Here is some great information from History.com about the true story of Paul Revere's ride.
Because many of my students had already heard about William Dawes, this information was just for the kids who had no idea that Paul Revere was not the only person charged with riding through the streets shouting "The British are coming!"
It is not necessary at all to give background about this poem; after all, it tells the story itself. However, it's a nice history connection. Some teachers I know like to compare the two poems (The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and this poem.) It's an interesting approach, given that they are from two different points of view.
After receiving quite a bit of information about narrative poetry, the students were ready for an assessment. I designed the assessment so that they had to read the poem independently and isolate the elements. I also had them highlight and underline their text support.
One of the problems that I often encounter is that well-designed assessments are often difficult to grade. In other words, if the task is complex and authentic, it often requires a level of consideration that is time-consuming. One of the things that I have been working on is being more decisive with my scoring and clearer with my expectations. I decided to break up the scoring this way:
2 points for the narrator section - 1 for description, 1 for appropriate evidence.
4 points for the structure
6 points for the literary elements - 1 for each element, 1 for correct highlighting
5 points for the story
Since I use raw scores in my gradebook, the fact that it adds up to 17 doesn't bother me. You could always shave a point off structure and one off story to get to 15, if that suits you better.