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The Dilemmas of a National Assessment in World History: World Historians and the 12th Grade NAEP1

Robert B. Bain, University of Michigan
Tamara L. Shreiner, University of Michigan

 
    The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) has decided for the first time to test twelfth grade students in world history beginning in 2012. On the surface, NAGB’s decision to create a National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is sensible, unproblematic, and cause for world historians to rejoice. World history is one of the fastest growing segments of the American school curriculum. Thus, it makes sense that world history would join U.S. History, Geography, Civics, and Economics in the national assessment program. And historians, history teachers, and the World Historical Association (WHA), have all encouraged NAGB to construct a world history NAEP.
1
    However, problems lurk below the surface, presenting very serious challenges not only to NAGB, but also to world historians and history teachers. One problem in trying to create a national assessment is that many states spread world history throughout and across grade levels, placing a sizable portion of world history content in the middle school years or in the first years of high school. Assessing 12th grade students on world historical content they had in the 9th or 10th grades might very well mean that we will get another assessment that shows U.S. students don’t know much about the past.
2
     An even greater challenge involves the variation in the type of world history that U.S. students encounter in their schools. States and local school districts use the world history label to describe curricular practices with dramatically different structures, historical content and approaches. Given NAGB’s charge to assess what is being taught, rather than determining what should be taught, creating a common framework that takes into account all the variety of approaches will be very difficult.
3
    How NAGB meets these challenges will play a significant role in shaping the future direction of world history in the schools. Not only will the Board’s decision define what is tested, but it will also shape what information educators and the public get about students’ knowledge of the world’s past. Further, some states, such as Mississippi, tie their state standards to the NAEP assessment frameworks. Given the importance to world history, we wonder what role world historians and teachers will play in helping NAGB meet these challenges. 4
    Unfortunately, the history profession typically has been reactive and defensive in responding to the challenges of assessment. While active in professional development, standards and curriculum formation, as a profession we have too often left assessment of our standards, curriculum and instruction to others. This has been a mistake that we must not repeat in the case of the world history NAEP. In this paper, we seek to provide a picture of the state of world history education to illuminate the challenges NAGB – and we hope, the world historical community—faces in constructing a NAEP world history assessment. First, we provide a brief overview of the growth of world history education in the U.S. Next, based on a review of state standards and the AP World History program, we describe what we see as four distinctive patterns to world history education. Finally, we discuss NAGB’s options for developing the NAEP world history framework in the midst of such diversity, and the possible consequences of each option. We conclude with a call for active professional engagement with all levels of assessment in history. 5
   
The Growth of World History  
    Even a cursory review of the social studies standards in the fifty states and the District of Columbia demonstrates that world history is a growth sector in the United States curriculum. Indeed, since we initially looked at this data in 2001, there has been continued change as states and schools continue to implement new world history standards or revise their existing ones. As Chart 1 shows, as late as February 2006, at least 23 states require a world history course in some form or another for high school graduation. Nineteen states test their students on world history content by either giving an exam at the end of a course or by including world history content on the state’s social studies assessment. Further, given that many of the most populous states require world history for graduation, (e.g., California, Florida, New York, Texas), it follows that a substantial number of U.S. students – probably a majority -- are required to take a course in world history. Further, the NAEP comparative transcript study reports that 69% of high school students earned world history credit in 2000, a hearty increase from the 36% of students who had earned world history credit in 1982 (see Chart 2).
6
    It appears that the majority of students taking world history do so before their junior year. Most of the states that specify a grade level designation for a world history course place it in the 9th or 10th grades. And the past 10 years of NAEP transcript studies show that the overwhelming majority of world history is taken by underclassmen. For example in the most recent transcript study, over two-thirds of the high school students with world history on their transcripts took that course before entering 11th grade (See Chart 2).
7
    The first four Advanced Placement (AP) World History exams corroborate these growth patterns (see Charts 3-5). The Educational Testing Service (ETS) offered an AP exam in world history for the first time in May, 2002. To its surprise, in its first year 998 schools offered at least one AP World History course and 20,995 students took the exam. This created the largest student pool for any first time AP exam. In its first year, AP World History moved ahead of such long-standing exams as AP French and AP Physics in popularity, placing it in the top half of all AP exams, just below the AP exams in micro- and macro- economics (see Chart 5). During the second year of the program (2002-2003), the number of participating schools increased to 1,464 (almost a 50% growth) with 34,286 students taking the exam, approximately 64% more than in the previous year (see Chart 5). On the most recent AP World History test (May 5, 2004), 64,207 students took the exam, creating a 35% increase over the previous year and more than a 300% increase in students over four years. AP World History is just outside of the AP “top ten,” passing both Macro and Micro Economics and placing it within hailing distance of AP European History (see Chart 5).
8
    The AP test data also reveals a relationship between the results on the exam and the grade level at which students study world history (see Charts 6, 7 and 8). Ninth and tenth grade students take most of the exams (about 80%). Performance appears related to the grade level of the student, with juniors and seniors doing much better on the exam than the under-classmen (see Charts 6, 7 and 8). It is important to remember that students typically take the AP exams the same year they take their world history course. To apply these patterns to a 12th Grade NAEP in world history would mean that 9th and 10th grade students, who initially score below their older classmates on the AP exam, would not be tested on the NAEP world history until at least two years after taking their world history course. It is safe to assume the scores of these 9th and 10th graders would decline.
9
   
