Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Miller, Grant


This research study describes the educational experiences and factors intervening in the assessment practices of four outstanding Social Studies/history educators. Three of these educators work at the high school level, and the other at the middle school level. Additionally, the study explores how their assessment practices adapt to inform instruction, promote student learning, and meet current educational standards in their school districts. This study was developed on McMillan's (2013) framework for classroom assessments. In this framework, classroom assessment practices are impacted by advancements in the theory of measurement, the theory of student learning and motivation, and theories on instruction. The area of Social Studies, specifically the discipline of history, was chosen to be explored because of the place that Social Studies occupies in the current educational curricular panorama. Social Studies' history has been a class mainly characterized as traditional. Instruction and assessment have elicited rote learning and recalling of facts (Smith, 2017). However, with the introduction of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), some educators have become aware that Social Studies' history can take the central stage in promoting student learning. The research methodology of this study subscribed to the qualitative paradigm and a social-constructivist worldview. I also used the Case Study tradition to encompass the exploration of this research topic. To collect the data for this study, I used three individual semi-structured interviews, two focus groups, and document analysis. The data analysis of this research followed the procedures of in-vivo coding. These are the main research questions that directed this study and guided the data processing: (1) What personal and educational experiences, as well as other factors, influence teachers' perceptions and uses of classroom assessments for Social Studies? (2) What type of assessments are Social Studies teachers using, and to what extent are these assessments informing their instruction? And (3) How are Social Studies teachers' assessment practices meeting the contemporary demands of local and state educational policies in Social Studies? Three coding rounds were employed to move from code words to clusters themes, and into the narrative, I offer to explore the answers to this research's primary questions. Findings revealed that Social Studies educators were meaningfully impacted by the kind of education they received as students in Social Studies history when they were at the high school and college and master levels of education. Additionally, educators in this study draw inspiration from the faculty of their master's program. Other factors that meaningfully impacted their contemporary educational classroom assessments include their particular vision of what history learning should be, the skill-based movement, and the advancements in formative assessments and assessment systems. Educators employ a variety of educational assessments in alignment with instruction – such as technology-enhanced, skill-based, and primary source-based assessments in their classrooms– to meet students' learning needs and the demands of educational standards. Finally, this study reveals that Social Studies educators fostered collaboration with other colleagues from their school districts, higher education institutions, researchers, and curriculum developers to continue revamping their assessments, instruction, and curriculum to promote learning. Therefore, this study offers suggestions to embrace collaboration, connections, and opportunities for educators to become invested in their assessment and learning practices.




This dissertation is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.