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Lesson One

Lesson Two

Lesson Three

Lesson Four

Lesson Five


Lesson One: A Rationale for Document-Based Questions



Sample DBQ



The document-based question (DBQ) is featured on all four New York State social studies assessments: The Grade 5 Elementary-Level Social Studies Test, The Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Social Studies Test, the Regents Examination in Global History and Geography, and the Regents Examination in United States History and Government.


A DBQ essay often measures the ability of students to work with multiple perspectives by reading and interpreting documents on social studies issues. Students will:

Document-based questions:

Document-based questions may enable students to do the following:

The DBQ represents a “real world” or authentic assessment, in that students:

These skills are required when reading a newspaper or newsmagazine. It is an excellent assessment of skills essential to an informed citizenship.


DBQs measure attainment of the five social studies learning standards, their key ideas and performance indicators, as found in the New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies, and core content. They constitute sound social studies practice by:

Sample DBQ


The following "Sample DBQ" is based on the original Global History and Geography Regents Examination Test Sampler Draft (Spring 1999). This new "Sample DBQ" (created exclusively as an instructional resource for this tutorial) is a revision of the original "Test Sampler DBQ" and reflects the organization, structure, and scoring rubric of the current DBQ format that appears on New York State social studies assessments. This new "Sample DBQ" can be used in conjunction with the original "Test Sampler DBQ" to refine skills in essay construction for classroom-based assessments. Teachers can use both DBQs in a comparison exercise that answers the question, "How does the focus of a DBQ change when documents and questions are added and deleted?"


Sample DBQ


Changes made to the original "Test Sampler DBQ":


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