Patterns in World History Curricula  
    There is a widespread agreement across the nation, among states, districts, reformers and students about the value of world history in the schools. Curriculum documents and course-taking patterns show an increasing number of states, school districts and students are “voting” for world history with their credits. Commentators and a wide range of reform groups argue that world history must become commonplace in the school curriculum. And, of course, world history was included in Goals 2000s call for national standards.
10
    However, agreement over the value of world history does not necessarily mean there is agreement on what history students should study. Indeed, in reviewing state standards, curricular guides, and the AP World History materials we found four distinct patterns of world history in the United States which we call: Western Civilization Plus, Social Studies World History, Geographic/Regional World History and Global World History. Below is a short description of each pattern in the order of its popularity in the state standards documents.
11
    Western Civilization Plus: This model has its origins in the Western Civilization framework that became a staple in U.S. history teaching as early as the 1920s. Western Civilization has a familiar narrative that traces the development of “civilization” westward from ancient river valleys to Greece and Rome; through an interregnum variously called the Dark or Middle Ages; followed by a cultural rebirth and Reformation; and then transformation created by enlightened and scientific thinking, the rise of the nation-state, growth of national economic systems, democratic revolutions, and industrialism. The narrative structure has a coherence populated with familiar and important political events (e.g. the rise and fall of Rome, French Revolution) and famous people (e.g. Galileo, Bismarck), stressing the “rise” of the west.
12
  The world history version of this narrative adds cultures and civilizations beyond Europe without dramatically shifting the key events or the underlying narrative structure. In adding important “non-Western” content, this curricular pattern continues to place Europe in the center of study. Though states call their standards and curriculum “world history,” approximately 70% or more of the content is devoted to the study of Europe, and relies upon Western Civilization periodization schemes and organizing features. This pattern appears to be the most dominant among state standards documents, with about 29 states adding non-western content to what appeared to be a western civilization model (See Chart 9). 13
Social Studies World History: The Social Studies World History pattern uses the curricular structure of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) to shape world history. Though NCSS has long promised curricular integration of many different disciplines, its standards places disciplines within separate themes, such as “Individuals, Groups and Institutions” or “Power, Authority and Governance.” In such a pattern world history --often called “Time, Continuity and Change” -- becomes one strand among many in a standards’ program that neither weaves strands together nor fully develops any one of them. Thus, in focusing on large, grand generalizations and stressing broad themes or processes, the social studies version of world history draws attention to big ideas often at the expense of specific content. 14
Consider, for example, the “Comprehending the Past” standard from the Michigan Social Studies Standards and Benchmarks (Standard I.2): “All students will understand narratives about major eras of American and world history by identifying the people involved, describing the setting, and sequencing the events.” The document continues explaining that students will meet the standard if they can “select events and individuals from the past that have had global impact on the modern world and describe their impact.” Though valuable for framing large ideas, such a pattern often leaves specificity of events and people to local districts or requires ancillary documents to provide more detailed content. It seemed to us that many states using the NCSS pattern simply appended the words “and world history” to their social studies standards. Further, other social studies strands such as economics (typically called “Production, Distribution and Consumption”) or geography (“People, Places and Environment”) include world historical content, thus challenging assessors to search for world history among various strands. 15
The Social Studies World History pattern has influenced at least 18 of the state standards (see Chart 9) and at least ten state level assessments (see Chart 1). However, over the last few years, we have observed a very slight shift away from the Social Studies World History pattern toward both the Western Civilization Plus and Global World History. Such assessments partially test world history while also assessing subjects such as economics, civics or geography. 16
Geographic/Regional World History: A smaller number of state documents also reflect features of a geographic or regional studies approach to world history. This pattern treats geographic regions of the world separately (e.g., Africa, Asia or the Middle East) often folding the history, geography and economics into one combined study. In many ways, this is analogous to the traditional Western Civilization course applied to civilizations or regions outside of Europe or the United States. While no state exclusively embraces this approach for high school history, we did find a number of states whose standards reflected significant features of Geographic/Regional History approach, particularly in the middle school years. Many school districts use a Geographic/Regional History pattern in offering world history courses to students. For example, though the state of Michigan does not require world history for graduation, the Ann Arbor Public Schools require students to take one semester of Western Civilization and then one semester of African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or Asian history. 17
Global World History: The last pattern, Global World History, constitutes a self-conscious attempt to locate history at different scales of time and space, specifically adding trans-regional historical processes to the study of regions and civilizations. This approach to history often asks students to move among different scales of time and space—sometimes focusing on a person or group, while at other times, on the nation, civilization, region, trans-region or even the globe. The new AP World History course is the best example of an approach that combines trans-regional and civilizational studies, requiring students to look at and across regions of the world. 18
According to the AP World History Guide, one of the distinctive features of a global history course is that it requires students to study large patterns over time and space, “while also acquiring the ability to connect local developments to global ones and move through levels of generalizations from the global to the particular.” For example, while studying the development of civilizations, the AP course also looks specifically at global processes and interactions, such as trade and migration across different types of societies over time. Because a global world history course, at times, unties school history from its typical mooring of the nation or civilization, AP provides specific guidance to teachers to help them balance attention to global processes with other features that constitute history. For example, AP limits its course of study to five chronological periods, five key themes, and the major civilizations within four regions. The AP course guide also specifies that:
coverage of European history does not exceed 30 percent of the total course. This encourages increased coverage of topics that are important to Europe in the world and not just to Europe itself, as well as attention to areas outside Europe.

