Pencils Out!

Here's a chance to see what's on the 10th-grade history and social sciences test in Massachusetts.

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Get out your No. 2 pencils. Judge for yourself whether the MCAS 10th grade history and social sciences test is the kind of test students need for tomorrow’s jobs.

The following are several of what the Massachusetts Department of Education calls its “common” questions. In the 12 different forms of the test, these are the items that every student must answer.

1. King Henry issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598 to

(a) end the Hundred Years’ War in England;
(b) establish Quebec as a French colony;
(c) grant religious tolerance to French Protestants (Huguenots);
(d) give the Estates General power to control taxes.

2. The prosperity of the African kingdom of Ghana was based upon its

(a) domination of the gold trade;
(b) easy access to sea routes to Arabia;
(c) powerful military forces;
(d) advanced system of roads and canals.

3. Which phrase best describes the feudal system in medieval Europe?

(a) the concentration of all political power in the central government;
(b) the competition between medieval nation-states for supremacy;
(c) the collective ownership of land;
(d) the exchange of service for land.

4. The Line of Demarcation drawn through South America by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) was an attempt by Pope Alexander VI to

(a) control the slave trade;
(b) prevent Portugal and Spain from fighting over colonies;
(c) establish a new trade route to the West Indies;
(d) slow down the growth of colonial business and industry.

5. King Henry VIII (1509-1547) is known for leading England’s

(a) discovery of the New World;
(b) conquest of Poland;
(c) division of Parliament into the Houses of Lords and Commons;
(d) separation from the Roman Catholic Church.

6. When European exploration of the Americas began, most European governments were

(a) monarchies;
(b) democracies;
(c) theocracies;
(d) anarchies.

7. Which of the following will most likely decrease the demand for labor?

(a) a decrease in the supply of available workers;
(b) an increase in goods and services produced by workers;
(c) a decrease in demand for goods and services;
(d) an increase in the training and education level of workers.

8. Which of the following will probably occur when interest rates decline?

(a) food production will decrease;
(b) consumer borrowing will increase;
(c) home purchases will decrease;
(d) mortgage rates will increase.

9. An anonymous poet in medieval times described the three social estates (classes) of European society in the following way: One toils the fields, one prays, and one defends.

(a) Name the three medieval social estates.
(b) Describe the characteristics of each estate.

10. Throughout human history, humans have transported plants or animals from one region of the world to another. Listed below are some of those plants and animals. Read and think about the list to answer parts a, b, and c: potato, tobacco, horses, corn,wheat.

(a) Write the name of one of the plants or animal listed above and state where it was originally found.
(b) Who transported the plant or animal you selected, and where did they take it?
(c) Explain the effects of the plant or animal on the lives of the people who received it.

11. Voltaire and Rousseau were writers during the

(a) Industrial Revolution;
(b) Reformation;
(c) Middle Ages;
(d) Enlightenment.

12. World War I began almost immediately after

(a) ratification of the Treaty of Versailles;
(b) outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion;
(c) assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand;
(d) seizure of Bosnia by the Ottoman Empire.

13. Most European rivalries for imperial territory in the late 1800s occurred in

(a) Australia;
(b) South America;
(c) North America;
(d) Africa.

14. Hereditary succession is a practice most often associated with

(a) communism;
(b) monarchy;
(c) democracy;
(d) fascism.

15. A capitalist economy typically includes all of the following except

(a) state-owned factories;
(b) private property;
(c) profit motive;
(d) market competition.

16. In 1928 the first of a series of Five Year Plans for rapid industrialization was developed by the central government of

(a) Soviet Union;
(b) Nigeria;
(c) United States;
(d) Japan.

17. In the 1930s and 1940s, the need for which natural resource contributed most to Japan’s military expansion into Southeast Asia?

(a) copper;
(b) uranium;
(c) oil;
(d) gold.

18. Which paired group listed below advocated “passive resistance” and “civil disobedience”?

(a) Viet Cong and Viet Minh;
(b) IRA and PLO;
(c) Red Guard and Bolsheviks;
(d) independence movement in India and the civil rights movement in America.

19. The post-World War II United States foreign policy of containment was meant to

(a) limit the spread of communism;
(b) hold down worldwide inflation;
(c) limit illegal immigration;
(d) halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

20. In 1949 the Chinese Nationalist government that fled to Taiwan was led by

(a) Mao Zedong;
(b) Ho Chi Minh;
(c) Ngo Dinh Diem;
(d) Chiang Kai-shek.

21. The Soviet equivalent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was the

(a) Popular Front;
(b) Comintern;
(c) Warsaw Pact;
(d) Kuomintang.

Answers (compiled by Globe staff):

1 (c) 2 (a) 3 (d) 4 (b) 5 (d) 6 (a) 7 (c) 8 (b) 9 (essay) 10 (essay)11 (d) 12 (c) 13 (d) 14 (b) 15 (a) 16 (a) 17 (c) 18 (d) 19 (a)20 (d) 21 (c).

Derrick Z. Jackson is a columnist for The Boston Globe. The above is reprinted with permission from his column of June9, 2000.