Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

March 2014


Call for stakeholder nominations for Range-finding committees for Ohio’s computer based science/social Studies

The Ohio Department of Education is seeking nominations from Ohio stakeholders to serve on range-finding committees for Ohio’s computer -based assessments in science and social studies. These committees are specific to a given test (i.e., Science Grade 5, Science Grade 8, Biology, Physical Science, Social Studies Grade 4, Social Studies Grade 6, American Government, American History).

Range-finding is a process by which rubrics for performance based and end of year/course assessment items are given their final adjustment to prepare them for scoring. The performance based assessment (PBA) items are the constructed-response type of items that are hand scored. The end-of-year (EOY) assessment items are the technology-enhanced type of items that are machine scored.

Each committee reviews the rubrics for items that have been field tested. These meetings will take place after the items have been field tested and a sample of student responses is available to use for the process. These committees establish the range, from no credit to partial credit to complete credit, of acceptable student responses.

Range-finding committee meetings are scheduled for the following meeting sessions this spring.



Est # of RF Mtg Days

Original Dates

Revised Dates

Grade 4

Social Studies





Grade 5





No Change

Grade 6

Social Studies




No Change

Grade 8





No Change

American History





American Government





Online Bio and

OGT Life Sci Items







Online PS and

1 OGT Phy. Science Item















No Change





No Change





No Change





Combine with OCBA committee.

Social Studies




No Change

*NOTE: Meetings do not include the weekend, only weekdays. 

Click here to access the Stakeholder Committee Nomination Form to nominate yourself or someone else.

Nomination forms are to be submitted online by Monday, March 17, 2014. Please be sure to specify the content area and grade for which you would like the nominee to serve. Range-finding committees review both performance-based and end-of-year items. If the nominee can only make one of these meetings, please note that as well. Otherwise, it will be assumed that the nominee is available to serve for both meetings. For further information, contact Marie-Elena (Lana) Hall at Marie Elena.Hall@education.ohio.gov or call (614) 387-2285.

Ohio’s Quality Review Rubric 2014 regional meetings still open

Learn about the Quality Review Rubric and the resources to evaluate, revise and implement lessons aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards during regional meetings hosted by the Ohio Department of Education’s Division of Learning, Office of Curriculum and Assessment. (These sessions are introductory and repeat the spring 2013 regional meetings) The first three locations below will have two sessions per day, 9:00 am – 11:30 am and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

  • Wednesday, March 5, Elyria
  • Thursday, March 6, Findlay
  • Monday, March 31,, Athens (3:00-5:30 session only)
  • Additional meeting TBD, New Philadelphia (3:00-5:30 session only)
  • Reschedule TBD, Mid-Ohio ESC, Mansfield (3:00-5:30 session only)
  • Reschedule TBD, Massillon (3:00-5:30 session only)

Regional meetings include a updates on curriculum and assessment and a look at resources supporting the implementation of Ohio’s New Learning Standards. The sessions will build awareness of the use of Ohio’s Quality Review Rubric for each of the content areas – English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Facilitators will lead participants through each component of the Quality Review Rubric and use the rubric to review a lesson. Register now in STARS, keyword  search: Quality Review Rubric, Regional Meeting.

Pearltree for Social Studies now posted

The Ohio Department of Education has posted a Pearltree for social studies under “Quick Links” on its social studies landing page. The Pearltree offers links for information and resources on various topics related to social studies. Click here to access the Pearltree.

Ohio Online Field Test Portal for social studies and science is now available

The Ohio Online Field Test Portal provides information on the next generation of assessments for students and families, teachers, test administrators and coordinators, and technology coordinators. Teachers can familiarize their students with the formats of the different ways they will be assessed on the next generation of assessments. Keep in mind that the content of the items are not necessarily aligned to the new standards and have not been vetted through the item review process. They are used simply to demonstrate the various electronic formats that students will be using. Access to he “Item Tutorials” must be through the Mozilla Firefox web browser.  Go to the Ohio Department of Education home page and hover on TOPICS in the red horizontal menu bar, and click on Testing. Next, on the Testing page under Topics, click on Next Generation Assessments. Now, scroll down to Related Websites and click on Ohio Assessment Portal. Click on Ohio Online Field Test Portal. Click on Students and Families, then Student Training Site.  

