Abstract 4- Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 2007

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 2007



Understanding What Children Know About History: Exploring the Representation and Testing Dilemmas

S.G. Grant
University at Buffalo


Understanding what children know about history or social studies has proven illusive. In this think piece, I explore two dilemmas—the representation dilemma and the testing dilemma—that surround the question, “How do we know what children know?” I conclude that teachers, researchers, and policymakers must engage in conversations that put students’ representations of their historical knowledge and understanding at the forefront.

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About the Author(s)…

S. G. Grant is Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at the University at Buffalo. His research interests lie at the intersection of state curriculum and assessment policies and teachers’ classroom practices, with a particular emphasis in social studies. In addition to publishing papers in both social studies and general education journals, S.G. has published Reforming Reading, Writing, and Mathematics: Teachers’ Responses and the Prospects for Systemic Reform (1998; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates); History Lessons: Teaching, Learning, and Testing in High School Classrooms (2003; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), and Measuring History: Cases of State-Level Testing Across the United States (2006; Information Age Publishing). Contact information: sggrant@buffalo.edu, University at Buffalo.