Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Basal programs can be useful guides for teachers. They provide structure and useful material for a lesson plan. However, in school districts where the program plan is required to be taught with little to no flexibility the programs become restrictive and cumbersome. Most teachers find it necessary to alter the programs in specific ways. In this master thesis, the author considered how elementary school teachers actually use basal programs within the classroom.

The thesis begins with a thorough history of basal programs, including the evolving approaches of teaching. Nine elementary teachers were interviewed, teaching grades one through four. All of them were women aged between twenty-five to fifty-five years old, with teacher experience ranging from four to thirty-four years. The teachers interviewed had many things in common. The teachers all agreed on what aspects of the program were essential. These aspects were kept, while the features judged to be less important were replaced by each teacher’s unique alternatives. Alterations to the program were driven by time constraints and the students’ comprehension levels. Time was found to be a large factor in negotiating the program. The program was often too dense, and there wasn’t sufficient time to teach the entire curriculum. Many aspects of the program were either too easy or too difficult, and in some cases unnecessary for the majority of students, and alternatives were used.


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