​American Government

The American Government course focuses on how the American people govern themselves at national, state and local levels of government. Students learn about becoming active and involved citizens.

Ohio's Learning Standards for Government

The American Government standards describe what students should understand and be able to do. Standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods. There are twenty-one content statements (standards) for the course. These are organized under eight topics. The content statements are the essential knowledge and skills that are to be learned for this course. 

Model Curriculum

The Model Curriculum incorporates the academic content statements (standards), provides curricular and instructional guidance, and informs assessment that will be completed at the local and statewide levels. It also provides instructional strategies and resources. 

Practice Test

Students may log into the Student Practice Site to access the American Government practice test. The half length practice test allows students to become familiar with the online test format by showcasing the different item types, features, and functionality available to students during online testing. 

Paper versions of the American Government practice test can be accessed:

Released Test Item Scoring Guides

These documents provide the answer keys and scoring guides for the Spring 2021 American Government test. They include the item type, the content standard and content statement assessed, an answer key (for some item types) and the number of points associated with each item. They also include the guidelines for scoring (i.e., scoring rubrics), sample responses and notes on scoring and rationales that describe why response options are correct or incorrect.


The test blueprint for American Government is embedded in the Test Specifications for the exam. It identifies the range and distribution of items and points, grouped into various categories. The specifications also provide specific guidelines for the development of all items used for the American Government test. This document is intended to be a resource not only for item writers and test designers, but for Ohio educators and other stakeholders who are interested in a deeper understanding of the test. The American Government blueprint organizes the content statements into three clusters with a reporting category point range for each cluster.

Performance Level Descriptors for American Government

The Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) are the link between Ohio’s Learning Standards and performance standards. They were developed by Ohio educators and other content experts to recommend the most appropriate implementation of content and skills for Ohio’s State Tests for Science and Social Studies as part of the Standard Setting process. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Ohio Department of Education assembled panels of Ohio stakeholders to review actual test questions to define what students should know or be able to do at each performance level. The feedback from the Ohio stakeholders during the standard setting process was compiled and analyzed to determine the cut scores to rank student performance. The Ohio stakeholder recommendations for cut scores were shared with the State Board of Education and approved at the September 2015 board meeting.

Additional Resources

Quality Review Rubric is an instructional tool designed to evaluate lessons that include instructional activities and assessments aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards for K-12 Social Studies; and, units that include integrated and focused lessons aligned to the social studies standards that extend over a longer period of time. The rubric contains four dimensions that can be used in the review process. Three videos provide guidance on using the dimensions of the Quality Review Rubric.

Instructional Resources

  • The Department continues to review and post draft versions of the instructional strategies and supports that were completed by a committee of Ohio social studies educators. The American Government instructional strategies and supports document is available on InfOhio.  

Last Modified: 5/15/2024 10:46:51 AM