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Measuring History: Cases of State-Level Testing Across the United States

By: S. G. Grant;

2006 / Information Age Publishing / 9781607525400


Measuring History complements the cases presented in Wise Social Studies Practices (Yeager & Davis, 2005). Yeager and Davis highlight the rich and ambitious teaching that can occur in the broad context of state-level testing. In this book, the chapter authors and I bring the particular state history tests more to the fore and examine how teachers are responding to them. At the heart of Measuring History are cases of classroom teachers in seven states (Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Texas, Mississippi, and Virginia) where new social studies standards and new, and generally high-stakes, state-level history tests are prominent. In these chapters, the authors describe and analyze the state’s testing efforts and how those efforts are being interpreted in the context of classroom practice. The results both support and challenge prevailing views on the efficacy of testing as a vehicle for educational reform. Catherine Horn (University of Houston) and I lay the groundwork for the case studies through a set of introductory chapters that examine the current environment, the research literature, and the technical qualities of history tests.


  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Ch 1: Introduction: Measuring History
  • Ch 2: The State of State-Level History Tests
  • Ch 3: Research on History Tests
  • Ch 4: The Technical Realities of Measuring History
  • Ch 5: Paradox of Practice: Expanding and Contracting Curriculum in a High-Stakes Climate
  • Ch 6: Teaching History in the Age of Accountability: Measuring History or Measuring Up to It?
  • Ch 7: Using Primary Documents With Fourth-Grade Students: Talking About Racism While Preparing for State-Level Tests
  • Ch 8: Teaching in Spite of, Rather than Because of, the Test: A Case of Ambitious History Teaching in New York State
  • Ch 9: Teaching in a High-Stakes Testing Setting: What Becomes of Teacher Knowledge?
  • Ch 10: Teaching History in the Old Dominon: The Impact of Virginia's Accountability Reform on Seven Secondary Beginning History Teachers
  • Ch 11: Negotiating Control and Protecting the Private: Accountability, History Teachers, and the Virginia Standards of Learning
  • Ch 12: Does Anybody Really Understand This Test?Ž Florida History School Social Studies Teachers Efforts to Make Sense of the FCAT
  • Ch 13: The Impact of a High School Graduation Examination on Mississippi Social Studies Teachers' Instructional Practices
  • Ch 14: Measuring History Through State-Level Tests: Patterns and Themes
  • Ch 15: The Future of High-Stakes History Assessment: Possible Scenarios, Potential Outcomes
  • About the Authors