Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Instruction and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Jeffery M Byford

Committee Member

Duane M Giannangelo

Committee Member

Christian E Mueller

Committee Member

Allen H Seed


The purpose of this study was to examine how the changes in social studies teaching methods and content pedagogy have changed due to the increase in high-stakes testing in the area of secondary social studies. The primary questions addressed in this study were focused on teacher perceptions regarding high-stakes testing in social studies, and content pedagogy currently used in the social studies classroom. The participants in this study included 12 high school U.S. History teachers from 3 public schools. A phenomenological study was conducted to gather information related to the following research questions: (1) What are the perceptions of high school teachers regarding high-stakes testing? (2) What are the perceptions of high school teachers in regards to current teaching strategies commonly used in the social studies classroom? (3) What are the perceptions of teachers regarding what determines the correct teaching style or strategy utilized? (4) What are the perceptions of high school teachers regarding formative assessments and activities in correlation with high-stakes testing? Three common themes emerged from the data collected from the public school teachers: (1) High-stakes testing enhances teachers’ understanding of content knowledge and influences pedagogical strategies. (2) End of Course sample questions, primary source documents, and discussion are effective strategies used in formative and summative assessments in preparations for high-stakes learning. (3) High-stakes testing directly affects curriculum planning and pedagogical instruction. Study results also revealed unique themes shared by individual school sites. Themes shared by teachers at the high-achieving school (School A) were: (1) High-stakes testing was perceived negatively by teachers and created stressful working conditions for teachers. (2) Teachers sought outside references and sources to guide instructional activities in the classroom. One theme shared by teachers at the average-achieving school (School B) was: (1) Time constraints in teaching the U.S. History curriculum occurred due to the implementation of high-stakes testing. Themes shared by teachers at the low-achieving school (School C) were: (1) High-stakes testing limited the amount of content covered and depth of detail explored. (2) High-stakes testing negativity impacted teaching style.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.