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- Academic excellence and instructional expenditures in Texas.
- Public school per pupil costs and demands for better performance have increased over the past several decades. While the overall per pupil expenditures have increased, the percent of the educational dollar directed toward instructional activities has remained at approximately 60%. A grass-roots movement known as the "65% Solution" caught national attention by claiming that schools are not efficiently allocating resources into areas that have the greatest link to student achievement, such as instruction. Proponents of the 65% Solution claim that per pupil expenditures can be increased by shifting funds from areas considered non-instructional to areas that directly impact student instruction, such as teachers and instructional materials. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between district Panel Recommended and Commended Performance TAKS Reading/ELA and Math results and three measurements of instructional expenditures, Instructional Staff Percent; TEA Instructional Expenditure Ratio; and the NCES Instructional Expenditure Ratio (65% Solution), in Texas public schools. Data was collected from the 2003-2004 AEIS report. Multiple regression was used to conduct the analyses. In most instances, there was little, if any, relationship between TAKS Reading/ELA and TAKS Math, and the Instructional Staff Percent (ISP), TEA Instructional Expenditure Ratio (TIER), and NCES Instructional Expenditure Ratio (NIER). However, a low to moderate relationship was discovered in the comparison of TAKS Reading/ELA, and the ISP and TIER. This result was the same for both the Panel Recommended and Commended Performance. In every instance, the ISP and TIER showed positive, statistically significant, relationships to TAKS results. The NIER, or 65% Solution, had the lowest correlation and was statistically insignificant in three out of four analyses.
- An Analysis of Advisory Committee Activities in a Successful Public School Bond Election
- The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of specific advisory committee activities during a school bond proposal and election process. The study began with an extensive review of the literature on the use of advisory committee activities in school districts for the purpose of promoting a school bond issue. This revealed that school officials maintaining a low profile, the presence of a diverse community task force, focusing on YES voters, involving the committee in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community are all important in the passage of a school bond election. A survey was developed and administered to committee members, school board members and school district administrators in a North Texas school district that had successfully completed a bond election. Survey respondents consistently supported the practices put into place by the studied school district, which closely mirrored the activities espoused in the research. Respondents believed the diversity of the task force and the roles of the committee members to be crucial to the passage of the bond. The only subcategory of questions that drew mixed reviews and positions of support was that of the need for the administration and board to maintain a low profile. Participants in the survey viewed having a diverse community task force, focusing on YES votes, involvement in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community as being important to the successful passage of the school bond election, with clear dissemination of information being the most important activity of the committee.
- An Analysis of Performance Differences Between Self-Directed and Teacher-Directed Alternative Education Campuses in Texas
- This study was conducted to analyze the performance differences between alternative education campuses in Texas that used teacher-directed strategies and those that used self-directed strategies. The study was also conducted to inform educators of the results these two strategies had achieved with at-risk students during the three years of 2006-2008. The study used the results from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test as reported in the AEIS annual reports from the Texas Education Agency. Alternative education schools were grouped according to the strategy used to educate at-risk students. The results of the statistical tests showed the two strategies had similar performance results and there was no statistical difference between the two. The results offered several implications concerning the ability of at-risk students to achieve in alternative education schools including possible reasons why students who were previously unsuccessful became successful in alternative settings. The report also addressed the number of students who continued to be unsuccessful even when placed on an alternative education campus. Possible reasons for this continued inability to succeed are discussed. Recommendations for further research were listed at the conclusion of the study.
- Analysis of Qualified Immunity for Texas Public School Professional Employees as Interpreted by the Texas Courts
- This dissertation analyzed Texas appellate court decisions relating to whether educators' actions were incident to or within the scope of duties and involved the exercise of judgment or discretion in cases involving defamation, motor vehicle exceptions, and excessive force in discipline exceptions. The questions addressed were: (1) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators for defamation? (2) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators for injury to students when plaintiffs have sued Texas educator under the motor vehicle exception to the educator immunity law? (3) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators under the excessive force in discipline exception to the educator immunity law? This dissertation utilized legal research as its methodology. Chapter 3 examines literature with regard to qualified immunity for Texas public school professional employees and discusses the limitations placed upon qualified immunity. Chapter 4 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving alleged defamation of students or others by teachers and school administrators. Chapter 5 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving the alleged negligent use of motor vehicles by professional public school employees. Chapter 6 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving the alleged use of excessive force in disciplining students. Chapter 7 discusses the findings of the analysis of cases as well as the implied limitations regarding qualified immunity of teachers and school administrators.
- An analysis of the benefits of the Student Success Initiative in the 3rd and 5th grades in a district in Texas.
- The state of Texas passed the Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 1999 which requires all 3rd graders to pass the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to be promoted to the 4th grade, and for 5th graders to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 6th grade. Beginning in spring 2008, 8th graders will also need to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 9th grade. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic performance of 3rd and 5th grade students who did not meet the passing standard on the TAKS test and were retained during the 2005-2006 school year. The population of this study included 33 3rd graders and 49 5th graders who were retained during the 2005-2006 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. There was also a second population of 49 5th graders who were retained in 3rd grade during the 2003-2004 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. These students were enrolled in the 5th grade for the first time during the 2005-2006 school year. Their TAKS scores were examined to see whether students were still benefiting from the year of retention in 3rd grade. Results for all populations were broken down by ethnicity and program codes. The results of the study showed a statistically significant gain in 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math scores. The 5th grade reading scores did have a statistically significant improvement even though the reading mean score was still below the minimum passing score even after a year of retention. A cross tabulation done on students who had been retained in 3rd grade due to SSI requirements and were enrolled in the 5th grade during the study showed a greater significant growth in math than in reading. A strong correlation between the ITBS and TAKS tests were found in both 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math. A weak correlation between the tests was found in 5th grade reading.
- An analysis of the effect of distance learning on student self-efficacy of junior high school Spanish students.