Quality Review Rubric for social studies available for lesson or unit alignment

The Ohio Department of Education will soon provide a Phase 3: Instructional Toolkit. This will include the Quality Review Rubric for teachers to use when reviewing lessons or units for alignment to Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies. The rubric contains four dimensions that can be used in the review process. The Phase 3: Instructional Toolkit may be accessed through the social studies landing page when it goes live. It will include instructional webcasts on the rubric. Teachers can download the rubric by clicking here.

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 Ohio Graduation Tests, 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 Ohio Graduation Tests: People in Societies A-C; Geography A-C; Economics A-B; Government A-B; Citizens Rights & Responsibilities A-B.

Free summer Advanced Placement workshops offered

The Ohio Department of Education is pleased to announce the 2014 Advanced Placement Summer

Workshops!  These workshops are free to all teachers in the state of Ohio. Certificates for contact hours will be provided. The workshops will include U.S. History and U.S. Government and Politics. The four-day U.S. History workshops will cover the course revisions in detail. Click here to register. For further information, contact Jennifer Hargreave at jennifer.hargreave@education.ohio.gov or (614) 995-0095.

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies is now accepting session proposals

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies is now accepting session proposals for the 2014 Ohio Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference. The theme of next fall’s conference, Civic Literacy: Taking Informed Action reflects the council’s work to assist Ohio’s teachers in their efforts to prepare students for new the state level testing and their roles as citizens. The theme also recognizes the push for social studies teachers to integrate nonfiction reading and writing into classrooms and the council’s work to restore world history to a required course for graduation in Ohio (Senate Bill 96). Click here to access the Conference Proposal Form or visit the Ohio Council for the Social Studies website for more information. Proposals must be submitted by March 31. Free conference registration is available for the first 10 practicing classroom teachers who submit an accepted session proposal.  

Ohio Council for the Social Studies accepting nominations for outstanding teacher or leader award

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies invites teachers and administrators to nominate teachers for annual awards.  The council offers four annual awards. These include:

  • The Dr. James Sheehan Pre-Service Teacher Award, for outstanding pre-service commitment and performance;
  • The Emerging Social Studies Leader Award, for student teachers or teachers within the first three years of teaching who demonstrate outstanding dedication, skill, intelligence, and caring in the practice of their art;
  • The Outstanding Social Studies Teacher Award honors social studies educators who demonstrate outstanding dedication, skill, intelligence, and caring in the practice of their art;
  • The Social Studies Leader Award honors a group or an individual in Ohio for service promoting social studies principles. Leaders may be administrators, political leaders, or other professionals who have made a significant contribution to the field of social studies.

Click here for award descriptions and the online nomination form.  The deadline for nominations is March 31.  

Develop leadership skills in social studies education with the Ohio Council for the Social Studies

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies will be holding elections this spring for the following positions: secretary, treasurer, middle school representative, higher education representative, regional representatives from the northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest regions of the state. Please contact Anne Baldwin, at abaldwin@reyn.org if interested in running for one of the open Ohio Council for the Social Studies executive board positions by March 31.

Ohio History Day competition to be held in April

The 2014 Ohio History Day competition will be April 26 at The Ohio State University. National History Day in Ohio is sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society and is a year- long program where students choose a historic topic related to the annual theme, conduct research, analyze information and create papers, performances, documentaries, exhibits or websites. The 2014 theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History. History Day is for students in Grades 6-12 and is a wonderful way to connect to the Common Core standards. Judges are needed for both district and the state History Days. Judging is a five-hour volunteer commitment where teachers, historians, museum professionals and archivists view student projects, interact with the participants and provide feedback.  There are judging opportunities across Ohio every weekend in March and at the state event on April 26.  It’s a great opportunity to learn about History Day, meet and encourage enthusiastic students, and to be inspired by the work of young historians. Those unable to judge are welcome to come see National History Day in action. The public is invited to all district events and the state contest. Judging of documentaries and performances are open to the public and the exhibit hall will be open during set times for public viewing. Come and see students excited about History. Click here to sign up as a judge. For more information contact state coordinator Mary Bezbatchenko at mbezbatchenko@ohiohistory.org or (614) 297-2528.

