Home > Blog > 2011 > January > 27 > National History Day Works > Site Search Results

National History Day Works

NHD Sam with project
"NHD students are better writers, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view."


"NHD Students outperform their non-NHD peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies, but in reading, science and math as well."


"NHD students learn 21st century skills. They learn how to collaborate with team members, talk to experts, manage their time and persevere."

 

These are just some of the findings from the newly published evaluation report on the National History Day program. The study, which took place in four states across urban, suburban and rural demographics, concludes that NHD students are consistently better writers, develop stronger critical thinking skills and are more prepared for college and the real world upon high school graduation.

History Day also motivates students by challenging them to work beyond the traditional setting of textbook and test taking. Today's students are not interested in reading about topics on which they have no choice, in textbooks mandated to their teachers by the school district, written by a corporation which they have never heard or cared about. When learning becomes irrelevant to the student then we've lost their interest and all too often their potential for success. History Day is a way to bring them back. I see it all the time on school visits: "We have a guest speaker today? Aww man, I don't want to do a project." And then they see the pictures of the 1966 Texas Western Basketball exhibit, or the Marie Antoinette exhibit, or the NASA Challenger Explosion exhibit, or the Ryan White documentary, or the 1899 Newsboy Strike performance. That's when the questions change to "Can I do my project on Jackie Robinson? Anne Frank? My Vietnam veteran grandfather?"

NHD follows a project-based learning model shared by many emerging and successful programs today, like Edutopia and New Tech Schools; except History Day has been doing it since the 70s. NHD supersedes social studies and is proven to advance skills and improve grades in reading, math and science. It provides students with a choice on what topic they want to research and what skills they want to develop, be it Web design, film making, theatrical or writing. History Day Works because History Day students learn by doing work that historians actually do, and this study proves that on paper.

Will you help put it into practice?

View the independent evaluation firm Rockman et al's findings here.

____________________

 

Submit a comment

(Required)
(Required)

Comments (3)

1. Jeremy says

Feb. 3, 2011 at 3:44 p.m.
This is an excellent and well-written post. It's really a shame that the American education system revolves around standardized testing when programs like NHD clearly demonstrate that project-based models offer a better, more engaging way to learn for students.

2. Ed says

March 23, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
This is all great, but does the IHS have anything other than NHD going on. I don't see any of the teacher workshops you all had a few years back. There was one on the Civil War that I heard was very good and one on WWII with Jim Madison that I missed. Any plans for things like that this summer?

3. Matt Durrett says

April 7, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.
Thanks for the comments. Ed, check out our events page at indianahistory.org/events and the Teacher page for more information on educational programs. I would also encourage you to take the teacher survey there and let us know what you are interested in.