National History Day Contest Rule Book
Above is a link to the National History Day Rulebook. The Oklahoma National History Day contest is a recognized state affiliate of the National History Day contest and upholds the rules of the National History Day rulebook.
What is Oklahoma National History Day?
Each year thousands of Oklahoma students, encouraged by teachers statewide, participate in the Oklahoma National History Day (OkNHD) program. OkNHD is a part of National History Day and is a highly regarded academic program for 6–12 grade students. More than 750,000 students across the country participate every year!
Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources students draw conclusions about their topics' significance in history before presenting their work in original papers, exhibits, performances, websites, and documentaries. The student projects are entered into competitions in the spring at regional, state, and national contests where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. Each May students from across Oklahoma compete in the state finals. The program culminates in the National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Student projects will be judged based on the following criteria:
- Historical Quality - 60%
- Relation to Theme - 20%
- Clarity of Presentation - 20%
How is an Entry to Oklahoma History Day Evaluated?
Regardless of which category a student enters, the following principles of evaluation will be used in the judging of National History Day entries.
The most important aspect of an entry is its historical quality, which determines 60 percent of the total evaluation. The judges' evaluation will rest on the students' success at conducting historical research, interpreting their research, and drawing conclusions. A superior rating generally reflects positive responses to the following questions:
- Is the entry historically accurate?
- Does the entry provide analysis and interpretation of the historical data in addition to an accurate description? The entry should interpret facts, not simply recount them.
- Does the entry demonstrate an understanding of the historical context–the intellectual, physical, social, and cultural setting?
- Does the entry reflect historical perspective–the causes and consequences of an event, for example, or the relationship of a local topic to larger events?
- Does the annotated bibliography demonstrate solid research?
- Does the entry demonstrate a balanced presentation of materials?
- Does the entry use a variety of viewpoints (e.g., those who suffered as well as those who benefited, males, females, individuals from different racial or ethnic socioeconomic groups, as appropriate to the topic)?
- Does the entry demonstrate the use of available primary sources and secondary sources?
Clarity of Presentation
Although historical quality of an entry is the most important facet, entries must be presented in an effective manner. Thus, clarity of presentation is worth 20 percent of the total evaluation. Do not be carried away by glitz; simpler is often–but not always–better. The following questions will be considered by judges when looking at clarity of presentation:
- Is the entry original, creative, well organized, and imaginative in subject and presentation?
- Is the entry effective in communicating the significance of the topic?
- Is the written material clear, grammatical, and correctly spelled?
- In exhibits, are the title, sectional divisions, and main points easy to discern?
- Are photographs and images appropriate in terms of content and location?
- Is the overall project pleasing to the eye?
- In a documentary or performance, is the script clear?
- In a performance, do the students display stage presence?
- Is the visual material clear and appropriate for the type of entry?
- Do the students display adequate familiarity with their equipment?
Adherence to Theme
The entry must clearly explain the relation of the topic to the annual National History Day theme. This section is worth 20 percent of the total evaluation. The topic should be placed in historical context, and the entry must demonstrate the student's understanding of the significance of the topic in history. The entry should not confuse fame with significance. In other words, the entry should answer the questions "So what? Why was this important?" It should not be just descriptive. The relationship of the entry's topic to the yearly theme should be explicit and should be integrated into the entry itself.