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History strategy instruction: problem-solution-effect analysis, timeline, and vocabulary instruction.

Ironically, while Eastern Europe is looking to the United States as a model democratic government, reports indicate that America's young people lack the requirements of an involved electorate--knowledge of history and democracy (Ravitch & Finn, 1987). The results of the first National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) of history (Ravitch & Finn, 1987) indicated that the current generation of young Americans is "at risk of being gravely handicapped" by their lack of history knowledge. Twenty percent of the 17-year-olds tested by the NAEP in history did not know that George Washington was commander of the American army during the Revolutionary War. Forty percent did not understand the system of "checks and balances" among the branches of government. Less than one third knew that American foreign policy following World War I was isolationist, who Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinera are, or to what "reconstruction" refers.

Given the poor performance of general education students, the prognosis for the history performance of students with mild learning and behavior disabilities is frightening to contemplate. Unfortunately, there is limited information regarding the actual performance of students with disabilities in history or social studies. However, available data appear to indicate that few resource room teachers include history instruction, and many teachers in full-day programs do not teach history or social studies (Patton, Polloway, & Cronin, 1987). One might surmise that history instruction is taking place in general education settings; however, as part of a study of students with behavior disorders who were integrated for part of the school day, Foley (1989) found that only 5% of 120 middle and junior high school students were placed in mainstream history or social studies classes. In many cases, students with behavior disorders may be receiving no history instruction whatsoever.

Teachers (Patton et al., 1987) and curriculum analysts (Brophy, 1990; Carnine, 1991) agree that poor materials--curriculum that is not designed to teach all students--hinder social studies and history instruction for all students, including those with mild disabilities. Recently, history textbooks, the predominant instructional tool (Armento, 1986), have been criticized as superficial and found to trivialize the content of history (Crabtree, 1989). Frequently, major concepts are not made clear (White, 1988) because the texts provide a brief mention of everything but little analysis (Tyson & Woodward, 1989; Zakaria, 1988). History and social studies textbooks have been criticized particularly for their lack of coherence and depth of coverage (Beck & McKeown, 1991). Beck, McKeown, and Gromoll (1989) concluded their in-depth evaluation of four fifth-grade history texts by stating that texts present facts, rather than presenting information in a manner that facilitates the organization of facts into a coherent whole.

Brophy (1990), in his recent comprehensive review of elementary social studies teaching, found a similar emphasis on learning isolated facts at the expense of the "meaningful understanding of coherent networks of information" (p. 369). Although history and social studies instructional approaches may differ in the nature of their delivery (e.g., teacher or student centered), they differ little in expectations and demands on students; in practice, these approaches tend to stress lower levels of learning, such as recalling facts (Kaltsounis, 1987; Voss, 1986), and ignore the importance of the organization of content and the relationship or linkage of information. Thus, regardless of the approach, students are left to organize and reorganize information into networks or linkages of knowledge themselves. This is occurring despite findings that curriculum organized to demonstrate the linkage of knowledge can facilitate learning (Engelmann & Carnine, 1982; Prawat, 1989).

In summary, the NAEP results demonstrated that mainstream high school students are lacking basic knowledge required of an informed citizen in a democracy; and other research in special education has indicated that few students with mild disabilities receive history instruction in either mainstream or special education settings (Patton et al., 1987), and students with behavior disorders are very rarely in mainstream history classes (Foley, 1989). The fact that students with behavior disorders may be receiving little social studies instruction is of particular concern, because, of all students in school, these students may require the most training in citizenship skills. Certainly, both special and general education teachers will need to provide instruction in content areas or instruction in strategies that enable students with behavior disorders to be successful in social studies classes, and ultimately, as informed citizens. Therefore, the purpose of this preliminary study was to determine the efficacy of a history instruction approach designed explicitly to show students with behavior disorders how knowledge is linked (Carnine, 1991; Englemann & Carnine, 1982; Prawat, 1989). Though this study was carried out in self-contained special education settings, we believed that ultimately it would have important implications for social studies instruction for students with behavior disorders in general education classes, as well. This approach is termed problem-solution-effect analysis.

