In mid-December, 33 tenth grade students, three teachers, assorted parents, and four guest judges gathered to watch the first ever Constitutional Amendments Film Festival at our school. The film festival was the largest and most complex research-based project of the three we’d done since school began this year. My colleagues and I had committed our students to two and one-half weeks of research, film creation, and film editing.
Every state requires high school students to take a US History survey course. For the makers of the SAT Subject Test, every event, every President, every person of note is of equal importance and equally likely to show up on the examination. If I were a college admissions director I would want an assessment that sought to tease out a young person’s sense of what it means to be an engaged citizen, not how many facts they know about President James Garfield.