ERIC Number: ED489880
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Evaluation of the Teaching American History Program
Humphrey, Daniel C.; Chang-Ross, Christopher; Donnelly, Mary Beth; Hersh, Lauren; Skolnik, Heidi
US Department of Education
Nearly 20 years ago, the first national assessment of student achievement in U.S. history yielded disappointing results. Although policy-makers and researchers expressed great concern about the low scores, the federal government did not undertake large-scale efforts to address poor student performance, and few research dollars were dedicated to uncovering the causes of the problem. In 2001, after the release of another report describing the woeful state of history education, Congress acted, charging the Department of Education with creating the Teaching American History (TAH) Program to improve teacher content knowledge of and instructional strategies for U.S. history. In its first two years, the program's total funding increased from $50 million to $100 million and grants were awarded to 174 local districts that proposed to serve a total of 24,000 teachers. During this time period, the TAH program found a receptive audience and appeared to be providing the resources needed to meet its stated goals. The evaluation of the 2001 and 2002 grantee cohorts indicates, however, that the projects may not have reached those teachers typically considered most in need of additional professional development, and that the training provided did not always match research-based definitions of effective professional development. This report is designed to answer three broad groups of research study questions: the types of activities TAH grantees are implementing; the content of the activities, including the specific subjects and areas of American history on which projects are focusing; and the characteristics and qualifications of teachers participating in the activities. (See Appendix A for complete list of research questions and data sources.) This report draws on multiple data sources (project director and participant surveys, case studies of eight TAH projects, an exploratory analysis of teacher work products, and an extensive document review) to describe both the challenges accomplishments of the 174 TAH projects from the 2001 and 2002 cohorts of grantees. The evaluation was conducted from October 2002 until May 2005. Appended are: (1) Additional Information; (2) Methodology, Data Collection Strategies, and Procedures; (3) Teaching American History Project Director Survey; (4) Teaching American History Project Participant Survey; (5) Teaching American History Project Materials Request Form; (6) Teaching American History Project NAEP-Based Materials Review Rubric. (Contains 35 exhibits.)
Descriptors: United States History, Teaching Methods, Teacher Effectiveness, Thinking Skills, National Competency Tests, Academic Achievement, Student Evaluation, Program Evaluation, Low Achievement, History Instruction, Surveys, Research Methodology
ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827 (Toll Free).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Administrators
Authoring Institution: Department of Education, Washington, DC.; SRI International, Arlington, VA.