Teacher Education Majors’ Basic Knowledge of U.S. Constitutional Rights and Pedagogical Implications

Porter E. Coggins, III, Janet Heuer


University students in the United States preparing for a career in as teachers Pre-K - 12 professional education must possess a basic understanding of constitutional law applicable to the profession. Undergraduate teacher education majors in their first course for teacher education majors participated in a survey research study designed to measure their confidence in ability to explain a relevant example of the 1st, 4th, 10th, 14th, and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution in the context of professional education. The survey questionnaire instrument asked the respondents to self-assess their level of confidence on the above constitutional amendments on a four-point Likert scale, and also asked the respondents to give a basic example of each of the above stated constitutional amendments. The findings indicate that these students have a low initial understanding of educationally relevant examples of these amendments and an unrealistically elevated belief in their ability to give relevant examples. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine differences between pre-survey and post-survey scores. The results indicated a statistically significant (p < .001) gain in their confidence to give educationally relevant examples of these amendments in the context of their profession at the end of the course. The effect sizes for differences in pre-survey and post-survey scores indicate a moderate difference for all questions except for one amendment. The pedagogical implications include insight for the course instructor on better engaging students in this content material for relevancy, retention, and application.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/irhe.v2n3p1


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International Research in Higher Education  ISSN 2380-9183 (Print)  ISSN 2380-9205 (Online)

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