Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Perceptions of fourth -grade social studies teachers on curriculum and the transition to standards -based education

Jean A Lukesh, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


From 2000-2008, Nebraska teachers had the responsibility to prepare local assessments that matched state standards in the social studies. Teachers in benchmark grades (4th, 8th, and 11/12th) wrote and administered assessments, and later reported student scores locally in core curriculum areas, reading/writing, math, science, and social studies. They used Nebraska's unique STAR (Standards That Are Reported) and STARS (School-based, Teacher-led Assessment and Reporting System) standards and assessment system. As the last curriculum area to receive standards, social studies assessment and reporting was still in transition. ^ An instrumental case study was used to survey and interview 6 purposefully-selected, Nebraska fourth-grade social studies teachers, all of whom were master teachers, to explore their perceptions regarding how standards and assessments changed their curricula. In their own words, these veteran teachers described initial problems they experienced, and how they eventually became more comfortable with using standards as a basis for their curriculum. Participants discussed benefits and problems of using standards. They noted the change from a teacher-driven curriculum to standards/assessment-driven curriculum. They detailed how unprepared they had been to teach Nebraska Studies at first, but how they now loved teaching that fourth-grade subject and believed it was important in the curriculum. They discussed the importance of good resources and materials. Although still stressed by time and workload, they seemed comfortable with the standards, despite having to give up many of their "pet projects." One thing concerned them: the possibility of losing control through the adoption of a test. Five of the six were against the idea of Nebraska mandating a statewide examination, as used by many states. ^ As this study concluded, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 1157, a law designed to mandate statewide tests in reading, mathematics, and science, but not social studies. This study was a snapshot of that fourth-grade social studies transition period up to the passage of that legislation. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Social Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Lukesh, Jean A, "Perceptions of fourth -grade social studies teachers on curriculum and the transition to standards -based education" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3297971.