Writing the Synthesis Essay
AP Language Synthesis Research Assignment (Sandy Jameson) -- Complete packet for students to develop their own synthesis essay prompts and sources as a group project and includes suggested topics. Then, individually develop an annotated bibliography and write a sample response. Finishes off with a reflection on the research process.
Synthesis Essay Packet for Researched Argument (Margaret Lee) -- Assignment focuses on developing the prompt and preparing seven one-page sources.
Synthesis Package Assignment -- My version of above assignments, adapted for pre-AP English sophomores.
Synthesis Prompt Template (Eileen Bach) -- Already formatted like the College Board prompt in Word format.
Synthesis Prompt Template (Rolf Gunnar) -- Already formatted like the College Board prompt in Word format.
DBQ Template -- form for analyzing sources.
Rubrics & Scoring Guides
Generic Synthesis Essay Rubric -- standard AP descriptors for 0 - 9 scale.
Synthesis Essay Scoring Guide -- 0 to 9 with related 100 possible point values. My favorite.
Synthesis and Citation Rubric -- 0 to 9 with related letter grades.
Synthesis Essay Rubric -- content and style, four levels
Synthesis Essay Rubric -- 25 points possible, four levels
Prepared Essay Packets (32)*
Generous teachers and their students have shared synthesis prompts they have developed. Quality and difficulty of the packets varies, but all follow the College Board format. When known, teachers are named on the materials. A special thanks to Jodi Rice and Eileen Bach for collecting and sharing many of these.
*Eight packets have been removed from this website at the request of the unattributed original developers, the Los Altos High School English Department (Animals in Captivity, Celebrity Role Models, Food We Eat, Freedom of Speech, Gun Control, NCAA athletes, Teens and Technology, and Youth Violence and the Prison System).
DBQs: Data-Based Question
The Data-Based Question is a mainstay of Advanced Placement social studies courses and close kin to the Synthesis Essay.
Prompts, Scoring Guides, Student Sample Essays, and Commentaries are available on the College Board Exam Sites for each Advanced Placement social studies area.
DBQ Scoring Guides are particularly helpful, since they specifically list evidence available to support the prompt -- from source details and expected prior student knowledge.
DBQ & Synthesis Matrix -- compares both formats.
Writing the DBQ handouts from several teachers. Similar but different enough to make each worth viewing.
The Synthesis Prompt by Rolf Gunnar -- includes advice, six prompts, tips, and a rubric. Great site overall.
Copy/Paste by Peter Pappas -- Amazing free resources including more than a dozen DBQs available on iTunes. Also offers a booklet on how to publish an iBook on iTunes yourself. A real Wow!
New York Times “Room for Debate” -- The Times invites four or five knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues. Promotes debate through writer selection. Excellent source for opposing opinions on current events, whether you or your students are the ones designing the prompt packet. I would suggest that only two of your sources could come from this reference.
Revolution of 1989 in Germany cleverly sets up an online DBQ, rubric and all.
College Board Special Focus Materials: Using Sources
Articles from the College Board website --
PowerPoints & Prezis
Writing the AP Synthesis Essay -- Prezi by Debra Kendall.
Visual, Persuasive, and Rhetorical Analysis -- Prezi by Ingrid Rodriguez.
An In-Depth Look at the Synthesis Essay Question -- PowerPoint by Randi Lundgren.
Sample Synthesis Essay Question -- Television draft prompt from 2007 annotated.
OK, so I am a Matthew Singleton fan. Someone else talking...and talking well.
Other videographers --
“Introduction to the Synthesis Essay” from Educator.com.
“The Synthesis Essay” by Ms. Boeckle.