According to the Nation’s Report Card, a staggering 88% of students graduate from U.S. high schools without proficiency in U.S. history and thus lack an essential component of informed citizenship. This is partly due to limited instructional time. Grade 8 students receive only 4.2 hours of history instruction per week, as compared to 6.5 hours in English language arts and 5 hours in math.

EDC is conducting a rigorous three-year study of Mission US, a widely used online role-playing game that seeks to enhance students’ historical literacy. The study, Mission US: US History Through Young People's Eyes, is examining the impact of the game on grade 8–10 students’ historical content knowledge, ability to analyze and interpret historical documents, and motivation to learn history.

Key Activities

EDC is collaborating with WNET, Electric Funstuff, and the American Social History Project to carry out the following activities:

  • Conduct a rigorous block randomized study that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Standards (WWC) without reservations
  • Evaluate the impact of Mission US on grade 8–10 students’ history knowledge and skills
  • Understand the mediating impact of historical empathy on students’ history knowledge and skills by developing and validating a new measure
  • Examine the cost effectiveness of using Mission US as a supplement to existing history curricula
  • Design a Mission US dashboard to improve teachers’ ability to evaluate students’ understanding, to differentiate instruction, and to adjust curriculum


Findings from the study will provide:

  • New insights into the effectiveness of an approach to supporting students in “doing history” that blends digital role-playing and interactive storytelling with classroom activities
  • Evidence to support the use of Mission US as part of a robust history curriculum
  • Professional development and other tools to build the capacity of social studies and history teachers to engage students in history learning
  • Actionable information about the costs of including Mission US in the classroom

Learn More

EDC Staff
Institute of Education Sciences

WNET, Electric Funstuff, The American Social History Project at CUNY