U.S. History Through Young People's Eyes: An Efficacy Study of Mission US
2021 to 2024

According to the Nation’s Report Card, a staggering 88% graduate from U.S. high schools without proficiency in U.S. history and thus lack an essential component of informed citizenship. This is partly because of limited instructional time—Grade 8 students receive only 4.2 hours per week in history, as compared to 6.5 hours in English Language Arts and 5 hours in math. One way to engage students in learning history is to create history learning resources that are designed to be relevant and appealing to young people's interests and regular activities, while simultaneously immersing students in historical events. Mission US is one such resource: Mission US is an award-winning series of online interactive role-playing games and supporting curricular materials, designed for Grades 5–9 and free to users.

With funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, this project will investigate the impact of three Mission US games and materials on Grade 8 students’ knowledge of U.S. history, their ability to analyze and interpret documents, and their motivation to study history, as well as the possible mediating effect of historical empathy on these student outcomes. These skills are increasingly reflected in many state assessments and are particularly critical at a time of national reckoning over race and history.

EDC is collaborating with WNET/THIRTEEN, Electric Funstuff, and the American Social History Project (ASHP) at CUNY for this project.