ERIC Number: ED429124
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Cognitive Development as Reflected in Children's Conceptions of Early American History.
Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis; Jackson, Dinah L.; Kirby, Briney; Davis, John; Benson, Craig
A cross-sectional study examined age differences in children's conceptions of early U.S. history. Students in grades 2, 3, 6, and 8 (n=281) were asked to respond to a question about how the United States became a country. Their essays show significant changes with age. Older students were more likely to include errors of historical fact in their essays, possibly because they included more detail. Younger students tended to conceptualize a "country" in terms of one or more concrete entities, but eighth graders were more likely to conceptualize a "country" in abstract terms. Older students were more likely to acknowledge that certain events precipitated the formation of the new country, and they were more likely to evaluate historical events critically. Findings are consistent with the hypothesis that students' understanding of historical events is likely to evolve as increasingly complex cognitive abilities emerge over time. Implications for instruction are discussed. (Contains 12 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).