Teaching Secondary School Social Studies

By James F. High | Go to book overview
8. Select instructional materials.
9. Organize learning experiences to provide for continuity, sequence, and integration.
10. Evaluate the extent to which each individual attains the objectives, with particular emphasis on behavioral change.

The order in which these steps are followed need not be the same as the order of presentation. . . . The initial point of attack depends upon the concerns of the faculty and students, the problems already identified, available data, and the like. The social studies curriculum may be improved by beginning at any point, providing all 10 aspects are eventually studied and revised. Each task requires the united efforts of individual teachers and groups of children, individual schools, school systems, universities, state agencies, and study councils. The National Council for the Social Studies has a unique function in coordinating the efforts of these groups.5

The total aim of education is to produce generally educated citizens in a process which in itself is an experience in citizenship, with an interesting and beneficial atmosphere. Social studies encompasses a very broad slice of this experience, and its success is measurable in the attainments of the students. Evaluation of students in a sensible and efficient way points to the needed evaluative procedures to be followed in assessing and improving the programs of instruction. The evaluation of social studies varies from teacher to teacher and from school to school. The important thing is that it be done continuously.
Summary
Evaluation must be based on some kind of theory, preferably a broadly based one. Measurement must be accomplished, and those being measured ought to know what the standards consist of. Subject matter alone is not enough to test; attitudes and behavior can be assessed also. Social studies, being almost as broad as the whole curriculum, cannot be measured merely in terms of chronological facts. Expression in writing and the mastery of basic processes of thought have to be tested along with the learning of separate facts. Above all, the process of evaluation must be continuous.
5. Suggested Activities for Further Study
1. Make up a test of fifty short answer items based directly on a standard textbook in American history for senior high school. Analyze each question carefully, attempting to include only one bit of information in each,
____________________
5
Ole Sand, "Tasks to be Done in Improving the Social Studies Curriculum," Improving the Social Studies Curriculum, edited by Ruth Ellsworth and Ole Sand, Twenty-sixth Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies ( Washington, D.C., 1955), p. 237.

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