Teachers invited to attend spring programs

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education invites middle and high school teachers to be guests to observe its spring program events, including Mock Trial, Middle School Mock Trial, We the People and Moot Court. What better way to learn about an academic program than by seeing students in action? To learn more, click the program links above or visit www.oclre.org to see the schedule of events. Those interested in observing may contact the respective program coordinator, or email oclre@oclre.org.

Register now for the Youth for Justice and the Project Citizen Virtual summit/showcase

Want to engage students as contributing citizens of the community who work to create positive change? Get them involved in Youth for Justice or Project Citizen. Whether through awareness and advocacy or via policy implementation, youth can work collaboratively to identify, investigate and solve problems they encounter in the community such as bullying, intolerance or unfair or ineffective policies. Empower students to take action. Topic submission deadline is March 14. A ‘virtual’ summit/showcase will be hosted on the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education site beginning May 2. For details, please visit www.oclre.org or contact jreitz@oclre.org.

Law and Leadership Summer Institute 2014:  legal and leadership training and more

Know a student who is a promising leader and interested in the field of law?  The Law and Leadership Institute is accepting applications for its 2014 Summer Institute. The free five-week program provides students in Grades 9-12 from underserved communities academic enrichment, leadership training, legal curriculum, a mock trial competition, daily professional speakers and field trips -- plus food and transportation.  Students entering the ninth grade at the start of the 2014-2015 school year from urban high schools in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo, are eligible to apply. The institute is also accepting applications from current ninth graders from Cleveland and Columbus. Click here for details and to apply or contact Rachel Wilson for more information.

Apply today for the American Civic Education Teacher Awards

Great civics teachers deserve to be recognized. That's why the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and the National Education Association created the American Civic Education Teacher Awards. The awards are given annually to three full-time elementary and secondary teachers of civics, government, and related fields who have demonstrated exceptional expertise, dynamism, and creativity in motivating students to learn about Congress, the Constitution, and public policy. Apply by April 1.

March is Women’s History Month

Women's History Month is celebrated in March. The Center for Civic Education offers a lesson plan and two activities that challenge students to think critically about the struggle for suffrage and equal rights. Click here for the free lesson plan and activities.

American Psychological Association offers opportunities

The American Psychological Association (APA) Education Directorate and the APA Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) are pleased to announce the following opportunities for high school psychology teachers.  For additional information and resources for teachers, please visit the TOPSS website.  All high school psychology teachers are invited to join TOPSS; a membership application is linked to the site above.

  • APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards. These awards recognize outstanding high school psychology teachers.  The nomination deadline is March 1.
  • TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students. This essay competition requires students to describe the biopsychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and offer a solution using psychological science.  Up to four students will receive $250 awards for their winning work.  The submission deadline is April 1.
  • APF Professional Development Awards for High School Psychology Teachers. These APF Awards will provide up to $500 for teachers to travel to and attend the APA Annual Convention, Aug. 7-10, in Washington, DC.  APF will award $2,500 in grants in 2014. The application deadline is April 1..
  • APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers. The 10th annual APA/Clark Workshop will be held June 30-July 2, in Worcester, MA.  The workshop is limited to 25 teachers.  Workshop presenters will include faculty from the Clark University Psychology Department; Randy Ernst of Lincoln Public Schools (Lincoln, NE) and Nancy Fenton of Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, IL) will also present. The application deadline is April 15.
  • 2014 APA Convention Award Program for High School Psychology Teachers and Students. The APA Board of Directors has provided $5,000 to bring high school teachers and their students to the APA Convention, being held Aug. 7-10, in Washington, DC.  Teachers can either apply for (1) $200 to attend Convention themselves, or (2) up to $500 to attend with between two and four students.    The application deadline is April 15.
  • APF High School Psychology Teacher Network Grants. These APF Awards support the development of local or regional networks of psychology teachers.  APF will award $2,500 in
  • grants in 2014. The application deadline is May 1.
  • APA Convention: Washington, DC, Aug. 7-10. TOPSS will sponsor four hours of programming at the Annual APA Convention.  A pre-convention workshop for psychology teachers is also being planned for Aug. 6.  Details about convention speakers and the Aug. 6 workshop will be announced through the TOPSS website this spring:

