Preferred Name

Nicole Ross

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Art, Design and Art History


William Wightman

Karin Tollefson-Hall

Roger D. Tomhave

Katherine A. Schwartz

Barbara Stern


As a life-long learner, I am fascinated by the abyss of knowledge that characterizes and composes a life of consciousness. As a teacher and mentor, I am committed to igniting this quest for knowledge in others and developing effective practices in doing so. The curriculum functions as an invitation to knowledge—or what can be seen as the crux of an education. The question I am most interested in answering is: “how can we most effectively approach curriculum in a way that inspires higher order thinking?” Throughout this study, I examined the factors that go into the formation of curriculum, the various types of thinking that different formats of curricula promote, and the potential for an alternative curriculum that would cultivate complex thinking. In the process, I analyzed the Standards of Learning (SOLs) in Virginia, 8th grade unit documents from World History I (WHI), English, and Art, observed classrooms, and interviewed both teacher and student participants. It is my opinion that the structure, format, and epistemological character of the art curriculum could function as a model approach for promoting higher order thinking skills. While curriculum is a constantly debated topic and is only as effective as it is reflective of society, this research is viewed as furthering discussions regarding the formation of a 21st century curriculum.



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