The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been organized for over one hundred and thirty-six years. The history of nearly a century of that time--1866 to the present--has not been adequately dealt with in any single book currently available for use on the high school level as an L. D. S. seminary text. The objective of this field project was to produce textual materials covering a fifty-three year portion of this period--the portion 1898-1951.
Church history material relative to this period was gathered and organized in a biographical framework centering in the lives and administration of the four individuals who presided over the Church during that time--Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, and George Albert Smith.
While this historical information was being gathered a study was conducted relative to four major aspects of readability--content, style, format, and organization. This initial study consisted of a review of available literature concerning readability, and a poll of student preference regarding textbook format. As a result of this study recommendations were made relative to most facets of text production.
The textual material produced was submitted to a field test and refined in the following manner:
(1) Initially it was evaluated by means of the Dale-Chall readability formula for the purpose of predicting the grade level at which it could be read and understood. The objective of this first step was to bring the comprehension level of the text to a late ninth grade level.
(2) Secondly, the material was read and evaluated by over 430 students. These students appraised each section in the four proposed chapters, registering whether they felt the material was satisfactory, extremely interesting, or needed revision to make it acceptable to them.
(3) Results of this poll were tabulated and the chapters revised. Each section which was recommended for revision by 16.7% or more of these students were rewritten according to recommendations made in the evaluation.
(4) Lastly, the revised textual material was checked by means of both the Flesch reading ease formula and the Flesch human interest formulas. Each addition or revision was rewritten until it registered at a late ninth grade level or lower on the Flesch reading ease scale, and at a style level of "interesting" or higher on the Flesch human interest scale.
A suggested list of types of illustration to accompany the text was included as a final step.
College and Department
Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bassett, Arthur R., "A Proposal for a Section of an LDS Church History Textbook for High School Students Containing the History of the Church from 1898 to 1951" (1966). Theses and Dissertations. 4509.
Christian education, Textbooks for teenagers, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, History, 20th century, Textbooks