The problem-solution-effect analysis (see Kinder & Bursuck, 1991) is a single framework, or structure, that appears to account for many historical events and to facilitate the linkage of historical facts and concepts. This analysis holds that people and governments continually face problems, that these problems frequently are caused by economics, and that the solution to these problems is commonly found in inventions, compromise, legislation, migration, or war. Further, the solutions to these problems lead to outcomes or effects that occasionally may surface as other problems. The following example illustrates the problem-solution-effect analysis as it relates to the invention of the cotton gin. Traditionally, the isolated fact that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin is taught; however, the need for the cotton gin and the effects of the invention usually aren't made clear. The problem-solution-effect analysis demonstrates these causal connections by emphasizing that the cotton grown in most of the American South, unlike Egyptian cotton, had short staples, making it difficult and expensive to remove the seeds, an economic problem. The solution to this problem was the invention of the cotton gin. The effects included increased amounts of cotton cleaned in the same time period that enabled more cotton to be grown. This in turn led to an increased need for slaves to plant, weed, and harvest cotton--another problem.

The present study was conducted to determine whether students with behavior disorders, one of the most underserved and least integrated groups of people with disabilities (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, 1986), could improve their performance in American history when their instruction included curriculum designed to facilitate the linkage of knowledge. The literature indicates that the academic achievement of adolescents with behavior disorders is not commensurate with their age (Epstein, Kinder, & Bursuck, 1989). Given these academic deficits, lack of history instruction, and the poor knowledge of history shown by U.S. students overall, we felt that students with behavior disorders might particularly benefit from the instructional package, which in addition to employing the problem-solution-effect analysis to illustrate the linkage of historical knowledge, included chronology and vocabulary instruction. The study, although carried out in special education classrooms, emphasized group instruction, the delivery system common to most mainstream settings.


Subjects and Setting

The subjects in this study were 24 school-identified students with behavior disorders. The students were in three special education classrooms at the same junior high school located in a bluecollar, lower-middle socioeconomic status (SES), industrial town in the greater Chicago area. Students ranged in age from 11 years 6 months to 14 years 10 months (M= 13.0); students' IQs ranged from 79 to 115 (M= 96.2). Seven of the students were sixth graders, 9 were seventh graders, and 8 were eighth graders. Two of the 24 students were female; 2 were Hispanic, 4 were black, and the remainder were white. On average, students spent 78% of the school day in special education classrooms; all students were included in mainstream physical education; 13 students had I mainstream academic class; 11 students had no mainstream academic classes. None of the students was receiving social studies instruction at the time.

To control for the possible effects of word recognition skills, the students were tested before the study began, using curriculum-based measures, to ensure that they could read the textbook. Students individually read a short passage from the textbook to the first author. Students' oral reading was timed and their decoding errors were recorded. Errors included mispronunciations, substitutions, and omissions. Repetitions and self-corrections within 3 s were not counted as errors (Shinn, 1989). The results indicated that the students were able to read the textbook accurately; students' mean accuracy was 93.7% (range 76.6%-98.6%); only one student read with lower than 90% accuracy. With respect to fluency, students averaged 96.8 correct words per minute (range 31.8-153.7).

Three female special education teachers participated in the study. The teachers had taught from 4 to 25 years (M= 13.7). Two had completed master's degrees; the third was currently working toward a master' s. All three teachers had multiple teaching certificates in special education.


A careful evaluation of junior high U.S. history textbooks was conducted prior to selecting a text for this study (Kinder, Bursuck, & Epstein, 1992). Criteria for this evaluation were those suggested for content area textbooks by Armbruster and her colleagues (Anderson, Armbruster, & Kantor, 1980; Armbruster, 1984, 1986; Armbruster & Anderson, 1988) and the criteria suggested specifically for social studies textbooks by Beck and her colleagues (Beck & McKeown, 1991; Beck, McKeown, & Gromoll, 1989). Armbruster and her colleagues identified global coherence, the overall organization of prose with integrated ideas in a consistent and repeated structure, and local coherence (clarity of the text at the sentence level) as essential features of a quality textbook. Beck and her colleagues found coherence and depth of coverage to be important qualities in a social studies textbook.

