Primary sources can be useful tools for evaluating student mastery of skills and concepts. Use primary sources to assess what students have learned and to evaluate their skill in analyzing primary sources. For evaluation activities, select either sources from the historical era under study or choose contemporary sources related to the historical topic. Actual assessment tasks might include having students:

  • Write an essay about a primary source document. Explain how the source supports or challenges a commonly accepted conclusion about a time in history.
  • Based on analysis of several primary sources, prepare an oral presentation taking a stand on an issue in history.
  • Select primary source documents to create a museum display about an historical topic. Write captions for the items and justify the documents that were selected.
  • Write a response to a primary source (speech, news article, sermon), taking the position of someone who lived at the time the source was created.
  • Prepare a visual display (poster, magazine cover, illustrated timeline) that highlights the most important points to be gained from the primary sources under study.

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