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History Education as Content, Methods or Orientation?

A Study of Curriculum Prescriptions, Teacher-made Tasks and Student Strategies

David Rosenlund

Historical content, historical methods and historical orientation are three aspects that may be taught in history education. This study examines the emphases which are included in formal curricula texts and those which are included in teacher-made tasks. The results show that the curricula of history education contains historical content, orientation and methods, yet history teachers focus almost exclusively on the historical content. In a second step, this study examines the strategies with which students may process and combine elements from the three emphases of content, orientation and methods. The results provide insight into what strategies the students use and how they process the relationship between historical knowledge, historical methods and historical orientation.

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Appendices

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Appendix 1

The alignment index

There are a few different alignment indexes, but they are all similar in their construction. In her thesis, Näsström suggests making use of Porter’s alignment index.183 This index was devised to measure the alignment between the different aspects of an educational context, for example, the curriculum and assessments of students’ knowledge. The process is to place the goals in the curriculum and the tasks in the assessments in one matrix each. After that, a calculation is made of the percentage of goals and tasks in each cell of the matrices. By using the following formula a figure of comparison between the two matrices is arrived at:

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