The study took place in schools that are located in proximity to eight Facing History regional offices in the US: Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville/Memphis, New England, New York/New Jersey, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Schools that had no exposure or very limited previous exposure to Facing History were recruited to participate in the study.
Schools: Among the 62 schools present at follow-up, 69% of schools in the study sample were district public schools, 23% were other types of public schools (e.g., charter schools), and 8% were private schools. Average enrollment was 1,014 students (with actual enrollment ranging from 87 to 4,000 students). 66% were underperforming schools based on federal criteria (i.e. did not meet Annual Yearly Progress for 2 consecutive years). 25% had 90% or more of the students eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL). 60% had 40%–89% of students eligible for FRPL.
Teachers: Among the analytic sample of 113, average experience was 8.49 years (ranging from 1 to 34); more than 75% of the sample had 12 or more years of experience. The average years teaching at one’s current institution was 4.38. 61% had at least a master’s degree, 81% were white. 67% taught history, 22% taught English language arts, and 11% taught other types of humanities classes.
Students: Among the analytic sample for most of the student outcomes (i.e. those who completed survey Book 1), two thirds were 10th graders. 60% were female. Students self-identified as Hispanic (36%), White (32%), Black (13%), Asian (13%), and Other (6%). 71% had English as their first language. Among the remaining 29%, 75% of these students indicated Spanish as their first language and the remaining 25% reported Chinese, Vietnamese, or Tagalog, among others. Slightly less than half of both mothers and fathers of students had completed high school or less.
Teachers in the intervention condition participated in Facing History summer professional development and traditional school year follow-up services in year 1 (2007-08). They attended a Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior professional development seminar during the summer or fall of 2007 and implemented the program during the 2007–2008 school year, during which they received follow-up support from Facing History staff as they developed their lesson plans and implemented their units. Seminars are typically five days long (35–40 hours) and allow participants to explore the content, themes, practices, and resources of the program and to learn how to apply them in their classrooms. Teachers were also provided with a classroom set of the resource book, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, and access to the program’s print and digital resources, including unit outlines and historical content.
Teachers in the control condition were to participate in Facing History professional development and and receive follow-up services in year 2 (2008-09). In year 1, these control group teachers received no services and continued to use the standard practices for history and language arts courses in their districts.
Support for implementation
Program staff members provide at least one hour-long initial follow-up meeting to help teachers plan their implementation. Additional ongoing coaching, print and digital resources, modeling of lessons, and guest speakers were provided upon request to help teachers refine implementation and address challenges.