Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Mary Ellen Freeley

Third Advisor

Roger Bloom


This study examined the perceptions of secondary social studies teachers regarding the influence of standards-based education reforms in social studies education. This qualitative inquiry utilized document analysis, focus groups and one-on-one interviews of secondary social studies teachers from a suburban high school in Long Island, New York. Participants possessed between one and twenty-five years of teaching experience and were currently teaching social studies classes in the 7th through 12th grades. Due to an existing lack of research on the topic, this study collected and analyzed data according to the grounded theory framework. Following a grounded theory model, this study identified social studies teachers’ perceptions regarding their experiences with standards-based reform legislation that had been implemented at the federal, state and local levels. The goal of such an inquiry, based on the grounded theory model, was to create a new theory regarding the impact of standards-based reform implementation in social studies education.

The findings revealed that teachers were overwhelmed and frustrated by the negative consequences that standards-based reform implementation had on social studies education. Teachers were frustrated by their lack of knowledge about standards, their inability to promote the standards-based skills that are measured on assessments and the need to eliminate content and constructivist activities in order to “teach to the test.” Consequently, teacher frustration was compounded by an inability to effectively communicate their dissatisfaction with the larger educational establishment. Finally, as a means of dealing with the negative consequences of standards-based reforms, teachers sought out opportunities for meaningful collaboration with colleagues and desired to teach courses and grade levels that were less affected by standards-based reforms.