CHAPTER FOUR

 

CHANGES IN AMERICAN SOCIETY:  THEIR INFLUENCES ON TODAY’S SCHOOLS

Knowledge-Level Items

 

  1. In America, at this point in history, the institution primarily responsible for meeting the needs of young people and helping them adapt to the world is the

a.           family.

b.           schools.

c.           church.

d.           government.

 

  1. The “traditional” American family—a father who is the primary breadwinner, a mother who stays at home, and two school-aged children—now makes up what percentage of the households in the United States?

a.         Less than 10 percent

b.        About 25 percent

c.         About 50 percent

d.        Slightly more than 65 percent

 

  1. Families headed by married couples now make up about what percent of all households in the United States?

a.           Less than 10 percent

b.           About 25 percent

c.           Slightly more than 50 percent

d.         Slightly more than 65 percent

 

  1. Which of the following statements best describes the implications of the changing American family for teachers?

a.        Because in many American families both parents work, more children are affluent, so they come to school better prepared to learn.

b.       Parents spend considerably less time with their children than parents have spent in the past, so teachers receive less parental support than they have received historically.

c.        Parents are better informed about school activities than they have been in the past, so they tend to be more involved in school activities than they have been historically.

d.       Education has become politically important, so parents tend to be more politically active in school policy than they have been historically.

 

  1. Of the following which percentage best describes the number of students you will have who come from single-parent families?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        50 percent

d.       75 percent

 

  1. Which of the following are appropriate adaptations that teachers can make in response to the changing American family?

(1)  When asking students to introduce parents, use statements such as, “Please introduce the adult with you” since many students will be living with a single parent or other caregiver.

(2)  Have lower expectations for students of single parents since they are likely to have less support for schooling at home.

(3)  Be flexible with meeting times to accommodate the complex job situations of many working parents.

(4)  refrain from calling on children from troubled homes to avoid putting them on the spot and embarrassing them.

 

a.        1, 2, 3, 4

b.       1, 2, 3

c.        1, 2, 4

d.       1, 3

  1. When researches and leaders express concern for children’s safety, lack of supervision, excessive amounts of time watching television, and lack of support for school work, they are most likely describing which of the following?

a.        Cultural minorities

b.       Resilient children

c.        Low-SES children

d.       Latchkey children

 

  1. Which of the following are part of the definition of socioeconomic status (SES)?

(1)  Parents’ level of education

(2)  Parents’ intelligence (IQ)

(3)  Parents’ occupation

(4)  The amount of money parents make

 

a.        1, 2

b.       1, 2, 3

c.        1, 2, 4

d.       1, 3, 4

 

  1. Which of the following statements best describes the lower-socioeconomic class in the United States?

a.           The lower-SES class makes up about 40 percent of the U.S. population, but the percentage is decreasing rapidly.

b.           The lower-SES class makes up about 40 percent of the U.S. population, and the percentage is increasing.

c.           The lower-SES class makes up about 50 percent of the U.S. population, but since the percentage is so high, this class controls a large portion of the wealth in the country.

d.           The lower-SES class makes up about 25 percent of the U.S. population, but because of government programs the percentage is increasing.

 

  1. Which of the following best describes people with low incomes who continually struggle with economic problems?

a.        Underclass

b.       Lower-middle class

c.        Resilient class

d.       Poverty class

 

  1. Of the following which best describes the income defined by the federal government as the poverty line?

a.        Below approximately $8,000 in family income per year.

b.       Below approximately $18,000 in family income per year.

c.        Below approximately $25,000 in family income per year.

d.       Below approximately $35,000 in family income per year.

 

  1. According to research which of the following patterns are true of poverty?

(1)  Most people in poverty live in inner cities.

(2)  Poverty is most common in families headed by single mothers.

(3)  Poverty is more common among cultural minorities than among non-minorities.

(4)  The largest percentage of people in poverty are children.

