Why Do NHD?

Why do NHD in the classroom?  First, BECAUSE IT WORKS!!! A recent independent study found that:    

  • 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, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view. NHD students outscored comparison-group students on both pre- and post-writing assessments, receiving more high scores (5s or 6s) on a 6-point scale, and fewer low scores. NHD essays had more sentence variety, richer vocabulary, a more authentic voice, and better organization.
  • NHD students are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information. Performance assessments show that NHD students overall were significantly better than their peers at interpreting historical information, with an average of 79 percent vs. 61 percent correct.
  • NHD has a positive impact among students whose interests in academic subjects may wane in high school.

Second, Will Fitzhugh from the Concord Review recently wrote in American Educator that historical research is “meaningful work” in a world where schools are either prepping for the test of filling time with busy work.  Fitzhugh “found that the more students learned about something, the more likely they are to want to write about it – and strive to do well.”  That sense of motivation, found only in meaningful projects like NHD, are important since “without … the motivation to share … all the strategies in the world will not make a difference.”  Historical research projects like NHD are meaningful work that motivates students to do well.

Read all of Fitzhugh’s article here.

This excerpt is borrowed from the National History Day organizers in the state of Montana.