EvidenceBasedWriting.org

"Evidence-based writing is the currency of college and the workplace."
"Evidence-based writing is structured, clear, and concise. The claim must directly address the topic, provide relevant and sufficient evidence, and use valid reasoning."

Essential Articles:

"The Writing Revolution" -- the most important article written on education in 30 years (i.e. an approach to help AAPS close the achievement gap that has not been tried in 30 years).
Student Writing and "growth mindset" teacher feedback can have dramatic impact for all students.
"Why Make Reform So Complicated?" -- from Education Week.
"Academic Writing Isn't a Throwback to the 1950s" -- by Judith C. Hochman.
"The Common Core's Unsung Benefit: It Teaches Kids to Be Good Citizens" (or why the Common Core is so important for social studies -- from The Atlantic magazine.
Read why the Common Core Skills are so important for preparing students for college and the workplace.
Common Core Standards for Writing in all Social Studies courses. -- the writing skills necessary for success in college and the workplace.
Common Core "Anchor" Standards for Writing in All Subjects/Disciplines. -- the cross-disciplinary (not just ELA) writing expectations (it's about the critical skills not content) that must be met for students to be prepared to enter college and the workforce ready to succeed. Adopted by the State of Michigan in 2010.

Common Core Skills-Based Assessments:

*** Note: The specific content each teacher chooses to use in his/her course is secondary, and will not affect how students perform on the skills-based smarter balanced assessments.
See Michigan Evaluation of Smarter Balanced and also watch presentation on What Will Assessment Look Like? |
| The "C3 Framework" provides states with voluntary guidance with a list of suggested inquiry skills --> this framework is NOT the Common Core standards for Social Studies. |
Social Studies teachers are responsible for teaching these Common Core Literacy Standards.
*** Try a sample of an analytical writing assessment for social studies from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium:
Topic (for 11th grade students): Funding of Public Art?; Writing Skills Assessed: Argumentative Performance Task. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1
Topic (for 8th grade students): Abolish the U.S. Penny?; Writing Skills Assessed: Argumentative Performance Task. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
*** The research on computer-scored writing: | University of Akron study on this topic: link to the study and summary of findings | Education Week article |
Examples of computer-adaptive tests: COMPASS (for placement in appropriate first year college courses); SRI (for measuring reading ability annually - Lexile score); GMAT (for graduate school admission).
*** Sample of a Common Core World History Test (Acrobat .PDF format). You can also download this test in MS Word .doc format. This is a paper-and-pencil version of the Smarter Balanced computer based assessments (for Trimester A Theme: “Interregional Interactions” OR for Semester 1 Years: 3000 BC to AD 1800).

Writing Resources for Skyline Students:

(all downloadable files are in Acrobat .pdf format)
FLowchart Outline With relevant evidence ("FLOW") -- detailed.
Quick Flowchart -- concise.
Analytical Essay Rubric -- with detailed descriptions of each part and Essay Template
Guide to Dunbar's Grading Symbols for Analytical Writing -- for writing revisions.
Writing Feedback That Requires Action/Revisions --> Why this type of feedback is the most effective for students (i.e. when they have to revise, to act on, the feedback that is given).
The importance of immediate feedback on one writing skill (trait) at a time --> "Write More, Grade Less"
Research overwhelmingly shows that writing and revising is the most effective way to teach writing and strengthen student writing skills.
What a claim is and is not --> important explanation of what a claim is.
What a thesis statement is and how to develop strong thesis statements.
Transition Words and Phrases -- for writing revisions.
Checklist: Editing Your Final Draft -- for writing revisions.
**** The importance of using the active voice in social studies writing rather than the passive voice. **** Link to Hamilton College Writing Center
Incorporating Evidence Into Your Essay from Indiana University.
Avoiding common errors in logic and reasoning from the Princeton Writing Center.
Academic Writing fundamentals from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.
Writing Resources from the Odegaard Writing and Research Center.
The Writer's Handbook from Mr. Jeff Austin and his Skyline Writing Center (in-person) and also Skyline's Online Writing Lab (OWL) -- amazing resources for students and the development of the essential writing skills of the Common Core.
How to Write Proper and Useful Cornell Notes.

Common Core Documents and Sample Lessons for Teachers:

Reading (and Writing) Like a Historian (Documents for U.S. History and Documents for World History) and "Beyond the Bubble" Assessments from Stanford University.
Writing Prompts from Reading Like a Historian for sourcing, contextualization, close reading, and corroboration.
Lesson Plans and Common Core Resources for Social Studies from AchieveTheCore.org
Resources from The Collins Writing Program --> Five Types of Writing with Students.
--> Source-Based Evidence bookmark (with "textual evidence sentences starters") for use with students.
Common Core sample lessons for social studies -- downloadable lesson plans and resources from Achieve the Core.
Common Core informational texts for social studies and sample performance tasks: see pages 90-92, 93-95, 122-129, 130-133, 164-171, 172-177.
Foundational and Milestone Documents in U.S. History and U.S. Government: | OurDocuments.gov | The National Archives | TeachingAmericanHistory.org (by Era) | Bill of Rights Institute | American Memory from The Library of Congress |

The Evidence-Based Writing Program at Skyline High School
(also known as Source-Based Writing by the Common Core and Smarter Balanced)

Mission: To help all students develop the skills of the Common Core.

Fundamental Skills:
--> Building sentences
--> Building paragraphs
--> Building constructed responses using evidence
--> Building complete essays
--more tasks coming soon!

Writing Tasks (Performance Tasks) for Practice and Mastery:
(aligned to the Common Core Standards for Writing in all Social Studies courses)
--> Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) strategy
--> Inquiry-based research (IBR) strategy using primary sources
--> more performance tasks coming soon!

