US students aren't learning enough history
More than half of American high school seniors failed a basic test of United States history, Education Secretary Richard Riley said Wednesday.
''This test says when measured against high standards, our children don't know enough - and that's probably right,'' Mr. Riley said in a statement that included the results of a 1994 nationwide test of 22,500 public and private school students.
Known as the Nation's Report Card, the test showed that 57 percent of 12th grade students performed below the basic level of achievement in history.
Questions on the exam by the National Assessment of Educational Progress were geared differently to the different age groups, with the high school seniors asked such large-scale questions as why the Great Awakening of the 1730s was important or why many leaders in Britain supported the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Younger students were asked to choose one of four famous places where an important event in American history occurred - the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg, or Roanoke Island - and explain why they would teach their classmates about that place.
''It's clear, as the song says, students don't know much about history,'' Riley said.
Eighth-Grader Calls Nobel Prize Winner for Homework Help
When Maggie Nerney needed some help with a science report, she went right to the top. She called a Nobel prize-winning chemist.
''He was very nice,'' Maggie said of Mario Molina, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor. ''He wanted to make sure I understood what he was telling me,'' said the Phillips Middle School student.
Dr. Molina and two other scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Oct. 11 for their work warning that gases once used in spray cans and other items are eating away Earth's ozone layer.
''I asked him how he became interested in science and he said that he had been interested as a child, and that he knew when he was in high school that he wanted to be a scientist,'' Maggie said.
Maggie said she handed in a report about her Oct. 18 talk with Molina. As of Tuesday, she was still waiting to see what grade it received.
- Associated Press