Comparative history plays a significant role in the global approach as students compare different political, economic and social systems, (e.g. compare Industrialism in Japan and western Europe, or compare Haitian, American, French, Mexican, or Chinese revolutions).
19
The AP World History course remains the best example of the global world history approach, and it appears that more states are now using a similar chronological framework to organize world history. The standards in at least eight states show significant global, comparative and chronological features of this pattern. Over the last few years, this number has increased slightly. Because of its growing popularity and increasing success among both school districts and students, the Global World History pattern as typified by AP World History is an important approach to consider for a national assessment. 20
   
NAGB Options in Creating a World History NAEP  
Given the current diversity of approaches and NAGB’s mandate to assess what is being taught, how will NAGB create an exam that will assess students’ knowledge of world history? We see two possible options, each with advantages and disadvantages for NAGB’s task. We are not offering NAGB counsel, but rather describing for historians and history teachers a range of possible outcomes to clarify what might be at stake. 21
First, NAGB could simply choose one of the four patterns to assess. Structuring a test around one of these patterns would guarantee that at least NAEP will test some students on what they are studying. But which pattern should NAGB pick? The board might be inclined to select the most “popular” of the current patterns, Western Civilization Plus or Social Studies World History. However, in so doing NAGB would not be properly assessing what many or most students are learning in their world history courses, including the growing number of AP world history students. A second danger inherent in this option is prematurely sanctioning one particular pattern of world history as “the” national pattern, thus giving NAGB a major role in deciding the outcome of these educational developments in world history. 22
Of course, NAGB might select one of the other models, the Regional or Global, arguing that these are more inclusive of the world than the Western Civ Plus, and more easily accessible than the themes-based Social Studies pattern. While we find this approach in concert with our own views of world history education, we cannot ignore the questions raised above concerning NAGB’s legal responsibility to assess what students are learning, not what one group thinks students should be learning. 23
Another option would be to create an assessment that evaluates the cross-section of various models, identifying overlapping as well as distinctive features of each pattern. Thus, the NAEP could ask students to demonstrate what they understand of global, regional, comparative and thematic history, while recognizing that most students will not have had instruction in all these. Pursuing such an option would, we suspect, require assessing a narrower time frame than most students now study and allowing students latitude in selecting civilizations and regions they could use for comparison. An amalgam assessment such as this could yield significant and important data and reduce the problems inherent in testing 12th grade students on content they learned years before. 24
However, this option also runs the risk of constructing a “new” national curricular model based on the NAEP assessment. It might signal that states and districts should construct a course to meet this amalgam framework. Further, there might be inherently incompatible features of the different patterns. For example, how much of the exam should be devoted to history in different regions? How would it, for example, given the great variations in emphasis upon Europe, reconcile differences between a Western Civilization Plus and Global patterns? 25
Of course, the disagreements might be too great or contentious. NAGB might simply reverse its decision temporarily, recognizing the importance of world history but also the dangers in trying to assess prematurely instructional and curricular practices that have not “settled” around a particular framework or approach. Of course, a delay might signal victory for or against one of the patterns of world history education or, worse still, a waning interest in the history of the world. 26
The central question for historians is “who will design the NAEP framework to reconcile these different approaches?” Already some groups are letting the Board know of their interest in helping to shape the framework. What role will the history profession play? How will we help take up these serious challenges? Will we be able to come to a consensus around these issues in creating a framework for assessment? 27
   