***** Professional Development for Teachers *****

Common Core Writing Prompts for Social Studies, Sample Lessons, Writing Tasks, and Writing Rubrics:
(presented at AAPS Professional Development Day on January 28, 2014)

* Writing Prompt (for World History): "Evaluate the terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I and their likelihood of establishing a lasting and just peace in Europe." --> link to EDSITEment lesson
| Evidence handout | Analysis Organizer | Quick Flowchart | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubrics: AP College Board 9-point or Smarter Balanced 4-point | Sample Grading Symbols (for writing revisions) | Measuring Student Growth of Common Core Writing Skills in Social Studies |

* Writing Prompt (for U.S. History): "Evaluate the debate among major historians over the necessity of President Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II." --> link to EDSITEment lesson
| Evidence handout | Analysis Organizer | Quick Flowchart | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubrics: AP College Board 9-point or Smarter Balanced 4-point | Sample Grading Symbols (for writing revisions) | Measuring Student Growth of Common Core Writing Skills in Social Studies |

Rubrics for Evidence-Based Writing and Common Core Writing:

--> in addition to the specific grading rubrics for the six different text structures provided in the next section:
| General Rubric for Analytical Writing | Evidence-Based Writing Rubric | AP College Board FRQ Essay Rubric (9-point) | Modified FRQ Rubric (10-point) |
Smarter Balanced Writing Rubrics: | Argumentative Writing Rubric (4-point) | Informative-Explanatory Writing Rubric (4-point) | Brief Writing Rubrics (3-point and 2-point versions) |
Measuring Student Growth of Common Core Writing Skills -- can be used in all social studies courses.
Additional Rubrics: Common Core Persuasive Writing Rubric | Informative-Explanatory Writing Rubric | Argumentative Writing Rubric #1 | Argumentative Writing Rubric #2 | Argumentative Writing Rubric #3 | Argumentative Writing Rubric #4 | CER: Evidence-Based Response

Text Structures and Purposes -- for all Social Studies courses:

Analytical writing in all social studies courses can be divided into the following six different text structures and purposes:
--> adapted for social studies from Compose Yourself! by Amy Rukea Stempel.
--> all analytical writing in AP social studies courses requires students to "Analyze, Evaluate, or Assess" a topic.

* Cause-Effect: --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Analyzes the reasons or motives for events or trends and then explains their results or consequences.
Sample writing prompt (for U.S. History): How did decisions in the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) affect the likelihood of reducing sectional tensions in the U.S.?

* Compare-Contrast: --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Focuses on the specific similarities and differences between at least two objects or ideas, and then analyzes the relationship between them and explains both in detail.
Sample writing prompt (for U.S. History): Compare and contrast the approaches to woman suffrage of the NAWSA and the NWP.

* Concept-Definition (Descriptive): --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Provides a factually correct and complete analysis of a specific concept or term based on research or experience.
Sample writing prompt (for World History): Does Socrates fulfill the role of an ancient Greek hero?

* Goal-Action-Outcome (Process or Procedural): --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Informs the reader how to specifically do something or analyzes how something is done.
Sample writing prompts: (for Psychology) Develop a plan for assessing the processing speed of your prefrontal cortex; (for Sociology) Develop a plan to reduce bullying in your high school.

* Problem-Solution: --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Evaluates a complex real-world problem (or historical problem) and recommends actions that could be taken to remedy the problem.
Sample writing prompt (for U.S. Government or AP Government & Politics): How can healthcare costs be reduced in the U.S.?

* Proposition-Support (Argumentative or Persuasive): --> Analysis Organizer | Essay Template | Sample Grading Rubric
Uses valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence to support a specific assertion (an argument, claim, or thesis) on a topic is true.
Sample writing prompt (for AP Macroeconomics): Should the Federal Reserve continue the use of quantitative easing?

FAQs about the Common Core for Social Studies:

* Are social studies teachers now writing teachers?
- Yes. We always have been. Writing is thinking made visible. Social studies teachers have always taught analytical (critical) thinking, so we can also teach analytical writing (this differs from ELA teachers that also teach narrative and creative writing).
* As a social studies teacher, what elements of writing (skills) am I primarily responsible for helping students develop?
- Thesis statements: that directly address topic and use higher-order thinking.
- Structure and organization: evidence-based writing should be structured, clear, and concise.
- Specific evidence and subject-specific vocabulary: using facts and integrating relevant, credible, and sufficient evidence from primary and secondary sources.
- Transition words and phrases: that clearly connect evidence to arguments or claims.
* What elements of writing (skills) are social studies teachers not primarily responsible for? (these are emphasized primarily in ELA courses)
- Grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling: except for social studies subject-specific vocabulary.
- Style: Good analytical writing excludes style, although the ability to write clearly with style can be taught across all subject areas/disciplines.
- Narrative and creative writing: are part of ELA courses, not social studies courses.

Essential Books on Analytical Writing:

* Compose Yourself!: A guide to critical thinking & analytical writing in secondary school -- by Amy Rukea Stempel.
* Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions
* A Handbook for Analytical Writing: Keys to strategic thinking -- by William E. Winner.
* Writing Analytically with Readings -- by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen (What is analytical writing? -- visual summary).
* Teaching Argument Writing -- by George Hillocks, Jr.
* The Elements of Style -- by Strunk and White.
* The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing -- the importance of using the active voice (rather than the passive voice) in social studies writing.
* The Writer's Handbook from Mr. Jeff Austin and his Skyline Writing Center (in-person) and also Skyline's Online Writing Lab (OWL) -- amazing resources for students and the development of the essential writing skills of the Common Core.


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