Case Studies in Elementary and Secondary Curriculum

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Marius Boboc & R. D. Nordgren

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    Preface

    Rationale

    On a daily basis, educators are faced with challenging situations that call for the implementation of problem-solving strategies that will help them overcome the situation at hand as well as possibly permanently change their practice. Case Studies in Elementary and Secondary Curriculum provides the reader with 21 cases in which educators from a variety of settings and representing different content areas are faced with a variety of curricular dilemmas. In some cases, they are able to solve the problem, while in others, they describe particular plans of action that they would implement. Some of the writers do not yet know the results of their responses for reasons that will become clear to the reader.

    Over the years, our graduate students made us aware of a need for real-world examples that clarify the concept and relevance of curriculum—how it comes to life as a complex process or what curriculum is and does (Hyun, 2006). We see this process implying a continuum that ranges from design to implementation and evaluation. We should also note that this process needs constant analysis and change representing the essence of curriculum negotiations (Hyun, 2006). It is exactly that the implications of this process on one's student-centered professional practice were deemed a nagging concern by our graduate students, most of whom were practicing teachers. With this concern in mind, we have structured the book as a collection of case studies authored by individuals who, by day, teach students of all ages in a wide variety of settings and who, by night, are responsive and reflective graduate students. We are confident that you will relate to several aspects discussed in the case studies included for your analysis. The 21 qualitative case studies included in this text are particularistic in that each one of them places an emphasis on an individual “situation, event, program, or phenomenon” (Merriam, 1998, p. 29). As you will see from the table of contents and the matrix provided later in this section, these case studies can be selected for your consideration by several criteria: (a) level—ranging from preschool to secondary; (b) most academic content areas; (c) setting—rural, suburban, and urban; and (d) emphasis—ranging from the level of individual classrooms to that of the school district. Additionally, we have included a set of elements—also called “spotlight on”—to be found across all educational settings as demonstrating “attributes of education” (Hewitt, 2006, p. 89). In this light, the selected case studies pose questions related to the interplay among pedagogy, instruction, curriculum, accountability, school reform, support, and leadership, with a myriad of correlations that could be made to discrete components of what defines teaching and learning in today's increasingly complex educational settings.

    Case Study Topics

    In our contemporary schools, finding a curricular problem along the stage of design, implementation, or evaluation is not a difficult task. The case study authors had to go through a reflective process in order to identify relevant curricular issues impacting their professional practice and propose manageable solutions to them. For instance, Case Study 2 relates to the proactive role a teacher has to play as a way to address the current issue of school financing by means of community engagement. In comparison, Case Study 5 grounds curriculum adaptations and skill-building remedial work in the context of standards-based education.

    We are well aware of the great range of changes to what curriculum is and what it does at any level of educational settings. This constitutes the main reason for which we have included case studies developed around whole-school and districtwide curricular problems. In this light, of special concern to our students are the mandates that accompany the accountability movement: standards, testing, and curriculum alignment. Often they challenge a teacher's ability to implement his or her curriculum based on creativity and a genuine focus on what each student should actually be learning. At the same time, we want to promote meaningful conversations about curricular design and decision making that lead to “new knowledge construction that empowers learners, teachers, and others” (Hyun, 2006, p. 22). We hope that the inclusion of case studies addressing a wide range of curricular issues will give you hope and inspire you to make changes that you feel are practical, ethical, and participatory to all those involved.

    The Use of Case Studies

    Most of us are aware that college textbooks—chock full of philosophies, theories, and strategies organized and described in varying degrees of clarity—cannot provide us with all the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful practitioners. While supplying us with a great amount of information, they too often lack the personal voices that are necessary for connections between theory and practice to occur. By using authentic voices, consumers of such specialized texts can establish a connection to the practical side of teaching where we are encouraged to tap into our personal teaching philosophies, examine the theories learned in our various coursework, and apply the strategies we have gained from a myriad of sources: textbooks, workshops, observations, or our own schooling experiences. Encompassing this process we use reflection and responsiveness as guiding principles for effective teaching.

