Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Catherine Sullivan


The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how a well developed and validated national standard for United States history can affect public school achievement levels. Currently, there is no mandated national standard for United States history; rather it has been left to the respective states to create their own. This study focused on the state of Virginia, which has been able to meet both the nationally mandated adequate yearly progress (AYP) level, and achieve high proficiency levels in United States history achievement. This comparative case study examined two neighboring states of similar demographics: Virginia which made both the AYP and high history achievement, and a southern U.S. state which did not meet either the AYP or acceptable history scores. Archival data included achievement levels as assessed by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test scores in U.S. history for both states, and State of the State (SOS) national assessments of state history standards. It was hypothesized that there would be a correlation between well established and vetted standards and achievement levels. Sequential analyses employing Pearson correlations and Somers' D tests of association demonstrated significant correlations between SOS standards and NAEP achievement scores. These results can contribute to positive social change by informing research based decision making related to best practice standards for U.S. history curricula that will increase student achievement levels, and provide a more common curricular foundation from which supporting resources can be developed and shared to offset reductions in education budgets.