DBQ Essentials

DBQ Essentials
Part 1
This identifies the questions and issues relating to each of these three themes that should be addressed in your
course. The Course Description also
• specifies the goals of the course and offers a brief summary of the essential information pertaining
to the AP European History Exam;
• describes the content of the exam and how it is scored;
• details where to find further information about the AP Program;
• provides sample multiple-choice questions, free-response questions, and a document-based question
(DBQ) from a recent exam; and
• explains the core-scoring guide criteria for the DBQ so that you can effectively prepare your
students for this part of the exam.
The Course Description and the AP Exam ensure that you do not have to guess about what to include in
your course (although you will have to choose!) or what criteria will be used to evaluate your students. Both
the course and exam are organized around major themes, or topics, in European history. The Development
Committee periodically revisits these themes and updates them to reflect changes in the way college-level
courses are taught. You should always refer to the list that appears in the most current Course Description
but should not feel bound to teaching only what is on this list. As stated on page 4 of the 2006, 2007 Course
Description, the following “do not have to be treated explicitly as topics or covered inclusively, nor should
they preclude development of other themes.” The list of the themes from the Course Description follows.
1. Intellectual and Cultural History
Changes in religious thought and institutions
Secularization of learning and culture
Scientific and technological developments and their consequences
Major trends in literature and the arts
Intellectual and cultural developments and their relationship to social values and political events
Developments in social, economic, and political thought, including ideologies characterized as
“isms,” such as socialism, liberalism, nationalism
Developments in literacy, education, and communication
The diffusion of new intellectual concepts among different social groups
Changes in elite and popular culture, such as the development of new attitudes toward religion, the
family, work, and ritual
Impact of global expansion on European culture
2. Political and Diplomatic History
The rise and functioning of the modern state in its various forms
Relations between Europe and other parts of the world: colonialism, imperialism, decolonization,
and global interdependence
About AP European History
The evolution of political elites and the development of political parties, ideologies, and other
forms of mass politics
The extension and limitation of rights and liberties (personal, civic, economic, and political);
majority and minority political persecutions
The growth and changing forms of nationalism
Forms of political protest, reform, and revolution
Relationship between domestic and foreign policies
Efforts to restrain conflict: treaties, balance-of-power diplomacy, and international organizations
War and civil conflict: origins, developments, technology, and their consequences
3. Social and Economic History
The character of and changes in agricultural production and organization
The role of urbanization in transforming cultural values and social relationships
The shift in social structures from hierarchical orders to modern social classes: the changing
distribution of wealth and poverty
The influence of sanitation and health care practices on society; food supply, diet, famine, disease,
and their impact
The development of commercial practices, patterns of mass production and consumption, and
their economic and social impact
Changing definitions of and attitudes toward social groups, classes, races, and ethnicities within
and outside Europe
The origins, development, and consequences of industrialization
Changes in the demographic structure and reproductive patterns of Europeans: causes and
Gender roles and their influence on work, social structure, family structure, and interest group
The growth of competition and interdependence in national and world markets
Private and state roles in economic activity
Scoring a DBQ
The European History Development Committee strongly urges
teachers to ensure that students are familiar with and capable of
meeting the following requirements: This is what you have to do to
get 6 points of 9 points on the DBQ. If you do not get these six, you
can not get a 7,8, or 9.
• Providing an appropriate, explicitly stated thesis that directly
addresses all parts of the question and does NOT simply restate the
• Discussing a majority of the documents individually and
• Demonstrating understanding of the basic meaning of a majority of
the documents
• Supporting the thesis with appropriate interpretations of a majority
of the documents
• Analyzing point of view or bias in at least three documents
• Analyzing the documents by explicitly grouping them in at least
three appropriate ways
(Note to AP teachers: The changes for the 2006-7 exams are shown in red. This page
was updated June 20, 2005.)
Student may earn up to 6 points for mastery of these items.
Provides an appropriate,
explicitly stated, thesis that
directly addresses all parts of the
Thesis may not simply restate the
Discusses a majority of the
documents individually and
Demonstrates understanding of
the basic meaning of a majority of
the documents (may misinterpret
no more than one).
Supports the thesis with
appropriate interpretations of a
majority of the documents.
Analyzes point of view or bias in
at least three documents.
Analyzes documents by explicitly
organizing them in at least three
appropriate groups.
The student will earn one point for successfully completing each of
the above tasks. The student must earn all six points in order to
advance to the Expanded Core. Failure to earn a total of 6 points in
the Basic Core with leave student with a score reflective of the
number of tasks which were successfully accomplished.
Expanded Core
Must earn 6 points in the basic core before
earning points in the expanded core. A
student earns points to the degree to which
he or she does some or all of the following.
has a clear, analytical and
comprehensive thesis
uses all or almost all documents
addresses all parts of the question
uses documents persuasively as
Student may earn 1, 2 or 3
points for successfully
demonstrating any, all or
shows understanding of nuances in the
some of the following points. documents
analyzes bias or point of view in at
least four documents cited in the essay
analyzes the documents in additional
ways-- additonal groupings or other.
brings in relevant "outside" historical
Points earned in the expanded core, coupled with those earned in the basic score will equal
the total score of the student. Note: a student may earn six points in the basic core and does
not necessarily have to earn any additional points in the expanded care. This said, a six may
stay a 6.