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Knowledge and Skills Statement

Inquiry and research: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student engages in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes for a variety of purposes.

Discuss examples of sources, both primary and secondary, and provide explicit instruction on the importance of understanding the difference between the two. Assess student understanding with their responses to prompts regarding primary and secondary sources.

The prompts might include the following:

  • List three features of a primary source document and three features of a secondary source document.
  • Name two things that primary sources and secondary sources have in common.
  • Write one sentence about how you can use primary and secondary sources.

Further Explanation

This assessment requires students to apply their knowledge of what makes a source a primary or secondary source. Students should know that a primary source is a firsthand account or documentation of a particular event and a secondary source provides information about an event that may have occurred elsewhere or during a different time.

to demonstrate an awareness of the contrasting qualities and characteristics that distinguish one thing from another (e.g., primary vs. secondary source; paraphrasing vs. plagiarism)
Primary sources are firsthand accounts or documentation of a particular event (e.g., audio of an interview, photographs, or audio or transcripts of speeches). Secondary sources provide information about an event that may have occurred in a different place or time (e.g., documentaries, textbooks, magazine articles, or reference books). To distinguish between these two types of sources, students should ask themselves questions such as “Was the author of this document present when the event occurred?” or “Did this expert learn about the topic through research or experience?” For example, students studying the American Revolution might read a news article from that time period and know the interviews of citizens living in the battle zones are primary accounts.


1. Maniotes, L. K. (2019). Getting to great questions for inquiry and research. Teacher Librarian, 46(3), 17–20. Retrieved from

Summary: This article provides an overview on how to use guided inquiry as a means to increase students' capacity to comprehend a text. However, Guided Inquiry Design is often used as an inquiry process for research and ways to gain a deeper understanding and gain information. The article includes resources that provide additional support.

2. Composition Writing Studio. Argumentative essay/commentary. University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab. Retrieved from

Summary: This online resource offers a complete overview of the writing processes and the components involved in each. The overview includes definition of terms, examples, graphs and charts as appropriate, and additional resources.