2. Dealing with evidence: primary sources

Dealing with Evidence: Primary Sources
The 100 and 200 Level [Comprehend/Recognize/Interpret/Apply]

Recognize the conventions of different sorts of sources.

Operations commonly required for this component

Possible Assessment Examples

a. Discriminate between primary and secondary sources.

a. Give students one or two problems for them to study and a list of sources. Have them identify potential primary sources for each project.

b. Comprehend how primary sources are used to construct history.

b. Ask students to analyze a primary source; then ask them how this source could be used to write about a historical problem Do a visual assessment of student thinking about the source. (For a detailed example, see Appendix 3)

c. Recall and apply the questions historians ask to extract information from a primary source, such as authorship, purpose.

c. Ask students to list the questions they would use to interrogate a primary source. Have them then apply their questions to that source and explain what the answers tell them.

d. Comprehend the contents of a primary source thoroughly and apply the contents accurately.

d. Ask students to write a summary of the source. (A summary is an excellent indication of the quality of a student's comprehension of something he or she has read.)

e. Draw inferences from primary sources that the creator did not intentionally convey and relate that information to broad course themes.

e. Ask students to identify the assumptions made by the author of a source. (For a detailed example, see Appendix 4)

f. Recognize the human agency behind the production of a primary source and the choices made by the creator of the work.

f. Have students identify plausible alternative choices made by the creator of a work and then explain how this different choice would have altered the work.

g. Recognize the conventions of different sorts of sources.

g. Give students three examples of the same sort of primary source. Have students identify what the works have in common and where there is variation between the sources.