A national survey was conducted to determine what book-length works are currently being taught in public, parochial, and independent secondary schools (grades 7-12). Department chairs were asked to list the works which all students, in any English class, study. Although the rank ordering differed somewhat in the three samples, the top 10 titles included were identical in the public and Catholic school samples, and nearly so in the independent schools. Data compiled by author of required titles looked quite similar. William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens were among the most popular authors. There was considerable diversity in the grade levels at which titles were taught, but also some consistency in the levels at which specific titles were most likely to be taught. Department heads were also asked to indicate assignment of the texts according to track. The correlation among the tracks in the titles that appeared, indicated that there was some differentiation between the high and low groups. The titles required by 30% or more of the public schools were summarized and compared with the results of a study done 25 years earlier. Changes of titles required in independent and Catholic schools since 1963 were also compared. To investigate differences in offerings in different communities the required authors were examined. The study reflects what is explicitly valued as the foundation of students' literary experience. (Nine tables of data are included; eight appendixes including titles listed according to type of school, grade, and track are attached. The survey instrument is also appended.) (MG)
Literary Canon; State University of New York Albany
1 - Available on microfiche
Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, Albany, NY.
National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.