Evaluation Results

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:

  1. Teacher effectiveness and professional satisfaction
  2. Student achievement and civic engagement
  3. 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

Continuing a Tradition of Research on the Foundations of Democratic Education

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Improving Teacher Effectiveness, Student Academic Performance, and Civic Learning

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Master Evaluation Research Summary

About These Studies

Evaluation Highlights Text Chunk

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.


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).


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). 


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). 


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). (PDF, 7 pp).

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