 

a.        1, 2, 3, 4

b.       1, 2, 3

c.        2, 3, 4

d.       1, 3


  1. Of the following which most accurately reflects experts’ estimates of the number of homeless children in the United States?

a.        Up to a quarter of a million students

b.       Up to a half million students

c.        Up to a million students

d.       Up to five million students

 

  1. Of the following which best describes the general relationship between SES and success in college?

a.        Because of their desire to move to higher-SES levels than their parents, slightly more low-SES high school graduates earn bachelor’s degrees than do high-SES high school graduates.

b.       While high-SES students perform better than low-SES students in high school, little relationship exists between SES and the completion of bachelor’s degrees.

c.        About one fourth of high school graduates from lower-SES levels earn bachelor’s degrees, whereas more than three fourths of students from higher-SES levels earn bachelor’s degrees.

d.       Less than 10 percent of  high school graduates from lower-SES levels earn bachelor’s degrees, whereas nearly 90 percent of students from higher-SES levels earn bachelor’s degrees.

 

  1. Socioeconomic status influences learning through which of the following ways?

(1)  Parental attitudes and values

(2)  Cultural and ethnic practices

(3)  Interaction patterns in the home

(4)  Physical and safety needs

 

a.        1, 2, 3

b.       1, 2, 4

c.        2, 3, 4

d.       1, 3, 4

 

  1. Which tends to be true of students from lower-socioeconomic-status homes?

a.        They have fewer school-related background experiences than students from higher-SES backgrounds.

b.       They are unable to learn in regular classrooms and usually are placed in classes for students with exceptionalities.

c.        They tend to gravitate to activities out of the academic mainstream, such as sports, music, and art.

d.       They tend to have more fully developed social lives than students from higher-SES backgrounds.

 

  1. Of the following, low-SES parents tend to place the greatest emphasis on

a.        autonomy and initiative.

b.       affiliation and sensitivity.

c.        achievement and independence.

d.       conformity and obedience.

 

  1. According to research which of the following generalizations is the most accurate comparison of high- and low-SES parents?

a.        In interacting with their children, low-SES parents are more likely to give reasons for their directions than are high-SES parents.

b.       In interacting with their children, low-SES parents are less likely to give reasons for their directions than are high-SES parents.

c.        In interacting with their children, low- and high-SES parents are equally likely to give reasons for their directions.

 

  1. Of the following what is the most accurate approximation of the percentage of students who are sexually active by the time they finish high school?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        50 percent

d.       65 percent


  1. Of the following which statement most accurately compares the teenage birthrate in the United States to that in other industrialized countries?

a.        The teenage birthrate in the United States is much lower than the teenage birthrate in other industrialized countries (about half).

b.       The teenage birthrate in the United States is slightly lower (about 10% lower) than the teenage birthrate in other industrialized countries.

c.        The teenage birthrate in the United States is about the same as the teenage birthrate in other industrialized countries.

d.       The teenage birthrate in the United States is higher than in any other industrialized country.

 

  1. Of the following which percentage most accurately describes the number of sexually active tens who will contract a sexually transmitted disease?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        50 percent

d.       65 percent

 

  1. Of the following which statement most accurately compares drug use in the homosexual student population to drug use by students in general?

a.        Drug use in the homosexual student population is much lower (about 50% less) than drug use by students in general.

b.       Drug use in the homosexual student population is about the same as drug use by students in general.

c.        Drug use n the homosexual student population is slightly higher (about 5% higher) than drug use by students in general.

d.       Drug sue in the homosexual student population is much higher than drug use by students in general.

 

  1. Homosexual students make up between 5 percent and 10 percent of the student population, but they commit 30 percent of the youth suicides each year.  Of the following which is the most likely reason for this disproportionate rate?

a.        Homosexual youth are disproportionately subjects of harassment in schools, which leads to depression and suicide.

b.       Homosexual youth have an innate tendency toward depression, which often leads to suicide.

c.        Homosexual youth have a high incidence of drug use, which leads to depression and suicide.

d.       Homosexual youth tend t come from low-SES backgrounds, which leads to depression and suicide.

