Coaching secondary students’ historical inquiry and textual interpretation using a contrasting case intervention

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Educational Leadership


This study presents findings from a Documents-Based ABA study conducted at a rural high school in Maine. The study focused on three history topics, and examined the impact of a contrasting-case intervention on secondary student’s historical inquiry and textual interpretation skills. The intervention was conducted with ten participants who engaged in a lesson that modeled historical thinking. The intervention lesson used two hypothetical student samples: one featured sophisticated strategies used by experts, and the other simple strategies commonly employed by secondary school students. Students compared and contrasted the two protocols. A Multiple Text Strategy inventory adapted from Braten and Stromso’s self report inventory, (2010) was also used to see how participants valued specific textual and intertextual elements. The findings revealed that after the intervention half the students demonstrated growth in historical inquiry and textual interpretation. Additionally 80% of participants experienced growth in at least one element of the essay task. We discuss the instructional implications of the Documents-Based Lesson and the Cognitive Apprenticeship model in bringing disciplined historical inquiry into the social studies classroom are also presented.


Rangeley Lakes Regional School and

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