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APUSH Historical Thinking Skills Question Stems

(Short Answer)
Background
01. The key components of SAQs:
a. employs historical thinking skills (HTS).
b. organizes information around key concepts (KC).
c. uses thematic learning objectives (LO) across periods.
02. SAQs enable students to show their knowledge base and their thought
process behind responding to source material.
03. Create SAQs that focus on the historical thinking skills. Remember that
students write brief responses (no thesis statement!) in complete sentences
with supporting evidence to the prompt.
04. Scoring SAQs is based on a three-point scale.

Skill Type: Chronological Reasoning


Causation Stems
01. a) Explain one specific cause of X (e.g. event, phenomenon).
b) Explain another specific cause of X.
c) Explain one specific result of X.
.
02. a) Explain one specific cause of Y.
b) Explain one specific result of Y.
c) Explain another specific result of Y.
03. a) Explain one specific cause of X (e.g. event, phenomenon).
b) Explain one specific cause of Y (e.g. event, phenomenon).
c) Account for a similarity or difference between (a) and (b).
04. a) Explain one specific cause of X as depicted in the [visual].
b) Explain one specific effect that resulted in X as depicted in the [visual].
c) Explain another specific effect that resulted in X as depicted in the
[visual].
05. a) Explain one specific cause of X.
b) Explain one specific short-term effect of X within [time period].
c) Explain one specific long-term effect of X within [time period].

06. a) Explain why change took place from X to Y (e.g. time periods-also
comparison or change over time).
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which explains the existence of X.
c) Explain one specific piece of evidence which explains the existence of Y.
07. a) Explain why one of the following was the most significant [cause/factor]
in [a phenomenon] during [time period]. -ora. A
b. B
c. C
a) Explain how X shaped Y between two of the following [groups]:
a. A
b. B
c. C
b) Provide one example of an event or development that supports your
explanation in (a) for the groups chosen.
c) Provide evidence for why one of the other options is less convincing than
your choice in (a). -orc) Provide another example of an event or development that supports
your explanation in a) for the groups chosen.

Continuity And Change Over Time Stems


01. a) Explain [an author]s position regarding [period] X.
b) Explain [the same author]s position regarding X.
c) Explain one important reason for [the same author]s change in [his/her]
position.
02. a) Explain one specific continuity from [period] X to [period] Y.
b) Explain one specific change from X to Y.
c) Make an argument that there was more continuity or change from X to Y.
03. a) Explain a specific event which led to the continuity of [period[ X to
[period] Y.
b) Explain another specific event which led to the continuity of X to Y.
c) Explain a specific event which led to a change of X from to Y.
04. a) Explain one example of X brought changes to Y in [period].
b) Explain another example of X brought changes to Y in the same period.
c) Explain one example of how Y resisted change brought on by X in the
same period.
05. a) Explain one example of X continuing in Y in [period].
b) Explain another example of X continuing in Y in the same period.
c) Explain one example of how Y tried to change as a result of X in the
same period.

06. (Statement about historical trend or development X)


a) Explain one important political or social response to X in the period _____
to _____.
b) Explain one important political or social response to X in the period _____
to _____ [later time period than a].
c) Explain one important reason for the change or continuity in response from
(a) to (b).

Periodization Stems
01. a) Explain one specific piece of evidence which illustrates X (e.g. a historical
period, event, development).
b) Explain another specific piece of evidence which illustrates X.
c) Explain one specific piece of evidence which contradicts a) or b).
02. a) Select one of the following [time period/development within a time
period] and argue why it best illustrates the beginning of X (e.g. a
time period or event).
a. A
b. B
c. C
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which illustrates your choice in (a).
c) Make an argument why one of the other options is not as persuasive as
the one you chose.
03. a) Select one of the following [time period/development within a time period]
and argue why it best represents a turning point in American history.
a. A
b. B
c. C
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which illustrates your choice in (a).
c) Make an argument why one of the other options is not as persuasive as
the one you chose.
04. a) Explain why one of the following periods best represents X (e.g. a
historical period or event). Provide one piece of evidence from the
period to support your explanation.
a. A
b. B
c. C
b) Explain why one of the other options is not as persuasive as the one
you chose.