 

  1. According to a survey on alcohol and other drug use, of the following what is the most accurate approximation of the number of high school seniors who reported using alcohol at some time in their high school careers?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        60 percent

d.       85 percent

 

  1. Of the following which statement most accurately describes the characteristics of students most likely to use alcohol and other drugs?

a.        High achievers are more likely than low achievers to use alcohol and other drugs, because they are more involved in extracurricular activities, which is where most drug use occurs.

b.       Low achievers are more likely than high achievers to use alcohol and other drugs, because drug use is associated with other risk factors, such as low SES and family instability.

c.        High achievers are more likely than low achievers to use alcohol and other drugs, because school is often boring for them and they’re looking for an outlet for their energies.

d.       Average students are more likely than either high or low achievers to use alcohol and other drugs, because high achievers are involved in programs for the gifted, low achievers have remedial programs designed for them, and average students get lost in the shuffle.


  1. According to a survey on school violence, of the following what is the most accurate approximation of the number of students who report some kind f violence-related problem in their schools?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        50 percent

d.       75 percent

 

  1. Of the following factors which is rated highest by parents and other taxpayers in a list of concerns about school quality?

a.        School safety

b.       Qualifications of teachers

c.        Student access to technology

d.       High student standardized-test scores

 

  1. Of the following which students are most concerned about safety and violence in their schools?

a.        Fifth graders

b.       Eighth graders

c.        Tenth graders

d.       Twelfth graders

 

  1. Automatic suspensions that result from school disruptions, evidence of alcohol or other drug use, or bringing weapons to school are most commonly labeled

a.        school safety programs.

b.       school-wide security programs.

c.        zero tolerance programs.

d.       drug-education programs.

 

  1. Of the following what is the most accurate description of the result of a school program requiring the students to wear uniforms?

a.        After the uniform policy was implemented, school crime dropped dramatically (about a 75% drop), and school attendance rates rose.

b.       After the uniform policy was implemented, school crime dropped (about a 25% drop), but school attendance also dropped slightly.

c.        After the uniform policy was implemented, crime rates remained about the same, and school attendance rates rose.

d.       No evidence supported the uniform policy since school crime and attendance rates remained the same as before the policy was implemented.

 

  1. According to researchers which fo the following are considered to be forms of bullying?

(1)  Face-to-face attack

(2)  Threats

(3)  Teasing about sexual orientation

(4)  Telling students that they can’t play with others

(5)  Spreading malicious rumors

 

a.        1, 2, 3, 4, 5

b.       1, 2, 3, 5

c.        1, 2, 3, 4

d.       1, 2, 3

 

  1. In a survey of middle school students, what percent reported  being bullied several times in the last 30 days?

a.        10 percent

b.       25 percent

c.        50 percent

d.       75 percent


  1. According to research which of the following is the most accurate description of bullying among girls compared to bullying among boys?

a.        Boys bully about three times more than girls.

b.       Boys bully about twice as much as girls.

c.        Boys and girls bully in about equal amounts.

d.       Girls bully about twice as much as boys.

 

  1. Which of the following is the most accurate description of adults’ responses to bullying?

a.        Adults quickly intervene to protect the victim and punish the perpetrator in cases of bullying.

b.       Adults quickly intervene to protect the victim in cases of bullying, but the perpetrators are rarely punished.

c.        Adults often punish victims of bullying because they believe the victims are merely tattling.

d.       Adults rarely intervene one way or the other in incidents of bullying.

 

  1. Of the following what is the most commonly voiced criticism of zero tolerance policies?

a.        Zero tolerance policies are ineffective because it is impossible to implement them consistently and uniformly.

b.       Zero tolerance policies are ineffective because they don’t discriminate between major and minor offenses (such as a first grader being suspended for kissing a classmate).

c.        Zero tolerance policies are ineffective because it is virtually impossible to catch and convict the perpetrators of the most serious violations.

d.       Zero tolerance policies are ineffective because they are very unpopular with parents and other taxpayers.

