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The DBQ (document-based question) is an essay format on certain AP tests. The student is given a number of documents that range from charts and maps to newspaper articles to propaganda. Students are given 15 minutes to read over the documents and organize their thoughts, then 45 minutes are given to actually write the essay.

Emphasized on the DBQs is Point of View, or bias. POV is used to show that the student can correctly analyze the validity of direct or indirect sources.

Scoring is done on a 9 point scale. All data that follows applies only to the AP European History DBQ. The first 6 are required before the last three can be earned. The criteria are worth one point each as follows:

    Basic Core

    • Acceptable thesis
    • Uses majority of documents
    • Thesis is supported by documentary evidence
    • Misinterpretation of no more than one document
    • Analyzes POV correctly in 2-3 documents
    • Groups documents in 2 or 3 appropriate categories

    Expanded Core points (up to 3) are awarded after all Basic Core points are earned. Number of Expanded Core points given is based upon having any of the following:

    • A clear and comprehensive thesis
    • Nearly all documents used
    • Uses documentary evidence persuasively
    • Showing detailed analysis of documents
    • Showing POV in at least four documents
    • May group documents in more ways
    • Uses outside history not found in documents

Full information at http://www.collegeboard.org/ap/students/eurohistory/core_score001.html

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