- Prior to the development of interactive television, schools that were either geographically isolated or financially restricted were often unable to provide courses that may have been essential for students. Interactive television has helped such school districts provide appropriate courses for their students. Because student self-efficacy is a significant indicator of student success, the relationship between distance learning and students' self-efficacy requires research. The problem of the study was to examine the impact of site location in a distance learning environment on student self-efficacy in Spanish instruction. The participants in this study were junior high school students enrolled in distance-learning Spanish classes at two junior high schools in a north central Texas independent school district. All of the students were taught by the same instructor. The age range of the students was from 11 to 14 years of age, and all students were in either the seventh or the eighth grade. Students took a modified version of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire at the end of each treatment. Using the counterbalanced design, each subject was matched to themselves. T-tests for nonindependent samples were used to compare the two treatments. The findings indicate that there is no significant difference in the level of student self-efficacy by site location. The findings in this study support the use of distance learning as a medium for Spanish instruction at the junior high school level. Because of the strong statistical relationship between self-efficacy and student performance, teachers and administrators can reasonably believe that site location will not hamper their students' success.
- An Analysis of the Emotional Intelligence and Personality of Principals Leading Professional Learning Communities
- The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a principal's emotional intelligence and personality and his or her ability to implement and develop professional learning communities within the school. The Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA) was administered to principals and teachers in 13 schools in Texas ranging from elementary to high school. Based on the strength of the PLCA scores, two elementary schools were selected to participate in case study research. The principals of these two campuses were administered an emotional intelligence instrument (MSCEIT), a personality instrument (DiSC), and were interviewed along with three of their teachers. The findings indicate that both of these principals scored high in the Influential and Conscientiousness subscales and low in the Dominance subscale. The principals also possessed either near-average or above-average emotional intelligence with both principals scoring particularly strong in the Strategic subscale.
- An Analysis of the Perception of the Degree of Compliance of Selected Texas Public High Schools with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
- In recent years, few laws have had greater impact on public education than Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As a result of this legislation, participation levels of female athletes have risen dramatically. Conducted in the Texas Education Agency's Region XI, this study sought to ascertain the perceptions of high school principals, the lead coaches of male athletes, and the lead coaches of female athletes with regard to their schools' compliance with the components of Title IX. The study centered on the results of a survey instrument that included twenty Likert-scale questions as well as several demographic questions. The research questions sought to determine: (1) respondents' overall perception of compliance; (2) any differences in perceptions of compliance based upon the role of the individual; (3) any differences in perceptions based upon the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch; (4) any differences based upon the state classification of the schools; (5) any differences based upon the gender of respondents; (6) whether complaints filed via OCR result in a perception of increased compliance; and (7) the program component areas in which respondents view their schools to be most compliant. Descriptive and causal-comparative methods were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that school leaders in north central Texas public high schools perceived a high degree of compliance of their schools with the requirements of Title IX regardless of their role. A descriptive analysis of the responses based upon respondent role yielded slight differences between coaches of males and females. An ANOVA of responses considering the variables of free and reduced lunch as well as state classification did not yield a statistical significance in terms of perceptions of compliance. Although the mean scores of female respondents were slightly lower than males, the research did not yield statistically significant differences based upon gender. The study was inconclusive in terms of whether districts that have experienced formal Title IX complaints are more compliant with Title IX. Finally, the study indicated that school leaders should focus more attention on the areas of coaching assignment and compensation as well as publicity as they seek to comply with Title IX.
- Anti-bullying Policies And Practices In Texas Middle Schools
- For over a decade national attention to bullying in American schools has increased, fueled by publicity about suicides of severely bullied youth. Schools have the charge of maintaining the safety of all students in order to ensure a positive learning environment, but there is little information about what they are doing to prevent bullying. The purpose of this study was to provide information on principals’ perceptions of bullying and what anti-bullying policies, procedures, and programs exist in Texas middle schools. Ninety-nine principals completed an online questionnaire that addressed: 1) their knowledge of district and campus policies concerning bullying; 2) their direct experience with bullying; and, 3) bullying-prevention strategies and training in place in their schools. Principals reported direct experience with all types of bullying included on the questionnaire in their schools, but had a surprisingly small mean of 14.8 verified bullying incidents during the 2010-2011 year. Over 60% felt the level of physical safety in their school was good or very good, but only 35% rated their school’s emotional safety as good or very good. Students, parents, and teachers reported bullying to the majority of principals; however, few schools conducted annual student surveys that could provide accurate information about bullying in their schools. Procedures required by state law were more likely to be in place than those not required, though not all schools complied with all requirements. Fewer than 10% of schools had implemented a formal anti-bullying program. The most commonly cited obstacles to effectively addressing bullying were lack of time to conduct investigations and getting parents to file written reports (40%); however, despite having anti-bullying training, 27% felt limited by the lack of strategies. This study fills a void in the literature by providing a statewide overview of middle school principals’ knowledge of district and campus policies and procedures on bullying. It also shows the extent to which legal requirements and best practices have been implemented.
- Attrition rates of teachers trained in alternative teacher certification programs, those trained in the centers for the professional development of teachers, and those trained in traditional university programs.
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This study uses teacher employment data provided by the State Board for Educator Certification to examine the similarities and differences between initial employment and attrition rates of teachers trained in three prevalent types of Texas teacher preparation programs; alternative certification programs (ACP), the centers for professional development of teachers (CPDT), and traditional certification programs (TCP). The population for the study includes all Texas teachers who completed training in these programs in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The study found that ACP participants gain employment as Texas public school teachers at a significantly higher rate than their CPDT and TCP trained peers in year-one after completion of their training. However, ACP completers experience higher attrition rates in each of the subsequent years investigated. The study concludes that the overall cumulative attrition rate of new teachers trained in these programs is not as pronounced as originally presumed, but that low production levels cannot keep up with the growing demand for new teachers. Teacher preparation program leaders must seek ways to recruit and train more teachers.
- Career Paths to the Texas Public School Superintendency
- This study focused on the identification of career paths that led to the Texas public school superintendency, including an examination of career path differences associated with gender, ethnicity, and district type, and on the identification of the career path positions superintendents perceived as being the most beneficial in preparing them for the superintendency. Additionally, the study examined place-bound versus career-bound superintendents. The most common career path to the Texas public school superintendency was secondary teacher, secondary principal, and superintendent. Female administrators and administrators who worked in large districts were more likely to take the director route to the superintendency. Additionally, most major urban superintendents took the director route to the superintendency. Ethnicity was not a significant factor in determining the career path to the superintendency. A significant correlation did exist between educational attainment and the secondary teacher, secondary assistant principal, secondary principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent career path. A higher representation of superintendent respondents who held earned doctorates existed in that career path than in any of the other career path groups. While educational attainment was important in higher paying districts, most Texas superintendents did not hold doctorates. Few held doctorates from the most prestigious, nationally recognized universities.