    We believe the voices heard in this book will place the reader into the shoes of each of these teacher authors, allowing for an immersion in “the complexities, ambiguities, and uncertainties” (Golich, Boyer, Franko, & Lamy, 2000, p. 1) of their situation while finding a personal response to the problem that is directly or indirectly inhibiting their teaching and, consequently, their students' learning. The rationale behind the particularistic case selection proposed by the current text aims at providing the audience with opportunities to “achieve competence” (Flyvbjerg, 2006, p. 222) in deconstructing issues affecting curriculum as it is negotiated by teachers in “its real-life context” (Yin, 1994, p. 13) of their “local schools and communities” (Koballa & Tippins, 2000, p. 3).

    Traditionally speaking, the structure of a case study introduces the reader to a context within which a particular problem occurs, followed by the actual description of the problem in question, and, finally, by a set of questions for the audience. The purpose of this set of questions is to attempt to resolve the problem at hand by asking for someone else's opinion on the matter. While readers are left with an almost endless array of solutions that may or may not address the problem described in the case study, there is no actual manner in which to check on the validity of any of these reader-generated solutions. This can be disconcerting to those of us who are analytical in nature, but we must come to understand what can be gained by gathering a great number of possible solutions: One of these can, with a little adaptation, become the key to a serious curricular problem.

    Many of us have spent a great deal of time in graduate classes using case studies as a discussion anchor. While the tool itself provides us with a wealth of information correlated to both theories and practical applications we bring to such classes, we may take away a rather convenient solution to the problem elaborated in a case study. This is the turning point in our thinking about the format of the case studies included in this book. In addition to the elements of our standard case study format (background information, curriculum information, exposition of the associated problem or problems, and probing questions), these case studies allow you to confront real-life curricular concerns that require you to tie theory to practice. The extra elements that strengthen such connections focus on having each author propose a solution to his or her own curricular problem. In several instances, the practitioners are able to analyze the validity of their proposal by outlining a set of “observed outcomes” as a result of the implementation of the “actual solution.” In other instances, we are dealing with proposals aimed at resolving the given problem. Along the same lines, each proposed solution is followed by a set of expected outcomes. The ensuing reflection makes a stronger case for the connection between theory and practice, mediated through each case study.

    Despite a mandated format, the voices differ from study to study as each author has his or her own story to tell and his or her own way of telling it. Personalization is clear. We know that the most compelling information is often supplied to us through narrative, and it is our intent that the lessons learned by these teachers will indeed be compelling to you. It is our hope that these studies will persuade you to make changes in your practice and how you think about the science and art of teaching.

    While we would expect that all teachers reading this book will have already gained the experience necessary to chip away at the “several thousand” cases Flyvbjerg (2006, p. 222) says are necessary to become an expert practitioner, we believe it to be quite valuable for all to begin thinking like researchers, especially case study researchers. These case studies will allow you to do just that. Rather than exposing you to theories of curriculum and instruction in your textbooks and coursework and then asking you to correctly identify their need or use on a test or paper, we prompt you to shift to “application mode.” Our “points to ponder” pertaining to each case will engage you into synthesis and analysis modes. One example of such prompts is provided by the following questions pertinent to one of our case studies: “How should teachers within the same school tackle the task of creating a curriculum revision team? Would you use Walker's deliberative approach? What procedural steps would you want to see in place as a result of this forming process?” Questions such as these address the call for teachers to do more than apply techniques in their classroom but allow them to “reason through dilemmas, investigate problems, and analyze student learning to develop appropriate curriculum for a diverse group of learners” as advocated by Darling-Hammond, Hammerness, Grossman, Rust, and Shulman (2005, p. 392) in their call to redesign teacher education programs. We must profoundly believe and continually demonstrate that we are reflective and responsive practitioners who can and do identify problems, collect data, analyze those data, and change our practice to rectify those problems.

    Organization and Features

    Each study uses the following format by describing these components:

    • Background Information About the Teacher
    • Background Information About the Curriculum
    • Problem (emphasizing any combination of the “attributes of education” mentioned earlier)
    • Probing Questions

    You'll find that each author has a unique background and set of experiences, yet we're confident you'll be able to relate to each of them even if your current situation and future teaching plans don't coincide with theirs.

