Students who took the Debating U.S. History course had significantly higher rates of passing the New York State U.S. History and Government (USHG) Regents exam and obtained higher scores, compared to their peers.

Figure: Performance on the USHG Exam of Debating U.S. History and comparison students by passing, high, & average score (2016).

Three-quarters of Debating U.S. History students passed the USHG Regents Exam, and 46% passed with high scores (≥80)—nearly 10 percentage points higher than the comparison cohort. The course particularly benefited students with previous lower Global History Regents scores. The effect is cumulative, with increasing success at schools implementing the course for more than one year.

Beyond the Regents Exam, the Debating U.S. History program supported students in developing historical and critical thinking skills. Ninety-six percent of teachers surveyed said that after completing the course, students improved their ability to make claims and back them up with evidence. Similarly, 83% of teachers surveyed stated that students used sourcing, contextualization, close reading and corroboration more independently over the course of the year.

The Debating U.S. History program also supports teachers in shifting their classroom practice toward inquiry and student-centered lessons. As the charts below show, a survey of DUSH teachers demonstrates a clear shift toward working with primary source documents in class and away from teacher lecturing.

Additional data available on request.

Testimonies from teachers

Let’s face it, the textbook approach is outdated and ineffective—DUSH is more engaging and leads to further understanding because of the ‘debate’ approach and how the curriculum is primary source heavy.

Joe C.

PD sessions are a great way to get feedback and lesson modification ideas as well as curriculum support.

Nancy C.

The program is consistent, useful and organized with highly effective lesson plans that run smoothly in the classroom. It provides a differentiated structure with modified primary sources that also include vocabulary exercises to assist ELL students or even mainstream students who need to build their vocabulary skills.

Sophia K.

Debating U.S. History materials are amazing! ...what is especially helpful is the way they help break down the writing process, as well as how they implement analyzing documents and historical thinking skills into the curriculum... And I have been teaching for 21 years. I really feel that [these] resources have helped prepare my students for college much more than any other resource I have tried.

Beth F.