Rubric: Compare & Contrast Essays

Requirements for the Essay and Point Values for Each:
1. Has acceptable thesis
1 point
The thesis must address at least 2 similarities and 1 difference OR 1 difference and 2 similarities.
The thesis must be accurate for the time periods.
The thesis may be in multiple sentences in the first (introductory) paragraph/last (conclusion) paragraph.
“There were many similarities and differences…” is unacceptable for the thesis.
The thesis cannot count for any other point.
2. Addresses all parts of the question, though not necessarily evenly or thoroughly
Both similarities and differences are addressed in the body paragraphs.
2 points
b. Either a similiarity or a difference is addressed in the body paragraphs.
(1 point)
3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate historical evidence
a. Provides at least 6 examples of specific evidence that supports the thesis
with at least 2 examples from each civilization/region.
2 points
b. Provides at least 4 examples of specific evidence that supports the thesis
with at least 1 example from each civilization/region.
(1 point)
4. Makes at least one direct comparison between or among societies
1 point
a. Makes at least 1 direct, relevant, and factually correct comparison between the
b. Use comparison words: “also, like, both, however, unlike, while…”
5. Analyzes at least one reason for a similarity or difference identified
in a direct comparison
1 point
a. Explain substantial reason(s) for a similarity and/or difference
b. Use words or phrases that demonstrate analysis: “because, led to, caused by,
due to, impacted, affected, came from, in order to”
EXPANDED CORE (Excellence)
7 Points
0 to 2 points (at teacher’s discretion)
Expands beyond basic core of 1-7 points. A student must earn 7 points in the basic core area before earning points in the
expanded core area. 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
9 Points
*Write in past-tense only & never write in first-person (no “I”, “me”, “we”, “you”)!
*The introductory paragraph should ONLY include your thesis!
*All statements of comparison/contrast must be focused.
Ex: Rather than saying, “The Classical Chinese and Indian social hierarchies differed”, state the specific difference
that exists between the social hierarchies. This is much better:
“The Classical Chinese and Indian social hierarchies differed in that merchants were given much greater respect in
India than in China were they were ranked near the bottom of the Confucian hierarchy.”
*Each body paragraph should be spent analyzing a major topic that you pointed out in the thesis:
Ex: 1st body paragraph = Comparing and contrasting social structures in both China and India
2nd body paragraph = Comparing and contrasting political structures in both China and India
*Cue words/phrases that express comparisons/contrasts should be used!
Ex: like, similar to, also, unlike, in the same way, likewise, compared to, in contrast, on the contrary, however,
although, even though, but, still, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one
hand...on the other hand…
*The first sentence of each body paragraph should reflect the main idea of that paragraph. It should be one
of your direct comparisons (which could be a statement of similarity or difference) that you first identified in
the thesis.
Ex: Topic sentence of 1st body paragraph = “Classical China and India shared the similarity that their societies both
used systems for forced labor.”
*In the body paragraphs, identify and discuss in depth only one similarity or difference at a time.
*After stating each direct comparison, you should try to give an analysis of that direct comparison. Explain
why that specific similarity or difference exists. The analysis MUST be well-reasoned and insightful and NOT
a superficial explanation.
Analysis of the direct comparison should look something like this…
Ex: “Neither Classical China or China depended on slaves for labor because in each civilization’s social hierarchies,
there were groups of “free” people who had the duties that slaves would otherwise perform. Therefore, there was
little need for slave ownership in these societies. In China, peasants were conscripted and in India, the lowest castes
performed slave-like labor.”
*The conclusion paragraph should ONLY include your thesis! Your conclusion thesis should have any errors
corrected that you may have made in your introductory paragraph (aka a “re-worked” thesis)!
*You do not need to define key concepts (ex. “patriarchy” or “centralization”)
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