The DBQ and Source Writing assessments allow students to read, synthesize and respond to direct historical text sources, documents and materials. Students can read the documents and excerpts and respond to prompts with in-depth responses to demonstrate mastery and critical thinking.
The purpose of a DBQ is to test the following abilities:
- Create a strong thesis and support it with the aid of the documents provided
- Analyze sources for author’s point of view, purpose, audience, and context
- Make connections between the documents
- Acquire outside knowledge to strengthen the argument
Students need to understand how to process all the documents and distill them into a thesis statement that will fuel their argument throughout the response. They must demonstrate their ability to analyze the source and correctly identify the context and reasoning behind it. They also have to make connections between the documents and their thesis. Finally, to best succeed, they should use their outside knowledge in conjunction with their argument and sources to create a layered response.
This may seem like a difficult task, but the DBQ and Source Writing assignments provide the text and documents students need. This allows students to work with what’s in front of them rather than completely depending on memorized facts and theories.
These types of assessments offer teachers new ways to see how their students are progressing with writing and critical thinking. How do you use DBQ and Source Writing prompts in your classroom?