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Student Assessment


PSAE Social Science Performance Definitions


(This subject was assessed 2001 through 2004)

Introduction

The Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), which was administered to Illinois grade 11 public school students for the first time in spring 2001, assesses the high school benchmarks defined by the Illinois Learning Standards. Student performance on the PSAE is evaluated relative to four levels: Exceeds Standards, Meets Standards, Below Standards, and Academic Warning.

The work of students at each performance level is summarized in the following profiles:

Examples are provided only as guidance and are not meant to be exhaustive.

The PSAE social science test is a multiple-choice assessment that measures the Illinois Learning Standards contained in State Goals 14 through 18:

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Exceeds Standards:

Student work at the Exceeds Standards level demonstrates advanced knowledge and thorough mastery of the skills of the social science disciplines. These students creatively apply their knowledge and skills within and across disciplines to solve problems and forge comprehensive, evaluative judgments. They demonstrate well-developed analytic, synthetic, and evaluative skills that can be applied to a variety of contexts.

Political Systems
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards analyze the relationships between the roles and responsibilities of local, state, and national governments and the public goods and services each provide. They explain and compare the purpose of rules and laws and their impact on citizens. Students at this level demonstrate a clear understanding of how rights and responsibilities are grounded in the principle of limited government as expressed by the federal and state constitutions and the Declaration of Independence. They compare how and why the participation of individuals and groups in elections and other public actions has changed over time. Students whose performance exceeds the Standards evaluate the impact of media and lobbyists on public policy at a variety of government levels. They form generalizations about causes and consequences of such activities. They evaluate relationships between the United States and a variety of other nations and between the United States and international organizations. They compare and evaluate the origin of significant political ideas and traditions to those that are found in the United States today. They demonstrate an advanced understanding of the causes of change, such as the dissolution of monarchies, the expansion of participatory democracy, and the extension of civil rights, in political systems.

Economic Systems
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards analyze and explain how national economies vary in the extent that government and private markets help allocate goods, services, and resources. They explain and analyze the relationship between productivity and wages. These students analyze graphs, charts, and other sources of data to draw reasoned conclusions. They identify the meaning and explain the importance of the balance of trade and how trade surpluses and deficits between nations are determined. They analyze reasons why government policies and laws affecting the economy, such as tariffs, taxes, and environmental regulations, have changed over time. They demonstrate an advanced understanding of economic concepts, such as depression, unemployment, inflation, and capital.

History
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards analyze historical events to identify cause-and-effect relationships. They compare and evaluate competing historical interpretations of an event. Students whose performance exceeds the Standards analyze historical and contemporary developments using methods of historical inquiry. They analyze and develop the relationships among an event, where it took place, and its time period. They compare and analyze institutions, customs, and traditions that have characterized past societies and the effect of these upon society today.

Geography
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards use maps, globes, and other geographic representations and tools to answer complex geographic questions. They analyze human interaction with the environment and how the physical and human characteristics of a region change over time. They discern and evaluate the potential consequences of a variety of human interaction with the environment in a geographic context. They analyze and evaluate data that supports appropriate alternative causes and consequences of actions.

Social Systems
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards analyze and evaluate the influence of cultural factors, including customs, traditions, language, media, art, and architecture, in the development of pluralistic societies. These students analyze various forms of institutions and major cultural exchanges of the past. They analyze the influence of worldwide communications on major contemporary cultural.

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Meets Standards:

Student work at the Meets Standards level demonstrates proficient knowledge and mastery of the essential skills of the social science disciplines. These students apply their knowledge and skills within and across disciplines to identify problems and make limited analytic comparisons and judgments. They are developing analytic, synthetic, and evaluative skills that they apply to a limited number of contexts.

Political Systems
Students whose performance meets the Standards analyze the relationships between the roles and responsibilities of local, state, and national governments and the public goods and services each provide. They explain and compare the purpose of rules and laws. Students at this level demonstrate an understanding of how rights and responsibilities are grounded in the principle of limited government as expressed by the federal and state constitutions and the Declaration of Independence. They demonstrate an understanding of how the participation of individuals and groups in elections and other public actions has changed over time. They identify and explain the impact of media and lobbyists on public policy. They describe relationships between the United States and other nations and between the United States and international organizations. These students explain the origin of significant political ideas and traditions that are found in the United States. They explain the causes of change over time in political systems, such as the dissolution of monarchies, the expansion of participatory democracy, and the extension of civil rights.

Economic Systems
Students whose performance exceeds the Standards explain how national economies vary in the extent that government and private markets help allocate goods, services, and resources. They identify the relationship between productivity and wages. They demonstrate an understanding of graphs, charts, and other sources of data and draw some reasonable conclusions. These students explain the meaning and importance of the balance of trade, how trade surpluses and deficits between nations are determined, and how government policies and laws affecting the economy, such as tariffs, taxes, and environmental regulations, have changed over time. They demonstrate an understanding of basic economic concepts such as depression, unemployment, inflation, and capital.

History
Students who meet the Standards analyze historical events to determine cause-and-effect relationships. They compare competing historical interpretations of an event. Students who meet the Standards explain historical and contemporary developments using methods of historical inquiry. They analyze the relationships between an event, where it took place, and its time period. They identify institutions, customs, and traditions that have characterized past societies.

Geography
Students who meet the Standards use maps, globes, and other geographic representations and tools to answer complex geographic questions. These students demonstrate an understanding of specific instances of human interaction with the environment and how the physical and human characteristics of a region change over time.

Social Systems
Students who meet the Standards explain the influence of cultural factors such as customs, traditions, language, media, art, and architecture in the development of pluralistic societies. They explain various forms of institutions and major cultural exchanges of the past. They demonstrate an understanding of how major contemporary cultural exchanges are influenced by worldwide communications.

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Below Standards:

Student work at the Below Standards level demonstrates a basic mastery of the knowledge and skills of the social science disciplines. However, because of gaps in their learning, these students apply their knowledge and skills in limited ways within and across disciplines. They seldom use comparisons and generalizations to form judgments or develop opinions. These students lack the analytic, synthetic, and evaluative skills to apply to a variety of contexts.

Political Systems
Students whose performance is below the Standards differentiate between local, state, and national offices and the public goods and services governments provide, but they do not demonstrate clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each. They explain the function of rules and laws, but demonstrate difficulty in analyzing the purpose of the law. These students identify some of their rights and responsibilities and the sources of their rights, but lack a clear understanding of the principles of limited government expressed in the federal and state constitutions and the Declaration of Independence. Students performing below the Standards do not identify or explain how the participation of individuals and groups in elections has changed over time. They identify the main impact of media and lobbyists on public policy. They demonstrate an unclear understanding of the relationships between the United States and other nations and between the United States and international organizations. Students at the Below Standards level identify the origin of significant political ideas and traditions that are found in the United States. They demonstrate only a rudimentary understanding of the causes of change, such as the dissolution of monarchies, the expansion of participatory democracy, and the extension of civil rights, in political systems.

Economic Systems
Students whose performance is below the Standards identify some of the major mechanisms causing national economies to vary the extent that government and private markets help allocate goods, services, and resources. These students demonstrate only partial and rudimentary understanding of the relationship between productivity and wages. They draw limited conclusions from graphs, charts, and other sources of data. They demonstrate a limited understanding of the meaning and importance of the balance of trade and how trade surpluses and deficits between nations are determined. They identify only well-known examples of how government policies and laws affecting the economy, such as tariffs, taxes, and environmental regulations, have changed over time and of basic economic concepts, such as depression, unemployment, inflation, and capital.

History
Students whose performance is below the Standards identify some historical events to determine cause-and-effect relationships. They describe simplistic, competing historical interpretations of an event and identify a few competing historical interpretations of an event. Students performing at the Below Standards level identify the relationship between an event, where it took place, and its time period. They identify only a few of the institutions, customs, and traditions that have characterized past societies.

Geography
Students whose performance is below the Standards use maps, globes, and other geographic representations and tools to answer geographic questions. They identify common examples of human interaction with the environment. They demonstrate basic understanding of how the common physical and human characteristics of a region change over time.

Social Systems
Students who are performing below the Standards identify the influence of cultural factors that are personally familiar to them, including customs, traditions, language, media, art, and architecture in developing pluralistic societies. They identify some of the more well-known forms of institutions and major cultural exchanges of the past. Students performing at the Below Standards level identify some of the major contemporary cultural exchanges as influenced by worldwide communications

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Academic Warning:

Student work at the Academic Warning level demonstrates limited mastery of the knowledge and skills of the social science disciplines. Because of major gaps in their learning, these students apply their knowledge and skills ineffectively within and across disciplines to solve problems. Comparisons and generalizations are seldom used to form judgments or develop opinions. They lack both knowledge and analytic, synthetic, and evaluative skills.

Political Systems
Students whose performance is at the Academic Warning level do not differentiate between local, state, and national offices and the public goods and services governments provide. They explain the function of some rules and laws but encounter difficulty in explaining the purpose of the law. Students at this level demonstrate knowledge of some of their rights and responsibilities but identify the sources of only some of these rights. They do not demonstrate a clear understanding of how individual and group participation in elections has changed over time. They do not demonstrate a clear understanding of the impact of media and lobbyists on public policy. They describe relationships between the United States and other nations or between the United States and international organizations only in basic, simplistic terms. They identify only a few of the major political ideas and traditions that are found in the United States and do not demonstrate understanding of the origin of most traditions. They demonstrate only a rudimentary understanding of the causes of change, such as the dissolution of monarchies, the expansion of participatory democracy, and the extension of civil rights, in political systems.

Economic Systems
Students at the Academic Warning level demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of how national economies vary in the extent that government and private markets help allocate goods, services, and resources. They do not explain the relationship between productivity and wages. They draw some conclusions from simple graphs, charts, or other sources of data. They identify only a few major examples of economic interdependence, such as investment, trade, and use of technology, in a global economy. Most students performing at the Academic Warning level do not demonstrate a clear understanding of the meaning and importance of the balance of trade and how trade surpluses and deficits between nations are determined. They do not identify basic economic concepts, such as depression, unemployment, inflation, and capital.

History
Students who perform at the Academic Warning level explain only the most obvious significance of well-known historical events in determining cause-and-effect relationships. They identify few historical and contemporary developments and do not demonstrate an understanding of methods of historical inquiry. They demonstrate only simplistic understand of the relationship between well-known historical events, where they took place, and their time period. They identify few institutions, customs, and traditions that have characterized past societies.

Geography
Students at the Academic Warning level use maps, globes, or other geographic representations or tools, but based on their use answer only straightforward geographic questions. They identify some well-known examples of human interaction with the environment. They demonstrate only a rudimentary understanding of how the physical and human characteristics of a region change over time.

Social Systems
Students at the Academic Warning level identify a few everyday examples of the influence of cultural factors including customs, traditions, language, media, art, and architecture in developing pluralistic societies. They do not demonstrate a clear understanding of the various forms of institutions, major cultural exchanges of the past, or major contemporary cultural exchanges as influenced by worldwide communications.

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