APW Comparison Essay

Report
APW Comparison
Essay
Comparative essay rubric
Comparative Essay for AP World History
Name:
per
Question:
Basic Core – competence
pts
1. Has acceptable thesis
1
(addresses comparison of the
issues or themes specified)
2. Addresses all parts of the question,
2
though not necessarily evenly or
thoroughly.
[Addresses most parts of the question,
(1)
(For example, deals with differences but
Not similarities.)]
3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate
2
historical evidence.
[Partially substantiates thesis with
(1)
appropriate historical evidence.]
4. Makes at least one or two relevant,
1
direct comparisons between or among
societies.
5. Analyzes at least one reason for a
1
similarity or difference identified in a
direct comparison.
Subtotal
7 pts
Possible total: 9
Expanded Core
pts
Expands beyond basic core of 1-7 points. The
basic core of 7 must be achieved before a
student can earn expanded core points.
0-2
Examples:

has a clear, analytical, and
comprehensive thesis

Addresses all parts of the question (as
relevant): comparisons, chronology,
causation, connections, themes,
interactions, content.

Provides ample historical evidence to
substantiate thesis.

Relates comparisons to larger global
context

Makes several direct comparisons
consistently between or among societies.

Consistently analyzes the causes and
effects of relevant similarities and
differences.
Subtotal
2 pts
Student Score:
Suggestions for improvement:
CORE SCORING
• Identifies basic competency
• Items 2 & 3 can earn 1 OR 2 points
• Must get credit for ALL core scoring
points (7 total) to qualify for
additional pts.
Rubric
• Comparison means to
say what is the same
and what is different.
• This says at LEAST one,
you need THREE.
– Rule of 3!
• Analyze means to say
why.
– Why is there a
difference or similarity?
1. Has acceptable thesis (1pt)
(addresses comparison of the issues or
themes specified)
•
•
•
•
Can be more that one sentence
Can include some analysis
Should address time period
Should address similarities AND
differences
EXAMPLE QUESTION AND THESIS
Compare and contrast the Han Empire during 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. with the
Spanish empire of the sixteenth century.
• The specific argument here would include at least one comparison and one
contrast and reference to both the empires and the time frames.
• Many students may write:
– “There were many similarities and differences between the Han Empire during
206 B.C.E an-22 B.C.E. and the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century.”
– Unfortunately, this is not good enough for the AP World exam. It is too
general and more or less repeats the prompt.
• With a simple addition and a bit of tweaking, you can make this thesis
work:
– “There were many similarities and differences between the Han Empire during
206 B.C.E.- 220 B.C.E. and the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century. One was
land-based and the other sea-based yet they both grew rich from conquest of
territory outside their boundaries.”
• You can make two sentences instead of one from the second sentence:
– “There were many similarities and differences between the Han Empire during
206 B.C.E-220 B.C.E and the Spanish empire of the sixteenth century. One was
land-based and the other sea-based. They both grew rich from conquest of
territory outside their boundaries.”
2. Addresses all parts of the question,
though not necessarily evenly or thoroughly.
(1 or 2 pts)
• Answer the question, not something
else
• Address similarities and differences
• Create logical analytical organization –
usually by categories, not the societies
being compared
3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate
historical evidence. (1 - 2 pts)
• Historical evidence refers to specific
facts; “pieces of evidence”
• Do not include your opinion or
value judgments
4. Makes at least one or two relevant,
direct comparisons between or
among societies (1pt)
• Must link directly
• Must be comparisons that make sense!
• Eg: While Egyptians made
preparations for an afterlife,
Mesopotamians tended to not
consider an afterlife important or
desirable.
5. Analyzes at least one reason for a
similarity or difference identified in a
direct comparison
• Analysis – why
• The regularity of the flooding of the Nile
created a positive attitude towards the
gods among the Egyptians. On the
other hand, because Mesopotamia’s
rivers flooded violently and
unpredictably, the people considered
the gods to be capricious. 
• Consequently, while the Egyptians
considered eternity with the gods
desirable, the Mesopotamians
hoped there wasn’t an eternity.
• Thesis practice:
–Look at your introduction and
conclusion
–Does the essay contain a
complete thesis?
• Other core pts.
–Does your essay fulfill these
minimal requirements
How do I organize my
COMP essays?
Example
• This can work, but
not always.
• Why would this not
always work?
WHAT THE COLLEGE BOARD SAYS:
Students are more likely to initially feel
comfortable listing similarities and differences, so this
structure might be less intimidating than the Categorical
Split.
Good analysis though is more likely to come if/when
students proceed to the next level of categorization
(political, economic, social, etc).
Example
• This requires a lot of prewriting.
• Do not use the broad social,
economic or political categories;
Narrow the categories to themes
and concepts.
• Why would you want to narrow
them?
WHAT THE COLLEGE BOARD SAYS:
Effective pre-writing is vitally important. The
Categorical Split structure requires students to spend considerabl
time planning their thesis and organization. Because the thesis
contains categories, it is usually more sophisticated and often
automatically
helps structure later paragraphs. It may
even be good enough for “extra credit” (Expanded Core). Studen
are more likely to include analysis and numerous direct
comparisons. In short, there’s nothing like a strong thesis to help
everything else.
Common Problems
• Describing the two things or events
separately (with a lot of evidence) but
never comparing and/or contrasting.
– You will not earn any points for describing.
• Confusing dates, people, and places
• Running out of time and not finishing
Things Not To Do
• Don’t use I, refer to the reader, or ask questions at any
time in the essay
• Don’t just put the direct comparison or analysis words in
the paragraphs to “get credit”—the information you
write has to all make sense!
• Do not use vague statements for evidence; it must be
facts
– Economically the trade with Europe continued to grow.
(how?)
– The czars became more powerful and expanded Russia
(how?)
– The nobles were pressured to adapt to western customs
(which ones?)
A “Question”
Analyze the similarities and
differences in human lifestyles in
the Paleolithic & Neolithic Eras.
[write a complete thesis as a group]

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