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Section 6: Sample Selected-Response Questions
Core Subjects EC–6 Subject Exam III—Social Studies (903)

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This section presents some sample exam questions for you to review as part of your preparation for this Subject Exam. To demonstrate how each competency may be assessed, sample questions are accompanied by the competency that they measure. While studying, you may wish to read the competency before and after you consider each sample question. Please note that the competency statements do not appear on the actual exam.

For each sample exam question, there is a correct answer and a rationale for each answer option. The sample questions are included to illustrate the formats and types of questions you will see on the Subject Exam; however, your performance on the sample questions should not be viewed as a predictor of your performance on the actual exam.

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Subject Exam III Sample Questions

Competency 001—(Social Science Instruction): The teacher understands and applies social science knowledge and skills to plan, organize and implement instruction and assess learning.

1. Which of the following is the most appropriate tool for teaching students the geographic concept of hemispheres?

  1. Web-based encyclopedias
  2. Digital global positioning systems
  3. Online three-dimensional maps
  4. Internet travel blogs
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option C is correct because online three-dimensional maps allow students to see Earth from many viewpoints besides traditional flat representations. Option A is incorrect because online encyclopedias merely make the textbook's information electronic. Option B is incorrect because GPS is better suited to teach latitude and longitude, not hemispheres. Option D is incorrect because blogs are not always a valid source of information.

Competency 002—(History): The teacher understands and applies knowledge of significant historical events and developments, multiple historical interpretations and ideas and relationships between the past, the present and the future as defined by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

2. Which of the following had the greatest impact on Anglo settlement in Hispanic Texas?

  1. Native Americans encouraged trade with Anglos.
  2. Mexican land grants provided inexpensive properties in Texas.
  3. Government payments enticed settlers to inhabit American Indian territory.
  4. The prospect of religious freedom in Texas attracted Anglo settlement.
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option B is correct because the Mexican government approved land grants to encourage Anglos to move to Texas. Anglos could purchase land for much less in Texas than in the United States, which encouraged large groups of Anglos to move to Texas. Option A is incorrect because the Native Americans living in Texas were resistant to Anglos moving onto their lands. Option C is incorrect because Mexico did not pay anything to the settlers; the only financial incentive was the land grant. Option D is incorrect because settlers had to sign an oath with Mexico stating they would convert to Catholicism upon settling in Texas.

3. Which THREE of the following events most directly affected the economic development of Texas in the twentieth century?

  1. The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941
  2. The Arab oil embargo of 1973
  3. The oil strike at Spindletop in 1901
  4. The stock market crash of 1929
  5. The Cuban missile crisis of 1962
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option B is correct because, although the embargo placed on oil products from the Middle East caused distress for the rest of the United States, the oil-producing state of Texas experienced an economic advantage because of price inflation. Option C is correct because the discovery of oil at the Spindletop salt dome near Beaumont, Texas in 1901 can be attributed to the birth of the modern petroleum industry in Texas. The oil strike opened new avenues of business for prospectors, oil refineries and manufacturers. Option D is correct because, although many Texans were skeptical that the stock market crash of 1929 would have serious effects on their state economy, they began to change their positions on seeking federal aid as conditions during the Great Depression worsened. New Deal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) benefited the state during its economic downturn by alleviating unemployment issues and building new infrastructure. Option A is incorrect because, although the attack on Pearl Harbor came at a cost to the United States military, the economic impact was far less direct to the state of Texas. Option E is incorrect because the thirteen-day conflict between the United States, the Soviet Union and Cuba did not have a direct effect on the economy of Texas.

4. Which of the following was a major long-term effect of the westward expansion of the United States in the 1800s?

  1. The growth of United States agricultural and mineral exports
  2. An increase in tensions between the United States and Great Britain
  3. A shift in United States foreign policy toward isolationism
  4. The establishment of peaceful relationships with American Indian groups
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option A is correct because the acquisition of large tracts of land during United States westward expansion led to an extensive increase in the farming, ranching, and mining industries. The lands of the Midwest attracted farmers, miners, and lumber barons seeking rich natural resources. Option B is incorrect because while America's westward expansion led to minimal tension between the United States and Great Britain, it was not long-term compared with the tension that was already present because of earlier conflicts with Great Britain and was not a major effect of westward expansion. Option C is incorrect because westward expansion was the result of United States foreign policy shifting away from isolationism. Option D is incorrect because American Indians were removed from the land, not assimilated into the culture.

Competency 003—(Geography and Culture): The teacher understands and applies knowledge of geographic relationships involving people, places and environments in Texas, the United States and the world; the teacher also understands and applies knowledge of cultural development, adaptation, diversity and interactions among science, technology and society as defined by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

5. Which of the following statements best describes the continuing role of familial oral storytelling traditions in many cultures around the world?

  1. Stories have become the primary means by which cultures interact with one another in an increasingly globalized world.
  2. Oral traditions serve as a means of transmitting knowledge of cultural practices and societal norms to others.
  3. New advances in technology have made oral traditions largely irrelevant in most cultures around the world.
  4. Religious groups utilize storytelling mainly to discredit the beliefs of other religions and cultural practices.
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option B is correct because the family unit uses storytelling to transmit knowledge of the culture and society in which it exists. Option A is incorrect because there are many means by which cultures interact, and storytelling is only a small portion of them. Option C is incorrect because storytelling continues to be important despite advances in technology. Option D is incorrect because religions engage in storytelling mainly to transmit values and ideals rather than to discredit other faiths.