Skill Type: Comparison And Contextualization


Comparison Stems
01. a) Explain one specific similarity between X and Y (e.g. two different
historical periods).
b) Explain another specific similarity between X and Y.
c) Explain one specific difference between X and Y.

02. a) Explain one specific [similarity/difference] of X [phenomenon] between Y


and Z (e.g. historical period, group, phenomenon).
b) Explain another specific [similarity /difference] of X [phenomenon]
between Y and Z.
c) Explain what accounts for that [similarity/difference] in a) or b).
03. a) Explain one specific characteristic of X (e.g. time period, group,
phenomenon).
b) Explain one specific contradictory characteristic of X.
c) Explain what accounts for that difference between (a) and (b) within X.
04. a) Explain one specific similarity between X and Y (e.g. two different
periods, groups, phenomenon).
b) Explain one specific difference between X and Y.
c) Explain for the difference or similarity between (a) and (b).
05. a) Explain one specific [similarity/difference] between X and Y (e.g. two
different periods, groups, phenomenon] in two of the following areas:
a. A
b. B
c. C
b) Explain what accounts for that [similarity/difference] for one of your
choices in a).
06. a) Explain one specific [similarity/difference] between two of the following
groups regarding X (phenomenon].
b) Explain another specific difference between the same groups you chose.
c) Explain what accounts for that difference in a) or b).
07. (Statement about historical trend or development X in two time periods)
a) Explain one important similarity in the reasons why X emerged in these
two time periods.
b) Explain one important similarity in the effects of X in these two time
periods.
c) Explain one critical response to X in either period.

Contextualization Stems
01. a) Explain the point of view of the [author/artist].
b) Explain one specific [event, development, phenomenon] which supports
(a).
c) Explain one specific [event, development, phenomenon] which contradicts
(a).
02. a) Explain the point of view of the [author/artist].
b) Explain one specific [event, development, phenomenon] that led the
[author/artist] to express this point of view.
c) Explain one specific [event, development, phenomenon] that would
counter the authors point of view.

03. a) Explain the point of view of the [author/artist] for two of the following:
Option 1
Option 2
Option 3
b) Explain one [development, pattern, trend] that [supports/refutes] the
authors point of view for one of your choices.
04. a) Explain the [development, pattern, trend] found in the [excerpt/visual].
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which reacted to the trend in the
[excerpt/visual].
c) Explain one specific piece of evidence which resulted from the trend in
[excerpt/visual].

Skill Type: Crafting Historical Arguments From Historical Evidence


Use Of Evidence Stems
01. a) Explain the differences between the two authors (e.g. two pieces of
historical argument).
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which supports the first author.
c) Explain one specific piece of evidence which supports the second author.
02. a) Explain one specific piece of evidence which contradicts the first author.
b) Explain one specific piece of evidence which contradicts the second
author.
c) Provide evidence to explain that difference between the two authors.
03. (Excerpt/visual]
a) Explain the point of view expressed by the author about one of the
following:
Option 1
Option 2
Option 3
b) Explain one development in the period from _____ to _____ that led to the
point of view expressed by the author.
c) Explain one development in the period from _____ to _____ [usually later
time period] that [supported/challenged] the point of view expressed by
the author.

Interpretation Stem
01. (Two selected excerpts/visuals that offer contrasting viewpoints)
a) Explain one major difference between Xs and Ys interpretation of [topic/
subject/issue addressed in excerpt].
b) Explain how one development from the period _____ to _____ not explicitly
mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support [Xs argument/
the point of view by X].
c) Explain how one development from the period _____ to _____ [same time
period] not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support
[Ys argument/the point of view by Y].