 

  1. Which of the following most accurately describes trends in school violence since the mid-1990s?

a.        School violence has dramatically increased, and it is now one of the most important problems facing schools.

b.       School violence has increased slightly, but steps are being taken to reduce it.

c.        The amount of school violence has remained approximately the same over this time period.

d.       School violence has decreased during this time period, and students are at greater risk of violence outside schools than within schools.

 

  1. The description “in danger of ailing to complete their education with a level of skills necessary to survive in modern society” best describes which of the following?

a.        Low-SES students

b.       Cultural minority students

c.        Students with ineffective learning styles

d.       Students placed at risk

 

  1. A new teacher was hired to teach in the inner-city schools and wanted to know what adjustments she needed to make to work with students placed at-risk.  Which of the following is the most important adjustment?

a.        Allow the students to work individually, such as on worksheets and computer drill-and-practice activities.

b.       Carry the content to the students personally through interactive teaching.

c.        Expect student apathy and boredom; be prepared to maintain high levels of classroom discipline.

d.       Decrease expectations to ensure that students will be successful.

 

  1. According to research the most effective of the following interventions to increasing the achievement of students placed at-risk is to

a.        Increase the number of quizzes given.

b.       Increase the number of As and Bs given.

c.        Slightly relax the standards for classroom management and discipline.

d.       Give the students more opportunity to respond to written materials, such as worksheets.


  1. Which of the following best describes the primary criticism f the term at-risk?

a.        It is not linked to instructional interventions.

b.       It is antiquated and doesn’t address modern concerns.

c.        It doesn’t recognize the diversity found in populations of students at-risk.

d.       It creates lowered expectations of student success.

 

  1. Of the following which most strongly contributes to the development of resilience?

a.        The nurturing of a caring adult

b.       A variety of experiences in the preschool years

c.        Positive identity with cultural attitudes and values

d.       An instinctive desire to succeed

 

  1. Which of the following best describes the relationship between challenge and effective instruction for students placed at-risk?

a.        Challenge is effective for some students placed at-risk but not all.

b.       Challenge increases motivation for nearly all students placed at-risk because it emphasizes high expectations.

c.        Challenge can be overemphasized, resulting in discouragement.

d.       Challenge can be misinterpreted by many students placed at-risk.

 

  1. Which of the following are accurate descriptions of effective instruction for students placed at-risk?

(1)  It emphasizes how to learn as well as what to learn.

(2)  It stresses the importance of student responsibility and self-regulation.

(3)  It simplifies the curriculum and makes it easier.

(4)  It provides greater structure, support, and feedback than might be provided for student not at-risk.

 

a.        1, 2, 4

b.       1, 3, 4

c.        2, 3, 4

d.       1, 2, 3

 

Items for Analysis and Critical Thinking

 

  1. Read the following exchanges, and then select the best answer below.

 

“I want you in by 10:00,” Ellen’s dad says to her as she gets ready for her roller skating party, and then he turns back to his computer.

Aww, Dad,” Ellen protests.  “The party isn’t over till 11:00, and a bunch of parents will be there chaperoning.”

“I said 10:00.”

“Gee, Dad, why?”

“Ellen, I said 10:00 on school nights.”

“But, Dad, there’s no school tomorrow.  It’s a teacher planning day.”

“Ellen, I said 10:00.  The discussion is over,” her dad says with frustration in his voice.

 

“Tell me about school,” Tanya’s dad says to her over dinner.  They talk for several minutes about school, social activities, and life in general.  “Now, when is your concert?  I’ve sort of forgotten.”

“Thursday,” Tanya replies.

“Oh, yeah, remind me to call George and tell him I won’t be able to meet him on Thursday,” he says to Tanya’s mother.  “Tanya’s concert is that night.”

