Survey Results from the Cambridge Class

As promised, here are the results from the Cambridge classes. The questions were the same.

There was greater diversity of opinion with regard to the Most Important Historical Event. However, 9/11 and the election of Barack Obama were central, with 9/11 playing a more central role with more students. The “All Others” category included the Crimean conflict, Syrian uprising, nuclear Korea/Iran, The Great Recession, the Iraq War and Sandy Hook.

Opinions about the Most Important Historical event were not gendered at all. The only significant demographic variable had to do with the importance placed on the election of President Obama. Few white students suggested this as their top choice.

The Cambridge course only covers US History from the 1840’s to 1941, so differences between AP students and Cambridge are expected. The Cambridge course places especial emphasis on the Progressive Era and the Depression, so it’s not surprising that that these two themes scored among the top. The Civil War is also an important theme. What is surprising is the fact that most students felt that the 1920’s had the greatest impact. The Cambridge course really does not emphasize the 1920’s as much as the other top scorers. Students who were most influenced by the 1920’s mostly explained that it had to do with the contributions to the arts from that time, especially dance. My high school is a center for the arts. This might explain this phenomenon.

There was more diversity of opinion about the most pressing challenges of the next 20-30 years than with the AP class. Cambridge students believed that war and conflict would play a more crucial role in their futures. As with the AP class, the economy was of concern to most students. Yet, as with the AP class, concerns about technology also scored high. What is it about this generation, the most technologically sophisticated and savvy of any previous generation, and their concerns about technology? Do they know something that the rest of us don’t? Or are they echoing the concerns expressed by their parents about the good old days when math was done in your head…la de da de da!?

Exercises like this really help me tune in to the student’s concerns and mindsets for the following year.

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