History Blueprint

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Goals for the History Blueprint

An Opportunity for Transformation

History and the related social sciences of civics, government, and geography deserves more emphasis in the school curriculum than they have received in recent years. We believe that young people cannot become self-sustaining, responsible, and contributing members of their communities without high-quality history-social science education. Our discipline prepares future citizens for their democratic responsibilities and hones the problem-solving, critical thinking, and reading comprehension skills necessary in our globalized world.

We also believe that the quality of history-social science instruction must improve dramatically. Currently, students are failing to learn history-social science. Only 44 percent of students in 8th, 10th, and 11th grades reached the proficient level or above on the California Standards Test in history in 2009. Less than ten percent of English learners met that benchmark. Students with low levels of literacy and those who come from economically disadvantaged communities need the most support, but all students would benefit from engaging and innovative curriculum. Moreover, existing standardized assessments in history-social science focus more on recall of facts than on analysis and interpretation of primary sources, and the delayed release of student scores does not allow teachers to use the data to inform their teaching.

Creating Lasting Change

The CHSSP’s History Blueprint project is a state-of-the-art program to address these deficiencies and provide a model for national innovation. The Blueprint curriculum combines primary sources, multimedia and strategies for developing historical thinking and Common Core literacy skills, in order to engage students, improve student learning, and address the achievement gap. In addition, we are designing formative and summative assessment tools to measure student progress throughout the curriculum, which will allow teachers to plan instruction and parents to assess their children’s progress. Blueprint curriculum units also contain discipline-specific support for English learners and native speakers with low literacy. We focus on effective methods of improving student historical understanding and reading and writing skills, specified in the Common Core standards, in a systematic approach that can be replicated in classrooms nationwide.