Getting into the Game  
World history teachers, like teachers everywhere, recognize the double-edged sword of assessment. In an era where the maxim, “if we test it they will teach it” seems to be the dominant framework, the absence of world history assessments hinders history’s continued growth—revival, some might suggest—in the curriculum. On the other hand, a poorly conceived 12th grade history NAEP might negatively influence state standards documents, textbook frameworks, curriculum and professional development projects. The absence of good history assessments has put history on the instructional waitlist, yet externally imposed and premature curricular consensus also carries great risks. 28
Given such a dilemma, historians and teachers might feel justified to shake their collective heads, curse current test-making mania, and stay on the assessment sidelines. Such an approach has not served us well in the past, and in the current political and educational climate, is exceedingly dangerous. World history assessment must not be the exclusive domain of policy boards and statisticians. Rather, world history educators at all levels must take up these questions and challenges of world history assessment. 29
This essay attempted to provide a brief description of the context within which NAGB – and we hope, history educators -- must act. But how should the profession take up these issues? First, history educators must pay careful attention to and become smarter about assessment policies. Though most professional organizations have teaching divisions, none has an assessment division that assumes responsibility for staying informed and helping communicate relevant information to membership on important matters of assessment. This is short sighted and might be remedied by the immediate need to participate in the pending NAEP in world history. Second, historians seem to know little about the ideas and assumptions – couched as they typically are in statistical, quantitative argots – that define assessment decisions. Annual conferences, professional journals and bulletins provide a good opportunity to educate the field and make productive connections with specialists in assessment. Professional publications might even begin to review history assessments and results just as journals review major books in the field. 30
Of course, learning more about assessment is necessary, but not enough. We must seek, through individual actions and our professional organizations, to engage and actively participate in the assessment process. Both self-interest and civic responsibility demands such action. Either we deepen our understanding of history assessments and then seek, through concerted efforts, to influence their shape, or we will find ourselves again leaving the work of assessment to others and consequently reaping what we did not sow. 31

Chart 1: World History Required and Tested by State21

State

World History Required?

World History Tested?

Alabama*

Yes

No

Alaska*

No

No

Arizona

Yes

No

Arkansas

Yes

No

California

Yes

Yes (10th grade)

Colorado

No (decided by districts)

No

Connecticut

No

No

Delaware

No

In part (some world history content on the Delaware Student Testing Program)

District of Columbia

Yes

No

Florida*

Yes

No

Georgia

Yes (but may also take world geography. For college prep diploma, students must take world history)

Yes

Hawaii

No

No

Idaho

No

No

Illinois

No

In part (some world history standards are tested on the Prairie State tests)

Indiana*

Not by the state but by most districts. If students plan to attend college in Indiana they must take world history as a Core 40 requirement.

No (except for students seeking a Core 40 diploma who opt to take the end of course assessment)

Iowa

Determined by district

No

Kansas*

Not by the state, but by most districts

In part (On 11th grade SS exam)

Kentucky*

Not by the state, but by most districts

In part (On 11th grade SS exam)

Louisiana

Students must take world history, world geography, or western civilization for standard & regents diploma.

In part (20th century world history content is on the Graduation Exit Examination, which is given in grade 11)

Maine

No

In part (Tested on Maine Educational Assessment social studies
component in 11th grade)

Maryland

Yes

Yes

Massachusetts

Yes

No

Michigan

No

No (although it is stated that students should have some knowledge of world history)

Minnesota

Yes

No

Mississippi*

No

No

Missouri

No

No

Montana

No

No

Nebraska*

No

No

Nevada*

No

No (not at the state level but some districts have developed common assessments)

New Hampshire

No

In part (there is some world history content on social studies test in 10th grade)

New Jersey

No

No

New Mexico*

Yes

Yes

New York

Yes

Yes

North Carolina

Yes

In part (social studies is tested but it is not quite clear whether or not world history content is included)

North Dakota

No

No

Ohio

No

In part as the Ohio Graduation Test contains some world history content.

