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Cozzolino, Marzia (2014) GLOBAL EDUCATION, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND 21ST CENTURY SKILLS: A CASE OF CURRICULUM INNOVATION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation is an ethnographic case study of a small, public, suburban high school in Pennsylvania that has undertaken an innovation process to integrate global education into its curriculum offerings. Olympus’ unique response is twofold: a school-wide initiative to help refocus and plan the mainstream curriculum –the Global Studies Initiative—and a specific program of study – the Global Studies Credential—through which students interested in exploring global issues in more depth can earn an additional credential by fulfilling a set of requirements. Qualitative data have been collected over the course of five years, with the bulk of data collected during the years 2010-2012, in the form of over 40 semi-structured interviews with administrators, teachers, and students; and a greater number of observations, participant-observations, and document analysis.
The study answers research questions related to the school-wide reform in terms of motivations that created urgency for the innovation, key ingredients, and challenges to implementation. In addition, students’ views and perceptions specifically of the Global Studies Credential are explored. Some findings suggest that competing priorities from both outside and within the district are taking focus away from the school-wide initiative (GSI). Therefore, the effort to integrate global education risks being limited to a few classes in the Social Studies Department and to the GSC, rather than being integrated across disciplines and within the entire mainstream curriculum. Even as a limited program, the GSC seems to provide a relevant and enjoyable experience, but only to its enrolled students.
Drawing on the conceptualizations of Parker and Camicia (2009) and Reimers (2006), I argue that, as confirmed in my case, while the changes brought about by globalization have spurred many efforts to incorporate forms of global education into schools across the United States, the space that global education occupies today within the public education scenario, shaped by the major driving forces of accountability and 21st century skills, is still troublesome. What is at risk is not only the ability for schools to fully prepare students for life, but also to fulfill their essential civic mission. Implications are drawn for local, state, and federal policy.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberBickel, Williambickel@pitt.eduBICKEL
Committee MemberMyers, John,
Committee MemberFeick, Lawrencefeick@pitt.eduFEICK
Date: 30 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 May 2014
Approval Date: 30 September 2014
Submission Date: 27 June 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 282
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: global education, 21st century skills, public schools, global citizenship, ethnographic case study, school reform, curriculum, accountability
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 15:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:21


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