    Although “curriculum” seems to mean different things to different people, we would like you to define it by connecting your previous knowledge with the curricular “episodes” described by the case studies included in this book. Once you have identified what curriculum is, you can focus your attention on what curriculum does, as a way to deconstruct the various factors influencing its negotiations in the professional practice of our teacher authors. To that end, we offer 21 different curricular problems and nearly as many curricula. These allow you to make connections between the curriculum and instruction theory learned in your coursework and “reality,” which is what can happen across all contexts of practice.

    We would also like to emphasize the use of text boxes in the body of several case studies as an effective way to provide the readers with some brief background information related to an important element in the analysis of the given case study.

    In addition to the five sections listed and described above, we offer two more features:

    • Proposed/Actual Solution
    • Expected/Observed Outcomes

    The reason for which some of the solutions are “proposed” is that often the teachers/authors don't have the resources to implement their solutions to the problems. This is quite problematic but common for teachers, as you're well aware, as we are often disempowered by the administration, school, and/or system to make the changes necessary for success. Nevertheless, these solutions are informed attempts at solving their respective curricular problems—think of them as action research projects undertaken to improve one's pedagogical practice. The “expected” outcomes represent opportunities to evaluate the decisions made by our practitioners. In cases where our authors had a chance to implement an actual solution, the latter section focuses on “observed” outcomes.

    These two sections of each study allow you to “check in” with the authors in an attempt to validate the solutions discussed in your college classroom or as a home assignment. We have designed the presentation of each study so that you are left with probing questions, to determine for yourself how best to solve the dilemma or dilemmas presented. You can then, as an individual or as part of a community of learners, compare your answer to what actually did happen or what the authors determined would work (and is supported by the editors). We acknowledge that most problems have more than one viable solution, so the ones provided by the authors are not necessarily the best or only ways to resolution. We invite you to adapt these situations to the specificities of your practice. By changing the environment, the solution may need to be altered. We believe this to be self-evident as we take you through these 21 case studies.

    The last section in the structure of our collection of practitioner-written, particularistic case studies offers the audience opportunities to meta-analyze their curriculum knowledge and skills, as demonstrated by the following features:

    Points to Ponder…

    Each case study concludes with a set of open-ended questions representing an invitation for readers to elaborate further on how the solution proposed by the case study author may unfold or on how it may impact other curricular levels than the one representing the base for the case study in question.

    Questions for School Administrators

    As we strongly believe in the complex responsibility of being an effective instructional leader in today's schools, we want to include such professionals in any curriculum-based conversations generated by each case study. Reviewing these questions by both administrators and teachers would open up communication channels designed to “lead” schools into meeting the 21st-century requirements.

    In-Class Exercise

    In an attempt to provide our audience with opportunities for synthesis, each case study incorporates a suggested collaborative exercise aimed at applying analytical skills to situations that are familiar to teachers and administrators alike. Under these circumstances, the in-class exercise is a logical continuation of the focus on a particular curricular problem described in the case study.

    Suggested Readings

    All case studies include several recommended readings, which help contextualize particular curricular problems and their solutions representing the core of our collaborative work.

    The Case Studies' Authors

    As noted earlier, the authors are all practicing teachers in various graduate programs at a state university with an explicit focus on increasingly diverse educational settings. Despite the latter, many of these authors do not practice in cities but are oftentimes in affluent suburban enclaves, far from the problems and concerns specific to city schools. However, their problems are just as serious to their practice as those that confront their urban colleagues. Undoubtedly, you will notice these differences and will likely relate to each author based on your own schooling experiences.

    We consulted each author after the initial submission of a study, asking him or her to provide further details of different aspects of the study, especially updates on the implementation of the solution. These updates and, on some occasions, revisions were made and added to the study.

    The Case Study Matrix (p. xvii)

    The book is arranged so that you can easily access case studies that pertain to a wide range of content areas (English-language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, modern languages, art, special education, etc.), grade levels (preschool to high school), educational settings (rural, suburban, and urban), and topics that relate your interest in curriculum theory in your graduate-level coursework. A case study matrix has been provided to help you select cases for analysis and discussion. We're confident, however, that you will also enjoy and benefit from reading the book from cover to cover because, as we mentioned earlier, you will no doubt make personal connections to the authors of all our studies.