Employing Armbruster and Beck's criteria, we evaluated 10 junior high American history textbooks from either the California or Texas adoption lists (Kinder, Bursuck, & Epstein, 1992). We selected Holt, Rinehart and Winston's United States History (Reich & Billet, 1988) for this study. We found this text to be coherent; it facilitated knowledge linkage through its use of clear, repetitive structures. The text had other features that enhanced local coherence, new vocabulary was printed in bold type and defined in context. Each chapter was divided into short sections of four to six pages. Although the text was coherent and demonstrated clarity, it did not have depth of coverage. It covered American history from the earliest Americans and European discovery to the Reagan years. Unfortunately, all 10 of the junior high history textbooks emphasized this breadth of coverage rather than depth of understanding.

This text has a 10th-grade reading level, as determined by the Fry extend scale (1978). At face value, this 10th-grade reading level might exclude this text from use in junior high special education settings; however, one must consider the reading level of other junior high history textbooks and the validity of readability measures. The average reading level of the 10 junior high history textbooks evaluated by Kinder et al. (1992) was 10.9 (range 9-15). All readabilities were above grade level; however, an emphasis on readabilities as a selection criteria may be misplaced. Readability measures have been criticized for failing to address such concerns as the readers' background knowledge and experience (Rubin, 1985) and important text characteristics (Armbruster & Anderson, 1988; Rush, 1985). Further, as indicated previously, students in the study were able to read the book, despite its high readability level.

Therefore, because of the strength of its global coherence and facilitation of knowledge linkage, clarity, and relatively low readability, we selected the Holt, Rinehart and Winston text. We also developed a teachers' guide with scripted lessons (Kinder, 1989) to facilitate instruction. In addition, we supplied each student with a spiral notebook for note taking.


Section Tests. The first author developed content tests for each of the short sections of text. These Section Tests contained four types of questions: timeline, short answer, definitions, and multiple choice. The timeline questions required students to place three events in chronological order. The two short-answer questions were selected at random from six questions provided by the textbook publisher and required a one- to two-sentence answer regarding factual information provided in the text. The Section Tests also included five text-identified vocabulary words and their definitions in a set of matching items. Finally, multiple-choice questions were developed to determine if students had integrated information from the text. Rather than requiting specific facts to answer, these questions required the students to use factual information from several paragraphs to answer cause-and-effect or problem-solution questions.

Student Interviews. As a measure of social validity, we developed an interview protocol to gather information from the students following the intervention. Students were asked to state what they liked most and least about the intervention, if they would recommend a similar class to a friend, and how they would rate the intervention on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best class they had ever had and 1 representing the worst.

Teacher Interviews. Teachers were also interviewed after the completion of the intervention. They were asked to identify what they liked most and least about the intervention, what component they felt was most valuable, and what, if any transfer of training to other classes they had detected. The teachers also rated the intervention from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the worst instructional program they had ever taught and 10 representing the best.

Fidelity of Implementation.. The first author developed a rating form to ascertain the degree of implementation during baseline and intervention lessons. Teachers were rated on a scale of 1 (never observed) to 5 (consistently observed) for each of the components of baseline and intervention instruction. During baseline, teachers' ratings were based on following the schedule of instruction and providing the appropriate assistance. During intervention, teachers were rated according to how well they followed the scripted lessons, called on students at random, questioned students until they were able to state the correct answer in their own words, monitored students' written work, and taught at a brisk pace.

Design and Conditions

A multiple baseline design across classes was employed to evaluate the efficacy of the history intervention. During baseline and intervention, students received instruction for 45 min, 4 days per week. The three special education teachers sequentially introduced the intervention to the three classes of students with behavior disorders according to the dictates of the multiple baseline design (Tawney & Gast, 1984).

Teacher Training. The first author trained the three special education teachers to carry out the instructional procedures for both baseline and experimental conditions. Before the study began, the three teachers received instructional materials and participated in a 1-hr training session emphasizing the teachers' role during baseline. Because baseline instruction was designed to replicate typical social studies instruction (see the "Baseline" section), little instruction in methodology was required; rather, the training emphasized that teachers could help students read the text, find answers to text questions, and complete workbook questions. Teachers were instructed that they could not assist students in any way during the tests.

Each teacher received intervention training, individually, during the week before her class was to begin the intervention. Because the intervention involved novel instructional strategies, the training was more extensive than that employed for baseline. Training consisted of 4 hr of viewing videotapes of the first author implementing the intervention with a small group of students and practicing the scripted lessons. Before the first intervention lesson, each teacher was required to teach a lesson to the first author to demonstrate initial mastery of the methodology. Continued fidelity of implementation was measured using a checklist (see "Fidelity of Implementation" section).

