Why NHD Works

Why NHD Works

National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students. By participating in NHD, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. The experience culminates in a series of contests at the local and affiliate levels and an annual national competition in the nation's capital in June.

An independent study from 2011 found that participation in the National History Day Contest benefits students far beyond the competition. National History Day not only transports classrooms back in time during the school year, it transforms young minds forever.

NHD Teaches

NHD teaches critical thinking, writing, and research skills and boosts performance across all subjects.

NHD students outperform their non NHD peers on state standardized tests in multiple subjects, including reading, science and math, as well as social studies.
One young man went from failing regular classes to excelling in AP classes as a result of NHD.
- NHD teacher
NHD students are better writers, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view.
NHD has a positive impact among students whose interest in academic subjects may wane in high school. Among African-American and Hispanic students, NHD students outperform non NHD students, posting higher performance assessment scores and levels of interest and skills.

NHD Prepares

NHD prepares students for college, careers, and citizenship.

NHD students learn 21st century college- and career-ready skills. They learn to collaborate with team members, talk to experts, manage their time and persevere.
NHD students are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze, and synthesize information.
History Day is the ultimate in integrated studies for content and skill development…It gives them an opportunity to question, explore and to think critically.
- Vicki Chase, Teacher

NHD Inspires

NHD inspires students to do more than they ever thought they could.

NHD opens new vistas, even for special education students like one in Florida who'd been put into a program for kids "who could not learn." Once placed in NHD - the only "regular" class he attended - he produced a documentary that made it to the state finals. The next year, he took two "regular" classes and produced another documentary for NHD that made it to nationals. By the end of high school, he was enrolled in all honors classes.
Competing in National History Day pushed those students beyond the mental and academic limits they had set for themselves.
- NHD teacher
During her first year with NHD, a Washington state teacher had 11 students whom she says had "fallen through a lot of cracks and some discovered they liked it there." None of them had ever participated in any kind of competition - not even sports.
Once in NHD, they all competed. Four placed locally and went on to compete at the state level. Thanks to the NHD experience, seven graduated from high school, three earned a GED, one graduated as a sixth-year senior, and a couple even went on to college.

See the Impact.

"...to understand where we come from, why we are what we are, that is found in history."
"I had the right, the responsibility, to tell that story to the best of my ability"
"It's a way to show who you are...and what the world has shown you."