The Big History Project free history curriculum is now available online

The Big History Project is 13.8 billion years of history told through engaging videos, animations, articles and classroom activities. What can the birth of a star tell us about the ways in which early man lived and the shape of our lives today?  What happens when we ask students to incorporate the insights of physics, biology, anthropology and other scientific and scholarly disciplines into their thinking about history and the future? More than 500 teachers are using the Big History Project. It is free and available online. Click here for more information.

The Newseum offers programs on the Civil Rights Movement 

The Newseum offers several options for teachers looking to plan a field trip around Martin Luther King Jr. or the civil rights movement. For Grades 7 to university, the Newseum offers a class focused on the role of the First Amendment in the Civil Rights Movement called Making a Change.” In February, it will offer a special Civil Rights Movement edition of its “Front Page Frenzy” game for elementary school students Grades 3-6, featuring reproductions of historic front pages from the era. Classes are free with admission and must be reserved in advance online. The Newseum also has several exhibits on the topic: “Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement,” “1964: Civil Rights at 50,” and a display about the black press in its News History Gallery.

For those who cannot visit in person, the Newseum offers a number of free online resources and lesson plans related to the Civil Rights Movement for middle and high school educators. Its Digital Classroom offers an eight minute version of the Newseum-made documentary film “The Press and the Civil Rights Movement” with an accompanying video guide, as well as the Making a Change: The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement module. This module features an interactive timeline of Civil Rights Movement events with historic front pages, photographs, and newsreels; a media map comparing newspapers’ front page coverage of six key Civil Rights events; and standards-aligned lesson plans. To access content on Digital Classroom,  click here. On the main website, teachers can download more free lesson plans analyzing King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and newspaper coverage of the movement. Teachers can also see a selection of newspapers covering Civil Rights events in 1963, and a collection of photos from Freedom Summer in 1964.

The Ohio Historical Society offers Teacher-In-Residence program

The Ohio Historical Society has created a new Teacher-In-Residence program as an innovative way for Ohio social studies teachers to participate in professional development.  The program will take place June 16-27 at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.  Teachers will go behind the scenes to learn about the Ohio History Center, experience hands-on historical thinking activities, and collaborate to create unique educational projects.  The program is designed to provide educators with the knowledge, tools, and atmosphere to participate in enlightened thinking, engaging activities, and immersive learning that will ultimately be transferable to their own teaching methods.  For more information, contact Joy King at jking@ohiohistory.org or visit: http://www.ohiohistory.org/education/teacher-in-residence-program

Street Law's Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers

Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society will sponsor two sessions of the annual Supreme Court Summer Institute, June 19-24 and June 26-July 1. The institute is open to secondary level social studies teachers and supervisors, who will spend six stimulating days on Capitol Hill and inside the Supreme Court learning about the court, its past and current cases, and how to teach about them from top Supreme Court litigators and educators.  Participants will visit the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the justices announce the final decisions of the term and attend a private reception at the Court.  For full information and to apply online (under the “Registration Info” tab), go to www.streetlaw.org/scsi_apply. The application deadline is March 17.

National WWII Museum launches new website

The National WWII Museum is proud to announce the launch of a grand new website  offering visitors a way to browse parts of our oral history and photograph collection from their own hoes. The oral history collection was begun by the late Dr. Stephen Ambrose, while he was still teaching history at the University of New Orleans. When he and his colleague at the University of New Orleans, Dr. Gordon "Nick" Mueller, launched the effort to establish a museum honoring the American veterans of D-Day, they began collecting artifact and archival collections such as uniforms, weapons, souvenirs of war, military and personal correspondence, and in the largest numbers — photographs. These photographs range from those produced as official Navy or Army photographs to those taken with small, Brownie cameras. For more information, click here.

