UW–Madison’s Stoddard, Hess are co-authors of study on teaching about the midterm elections


UW–Madison’s Jeremy Stoddard and Diana Hess are co-authors of a new study published in the Journal of Curriculum Studies that is titled, “Teaching the U.S. 2018 midterm elections: a survey of secondary social studies teachers.”

Dean Diana Hess and Jeremy Stoddard
Hess (left) and Stoddard

Stoddard is a professor and chair of the secondary education program in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Hess is the dean of the School of Education and the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education.

Paul Fitchett, assistant dean of teaching and innovation and a professor in the Cato College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is also a co-author of the study.

The goal of the study was to identify teacher-reported practices related to teaching about the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and contemporary social and policy issues.

In particular, Stoddard, Fitchett, and Hess sought to identify factors that helped explain why teachers were or were not engaging students in the midterm elections and related contemporary issues and what contextual factors influenced their teaching of these contemporary events. They also examined how teachers’ political views and those of the school community, their personal political engagement, and engagement with current events were associated with teaching the midterms.

By analyzing responses to an online survey of over 800 social studies teachers from 48 states, the authors found that teachers who identified shared goals with colleagues and administrators, and who reported having autonomy over their curriculum and teaching, said they engaged students in the election and issues regardless of the political context.

They also found that teachers in more politically competitive states reported developing skills, norms, and classroom contexts conducive for engaging in controversial issues.

Learn more and access the study at tandfonline.com.