Illinois Learning Standards
Stage I - Social Science
Students who meet the standard can understand and explain basic principles of the United States government.
- Analyze how local, state, and national governments serve
the purposes for which they were created.
- Summarize the historical development of rights and responsibilities
contained within the Bill of Rights and later amendments
to the U.S. Constitution.
- Analyze how public policy issues are influenced by government
actions (e.g., transportation, the environment).
- Recognize the responsibilities of some of the departments
and regulatory agencies of the federal government (e.g.,
the Treasury, NASA, EPA, FCC).
- Identify sources of revenue and funding used to support
government services at the local, state, and national levels.
- Categorize major sources of revenue for local, state,
and federal governments.
- Predict potential changes in contemporary interpretations
of the Bill of Rights.
Students who meet the standard can understand the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.
- Describe how various nations have pursued, established,
and maintained democratic forms of government over time.
- Compare executive and legislative branches of our federal
government with those of a parliamentary government (e.g.,
the United Kingdom).
- Categorize the similarities and differences among world
political systems (e.g., democracy, socialism, communism).
- Analyze how cultural characteristics influence political
practices (e.g., voting procedures, types of political campaigning).
- Compare the political parties found in the United States
with those found in other democratic societies.
Students who meet the standard can understand election processes and responsibilities of citizens.
- Analyze voting patterns in local, state, or national elections.
- Describe examples of individuals and groups whose volunteerism
has benefited their local community, state, or nation.
- Compare historical and contemporary principles and values
that motivated people toward volunteerism in their community,
state, and/or nation.
- Define the concept "civic virtue."
Students who meet the standard can understand the roles and influences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.
- Analyze the role of individuals, groups, and the media
in shaping contemporary debate on local, state, and national
- Evaluate editorial positions in the print or electronic
media in terms of their strength, accuracy, and persuasive
- Evaluate influences upon elections (e.g., editorials,
television and radio commercials, public opinion polls,
- Trace the evolution of movements to secure rights (e.g.,
people with disabilities, ethnic groups, women).
- Defend a position on a political issue related to current
events or national policies.
Students who meet the standard can understand United States foreign policy as it relates to other nations and international issues.
- Describe the development of the United States as world
leader in international relations (e.g., finance, defense,
- Relate historical trends within the United States and
the world that have influenced international relations (e.g.,
nationalism, revolutionary ideals).
- Compare the conduct of different presidents in handling
of similar diplomatic or foreign policy issues.
- Summarize an historical event in which the United States
played a significant role in the foreign policy of another
nation or region (e.g., the Cold War policy of containment
upon the Soviet Union and the region of Southeast Asia in
the 1950s to 1970s).
Students who meet the standard can understand the development of United States political ideas and traditions.
- Describe significant historical events and processes that
brought about changes in the political ideas and traditions
of the United States (e.g., Civil War, the New Deal).
- Trace the ideology, events, individuals, and groups that
influenced the adoption of amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
- Evaluate the effect an historic speech had in changing
people's ideas about political involvement or their rights
(e.g., John Kennedy's Inaugural Speech, "Ask not").
- Hypothesize about the impact of the extension of greater
voting rights through such steps as motor-voter registration,
registration and voting over the Internet, etc.
- Analyze the evolution of a particular political tradition
that still influences modern political discourse.
- Distinguish between the advantages and disadvantages of
federal, confederate, and unitary systems of government
found across the course of United States History within
the United States.
- Analyze the changing role of the judiciary in defining
citizen's rights and responsibilities.
- Describe the evolution of criminals and victims' rights
within our judicial system.
Students who meet the standard understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
- Analyze the differences between a market and command economy
(i.e., private ownership, methods of allocation).
- Demonstrate how GDP can be used as a measurement of a
country's economic growth or decline over time.
- Explain that a country's total output of goods and services
can and does fluctuate from year to year.
- Identify the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the most commonly
used measure of price-level changes in the economy.
- Analyze the impact of inflation and deflation on lenders,
savers, borrowers, people on fixed incomes, and on the economy
as a whole.
- Analyze the factors that lead to different unemployment
rates for various groups (e.g., different ethnic groups,
income levels, gender, age, and regions of the country).
- Explain why the unemployment rate is an imperfect measure
of unemployment in the conomy.
- Identify the economic cost of unemployment.
- Define full employment.
Students who meet the standard understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers.
- Describe various ways a consumer can pay for a good or
- Evaluate the costs and benefits of differing ways to pay
for a variety of consumer purchases.
- Analyze the potential impact of current events on the
price of consumer goods or services (e.g., new environmental
regulations for automobiles; hurricanes and floods in agricultural
Students who meet the standard understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers.
- Predict the impact of changes in interest rates on business
- Explain how policies that change interest rates can be
used to affect the level of spending.
- Analyze how producers respond to incentives and allocate
their scarce resources to maximize profits.
