments among patriots and loyalists about independence and drawing conclusions about how the decision to declare independence was reached. (Grades 9-12)

Examples of Student Achievement:

  • Grades 5-6: Select, chronologically order, and explain the major events leading to the outbreak of conflict at Lexington and Concord.
  • Grades 7-8: Marshal historical evidence, including events leading up to the “shot heard ‘round the world,’' and develop a historical argument on such questions as the following: Was the outbreak of conflict at Lexington and Concord probable? Could any action at that point have prevented war with England?
  • Grades 9-12: Construct a historical narrative analyzing the factors which explain why a person chose to be a loyalist or a patriot. Why did approximately one-third of the colonists want to remain neutral? Did economic and social differences play a role in how people chose sides? Explain.

World History: Sample Standard

What Students Should Know:

Patterns of crisis and recovery in Afro-Eurasia, 1300-1450.

What Students Should Be Able To Do:

Demonstrate understanding of the significance of the Black Death and the recurring plague pandemic in the 14th century by:

  • Explaining the origins and characteristics of the plague pandemic of the mid-14th century and describing its spread across Eurasia and North Africa.
  • Analyzing the demographic, economic, social, and political effects of the plague pandemic in China, Inner Asia, Europe, and the central Islamic lands in the second half of the 14th century.
  • Assessing ways in which long-term climatic change contributed to Europe’s economic and social crisis in the 14th century.

Examples of Student Achievement:

  • Grades 5-6: Write a short story or a play about families in Christian Europe and Islamic Europe and Southwest Asia during the height of the great plague. Did people know the causes of the plague? How did they respond to the plague? Was the response different in Christian and Islamic areas? How did the plague change the lives of those who survived?
  • Grades 7-8: Map the origin and spread of plague on a physical-relief map. Hypothesize about the connection of the spread of the disease with the flow of goods along the Silk Route due to Mongol control of the region. Connect the spread of the disease in Europe to heavy rains and poor crops that had already weakened the population. What areas were spared the ravages of the plague?
  • Grades 9-12: Examine primary sources, such as Jacob von Konigshofen’s chronicle of the cremation of Strasbourg Jews, and secondary accounts of scapegoating during the great plague. How did the pogroms affect Jewish communities in the Holy Roman Empire? Why did Jews flee to Poland and Russia in the mid-14th century? What do the accounts of scapegoating tell you about attitudes and values in Europe during the Middle Ages?

SOURCE: National History Standards Project.

A version of this article appeared in the June 01, 1994 edition of Education Week as U.S. History: Sample Standard