A compilation and validation of basic sociological concepts and the construction and validation of a test of basic sociological concepts for secondary school teachers of the social studies
Karpas, Melvin Ronald
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Statement of the problem: The two-fold purpose of this studY was to compile and validate from the field of sociological theory a list of basic sociological concepts and to construct and validate a test of basis sociological concepts for secondary school teachers of the social studies. Source: The concepts were compiled from the literature of sociological theory based primarily upon the research of recognized sociological theorists. Procedure: A list of 309 concepts was compiled from the collected data. These were submitted to a seventeen-member jury for the purpose of selecting the most basic concepts. Thirty-nine concepts were retained for use in the construction of the test instrument. The selection of textbooks from which definitions of concepts were drawn was limited to nine introductory sociological textbooks chosen on the basis of the extent to which they are used. From these textbooks, concept definitions were selected and evaluated and a synthesized definition constructed. Concepts not specifically defined in at least two textbooks were eliminated. Eight concepts failed to meet this criterion. A proposed test of sociological concepts was constructed and submitted to a five-man jury for keying and scoring. The result of this procedure was a one-hundred item test believed to be a content valid and construct valid instrument. Item analysis study: The test was administered to ninety-six social studies teachers in six New England colleges. Using the Chi-square technique, fifty-nine items were found to be highly significant at the 1% level; six items were significant at the 5% level; twenty-five items were rejected as not being significant; and ten items were rejected because the lower 27% scored higher than the upper 27%. The Mean was 53.93 and the Standard Deviation was 12.61. The following concepts received the highest percentage of correct answers: culture, mores, population, role, society, stratification, and values. The following concepts were most frequently answered incorrectly: conflict, division of labor, ethnocentrism, mobility, race, secondary groups, social control, stereotype, and structure. Final test: The refined instrument was administered to four hundred thirty-five social studies teachers in ten New England colleges. The reliability of the instrument was .82 using the test of rational significance. The Mean was 33.46; the Standard Deviation was 9.12. The validity of the test was determined through content and construct analysis. Conclusions: A majority of the teachers do not know the distinction between mores, folkways, and laws. They do not recognize consistent interaction as an essential feature of social groups. They failed to make the distinction between the structure and source of personality. Teachers view societal values as inflexible and unchanging. Culture was considered in terms of the social heritage of the arts and cultural lag was seen in terms of the failure of culture to keep pace with the advances in science and technology. The differentiation between status and role was not clear and apparently not understood by most social studies teachers. Highest scores were obtained respectively by teachers graduating from liberal arts institutions, schools of education and teachers colleges. Teachers-in-service scored higher than prospective teachers, and male teachers scored higher than female teachers. In summary, teachers of the social studies appear very weak in their knowledge of sociological concepts. In order to heighten the change in social situations, a clearer understanding of these basic sociological concepts is implicit.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston University
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