Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup


History/Social Studies

Argument Writing


The previous unit focused on practices that support the reading and analysis of text for developing interpretations. This unit looks at a process for argument writing, which is important for communicating interpretations and further developing the evidentiary base to support claims.

The ELA/Literacy Common Core Standards identify three types of writing: (1) writing as argument focused on discipline-specific content, (2) writing as informative/explanatory texts, and (3) writing as narrative. Classroom historical investigations that incorporate argument writing fulfill the criteria for the first of these two text types. Depending on the framing of the writing assignment, the third text type could also be fulfilled by argument writing. Argument writing is especially appropriate to a disciplinary literacy approach to history and social studies since it closely reflects important ways of thinking that are embedded in historical study. That is, an argument establishes claims and supports them with evidence from the historical record. A claim made without supporting evidence or on the basis of faulty evidence is not convincing or historically sound.

Argument writing is also linked to college, career, and civic readiness. The National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) College, Career, and Civic Life C3 Framework shares common language with the ELA/Literacy Common Core Standards. The C3 Framework focuses on evidence by emphasizing the communication of student conclusions based on evidence and framed using information gathered while students read.

Lastly, argument writing provides students with an opportunity to take an active role in learning the subject matter because it encourages students to interpret rather than memorize. This implies higher student engagement, as students are asked to critically voice ideas of their own and make meaning of the evidence.