Date Awarded

Winter 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

Janice Robbins

Committee Member

Carol L Tieso


The purpose of this study was to examine the impacts of a theory based U.S. History curriculum on middle school students’ historical content knowledge, historical interpretation skills, and self-efficacy for historical inquiry. Current middle school social studies curricular models are poorly designed and do not provide teachers with effective instructional strategies for creating knowledge, developing historical thinking skills and solving problems. These curricular models should focus on historical skills such as investigation, sourcing, interpretation, corroboration, evaluation, contextualization, collaboration and development of historical understanding through a variety of learning opportunities (Barton & Levstik, 2003; Martin & Wineburg, 2008; Wineburg, 2001). Therefore, this study highlights the impacts of an inquiry-based curriculum in an effort to inform researchers, teachers and other curriculum stakeholders of the components that positively impacted middle-school students’ content knowledge, historical interpretation skills, and self-efficacy for historical inquiry. The findings from this study would assist in narrowing the gap between research, or academic theory, and classroom practice by informing and modeling for teachers how they can cover and control as well as challenge and make connections by embedding collaboration, evaluation and analysis in their instructional practices. Finally, this research seeks to determine whether or not historical thinking skills such as historical interpretation can be embedded in the learning environment while mastering the content information at the same time. Data was collected using a U.S. History multiple choice assessment, unit performance assessments, and a social studies student self-efficacy survey.




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