Revised Generic Scoring Rubric for Document-Based Questions (DBQs)
on the Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Social Studies Test
For Use Beginning in June 2005


 

The generic DBQ scoring rubric for the Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Social Studies test has been revised. This revised rubric will first be used with the June 2005 Grade 8 Intermediate Level Social Studies Test. This revised rubric provides the general criteria for scoring the DBQ essay question and forms the basis for the content-specific scoring rubric and scoring commentaries that are part of the rating guide for each examination. The revised rubric can be found in Appendix A.

 
Implementation Schedule for the Revised Regents and Grade 8 Social Studies Generic Rubrics
Exam Administration Dates
Global History and Geography Regents Examinations
United States History and Government Regents Examinations
Grade 8
Social Studies Tests
January 2004
Original Generic Rubric
Original Generic Rubric
n/a
June 2004
Revised Generic Rubric
Original Generic Rubric
Original Generic Rubric
August 2004
Revised Generic Rubric
Original Generic Rubric
n/a
January 2005
Revised Generic Rubric
Revised Generic Rubric
n/a
June 2005 and thereafter
Revised Generic Rubric
Revised Generic Rubric
Revised Generic Rubric

The revisions to the generic rubric are drawn from comments and suggestions from social studies teachers and supervisors, and from Education Department staff reviews of the scoring criteria provided with past Regents-level and Intermediate-level examinations. The revisions for the Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Social Studies Test rubric were guided by six primary goals.

  1. To reduce or eliminate overlap among the different scoring criteria (bullets) within the rubric;
  2. To formally adopt minor changes previously made to specific rubrics that clarified scoring criteria within and between individual score points;
  3. To clarify the issue of using information copied directly from documents in the DBQ essay;
  4. To revise the score points of 1 and 0;
  5. To revise the score point of 3 to require at least "some" outside information as one of the criteria;
  6. To slightly modify the scoring criteria for a score of 5.


While most revisions only clarify existing scoring criteria, a few changes do modify the conditions under which different score points are evaluated. Appendix B provides a side-by-side comparison between the original social studies generic DBQ rubric first released in 2000 and the revised version now being released for the grade 8 test.

 

Primary Scoring Criteria for the Grade 8 Generic DBQ Rubric


Each bullet (scoring criteria) in the generic scoring rubric was designed to measure a particular aspect of writing in the social studies content area. The social studies DBQ essays are scored based on six primary criteria:

 

Explanation of Changes in the Revised DBQ Generic Rubric


Goal #1: To reduce or eliminate overlap among the different scoring criteria (bullets) within the rubric
The original DBQ generic rubric had a few scoring criteria that overlapped. For example, the last two bullets of the generic rubric that addressed the organization of the essay and the introduction and/or conclusion overlapped. In practice, these two criteria are related. Introductions and conclusions are evidence of an organizational strategy. In the revised generic rubric, these two criteria are now combined under one bullet.

Goal #2: To formally adopt minor changes previously made to specific rubrics that clarified scoring criteria within and between individual score points
Since the administration of the first standards-based performance assessments in June 2000, minor wording changes have been made to specific rubrics to improve the clarity of the scoring criteria. The scoring criteria that measure the student's ability to use higher level thinking skills (Bullet 2) is now reworded to focus on the degree to which students make historical connections using analytical statements rather than simpler, and often more general, descriptive statements. The parenthetic information provided in Bullet 2 refers to the cognitive process dimension as described in A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Lorin W. Anderson, David R. Krathwohl, eds., with Peter W. Airasian, et al., eds., by Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2001. In a level 5 response, analytical statements show a student's ability to analyze, evaluate, and/or create relevant historical information within the essay. The rewording of Bullet 2 clarifies this criterion.

Goal #3: To clarify the issue of using information copied directly from documents in the DBQ essay
While limited copying, using appropriate citation, to support positions or emphasize a particular point is encouraged as a legitimate social studies writing skill, extensive or indiscriminate copying directly from the documents is not appropriate. The revised DBQ generic rubric adds one phrase to the scoring criteria of a score of 2 and one phrase to a score of 1 that help clarify the issue of a student copying directly from the documents in a response. The phrases "the response consists primarily of relevant information copied from the documents" (at score point 2) and "the response consists primarily of relevant and irrelevant information copied from the documents" (at score point 1) make a distinction regarding both the extent of material copied and the selection of material copied.

Goal #4: To revise the score points of 1 and 0
The original criteria for a score of 1 (Bullet 3) allowed for "little or no accurate or relevant facts, examples or details." This option could allow a paper to be scored a 1 despite the fact that it contained no accurate facts, examples, or details. In practice, a paper without any relevant facts would more often be scored a zero. This issue has been addressed in two ways. The revised rubric now calls for a "few relevant facts, examples and/or details" as one criterion for a score of 1 and having "no relevant facts, examples and details" has become a criterion for a zero paper. In addition, several other scoring criteria have been added to a score of zero. These additional DBQ criteria are listed below.


For a score of 1, the last two bullets in the original rubric have been combined and expanded slightly in this revision. Please note: Criteria listed for scores of 1 through 5 are intended to work together to define a particular score point, but the criteria for a score of zero do not. The criteria for a score of zero are intended to be distinct and as such, if only one of them is met, the paper may be scored 0. To illustrate this on the actual rubrics, bullets are not used for a score of zero.

Goal #5: To revise the score point of 3 on the DBQ essay to require at least "some" outside information as one of the scoring criteria
Under the original DBQ generic rubric, a level 3 paper could have "limited or no relevant outside information." But in the Department's reviews of thousands of level 3 papers, it has been noted that the vast majority of student responses receiving a score of 3 do include at least "a limited amount" of outside information. Comments from teachers also suggest that the requirement for some outside information is a realistic and appropriate expectation for a level 3 paper. Therefore, Bullet 4 for a score level of 3 now reads, "Incorporates limited relevant outside information," and the criteria for a score of 2 reads, "Presents little or no relevant outside information." This change does slightly elevate the level 3 criteria for scoring a DBQ essay paper. Under holistic scoring guidelines, this change still allows a reasonably well-written paper without outside information to receive a score of 3. On the other hand, this change does suggest it will be more likely that a paper will be scored at least a 3 on a DBQ essay if some relevant outside information is provided in the essay.

Goal #6: To improve the scoring criteria for a score of 5
While in a typical 5 paper you tend to see at least some analytical statements, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether or not there are more analytical statements than descriptive statements. By revising Bullet 2 for a score of 5 to mirror that specific criterion under a score of 4, you do ease the criteria for a score of 5. Now the student's use of some analytical statements can help elevate a response to level 5 when most of the other criteria for a score of 5 are also met.