ERIC Number: ED341727
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Reference Count: N/A
Definition of Content in Social Studies Testing: Conceptual Content Assessment Report.
House, Ernest R.; And Others
Three political scientists, three historians, three social studies professors (higher education), and seven secondary school teachers of social studies or history were interviewed. Focus was on assessing key concepts in the subjects' disciplines and what concepts should be taught and tested for at the high school level, with a view toward determining how content on standardized social studies tests should be defined and what that content should be. There was considerable consensus among the political scientists as to what the key concepts were, particularly about American government, but there was not much consensus among historians. There was also considerable consensus among social studies educators, who emphasized thinking skills and citizenship over content; and there was some consensus among high school teachers, who emphasized citizenship even more, but differed on key content. All subjects agreed that the teaching of facts was not a proper goal in and of itself. There was general agreement that standardized tests are not the proper way to assess student learning, and both the content of tests and the multiple-choice format were strongly criticized. Essay tests were the universal choice. High school texts were usually disdained and their publishers criticized. Neither discipline consensus on subject matter nor textbooks are good candidates for sources of test content based on this study, although some areas of consensus exist. Later phases of the study will explore other approaches to content definition. The three interview protocols are included. (SLD)
Descriptors: Content Analysis, Educational Assessment, High Schools, Higher Education, History, Interviews, Political Science, Professors, Secondary School Teachers, Social Studies, Standardized Tests, Student Evaluation, Teacher Attitudes, Test Construction, Test Content, Test Format, Testing Problems, Thinking Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.; Colorado Univ., Boulder.