    References
    Darling-Hammond, L., Hammerness, K., Grossman, P., Rust, F., & Shulman, L. (2005). The design of teacher education programs. In L.Darling-Hammond & J.Bransford, Eds., Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do (pp. 390–441). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077800405284363
    Golich, V.L., Boyer, M., Franko, P., & Lamy, S. (2000). The ABCs of case teaching. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
    Hewitt, T.W. (2006). Understanding and shaping curriculum: What we teach and why. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452204277
    Hyun, E. (2006). Teachable moments: Re-conceptualizing curricula understandings. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
    Koballa, T.R., & Tippins, D.J. (2000). Cases in middle and secondary science education: The promise and dilemmas. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
    Merriam, S.B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Yin, R.K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (
    2nd ed.
    ) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Acknowledgments

    The authors would like to thank all of our former students who contributed to this work. We thoroughly enjoyed revisiting these studies and reconnecting with these exceptional practitioners.

    Julie BabcockJulie Keller
    Christy BauerMaryjane Kubach
    Brandie BischelJenny Moran
    James Stoddard Dare Amy DerethikKim Nealy
    Lori ElginPatricia Neligan
    April FosterLynn Nock
    Elana GazellaValentina Sulaj
    Marlena GillCorinne Thibault
    Lindsay HerwerdenMae Thorpe
    Tracy JohnsonJ. A. Williams

    We would also like to express gratitude to the reviewers listed below. Without their constructive criticism and words of encouragement, this book would not have been possible.

    Phyllis A. Gimbel, Bridgewater State College

    Burnette Wolf Hamil, Mississippi State University

    Theresa Harris, Coppin State University

    John D. Hunt, Mississippi College

    Barbara Gonzalez Pino, University of Texas at San Antonio

    William Rieck, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Amany Saleh, Arkansas State University

    L. E. Steinmetz, University of Texas at San Antonio

    Frances van Tassell, University of North Texas

    Marsh Zenanko, Jacksonville State University

    Finally, we would like to thank Diane McDaniel and Ashley Conlon for their undying support of this project.

    Case Study Matrix

  • Glossary

    Achievement Gap: A commonly used phrase referring to the differences between nonminority and some minority (especially African American and Latino) students in standardized test scores and other measures of school success.

    Action research: A form of research involving a primary investigator (in education it is usually the classroom teacher) and a participant in the study's environment; an effort to link relevant theory and effective practice.

    Advanced Placement (AP) courses: College-bound courses that are content-driven curricula for students who demonstrate the required level of cognitive performance to be successful in classrooms using this rigorous system.

    Affective learning: Students demonstrate a range of emotional intensity as a reaction to stimuli is considered.

    Assessment mapping: The procedure that outlines the connections among assessment tools, student performance, and the instructional activities designed to help students meet set objectives.

    Authentic assessment: A way of measuring what students know based on correlations between classroom-based learning and opportunities for application of knowledge to real-life situations.

    Balanced curriculum: A system of curriculum with a strong correlation among standards, subject matter content, and assessment based on a structure that allows for monitoring of student progress, teacher input, and curriculum revisions.

    Behavioral objectives: What a teacher believes a student will be able to do based on what is to be learned. A key component of many lesson plans (see “learning objectives”).

    Connoisseurship model (Eisner, 1979): Curriculum theory that relies on empirical evidence leading to appreciation of what is significant in educational settings.

    Constructivism: A way of thinking about how learning takes place. Those who are advocates of this view believe that all of what one learns is done so through the lens of his or her experiences. In other words, none of us is an “empty vessel” into which a teacher can pour knowledge. We must understand all content by negotiating it with what we already know.

    Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP): A document that connects the mission and vision statements, as well as specific benchmarks and indicators, at the district level with strengths, areas of improvement, actions, expected outcomes, and a timeline at the school level.

    Curriculum alignment: A complex process by which content standards correlate with subject matter content, instructional strategies and materials, learning opportunities, assessment tools, and evidence of student learning, thus leading to improved student performance.

    Curriculum mapping: A complex process by which curricula are analyzed in terms of how their sequence over the academic calendar correlates with student learning assessment data.

    D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education): A highly acclaimed program offered to schoolchildren from kindergarten to 12th grade, featuring police officers participating actively in classrooms to address coping effectively with issues such as peer pressure, gang activity, violence, and drug/substance abuse.

