Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Sherman Dorn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara C. Cruz, Ed.D.


Common Core State Standards, curriculum, elementary, social studies


The most recent phase of curriculum reform in the era of accountability is the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which have essentially reshaped the landscape of public education. Its objective of preparing K-12 students for college and career upon high school graduation have prioritized English language arts, mathematics, and science over social studies, which is not part of widespread high-stakes testing for elementary students. This qualitative case study investigated eleven intermediate elementary teachers’ perceptions of alignment between CCSS and the elementary social studies curriculum. Data gathering analysis included two semi-structured interviews and an archival analysis of the mandated curriculum. The data revealed that perceptions of alignment vary among teachers and were influenced by the perceived effects of inadequate instructional time and resources, lack of content knowledge, and insufficient district levels of professional support. Teachers perceived some similarities between the methods of thinking skills, such as historical thinking and higher-order thinking, and the English/Language Arts standards of the Common Core and their district social studies curriculum. Despite perceived inadequate instructional time and resources, teachers believed that elementary social studies must be an instructional priority and found ways to include social studies through interdisciplinary approaches. Recommendations include district-level professional development focused on an integration between CCSS and social studies modeled in classroom practices. These approaches may improve use of instructional time and resources and reduce the marginalization of elementary social studies.