The current buzz in the state of Kansas is the upcoming state level social studies assessment. It’s scheduled for full release during the 2015-2016 school year with a pilot release next spring.

It’ll be interesting.

Because we’re trying to do something that we haven’t done before. Measure historical thinking skills, not the ability to memorize foundational knowledge. We can’t just use simple multiple choice.

Obviously, part of the process is to encourage the teaching of these sorts of skills at the classroom level and to develop different types of assessment strategies that teachers can use.


Four online tools that you can use to measure the historical thinking skills of your kids:

1. One of the first and one of my favorite places to find assessment ideas and examples is at Sam Wineburg’s Stanford History Education Group. Use their Reading Like a Historian lesson plans to both deliver content and historical thinking skills. Use their Beyond the Bubble site to get easy to use, ready to use assessments.

2. Check out this Historical Thinking rubric to help you design your own assessments.

3. The Library of Congress is the primary sources / historical thinking expert. They’ve been together a complete online journal of historical thinking assessment ideas and resources.

4. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Assessment Resource Center for History has created a series of tools that could be very useful as you create lessons, activities, and assessments. Start with their performance assessment template. Then jump over to their sample assessments. And end up on their rubric page with ideas for both elementary and secondary teachers.