Middle School DBQ Framework

Purpose

This framework is designed to be used by Social Studies teachers at grades 6-11. It is intended to serve as a skill-building program for Document-Based Questions. There are samples of grade-level appropriate DBQs available for each grade.

Assessments Terminology

: consist of a series of questions related to a single document. They are designed to measure application-level cognitive skills as well as content knowledge. Questions should build from the simple to the complex. They should use a range of primary and secondary stimuli and authentic "real world" examples including time lines, maps, graphs, cartoons, charts and short readings. Constructed response questions are graded against a scoring rubric.

Document-Based Questions: assess the ability of each student to work with historical sources in multiple forms. They are designed to measure a variety of skills including interpreting primary and secondary sources, evaluating sources, considering multiple points of view, using historic evidence, and developing and supporting a thesis (i.e. main idea/controlling idea). Document-based questions consist of two parts.

Part Scaffolding Questions: This section requires students to answer 1-2 questions per document. These questions generally involve interpreting the main idea or point of view expressed in the document. Students are expected to respond to the questions using complete sentences.

Part B Essay: This section requires students to write an essay, using the documents, to respond to a specific question. This question will require students to utilize the sources, plus their understanding of history. Students will be expected to move beyond simply quoting the documents. They will need to use the documents as evidence in support of a thesis. Both parts of the DBQ will be graded against scoring rubrics.


Document-Based Questions at Grade 6

Purpose: The DBQ at 6th grade is intended to familiarize students with using historical sources in multiple forms. The skills introduced and refined in 6th grade will be used in grade 7 to develop an essay.

Maximum number of documents to be used: 4 (half of which should be visuals)

Part Scaffolding Questions: Each document should have 1-2 scaffolding questions, which involve interpreting the main idea expressed in the document.

Part B Essay: Students will be expected to respond to a specific question that is related to all of the documents. This response should be in the form of a paragraph/short answer. The question should require analyzing the documents and students should be expected to use information from the documents in their response.

NOTE: The 6th grade requirement may be subject to change in response to the work being completed in the elementary grades.


Document-Based Questions at Grade 7

Purpose: The DBQ at grade 7 is intended to build on the skills introduced in 6th grade. Students entering seventh grade will have experience writing short answer/paragraph responses to DBQs. During seventh grade students should be given the opportunity to continue to work with multiple sources in preparation for writing an essay. During the year, students in 7th grade should receive instruction on the development of the DBQ essay. All students should be expected to complete one DBQ essay in 7th grade.

Maximum number of documents to be used: 6 (half of which should be visuals)

Part Scaffolding Questions: Each document should have 1-2 scaffolding questions, which involve interpreting the main idea or point of view expressed in the document. This section will be worth 15 points and will be graded using a scoring rubric.

Part B Essay: This essay should be in response to a question that has a specific focus. The question should clearly identify the specific information that is to be included in each body paragraph. Students should be expected to move beyond simply quoting the documents. The student response should involve using documents as evidence in support of a thesis. This essay should include:

    • Planning/Organizing (i.e. categorize, block, mind map/webbing, outline, pre-writing) including specific references to the documents to be used in the essay
    • Introduction and conclusion
    • Body paragraphs that cite specific evidence from the documents (short quotes or paraphrases) and incorporate outside knowledge
    • Introduction to referencing documents

The essay will be worth 15 points and will be graded using a scoring rubric.


Document-Based Questions at Grade 8

Purpose: The DBQ in eighth grade is intended to build on the skills introduced in grade 7. During the year, students should continue to receive instruction on the development of the DBQ essay. Students in eighth grade should complete several DBQs during the year that result in an essay.

Maximum Number of Documents to be used: 6 (half of which should be visuals)

Part Scaffolding Questions: Each document should have 1-2 scaffolding questions, which involve interpreting the main idea or point of view expressed in the document. This section will be worth 15 points and will be graded using a scoring rubric.

Part B Essay: This essay should be in response to a question that has a specific focus. The question should clearly identify the specific information that is to be included in each body paragraph. Students should be expected to move beyond simply quoting the documents. The student response should involve using documents as evidence in support of a thesis. The essay should include:

    • Planning/Organizing (i.e. categorize, block, mind map/webbing, outline, pre-writing) including specific references to the documents to be used in the essay
    • Introduction and conclusion
    • Body paragraphs that cite specific evidence from the documents (short quotes or paraphrases) and incorporate outside knowledge
    • Documentation should be introduced in a variety of ways including parenthetical citation

The essay will be worth 15 points and will be graded using a scoring rubric.


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Former Social Studies Coordinator Pittsford Central Schools

 Peter Pappas 

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