History 101

Although fourth- and eighth-grade history scores have improved overall, neither grade saw an increase in students grasping more than a basic comprehension of the subject. A recent government report reveals that the best results were in fourth grade, where 70 percent of students attained the basic level of achievement or better. The report also indicates that the progress in history in general was made by students working at the lowest levels.There are mixed feelings about what these results imply. On the one hand, some argue that this shows that NCLB’s focus on reading and math instruction is taking away from other subjects such as history. But on the other hand, the focus on reading may be what is helping the lower-level students to increase their scores in other subjects.

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re: History 101

I have to admit as a History teacher my students do not have the basic History facts memorized. They cannot really tell you who was or was not at the signing of the US Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. However, I think these skills are not an accurate measure of their history skills. In today's world students need to learn how to access information and comprehend lots of different sources to determine the most accurate. I would love for them to be great jeopardy players, but I'd rather they be able to read something on the web and determine whether it is authentic and historically accurate. I think that as years go on these types of assessments will become obsolete. If akid can read and write he/she can do well in their History class.

P.S. For those who may not know George Washington was not present for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. AND Thomas Jefferson did not participate in the writing of the U.S. constutution. You may not have known that, but I bet if I asked you that question you would have known where to turn to find out. That is what we should be teaching our kids.

re: History 101

I agree with the comments made by Jeffrey H. As a history teacher in the new millenium we should be focusing on the abilities to gather and analyze information for the purpose of formulating higher order thinking. So often in history courses the facts are stressed to the point that the learner does not and cannot comprehend the context in which these dates and names apply. I portray my history courses as stories, much as in literature, that include plot, climax, characters, cause and effect, etc. This requires the use of strong reading and comprehension skills which ties in with the standardized tests our students are taking. With that being said I know that many elementary curriculum's are cutting the time alloted to Social Studies so they can focus on test preparation for reading and math. The main focus should be to supply a solid foundation on the main causes and effects in history and this can be accomplished without such a strict focus on memorization.

re: History 101

As educators of history in the 21st Century our job should not be helping students with the memorization of facts. It is far more important for students to understand the relevance and meaning behind the events in history. The essential questions we should be asking our students are: Why is this historical event important? What impact does this time period have on our lives today? What can we learn from history? By providing students opportunities to make connections between the past and the present history becomes relavant and meaningful. Once this occurs, students can begin to analyze, evaluate, and form opinions about events in the world. This leads to critical thinking and therefore involvement. Is this not much more educationally sound than reciting names and dates for a test?