- A Case Study of Parental Behaviors in an English Language Learner Community Technology Literacy Lab Setting and the Extension of the Behaviors in the Home
- The purpose of the study was to describe a family literacy program attempting to teach adult English language learners (ELL) the knowledge and skills that would allow them to support their children's learning at home. The methodology employed was a multi-case study. Fourteen adult participants were interviewed to gather information regarding the factors that influenced the adult participant's ability to support their child's learning prior to participation in the family literacy program. The study focused on the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired in the literacy program and used to support their child's learning at home and the curriculum and instruction that the participants used to influence their child's learning. The methodology used to gather information included adult English language learner interviews, field observations, and contact analysis of lesson plans. The following conclusions were derived based on analysis of the data: 1. In the family literacy program that was studied, the only prior factor that appeared to influence the parent's ability to support their child's learning was the education level of the participant. 2. Pronunciation, conversation, listening, grammar and writing are are essential skills that ELL parents use to support their child's learning. Attitudes were directly affected by the participants' ability to master the English language in order to be able to guide their children through the U.S. educational system. 3. The curriculum supported the learning; however the instruction was vital to modeling the procedures for learning that the participants used to support their children's success in school. 4. Regardless of other factors such as marital status, occupation, and other variations in family background, all participants based their ability to support their child's learning on their own ability to master the English language.
- Character education programs and student suspension rates from school: Do character education programs decrease student suspensions from regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas?
- The purpose of this study was to determine if character education programs impact the suspension rates of students from regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas. The data was also examined to determine if the number of years since a school's implementation of a character education program has an impact on the effectiveness of the programs as measured by the suspension rates of students from school. Finally, the study sought to determine if the socio-economic status of the schools has an impact on the effectiveness of character education programs as measured by the student suspension rates. A random sample of 135 regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas was collected. The principal of each school completed a questionnaire that was used to sort schools into three groups: schools with "direct" character education programs, schools with "indirect" character education programs, and schools that have implemented no type of character education program. A two-year history of suspensions was obtained for each school. The data was analyzed using one-way and two-way ANOVAs. The results of the analyses indicated that the implementation of character education programs, no matter what type, did not produce statistically significant differences in student suspension rates from school. Furthermore, the data revealed that neither the number of years since the implementation of the character education programs nor the socio-economic status of the schools had an impact on the effectiveness of the character education programs as measured by the student suspension rates from school.
- Characteristics of successful Texas schools which predict components of an adequate education.
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The purpose of this study was to identify high performing school districts in Texas and to determine if there are different characteristics leading to the provision of an adequate education in high performing districts as compared to low performing districts. It specifically sought to determine which characteristics contributed most to an adequate education and used data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) which chronicled scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). The population for this study consisted of all 2001-2002 Texas public school districts with the exception of charter schools, special-purpose statutory districts, and state-administered districts, which resulted in using data from 1027 Texas school districts. Descriptive discriminant analysis was chosen as the method for statistical analysis. Data were obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Adequate and inadequate districts were analyzed according to eight variables. They were (1) taxable value per pupil, (2) the percentage of special education students, (3) the percentage of students coded as bilingual and ESL, (4) pupil-teacher ratio, (5) the size of the district, (6) the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the district, (7) the district community type, such as rural or suburban, and (8) the total operating expenditures per pupil. Two analyses were conducted. The first analysis sought to determine the different characteristics between adequate districts (districts that scored 80% or above on the TAAS test) and inadequate districts (districts that scored 79% or below on the TAAS test). In order to determine these differences with a higher standard for adequacy, a second analysis was performed. The second analysis focused on districts deemed adequate by scoring 90% or above on the TAAS test compared to those districts deemed inadequate by scoring 69% and below. The eight variables accounted for 21% and 37% of the variance between groups respectively. For both analyses performed, the three variables that clearly contributed most to predicting membership in the two groups were the percentage of economically disadvantaged students( .935, .652), the percent of students in bilingual or ESL programs (.332, .371), and the taxable values per pupil (.178, .058). The percentage of economically disadvantaged students indicated that this variable explained 94% and 65% of the overall effect sizes. The percentage of bilingual and ESL students explained 33% and 37% of the effect size. Taxable Value per pupil explained 17% and 6% of the effect size. The percentage of special education students, total operating expenditures per pupil, the student-teacher ratio, community type, and the size of the district each, revealed only slight contribution to group differences. These results clearly suggested that the inadequate districts had higher percentages of economically disadvantaged students and ESL students while the adequate districts had higher taxable value per pupil, or wealth.
- A Comparison of Academic Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Students Served in Title I Part A Programs: Targeted Assistance Versus Schoolwide Models
- This study analyzed test scores of economically disadvantaged students who attended two elementary schools implementing different types of Title I models from 1999-2001. Test scores from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9) were analyzed. One school implemented the targeted assistance model (less than 50% poverty), which focused resources on students were identified as failing or at risk of failing. The other a schoolwide model (95% poverty), which used resources to help all students in a school regardless of whether they ware failing, at risk of failing, or economically disadvantaged. The quantitative approach was used with a causal comparative design. A cohort of continuously enrolled students was identified for the TAAS (n=169 and 189) and the ITBS/SAT-9 (n=49 and 87). Descriptive statistics such as the frequency, mean, and standard deviation, were used to measure differences on the Texas Learning Index (TLI) for the TAAS, and Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) on the ITBS/SAT-9. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to partially adjust for preexisting differences among the groups and because randomization was not possible. The independent variable was type of Title I model, targeted assistance or schoolwide. The dependent variable was the achievement measure, and the covariate was the initial achievement scores in third grade (pretest). The ANCOVA reports and descriptive statistics showed that economically disadvantaged students performed better in reading and math on TAAS and ITBS/SAT-9 at the targeted assistance school in 1999 and 2001, with mixed results in 2000. The academic performance of economically disadvantaged students at the targeted model was consistent all three school years. They scored slightly lower than the non-economically disadvantaged students, but higher than their peers at the schoolwide model. The students' third grade pretest score was the most significant predictor of future performance.
