Why The DBQ Project? Why Now?
As state and national assessments move towards evidence-based responses, teachers need appropriate models of curriculum and instruction now. We believe it is unfair to raise the bar on teachers and students without serious curricular support coupled with sustained professional development–it just won’t work without both in place.
We also believe there is a huge difference between “assigning” a DBQ and “teaching” a DBQ. If we raise the bar without shifting instruction, we will likely increase the learning gaps that persist in our schools. The DBQ Project method helps teachers achieve the ambitious goal of obtaining a proficient argument essay from all students, regardless of their skill level.
We are also seeing a renewed effort around civic engagement in our schools. The document-based question, taught well, is a wonderful starting point. An engaged citizen takes on controversial topics, does her own research, evaluates the validity of sources, and ultimately takes a stand, all the while engaging with others who may not agree with her position. Sounds like a DBQ to us!
Have a great school year!
Phil Roden and Chip Brady