An analysis of social studies skills in state curriculum guides
Petrini, Glenda Casey
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The purpose of this study was to answer an overall question: What is being recommended or required by states regarding social studies skills in actual curricula? The researcher examined curriculum guides to see how the states defined, classified, and organized the skills - determining whether patterns of agreement existed. Materials for the analysis were received from 39 states via letters sent to states' social studies supervisors. The states' materials were content-analyzed using the researcher's "Basic Analysis Process" which included a coding instrument based on the Essentials Of The Social Studies (1980) - a statement by NCSS to enumerate basic learning expectations for exemplary social studies programs. The method of research, the findings of the study, the literature search, and generalizations regarding curriculum guides should interest education professionals, curriculum designers, and researchers in general. The researcher's "Comparative Content Analysis System," which is based on ideas gained from research theory on qualitative study, includes a pretesting component, a "Basic Analysis Process" for the actual content analysis of the states' documents, and a system for collecting and summarizing the findings. Three special appendices illustrate the study's findings: a state by state summary of content analysis information and tables of quantitative data revealing, for example, the most dominant skills cited at specific grade levels. The literature search, which evolved into a history of the social studies skills spanning some 100 years, documented a continued situation of confusion and chaos relative to the skills. The content analysis indicated, in varying degrees, confusion extends into states' curriculum materials as well. An open-ended aspect of the study's design allowed for the emergence of the unexpected --- such as the researcher's findings regarding desirable characteristics of "ideal" curriculum guides.
- Doctoral Dissertations