New Research Shows National History Day Participants Are Better Able to Succeed in School and Learn Skills to Become Informed Citizens, Sought-After Employees
New Orleans, LA – Students who participate in the National History Day (NHD) educational program, coordinated in Louisiana by The National World War II Museum perform better on high-stakes tests, are better writers, more confident and capable researchers, and have a more mature perspective on current events and civic engagement than their peers, according to the first national evaluation of the widely used curricular program. Participants also show a greater ability to collaborate with peers, manage their time and persevere – all skills employers say are lacking in today’s workforce.
For three years, The National World War II Museum has run Louisiana’s History Day program, coordinating the regional and state-level competitions and providing support for teachers and students throughout the school year. This year, more than 300 students from over 20 schools are taking part in Louisiana History Day.
“The Museum is very proud to coordinate a program that allows students to explore a topic in greater detail than the standard curriculum,” says Nathan Huegen, State Coordinator for Louisiana History Day at The National World War II Museum. Prior the Museum’s sponsorship, the state had not participated in National History Day since before Hurricane Katrina.
National History Day is a year-long academic program for elementary and secondary school students focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression. NHD students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights, and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history.
Huegen says that although the program is new in Louisiana, there have been successes already. “One of our students who qualified for the National Contest last year is completing a successful freshman year at Loyola. She has also been very gracious in wanting to assist the program as much as possible.”
The full report, National History Day Works, is available at www.nhd.org/NHDWorks. Some of the important findings include:
- 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 are better writers
- NHD students are critical thinkers
- NHD students learn 21st Century skills.
- NHD has a positive impact among students whose interests in academic subjects may wane in high school.
Conducted by San Francisco-based research firm Rockman, et al, the study looked at performance assessments, surveys and standardized test scores to evaluate students’ research and writing skills, ability to interpret historical information, academic performance and interest in past and current events. Researchers then compared their evaluations of students who participated in National History Day (NHD) to their peers who did not participate in the program.
The study, conducted at four sites around the country, found that on nearly every measure, NHD students’ scores or ratings were higher than their peers who did not participate in the program. The sites evaluated included school districts in urban, suburban and rural settings: Aldine Unified School District, Houston, TX; Chesterfield Co. Schools, Chesterfield, SC; a large public school district in Colorado; and Paterson Public Schools, Paterson, NJ. The survey included a slightly higher sample of Black and Hispanic students compared to the population breakdown in U.S. public schools.
About National History Day
National History Day (NHD) is a year-long academic organization for elementary and secondary school students. Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in a national competition each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park. Visit www.nhd.org.
About The National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the War that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.