Date of Award
University or Center
Atlanta University (AU)
School of Education
Dr. Stephen Herrmann
Purpose of the Study
The most tangible and significant interpretation of a public school system's educational goals and objectives is the curriculum which embraces and transmits the identified educational ideologies. Curriculum development and its attendant processes mirror the philosophies, beliefs, and attitudes of a school system's perceptions of and projections for those who are to be served educationally.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the theoretical constructs in the development of upper elementary Social Studies Curriculum in twenty-five (25) selected urban school districts. The study was guided by four (A) research questions which asked:
1. What are the basic and essential elements which guide the development of the Social Studies Curriculum?
2. How and by whom are these basic and essential elements selected and incorporated into the Social Studies Curriculum?
3. Is there evidence that Social Studies Curriculum development has been influenced by the educational and social changes of the 1960's and 1970's?, and
4. What is the role of the local school district's curriculum administrator(s) in developing the Social Studies Curriculum?
Utilizing the Stratified Random Sampling Procedure, twenty-five (25) school districts were selected from an eligible sampling population of thirty-five (35) urban school districts. The investigator constructed a twenty-five (25) item Curriculum Development Inventory which was used to survey curriculum administrators in the selected urban school districts. The Inventory results treated statistically showed the frequency and percentage distributions by items, and the comparison of observed and expected frequency of response by means of chi-square one-sample test. The Curriculum Guides and Bulletins submitted by participating school districts were examined against a defined framework of theoretical positions and the "language" of the Guides and Bulletins was used as the associative indicator to define the theoretical constructs.
Based on the analysis of the data for this study and the inferences that were drawn from that data, the following conclusions were made:
1. The basic and essential elements which guide the development of Social Studies Curriculum are more clearly definable and generally articulated as goals and objectives.
2. There are few consistent or well-defined procedures for selecting and incorporating the basic and essential elements into the development of the Social Studies Curriculum. As goals and objectives ultimately emerge they represent a variety of procedures, rationales, and dictates.
3. The development of upper elementary Social Studies Curriculum evidences some influence by the educational and social changes of the 1960fs and 1970's.
4. The theories of Learning, Education, and Curriculum are evident in the over-all goals and objectives in Social Studies Curriculum development in the upper elementary levels of the school districts surveyed.
5. The findings suggest the existence of disproportionately low staffing patterns for the Social Studies by comparison to staffing patterns for the other content areas.
6. There is a significant lag in the revision of the Social Studies programs in the school districts surveyed, by reference to curriculum revisions in the other content areas.
7. The extent to which the Boards of Education and the superintendents of schools focus consistently on the status of the Social Studies in their school districts is limited and indirect.
Implications for Leadership Behavior
1. The continuing impact of social and political forces along with the redefining of priorities in education require committed and aggressive leadership to develop, implement, and maintain strong programs in the Social Studies while skillfully and deliberately orchestrating the elements of that educational milieu for the explicit purpose of delivering fully equitable educational experiences.
2. It would appear that an essential "skill" needed by educational leaders is the ability to "lobby" in behalf of strong, forward and equitable Social Studies programs, from a posture of valid commitment to the learners to be served, an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical constructs necessary to a substantive program, and a well-defined overview of the significant thrust an effective Social Studies program can bring to the overall curricula. This is an essential reality in promoting the Social Studies and validating it in the light of its tremendous potential for making education more responsibly responsive.
1. That the local policy making Board of Education or Board of School Trustees and the Superintendents of Schools take early action to reassess and re-evaluate the status of the Social Studies Curriculum in their school districts. It is the concern and impetus at this level that is needed now to keep Social Studies Education in the "mainstream" of educational experiences under the full endorsement of these boards and superintendents.
2. That the selection, appointment and retention of Social Studies administrators take into account: the level of awareness on the part of present and prospective administrators regarding the implications of social and political forces in direct relationship to curriculum development, their demonstrated abilities to plan and implement equitable educational programs, their beliefs in the learners for whom they will plan and manage programs, their astute sensitivities to the dynamic and far-reaching potentials in strong programs of Social Studies.
Pennington, Leenette Dolores Morse, "An investigation of the theoretical constructs in the development of the upper elementary school social studies curriculum in twenty-five selected urban school districts" (1979). ETD Collection for AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. 2557.