NYS Global 9 Enduring Issue Essay Prompt: Belief Systems **New Regents Style**

NYS Global 9 Enduring Issue Essay Prompt: Belief Systems **New Regents Style**
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NYS Global 9 Enduring Issue Essay Belief Systems **New Regents Style**

This is an "Enduring Issue" essay modeled on the draft New Regents examinations in New York State scheduled to begin in 2019 for grade ten as described at EngageNY. This essay is for grade NINE week TEN number 2 in my collection ("g9w10n2"). The idea is to have students in my class doing one of these essays every ten weeks in grades nine and ten.

This essay requires knowledge of New York State social studies framework objectives referenced in 9.2 Belief Systems.

This essay prompt is modeled on the new NYS Global Regents "enduring issue" essay. However, it has been modified to address only the belief systems topic and to direct students to observe commonalities in documents across several religious traditions. For this reason, I changed the word "issue" to "theme" (although "motif" was a possible alternative as well, depending on how you look at it). The intent of the actual Regents essay format is for students to examine social issues and how people have dealt with them through time. The intent of this particular essay is not quite the same, thus the alterations in instructions. It was important to me in all other respects to conform to the style and format of the Regents examination.

This product includes the following:

1. Student version of the essay prompt in PDF ("Enduring Theme g9w10n2 - STUDENT")

2. A modified version of the documents for special education ("MODIFIED Enduring Theme g9w10n2 - STUDENT"). I rewrote the documents and ran them through the Lexile.com analyzer to be sure they were at a level 600-800.

3. Teacher version of the essay prompt in PDF ("Enduring Theme g9w10n2 - TEACHER"). This includes Social Studies Framework references, suggestions for teaching from my experience, and suggested enduring issues likely linked to the documents that students could see.

4. Sample simulated student essays at different score levels for rating purposes ("Enduring Theme Essay g9w10n2 - Sample Essays")

5. A grading rubric ("Enduring Issue -- Rubric"). This is my rubric, built on the NYS guidance videos for constructing these test items as well as elements of writing across rubrics I typically use.

6. A PowerPoint for students to guide learning to write this essay ("Enduring Essay g9w10n2.pptx"). Powerpoint includes a copy of each document from the essay for whole group discussion.

7. A graphic organizer for students to guide writing the essay.


- a package ("upload_multiple-ch_teacherswebhost_com") of 158 multiple-choice questions on world Belief Systems (including many from old Regents exams) for upload at TeachersWebHost.com. Do not unzip the package. It is designed for upload at TeachersWebHost.com. There you can edit the questions, generate printable tests and keys, generate online tests andpractices and jeopardy-like games, and much more. TeachersWebHost.com is a high end assessment suite, integrated easily into Google classroom, having a large array of free and premium assessment apps. A short video file ("HowToUpload.m4v") shows how to install test bank packages at TeachersWebHost.com.


More than one enduring theme can be found within each document. This is the point at which this essay prompt diverges from the old "document-based question". The DBQ settled the task for the student, directing her to draw conclusions and make connections already implied in the task and scaffold questions. This essay prompt ("task model") calls upon the student to notice patterns across historic documents and so, connecting with prior knowledge, construct a scholarly and defensible interpretation.

This particular enduring theme essay began as an exploration of the idea that spiritual leaders in history often had "wilderness experiences" as part of their own religious awakening. Documents 1-4 are selections from religious texts giving evidence for the following: Jesus' forty days in the desert and subsequent temptation, Buddha's temptation by Mara in the forest, Muhammad's visits to the cave where he receives the revelation from the angel Jibreel, Joseph Smith's walk in the 1832 New York woods to meet Jesus. Document 5 is a map of Abraham's journey from the Torah. Strictly speaking, the Regents enduring essay task will be something a bit different from this. However, the theme works nicely in a unit on the world's belief systems. When I developed this task, I did have one common theme in mind to start, however students may see others, which I illustrate in the sample student essays.
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