    Discovery learning: A process in which students acquire knowledge about their physical and/or social environment by engaging in firsthand interactions with its various components.

    Emergency teaching credentialing: This often occurs in urban settings where it is difficult to find licensed teachers to battle the challenges of inner-city schooling. A typical way to credential is to bring in someone who ostensibly has the content knowledge, give her a class or classes of children, and expect her to “figure out” teaching as she goes along. Often this involves taking courses at night and/or assigning a helpful (or not-so-helpful) veteran teacher to act as mentor.

    Enduring understandings: A way of learning that transfers knowledge (“big ideas”) beyond the realm of the classroom.

    Enrichment Triad: A curriculum model in gifted and talented education that features three interrelated types of enrichment activities focused on general exploration, group training, and individual as well as small-group investigations of real-life problems.

    Essential questions: A teaching strategy that leads to the uncovering of the complexity of an academic discipline by means of inquiry on the part of students.

    Even Start Family Literacy programs: A system that partners schools and their communities in an attempt to address issues such as poverty and illiteracy by means of aligning early childhood education, adult literacy, and parenting education.

    Favored practice: A teaching strategy that we are most comfortable using even if it does or does not improve learning in our classroom.

    Hidden curriculum: Essentially, anything that students learn without any evidence of or requirement for it according to the planned or intended school curriculum.

    Higher-order learning: As described in Bloom's (1956) Taxonomy of Cognitive Development, the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation constitute higher-level understanding/cognition (see “non-in-depth understanding”).

    “Highly Qualified Teacher” (HQT): A portion of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 that requires schools to ensure that teachers have the necessary content-area and pedagogical knowledge to teach in the context in which they are placed. HQT varies from state to state.

    Inner-ring suburb: A city located adjacent to a much larger, highly urbanized city. It often has the same characteristics as the larger city including similar socioeconomic status of its inhabitants. An outer-ring and/or exurb, by contrast, is usually a wealthier, “bedroom” community farther away from the central city.

    Invisible culture: The sum of all aspects of one's cultural characteristics not available to conscious awareness.

    Knowledge-centered (also known as content- or teacher-centered) classrooms: Classrooms in which teaching strategies are used where the focus of the activities is on the content to be learned, rather than the student (see “learner-centered”).

    Learner-centered: “This means an environment in which opportunities for self-realization are abundant … meeting the needs and interest of the individual learner by giving the learner opportunities to explore, to follow his/her curiosities, and to exercise personal choice and responsibility” (Ellis, 2004, p. 41) (see “knowledge-centered classrooms”).

    Learning objectives: A section of a lesson plan that describes what the student will actually learn, usually described in terms of Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Development (see “behavioral objectives”).

    Learning style: The preferred or most effective way in which a person learns. This can be in the form of auditory, kinesthetic, or visual.

    Leveled books: Books designated to be written for specific reading levels.

    Levy: A change in millage usually requiring a public vote campaign (see “mill”).

    “Looping” (also known as “continuity of caring”): Following a group of students for 2 or more years instead of the students having a different teacher or set of teachers each academic year.

    Mainstreaming: The placement of students with exceptionalities alongside regular education students. This is an effort to make the classroom more authentic, more real-life to the benefit of all students.

    Mill: This is one one-thousandth of a dollar and is used in reference to the property tax rate percentage that is to be assessed for individual homeowners. Typically one half of a school district's income is derived from property taxes, and a levy is needed to be accepted by voters in order to increase the mills assessed (see “levy”).

    Multiple intelligences: The core of a theory generated by Howard Gardner (1983) who claimed that IQ scores alone cannot reveal an individual's true set of abilities. Gardner has identified eight intelligences: bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, naturalistic, visual-spatial, and musical.

    Non-in-depth understanding: As described in Bloom's (1956) Taxonomy of Cognitive Development, “non-in-depth” refers to the levels of knowledge, understanding, and application (see “higher-order learning”).

    Oliva model: A model for curriculum development featuring a sequence of steps ranging from curriculum goals developed based on various sources of information to a final curriculum evaluation through several planning and operational phases.

