Recent, Authoritative Sources


Looking at the rubric, the wording for a student’s sources is “includes references to at least three recent, authoritative sources.” At the most recent workshop, we discussed that the Explore task rubric does not currently have the wording of needing to be “recent” and “authoritative,” but that rubric guidelines changed last year while grading, therefore students should adhere to those rules despite not being explicitly stated.

My question becomes: how recent is “recent” and what is considered “authoritative”? We discussed .gov and .edu sites being considered authoritative, but what else can be? With many recent innovations, I’m not sure students can always find information on theirs on a .gov or .edu site. Can reputable technology sites or article writers who list their credentials in the technology world be considered “authoritative”?

For example, if a student is using Kickstarter for their paper, is Kickstarter’s information page considered an authoritative source? (


Great question! Last year, recent was described as “published after the end of the previous school year”. So, in this case, probably starting in June 2017 would be very safe.

The authoritative question is a bit trickier to answer for me. I think your kickstarter page would certainly count - it is coming directly from the company. @frank_w_lee , any thoughts on the “authoritative” piece?

One suggestion might be to bring in a library media specialist to talk about authoritative sources to your class as well.


I don’t think you’ll like my answer :stuck_out_tongue:

I would do my best to teach my students about using authoritative sources.

Given that, I can tell you how it was treated at last summer’s grading and suggest you take that with a grain of salt because that’s no guarantee of how it will be graded this year. At last summer’s grading, “authoritative” was basically thrown out the window. We glanced at the references and counted to make sure there were the required number (and made sure they were cited in-line). Facts had to sound plausible. There was no protocol on following up on whether a fact or source was questionable. We erred on the side of assuming it was okay.

Again, I would recommend you still do your best to teach your students about authoritative sources because 1.) It’s valuable learning, and 2.) Who knows how they’ll grade that this year.