Oklahoma

No (though students have option to use world history to meet elective)

No

Oregon*

No (there is not a required course but students should be given information in a course that meets world history content standards)

Yes

Pennsylvania*

Schools must offer classes that include world history standards

No (no statewide assessment in world history, but local districts must devise assessments to determine if students are reaching a proficient level in knowledge and application of the state standards)

Rhode Island

Requirements set by local districts

No

South Carolina*

No

No

South Dakota

No

No

Tennessee

No (though students have option to meet social studies requirement)

No

Texas

Yes

Yes

Utah*

Yes (10th grade)

No

Vermont

No

No

Virginia

Yes

Yes

Washington*

No (Class is not required but students should meet world history content standards by the end of 10th or 11th grade)

No (local districts determine assessments)

West Virginia

Yes (Students entering grade 9 in the school year 2004-2005 must meet World Studies to 1900 requirement)

No (West Virginia does not test social studies past 8th grade)

Wisconsin*

Yes

Yes (10th grade)

Wyoming*

No (not by the state—locally controlled)

No


*Some information confirmed via email with member of state Department of Education

32
   

Chart 2: Percentage of High School Students Who Completed a World History Course, by Grade: 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000

Grade/Year

1990

1994

1998

2000

9th

22.02

19.63

21.51

23.48

10th

29.14

38.21

40.81

41.81

11th

8.42

10.23

7.74

9.06

12th

6.71

6.95

7.20

7.43

All students

59.59

66..72

66.41

68.93


SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP High School Transcript Study (HSTS), 2000, 1998, 1994, 1990
 

 
Figure 1
 


 

 
Figure 1
 


 
   

Chart 5: Ranking, Number of Students Taking AP Exams, 2002-2005

Exam\Year

2002

2003

2004

2005

1. U.S. History

227,757

242,699

262,906

285,368

2. Eng Lit/Comp

215,313

229,367

239,493

260,958

3. Eng Lang/Comp

156,193

175,860

198,514

230,709

4. Calculus AB

157,524

166,821

175,094

185,992

5. Govt. & Pol. - U.S.

90,937

104,636

112,894

143,770

6. Biology

97,762

103,944

111,104

121,446

7. Spanish Lang

74,240

83,811

90,928

98,245

8. Psychology

51,831

62,666

72,287

87,207

9. European History

68,876

73,807

79,169

85,427

10. Chemistry

61,584

65,698

71,070

78,453

11. Statistics

49,824

58,230

65,878

76,786

12. WORLD HISTORY

20,955

34,286

47,588

64,207

Percentage increase

 

64%

39%

35%

Ranking among all exams

17th

15th

13th

12th

13. Calculus BC

41,785

45,973

50,134

54,415

14. Economics — Macro

32,184

38,177

41,265

48,319

15. Physics B

37,447

40,926

43,295

46,971

16. Environmental Science

24,376

29,906

32,635

38,104

17. Physics C - M & E&M

19,252

20,491

32,675

34,682

18. Economics — Micro

23,108

25,667

27,674

32,359

19. French Lang

17,372

18,496

19,016

20,239

21. Art History

12,728

13,720

13,753

16,785

22. Govt. & Pol. - Comp.

10,461

12,001

12,980

14,447

23. Human Geography

5,286

7,329

10,471

14,139

24. Comp Sci — A

15,660

14,674

14,337

13,924

24. Spanish Lit

10,895

10,848

12,303

13,712

25. Studio Art — Drawing

9,972

10,642

11,707

12,274

26. Studio Art - 2-D Design

7,170

7,601

8,355

10,111

Note: There were 7 AP exams with fewer than 10,000 examinees: Music theory; Computer Science (AB); German Language; Latin, Vergil; Latin, Literature; Studio Art; 3D; French Lit.

Source: AP Examination Volume changes (1995-2005) http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/repository/examvolumechange_47028.pdf

 
   

Chart 6: Comparison of Candidate Performance by Grade Level on 2002 AP« World History Exam

Total students in analysis: 20,261

Grade Level

9th

10th

11th

12th

Number and Percentage

of Students

715

(3.5%)

14,535

(71.7%)

3,122

(15.4%)

1,889

(9.3%)

% Receiving:

5

4.1

7.9

17.8

19.8

4

9.9

16.0

22.8

24.7

3

18.6

29.2

30.1

29.0

2

28.1

26.9

18.0

16.4

1

39.3

20.0

11.2

10.1

Note: Among the candidates excluded from the analysis were: 2 who reported a grade level of college; 2 who reported a grade level of other; and 455 who did not respond

 
   

Chart 7: Comparison of Candidate Performance by Grade Level on 2003 AP

World History Exam

Total students in analysis: 32,762

Grade Level

9th

10th

11th

12th

Number and

Percentage

of Students

1,198

(3.7%)

25,079

(76.5%)

4,067

(12.4%)

2,418

(7.4%)

% Receiving:

5

6.2

9.8

16.1

20.6

4

11.9

17.9

23.4

25.3

3

19.6

26.3

26.2

25.1

2

25.1

25.1

18.8

17.2

1

37.2

20.9

15.6

11.9

Note: Among the candidates excluded from the analysis were: 3 who reported a grade level of college; 8 who reported a grade level of other; and 1,090 who did not respond.

