SHEG HATs for the win

Hat fail.

I’m not talking about an actual hat. Not a baseball cap. Or a visor. Or a bowler, beanie, beret, or bucket hat.

I’m talking about SHEG HATS.

As in Stanford History Education Group and History Assessments of Thinking.

I’m sure that you’ve been over to the very useful  Stanford History Education Group’s site with its three different tools, right? (If you haven’t, mmm . . . go there now and be amazed at how your life will be changed.)

All of us at the KCSS have been pushing Sam Wineburg’s work for years so I’m hoping you’re already familiar with the work his SHEG group has been doing around the idea of reading like a historian. They’ve packaged their work into three chunks – instructional lessons that focus on training kids analyze evidence to solve problems, onlive civic literacy lessons, and wait for it . . . HATS.

As in History Assessments of Thinking.

We know that we want kids to be effective at using evidence to make sense of historical and contemporary issues. And we can use the SHEG Reading Like a Historian lessons and other tools to train them to do that. The problem has always been measuring that type of learning. The SHEG HATs were designed to helps you do that.

The Beyond the Bubble / HATs section of the SHEG site has a whole series of short, easy to deliver, and easy to measure assessments of historical thinking. The section used resources from the Library of Congress to create over 80 assessments that measure students’ historical thinking rather than recall of facts.

There are 10 “flagship” assessments, each marked with a ribbon. Flagship assessments (such as The First Thanksgiving) have extended features, including annotated sample student responses and “Going Deeper” videos that provide insights into the assessments and ideas for how to use them. The rest of the assessments are “alternative version” assessments (e.g., Napoleon’s Retreat). Each alternative version assessment features different Library of Congress documents but takes the same form as its flagship. Even if you don’t use the flagship assessment, the student responses and videos are useful for understanding the alternative versions.

HATs are organized by historical thinking skill type and by historical period. But up until a few months ago, it was hard to find HATs using those criteria. But with their latest website overhaul, the SHEG folks have created a list of all of their HATS chronologically in eight different time periods. How easy is that?

The fastest way to find the list is to click the Beyond the Bubble tab at the top of the SHEG page. Scroll down a bit past the description and click the “Click Here for a complete list of HATs.”

So you early history folks?  You can quickly find a HAT measuring a student’s ability to contextualize and corroborate by using an early Quran written in Seville. Fifth grade US history? Easily track down that awesome assessment on the Virginia Company. High school world history? No problem finding a HAT on South African Apartheid.

HAT win

So. No excuses. Head over and grab just what you need. (And be sure to explore the filters along the left side that allow you to search for HATs by historical thinking skill.)



About Glenn Wiebe

I work as a social studies specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Before coming to ESSDACK, I taught middle school US History and higher ed social science classes.

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