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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
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
- 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.
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.