• Restructuring Secondary Social Studies: Results of the Humanities Project at Greece Athena High School

      Beers, Morris J.; Kramer-Schlosser, Linda; Baker, Patricia E.; Baird, William Norton; The College at Brockport (1993-04-01)
      Recent findings have shown that American students lack sufficient knowledge in the field of social studies. Despite calls for changes to school programs to correct this, few reforms have been enacted. The Humanities program at Greece Athena High School offers an integrated program of Art, English, and Social Studies that keeps the same teachers and students together for two years. This model allows for the opportunity to implement instructional reform without drastically changing the rest of the school’s structure. The author examines the question of whether restructuring school programs benefits students by evaluating the Humanities program implemented by Athena High School. Exam results, student and teacher surveys, and student interviews were used to measure the effectiveness of the program, particularly in regards to learning styles, understanding of current events, future academic preparedness, and student-teacher interaction. Their findings strongly indicate that the Humanities program benefited the participating students in all of these areas. The author argues for the publicization of this program as a feasible model for improvement in high school humanities.
    • Restructuring Seconday Social Studies: Results of the Humanities Project at Greece Athena High School

      Baker, Patricia E.; Baird, William Norton (1993-05-01)
      From "Problem:" A widely held belief is that American students are not learning enough to compete in today's world. This belief was enhanced in April of 1983, when the report A Nation at Risk was released by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The results caught much of the United States off guard. One quote from the report said "the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." (p. 1) The alarm is still ringing, because results of recent studies are not showing significant improvements. One such report came from the Digest of Education Statistics in 1992 which compared S.A.T. scores. The average scores for 1980-81 were 424 in Verbal and 466 in Math. The scores for 1990-91 were 422 in Verbal and 474 in Math. (cited in Wilk "From risk" 1993) Recent findings also show a lack of knowledge in the field of Social Studies. In September 1987, researchers Diane Ravitch and Chester Finn reported, "American 17 year-olds display a 'shameful' knowledge of U.S. history and literature" (cited in Wilk, "From risk" 1993, p. S9) In January of 1989, The Joint Council on Economic Education reported, "American students have a weak grasp of basic economic concepts" (cited in Wilk, "From risk" 1993, p. S9) The National Assessment of Educational Progress announced in February of 1990, high school seniors had "critical shortcomings" in geography. (cited in Wilk, "From risk" 1993) Another report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, two months later, revealed U.S. students only showed a "limited" understanding of important concepts in U.S. history. (cited in Wilk, "From risk" 1993) These studies and others that show similar results, have led to a call for change in Social Studies instruction and the structure of American schools in general.