Skip to Content

Barton, Keith C., and Linda S. Levstik. “‘It Wasn't a Good Part of History’: National Identity and Students' Explanations of Historical Significance.” Teachers College Record 99(3) (1998): 478-513.


Investigated middle graders' understanding of the significance of distinct U.S. history events using interviews with fifth to eighth graders. Students noted steadily expanding rights and opportunities as a central theme in history but had difficulty incorporating some historical patterns and events into their image of progress. Most described little difference between official and vernacular histories.