Baseline. Baseline data were collected for 2 weeks in Class 1,5 weeks in Class 2, and 9 weeks in Class 3. During baseline, the three teachers were instructed to conduct classes using the approach commonly used in mainstream classrooms. This traditional approach was highly text dependent and teacher centered (Kaltsounis, 1987) and required memorization of facts and concepts (Brophy, 1990). The instruction during baseline consisted of repeated 4-day cycles, culminating in a Section Test. On the first day of the baseline cycle, students read the assigned section of their textbook, usually four to six pages. On the second day, students wrote responses to four to seven short-answer questions from the textbook and wrote definitions to text-identified vocabulary words. The third day of instruction consisted of completion of one to two pages from the workbook that accompanied the textbook. On the fourth day, the Section Test was administered. Students were not allowed to use their textbook, workbook, or notes while completing the Section Tests. Teachers were allowed to pronounce words that students could not read but were not allowed to assist in any other way with the Section Test. This cycle of instruction was repeated for each successive section of the textbook until the intervention was introduced.

Intervention. Intervention data of the efficacy of the history strategy were collected for 6 weeks in Class 1, 4 weeks in Class 2, and 3 weeks in Class 3. The major component of the history strategy, the problem-solution-effect analysis previously described, was designed to illustrate the inter-connectedness of history knowledge. The complete intervention package consisted of preskills instruction, problem-solution-effect analysis note taking, vocabulary note taking, timeline note taking, and reciprocal questioning. The first eight intervention lessons taught the students preskills defined as key information underlying the problem-solution-effect analysis. Because many of the problems in history are economic, students first were taught a basic economic principle; namely, that countries, companies, and individuals have a balance of income and expenses and that the preferred balance is to have greater income than expenses. Next, the teacher demonstrated the problem-solution-effect analysis using several examples that illustrated problems caused by economics. During this preskills instruction, students read a passage and were shown that four questions could be answered: What was the problem? Why was it a problem? What was the solution? and What was the effect of the solution? Following the teacher's demonstrations, the students read several more passages and were led through the problem-solution-effect analysis. Finally, preskills instruction included teaching students to determine the meaning of vocabulary words from context, write definitions for these words, and develop timelines.

Following preskills instruction, intervention lessons that followed 4-day cycles were implemented. In general, the instruction employed teacher-led discussions with frequent student exchanges. These discussions illustrated the connections between concepts and facts rather than the memorization of isolated facts. On the first day of each 4-day cycle, the students read orally from one subheading to the next and participated in a whole-class discussion in which they were called on to apply the problem-solution-effect analysis. The instruction was scripted, containing specific questions the teacher was to ask the students and reminders that the teacher was to continue probing until students could state the problem in their own words. After the problem had been identified, the teacher used the same procedure to identify the solution and the effect. Each student then recorded this problem-solution-effect analysis in his or her own spiral notebook. In some cases, the textbook only stated the problem; in others the problem and solution were stated but the effect was not. In these cases, the students identified and recorded only the components stated in the text. The following is a typical text passage with the problem-solution-effect analysis provided,

Economic Benefits of the Colonies

The English government had many economic reasons for wanting to build colonies in the New World. One of these had to do with England's balance of trade. The balance of trade compares what a nation buys from other nations with what other nations buy from it. If other nations buy more from it than the nation buys from others, the balance of trade is good.

England did not have a good balance of trade. It needed many goods that it did not make or grow. The English weather was too cold to grow sugar cane, and England did not have enough trees to supply the wood needed to build ships. As a result, England had to buy goods such as sugar and wood from other nations. In turn, other nations bought wool and other products from England. If England had colonies in the New World, they could supply raw materials to England. These products from nature, such as wood, were necessary if England were to improve its balance of trade.

The colonies could also become a new market, or place to sell products, for English goods. The colonists would need many supplies, such as tools and cloth, and English merchants would provide them. This would create more business and more jobs in England.

In time, many English merchants grew rich from this trade with the colonies. The English government also grew rich by taxing the people who shipped the goods to the colonies. (Reich & Billet, 1988, p. 35)

Like many passages the students read, this passage is not as explicit as one might hope; however, the problem is rather clearly stated--England had a poor balance of trade because England had to purchase all of its raw materials. This was a problem because England had greater expenses than income. The solution is not as clearly stated; the colonies could help England's balance of trade by providing inexpensive raw materials and buying English products. The final paragraph states the effect; the merchants grew rich from the trade and the government grew rich from the increased tax revenue. As students identified the problem, solution, and effect, they recorded them in their spiral notebooks.

