UMBCCenter for History Education

History Labs

A Guided Approach to Historical Inquiry in the K-12 Classroom

Assessing Student Learning

Watch teachers (informally) assess student learning in the classroom. Teachers and administrators discuss how historical thinking and literacy skills are evaluated through History Labs.

Assessing students’ historical thinking is different than measuring their knowledge of historical content. While the two are not mutually exclusive, traditional assessments of history have focused on the recall of specific facts through multiple-choice, true-false, fill-in-the-blank, or matching questions, as well as short-answer responses and identifications. In contrast, the History Labs model seeks to assess the skills and complexity of the thinking and understanding behind student interpretations of evidence and responses to overarching questions.

Louisiana Purchase map“In a history classroom, skills and process are linked together, just like they are in a math classroom or an English classroom. It is hard to separate those two things. The difference is you are assessing students’ application, as opposed to what they remember.”