- A Comparison of Principals’ Perceptions of Preparedness Based on Leadership Development Opportunities
- This research study identified the frequency in which six public school districts in Texas provided principals with effective development opportunities prior to the principalship excluding university or certification programs. A purposive sample of over 200 principals from six school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were asked to participate in the study yielding a response rate of 41%. Respondents identified through a questionnaire their leadership development opportunities and perceptions of preparedness on nine standards common to the profession. Principals were nominally grouped for comparison. The perceptions of preparedness for principals who received effective leadership development opportunities were compared to those who did not receive these same opportunities using an independent samples t-test to determine statistical significance (p < .05). Peer coaching yielded the most statistically significant results in three standards. This finding indicates principals who receive peer coaching prior to the principalship compared to those who did not perceive themselves as more prepared in the areas of community collaboration, political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context, and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Effect size was measured for the statistically significance standards to determine practical significance. Each of the five statistically significant standards yielded a medium effect size indicating that the leadership development methods received by participants explained approximately 30% of the difference.
- Computer-assisted instruction in literacy skills for kindergarten students and perceptions of administrators and teachers.
- The perceptions of administrators and teachers of a computer-assisted instructional program in literacy skills were collected by a survey. The survey participants were kindergarten teachers and administrators from four elementary schools in the same, fast-growing, suburban school district in Texas. Literacy assessments were given to all kindergarten students in the district in the fall, winter, and spring of the 2005-2006 school year. This study included a quasi-experimental research design to determine if students using the computer-assisted instructional program improved more on the district literacy assessments than students who did not use the program. The treatment group members were the 449 kindergarten students of the survey participants. The treatment group worked in The Imagination Station program for a nine-week trial period. The control group members were 1385 kindergarten students from thirteen other schools in the same school district. The study found that teachers and administrators perceived that their students' improvement in literacy skills after using the program was good. The quasi-experimental portion of the study found that there was a statistical difference between the treatment and control groups on the composite literacy assessment score. The group membership variable could explain 1.4% of the variance in the students' literacy assessment scores. Based on the small effect size, there was no practical difference between the groups.
- Computer Skills And Usage Of Students In Grades 10-12 Who Are Legally Blind: A Descriptive Analysis
- This research project was a descriptive analysis of the computer usage and skills of academic students in grades 10-12 who are legally blind and attending public school in the Region 10 Education Service Center service area of Texas. In addition, this study provided a process that other regions in the state or educational agencies may duplicate to document the computer skills and usage of students with visual impairments in their area. Twenty-seven students who are legally blind were surveyed by their teachers of the visually impaired regarding their computer usage and skill abilities, and eleven of the twenty-seven students were interviewed by the researcher to gain further information pertaining to computer usage and future plans upon graduation. Using prior research as a basis for understanding how sighted students used the computer, it was found that students who are legally blind used the computer similarly to their sighted peers except that students with significant visual impairments seemed to use to the computer to listen to music more than their sighted counterparts. In addition, students who are legally blind indicated that they learned most of their computer skills at school rather than at home like their sighted teenagers. Furthermore, it was determined that students who are legally blind were not learning the computer skills necessary for success in post-secondary education and vocational endeavors. Although the students were being exposed to many different computer applications, most did not use the applications weekly, nor report that they were experienced with the majority of basic skills related to applications such as word processing, Internet searching, emailing, spreadsheets and databases.
- The Constitutionality of Dress Code and Uniform Policies
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This dissertation proposes to delineate the criteria for determining the constitutionality of public school dress codes based on an examination of relevant case law. The study addresses the following underlying questions: (1) Do students have a constitutional right to freedom of choice regarding their personal dress and grooming in public schools? (2) If so, what is the origin of the right? (3) What justification does a school district need in order to intrude upon the right? (4) Does the extent to which there is a right, and that it is accorded support by the judiciary, depend on the student's age and grade level? (5) What do state statutes say about dress codes and uniforms? (6) Do state statutes comport with the circuit courts' rulings in the various jurisdictions? The first part of Chapter I examines the purpose of school uniforms as set forth in relevant educational literature and commentary. The second part of the chapter examines empirical evidence on the effects of dress codes and uniforms. Chapter II addresses the first three questions listed above concerning students' right to choice in personal dress, the origins of such a right, and the justification required for a school to intrude upon this right. Chapter III examines dress code rulings from the United States Courts of Appeals in order to ascertain patterns of judicial rationale and determine whether students' rights vary depending on age, grade level, or federal circuit court jurisdiction. Chapter IV examines existing state statutes with regard to dress codes and uniforms. Chapter V utilizes the legal principles that emerge from the research in Chapter III and draws from the survey of state statutes in Chapter IV to make a comparison of state statutes and circuit court rulings in each jurisdiction. If a state statute does not comport with federal law in its particular jurisdiction, modifications are suggested to bring the statute into line with relevant judicial rulings.
- Correlates of Texas Standard AP Charter Campuses and How They Compare with Standard AP Traditional Public Campuses
- The research sought to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of Texas standard AP open-enrollment charter school campuses and to discover independent variables that may be utilized to predict effective charter school campuses. The literature review was designed to enhance the current understanding of charter schools and therefore facilitate a more effective evaluation of them. A basic knowledge and understanding of the origins, characteristics and purposes of charters allow for a more objective analysis. The literature review covered the history of charters including their founders, characteristics, and growth patterns. The data items used in the analyses were downloaded from the 2007-2008 Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS), which contains a variety of data from all Texas public schools. Multiple statistical analyses were utilized including chi-square, ANOVA, multiple regression and discriminate analysis. In order to evaluate Texas standard AP open enrollment charter campuses, their accountability ratings were compared with those of standard AP traditional public school campuses. The research evaluated twelve independent variables for charter schools to determine their relationship to accountability ratings, thereby providing charter operators indicators or predictors of accountability ratings to facilitate better academic quality. By analyzing the same variables for traditional public schools as charter schools, a baseline model was developed to compare the similarities and differences with the results of the charter school analyses.
