Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

The experiences of high school teachers in Massachusetts with the History and Social Science Curriculum framework

Margaret Harris, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In response to the current educational reform movement that has ensued as a result of the publication of A Nation at Risk (1983), the Massachusetts legislature passed the Educational Reform Act in 1993. From this Act, an educational reform plan was developed for all public schools, and curriculum frameworks were written for the major academic areas. The frameworks recommend what should be taught, and they encourage teachers to align their curriculum with the frameworks. This dissertation describes a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with 15 teachers throughout the state of Massachusetts, from the fall of 1999 through the fall of 2001. The study investigated the experiences these teachers had with the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum framework . The teachers who were interviewed represent a cross-section of teachers diverse in geographic location, number of years teaching, gender, ethnicity, and experience with curriculum development. The extensive responses to the interviews were analyzed in light of the research questions in this study. Through the literature review, documents, and the interviews, I was able to analyze teachers' experiences working specifically with the history and social science framework, and to assess the impact that the framework was having on their teaching, curriculum development, and student learning. This analysis revealed consistent patterns and themes. These included teachers' common school experiences of not having an organized school curriculum prior to the framework; their perception of the lack of multiculturalism in the framework; and their concerns about the exclusion of teachers from the framework process. The information analyzed from the interviews can be used to guide school systems in the development of educational policies, as well as in the creation of curriculum. This study has the potential to assist those interested in both professional development and teacher education.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education|Teacher education|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Harris, Margaret, "The experiences of high school teachers in Massachusetts with the History and Social Science Curriculum framework" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110500.