My Small Contribution to Digital Humanities
January 12, 2011
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I just finished reading Stephen Ramsey‘s post “On Building,” and I began to think about how I plan to “build” in the field of history education.
First, blogging strikes me as a positive first step in building for the digital humanities. If done regularly and well, it requires a rudimentary knowledge of backend administration (or at least the willingness to putz around to figure it out), and it teaches a person how code tags work.
Second, in the last four years, I have become increasingly fascinated with the statistical correlations between AP exam scores and other data. A major study in Texas suggested that even a “failing” grade of a 2 on one AP exam correlates with a significant increase in college graduation rates. I have used this study to highlight over and over again, to both students and parents (and even to other teachers and administrators), the work ethic that AP tends to foster in students. After hearing the results of this study for the first time (and because of National Board’s emphasis on student data collection and analysis), I began collecting data on all my AP students. After three years, I began to notice statistically significant correlations between midterm multiple choice score and AP exam scores, and this allowed me to zero in on students in the “danger zone,” helping them with their shore up their knowledge of a certain historical period or practice a specific skill necessary to pass the AP exam. I would like to continue this work (somehow) in my PhD program, and Ramsey’s post further confirms my notion that this should not be an outlier behavior amongst history educators.
Data mining: check.
Now, I just need to learn how to code…