Understanding gender differences in achievement on the Social Studies Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills : an interactive qualitative study
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The Texas Education Agency’s Social Studies Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills results show an achievement gap between males and females for every criteria on every test given since 2003. The most dramatic achievement difference is in the area of “traditional” U.S. History. The Texas results mimic a gender gap reported by College Board Texas AP U.S. history exams and the 2006 National Assessment of Education Programs United States assessment for 8th and 12th graders. Literature and education research outline a contentious background the current social studies and history education programs a, a history of social studies assessment programs, and different theoretical frameworks regarding male and female learning. A Transformative Sequential Mixed Method/Model Design was used for this study. Social Studies TAKS quantitative data collected by the Texas Education Agency formed the basis for an Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) study. The Researcher gathered data from a statewide sampling of social studies supervisors, administrators, teachers and Austin Independent School District social studies students. Findings show perspectives regarding the social studies are different and crucial to effective instruction. Both female and male student focus groups believe the teacher to be in complete control of student learning whereas social studies supervisors, administrators, and teachers find the teacher to be a recipient of the pressures from the statewide assessment, accountability, external influences. Female students are shaped by the influences of their outside life and find the entire subject matter covered by the social studies irrelevant. Male students are more personally involved in the history and social studies subject matter finding it important and interesting.