TPS Spotlight: SHEG & Beyond the Bubble

SHEG Beyond the Bubble

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) is an award-winning research and development group that seeks to improve education by conducting research, working with school districts, and reaching directly into classrooms with free materials for teachers and students. Beyond the Bubble is the cornerstone of SHEG’s membership in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Consortium.


Beyond the Bubble uses Library of Congress primary sources in easy-to-use History Assessments of Thinking (HATs) that capture students’ knowledge in action – rather than their recall of discrete facts. SHEG has created more than 100 HATs that range from the 13th century through the 20th century.

Beyond the Bubble assessments focus on three pillars of thinking historically.

Evaluation of evidence involves the critical assessment of historical sources.  It includes the following:

  • Sourcing asks students to consider who wrote a document as well as the circumstances of its creation. Who authored a given document? When? For what purpose?
  • Contextualization asks students to locate a document in time and place, and to understand how these factors shape its content.
  • Corroboration asks students to consider details across multiple sources to determine points of agreement and disagreement.

Historical knowledge encompasses various ways of knowing about the past, including:

  • Historical information is the recognition and recall of important factual data.
  • Significance requires students to evaluate the importance of people and events.
  • Periodization asks students to group ideas and events by era.
  • Narrative is deep knowledge of how the past unfolded over time.

Historical argumentation requires the articulation of historical claims and the use of evidence to support them.

Assessment overviews and rubrics (basic, emergent, proficient) are available online for all HATs but users must register to download the .pdf files of the assessments, which may be printed or filled in online, and access links to the featured primary sources. There is no cost for registration.

Tupac Amaru II

Beyond the Bubble also includes 10 “flagship” assessments, each marked with a ribbon. Flagship assessments feature annotated sample student responses and “Going Deeper” videos that provide insights into the assessments and ideas for how to use them.

student sample

There are a variety of ways to access and sort the HATs.

All – by time period


Historical Skills

Other fantastic SHEG resources include the Civic Online Reasoning Curriculum and over 100 Reading Like a Historian lessons, some of which are now available in Spanish and some of which feature photographs from the Library of Congress.