    Open Court Reading: A published elementary basal reading program for grades K–6 developed by SRA/McGraw-Hill. The program is designed to systematically teach decoding, comprehension, inquiry and investigation, and writing in a logical progression (Institute of Education Sciences).

    Outcomes-based curriculum: Where the identification of instructional outcomes is the basis for any planning efforts, thus leading to student performance supposed to evidence the same outcomes.

    Parallel Curriculum Model: The selecting of a range of “parallel” ways in which to select and design content intended to challenge learners.

    Performance objectives: The expected level of student performance or proficiency as a result of engaging in an instructional activity designed to help students meet the set objective. A common element in a lesson plan (see “learning objectives”).

    Positive reinforcement systems: Programs designed to reward desired or acceptable student behavior by means of positive consequences to the behavior in question.

    Professional development: When used in education, refers to the training that teachers take to improve practice.

    Project-based learning: A system that involves students in complex and interdisciplinary authentic learning tasks that require higher-level thinking, communication, and collaborative skills, prompted by a range of formative assessment tools.

    Saxon Math: A published K–12 program that relies on a gradual approach to the introduction of new mathematical concepts and skills.

    “School within school”: An example of school transformation or restructuring stemming from the principle that a smaller school promotes more positive interactions, leading to better student performance and overall school climate.

    Short-cycle assessments: A way to measure what a student knows that is formative in nature; students do not take a lot of time to implement this measurement, thus providing teachers with data related to the progress of their students.

    Society-centered curricula: A system that intends to prepare citizens to meet the needs of the society as a whole. For instance, if more engineers are needed for the economy, science and mathematics will be emphasized.

    Socioeconomic status (SES): A term used by educators and social scientists to refer to a student's parent or guardian's level of education and income. The percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch is the most common way of measuring SES in schools.

    Standards-driven curriculum: An example of integrating content standards into teaching, learning, and assessment.

    Stereotypes: Labels or categories applied to individuals identifying as belonging to a particular group, thus leading to isolation or discrimination.

    Teacher autonomy: The freedom allowed to a teacher to make decisions about his or her practice.

    Teacher-centered: Unlike student-centered instruction or curriculum, teacher-centered teaching and learning is determined by the teacher with little or any input from the students.

    Theme-based schools and curriculum: A system that uses a broad theme such as fantasy around which all learning takes place. This is done to enhance the connections between content areas (curriculum coherence) and as a way to motivate students to learn.

    Title I programs: Based on federal guidelines, these aim to support schools serving a high number or percentage of students coming from impoverished backgrounds by providing them with opportunities to meet the challenges of academic standards.

    Tolerance: The ability to accept ideas, viewpoints, perspectives, or practices different from one's own.

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A framework that relies on a balance between high standards and student diversity in ways that maximize individual learning.

    Walker's deliberative approach: A way to plan curriculum that relies on the process of interacting among different participants based on a variety of information sources designed to support the development of a new curriculum.

    References
    Bloom, B.S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: Susan Fauer Company.
    Eisner, E.W. (1979). The educational imagination. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
    Ellis, A.K. (2004). Exemplars of curriculum theory. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
    Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books.
    U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES). (2008, August). Open court reading. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/beginning_reading/open_court/

    About the Authors

    Marius Boboc is an associate professor of education at Cleveland State University, where he teaches undergraduate courses in general methods of instruction and student assessment, as well as graduate courses in curriculum theory and classroom management. He is also the director of Student Learning Assessment at his institution. His teaching background ranges from third grade all the way up to college, in the areas of French, English as a foreign language, creative writing, and American literature. His research agenda includes postmodernism in education, effective methods of teaching, online pedagogy, and educational technology in higher education, as well as assessment, accreditation, and quality assurance in higher education. He earned his MA in teacher education from Roosevelt University in Chicago and his EdD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

    R. D. Nordgren is an associate professor of urban education at Cleveland State University where he teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in both teacher education and school administration. He taught English/language arts and was a site-based administrator at the middle and high school levels in Florida. Nordgren's research interests are the PK–16 education continuum, specifically the transition from high school to university, and examining the “soft skills” needed for success in university and the globalized economy and society. He earned his PhD at the University of South Florida in interdisciplinary studies in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on school management. Nordgren is originally from Galesburg, Illinois.


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