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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Social studies education in the context of standards-based education reform
by Bolton, Natalie, Ph.D., University of Louisville, 2008, 145; 3308486
Abstract (Summary)

Reform efforts to address excellence and equity under Goals 2000 and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act are fully being implemented across the nation and the impact of their efforts on social studies education is evident. Our knowledge base about the achievement levels of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and literacy areas or about opportunity-to-learn (OTL) conditions necessary for all students to achieve at high levels, relatively little knowledge exists about the status of America's students' knowledge and achievement, or their learning experiences, and the linkages between the two, in social studies.

The primary purposes of this study were to (a) focus attention on content that is foundational to preparing students to participate in a democratic and diverse society, civics and social studies education; and (b) begin to explore the ways in which OTL conditions are useful for understanding the levels of achievement attained by students overall, and by subgroup, in addressing equity gaps in such achievement. The researcher used Pearson correlation, multiple regression, and hierarchical liner modeling to explore the research questions.

The results of this exploratory statewide analysis of social studies achievement showed that similar patterns among student level and school level demographics were present in social studies achievement scores as compared to achievement scores in content areas currently receiving attention under NCLB. Although excellence and equity are goals of current education reform efforts the results of this study indicated that students who are male, African American, qualify for free or reduced lunch, and have a disability are being left behind in social studies. Additionally, study findings indicated that school social studies achievement scores would also be lower if the majority of the school's demographics reflected students who are male, African American, qualify for free or reduced lunch, and have a disability.

Few studies have addressed the relationship between OTL conditions and social studies achievement on large-scale assessments. The results of this study showed that OTL conditions are significant predictors of social studies achievement and should be explored further. In the hierarchical regression, results showed that after controlling for school demographics and teacher credentials, the analyses concluded that school OTL conditions predicted 20% of the variance in the total KCCT grade 8 school social studies score over and above mean school demographics and teacher credentials.

In the HLM analyses that two opportunity-to-learn (OTL) conditions (i.e., student reports of alignment between content taught and test items and how students reported how well they did on the assessment), after controlling for student level and school level demographics, significantly predicted almost one-third of the variance in social studies achievement on the grade 8 Kentucky Core Content Test.

Indexing (document details)
School: University of Louisville
School Location: United States -- Kentucky
Source: DAI-A 69/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Social studies education, Curricula, Teaching
Keywords: Large-scale assessment, Opportunity to learn, Social studies, Standards-based reform
Publication Number: 3308486
ISBN: 978-0-549-55009-9
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