- Data Envelopment Analysis: Measurement of Educational Efficiency in Texas
- The purpose of this study was to examine the efficiency of Texas public school districts through Data Envelopment Analysis. The Data Envelopment Analysis estimation method calculated and assigned efficiency scores to each of the 931 school districts considered in the study. The efficiency scores were utilized in two phases. First, the school district efficiency scores were combined with school district student achievement to evaluate effectiveness with efficiency. A framework was constructed to graph the scores on an x-axis of student achievement scores and a y-axis of efficiency scores to further illustrate the data. The framework was evaluated with the full statewide sample and with school districts categorized into similar peer groups. Then, using variables selected from related scholarly literature, a regression analysis identified which factors impacted school district efficiency statewide. The non-discretionary variables included in the study were total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The discretionary variables selected included the teacher-to-student ratio, teachers’ average years of experience, the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees and the average teacher base salary. Amongst the seven factors selected for regression analysis, five statistically significant variables were identified as impacting statewide school district efficiency. All three non-discretionary variables were identified as statistically significant on efficiency and included total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Two discretionary factors showed statistically significant effects on efficiency which included teachers’ average years of experience and the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees. The teacher-to-student ratio and the average teacher base salary were ineffective in predicting efficiency. This study contributed to the understanding on educational efficiency. Data Envelopment Analysis has been employed mainly in the private sector to analyze efficiency in economics and business organizations. This study added to the educational research on selecting Data Envelopment Analysis as a primary estimation method for analyzing the efficiency of school systems.
- The Demographics of Corporal Punishment in Texas
- This dissertation examined the student discipline policies of 1,025 Texas school districts, as well as data from the Texas Education Agency’s Academic Excellence Indicator System in order to identify demographic patterns regarding corporal punishment policies in Texas schools. the study also studied the relationship between a district’s corporal punishment policy and student achievement. the dissertation utilized legal research methods and document analysis as its research methodology. Document analysis was the primary methodology used to answer the research questions whereby individual school district policies were identified and classified based on a number of demographic characteristics as well as the variations in corporal punishment policies among the various districts. the results of the study found that although more Texas school districts permit corporal punishment than have banned the practice, 60 percent of Texas school children go to school in districts where corporal punishment is not permitted. Corporal punishment is generally permitted in rural areas, with the majority of school districts in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle still allowing it by policy. a case study affirmed a finding from a national study regarding the type and locale of a student that is most likely disciplined using corporal punishment. the study determined that the larger Texas school districts have moved away from using corporal punishment as a disciplinary tactic. No district categorized as “Major Urban” by the Texas Education Agency permits corporal punishment of students. None of the larger districts categorized as “Urban” or “Major Suburban” that prohibit corporal punishment were identified as “Academically Unacceptable” under the State accountability system. This study also found that districts that prohibit corporal punishment and have a large number of minority students tend to have higher AEIS ratings. This study’s findings suggest that the elimination of corporal punishment in highly populated Texas school districts may be an indication that corporal punishment in the schools is gradually changing from being a largely Southern occurrence to being a primarily Southern rural phenomenon. This information could prove valuable for policy makers and legislators who are under a misconception that their constituents support corporal punishment.
- A Descriptive Review and Analysis of the Creation and Development of an Advisory Program in an Inner-City Middle School
- This study described and analyzed the development and implementation of an advisory program at one urban middle school. Development of the advisory program began during the 1997-98 school year. The implementation of the program was examined during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years. This school site was chosen because of the in-depth research and planning of the program beyond the typical amount performed by many schools, and the wide-scale staff participation utilized in the program's development. In order to follow the processes of development and implementation, several models of change, innovation, and organizational analysis were used to provide focus for analysis of events that occurred during the three years of the program examined in this study. Data was collected in multiple manners. A complete review of school documents concerning the advisory program was performed, and over 50 percent of the faculty were interviewed through individual and team interviews. The findings of this study include various elements concerning the development and implementation of the advisory program. Data was collected and analyzed in three main categories including a) driving and resisting factors for beginning and implementing the program, b) processes used to plan, maintain and develop the program, and c) the periods in which the program became stable. Additional considerations were examined including the evaluation of the program, future possibilities for implementation, and staff roles in the program. Recommendations of the study include: limiting the focus of the advisory program; maintaining consistent goals; starting with a limited program; securing high staff participation; providing extensive time for planning; maintaining a high level of monitoring by administration and staff leaders; providing in-depth training; and, insuring that open lines of communication exist.
- Determining Factors that Influence High School Principal Turnover Over a Five Year Period
- The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of salary, compensation and benefits, accountability, job stress, increased instructional responsibilities, changes in student demographics, lack of support, politics, advancement opportunities and promotion on tenure and turnover among high school principals in the state of Texas. The participants in the study included 60 Texas high school principals who left a high school principalship for a different high school principalship within the past 5 years. The participants completed the Texas Principal Survey and data were analyzed using binary logistic regression. The data indicated that salary, compensation and benefits was a significant factor in predicting an increase in the odds of principal turnover for principals who had been in their prior principalship 5 or more years over principals who had been in their prior principalship less than 5 years. Additionally, advancement opportunities was a significant factor in predicting a decrease in the odds of principal turnover for principals who had been in their prior principalship 5 or more years over principals who had been in their prior principalship less than 5 years. Responses from an open ended question asking principals why they left their prior principalship suggested that principals left for reasons including new challenges, lack of support and family. The results of this study support the need for continued research in the area of principal turnover and provide insight to district superintendents, school boards and principals.
- Early College High School: Hispanic Students’ Perceptions and Experiences From a Texas Campus
- Early college high school (ECHS) is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. ECHS was developed with the intention of attracting students to pursue a 4-year college degree, especially students who might not attend college without intervention. The program targets students from low-income families, students who have low academic achievement, and students from minority groups including Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and opinions of Hispanic students about their experiences in an ECHS, and to better understand how their ECHS experiences affected motivation to engage in academics. The expectancy theory and college-going culture provided the theoretical framework for this case study. Semi-structured interviews captured the experiences of the participants. The study focused on 10 Hispanic students, 5 seniors and 5 juniors, enrolled at an ECHS located on a community college campus in Texas. The study found that students with higher motivation to work at high school and college courses had several reasons for choosing to attend ECHS. The reasons included a chance to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree simultaneously, free college tuition, and an accelerated program to get through college. The students also identified rewarding outcomes for completing college. Those outcomes included satisfying career, personal satisfaction, ability to provide for their family and making their family proud as the first high school graduate and college attendee. One student had a lower motivation to work at high school and college work. He chose to attend ECHS to seek more freedom than a traditional high school. He was not certain about graduating from high school and doubtful about college graduation. This study contributes to the ECHS literature by providing details on students’ experiences at an ECHS. Using the qualitative method of an interview allowed the researcher to discover the richer picture of students' experiences.
