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Civil War Field Test: Evaluating Secession


Context -- After reading excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Ordinances of Secession of South Carolina, students wrote an answer to this question: “Based on the evidence, did the South have the right to secede?”  There are two alternative forms teachers may use with students: the first states two prompts for paragraph writing, and the second states the prompts and provides a paragraph structure with sentence starters to assist struggling writers.

Analysis -- The History Blueprint team appreciated the fact that the assessment forced students to cite evidence from the primary sources, but they noted that students had difficulty dealing logically with contradictory evidence.  They thought that students also needed more support in how to paraphrase quotations from the sources they cited.   To provide a clearer logical structure and assistance in paraphrasing, we determined to revise the paragraph frame for CW2.7.

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