Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III

Thesis Committee Member

Denise E. Reid

Thesis Committee Member

Tim N. Taylor

Thesis Committee Member

Edmund F. Wehrle


Education standards are shifting to reflect a skills-based, rather than a content-centered, curriculum that focuses on students being literate across all disciplines. This study focuses on the skills of critical thinking, close reading, and text-based writing as it applies to the scientific and historical disciplines. Eighth grade students engaged in a text-based writing assignment that required evaluation of multiple sources to support their claims. Student responses were analyzed textually and verbally as it related to the content. Findings included the ability to identify students' struggles and successes with close reading, writing claims, evaluating evidence for importance, and connecting documents to strengthen evidence. The findings can inform teachers' approaches as they related to the findings with some examples including problem based learning, interdisciplinary learning, career based learning, differentiation within the classroom, and disciplinary literacy within science.