This study addresses the question: Do second-grade students from lowsocioeconomic- status (SES) schools taught with an iteratively designed project-based approach to social studies and content literacy instruction: (a) make statistically significant gains on standards-based social studies and content area literacy assessments, and (b) reach a benchmark on these assessments set by a group of students from high-SES schools? If so, what did the project-based approach entail? Students from 4 classrooms in low-SES schools were assessed before and after experiencing 2 project-based units focused on standards in economics; civics and government; public discourse, decision making, and citizen involvement; and content area literacy. Students from 2 high-SES schools were also assessed, following a year of business-as-usual social studies and content literacy instruction, to establish a benchmark we hoped low-SES students could attain. Results show that low-SES students made statistically significant gains in social studies and content literacy and, at post-test, showed no statistically significant differences from the students in the high-SES schools: Following instruction, there was no SES achievement gap on these assessments. The authors describe the project-based units and strategies that the teachers used to implement these plans, and discuss implications of the study for future research and practice.
|Journal||Theory and Research in Social Education|
|State||Published - 2012|