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High Stakes Testing Preparation in the Social Studies Classroom: Critical Thinking Skills In recent times, high-stakes testing has acquired an escalated status in our education system; it has now become the standard yardstick for gauging the students’ ability and teachers’ skill. It is imperative that apart from the course content itself, the students should be taught test-attempting skills that will help them achieve good grades because realistically these test scores are the only measure that can be provided for a student’s capabilities. Nowadays open ended questions are encouraged in testing and this demands sound, critical thinking on the part of the students. Following are some principles regarding this that may help the students: 

Timeline: It is always a good idea to prepare a timeline to facilitate the formation of a chronological historical perspective in one’s mind.

Making Outlines: A practice must be developed in the students to make a mental outline of any answer they are attempting to ensure no important point is missed.

Brainstorming: It is a good idea to let students think independently, pouring out each and every idea in their minds without being judged. They may then be asked to justify and defend their opinions.

Objectivity: It is important to inculcate in students the ability to differentiate between an author/historian’s personal opinions from solid facts. Unless the question is clearly an open-ended one, students should limit themselves to objective truths.

Broad-mindedness: While studying a course that concerns the society, one’s thoughts must not be limited by the environment or affected by others’ opinions. It is crucial that the students are appreciated when expressing a broad-minded point of view of the events that they see.

Compare and Contrast: Comparison is always an effective method of teaching/learning. Not only does it make the learning process interesting, but also enables and encourages the students to think critically about historical events.

Analysis: Students should be given the confidence to think about social activities and historical events, identify their root causes and contemplate their consequences.

General Application: The most important thing is that the critical thinking methodology should not be limited to the tests only; it should be applied and practiced in daily activities, tests, assignment, quizzes and essay writing etc.

Last but not the least it must be kept in mind that though these tests are high-stakes; they are not the sole purpose of the studies. The sole purpose of studies is in fact true learning. write My Dissertation for me:

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