They finish dinner, and her dad finally says, “Better get started with your homework.”

Aww, Dad,” Tanya grumbles.

“No, get going… I’m working in her, so let me know if you get stuck on any of it and I’ll try and help you… I want to see it when you’re finished.”

 


“Where’s Ian?” her dad asks her mother at 9:30 Thursday evening.

“She called after school and said she was going home with Christy,” her mother responded.

“Didn’t she say she had a test tomorrow?  When is she going to study?”

she said she was fine, and besides she’s not too crazy about biology.  I know her grades aren’t as good as they could be, but you’re only young once.”

 

If the young people’s characteristics are consistent with generalizations identified by research, the persons most likely to develop bullying behaviors is (are)

a.           Ellen.

b.           Tanya.

c.           Ian.

d.           Tanya and Ian.

 

  1. You observe that Jerome, a homosexual student in your class, is being repeatedly harassed by Calvin and David, two other boys in your class.  Of the following which is your most appropriate response?

a.        Since Jerome isn’t being physically harmed, ignore the incidents because students should learn to work problems out for themselves.

b.       Taken Calvin and David aside and tell them that you realize that their behavior is in fun but that you believe it is hurting Jerome’s feelings, and ask them how they would feel if they were being teased.

c.        Take Calvin and David aside and tell them that you have a zero tolerance policy for harassment and that one more incident of harassment will result in severe consequences.

d.       Talk to Jerome and tell him you will support any form of retaliation that he directs toward Calvin and David.

 

Use the following information for Items 46 and 47:

 

You notice that Katrina, one of your higher-achieving eighth graders, has abruptly begun doing slipshod work.  She hasn’t turned in your last three assignments, and she failed your latest test.  She also seems very withdrawn in learning activities, giving one-word, barely audible answers when you call on her.  Always a well-groomed girl, she has begun coming to school looking disheveled and unkempt.

 

  1. Of the following what is the beset assessment of your observations of Katrina?

a.        She has become sexually active, and her interest in school and school activities has declined as a result.

b.       She has begun using hard drugs (such as cocaine), and the drug use has decreased her interest in school.

c.        She is displaying indicators of potential suicide, and her loss of interest in school and life are the result.

d.       She is displaying the symptoms of sexual harassment, and as a result she is withdrawing from school-related activities.

 

  1. Of the following what is your most appropriate action in working with Katrina?

a.        Continue to watch her closely to see if her former patterns of behavior return.

b.       Talk to her and remind her that she must begin studying and turning in her work, or her grades will suffer. Offer to accept the missing assignments.

c.        Contact a school counselor or school psychologist immediately, explain the changes you’ve seen in Katrina’s behavior, and seek advice.

d.       Talk to one of her classmates, and ask if he or she knows of any problems that Katrina might be experience.  Remind that classmate that anything said will be held in confidence.


  1. You notice that Joanne, one of your second graders, frequently comes to school disheveled and with bruises on her arms.  When you ask her what caused the bruises, she says that she keeps falling from her bike.  Suspecting child abuse, you report what you’ve seen to school authorities.  After an investigation, it turns out that Joanne has told the truth, and the bruises were indeed the result of falling from her bike.  Furious over the allegation of child abuse, the parents file a lawsuit against you and the school.  Of the following which is the most accurate assessment of your situation?

a.        You are not protected from liability since you mistakenly alleged that the parents abused Joanne.

b.       You re not protected from liability since the only evidence of child abuse was Joanne’s disheveled appearance and bruises on her arms.

c.        Because of the seriousness of child abuse, teachers are often protected from liability if they can prove their claims.

d.       You are protected from liability since you honestly reported the allegation based on her disheveled appearance and bruises.