 
   

Chart 8: Comparison of Candidate Performance by Grade Level on 2004 AP

World History Exam

Total students in analysis: 44,977

Grade Level

9th

10th

11th

12th

Number and

Percentage

of Students

1,969

(4..4%)

34,942

(77.7%)

4,719

(10.5%)

3,347

(7.4%)

% Receiving:

5

6.9

9.8

15.9

18.9

4

11.1

15.3

20.8

21.4

3

23.2

28.1

29.7

26.1

2

22.5

23.0

20.1

18.1

1

36.4

22.7

13.5

15.4

Note: Among the candidates excluded from the analysis were: 3 who reported a grade level of college; 8 who reported a grade level of other; and 1,090 who did not respond

 
   

Chart 9: Type of World History in State Standards22

State

Social Studies History

Western Civ. Plus

Geographic/ Regional History

Global History

Alabama

 

X

   

Alaska

X

     

Arizona

 

X

   

Arkansas

X

     

California

 

X

   

Colorado

X

     

Connecticut

X

     

Delaware

 

X

   

District of Columbia

 

X

   

Florida

X

     

Georgia

 

X

 

Recently added more Global content

Hawaii

X

   

X

Idaho

X

     

Illinois

 

X

   

Indiana

 

X

   

Iowa23

       

Kansas

 

X

   

Kentucky

 

X

   

Louisiana

X

     

Maine

X

     

Maryland

 

X

   

Massachusetts24

 

X

X

 

Michigan

X

     
Minnesota
X
   
X
Mississippi  
X
X
 
Missouri  
X
   
Montana
X
     
Nebraska  
X
   
Nevada25  
X
   
New Hampshire  
X
   
New Jersey  
X
   
New Mexico  
X
   
New York26    
X
X
North Carolina27
X
X
   
North Dakota
X
     
Ohio  
X
   
Oklahoma  
X
   
Oregon  
X
   
Pennsylvania28      
X
Rhode Island29      
X
South Carolina  
X
   
South Dakota  
X
   
Tennessee  
X
   
Texas  
X
   
Utah    
X
X
Vermont  
X
   
Virginia  
X
   
Washington30
X
   
X
West Virginia
X
     
Wisconsin
X
     
Wyoming
X
     


 
   

References

Bain, Robert B. "AP World History Habits of Mind: Reflecting on World History's Unique Challenge to Students' Thinking." In Teacher's Guide: AP World History, edited by Joan Arno, 237-43. Princeton, NJ.: College Entrance Examination Board, 2000.

Bain, Robert B. "Beyond the Standards War: Politics and Pedagogy in the National History Standards Controversy," Ohio Council of Social Studies Review. 32 (1), (1996): 36-42.

Bain, Robert, and Jeffrey Mirel. "Reviving Standards-Based Reform: A Look at Teaching History." The College Board Review. 198 (2003): 21-27.

Burack, Jonathan. "The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology." In Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, edited by James Leming, Lucien Ellington and Kathleen Porter, 2003.

The College Board. World History Course Description. Washington, D.C.: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2003.

Dunn, Ross E. Introduction: Contending Definitions of World History: Which One Should We Choose for the Classroom? (151) [url]. American Forum of Global Education, 1999 [cited April 18, 2004 2004]. Available from http://www.globaled.org/issues/151/.

———, ed. The New World History : A Teacher's Companion. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.

Lintvedt, Ane. The Demography of World History in the United States November, 2003 [cited December 1, 2003 2003]. Available from http://www.worldhistoryconnected.org/1.1/lintvedt.html.

McArthur, Lauren. "A Study of the National "History Wars" and World History Standards in Michigan and Virginia, 1994-2004: a Decade of Change?", paper delivered at annual conference of History of Education Society, October, 2004, Kansas City, Mo.

National Center for Education Statistics. N.A.E.P. World History Assessment National Center for Education Statistics, 2006 [cited February 27 2006]. Available from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/worldhistory/.

National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Bulletin / National Council for the Social Studies; 89 (Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994).

Rabb, Theodore. What Happened to Historical Literacy? In Chronicle of Higher

            Education, v. 50:39, http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i39/39b02401.htm.

