ORCID

http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4019-2097

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)

Department

Education Specialties

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Rene Parmar

Abstract

Since the mid-1990s there have been several attempts at wide-scale educational reform in the United States. The majority of educational research that has been conducted has focused on the impact of these reform movements on student achievement outcomes, the development of 21st century skills for students to compete in the global economy, the financial impacts on schools and school districts for implementing mandated curriculum changes, or the evaluation of specific programs (Polleck & Jeffery, 2017; Lee & Wu, 2017). Several gaps in the existing literature have led to an incomplete picture of reform efforts, including the impact of teacher perceptions on implementing mandated curriculum changes in social studies, specifically at the secondary level.

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine secondary social studies teachers’ perceptions of mandated curriculum changes under the New York State K-12 Framework, implemented in 2014. The study was conducted in a suburban New York public high school and utilized data from focus groups of teacher-participants, individual interviews of teacher-participants and administrator-participants, and a content analysis of the implementation of the New York State K-12 Framework for Social studies from New York State and through department documentation.

Analysis of the data collected revealed three key findings in this study. First, that mandated curriculum changes in the social studies classroom negatively impacted social studies teachers’ perception of teaching and methodology by shifting away from a traditional, content-based social studies education because the new literacy skill-based assessments became the overall driving force in their instructional practices. Second, a breakdown in communication between teachers, administrators, and New York State has caused teachers to become disheartened and frustrated with the implementation of mandated curriculum in the social studies classroom, resulting in them relying on collaboration with their colleagues for planning and support. Third, teachers perceived the implementation of mandated curriculum changes had impacted their desire for increased opportunities for collaboration with colleagues through high-quality professional development sessions. The implications of these findings for educators, school leaders, and policy makers will be discussed.

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