Ch 3: Evaluating Explanations in Writing: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3

About This Chapter

Help your students in grades 11-12 meet the Common Core State Standards for literacy related to history and social studies. Short and entertaining video lessons make learning fun instead of a chore, and follow-up quizzes offer instant feedback on their progress.

Standard: Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3)

About This Chapter

In order to be effective readers, students must master the art of evaluating reasoning and explanations in historical and social studies texts. In order to respond to related texts in their own writing, learners will also need the skills for recognizing uncertainty in historical writings and using hedging strategies to respond. Here are some of the included topics in this chapter's video lessons:

  • Evaluating reasoning in articles and essays
  • Appraising explanations in texts
  • Acknowledging and evaluating uncertainties in historical resources
  • Hedging in the presentation of ambiguous ideas

You can be certain that your class has grasped these concepts when they're able to effectively read and evaluate reasoning and explanations presented in a variety of historical and social studies sources. The ability to appropriately acknowledge uncertainty in historical text and use hedging strategies for presenting unclear ideas in their own writing is another strong indicator. These skills will come in handy for students going on to college or pursuing careers that require well-developed reading and writing skills.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are a few ideas to practice related skills along with your curriculum and our informative video lessons:

Inductive vs. Deductive

Share the two video lessons about evaluating reasoning. Discuss the steps and terms. As a class, explore several examples of short essays and articles that present clear steps of reasoning with related premises. Challenge students to vote as to whether they believe the validity or reasoning put forth in each is inductive or deductive, offering explanations for their choices.

Not Sure

After students have viewed the video lesson pertaining to uncertainties in historical texts, either in class or as homework, present small groups with historical text examples including ambiguous ideas. Task groups with discovering the unclear ideas, along with strategies the author used to evaluate those uncertainties and how they were acknowledged in the text.

Hedging Isn't Always a Bad Thing

Challenge students to complete the short quiz before viewing the video lesson about hedging strategies as a pretest. Watch the video lesson and discuss. Ask students to complete the brief quiz a second time, looking for the gains that they've made. Share a historical piece based on an issue of wide interest to your class exactly as the article was first found. Next, insert an idea that could be considered unclear. Urge students to brainstorm ways that they could use hedging strategies to allow a cohesive text.

5 Lessons in Chapter 3: Evaluating Explanations in Writing: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
How to Evaluate Reasoning

1. How to Evaluate Reasoning

Evaluating reasoning in an essay or article is an important step in critical analysis. Being able to judge if something is reasonable whether or not you agree with the argument will be our learning focus for this video.

Evaluating Reasoning in an Essay or Article

2. Evaluating Reasoning in an Essay or Article

Being able to effectively evaluate reasoning can be helpful to you as you develop your own deductive and inductive reasoning skills and put those skills to work in persuasive essays. This lesson sheds some light on how to evaluate reasoning.

Strategies to Evaluate Explanations in Texts

3. Strategies to Evaluate Explanations in Texts

In this lesson we will use the CER Framework as a strategy to evaluate explanations in historical texts. By using the CLAIM and EVIDENCE provided by the author, and the reader's own REASONING (CER), we can more easily choose the best explanation.

Evaluating & Acknowledging Uncertainty in Historical Texts

4. Evaluating & Acknowledging Uncertainty in Historical Texts

Explore the challenges facing historians who write stories about the past. Discover advantages and difficulties in writing history and learn strategies used to account for ambiguities in historical texts.

Hedging Strategies for Presenting Unclear Ideas

5. Hedging Strategies for Presenting Unclear Ideas

We often see negative hedging strategies in politics, but they're not always tools of evasion or dishonesty. In research writing, hedging strategies can help you present complex ideas responsibly without misleading your readers. In this lesson, we'll learn techniques for writing about such unclear ideas.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.