            (accessed June 7, 2004).

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The 1998 High School Transcript Study Tabulations: Comparative Data on Credits Earned and Demographics for 1998,1994, 1990, 1987, and 1982 High School Graduates, NCES 2001-498, by Stephen Roey, Nancy Caldwell, Keith Rust, Eyal Blumstein, Tom Krenzke, Stan Legum, Judy Kuhn, Mark Waksberg, and Jacqueline Haynes. Project Officer, Janis Brown. Washington, DC: 2001: a-207; The 2000 High School Transcript Study, National Center for Education Statistics.

U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History 2001. Vol. NCES 2002-483 by M.S. Lapp, W.S. Grigg, & B.S. -H. Tay-Lim. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2002.

Wineburg, Sam. "Crazy for History." The Journal of American History 90, no. 4 (2004): 1401-14.

 
   

1 Bob Bain presented a version of this study to the National Assessment Governing Board in May, 2004. Bain and Tammy Shreiner presented another version at the German Historical Institute's Conference on World History Education in March, 2005, and Shreiner presented at the American Educational Research Conference in April, 2005.

2 National Center for Education Statistics, N.A.E.P. World History Assessment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006 [cited February 27 2006]); available from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/worldhistory/.The Secretary of Education appoints the 26 member National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), though NAGB is independent of the Department of Education. Congress established NAGB in 1988 with the National Educational Statistics Acts and reauthorized it in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. The Board consists of a bipartisan group of governors, state legislators, state and local school officials, public and private school educators, business leaders and members of the general public. NAGB defines policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Often called the "Nation's Report Card," NAEP is the only continuing, nationally representative assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas. Since 1969, NAGB has periodically assessed reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and the arts. In 2006, it will also assess economics. Over the last two years, NAGB has been debating the creation of a 12th Grade NAEP in world history.

3 As stated in its reauthorization in the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, NAGB's purpose is to provide "in a timely manner a fair and accurate measurement of student academic achievement and reporting trends in achievement" (PL-107-110, Sec. 602). Further, the Board is to "developů assessment objectives and test specifications that produce an assessment that is valid and reliable, and are based on relevant widely accepted professional standards." Emphasis added (PL-107-110, Sec. 602).

4 Robert B. Bain, "Beyond the Standards War: Politics and Pedagogy in the National History Standards Controversy," Ohio Council of Social Studies Review, 32 (1), 1996: ; Robert B. Bain and Jeffry E. Mirel, "Reviving Standards-Based Reform: A Look at Teaching History," The College Board Review, 198 (2003): 21-27. There have been some notable exceptions, such as the role historians and history teachers played in both designing the framework and assessment for the AP World History program.

5 We have not been disinterested observers, but rather have been actively involved in world history education. A U.S. historian by training (Ph.D.), Bain taught high school world history in one form or another for 26 years. Further, he has participated in a number of world history related projects and research. For example, in 1994 Bain was a member of the Council for Basic Education's panel that reviewed the National World History Standards. He also was a member of the AP course development committee, recommending the course framework that College Board adopted for the AP World History program, and is currently on the Executive Council of the WHA. Shreiner taught high school world history before returning to graduate school. As a high school teacher, she was solely responsible for creating her district's world history curriculum.

6 Methodological Note: To write this paper, we used state standards documents in the 50 states and the District of Columbia current in April 2004. We also looked at legislative statutes in each state concerning graduation and course requirements. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), these are in a more heightened state of flux. Therefore, we contacted state departments of education for corroborating information. Initially, we intended to look at certification requirements for world history teaching across the states, but halted that process as NCLB has made credentials even more unsettled than standards and testing. Finally, we only cast a cursory eye at world history textbooks. While this might be a fruitful investigation to ascertain the state of World History, our focus was on "officially" adopted standards and curriculum.

7 Also see Ane Lintvedt, The Demography of World History in the United States (November 2003 [cited December 1, 2003]); available from www.worldhistoryconnected.org/1.1/lintvedt.html and Jonathan Burack, "The Student, the World, and the Global Education Ideology," in Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, ed. James Leming, Lucien Ellington, and Kathleen Porter (2003).

8 In a number of cases, state officials told us that world history was required for graduation, yet we could not find collaboration within statute. Occasionally, we found a note on a state's website that said change in a state's graduation requirements was pending. In Chart 1, we used at least two collaborating pieces of evidence before determining if world history was or was not a graduation requirement.

