PRAXIS II Middle School: Social Studies Exam (5089)

The PRAXIS II Middle School: Social Studies Exam (5089) is designed for individuals who would like to teach social studies at the middle school level. You will be given two hours to complete the 90 multiple choice questions and 3 short essay questions that comprise this exam. The test can be broken down into the following sections:
United States History – 22 questions
World History – 18 questions
Government/Civics – 17 questions
Geography – 17 questions
Economics – 16 questions

Topics for the three short essay questions are: United States history and how it relates to government and civics, the relationship between world history and geography and, U.S. history and its similarity to government and civics or; the relationship between world history and economics of government and civics.

Short Essay Questions
You will be asked to answer three short essay questions. The first question will cover the relationship between the government and United States history. The second question will cover the relationship between geography and world history. For the third question there are two options. The first option will cover the relationship between economics or geography and United States history. The second option will cover the relationship between government or economics and world history.

This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of micro economics and macro economics. The questions regarding macro economics will assess your knowledge of the Federal Reserve System, international finance, investment concepts, foreign-exchange markets, currency depreciation and appreciation, decrements of long term economic growth, international and national controversies, government spending and taxes, and federal and national budget deficits. Your knowledge of national income determination by the utilization of aggregate supply analysis and demand, the causes and consequences of inflation, the measurements and consequences of unemployment, and the gross’s domestic product (GDP) will also be assessed in this section of the exam. The questions regarding micro economics will assess your knowledge of income distribution, factor markets, monopolistic competition, monopoly, oligopoly, public policy and market failure. Your knowledge of the market influence of taxes, price floors, price ceilings, market shortages, market surpluses, the laws of supply and demand, pricing and competitive markets and, property rights and incentives will be assessed in this section of the exam. Questions regarding trade barriers, free-trade, comparative and absolute advantage, capitalism, socialism, mixed models, free market’s, unemployment, trade-offs, inefficiency, choice and scarcity, and the usage of production factors along will also be included in this section of the exam.

This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of regional geography, human geography, physical geography, map skills, and themes. Questions regarding regional geography will cover the geography of major world regions. Questions regarding human geography will cover population geography, political geography, economic geography, and cultural geography. The questions regarding physical geography will cover the impact of human beings on the environments, natural resources, vegetation, water, climate, and land forms. The map skills questions will require you to use a legend or key, and you will be asked to recognize spatial patterns, locate physical features, and calculate longitude, latitude, direction, and distance. The questions regarding themes will assess sure knowledge of trade, migration, movements, human environmental interactions, and the physical and human characteristics of a location.

This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of international relations, various forms of government, the United States political system, and basic political concepts. Questions regarding international relations will cover the power and function of international organizations such as the United Nations. Questions regarding other forms of governments will assess your knowledge of the form and structure of various types of government. Questions regarding the United States political system will cover individual and group political behavior, elections, the relationship between local, state, and federal governments and, operations that are established outside the Constitution. Questions regarding the powers and functions of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government, the constitutional foundation of United States government and, the basic structure and content of the United States Constitution, along with its interpretation will also be included in this section of the exam. Your knowledge of various political orientations, political concepts, political theory, and the need for government will be assessed.

World History
This section of the exam covers environmental and economic interdependence, human migration, political and economic ideologies, international organizations, rights movements, important battles, wars and documents, the Holocaust, industrialization, the slave trade the scientific revolution, changing borders, global cultural influences, prehistoric cultures, animal husbandry, agriculture, hunting and gathering.

American History
This section of the exam covers fundamental documents, laws and amendments; population growth and the westward expansion; battles and wars within and outside the US; the Great Depression, the New Deal and other economic changes; changes to the family unit; displacement of native peoples; slavery and abolition; the roles of beliefs, values, and religion on the culture.

Geography of North America: questions in this section of the exam will assess your knowledge of Native Americans, European exploration and colonization. Your knowledge of the growth and establishments of English colonies, colonization by European powers, major European explorers, and the results of their contact with Native Americans will be assessed. Questions concerning Native American tribes, and their economic, political, social, and cultural issues along with American weather patterns, rivers, lakes, and continents will be included in this section of the exam.

