Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

December 2013


Dual Alignment for the 2014 Ohio Graduation Tests for Social Studies

The Ohio Graduation Tests for social studies in 2014 are dually aligned between the 2002 Academic Content Standards for Social Studies and Ohio's New Learning Standards, with the focus on American History and Modern World History. However, in order to maintain the test requirements (blueprints) of the social studies OGT, there will be a few questions from the following 2002 benchmarks (that are also aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards) on the 2014 spring, summer and fall OGTs: People in Societies A-C; Geography A-C; Economics A-B; Government A-B; Citizens Rights & Responsibilities A-B.

Blueprints and Test Specifications for Ohio’s new assessments now online

The Ohio Department of Education has released a set of draft test specification documents for the New Generation of Ohio-developed social studies assessments. These documents provide the components, item types, blueprints, and item specifications to help educators and the general public better understand the design of the new Summative Assessments. End of Year (EOY) is used for the second part of the Summative Assessments for social studies. While high school American history and American government might be semester courses, the wording will be End of Year in these documents.

There have been corrections made to the test specifications for American Government and for Grade 6 social studies. Please use the documents with (Rev. November 2013). To access them, click here.

Ohio Resources Center offers resources linked to Ohio standards

The Ohio Resources Center provides resources for teachers’ instructional planning and professional learning. The center enhances teaching and learning by promoting standards-based best practices in social studies, science, English language arts and mathematics. The center Social Studies Repository includes more than 1400 standards –aligned lessons and resources, many of which are already aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies. The Social Studies page includes ORC-ON e-publications on Historical and Spatial Thinking K-12 that are brief and to the point, a Social Studies Bookshelf with selected NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, aligned to K-8 social studies as well as other helpful resources. Keep informed about social studies news, instructional strategies and the latest resources by following the Let’s Talk Social Studies blog and Twitter (@OhioRC_SocSt). Also, watch for Multi-Genre Text Sets for Social Studies K-6 and an IRC-ON publicatioin featuring Citizenship Participation.

Ohio Secretary of State offers resource and contest to encourage civic participation

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office has two new initiatives to help encourage civic participation of Ohio’s students. Ohio Founding Fathers is an online educational resource to learn more about the leaders of our past and the founding documents they helped create. This initiative gives students and teachers a one-stop shop to find out more about leaders like Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton and key historical documents like the U.S. Constitution, The Ohio Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Students can test their knowledge of our state’s history with the Do You Know Ohio online quiz. Teaching students about the past can encourage them to be better participants in our democracy when choosing our future leaders.      

Additionally, the Secretary of State’s office is sponsoring a Public Service Announcement poster and video contest called School Your Parents. The PSA contest, currently ongoing through March 14, 2014, will engage young Ohioans to think about the importance of voting and remind registered voters to participate in elections. Winning entries will be used in a marketing effort for the 2014 General Election. More information on the contest, including guidelines and rules, can be found at by clicking here.

Youth for Justice: social responsibility meets technology

Give students the opportunity to address local problems and share their solutions with the world.  Youth for Justice is adaptable for use with students in grades 3 through 12. Youth for Justice empowers students to speak out about local issues and develop meaningful solutions to address problems. Students document the process and present their projects locally and ultimately, the chance to share their work via a ‘Virtual Summit’ this spring. Youth for Justice is a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education – www.oclre.org. Questions and requests for more information may be directed to Director of Programs Jared Reitz – jreitz@oclre.org.

Mock Trial deadline approaching

High schools planning to enter mock trial teams in the 2014 competition must register by Dec. 6. Ohio Mock Trial is among the nation’s largest state mock trial competitions. Nearly 4,000 students participated in 2013. Mock Trial is a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. For more information contact tburch@oclre.org.

Teach historic documents with We the People

Teachers are welcome to observe, at no charge, the We the People high school state competition on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Ohio Statehouse. We the People is a nationally recognized curriculum focused on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Students study the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the documents and discuss current day relevance. The simulated congressional hearings provide an authentic, performance-based performance assessment. Interested teachers should contact Tim Kalgreen: tkalgreen@oclre.org.

Professional development opportunity: teaching the appellate process

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education will host a Moot Court professional development session on Feb. 13. Moot Court, the newest OCLRE program, helps students understand the appellate process as they learn to apply the law to the facts of a case and prepare written briefs and oral arguments. The program aligns with Ohio’s New Learning Standards for social studies and English/language arts. Learn how you can incorporate Moot Court in your classroom.  For more information contact tburch@oclre.org.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's 2014 Creative Writing Contest

High school juniors and seniors are invited to enter the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 2014 Creative Writing Contest and win prizes in Cleveland Fed’s 2014 Creative Writing Contest. The topic is 100 Years of Change: Once Upon a Time Before TV. What do students think the most significant advancement has been during the last 100 years?  Students win prizes by writing an essay, play, short story or poem on the topic. All teachers whose students enter will receive gifts. December 2013 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Federal Reserve Act, which created the nation's central bank.  Submissions must be postmarked on or before Feb. 28. Please click here for more information.

State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Research Contest

The State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission announces a research contest open to any Ohio student ages 13 to 18 and in grades 7 through 12. The contest boasts $10,000 in cash prizes. The research project may take the form of an essay, a web site, a podcast, or a power point presentation.

“Our goal is for students to present historical narrative and interpretation in a compelling and informative manner,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, a commission member and chairman of the history department at

The Ohio State University. “Not only do we want them to conduct research for the contest, but we hope they share it with their classmates. We want all Ohio students to know the rich history of Ohio.” Cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category. First place winners will each receive $3,000, second place winners will receive $1,500, and third place winners will each take home $500. Contestants must not reveal their identities on the essay, power point, podcast or Web site. This is to ensure “blind review” by the judges. Projects will be judged on accuracy and clarity in presenting historical events, persons and places, quality of assessment of the issues raised in the prompts, understanding of the larger context surrounding the events being examined, and cogent style and creativity of the final product. The deadline for submission of entries is Jan. 31, 2014. An awards ceremony is planned for April 4, 2014. Click here for a complete list of rules and to enter the contest.


National History Education Clearinghouse
From the National History Education Clearinghouse, a project of George Mason University and Stanford University History Education Group, this Web page on best practices offers strategies and practices for teaching historical interpretation, using primary sources, examples of historical thinking, and teaching with textbooks. http://teachinghistory.org/best-practices

World History Traveler
The World History Traveler provides thematically-organized interactive units that help teachers and students learn more about the patterns and processes that make up world history. Designed for use as both professional development and classroom materials for AP level courses. Teachers can download each of the 26 unit’s content overview, selected readings, bibliography, activities, and more. http://www.learner.org/courses/worldhistory/

Send comments/questions to:

Dwight Groce, consultant, Office of Curriculum and Assessment, Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or dwight.groce@education.ohio.gov