Every six weeks (at the end of each marking period) my
students take an exam that involves answering 20 multiple
choice questions and writing two essays. At the end of the
marking period in which we did this lesson, the students
had a choice between the following two questions to answer
for their first essay:
1. Discuss the Progressive movement. Who benefited the
least? Describe the difference in the approach to big business
between Roosevelt's and Wilson's plans, and then discuss
and evaluate the actual progressive reforms enacted by each
of these presidents in as much detail as possible.
2. "The Progressive movement of 1901 to 1917 was a
triumph of conservatism rather than a victory for liberalism."
Assess the validity of this statement, taking into account
who the Progressives were, what their goals were, and what
their successes were.
The first choice is, obviously, more concerned with Roosevelt
and Wilson, who had been covered in other lessons. The second
question (an old AP free response question) is clearly better
suited to this particular lesson. But the students were
given a choice. In reflecting upon the answers, especially
to the second question, I realized that I needed a new question
in order to assess what my students had learned from this
FOLLOW-UP: Next year I would ask the following
question for student assessment:
Were the Progressives correct that the discrepancies
between rich and poor were a threat to democracy?