On the second day of each instruction cycle, the students recorded text-identified vocabulary and timelines in their notebooks. To record vocabulary, students were taught to skim the section they had previously read and find the first boldfaced word. Once the first vocabulary word was found (balance of trade, in the example above), students recorded the word in their notebooks. Then, students read the paragraph in which the new word was found, determined the meaning from context, and using their own words, recorded the definition in their spiral notebook. (In the case of balance of trade, students might write, "a comparison of what a country sells to what it buys.") Students continued this procedure under the teacher's guidance until all words and their definitions were recorded. [It should be noted that in a recent review of junior high school history texts (Kinder et al., 1992), all texts reviewed identified vocabulary with bold or italic print.]

To develop the timeline, students skimmed the section until they found the first date and recorded this date in their notebooks on a vertical line. Then, students read the paragraph in which the date was found to determine what happened on that date. Usually this consisted of stating who was involved in an event and what the person did; this information was recorded next to the date on the students' timeline.

The third day of each instruction cycle was devoted to reciprocal questioning (Palinscar & Brown, 1984). Students were taught to ask specific questions for each type of notes: vocabulary, timeline, and problem-solution-effect. To ask a vocabulary question, the student, acting as a teacher, stated the vocabulary term and asked another student to define it. This continued until all students had correctly defined each vocabulary word.

Reciprocal timeline questions had two levels-two-event and three-event questions. In the first level, the student, acting as teacher, identified two events and asked which came first and why; for example, "Tell me which came first and why: Magellan's ship sailed around the world or Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean." The students' response might have been: "Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean before Magellan's ship sailed around the world because if Balboa had not previously discovered the Pacific Ocean, Magellan would have been given credit for that also." Students were required to state the rationale for the order of events in an attempt to encourage them to look for logical explanations rather than simply memorizing facts. The second level of reciprocal timeline questions was similar except that at this level, three events were identified and a student was asked to put the three events in order and provide a rationale.

Finally, students asked two types of reciprocal questions about the problem-solution-effect analysis. For example, using the problems of England's balance of trade, the first question type was formed by stating the solution and asking why that had taken place; for example, "Why did England colonize America?" The answer to this question was found in the problem; England had a poor balance of trade with few raw materials. The second question was formed by stating the solution and asking for the effect. For example, the question, "What was the effect of England colonizing America?" would be answered by stating, "The merchants got rich from selling their products, and the government prospered from the additional taxes."

The Section Test was administered on the fourth day of each instruction cycle. The conditions of the administration were the same as during baseline; students were not allowed to use their text, notes, or other resources. The teachers were allowed only to pronounce words for students. This 4-day cycle of instruction was repeated for each successive section of the textbook.

Interscorer Reliability

A research assistant scored all Section Tests, using answer keys developed by the first author. Reliability was assessed by having a second research assistant score 62 of the 198 individual students' Section Tests (31%). Interscorer reliability was computed by dividing the number of agreements by the number of agreements and disagreements and multiplying by 100. Reliability across the three classrooms and various Section Tests was 99.1% with a range of 93.0% to 100% agreement.


Section Tests

As shown in Figure 1, the mean Section Test scores for all classes during intervention increased consistently over baseline levels. The "percent correct" on the Section Tests for Class 1 increased from a baseline average of 44.7% (range: 35.0% to 50.0%) to an intervention average of 78.0% (range from 67.8% to 87.8%). Class 2 increased from mean baseline levels of 56.8% (range: 36.7% to 74.3%) to intervention levels of 81.8% (range: 76.5% to 86.5%). For Class 3, Section Test class means increased from 50.9% during baseline (range: 38.5% to 60.8%) to 85.5% after intervention (range: 78.7% to 94.0%).