- Early Literacy: An Examination of the Principal Behaviors That Impact Reading Achievement
- Literacy is fundamental to formal education, learning, and training for future career related skills. It provides not only the means of acquisition of information and skills during schooling, but it is a vital predictor of a person's general level of education in school as well as successful completion of schooling. Literacy skills serve as the major foundational skill for all school-based learning and without it, chances for academic and occupational success are limited. Despite the efforts of teachers, a significant portion of students continue to fail to achieve success in early literacy in school, with severe consequences for their subsequent educational progress, career opportunities and life chances. The extent of this problem varies throughout school systems. All of our children are affected by their reading ability, and as educators it is critical to provide for all students the most effective literacy programs and strategies which are research based, data-driven and successfully replicated. Because of the psychological, social and economic consequences of reading failure, it is critical to review the research to determine the risk factors that may predispose youngsters to reading failure, and the instructional practices that can be applied to ameliorate reading deficits at the earliest possible time. The failure to achieve in literacy is a fact, which continues to carry dire social and economic consequences for the children, as well as for this society. Furthermore, there is a substantial body of research indicating that schools have a narrow window of opportunity to make a difference. Students who fail to make progress in literacy during the first two years of school rarely catch up with their peers and are at-risk of becoming low achievers who are alienated from school and who dropout of education at the earliest opportunity. On the other hand, impressive empirical evidence is now available to support the notion that failure to make progress in literacy is preventable for all except a very small portion of children. This study reviews the relationship between the principal's knowledge of early literacy and student achievement in reading by the third grade. It will also describe the causal factors that may predispose young children to reading difficulties, as well as the instructional programs and teacher strategies that can be implemented to ameliorate the difficulties. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used to analyze the data. Narratives, tables and figures are used to further enhance the research.
- The effect of a telementoring program on beginning teacher self-efficacy.
- This study examined whether the telementoring program had a positive impact on beginning teacher self-efficacy. Telementoring is an adaptation of mentoring, using telecommunications technology as the means to establish and maintain mentoring relationships between the participants. The program was intended to create an atmosphere of community; to provide expert training in the profession; to retain good teachers; and to offer support for the new teacher in times of self-doubt. A quasi-experimental design and mixed methods measures were used to determine the effect of a telementoring program on beginning teacher self-efficacy. Participants were members of a district induction/mentoring program. An experimental group of 20 first-year teachers that participated in a supplemental telementoring program were compared to 20 first-year teachers who did not. The Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale was used to collect data on beginning teacher self-efficacy. A pretest was administered prior to the treatment and members completed a post-test at the conclusion of the study. Results were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. The experimental and control group results from both assessments were measured and compared. No statistically significant differences were found between the experimental group that participated in the telementoring program and those in the control group who did not. Messages posted to a discussion board were analyzed by comparing concerns of beginning teachers in this study to concerns of beginning teachers found in current literature. A compilation of concerns served as a comparison framework. Participants in this study discussed many of the same issues and concerns found in current literature. Although statistically significant results were not found, discussion board postings suggest that telementoring is an effective form of mentoring and provides beginning teachers a forum for collegiality and support, which contributes to self-efficacy.
- The effect of Texas charter high schools on diploma graduation and General Educational Development (GED) attainment.
- This dissertation is a study of the effect of Texas's charter high schools on diploma graduation and General Educational Development (GED) attainment. Utilizing data from the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, the study follows a cohort of Texas students enrolled as 10th graders in the fall of 1999 and tracks their graduation outcomes through the summer of 2002 when they were expected to have completed high school. The analysis uses case study research and probit regression techniques to estimate the effect of charter school attendance on graduation and GED outcomes as well as the effect of individual charter school characteristics on charter students' graduation outcomes. The study's results indicate that charter school attendance has a strong negative effect on diploma graduation and a strong positive effect on GED attainment. In addition, the study finds that charter schools that offer vocational training, open entry/exit enrollment options, and charters that are operated in multiple sites or "chain" charters have positive effects on charter students' diploma graduation outcomes. Charters that offer accelerated instruction demonstrate a negative effect on diploma graduation. The study finds that charter school graduation outcomes improve as charters gain experience and that racially isolated minority charter schools experience reduced graduation outcomes. The study's results also indicate that Texas's charter high schools may be providing district schools with a means through which to offload students who may be difficult to educate. The analysis finds that districts may be pushing low-performing high school students with attendance and discipline problems into charter schools in order to avoid the effort of educating them and to improve district performance on accountability measures related to standardized test scores and graduation rates. This finding suggests that that competition from charter high schools will not provide much incentive for districts to improve their programs, undermining a central premise of school choice initiatives.
- The Effectiveness of Business Leadership Practices among Principals on Student Achievement on Public School Campuses in Texas
- The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine if business leadership practices by Texas public school principals have an impact on principals' campus student achievement in mathematics and reading, as measured by TAKS scores. The survey instrument was the Leadership Assessment Instrument (LAI), developed by Warren Bennis in 1989. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a sample of 300 public school principals in Texas. Of the 300, 140 principals completed and returned the survey, for a response rate of 47%. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 16.0, was used for the analysis of data, which included descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and regression. In addition, reliability for the LAI was also calculated. The LAI consists of the following five categories of effective business practices: focused drive, emotional intelligence, building trust, conceptual thinking, and systems thinking. No significant relationships were found between principals' use of LAI elements and student achievement in mathematics and reading. However, the lack of significant relationships between the business model as used in public schools and student achievement reveals that current models of principal preparation programs do not result in school leaders who are adequately prepared to increase student achievement. Further research is recommended as public school leaders continue to seek alternative strategies and innovative practices to improve student achievement.
- The effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students.
