Forms of Assessment in Social Studies

Forms of Assessments in Social Studies

Assessment is not just a test or an exam. Your teachers are responsible for monitoring your progress through the course of study you are enrolled. This means that participation in class discussion, in class work, on homework and with other course-relevant work can and will be used as a tool of assessment. While there are many forms and types of assessments it is important you understand their nature and how best to prepare for them during your course of study; hence the rationale behind this handbook.

Fundamentally, your main means of communicating your progress to your instructors will be through your written work. The nature of historical study is one of reading widely and of writing specifically. Certain assessment opportunities may exist for class presentations or other forms of presenting your efforts, however, the bulk of your assessment opportunities will be in writing.

Quizzes, multiple-choice, fill-in the blank, and matching are examples of objective assessments which work mainly with the recall of knowledge. These are utilized to ensure that you are retaining knowledge, understanding the specialized vocabulary associated with units under investigation, and making associations necessary to move on to more sophisticated tasks. This knowledge forms the building blocks for more complicated historical constructions such as source analysis.

Source analysis tasks are more complicated than recall tasks and they represent another entire set of assessment opportunities you will encounter in your course of study. While specific instruction and detailed guidance will be provided for you by your teacher; but you will need to practice these historical skills through another assessment tool – homework. Homework is generally assigned to give you the time to work on essential skills within the study of history at your own leisure. Since working with sources (evidence) is the role of the historian assessment schemes generated to evaluate your progress are more rigorous than recalling knowledge.

Essays and research papers are even more arduous and a more important tool of assessment since they combine a number of assessment objectives as well as attesting to your historical writing craft. While a history report would simply describe a person, event or time period an assignment such as a history research paper would ask you to conduct research, plan an investigation, analyze primary and secondary sources, use the scholarship of other historians in order to prove a thesis and reach a qualified judgment about a particular topic.

Assessments are meant for you to understand how well you have been progressing through the course. While grades are important, it is more important that you understand how to make progress toward a higher personal standard on each subsequent assessment. Each year’s new course of study is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the extent to which you have learned the material as well as adopted the skills for betterment in Social Studies.