Evaluation and Impact
Results of a recent randomized controlled trial of Facing History in context: The National Professional Development and Evaluation Project: Continuing a Tradition of Research on the Foundations of Democratic Education
Results of the study aligned with critical needs in education: National Evaluation Study of Facing History and Ourselves: Outcomes and Implications
A brief summary of the study: Improving Teacher Effectiveness, Student Academic Performance, and Civic Learning
Highlights from research on the impact of Facing History and Ourselves: Master Evaluation Research Summary
More on how we measure the impact of our programs on teachers, students, schools and communities: Profile of Director for Evaluation Dennis Barr
At Facing History and Ourselves, we set out with a defining purpose that's both humanistic and civic: to help teachers and students confront the complexities of history in ways that promote critical thinking, academic achievement, and moral development.
Facing History uses the tools of education to combat bigotry and nurture democracy, and in turn, transforms teachers, students, and schools. Researchers have used the tools of social science to document our program’s effectiveness since its inception more than 34 years ago.
How do we know it works?
Few other non-profits have been so rigorously evaluated by third-party researchers. Based on our record of systematic evaluation, we are recognized as providing evidence-based best practice in civic, character, and history education. Highly regarded university researchers and independent research firms have conducted key studies using state of the art designs.
Extensive research history — Our own evaluation department and outside research evaluators have conducted more than 100 studies of Facing History since its inception. Studies have been completed using a wide range of methods, from qualitative case studies, to survey research, to quasi-experimental and experimental studies (randomized controlled trials).
Powerful Impact on students and teachers — Results show the program's positive impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning.
They demonstrate that our work increases teachers’ capacity to create engaging learning environments, and to foster students’ civic, moral, and historical understanding and skills. At the same time, the results show that as we expand students' understanding of history and their engagement with it, students increase their civic engagement and critical thinking skills.
The comprehensive body of research regarding our program has consistently demonstrated its significant influence on three areas:
Teacher effectiveness and professional satisfaction
Student achievement and civic engagement
School climate and culture
For Teachers: Professional Growth – Greater Effectiveness – Greater Satisfaction
Specifically, research shows that our approach creates the following impact among teachers:
- Increases teachers’ capacity to effectively create student and community-centered learning environments.
- Increases teachers’ ability to broaden students’ historical understanding and social and civic responsibility.
- Increases educators’ professional engagement, satisfaction and sense of personal accomplishment.
For Students: Academic Engagement – Critical Thinking Skills – Growth in Character and Civic Skills
Research also shows that our programs create the following impact among students:
- Increases academic and civic engagement.
- Improves historical understanding, social awareness and empathy, critical thinking, and moral reasoning.
- Increases students’ inter-group tolerance, awareness of racism, and reduction in racist attitudes.
- Decreases fighting.
For Schools: Increased Teacher Effectiveness and Commitment – Integrates with Whole School Reform – Transforms School Culture – Promotes Respectful Relationships
Finally, research also shows that our work with educators and students creates the following impact within school cultures:
- Creates a common language and vocabulary for teachers and students to work towards common goals for the school community. It grounds academic learning in respectful relationships, creating space for all students’ voices, and so brings meaning to democratic practices inside and outside the classroom.
- Offers tools and language to address common challenges of adolescence such as ostracism, developing an identity, and a meaningful sense of membership. Teaching strategies and compelling content effectively enable teachers to engage students.
- Our professional development seminars and follow-up coaching foster teacher re-invigoration and increase teacher commitment by equipping educators with the skills and confidence to empower their students to achieve meaningful academic progress.
“I know of no more powerful curricular program or professional development experience than Facing History. It teaches teachers how to complicate students’ thinking so that they don’t accept simple answers to complex programs.” –President, state association of school superintendents
The National Professional Development and Evaluation Project (NPDEP) –
In 2005, Facing History and Ourselves launched a partnership with university scholars and Abt Associates, Inc., a highly experienced research and evaluation organization, to carry out a state of the art, randomized, controlled, experimental study of Facing History and Ourselves’ lasting impact on teachers and students.
Here are three documents which offer, in-depth, mid-length and short summaries of the findings and the context of this latest experimental research:
- Continuing a Tradition of Research on the Foundations of Democratic Education – The National Professional Development and Evaluation Project
Summarizes the context of the NPDEP study, its measures and findings. This in-depth analysis details the thinking behind the study and describes the new tools that made it possible. Explores how the study builds on 34 years of research on Facing History and Ourselves (PDF, 47 pp). Download
- National Evaluation Study of Facing History and Ourselves: Outcomes and Implications
Summarizes the key teacher and student outcomes of the NPDEP, and how the study addresses urgent needs in education (PDF, 16 pp). Download
- Improving Teacher Effectiveness, Student Academic Performance, and Civic Learning
This document provides a brief overview of the key teacher and student outcomes (web and PDF, 5 pp). Download
- Master Evaluation Research Summary
Summary of teacher and student outcomes based on a range of studies from the past 34 years (including two recent randomized controlled studies) is available here (PDF, 13 pp). Download
Highlights of the Summary include:
- In 2006, Facing History was identified as a best practice in Holocaust Education by The Berman Center for Research & Evaluation in Jewish Education. (Berman, 2006)
- A 2005 national review of character education programs by scholars at the Center for Character and Citizenship identified Facing History as a scientifically supported character education program. (Berkowitz and Bier, 2005)
- In 2004, an expert in civic education reviewed Facing History’s program and evaluation research and concluded that the program provides quality civic education practice in keeping with field principles articulated in the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Civic Mission of Schools report. (Fine, 2004)
- In 2001, the U.S. Department of Education designated Facing History and Ourselves as a “Promising Program” based on a review by the Department's Independent Expert Panel on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools.