Middle School United States History

Overview of Framework

Eighth grade United States History focuses on developing students’ understanding of American History from Colonization until the dawn of the 20th Century. In United States History students interpret historical evidence and identify significant trends and major turning points that define the first 300 years of the American experience. The study of United States History will enable students to understand the development and expansion of a market economy and the economic forces that drove the growth of a continental power. In addition, students will examine the foundational documents and democratic practices that define the growth of the American Republic. Students will analyze the processes and mechanisms that increased the body politic and the impact of different cultures on the development of an American identity. By considering events from multiple perspectives students will understand that women, African Americans, American Indians and other minorities possess historical agency. Awareness of these processes assist student comprehension of the complicated nature of the American story.


Middle School United States History – A detailed framework that supports the teaching of United States History in middle school. The framework uses the inquiry arc to connect the Enduring Understanding and Unit Questions to the essential questions, topics, indicators, objectives, and assessment limits.

Background Document

Frequently Asked Questions – Curated questions to help inform backward mapping and instructional practices to help students achieve success in the course.

Framework Instructional Supports

The following resources are designed to support instruction in Middle School United States History.

Source Work Crosswalks

The crosswalks illustrate the connection between Maryland’s 6.0 Skills and Processes and commonly used source analysis approaches.

SHEG Crosswalk
Crosswalk between Maryland’s 6.0 Skills and Processes and the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) Approach.
​Standard 6.0
APPARTS Crosswalk
Crosswalk with College Board’s Pre-AP APPARTS Document Analysis Method.
Standard 6.0
​Crosswalk with College Board’s Advanced Placement SOAPSTONE Document Analysis Method.
​Standard 6.0

Evidence Based Argument Sets (EBAS)

The EBAS assess three social studies skills and processes from Maryland Social Studies Standard 6.0: Skills and Processes. These skills were selected by the Local School System social studies supervisors and a teacher workgroup. These skills are:

  • Evaluate the credibility of the sources by considering the authority, origin, type, context, and corroborative value of each source.

  • Identify credible, relevant information contained in the sources.

  • Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources.

The EBAS are organized around a compelling historical question and provide students with four sources that allow for the development of an answer to the compelling question. The EBAS have constructed response and technology enhanced items that will assess students' ability to source, contextualize, and corroborate sources as well as to identify relevant information contained within a source. In addition, the EBAS will have a small, focused final writing task.


2 Point EBAS Rubric

4 Point EBAS Rubric

The 2- and 4-point EBAS rubrics will be used to score the CR items in the Evidence Based Argument Sets (EBAS).
​Standard 6.0

Assessment Resources

Please visit the Division of Assessment, Accountability, and Performance Reporting for specific assessment information about the Social Studies Grade 8 assessment.