- Predict what goods and services might be in demand as
a result of a specific political action or natural disaster.
- Explain how the pursuit of self-interest in competitive
markets affects national economic well being.
- Demonstrate how increases in productivity result from
advances in technology and other resources.
- Analyze the impact on the producer's level of competitiveness
in the marketplace given examples of new products that resulted
from technological changes.
- Analyze how the marketing of a new or improved product
can create job opportunities as well as eliminate job opportunities.
- Analyze the impact entrepreneurs and their business or
idea has on consumers and the economy.
Students who meet the standard understand trade as an exchange of goods or services.
- Define balance of trade.
- Analyze the impact of periods of trade surpluses and trade
deficits in United States history.
- Define the exchange rate.
- Explain how the forces of supply and demand determine
- Calculate the prices of products for exchange of goods
between two nations using current data.
- Analyze the impact on consumers and producers in both
countries when the exchange rate for their currencies changes.
- Explain why comparative advantage changes over time.
- Explain how measures of productivity are used in producer
- Analyze the relationship between standards of living and
the productivity of labor.
- Identify ways in which the productivity of labor can be
- Analyze how increased productivity of labor benefits both
employers and employees.
- Analyze the impact of increased wages (all other factors
constant) on the supply and demand of labor.
- Analyze the relationship between incentives that reward
innovation and investments and the rate of increase of productivity.
Students who meet the standard understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy.
- Give examples of public goods and services that producers
will not produce because they cannot be withheld from those
who do not pay for it (e.g., roads, national defense, and
- Evaluate what would happen if government did not intervene
and produce public goods.
- Explain when (under what circumstances) and why markets
do not allocate resources effectively.
- Provide examples of government responses that have had
a positive or negative effect on society, the environment,
- Explain how technological development affects current
and future consumption, production, and overall competitiveness
in the marketplace.
- Explain how investing in new physical or human capital
may increase future production and consumption.
- Identify monetary policy in the U.S. and explain who determines
- Identify fiscal policy in the U.S. and explain who determines
Students who meet the standard can apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
- Compare the narrative in a work of historical fiction
with the narrative of the same event in a work by an historian.
- Describe the value of interviewing a person who witnessed
an event in the past.
- Assess the value of an oral history account.
- Explain why significant historical events have multiple
- Explain the reasons why historians working in different
periods can arrive at different conclusions of the same
- Defend an interpretation of a significant person or event
using a variety of primary and secondary sources.
Students who meet the standard understand the development of significant political events.
- Compare/contrast the causes and effects of significant
political events in a period of United States history. (US)
- Summarize how principles of the United States Constitution
were applied to resolve a political conflict (e.g., states
rights, civil rights). (US)
- Evaluate how the forces of cooperation and conflict have
affected the development of representative democracy. (US)
- Describe the significant political ideas that are rooted
in the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. (W)
- Compare/contrast the development of democratic systems
with other kinds of political systems. (W)
- Analyze how the forces of cooperation and conflict affected
a political system. (W)
- Describe the effects of interdependence among nations
during periods of world conflict (Napoleonic Wars, World
Wars, Cold War). (W)
Students who meet the standard understand the development of economic systems.
- Discuss the values and beliefs that fostered significant
economic developments and institutions in the United States
over time. (US)
- Identify the causes and effects of significant economic
legislation over time. (US)
- Analyze the economic impact of the westward expansion
on families, communities, and the nation. (US)
- Describe how individuals and groups such as industrialists
and unions shaped American economic institutions during
the 20th Century. (US)
- Analyze the environmental, social, and political consequences
that occurred in a region that experienced a significant
change in the work force and a severe change in the availability
of resources. (US)
- Evaluate the economic impact and consequences of major
cultural exchanges. (W)
- Evaluate the consequences of capitalism, socialism, and
communism upon the countries that have adopted them. (W)
- Analyze the economic impact of colonialism and imperialism
around the world after 1500 CE. (W)
- Describe the impact of major economists and their ideas
(e.g., Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes). (W)
- Describe the historical development of capitalism and
other economic systems that developed in colonial empires
after 1500. (W)
Students who meet the standard understand Illinois, United States, and world social history.
- Identify examples of cultural diffusion throughout United
States social history. (US)
- Compare and contrast how different groups of people reacted
to diversity within their societies. (US)
- Compare and contrast the actions of political, social,
and economic institutions before and after the abolition
of slavery. (US)
- Appraise the long-term effects, including unintended consequences,
on American society that occurred as a result of watershed
events in American social history. (US)
- Analyze the social history aspects of significant events
in world history since 1500 (e.g., colonization, Protestant
Reformation, industrialization, rise of technology, human
rights movement, Holocaust). (W)
- Describe the impact of cultural diffusion and cultural
encounters upon the political, economic, and environmental
aspects of different cultures. (W)
- Analyze the consequences of a world social issue on the
political, economic, and environmental aspects of society.
