EVALUATION IN THE SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM: A RESPONSIVE EVALUATION MODEL

ROBERT S PITTMAN, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a curriculum evaluation process that could be used by school districts with limited resources to gather information about their programs. While the evaluation conducted pertained to an elementary social studies curriculum, the process that was used could be effectively implemented for the study of any curriculum area.^ While there have been a number of evaluation studies in the social studies field, there is little documentation of responsive evaluation at the local level. The majority of studies have been large scale quantitative investigations of curricular materials.^ The process used in this study has integrated methodologies from several major evaluation models while also involving staff members in the planning and implementation. This process involved all staff in prioritizing the criteria from a curriculum criteria evaluation questionnaire. A committee reviewed the prioritized criteria and planned data collection techniques. Data were gathered over a three month period, using questionnaire, open ended response survey, curriculum guide checklist, teacher observation and teacher interview.^ The evaluation process used was very effective in responding to the needs of the stake-holding audiences within the school district. These audiences were actively involved in making the decisions as to what should be evaluated and how the evaluation would be conducted. Two very positive results of this involvement were greater receptivity to the need for evaluation and greater understanding of the field of social studies as a result of indepth discussions sparked by the study. Having staff members critically think about the field in which they are working and make judgements about what they are doing requires introspection that can lead to increased understanding.^ Research has shown that educational innovations are most effective when staff have been actively involved in all phases of development. This process has shown that receptivity to evaluation can be increased when the staff is given a major role in the decision making process. As staff members participated in the selection and then assessment of various criteria for study, they were sharing and responding to each other's needs and concerns. This cooperation can carry over into the everyday educational process. ^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

ROBERT S PITTMAN, "EVALUATION IN THE SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM: A RESPONSIVE EVALUATION MODEL" (January 1, 1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI8611020.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8611020

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