ERIC Number: ED249137
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Student Perceptions of Post Civil War Presidents: A Survey Conducted at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1979-1981.
St John, Jacqueline D.; Keller, Jane
Based on a preliminary version of this study, project aims were to learn what college freshmen knew about presidents in office from the late 19th century to the present and to determine the students' writing levels. During the first class of each of five semesters, students enrolled in an American History Since 1985 course were asked to write one paragraph about any post Civil War president. Student evaluations of 17 post Civil War presidents (compared to only 4 in the preliminary study) were analyzed. The following categories were used to classify student statements: background/biography, integrity, leadership, intelligence, policies/accomplishments, courage, public image, value to country, historical perspectives, sophistication, and factual errors. In addition, an analysis of student spelling resulted in a listing of 75 most frequently misspelled historical terms. The bulk of the document consists of a category-by-category analysis of student responses for each president in the order chosen: Richard M. Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Harry S. Truman, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Calvin Coolidge. Findings indicate that although students demonstrated a substantial body of knowledge concerning post Civil War presidents, attempts to communicate their knowledge were marred by their inability to communicate in written English. (LH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For shorter, preliminary version presented at the Missouri Valley History Conference (27th, Omaha, NE, March 10, 1984), see ED 243 732.