Students who meet the standard understand Illinois, United States, and world environmental history.
- Describe how the rise of multinational economies has affected
the environment of the United States since 1945. (US)
- Describe how military conflict in North America affected
the environment, and assess the attendant human costs. (US)
- Identify the origins of significant environmental issues
confronting the United States and North America. (US)
- Explain how an environmental issue confronting one region
of the United States has affected the environment in other
- Describe how the rise of colonial powers affected the
environment in colonial empires. (W)
- Describe how the rise of multinational economies has affected
the environment in the post-colonial period. (W)
- Describe how military conflict affected the environment
in Europe and Asia during the two world wars, and assess
the attendant human costs. (W)
- Describe how military conflict affected the environment
in Asia and Africa during the post-colonial period, and
assess the attendant human costs. (W)
- Identify the origins and describe the development of significant
environmental issues confronting Asia, Africa, South America,
North America, Australia, and the arctic regions. (W)
- Analyze the relationship between the environmental and
political causes of famines. (W)
Students who meet the standard can locate, describe and explain places, regions and features on Earth.
- Determine approximate locations of places, both local
and global, featured in a newspaper or television story.
- Evaluate the merits of using specific map projections
for specific purposes (e.g., use of the Mercator projection
for navigation and the Robinson projection for depicting
- Identify the most appropriate maps and graphics in an
atlas to answer specific questions about geographic issues
(e.g., topography and transportation routes).
- Compare sketch maps or photos to determine why people
perceive different places in Illinois, the United States,
and the world in different ways.
Students who meet the standard can analyze and explain characteristics and interactions of Earth's physical systems.
- Explain the patterns of features associated with the margins
of tectonic plates such as earthquake zones and volcanic
activity (e.g., the Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean,
the San Andreas fault in coastal California).
- Explain how erosional agents such as water and ice produce
distinctive landforms (e.g., water and badlands, ice and
glacial valleys, waves and sea cliffs).
- Compare the relationships among Earth's physical processes
(e.g., the relationships between ocean currents, prevailing
winds, and atmospheric pressure cells).
- Describe the ocean circulation system and the way it affects
world climate patterns.
Students who meet the standard can understand relationships between geographic factors and society.
- Analyze major urban centers in the United States and the
world to determine how migration of different ethnic groups
has altered their population and functions.
- Explain the different land use areas within cities in
Illinois and the United States (e.g., residential, commercial,
- Formulate a plan to prolong the use of nonrenewable resources
such as petroleum and precious minerals.
- Analyze urban disaster preparedness plans to determine
similarities and differences in the ways cities prepare
for different types of natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes
in Tokyo, Japan; hurricanes in Charleston, SC).
- Analyze a map showing the origin of products purchased
by United States citizens (e.g., automobile, clothing, electronics).
Students who meet the standard can understand the historical significance of geography.
- Explain how human use of resources has changed over time
and how these changes have affected settlement patterns
(e.g., discovery of gold in California and Alaska).
- Formulate generalizations about how technological developments
have affected the quality of life in regions and nations
throughout the world.
- Analyze how the physical characteristics of places and
regions have influenced the migration of people (e.g., Ice
Age, Potato Famine, Dust Bowl).
- Compare past and present types of settlements in the United
States and other countries to determine similarities and
differences (e.g., the colonial South of the United States
vs. the colonial North settlement of Australia).
Students who meet the standard can compare characteristics of culture as reflected in language, literature, the arts, traditions, and institutions.
- Describe how different cultures are depicted in literature
and the arts of the United States.
- Identify cultural traditions from other lands that have
been integrated into American life.
- Analyze how various cultural groups have impacted the
- Analyze the ways that conflicts can be resolved in a pluralistic
- Assess the impact of outside influences on a given culture
(e.g., western music on Asian society).
- Give an example of a technological change creating cultural
Students who meet the standard can understand the roles and interactions of individuals and groups in society.
- Analyze the effectiveness of different types of institutions
(e.g., educational, governmental, charitable) in meeting
similar social needs.
- Compare the role and effectiveness of social institutions
in other countries with those in the United States (e.g.,
schools, relief agencies).
- Distinguish between norms and mores.
- Explain likely consequences for nonconformity in a social
- Explain how the concept of gender is a social construct.
- Explain how race is a social construct.
- Explain how policymakers influence social and economic
statuses (e.g., tax policy, child labor laws, suffrage).
Students who meet the standard can understand how social systems form and develop over time.
- Identify historical examples of how different ideas about
emotions, motivation, and personality have led to significant
- Analyze the social effects of major cultural exchanges.
- Give examples of global communication and economic activity.
- Analyze the changing global perceptions of various social
groups in the United States.
- Analyze how global communications have affected cultural
exchanges in the contemporary world.
Return to Social Science Classroom
Assessments and Performance Descriptors