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Sample Essays: Explanation for grading
Essay 1: Han/Rome
The essay contains a valid thesis in the second and third sentences of the first paragraph (1 point). In the
fourth paragraph, the essay addresses a similarity (“Both empires had unstable borders”) and several
differences, including “However, Han China dealt with the Turkic Huns through the tribute systems, thus
placating them with gifts and avoiding costly & expensive warfare, which Rome preferred when dealing
with their enemies” (2 points). Although there is ample evidence for the Han, Roman evidence is limited
by discussion of the Republic, which could not be counted. There is, however, enough evidence for 2
evidence points. In addition to the direct comparison listed above, there is another difference at the
bottom of the second paragraph — “However, because there was less emphasis as a collective group in
Rome, the political organization was a lot less structured than China’s” — which earned 1 point for the
comparison and 1 point because the statement also involves an analysis. This essay contained a complex
thesis, sufficient depth of comparison, and supporting evidence to earn 1 Expanded Core point.
Essay 2: Han/Maurya
This essay contains a valid thesis in the first paragraph (1 point) and addresses both similarities and
differences (2 points). There is sufficient evidence for both the Mauryan/Gupta and the Han empires (2
points). The direct comparison is found in the second paragraph: “Han China and Maurya Gupta [sic] both
consolidated their power through military buildup” (1 point). The essay attempts analysis in the next to
the last paragraph but only analyzes the Han: “Due to their lack of a devout religion, China was able to
assimilate the Huns when they began to invade China.” There is no analysis of a comparison of Han and
Mauryan/Gupta methods of political control.