National History Day (NHD) 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. Fort Ticonderoga sponsors, administers, and coordinates History Day in six New York counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren. North Country History Day takes place on Saturday, March 4, 2017; however, students are encouraged to begin working on their projects now. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”
Fort Ticonderoga has coordinated the regional competition and provided support for teachers and students throughout the school year since 2007. North Country teachers interested in learning more about History Day can contact Rich Strum, Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the first national evaluation of the widely used curricular program, students who participate in the National History Day 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. Participants also show a greater ability to collaborate with peers, manage their time and persevere.
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.
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.
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.
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Photo: A St. Mary’s School student talks with judges about her History Day project on Samuel de Champlain at North Country History Day in March 2016. Recent research shows that students participating in the National History Day program develop skills necessary for the work world.