Student Interviews

Following the intervention, the first author interviewed all 24 students individually. When asked what they liked most about the history strategy intervention, students most commonly gave three answers: students liked (a) feeling that they had learned and done well on the Section Tests (25%), (b) writing the vocabulary and timeline notes (25%), and (c) using the textbook (21%). When asked what they liked least, students most commonly answered analyzing the problem-solution-effects (33%). The only other common concern related to the pacing (12.5%); some students felt that they were pushed too fast and others felt held back. When asked if they would recommend this class to a friend, 92% said they would recommend the class; 8% said they would not. Student ratings regarding the merits of the class--from the "best"(10) to the "worst" (1) they had ever taken--ranged from 4 to 10, with a mean of 7.5.

Teacher Interviews

Only two of the three teachers were able to participate in the interviews; the third teacher could not participate because of scheduling conflicts at the end of the school year. The results of the interviews indicated that both teachers liked the note taking and the problem-solution-effect analysis the most. On the other hand, both teachers felt rushed to cover the curriculum, and one teacher did not like using the script. The two teachers were in agreement regarding the most beneficial component of the instruction; both felt it was the problem-solution-effect analysis because they believed it encouraged critical thinking. One teacher reported some transfer of notetaking skills to a research paper assignment in language arts class. On the same best (10) to worst (1) rating scale used by the students, both teachers rated the history strategy instruction as an 8.

Fidelity of Implementation

The first author evaluated fidelity of implementation during baseline and intervention. A total of 49 observations were made (range of 14-18 per classroom, M= 16.3); 18 observations were made during baseline and 31 during intervention. Approximately 25% of the lessons were observed (M= 1.25 observations per week). To quantify these data, each individual teacher rating was compared with the highest possible rating and a percent score was calculated. During baseline, the mean of the three teachers' ratings was 96%, ranging from 91% to 100%. During the intervention, the three teachers' mean rating was 95%, with a range of 92% to 97%.

Intervention ratings included five areas: following scripted lessons, calling on students at random, questioning students until they were able to state the correct answer in their own words, monitoring students' written work, and teaching at a brisk pace. Teachers had the least difficulty questioning students until students were able to answer in their own words (98.9%), and monitoring students' written work (95.2%). Teachers had a greater difficulty following the written script (92.4%) and calling on students at random rather than accepting volunteers' answers (92.2%). The most difficult area for the teachers was maintaining a brisk pace while using scripted lessons (87.4%).


The results of this controlled multiple baseline study demonstrate the effectiveness of a history strategy that emphasized teaching students with behavior disorders linkages of information rather than isolated facts. Although the students had demonstrated the ability during the pretest to decode the textbook, they were unable to gain or retain the information they needed to successfully complete the Section Tests given during baseline. It is not uncommon for students to have difficulties with informational texts; the challenge for students with disabilities to gain information from content-area texts has been compared to maneuvering through a camouflaged minefield without a map (Kameenui & Simmons, 1990). However, with a map--the problem-solution-effect strategy--the data showed immediate and educationally significant improvement in the history Section Tests. All three classes improved from failing scores using traditional approaches, to class averages that approached or exceeded mastery levels. The results of this preliminary study suggest that further examination of this strategy instruction is in order. We believe that a strategy similar to this, which demonstrates the linkage of knowledge including instructional features suggested in current cognitive psychology findings (Prawat, 1989), might be effective not only for students with behavior disorders but also for students with learning disabilities (Carnine, 1991), students at risk of failure, and the many general education students who lack basic history knowledge (Ravitch & Finn, 1987).

Teachers and students indicated that they not only found the instruction educationally beneficial, but enjoyable as well. The teachers' positive impressions of the approach are not surprising; innovations that are clear (Loucks & Zacchei, 1983), successful with low-performing students (Getsten, Carnine, & Green, 1982), and include training (Huberman & Miles, 1984) are most acceptable to teachers. Although both teachers and students rated the approach positively, they were inconsistent regarding their attitude toward the problem-solution-effect analysis. Teachers were very positive regarding this linkage; they felt that requiring students to identify and state these linkages in their own words encouraged students' higher order thinking skills. The students, on the other hand, enjoyed the intervention but preferred the production of timelines and definitions to the problem-solution-effect analysis. Time did not permit lengthy interviews with the 24 students, but observations of the classes and the interviews allow speculation regarding students' reported enjoyment of the class yet dislike of the problem-solution-effect analysis. Observations of the 3-6 weeks that the groups received the strategy instruction revealed that many students quickly mastered the skills required to develop a timeline or define words from context; however, most students continued to need the teacher-guided discussion to analyze the problems, solutions, and effects. It is not surprising when students were asked what they like least that they identified the task that remained most challenging for them.

The careful monitoring of the implementation of interventions is required to confidently interpret the results of any study (Borg & Gall, 1983). To maximize fidelity of treatment, we scripted lessons, trained the teachers, and observed and collected data to determine congruence. These steps undertaken to ensure fidelity of treatment are supported by educational researchers (Borg & Gall, 1983) and, as reported previously, resulted in high fidelity. However, the fact that the fidelity-of-treatment data were collected by the investigator might lead one to speculate that the presence of the investigator in the classroom was responsible for teachers' fidelity of implementation during the observation; still, the presence of any observer might affect implementation. Further, the key concern in the study was whether the intervention was implemented as planned, and that the students' success was related to the intervention. We believe that this was adequately demonstrated. The question of whether teachers would implement the intervention in the absence of the investigator was not addressed, though clearly some aspects of the intervention were more difficult than others. The fidelity ratings demonstrated that teachers experienced the most difficulty maintaining a brisk pace; this was associated with the teachers' reported feelings of being rushed and not enjoying the use of scripted lessons. Although the teachers felt positive regarding the problem-solution-effect analysis, they felt rushed to complete the strategy instruction on the same 4-day-per-section schedule that they had maintained during baseline. Observations of the classes indicated that the students were more actively involved during the intervention, discussing and taking notes, and the teachers frequently could not call on every student who volunteered a comment or analysis if the teachers were to maintain the same schedule as during baseline. Had instruction not been driven by the research project, the teachers commented that they would increase the time devoted to discussion of the problem-solution-effect analysis.

Only one of the three teachers had previously used a scripted curriculum. The teachers were not accustomed to reviewing and rehearsing lessons so that the script could be followed much as an actor follows a script, with brisk interchanges, rather than simply reading the script. Although the teachers became more proficient in following the scripted lesson and maintaining brisk interactions with the students, whether they would have used it without the involvement of the investigator is unclear and in need of further research.

Although the current study indicates that history strategy instruction can be effective in teaching history to students with behavior disorders, further research is required to determine if students can be taught to use this strategy independently or if, once proficient with the strategy, students will be able to employ it in mainstream settings--increasing the opportunities for integration. The researchers are somewhat guarded in their optimism regarding the transferability of this strategy to mainstream settings. As previously stated, the Holt, Rinehart and Winston text was selected because of its coherence or linkage of information. Many junior high history texts (Kinder, Bursuck, & Epstein, 1992) lack this coherence and might be much more difficult to use with this strategy. Further research is required to answer these questions.

Finally, the researchers concur with concerns expressed by Beck and McKeown (1991) and others (Brophy, 1991; Newman, 1988) regarding the need in history instruction for instructional depth, rather than coverage. It is unrealistic to believe that any student could master everything (Newman, 1988); therefore, the task for historians and textbook authors is to develop a"rich network of understandings related to a limited number of essential topics" (Parker, 1991, p. 1). These essential topics might be identified by a limited number of historical eras, for example, the Revolutionary War (Beck & McKeown, 1991); by "essential learning spirals" like the democratic ideal (Parker, 1991, p. 2);or by commonalities of problems--rather than teaching the problems faced by each group of colonists in the New World, illustrate why groups across historical eras have immigrated. Regardless of method of defining the essential learning, textbooks that focus on essential topics in depth might enhance the linkage of knowledge suggested by cognitive psychologists (Prawat, 1989) and increase opportunities for students to master something rather than "cover" everything (Newman, 1988). It is our hope that textbook publishers respond to these challenges and publish textbooks that will facilitate good instruction.


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DIANE KINDER (CEC #302) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. WILLIAM B URSUCK is a Research Scientist at

Educational Research and Services Center, DeKalb, Illinois.

This study was supported by a research grant (#G0087C3034) from the U.S. Department of Education. We express our appreciation to Anna Standifer, Mariann Craig, and Lori Compton for their excellent instruction; without them this study would not have been possible. We also thank Hiromi Satoh and CeCe Mayor for their assistance in data analysis and Deb Holderness for her assistance in manuscript preparation.

Address correspondence to: Diane Kinder, Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.

Manuscript received March 1991; revision accepted September 1991.
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Author:Kinder, Diane; Bursuck, William
Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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