ERIC Number: ED470388
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
Primary Grade Students' Knowledge and Thinking about Government as a Cultural Universal.
Brophy, Jere; Alleman, Janet
Based on part of a line of research on children's prior knowledge and thinking (including misconceptions) about topics addressed in the traditional K-3 social studies curriculum, a study was designed to provide such information with respect to the topic of government. Individual interviews were conducted with K-3 students (n=96), stratified according to grade level, achievement level, and gender. Students were asked 24 questions including what government is, who is the head of the U.S. government and how that person gained office, who can become president, what are the differences between presidents and kings and queens, who is allowed to vote, why rules and laws are needed, what taxes are, who owns the school and pays the teachers, what are differences between public schools and private schools, and other similar questions. Analyses of the responses replicated and extended previously reported findings about children's thinking on government. Sophistication of responses was related more closely to age (grade level) than to achievement or gender. Findings are discussed with emphasis on their implications for early elementary social studies. The belief is that primary-grade students stand to benefit considerably from treatments of cultural universals that are more powerful than those typically offered by textbook series. Appended are interview questions and a table. (Contains 52 references.) (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A