PRAXIS II Middle School: Social Studies Practice Questions

1. Cultural diversity includes differences in:

A. language and traditions
B. understanding of morality
C. group interactions
D. All of the above

2. Some minority groups carry negative stereotypes. How does this affect development of self-esteem?

A. Shapes personal view of society
B. Can have positive or negative effects
C. Influences choices
D. All of the above

3. Which of the following is not included in social action?

A. Rational
B. Accidental
C. Emotional
D. Traditional

4. Which of the following is not a reason world history and geography are linked?

A. Events and location affect each other.
B. Common patterns found in all cultures
C. Earth’s place in the universe
D. Shared health and welfare issues

5. Issues being studied to help improve international business ethics include:

A. comparisons of business traditions
B. influence of religious perspectives
C. cultural imperialism
D. doing business with rogue governments

Answer Key For Middle School Social Studies

1. Answer: D

Diversity is the fact or quality of having distinct characteristics. When used to describe a society, diversity means the cultural differences found within the language, dress, arts, and traditions of the aggregate group. There are differences in how individual groups are organized, their understanding of morality, and the ways in which each group interacts both inside and outside their circle. Members of an ethnic group usually identify with a shared ancestry and are frequently bound by a common language, cultural heritage, religious belief, and behavior patterns.

When students are taught to appreciate diversity, it enables them to function more effectively in a complex, multicultural society. They learn to respect the historical experiences of every cultural group and understand how past actions affect present circumstances. Integrating information about and studying the impact of all cultures greatly enhances students’ ability to get along with different racial, ethnic, and gender groups. America may be a melting pot, but that pot contains the hopes, dreams, history, and struggles of many ethnic groups. Each one made unique contributions to the society we have today.

2. Answer: D

The adolescent’s cultural identity can play a major role in the development of a healthy self-esteem. As he becomes aware of his ethnicity, the values, traditions, and practices of his cultural group can shape the adolescent’s view of society and his place in it. This can be a challenge in America because some minority groups carry negative stereotypes. This bias can potentially cause problems for the youngster just because he is a member of a certain cultural group.

Since it is impossible to escape his ethnic identity, he may decide since he is expected to behave in a certain way, he might just as well act accordingly. On the positive side, he may use the negative expectations as an incentive to improve his position in society and help change the negative stereotypes. An involved, compassionate, caring teacher can have an enormous influence on the choice he makes and the path he follows.

3. Answer: B

Social Psychology studies how group behavior influences individual behavior. Its focus is what individuals think of each other and how they relate. Hierarchal social behavior includes:

SOCIAL ACTION is activity modified by actions and reactions of other individuals.

Rational: taken to reach a goal, usually without thought to consequences or means
Instrumental: planned, evaluated, and taken after considering means and consequences
Emotional: expresses personal feelings
Traditional: taken simply because it is always done in a certain situation
SOCIAL INTERACTION is a meeting in which the participants attach and interpret meaning to a dynamic situation and react accordingly.

Accidental: unplanned and probably won’t recur
Repeated: unplanned but will happen occasionally
Regular: unplanned but very common; will be noted if missed
Regulated: planned and will definitely raise questions if missed
SOCIAL RELATIONS are interactions between individuals or groups in the same clan, social class, organization, country, gender, or any other grouping of people with a common denominator. “Social” implies some kind of association based on mutual dependence and belonging.

4. Answer: C

The U.S. Department of Education states that “key concepts of geography, such as location, place, and region are tied inseparably to major ideas of history such as time, period, and events. Geography and history in tandem enable learners to understand how events and places have affected each other across time.” This statement clearly explains the reasons history and geography should be studied together: One without the other merely offers isolated dates and individual facts, but doesn’t allow students to understand how they are connected to one another and how each affected the other.

World history examines common patterns found in all cultures as well as the reasons differences have evolved over time. To truly understand how man and his various societal structures developed, it is necessary to study all areas that impact their evolution: political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, and the arts. In this age of globalization, understanding how individual nations define these areas is important to addressing shared health and welfare issues, developing a stable world economy, and working to prevent misunderstandings between countries.

5. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines ethics as “a set of principles of right conduct; a theory or system of moral values.” Business ethics is applying this definition to an organization’s or a country’s approach to conducting affairs in the commercial arena Early on, business people did whatever was expedient to sell their goods and services and make a profit. Because of many factors in the last few years, the international business community has been forced to take a look at some of its practices and find alternate ways of conducting commerce. This has resulted in new laws in many countries. The tricky issue is how to reconcile core values that may be very different in individual cultures. Issues being studied include:

A search for accepted universal values
Comparison of business traditions in different countries and cultures
How religious perspectives affect commerce
Globalization and cultural imperialism
Varying standards, such as child labor, living wages, etc.
Multinational groups outsourcing to take advantage of varying standards
Conducting business with rogue governments