Posts Tagged ‘history education’


KCSS statement

In Alerts,Spotlight on April 20, 2018 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , , , , ,

The Kentucky Council for the Social Studies (KCSS) has issued a statement advocating the inclusion of more Social Studies as a graduation requirement for Kentucky high school students. See the Kentucky Department of Education’s website on minimum requirements here:

KCSS seeks to have more attention paid to civic health – and readiness for civic engagement as an adult. Read the KCSS statement on their website here:



Fake News, Civics Reasoning

In Spotlight on January 13, 2017 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , ,

Reading like a historianAs history educators we are constantly teaching how to read critically – whether by example or in our assignments. So, the recent hullabaloo about “fake” news probably makes you want to just shake your head in disbelief that this is happening with such alacrity. This is the time for us as educators – whether in our classrooms or in general for our local communities – to take a leadership role. The public in general needs to be reminded that all information sources need to be analyzed for frame of reference and documented evidence. They need resources to make this kind of analysis happen, and we are the best at doing this kind of work.

Recently the News Literacy Project put out a questionnaire that you could share with others to use: “Ten Questions for Fake News Detection.” It’s a good place to start with those who are not yet proficient at close reading – or reading like a historian.

The Stanford History Education Group has done a lot of work in this area. Recently, they published a report summarizing what they found in their research: “Evaluating Information: The cornerstone of civic online reasoning, Executive summary.” (November 22, 2016). The summary provides examples of assessments for middle school, high school, and college students. You might consider taking this on as a challenge for yourself and find if your own community-based research (or research projects by your students) garner the same results.

Please reply to this post and let us know what you are doing in this area.


Drop in history majors?

In Alerts,Spotlight on March 25, 2016 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: ,

In the most recent issue of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, Julia Brookins described some disturbing findings on the latest trends in the number of history degrees in higher education.


“The number of history BAs and BSs completed in the United States fell for the third time in four years, this time by 9.1 percent from the previous year, from 34,360 to 31,233. This is the largest year-to-year change for undergraduate history degrees since a 9.8 percent increase in 1992.”


Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Brookins asserts that the large drop in history baccalaureate degrees earned last academic year is part of a downward trend that will continue through the decade.

chart showing drops in history bachelor's degrees by institution type

from Brookins, “New Data Show Large Drop in History Bachelor’s Degrees,” AHA Perspectives on History (March 2016)

The institution types listed above are based on the Carnegie classification system – for example, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are classified as “Research Universities: Very High Research Activity.” This is the group of universities, nationally, that saw the deepest drop in history bachelor’s degrees.

In Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s data profiles (baccalaureate degrees by institution and major start on page 91), the drop over time has been happening since 2008 for our research institutions, while the public comprehensive institutions are generally doing well, with Northern Kentucky University offering a huge increase in history degree production. Overall, the public comprehensive institutions have kept our history bachelor’s degree production on the increase in Kentucky.

KY Public Postsec Institution ’08-09 ’09-10 ’10-11 ’11-12 ’12-13 Total in 5 yrs
Morehead State University 7 11 15 15 17 65
Murray State University 31 26 24 22 13 116
Eastern Kentucky University 25 27 42 33 47 174
Western Kentucky University 18 39 30 43 49 179
Northern Kentucky University 49 60 34 43 73 259
University of Louisville 57 54 53 63 47 274
University of Kentucky 83 75 73 67 70 368
Totals by Academic Year 270 292 271 286 316

(Note: Kentucky State University does not offer a degree in history.)


AHA History Tuning Project

In Spotlight on October 23, 2013 by Randolph Hollingsworth Tagged: , , , , ,

Have you been following the American Historical Association’s Tuning Project? The AHA teamed up with Lumina Foundation to conduct a nationwide, faculty-led project to “articulate the disciplinary core of historical study” and to “define what a student should understand and be able to do at the completion of a history degree program.”

They’ve recently released a new version of its Discipline Core – a statement of “the central habits of mind, skills, and understanding that students achieve when they major in history.” This is the second version created by the faculty director of the project, Anne F. Hyde (Colorado College), who incorporated feedback from last year’s publication.

They have listed six core competencies with 5 or 6 learning outcomes under each competency (  According to the AHA Tuning Project faculty, history students can:

  1. Engage in historical inquiry, research, and analysis.
  2. Practice historical empathy.
  3. Understand the complex nature of the historical record.
  4. Generate significant, open-ended questions about the past and devise research strategies to answer them.
  5. Craft historical narrative and argument.
  6. Practice historical thinking as central to engaged citizenship.

If you are teaching a historical methods class this year, take a look at your syllabus and see if your assignments have aligned with the core competencies laid out in the AHA Tuning document.

There is an excellent critique of the document in EdWired – check out “Getting History in Tune” by Mills Kelly (aka @EdWiredMills on Twitter), historian at George Mason University.

If you’ve got some ideas you’d like to share for other Kentucky history educators about the AHA Tuning History Discipline Core, please reply to this post.

For more information, see the project webpage at

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