Scoring Guideline for APUSH Essays


The following guidelines will be employed in scoring all essays submitted for credit; whether written in Class or as take-home Assignments.



Sophisticated, well-developed thesis which specifically addresses the problem raised by the question and goes beyond the expectation of the question.

Strong, well-developed thesis which that addresses the question presented.

Valid Thesis Statement

Lacks a Thesis, or has one that is irrelevant to the question.










Abundant, accurate, specifics related to the thesis. Demonstrates well-reasoned analysis. Shows cause and effect, continuity and change, etc. If a DBQ, effectively uses a substantial number of documents together with substantial relevant outside information.

Good use of specific evidence in support of thesis. If a DBQ, uses some documents effectively with some outside information.

Some accurate, specific evidence which analyzes rather than describes events. If a DBQ, recites documents. Little or not outside information.

Superficial or descriptive data, limited in depth or quantity; limited understanding of Question, little support from documents or outside information.

Superficial, inappropriate, or erroneous information; quotes rather than analyzes documents in DBQ, analysis is either absent or fallacious.

Major factual error (outside time frame, etc.














Is clearly organized and well written; argument is logically developed.


Reasonably well organized, argument strays infrequently.


Disorganized; frequently strays.


Confusing; no chronological organization; no specific evidence used in thesis statement; new material introduced in conclusion. If a DBQ, documents cited in thesis statement..










Grammatical/Spelling Errors

Failure to use Past Tense or Third Person (per infraction.

Fragmented Sentences. (Per Infraction)

Improper Paragraph Separation, failure to separate paragraphs (per infraction) 

Trite or superfluous language, excess adverbage, use of dramatic effect rather than historical argument (per infraction)

Spelling Errors (per infraction)

Grammatical Errors (per infraction)

Unclear, confusing, or inappropriate choice of words.