- This dissertation examined the effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students who performed at or below grade level as determined by TAKS reading scale scores. Fifty students in fifth grade were chosen to participate in the study from five elementary schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Only 46 students completed the study. The study was conducted with a control (n = 23) and treatment group (n = 23). The fourth grade students were administered pretests and posttests using the ACES and the fourth grade TAKS reading test. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design to answer the research questions. The final data results did not indicate that the implementation of interventions significantly increased TAKS reading scores at the p > .05 level. In addition, there were no significant increases at the p > .05 level between the ACES pretests and posttests. Although there were no significant gains on the TAKS or ACES, there are implications the interventions had a positive effect on teacher perceptions of their students' academic competence and some growth was evident for the treatment groups on both TAKS and ACE.
- The Effects of District Expenditure Per Pupil and Low Socio-economic Status on the Grade 10, 2000 and 2002 Disaggregated Student Performance Scores on the TAAS
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Educators can no longer simply look at student totals to distribute instructional dollars. Databased decision-making must be instituted to overcome achievement gaps between white and non-white students. In low-socioeconomic (SES) settings, districts must increase expenditure per pupil (EPP) as low-SES rates rise for all students as district administrators must be in a position to show product rather than process. It was attempted to determine if a positive or negative relationship existed between Anglo, Hispanic, and African-American student test scores and wealth factors on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills tests in 2000 and 2002. Wealth factors studied included EPP and SES. Data analysis was carried out on 974 independent and consolidated school districts in Texas. Low-SES was found to be a negative predictor of higher test performance on standardized reading and mathematics tests. To varied degrees, low-SES affected all students from all ethnicities as well as affluent students. EPP was attributed with a positive effect on student test performance. Increases of $1,000 or more at one time produce performance increases from 0.20 to 0.40 points. In making specific recommendations, the researcher advises increasing expenditures low-SES districts, schools, and classrooms through the creation of specific district linear equations exhibited in this study. Funds must be earmarked for those students that are affected by poverty. It is also recommended to decrease the number of low-SES students by merging high-SES and low-SES students to dilute poverty's effects. Additional correlation studies that address instructional strategies and outside factors are needed. Finally, a replicating study using Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills data over a period would be beneficial.
- The effects of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking bilingual students taking the third grade TAKS reading test.
- The purpose of this dissertation is to provide research and data examining the impact of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking ESL students on the third grade TAKS Reading test scores. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) As measured by the third grade TAKS reading test, what is the relationship between those limited english proficient (LEP) Spanish-speaking children who attended a pre-kindergarten program and those who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program? and (2) As measured by the third grade TAKS Reading test, how do the test scores of those LEP Spanish-speaking third graders who attended the district's pre-k program in 2000-2001 and testing in 2005, differ from those who attended the district's pre-k program in 2001-2002 and testing in 2006? The research study used a quantitative methodology designed as causal-comparative analysis. Independent t-tests were used to determine if there were any significant differences in test scores of third graders between the two groups of students. Although the results of the statistical analysis revealed some isolated statistically significant differences between those Spanish-speaking bilingual students who attended pre-kindergarten and those who did not, the data showed no real differences in the test scores of those students.
- The Effects of Professional Learning Communities on Student Achievement
- The purpose of this study was to examine data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) report, identify questions and statements that correlate to the dimensions of professional learning communities (PLCs), and determine the effect PLCs have on student achievement based on the ECLS-K data. In addition, the rationale for doing this research was to measure growth in student achievement over time. A multilevel growth model was used for this research. Univariate analysis was conducted in order to reveal frequencies and percentages associated with teacher responses. Bivariate analysis was applied in order to determine the inter-correlations between the fourteen variables. Once the inter-correlations were determined from the bivariate analysis, principal component analysis was applied in order to reveal the theoretical relationship between the variables. Through the use of principal components a set of correlated variables is transformed into a set of structure coefficient: support and collaborative. Finally, a multilevel growth model was used in order to determine the effect that each variable within the support and collaborative structure coefficients had on student achievement over time. This study revealed a number of variables within the ECLS-K report that correspond to the dimensions of PLCs have a statistically significant effect on student achievement in math and reading over time. This study demonstrated that support and collaborative variables within PLCs have a positive effect on both math and reading IRT achievement from 3rd grade to 5th grade.
- The effects of socioeconomic status on growth rates in academic achievement.
- The purpose of the study was to examine the differences in academic growth rates as demonstrated on the TAKS test among students based on those who received free lunches, those who received reduced-price lunches, and those not economically disadvantaged. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for reading and mathematics scale scores were obtained from five Texas public school districts for students who were in 3rd grade in 2003, 4th grade in 2004, 5th grade in 2005, and 6th grade in 2006. The sample included almost 10,000 students. The data were analyzed using SPSS and HLM. SPSS was used to identify descriptive statistics. Due to the nested nature of the data, HLM was used to compare data on three levels- the test level, student level, and district level. Not economically disadvantaged students scored the highest on both TAKS reading and mathematics exams with a mean scale score of 2357 and 2316 respectively in 2003. Compared to the not economically disadvantaged students, students receiving reduce-priced lunches scored approximately 100 points lower, and lowest were the students receiving free lunches, scoring another 50 points below students receiving reduced-price lunches. The results revealed that while gaps in achievement exist between SES levels, little difference exists in the growth rates of the SES subgroups. The results of this study support the need for continued effort to decrease the gap between students who are not economically disadvantaged and those receiving free or reduced-price meals.
- The Effects of Teacher Certification on Freshman High School Students' Algebra I Achievement
- The purpose of this study was to determine whether students taught by certified teachers and those taught by uncertified teachers had significantly different achievement on a state Algebra I End of Course examination. The specific research questions were: (1) Does type of teacher certification impact Algebra I End of Course (EOC) Exam scores for high school freshman when controlling for students' past mathematics success as measured by 8th grade TAAS mathematics test scores and teachers' years of experience? (2) Does type of teacher certification impact Algebra I End of Course (EOC) Exam passage rates for high school freshman when controlling for students' past mathematics success as measured by 8th grade TAAS mathematics test scores, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, and teachers' years of experience? This research was conducted in a large north Texas suburban school district. The entire population (N=1,433) of freshman students enrolled in year-long Algebra I was included for this study. Three statistical tests were used in data analysis for the first question. Analysis of covariance using student as well as teacher as the unit of analysis and hierarchical multiple regression were used to analyze students' specific scores. Logistic regression was used for the second research question. This study found that students in classes with non-certified teachers scored eight points lower on the Algebra I EOC Exam than those in classes with certified teachers. However, when controlling for students' prior mathematics achievement and other variables, the difference was of no practical significance. There was no practical significance in a student's odds of passing the examination between students in certified teachers' classrooms and those in uncertified teachers' classrooms. The results of this study offer further understanding of the debate over type of certification.