2014 National Conference on Geography Education will be held this summer in Memphis

Join hundreds of educators (K-12 and university) and geography professionals from around the world this July 31- Aug. 3, for the 2014 National Conference on Geography Education. Attend the 2014 conference in Memphis to exchange ideas, research, resources, and best practices in geography education. This conference will mark the 99th annual meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education. The council is dedicated to expanding and improving geography education in U.S. schools and contributing to the development of highly qualified geography teachers. Attend the 2014 conference and connect with your geography education community. Click here for more information on the conference.

National Council for the Social Studies offers 2014 Professional Development Series

The National Council for the Social Studies is  presenting its 2014 Social Studies Professional Development Series. These extensive webinar and workshop offerings focus on the C3 Framework, Common Core strategies, technology integration, using primary sources, geographic connections, and grant writing in preparation for the 2014-2015 school year. Attendees can receive a certificate of attendance upon request for your professional development needs.  Click here to see the full list of workshops.

Gilder Lehrman offers resources and opportunities for Students

The Gilder Lehrman Institute has long been known for its offerings to teachers, librarians, and history buffs. Here the organization is turning to students directly, in hopes of offering them resources and opportunities that they will find helpful and even inspiring in their educational careers. Share the list below with students.

  • Need to brush up for an AP History Exam? Dive into key topics in American history with an extensive collection of original essays by major historians.
  • Writing a history research paper? Search primary sources in the Gilder Lehrman Collection, an archive of more than 60,000 important historical documents from U.S. history, most of them never published. 
  • Need to quote a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian in for a paper? Explore videos featuring lectures by more than 250 eminent historians and search by topic.
  • Nominate a history teacher for National History Teacher of the Year. If the teacher wins the national honor, the student will get a trip to New York City for the award ceremony.
  • Apply for an internship for a summer in New York City. Open to high school and college students.


Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, K-12

The Social Studies in Action teaching practices library, professional development guide, and companion Web site bring to life the National Council for the Social Studies standards. Blending content and methodology, the video library documents 24 teachers and their students in K-12 classrooms across the country actively exploring the social studies. Lively, provocative, and educationally sound, these lessons are designed to inspire thoughtful conversations and reflections on teaching practices in the social studies. http://learner.org/resources/series166.html

Teaching Strategies

From Facing History and Ourselves, these are student-centered teaching strategies that nurture students' literacy and critical thinking skills within a respectful classroom climate. The strategies suggested here can be used with students of all ages with any academic content. http://www.facinghistory.org/teachingstrategies

Democracy Class

Democracy Class is a fun and educational lesson that prepares high school students to vote for the first time with a discussion about the history of voting rights, the connection between issues they care about and those they elect, and provides the opportunity for those eligible to register to vote. Click here to learn more and request materials to participate.

All Together Now report on youth engagement

Last week CIRCLE released the report All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement—a groundbreaking report on how to educate young Americans for political participation in a time of deep polarization. Click here to read the report.

See You Next Year! High school yearbooks from World War II

Between 1941 and 1945, World War II touched and shaped every aspect of American life. From large urban centers to small rural hamlets, no sector of daily life — whether public or private — was immune to the war’s influence; not even the lives of high school students not yet old enough to vote. As students dealt with typical high school experiences like prom and varsity sports, they were forced to confront the realities of the war. Millions of teenagers coming of age during the war years documented their school days in much the same way students still do today: in annuals and in yearbooks. Today, these yearbooks offer a perspective on a world in upheaval that is both rich and uniquely personal. Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth. This resource is provided by the National WWII Museum. Click here to access the yearbooks.

The digital collections of the National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum is proud to announce the launch of a brand-new website offering visitors a way to browse parts of our oral history and photograph collection from their own homes. The Museum is now home to thousands of oral histories and hundreds of thousands of photographs, and this website offers the visitor a way to browse a sample of these collections and license images if interested. The site currently contains segmented videos of oral histories from all military service branches and six photograph collections that span all theaters of war. Click here to access this digital collection.

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