Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

The effect of selected materials on the achievement of students in the intermediate grades in Native American cultural instruction

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  • Materials concerning ethnic and minority groups are a concern for many curriculum leaders. Inappropriate materials perpetuate stereotypes, in many cases due to a lack of study concerning the information within the materials. The materials concerning Native Americans typically presented in public school classrooms tend to overgeneralize information about the cultural groups of native people found in North America. This study addressed the content of materials pertaining to one specific group, the Native American of the Great Plains region. The researcher questioned the traditional curriculum materials found in the Kansas history program used in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade instruction, which concerned the Indians who resided in the area. Traditional materials addressed only the culture found after the horse was an established part of the culture of the native inhabitants. The prehistory of the native people before Anglo-Saxon intervention and the changes that occurred because of the introduction of the horse into the cultures of the Great Plains region was limited. Materials that contained descriptions of the history before white settlement and changes that occurred because of the horse were developed by the researcher. In an effort to determine the most suitable grade level to implement such curriculum, the researcher tested self-developed materials in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. A pretest posttest design was utilized for the study. Descriptive statistics were compiled for all data sets and for the total sample. Pretest mean scores and posttest mean scores for each grade level were compared employing a t-test for repeated measures. Analysis of covariance using pretest scores as the covariant was employed to compare performance at the grade levels investigated (4-6). Multiple comparisons of the adjusted posttest means were made employing least square means. The results cited in the study indicate that the posttest mean score was significantly larger than the pretest mean score for all groups tested. The most significant increase was noted at the fourth grade level. Based upon the achievement of the students tested, after adjustments were made for preknowledge, the developed materials appeared to be most ideally suited for fourth grade level students. Samples of the materials that were developed by the researcher are included in the Appendices of the paper.
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