Evaluation of the Core Knowledge Program in Colorado
Graduate School of Human Relations, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
E-mail: [email protected]
Literacy education is one useful means to validate knowledge. The literacy education can
either improve students’ ability to acquire knowledge, or teach general ability to understand
language and world. The goal of my research is to clarify equality, multiculturalism, coherence
and practice of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.’s cultural literacy.
The research aims to explore from concepts and arguments regarding literacy theory which
emerged in American in 1980s, and to reestablish a situation of Hirsch in the literacy theory
field. Once this is established, it will then investigate how the cultural literacy could provide
solutions to “education inequality” in China, especially in Xinjiang province, and establish how
to use the cultural literacy to assist Chinese in “knowing the world by knowing the word”.
Hirsch offers a masterful analysis of how American ideas about education have veered off
course, what we must do in order to right them, and why. He argues that the core problem
with American education is that educational theorists, especially in the early grades, have for
the past sixty years rejected academic content in favor of “child-centered” and “how-to” learn
theories that are at odds with how children really learn.
From this background, my research will start by investigating and discussing prior work
relating to the cultural literacy. Through literature study and field work of the Core Knowledge
Schools, the structure of Hirsch’s theory will be clarified from uniting of theore tical and
practical approaches, and it will be useful to make some e xperimental classes of using Core
Knowledge Sequence in the background of Xinjiang diversity. So I made a new three years'
practical study for evaluating Core Knowledge Schools, this year is the first year of my practical
study. It is divided into quantitative component and qualitative component. The first step is to
collect quantitative component.
Prior Work
The cultural literacy is not a new area, and it has been researched from various viewpoints.
Jon Olson of University of Southern California published his dissertation of Frederick Douglass
and a Process of Cultural Literacy Empowerment. Frederick Douglass demonstrated a fully
developed the cultural literacy which extends, complicates, and empowers Hirsch's notion. This
study examines Douglass's Narrative (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and Life
and Times (1892) in order to trace the components of critical awareness, literariness, and
cultural identification which empowered Douglass's ability to process and produce print. This
study examines the flow of literacy while Hirsch is interested in the reservoir of literacy.
Kristen l. Buras provides the first detailed, critical examination of the Core Knowledge
movement and explored the history and cultural politics underlying neoconservative initiatives
in education. She argues understanding that neoconservative school reform itself has become
a multicultural affair and is the first step toward fighting an alternative war of position,
reclaiming multiculturalism as a radically transformative project.
Ralph A. Smith points out some antecedents of Hirsch’s concerns and discussed his key
ideas, their reception by various groups, and their significance for a curriculum of arts
education. He stated a new viewpoint derived from general knowledge and arts education.
And many studies showed effectiveness of the Core Knowledge on students’ achievement,
such as Oklahoma City Study of 2000, two John Hopkins’ studies in the late1990’s, and various
comparative studies of Core Knowledge Schools in Colorado. In 2003 Herb Walberg conducted
a study of eight official North Carolina schools. In 2004, Core Knowledge contracted for two
outside research studies on the effectiveness of its curriculum. A study conducted by John
Wedman analyzed national test score data from 21 official Core Knowledge schools across 13
Research Goals and Research Method
From this overview, it is clearly that no studies of Core Knowledge Schools in Colorado have
been conducted from 2005. The goal of this research is to clarify how Hirsch’s theory starts
from minority of American and make a new universal viewpoint of the cultural literacy.
Especially to make an evaluation of the Core Knowledge Sequence implementation in the Core
Knowledge Schools of Colorado. The goal of this evaluation was to determine effects of the
Core Knowledge Sequence implementation in a variety of contexts. And major research
questions of this evaluation are:
What are the effects of the Core Knowledge Sequence and Core Knowledge
Reading (CKR) programme at the Core Knowledge Schools in Colorado.
What are outcomes of the Core Knowledge Sequence implementation. Specific
making clear of impact of the Core Knowledge on academic engagement.
What is the Core Knowledge Sequence object? Is it not just for advantaged
students but also for disadvantaged students? Can it achieve greater fairness, or
academic achievement?
Annual Report of the Core Knowledge
I am going to get data for my research as below:
Firstly, Baseline Samples of 5 Core Knowledge Schools. And to get structure of
Secondly, to conduct students' achievements comparison between five Core
Knowledge Schools.
Thirdly, to take longitudinal samples from preschool to eighth grade.
Fourth, to take achievement gap between different groups and races. Core
Knowledge is a school-level intervention, but this research will make a clear review
of different races, so I am going to take a multilevel model that constituted with
school and students. Therefore, I prefer analyses at the student level this time. To
analyze the achievement of Five Core Knowledge Schools' students from reading,
math, core knowledge, language arts, science and social studies.
After my research, I am going to join Comparative Education Society conference in next
year, and write paper for Japan Comparative Education at Jul 2012.
1. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2011). “The Meaning of ‘Cultural Literacy in the Early Grades’ according to
the Theory of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.: In Relation to ‘Core Knowledge’,”
Philosophy, No.126, 107-127, Edited & Published by Mita Philosophy Society Keio University,
Mita, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.
2. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2011). “Paulo Freire’s Critical Literacy Theory,”
Studies in Foreign Education, Edited & Published by Northeast Normal University, Changchun,
Jilin Province, The People’s Republic of China.
3. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2010). “Educational Equity in Xinjiang Higher Education: from the Point of
Views on Academic Literacy Curriculum,”
Philosophy, No.123, 271-294, Edited & Published by Mita Philosophy Society Keio University,
Mita, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.
4. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2009). “The Meaning of ‘Reading’ according to the Theory of Critical
Literacy: In Relation to Controversy of Literacy in the United States in the Latter 20th
reading 概念再考 : 20 世紀後半のアメリカにおけるリテ
Inquiries into Humans and Societies: Studies in Sociology, Psychology and Education, No. 68,
186-188, Edited & Published by the Division of Human Relations Graduate School of Keio
University, Mita, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.
5. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2009). “’Reading’ in the ‘Literacy’ Theory: according to the Criticism of
Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., to E. D. Hirsch, Jr.,”
(「『リテラシー』論における『読む』こと―E.F.プロヴェンゾの E.D.ハーシュ批
Modern Educational Forum, No. 18, 211-213, Edited & Published by History of Education
Thought Society, Japan.
1. ZHAI, GAOYAN (2008). “Literacy Theory of Constructing ‘Knowledge for the Freedom’ :
According to the Theory of Paulo Freire,”
Master Dissertation, Graduate School of Human Relations of Keio University, Mita, Minato-Ku,
Tokyo, Japan.
1. WU, YAOHUI.; ZHAI, GAOYAN (2003). Dictionary of Printed Circuit Board in Chinese,
Japanese and English,
( 《印制电路词汇:日英汉对照手册》)
Edited & Published by Printed Circuit Information Editorial Office, Shanghai, The People`s
Republic of China. (http://www.cpca.org.cn/web/book_View.asp?id=8.)