Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

At what level has standards-based education reform initiatives influenced Oregon high school history instruction and classroom practices? Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate Oregon public high school history teacher perspectives concerning standards-based reform initiatives springing from the No Child Left Behind legislation. The central question addressed in this study is: At what level has Standards-Based Education reform initiatives impacted Oregon high school history instruction and classroom practices? Paramount to that investigation are questions concerning curriculum guidance, assessment practices, teacher praxis, and school climate conditions. This research enterprise uses a mixed methods approach which encompasses quantitative and qualitative components. As a descriptive study, a two-phase explanatory approach is achieved utilizing an electronic teacher survey instrument and selective follow-up teacher interviews. The survey instrument was modeled after a three state comprehensive research project implemented by the Rand Corporation entitled Standard-Based Accountability Under No Child Left Behind (2007). To accomplish this research investigation, all of the public high school history teachers in Oregon were solicited to participate in the study. Regional distinctions inclusive of urban, suburban, and rural designations were allocated to evaluate any geographic differences in responses. The major findings of the study reveal that teachers perceived an alignment of curriculum to state mandated standards in history, consider their textbooks representative of those standards, acknowledge minimal changes in their teaching praxis for the 2008-2009 school year, rarely administer the voluntary state sponsored Social Studies Knowledge and Skill Test or progress tests, receive minimal administrative or district curriculum oversight, find student preparation and absenteeism to be impediments to learning, and have limited professional development activities associated with state standards or history assessment activities. The conclusions derived from the study show that without a mandated assessment the reality of alignment with standards can not definitively be established. Additionally as an exploratory study the groundwork has been established to further evaluate: the adaptation of content standards, the need for a mandated assessment device in the social studies, the isolationism of Oregon classroom teachers, the limited state and district support and oversight for standards, the need to consider what evidence ascertains that student improvement naturally stems from mandated reforms based on state sponsored curriculum and performance standards.
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