Date of Award

3-2-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Laurie Brantley-Dias, Ph.D. - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Amy S. Flint, Ph.D. - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Mary B. Shoffner - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Philo A. Hutcheson, Ph.D. - Committee Member

Abstract

Since the American Revolution free public education has been a discussion of political debate. The purpose that such an institution should play in society is a debate fervently argued when the founding fathers wanted to build a republic based on meritocracy. The problem this study addresses is the undefined relationship between the goals of schooling relevant to Georgia and the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) which is a critical piece to creating a complete systemic view of public schooling in Georgia. The purpose of this study is to investigate the alignment between the GPS and schooling goals. The guiding question and sub-questions are: How well are the GPS, or the intended curriculum of Georgia schools, and each of the various stated goals of schooling aligned? How relevant are the eighth-grade GPS to the latent themes of each of the stated goals of schooling? How balanced are the latent themes of each of the stated goals of schooling in the eighth-grade GPS? Through a historical investigation of the literature and current policy the author establishes the currently relevant goals of schooling which serve as the latent goals for which the method will seek to find evidence within the Georgia Performance Standards. The study employs a quantitative content analysis of a significant section of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) looking for themes associated with various stated goals of schooling as indicated by the literature review. The manifest themes, developed from the latent goals of schooling, are incorporated as the dependent variables in the study, while the GPS serve as the independent variable. Neuendorf’s (2001) framework for content analysis is used to develop a new method for investigating the goal-curriculum alignment relationship through new measures of Curricular Balance, Curricular Relevance, and Manifest Theme Presence. This study presents a new visual model to compare a curriculum’s alignment to multiple goals of schooling called the Goal-Curriculum Alignment Measures (G-CAM) model. This study finds that the GPS are strongly aligned to the goals of Americanization, high student test scores, post-secondary enrollment, and national gain, while poorly aligned to democratic participation and social justice. Evidence for these conclusions are discussed and related to the current socio-political literature.

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