Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Jean A. Luckowski

Commitee Members

David R. Erickson, Matthew V. Schertz, William P. McCaw, Vincent H. Smith


curriculum change, curriculum materials, economics education, high school, qualitative case study, teacher experiences


University of Montana


This study explored the curriculum change experiences of five social studies teachers, from three high schools within one school district located in a western Montana city, integrating an economics curriculum in their eleventh grade U.S. history classrooms for the first time. A review of the related literature on this topic revealed several areas of consideration regarding teachers' curriculum change experiences which guided the data collection and analysis process: commitment, workload, capacity, collaboration, and perception of the teaching profession. This qualitative, within case study was designed to add to the body of quantitative research on curriculum change. Data collection sources include: pre and post interviews, observations, electronic journals, field notes, and document analysis. Five themes emerged from the data analysis of the participants' curriculum change experiences: support, time, motivation, adaptation, and student learning. A skyscraper depicts a visual model of the complex and inter-dependent relationship of themes in the curriculum change process as determined in this study. Each of the themes is presented in narrative format as a vignette giving voice to the teachers' curriculum change experiences. Overall, teachers are positive about curriculum change and look at it as an on-going process to improve curriculum in an effort to increase student learning. The conclusion offers several suggestions to ease the curriculum change process for teachers. Teachers need the support of the community, administrators, colleagues, and outside agencies for continued, successful curriculum change. Teachers need time and space for collaboration, planning, curriculum development, and knowledge building. Teachers need to be able to easily adapt curriculum materials to their own teaching styles and district curriculum guidelines. Teachers are motivated by what interests them and so are students. Curriculum developers and planners need to keep the interests of teachers and students in mind when creating curriculum materials and professional development. Students and teachers demand relevant, current, local examples to increase their understanding and reach the ultimate goal of curriculum change in the classroom: curriculum improvement and increased student learning.



© Copyright 2009 Heather C. Davis