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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.