Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Instr and Curr Leadership
Illuminated by a historical review of trends in educating for citizenship in American social studies classroom, the purpose of this study was to investiagte students' perceptions of civic principles across three domains- democratic values, economic principles, and constitutional rights and responsibilities. To this end, a purposive, nonrandom sample of two hundred 12th grade students from eight high schools in a suburban school district in a Sour=theastern state was drawn and subsequently surveyed using an instrument originally developed during the 1950's by Purdue University researchers. To determine whether there were generational differences in perceptions, the responses of the contemporary sample of 12th grade students were statistically compared to the norms obtained for a national sample of 12th graders surveyed over 50 years ago. In keeping with the emphasis on diversity in today's social studies classrooms, also conducted were analyses of responses by gender, ethnicity, overall grade point average, level of class discussion, political orientation, and confidence in current administration's policies to determine whether such factors influenced current student perceptions with regard to one or more of the issues investigated.Employing the "one-way" or "goodness of fit" chi-square test, statistical analyses of contemporary responses versus historical norms indicated generational differences across all five items within the domain of democratic values, all three items within the domain of economic principles, and five of the 10 items in the domain of constitutional rights and resonsibilities. Especially robust differences were observed with respect to items referencing affirmative action laws (c^2 (2, N = 200)= 41.37, p < .001, w= 0.70), universal voting rights (c^2 (3, N = 200) = 93.72, p< .001, w = 0.68, and the legal roght to face one's accuser (c^2 (3, N = 200) = 112.52, p < .001, w = 0.75).. However, when the "two-way" or "test of independence" chi-square was employed to identify differences in item responses by student characteristics, statistically signicant results were much less commonly observed and only systematically emerged with respect to the issue of "limiting and controlling immigration." When levels of agreement and disagreement to this item were compared, differences among students in the contemporary sample were observed by ethnicity (c^2 (2, N =200)= 17.19, p < .001, V = 0.29), political orientation (c^2 (2, N =195) = 14.85, p < .001, V = 0.28), and confidence in the current U.S. administration's policies (c^2 (2, N = 200) = 3.96, p < .05, V = 0.14). To help clarify the generational findings, reference to the historical record is made, while more current events are evoked to help make the subgroup differences in contemporary student responses more interpretable.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Lawson, Cody Long, "An Examination of Students' Perceptions of Civic Issues: A Comparison of 1957 and 2011" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 461.