An assessment of selected social studies skills and variables in six Indiana public high schools
It was the purpose of this study to examine the effects of the high school's geographical location, sex differences, and student interest in the social studies on social studies achievement. Furthermore, the investigator wanted to provide school officials, parents, and students with an examination to measure the attainment levels of students in selected social studies competencies.The test was developed by the researcher and measured the following cognitive proficiencies:1. Acquiring information through reading. 2. Drawing inferences. 3. Cartoon interpretation. 4. Reading tabular data. 5. Graph interpretation. 6. Identifying time relationships 7. Reading a ballot. 8. Classifying information. 9. Recognizing a point of view. 10. Validity of sources. 11. Recognition of cause-effect relationships.The abilities to acquire information through reading, to draw inferences, and to recognize a point of view were grouped under the heading reading. The remaining eight abilities were placed under the heading L.O.U.I.S. (Locating, Organizing, and Using Information Skills). The mean scores in reading and L.O.U.I.S. were computed for each of the independent variables being examined in this inquiry. In addition, the raw scores achieved for each cognitive proficiency were converted into percentages and percentiles. The twenty-fifth percentile served as the minimum standard for each competency evaluated in the study.The population was drawn from metropolitan, suburban, and rural school districts within an eighty-five mile radius of Muncie, Indiana. The examination was administered to seniors in the process of completing their required sequence in American history and government. Nine of the original 549 cases were eliminated because of insufficient data. The investigation's design suggested-the following null hypotheses:There is no significant difference between the mean scores on reading and L.O.U.I.S. among metropolitan, suburban, and rural school corporation students.2. There is no significant difference between the mean scores on reading and L.O.U.I.S. for male and female students.3. There is no significant difference between the mean scores on reading and L.O.U.I.S. among students who expressed an interest in social studies and those students who did not find their social studies course work interesting.The researcher employed the multivariate and univariate analyses to test for significance at the .05 level of confidence.The conclusions based on the null hypotheses were as follows: 1. The high school's geographical location is not a significant variable effecting social studies skills achievement.The multivariate analysis revealed that the student's sex is a significant independent factor in social studies skills achievement on the high school level. Males have significantly better L.O.U.I.S. mean scores than their female counterparts. On the other hand, the univariate analysis disclosed that there was no significant difference in the reading mean scores between males and females.3. Student interest in the social studies was found to be a significant independent variable effecting social studies skills achievement. Students who expressed an interest in their social studies course work scored significantly higher in reading and L.O.U.I.S. mean scores than their less-interested counterparts.Conclusions based on the percentage of students falling below the twenty-fifth percentile criteria were as follows:In the reading behaviors measured, the suburban and metropolitan students had difficulty in recognizing a point of view and drawing inferences. Rural students, on the other hand, exhibited their best overall performance in drawing inferences. However, rural students experienced difficulty in the abilities to acquire information through reading and to recognize a point of view.2. In the L.O.U.I.S. segment, students in all three corporations displayed an inability to use a general election ballot. Furthermore, there was a general inability to handle material requiring recognition of cause-effect relationships and identifying time relationships.