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ERIC Number: ED569660
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 172
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3039-3337-0
Economics within Social Studies: A Comparative Analysis of Student Performance on the 2012 Kansas History-Government Assessment
Deplazes, Svetlana P.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
The purpose of this study was to examine the overall level of student achievement on the 2012 Kansas History-Government Assessment in Grades 6, 8, and high school, with major emphasis on the subject area of economics. It explored four specific research questions in order to: (1) determine the level of student knowledge of assessed economic indicators and concepts; (2) investigate how student demographics relate to economic understanding; (3) compare test results in economics with those in other social studies sub-disciplines; and (4) analyze the test questions from the non-economics subject-areas of social studies and compare student performance on the items that required economics knowledge to be answered correctly with those that did not require it, within non-economics sub-disciplines and across the entire test in comparison to the designated economics items. This study analyzed the test results of the whole population of Kansas students with no special education needs in the assessed grades, who participated in the History-Government assessment. The analysis addressing the research questions included multiple regression analysis, tests of mean difference, item analysis, and descriptive statistics. The analysis of the outcomes revealed that average economics scores achieved by students in sixth and eighth grades, ranging from 66 to 70 percent, were higher than those achieved at the high school level, with scores in the World Focus and U.S. Focus tests being 43 and 58 percent, respectively. High school students demonstrated a low achievement level on the World Focus test, with about half of them performing at less than or equal to 50 percent. Tenth-graders performed significantly worse than twelfth-graders on the U.S.-related economics questions. Through the detailed analysis of the test items, the specific economic concepts were identified, and their difficulty levels were measured by comparing student performance on the economic concept areas with the mean test difficulties. Better performance was indicated on the microeconomic concept areas of supply and demand and on the fundamental concept areas of opportunity costs, decision-making, and incentives. Students had greater difficulty with the fundamental concept areas of scarcity, consequences, and choice, and with the concepts from the international economics category, as well as with the economics test questions presented in an historical context. Students in the sixth and eighth grades demonstrated higher scores on the economics and geography subtests and lower scores on the history and civics subtests. In high school, conversely, economics scores were the lowest of the sub-disciplines. The analyses also revealed the existence of gender, racial/ethnic, and socio-economic status achievement gaps. Male students outperformed female students; higher SES students performed better than those with lower SES; and White students demonstrated higher scores than Black and Hispanic students across social studies sub-disciplines and assessed grade levels. Asian students performed similar to White students, except for the high school U.S. Focus test. Analysis of test items in the non-economics social studies strands revealed a broad list of economic concepts required for understanding history, civics/government, and geography items. Kansas students tended to perform better on the social studies items that did not require economic understanding. They generally performed better on the designated economics items than on the group of non-designated economics items from other sub-disciplines. This study provides insight into the areas of economics teaching that require further emphasis in instruction. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Grade 8; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas