You are on page 1of 13

Running head: VERTICAL ALIGNMENT: HS SOCIAL STUDIES

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies Angela N. Ouellette The University of North Texas Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for EDCI 5320 Dr. Frances van Tassell Summer 2013

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Abstract The following document is an overview and reflection of a cooperative effort from Angela Ouellette, Olivia Kepler, Leigh Anne Swingle, and Rhonda Lemieux in EDCI 5320. Discussed in the following is the ease of curriculum alignment, how correlated the curriculum is and suggesting made to help students grow in their learning. A reflection on vertical alignment is also included based on alignment of the high school social studies curriculum. Keywords: Vertical Alignment, High school Social Studies

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies Introduction Over the course of a semester, students in EDCI 5320 studied the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for high school history and compared that to the curriculum that was actually taught in a particular district. What was the outcome? Some TEKS were repeated, while teachers covered some material more in-depth that needed. Following the research, our group analyzed the gaps and overlaps to create a chart of what should actually be taught at each level per the TEKS. Curriculum Alignment-Teamwork The group that conducted the research consisted of four secondary educators. We were all very interested to see how well the TEKS aligned as students progressed through the Texas education system. All being curriculum majors, we understand the importance of curriculum building on student achievement. After examining the TEKS, we found several expectations that repeated in each grade level, as well as gaps in student learning. Correlated Curriculum- Three Different Maps In the first chart (see figure 1), we mapped out the actual TEKS for World Geography, World History , U.S. History and Government. There were visually several gaps in what is required to be taught in each subject. It is also noticeable that the TEKS that were repeated, we not helping students grow as learners; they were not being challenged at a higher level as they

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

advanced through their education. Most of the TEKS addressed skills that are on lower levels of blooms taxonomy. In the second chart, we constructed (figure 2), we compiled what is actually taught by teachers in the school system with their students. Observations? We teach more skills in each grade level than required. In addition, while ensuring students have developed skills, we are not challenging them to build upon those skills. In the third chart (figure 3), we organized what we consider essential for students to learn in each grade level the ensure mastery at the end of course. If you examine the chart carefully, you will notice the verbs build as students progress. We ensured that the skills and knowledge build with each level and students are able to develop as they progress from course to course. Areas of Concern- Gaps and Overlap There are a few areas of concern within the TEKS. We first noticed that students are only required to analyze evidence in history, not in geography or government. In addition, from world history to U.S. history students are to first explain a concept, and the next year just understand it. It was also observed that students are analyzing and evaluating sources as freshmen, but learning to identify differences in sources as sophomores. There are also several skills that are taught in the first course (geography) that are no longer addressed in the following courses. We also noticed that thesis statements are not addressed in any grade level except world history, while students are not expected to create products or defend points of view in any level other than government. Suggestions for Improvement

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

We examined the TEKS while considering blooms taxonomy. The current TEKS are not progressing through the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, and were remaining on the lower levels of Bloom's. This means that students are not being appropriately challenged for their grade level. Some of the TEKS were even identical despite being for different grade levels. In order for students to be successful and grow as learners, the TEKS should be aligned and build upon the levels of Bloom's. we would also suggest that the rigor of the coursework increase as the grade levels increase. This will ensure that students master skills at the end of their program. Reflection I really enjoyed completing this assignment. I wish it were more relative to my teaching field (science), but I feel I have grown as an educator by doing this study in two ways. First, being able to analyze curriculum and identify gaps and redundancies will help me as a teacher educate my students better! In addition, I feel by doing this project collaboratively, I was able to learn from my peers. We each brought new ideas to the table and offered suggestions on how to efficiently teach the required curriculum.

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Appendix Figure 1. What is Required (TEKS) to be Taught

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Figure 2. What is Taught

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

10

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

11

Figure 3. What Should be Taught

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

12

Vertical Alignment: HS Social Studies

13