The effects of a trade book on attitudes and achievement in social studies

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Steury, Cynthia L.
Stroud, James C.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Elementary Education
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The purpose of the study was to determine if social studies achievement and positive attitudes about social studies would increase when the traditional single textbook approach was supplemented by a related work of children's literature. Two intact classes were randomly assigned to the treatment group which received instruction based on the regularly adopted textbook and the trade book My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier. Two randomly assigned classes composed the control group and received instruction based on the textbook only.The participants in the study were filth grade students at an urban magnet school. Each of two teachers served as instructors working with one control class and one treatment class. The instruments used were the Attitudes Toward Social Studies instrument and the Macmillan test written for the unit of instruction entitled The Colonies Become a Nation. Pretests and posttests were administered to students in each group to assess differences in mean gain scores between groups in both attitude and achievement. In order to determine if the difference between mean gains between the two groups was significant, t-tests were used. An analysis of variance and the Tukey HSD multiple comparison procedure were used to determine how the four sections differed in attitude toward social studies and which differences were significant.There was no significant difference in mean social studies achievement gains between the treatment group and the control group. A significant difference in mean attitude gains between control and treatment groups was found. The results of the t test showed a significant mean gain in positive attitudes about social studies favoring the control group. Evidence from the analysis of variance and the Tukey HSD multiple comparison procedure indicated that the positive attitude gain was linked to the Hawthorne Effect.