Honors Course Overview for American History: The Founding Principles, Civics, and Economics
The purpose of this course overview is to explain many of the ways this honors course differs from the general level American History: The Founding Principles, Civics and Economics (Civics and Economics) course offered at Northwest Cabarrus High School.
Curriculum Content and Honors Extensions
Honors Civics and Economics is for students who demonstrate high proficiency in social studies classes, want a challenging and rigorous course of study, and accept the responsibility for independent and higher levels of thinking. This survey course provides knowledge of the American system of government and economics, including its foundation and how each institution works to govern the American people. Students learn how the institutions and governing principles relate to individuals in our country and the impact that each has on the other. Reading, writing, map study, document analysis, and discussions are a vital part of this class.
Honors World History (for those following the traditional course lineup) or AIG Social Studies (for those following the Advanced Placement (AP) track) is a strongly recommended prerequisite for Honors Civics and Economics. As such, many of the assignments are challenging extensions that will better prepare students for this advanced class.
Honors Civics and Economics students will be asked to apply historical and critical thinking skills to thematic learning objectives. Students will develop skills in:
- Causation: compare cause and effects, analyze and evaluate multiple causes and effects, and distinguish between coincidence and correlation
- Comparison: comparing ideology across regions, time, and demographics
- Contextualization: specific events connect to broader regional, national, or international events
- Historical argumentation: evaluate and synthesize conflicting historical evidence
- Appropriate use of relevant evidence: use features such as audience, purpose, point of view, argument, etc.
- Interpretation: analyze diverse interpretations
- Synthesis: apply insights regarding current events
Standards and Objectives
Most students taking Honors Civics and Economics will likely enroll in AP classes during their high school career and are on a college prep track. Therefore, Honors Civics and Economics will prepare students for the increased rigor and advanced content in those classes in order to be more successful in their future academic endeavors. All AP social studies courses require close reading and critical analysis of questions and documents in addition to formal writing; therefore a similar approach to Honors Civics and Economics serves as the foundation for these skills.
Honors Civics and Economics students will:
- Explain relationships between and among political and economic concepts, events, policies or institutional interactions.
- Apply political and economic concepts and theories across big ideas in the course to explain behavior and outcomes.
- Analyze qualitative and quantitative data from different sources to determine relationships or trends among political and economic institutions or policies.
- Evaluate the quality and credibility of different information sources and perspectives regarding selected political and economic policies, institutions, or behaviors to derive supportable conclusions.
- Synthesize theories, competing perspectives or explanations from a variety of sources regarding politics, policy and economics.
- Compose accurate, logically organized written responses and presentations that analyze selected political and economic policies, institutions, or behaviors.
- Summarize a relationship or support an analysis of a course topic or concept through appropriate visuals (graph, diagram, map, photo, or artwork).
On my webpage, parents and students can find the class syllabus, which contains grading information and behavioral expectations.
Instructional Materials and Methods
Students will receive additional instruction and modified assignments in reference to the extension topics. They will be responsible for the general Civics and Economics curriculum as well as the mastery of the extension topics.
Through Honors Civics and Economics, students will be performing:
- In-depth document based questions requiring connections to be made between institutions or concepts,
- Critical thinking performance tasks, such as debates, simulations, etc, and/or
- Modified assignments which require a higher demonstration of mastery.
The Social Studies Department at NCHS follows a consistent, department-wide plagiarism and late work policy as seen in the syllabus. Grading percentages at all levels are determined through grade-level Professional Learning Communities (PLCs); details regarding categories for coursework and weighted percentages are available in the course syllabus as well.
Students are assessed individually and collaboratively in a variety of ways throughout the course including daily, minor, and major assessments. Daily assessments include classwork and homework. Minor assessments may include small projects, simulations, and quizzes. Major assessments may include tests, as well as debates, socratic seminars, and large projects. At the end of the semester, all Honors Civics and Economics students (as well as those in the general level course) will take the North Carolina Final Exam for American History: The Founding Principles, Civics and Economics; this final exam will account for 25% of the student’s final course average.