Frequently Asked Questions
Who is required to take the WVDE social studies exams?
W.Va. Code §18-2-9 requires the administration of a cumulative American history and civics test prior
to high school graduation. In addition, all Grade 8 students must now take the Golden Horseshoe
It is mandatory of students to take the American history exam at the end of their last U.S. history
course (AP U.S. History, U.S. Comprehensive, or Contemporary Studies) and the civics exam which
also meets the citizenship test requirement must be taken at the end of Civics or AP Government
and Politics prior to graduation. Each county must establish record keeping protocols to ensure
documentation of each graduate’s examination of the two required high school tests. The Golden
Horseshoe online test will be administered to Grade 8 students using the schedule found on the
student programs website.
When do students take the exams?
Students in grade 8 will take the Golden Horseshoe exam using the schedule provided for each
county. The county contact for Golden Horseshoe has this information.
Students in grades 9-12 may access the American history and Civics exams at end of each semester.
» Fall/Winter 2022 – November 21, 2022-January 27, 2023
» Spring 2023 Semester – April 17, 2023-June 1, 2023
How do students access the test?
Students will use their Office 365 credentials to log into webtop. There
are three icons associated with the exams:
Who may administer/proctor the exams?
Any teacher may administer the Golden Horseshoe exam except for the 8th Grade WV Studies teacher.
The classroom teacher may administer the American history and Civics exams.
All exam administrators must sign the appropriate confidentiality agreement before proctoring the
exams. Confidentiality agreements are located on the student programs website under Social Studies
Assessments and Golden Horseshoe.
Are seniors required to take the American history test?
For the 2021-22 school, if seniors have already taken US Studies, Contemporary Studies, AP US, or
Comprehensive, they do not need to take the US History exam. However, if seniors are taking their
final American History course as a senior, they will need to be tested on the American History exam.
All students must take the civics exam to graduate.
W.Va. Code §18-2-9
Golden Horseshoe, American History,
and Civics Testing Requirements
Are virtual school students required to take the tests?
Yes. All virtual school students are required to take the exams. These students must be scheduled
to take the exams in the school with a test administrator who has signed the appropriate
Are there practice materials for the two tests?
Two different practices tests are provided for the Golden Horseshoe to familiarize students to the
webtop portal. The first practice test will open the second week of January and the second one will
open the fourth week of January. All practice tests will close by the end of the first week of February.
There are no practice tests for the American history and Civics exams. W.Va. Code §18-2-9 outlines
content required to be covered on the exams.
Do all 8th grade students need to take the Golden Horseshoe?
Yes. All 8th grade students are now required to take the multiple-choice portion of the Golden Horseshoe.
Is there a score requirement for students to pass the exams?
W.Va. Code §18-2-9 does not require a certain score to pass the exams. Counties and schools have
the latitude to decide how to use the score from the exams.
How do teachers access scores?
At the end of each semester, county superintendents will receive an excel file detailing all students
who have taken the American history and Civics exams along with their scores. Each superintendent
may decide how to best disseminate scores to principals and teachers.
Are there makeup exam dates for the exams?
The West Department of Education will provide a make up window for the Golden Horseshoe exam.
However, only students who take the Golden Horseshoe on the designated day for each county will
be eligible for the competition.
The American History and Civics exams may be taken any day during the open window in the fall/
winter and spring semesters.
How many questions are on the exam?
The Golden Horseshoe has 50 multiple choice questions. Both American history and civics exams
have 25 multiple choice questions.
These exams should not take any longer than one full class period to administer.
How are IEP accommodations met?
The social studies exams are not part of school accountability and results are only available to each
individual county. Only classroom accommodations such as read aloud and extended time may be
provided to students with these accommodations listed on the IEP. The system does not read the
test aloud. Therefore, a teacher who has signed the confidentiality agreement will need to read the
test aloud to students requiring this accommodation.
The tests are not timed.