Beyond the Bubble: Creating HATs

Although our website contains multiple
versions of each type of assessment, you don’t have to be limited by the options
here. You can create your own version by
inserting documents from the Library of Congress’ vast collection. Here’s how to get started: First, identify the aspect of historical
thinking you want to assess. For example, the”Working in Paterson”
assessment focuses on students’ ability to judge a document’s reliability. Next, search the Library’s collection for
a suitable source. For a HAT similar to “Working in Paterson,” you’ll want to look for a document with
attributes that call its reliability into question. You might choose this interview with
Robert Carter about the end of the Civil War. Carter’s family owned slaves, and the
interview took place more than seventy years after the war. Like Costa’s account in Paterson, these
details raise questions about the document’s trustworthiness. After locating a document, provide a bit
of background information in a head-note to orient students to the source. Then adjust the prompt to correspond to the
document you’ve selected. For a “Working in Paterson”-type HAT, you’ll need to create a list of facts related to the document. Remember to include some facts that are
relevant to the document but irrelevant to evaluating its reliability. Finally, try out the HAT with your
students. After reading their responses, you may
find yourself tweaking the assessment — that’s been our experience. And, when you’ve created a strong HAT,
we hope you’ll share it with us

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