9 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The 1998 High School

Transcript Study Tabulations: Comparative Data on Credits Earned and Demographics for 1998,

1994, 1990, 1987, and 1982 High School Graduates, NCES 2001-498, by Stephen Roey, Nancy

Caldwell, Keith Rust, Eyal Blumstein, Tom Krenzke, Stan Legum, Judy Kuhn, Mark Waksberg,

and Jacqueline Haynes. Project Officer, Janis Brown. Washington, DC: 2001: a-207; The 2000 High School Transcript Study, National Center for Education Statistics.

11 Ross Dunn in earlier work argued that there were four "models" of world history in the school: the Western Heritage Model, Different Cultures Model, Contemporary Studies Model and Patterns of Change. While our review of state standards and AP course materials also suggests four patterns, they differ from the way Dunn describes the curricular topography. Further, we hesitate to call the patterns we saw "models" since, as is the case with most curricular models, the lines between them are often blurred when translated into practice.

12 National Council for the Social Studies, Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Bulletin / National Council for the Social Studies; 89 (Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994).

13 Often specific content is found in supporting documents, not voted upon by state boards, but given as guidance to teachers who must teach the specifics that give meaning to large themes.

14 Of the 53 Michigan benchmarks for social studies, only 5 mention world history, while 18 specify Michigan history and 19 U.S. history. We are grateful to Lauren McArthur for pointing out to us.

15 For example, to integrate its history, geography, civics and economics standards into one course, the state of Washington recently created a separate world history framework that reflects the Global World History pattern. See www.k12.wa.us/curriculumInstruct/SocStudies/frameworks.aspx

16 AP World History Acorn Book, May 2004, 2005, pg. 7. For a more extensive discussion of the unique features of this approach to world history see Robert B. Bain, "AP World History Habits of Mind: Reflecting on World History's Unique Challenge to Students' Thinking" in Teacher's Guide: AP World History, edited by Joan Arno, 237-43. Princeton, NJ.: College Entrance Examination Board, 2000.

17 The eras studied in AP World History are: Foundations-600 C.E.; 600 — 1450; 1450 -1750; 1750 -1914; and 1914-present. The themes studied in AP World History are key themes that cut across any single civilization or society: patterns and impacts of interactions among major societies, (e.g. trade, war, diplomacy); impact of technology and demography on people; comparing features of social and gender structure systems within and among societies; culture and intellectual interactions; and changes in functions and structures of states. AP World History also studies major civilizations in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe.

18 AP World History Acorn Book, pg. 6.

19 See for example Theodore Rabb, "What Happened to Historical Literacy?" The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50: 39.

20 A good place to begin is with Sam Wineburg's JAH article, "Crazy for History."

21 Data gathered from Department of Education websites, relevant legislation and correspondence with state departments of education. The data is constantly changing as states modify their standards, assessments and requirements. We settled discrepancies through email contact with state officials.

22 In classifying state standards, we looked for evidence of the salient features of the Social Studies, Western Civilization Plus, Regional/Geographic, and Global World History patterns within the state documents. Often, a state organized its standards using one pattern, but provided another document suggesting a second pattern. In such cases, we checked off two columns in this chart. In trying to decide when to classify a state as Western Civilization Plus or Global World History, we used three criteria: (1) Evidence of the Western Civilization narrative and chronological structure; (2) Percentage of content inside and outside of Europe; (3) Evidence of trans-regional and comparative benchmarks.

23 Iowa did not have state standards in history or social studies but they are in the process of developing a model core curriculum for the state. S.F. 245, which was approved June 7, 2005, mandates, "The State Board of Education will develop a model core curriculum, with consideration to the ACT recommended core curriculum."

24 Massachusetts organizes their standards both chronologically and regionally, lending to our geographic/regional label. At the same time, on the emphasis appears to be on Western Civilization as teachers are asked to prioritize events and ideas in world history that have contributed to American democracy.

25 Nevada provided content materials for the standards that we used for this designation.

26 The content guidelines in the New York standards have elements of a geographic/regional approach because they suggest that teachers and students should look at the history and geography of world regions separately.

27 While the North Carolina reflects the NCSS pattern, they also provide specific objectives for world history with heavy stress on western civilization. The introduction to the world history standards states that these standards concentrate on "civilizations that have shaped the development of the United States."

28 Pennsylvania's standards show social studies influence, but the state also provides a world history guide that we evaluated as reflecting the Global World History pattern.

29 Rhode Island provides standards outlines, rather than a state-wide curricular model. In its guide, Rhode Island used the outline of the National Standards for World History, which is the reason we categorized their standards as Global World History.

30 Washington's standards are clearly Social Studies. However, the state recently created a framework for world history that utilized a modified Global World History pattern to organize the other standards.

 
   

 
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