6. Which of the following events was a result of human interaction with the environment during the Spanish colonial era of Texas history?

  1. The construction of presidios near churches
  2. The conversion of American Indians to Christianity
  3. The building of acequias for the missions
  4. The creation of alcaldes for civil settlements
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option C is correct because acequias were ditches dug to direct river water toward the missions. Option A is incorrect because presidios were built to protect the missions. Option B is incorrect because it does not pertain to human interaction with the environment. Option D is incorrect because alcaldes are judges used in civil settlements.

7. Texas rice farmers depend on water from the Colorado River to irrigate their crops. In times of severe drought, less water is released downstream, which sometimes results in inadequate irrigation and failed crops. To prevent such a loss, rice farmers sometimes plant alternative crops on their lands. This action is an example of

  1. adapting to environmental changes.
  2. adjusting to supply and demand.
  3. using nonrenewable resources to improve farming.
  4. modifying the environment to meet farming needs.
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option A is correct because the farmers are changing their choice of crop to adapt to the change in environment. Option B is incorrect because supply and demand is an economic concept that refers to the relationship between price and quantity. This question refers to adapting to an environmental change. Option C is incorrect because water is considered a renewable resource. In addition, the stem refers to a lack of water being the cause of failed crops. Option D is incorrect because the farmers are making a change in their behavior to adapt to the environment, not modifying the environment to meet farming needs.

Competency 004—(Economics): The teacher understands and applies knowledge of economic systems and how people organize economic systems to produce, distribute and consume goods and services.

Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

ANNUAL EMPLOYMENT CHANGE, 1998 to 2003
Year Percent Change in Employment in the United States Percent Change in Employment in Texas
1998 2.6% 3.8%
1999 2.4% 2.4%
2000 2.2% 3.0%
2001 0.0% 0.9%
2002 negative 1.1% negative 1.0%
2003 negative 0.3% negative 0.5%
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and IHS Global Insight Inc.

8. Which of the following observations most accurately correlates with the chart above?

  1. Texas outpaced the United States overall in employment growth between 1999 and 2000.
  2. Texas added significantly more jobs than any other state in 1998.
  3. The most significant variance in employment change between Texas and the United States overall occurred in 2002.
  4. Employment growth in all states declined in 2002 compared with the stable growth in 2001.
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option A is correct because between 1999 and 2000, Texas employment growth increased from 2.4 percent to 3.0 percent while the overall United States employment growth decreased from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent. Option B is incorrect because the chart does not compare Texas to any other individual state. Option C is incorrect because the most significant variance between the United States and Texas did not occur in 2002. Option D is incorrect because the chart does not provide information about other individual states.

9. Based on the economic principles of supply and demand, a decrease in the production rates of oil will most likely result in which of the following?

  1. Increased capital investment in the oil industry
  2. Increased wages for oil-field workers
  3. Increased stock of produced oil
  4. Increased oil prices for consumers
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option D is correct because when supply falls, the temporary shortage drives up the price. Option A is incorrect because lower production will not encourage capital investment. Option B is incorrect because if production decreases, the demand for labor will decrease, lowering wages for workers. Option C is incorrect because if oil production is decreased, there will be less available oil for use.

Competency 005—(Government and Citizenship): The teacher understands and applies knowledge of concepts of government, democracy and citizenship, including ways that individuals and groups achieve their goals through political systems.

Read the excerpt below and answer the question that follows.

"There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume."

10. In the excerpt above from his final speech as president, George Washington urged United States citizens to

  1. repay the national debt.
  2. avoid foreign alliances.
  3. limit freedom of speech.
  4. refrain from joining political parties.
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option D is correct because Washington is discussing his beliefs about the dangers of political parties in the United States. Washington believed that the formation of political parties might affect the nation's ability to make effective decisions. Option A is incorrect because Washington was not discussing the national debt. Option B is incorrect because the excerpt does not mention foreign alliances, although Washington did address the subject elsewhere in the speech. Option C is incorrect because Washington was concerned about factions and not individual citizens' freedom of speech.

Competency 005—(Government and Citizenship): The teacher understands and applies knowledge of concepts of government, democracy and citizenship, including ways that individuals and groups achieve their goals through political systems.

11. Which of the following is a responsibility of citizenship?

  1. Running for elected office
  2. Paying federal taxes
  3. Serving in the military
  4. Participating in elections
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option B is correct because it refers to an obligatory rather than a voluntary aspect of citizenship. Options A, C and D are incorrect because they refer to voluntary aspects of citizenship.

12. Which of the following was the primary purpose of adding the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution?

  1. Creating explicit limits on the power of the federal government
  2. Granting the power of judicial review to the Supreme Court
  3. Ceding sovereignty to the individual states
  4. Amending errors in the Constitution
Answer. Enter to expand or collapse. Answer expanded
Option A is correct because the Bill of Rights was adopted to address the fears of those who thought that the federal government's powers under the Constitution were too broad. Option B is incorrect because the Bill of Rights does not mention or enumerate the power of judicial review. Option C is incorrect because the Bill of Rights focuses on individual rights rather than the powers of state governments. Option D is incorrect because the Bill of Rights was not intended to correct errors in the Constitution.

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