Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
 Massachusetts State Seal
 News  School/District Profiles  School/District Administration  Educator Services  Assessment/Accountability  Family & Community  
 Become an Educator  Licensure  >  Career Advancement  Teaching/Learning  Preparing Educators  
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

Supplemental Report

Massachusetts High School History Teachers' Preferences Regarding Core Knowledge
Topics for World History

Office of Standards, Academic Review, and Research:
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
July 10, 2001

Table of Contents

I. Purpose of the Survey
II. Procedure
III. Results

I. Purpose of the Survey

In March 2001, at the request of Commissioner David Driscoll, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mailed a questionnaire to all Massachusetts high school history teachers. The purpose of the questionnaire was to provide these teachers with an opportunity to guide the revision of the 1997 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework currently being undertaken by the History and Social Science Curriculum Review Panel. The questionnaire itself had two parts. The first part consisted of the list from the 1997 framework of "commonly taught subtopics" for U.S. history from 1750 to the present, and the list from the 1997 framework of "commonly taught topics and subtopics" for world history from 500 AD to the present. For U.S. history, teachers were to select only those subtopics that they thought should be developed into core standards. For world history, teachers were to select only the topics and subtopics that they thought should be developed into core standards. The second part of the questionnaire consisted of a series of questions related to years of study in United States and world history, and assessment options and formats.

Almost 1000 teachers from 161 high schools responded to the questionnaire. Department staff presented the results from the second part of the questionnaire (the list of questions) to the Board of Education in June. These results are now posted on the Department's website.

This report contains the results from the section on world history in the first part of the questionnaire. The results of this report can be used to assist not only the Department and the History and Social Science Curriculum Review Panel, but also the Assessment Development Committee in history and social science.

II. Procedure

In tallying teachers' preferences, staff adhered to the following three procedures: 1) If the topic alone was circled, we counted that as indicating that the topic should be considered core; 2) If a majority of the subtopics under a topic were circled, we counted that too as indicating that the topic should be considered core; and 3) If a topic was not circled, and if less than a majority of the subtopics under that topic were circled, we did not count that topic as core.

III. Results

Listed below are the vote tallies for each of the 51 world history topics. The number to the right of the topic indicates the total number of teachers who indicated a preference for that topic to be developed into a core standard. In all, 585 teachers responded to this part of the questionnaire.

The topics were rank-ordered and then divided, approximately, into thirds. The top 18 topics may be considered to merit strong emphasis. The middle 16 may be considered to merit moderate emphasis. The bottom 17 may be considered to merit low emphasis.

After dividing the topics into thirds based upon preference, each topic was then grouped into one of the following four categories: 1) growth of agricultural and commercial civilizations (c. 500 A.D. to 1500); 2) emergence of a global age (1450 to 1750); 3) the age of revolutionary change (1750 to 1914); and 4) the world from 1900 to the present.

A. Strong Emphasis

  1. Growth of Agricultural and Commercial Civilizations (c. 500 A.D. to 1500)
    The origins and principles of Islam; spread of Muslim power: 481
    Western feudalism, manorialism, religion; the three social estates: 479
    Europe in the high Middle Ages; monarchs, parliaments, church, and culture: 468

  2. Emergence of a Global Age (1450 to 1750)
    Leaders, ideas, contending forces, and religious change in the Reformation era: 499
    European conquests, colonization, and consequences in the Americas: 480
    European expansion and exploration; economic and technological forces: 479
    The Italian Renaissance; economic, social, and political bases: 477
    Absolute monarchies and constitutional governments: 474

  3. The Age of Revolutionary Change (1750 to 1914)
    Origins, stages, and consequences of the American and French Revolutions: 501
    The Scientific Revolution; earlier discoveries; new "laws" of nature: 477
    Rising European nationalism; motives for new European imperialism: 472
    The Enlightenment in Europe and America: 470

  4. The World From 1900 to the Present
    Causes, military course, and consequences of World War I: 506
    Origins and responsibilities for World War II in Europe and Asia: 494
    The Russian Revolutions of 1917; ideas and practices of the Bolsheviks: 485
    Paris Conference, Versailles Treaty; aims and conflicts of divided allies: 483
    International Fascism; Italy, Spain, Nazi totalitarianism in Germany: 482
    Origins of the Cold War; the divided victors of World War II: 468

B. Moderate Emphasis

  1. Growth of Agricultural and Commercial Civilizations (c. 500 A.D. to 1500)
    Components of early European civilization: Roman, Christian, invaders: 466
    Africa; cities and states; gold, salt, and slave trade; Muslim expansion: 414
    Societies of pre-Columbian America: Mayan, Incan, Aztec: 409
    The Middle Empire in China; trade and arts; Chinese Buddhism: 408
    The Byzantine Empire; institutions, religion, and culture: 407

  2. Emergence of a Global Age (1450 to 1750)
    Works and legacies of Renaissance artists and humanists, South and North: 461

  3. The Age of Revolutionary Change (1750 to 1914)
    Agricultural and Industrial Revolution in the Western world: 463
    Democratic and social reform in Europe; evolutions and revolutions: 435
    Japan's modernization and rise to world power: 406

  4. The World From 1900 to the Present
    World War II: geography, leaders, military factors; turning points: 455
    The human toll of 20th century wars and genocides; the Holocaust: 453
    International Communism; Leninist/Stalinist totalitarianism in Russia: 449
    Cold War in Europe: Marshall Plan, NATO, Iron Curtain, Warsaw Pact: 443
    The Great Depression: causes and worldwide consequences: 442
    The Soviet Empire collapses; post-Cold War locales of disorder: 427
    Cold War in Asia: Chinese Communist Revolution, wars in Korea and Vietnam: 424

C. Low Emphasis

  1. Growth of Agricultural and Commercial Civilizations (c. 500 A.D. to 1500)
    Japan's classical age; Shintoism, Buddhism, Sino-Japanese culture: 367
    Kiev and Muscovy; Russia and the Mongol Empire: 311

  2. Emergence of a Global Age (1450 to 1750)
    China under Ming and Manchu dynasties; agriculture, trade, and cities: 344
    Japanese unity under the Tokugawa Shogunate; the closing inward: 328

  3. The Age of Revolutionary Change (1750 to 1914)
    Chinese resistance to colonialism; the Chinese Revolution: 405
    Cities and urban life of the 19th century: 381
    Latin America; wars for independence; economic and social stratification: 353
    Dawn of the 20th century; Western optimism and counter-currents: 289

  4. The World from 1900 to the Present
    After-effects of war and colonialism, West and East: 405
    Rebuilding and reform in postwar Europe and Japan: 396
    New nations in Africa and Asia; the end of European colonialism: 368
    Persistent nationalism; militarism; conflicts of race, religion, and ethnicity: 334
    Democracy and human rights; advances and retreats since 1945: 299
    East/West duels for the non-aligned; Asia, Africa, and South America: 290
    The changing world economy; limits on national sovereignty and priorities: 252
    New boundaries and issues in science, technology, and culture: 247
    Liberal democracies in danger; economic, social, political crises: 247



Last Updated: July 10, 2001
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search · Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE