Date of Award:
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Teacher Education and Leadership
The purpose of this study was to determine :
1. What actions sixth grade children think should be taken in situations that contain certain elements of c ivil rights.
2. The reasons given by the s ixth grade children for choosing these actions.
A measuring instrument was constructed from 14 court cases containing certain elements of civil rights. These court cases were then rewritten so that sixth grade students could comprehend the vocabulary and situations described. Statements for students responses were developed from the case itself, newspapers, and magazine articles. Two sixth grade classes and one fifth grade class served as a pilot group for the study. The responses and suggestions of these students were used by the author to refine the measuring instrument.
Approximately 5 per cent or 1, 192 students of the sixth grade population in the public schools of Utah participated in the study. The school districts in the state were divided into five population groupings. This was done by first ranking the school districts by their sixth grade population, then dividing the school districts into five groups representing about one-fifth of the sixth grade population. From these five groups, schools were then selected on a random basis for participation in this study.
The administrator of each school selected to participate in the study was contacted by letter for permission to conduct the study in his school. lf permission to conduct the study was not granted additional schools were contacted until sufficient schools were obtained.
The inventory responses were scored as correct or incorrect as they corresponded with the decisions and explanations given in the court case.
Opinion inventories such as the one employed in the present study a r e subjective. This permits a discrepancy to exis t between the answer chosen and the true opinion of the situation studied. Subject to these limitations the following findings seem pertinent to this study:
1. The children involved in this study disagreed with the decision. of the court on seven of the 14 situations.
2. The children involved in this study disagreed with the reasoning of the court on eight of the 14 situations.
3. Because of the consistency of the responses made by the children it is apparent that they have begun to establish standards for use in judging their actions in situations involving certain elements of civil rights.
4. Significant differences did exist at the 5 per cent level of confidence among the population groupings on ten of the 28 variables.
5. Significant differences did exist at the 5 per cent level of confidence between boys and girls on 15 of the 28 variables. Boys were more supportive of authorities such as school teachers, school administrators, boards of education, economic leaders, and officers of the government than were girls. Girls supported the cause of individual liberties and Negro rights more often than boys.
6. There was evidence that the sixth grade children in this study were opposed to the punishing of young people.
7. Respect for authority as represented by school teachers, school administrators, boards of education, and economic leaders was lacking.
8. The children involved in this study gave support to the cause of equal rights for Negroes.
Hanson, Robert Neldon, "A Survey of Sixth Grade Students' Reactions to Selected Situations Involving Certain Elements of Civil Rights" (1970). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 3970.
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