Mastering Document Analysis | Sherpa Learning

Mastering Document Analysis

Mastering Document Analysis

An Adaptive Approach to Building Advanced Document Analysis Skills

Mastering Document Analysis by Tony Maccarella
Description and Overview: 

Document Analysis has become a central focus of the AP* history community. Recent revisions to the AP* history courses have shown an increased emphasis on students’ abilities to extract information from primary source documents—both in the multiple-choice section and the DBQ essay portion of the exam. Recent market research in the AP* U.S. History community has shown that teachers tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time teaching students the difficult skills needed to properly handle document analysis, thereby further limiting the time they have to cover the vast amount of content required for the course. Consequently, AP* teachers are seeking a Pre-AP foundation for this difficult set of skills.

Project Overview

Tony Maccarella has developed a very simple approach for document analysis: Summarize, Analyze, Criticize. Tony has introduced this approach to AP* and Pre-AP* teachers across the country through his workshops, including a very well-attended session at the AP* National Conference. Tony’s presentation was received with resounding approval, leaving those in attendance with one question: How to get this strategy into the hands of Pre-AP* and Honors history teachers.

  • At the heart of the program will be the primary instructional text where students are introduced to the 3-step approach. Each skill section includes a variety of activities and resources to enhance students' understanding of these tasks and to provide teachers with a multitude of options for customizing the experience to suit their class's individual needs.
  • Once students have established these skills, they will put them to use with the on-line practice packs, which dozens of exercises using primary and secondary source documents. Practice packs will be segmented into courses and topics (e.g., U.S. History, Ancient World History, Secondary Sources) so that teachers can choose the resources that they need.
  • In order to maintain equity amongst class-members, the practice packs will utilize an adaptive approach so that students are working at a difficulty level that is appropriate for each individual student, while still allowing each member of the class to encounter the same sources!

Get Involved

There are several ways you (and your students) can contribute to this project:

REVIEWERS: Take a look at the materials before they hit the market and let us know what you think. Plain and simple. If you like what you see, consider upgrading to one of the other roles.

CLASS-TESTERS: Essentially, we give you and your students free access to the materials, and in return, you provide us with feedback about the materials and your students' experiences. It's a win-win. You get free access to high-quality content; we get invaluable market feedback that we can use to shape the materials and refine the user experience.

SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS: Take class-testing to the next level. Tony and our team will work directly with your teachers to integrate the materials into your existing curriculum plan, or we can help you plan and organize a new curriculum plan with increased rigor and vertical articulation. We'll even develop customized exercises that are tailored to your needs.

Click the button below to learn more or to sign up now.

About the Author

Author Tony Maccarella

Tony Maccarella taught AP European History at Parsippany Hills High School in Parsippany, NJ for over a decade. Prior to teaching at Parsippany Hills, he taught at Egg Harbor Township High School and Dunellen Senior High School. Tony has been teaching social studies since 1982, and besides European History, he has taught World History, AP US History, Comparative Governments, Anthropology, Psychology, Economics and Military History.

Since 2002, Tony has served as a Reader and Table Leader for the AP European History exam. He is responsible for scoring AP European History exam questions, supervising other readers, and assisting with the clarification of scoring standards.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from St. Joseph’s University. He then went on to earn a Masters in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. In 1988, Tony was a New Jersey Governor’s School teacher-scholar, and in 1990, he was awarded the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Grant for his "History in the News" activity, a writing skills program that employs the journalistic process in the history classroom.

Tony is an avid traveler. He has bicycled across the United States, studied in China, and spent the past five summers traveling through Italy with his European History students. When he is not writing or traveling, Tony likes to build things, including a 1968 Camaro, a kitchen, several desktop computers, and a portable aluminum decking system trademarked as the Porta-Deck.