 

Use the following information for Items 49 and 50:

 

Ariel Nagales, a seventh grader, is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic.  He struggles with English but is improving rapidly.  He says that his family practices speaking English at the dinner table each evening.  His father makes $44,000 a year as a foreman on one of the shifts at a local oil refiner.  Ariel’s mother stays at home since he has a sister in the second grade and a brother in kindergarten and his mother has to pick Ariel up from soccer practice each evening.  He is a star on the junior high team.

     Latisha Brown, an African American student and also a seventh grader, lives with her single mother who has a full-time job working for a maid service.  Latisha helps with cooking and housekeeping at home since her mother is usually exhausted when she comes home and Latisha has a younger brother and two younger sisters.  She usually finishes the housework by 8 pm, and then finishes her homework while her mother helps her brother and sisters with their school assignments.  “It’s sometimes hard,” Latisha laments, “because I’m tired on the days that I have choir practice, but it’s worth it.  I have a solo part in the next concert.”

     Henry Martinez comes to your class a month after school began.  You check Henry’s background and find that his parents were divorced shortly after they immigrated to this country from the Philippines.  Henry lives wit his mother, who is transferred regularly in her job as a government liaison for federal minority programs.  Henry has attended four different schools in the last 3 years.  In a letter to the school, Mrs. Martinez expresses concern over the frequent moves but says she can’t afford to give up her $40,000 a year job.  She also proudly points out that Henry was an all-start on his youth soccer team at the last school he attended.  Henry speaks of her and his two younger sisters often, frequently citing examples of some of the fun things they have done together on the weekends and the interesting stories his mother reads to them in the evenings.

     Calvin Henry, another African American seventh grader, lives in Brentwood, a local inner-city area.  Calvin has been living with his grandmother, an energetic 65-year-old, since his parents’ divorce 4 years ago.  They struggle to make ends meet since his grandmother’s only source of income is social security.  Calvin is both athletic and musical, and his grandmother continually encourages him to begin playing a musical instrument and go out for the junir high track team.  “You would be a star,” she smiles.  Calvin shrugs and says maybe when he gets into high school.  Right now he would rather hang out with his friends after school.

 

  1. If the students fit patterns identified by research, the student who has the greatest likelihood of being placed at-risk is

a.        Ariel.

b.       Latisha.

c.        Henry.

d.       Calvin.

 

  1. If the students fit patterns identified by research, the student who has the least likelihood of being placed at-risk is

a.        Ariel.

b.       Latisha.

c.        Henry.

d.       Calvin.


Extended-Response Items

 

  1. describe two important changes in the American family.  Describe the implications that these changes have for you as a teacher.  (4 points)

 

  1. Describe three ways in which socioeconomic status can influence student learning.  In your description compare patterns in high-SES families to patterns that tend to exist in low-SES families.  (6 points)

 

  1. Describe your legal obligation in cases of suspected child abuse.  Also describe your legal liability.  (4 points).

 

  1. describe three criticism of zero tolerance policies that lead to school suspensions.  Explain the criticism in each case.  (6 points).

 

  1. describe what your primary teaching problems will be in your day-to-day work with students.  Also describe the likelihood of an incident of violence occurring in your classroom.  (4 points)

 

  1. Look again at Henry Martinez (part of the information used for Items 49 and 50).

 

Henry Martinez comes to your class a month after school began.  You check Henry’s background and find that his parents were divorced shortly after they immigrated to this country from the Philippines.  Henry lives wit his mother, who is transferred regularly in her job as a government liaison for federal minority programs.  Henry has attended four different schools in the last 3 years.  In a letter to the school, Mrs. Martinez expresses concern over the frequent moves but says she can’t afford to give up her $40,000 a year job.  She also proudly points out that Henry was an all-start on his youth soccer team at the last school he attended.  Henry speaks of her and his two younger sisters often, frequently citing examples of some of the fun things they have done together on the weekends and the interesting stories his mother reads to them in the evenings.

 

Identify two characteristics that would make Henry a student placed at-risk.  Then identify two other characteristics that counteract Henry’s being placed at-risk.  (4 points)