- The effects of the recapture provision of Senate Bill 7 of 1993 upon the quality of schools: An analysis of perceptions of administrators in both Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 schools.
- The purpose of this 4-case study was to determine the significance of the effects of the recapture legislation in Texas upon the quality of schools as perceived by administrators in participating school districts, including those surrendering funds (Chapter 41) and those receiving funds (Chapter 42). The recapture provision requires districts above a designated level of property wealth to surrender excess funds to be appropriated to districts with property wealth below a designated level. The study solicited administrators’ perceptions in both district types as to whether the changes in funding have significantly affected the quality of their schools. Using University Scholastic League classifications as a guideline for size, 2 Chapter 41 districts, and 2 Chapter 42 districts, 1 small and 1 large of each type, were selected to participate. Variables included 5 indicators of schools quality that are repeatedly mentioned in literature concerning effective schools: curriculum, climate, leadership, facilities, and safety and security. A review of literature included the historical development of public school finance systems as well as studies of the effects of efforts to equalize funding upon both the financial health and academic performance of schools. A weak link or no link between funding systems and student performance or financial health was indicated. This study supported these conclusions with both Chapter 42 districts; however, there was a discrepancy between the perceptions of administrators in the two Chapter 41 districts, indicating a need for further study. The unique aspects of this study are that it solicited directly the perceptions of acting administrators and that it included administrators in districts receiving funds to determine how those funds are being used and whether they have a significant effect upon school quality.
- Equity in Texas Public Education Facilities Funding
- The need to establish appropriate, adequate, and decent educational facilities for school children across the nation has been well-established. The ability of school districts in each state to build these facilities has varied widely in the past. Historically, most facilities funding ability for school districts has come from the local community and has been tied to property wealth and the ability of the community to raise significant tax dollars to pay for school buildings. Responding to an expanding need for increased facilities funding and school funding litigation, the state of Texas added facilities funding mechanisms for public school facilities construction in the late 1990s. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the methods of facilities funding were equitable in the state of Texas. In this study, equity values were framed around three equity concepts established in school funding equity literature. These three concepts were (1) horizontal equity defined as the equal treatment of equals, (2) vertical equity defined as the unequal treatment of unequals, and (3) wealth neutrality defined as the absence of a relationship between school district wealth and the equal opportunity of students. The sample comprised 1,039 school districts in the state of Texas. Well-established equity measures were administered to data including capital outlays, weighted per pupil capital outlays, instructional facilities allotments, and school district wealth. Horizontal equity measures included the McLoone index, the Verstegen index, the federal range ratio, and the coefficient of variation tests. The Odden-Picus Adequacy index (OPAI) was administered to determine levels of vertical equity. Finally, wealth neutrality was determined utilizing the Pearson product-moment correlation test. Findings indicated that there were poor horizontal equity levels both in the top half and bottom half of the distribution of capital outlay spenders. A coefficient of variation test was administered to determine overall horizontal equity. While it did not indicate poor overall horizontal equity, the existence of extreme outliers in both halves of the distribution indicated that the dispersion of spending at the top and bottom of the distribution were inequitable. In fact, over the three year period of the study, fifteen percent of the top spending districts spent between forty and fifty percent of all capital outlay expenditures. Vertical equity was tested by implementing a court mandated equalization standard of eighty-five percent. When the OPAI was administered at this equity level, vertical equity was poorer than horizontal equity. Finally, while some state implemented facilities funding mechanisms were wealth-neutral, the overall funding system, with its heavy reliance on bonded indebtedness, was not.
- Equity of access: Exploring Internet connectivity within Oklahoma public schools.
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain if conditions or combinations of conditions existed within Oklahoma public schools that created inequities in the availability of classroom Internet connections. A stratified random sample of the 471 school districts was used to identify 300 specific schools for the purpose of data analysis. Data was gathered utilizing a database provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and a researcher developed questionnaire. The database provided data relating to four independent variables (region, district size, school type, and school size,). The dependent variable, percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet, was obtained by the researcher designed questionnaire. The state database also provided percentage information relating to students who qualify as minorities and qualify for free or reduced lunches. The data was tested using a series of ANOVAs and a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The findings of the study are as follows: (a) The analysis of variance showed that none of the independent variables had a significant effect upon the percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet; (b) The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed little or no correlation between the percentage of disadvantaged or minority students and the percentage of classroom Internet connections.
- An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Religiosity
- The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher religiosity and teacher self-efficacy. The present study builds upon previous research which has shown purposeful work in everyday living fosters intrinsic motivation, religious orientation affects daily living, and teacher self-efficacy beliefs predict student achievement. Religiosity and self-efficacy data were gathered from public school teachers from a suburban school district in North Texas and from private Christian schools in Western Washington. The Age Universal I-E scale (a measure of religious orientation intended to capture how one lives out his/her religiosity), Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, and a teacher characteristic form were used to collect data. In a multiple regression analysis, independent variables included teacher age, gender, grade level taught, experience level, campus type (public or private religious), and teacher religious orientation (intrinsic or extrinsic); the dependent variable was the score for teacher self-efficacy. The regression analysis resulted in an equation that explained only slightly more than 9% of the variance in the score for teacher self-efficacy. Three significant variables were identified--grade level taught, teacher age, and intrinsic religious orientation. Teacher age and teacher intrinsic religious orientation were the two most important contributors according to a comparison of beta weights. Intrinsic religious orientation contributed to the equation, but it acted as a suppressor variable in the study, having little predictive value by itself but contributing to the predictive value of the model. Based on the data collected, recommendations for future research and suggestions for field application are offered.
- An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors
- Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere more conducive to comprehensive learning.
- An Examination Of Three Texas High SchoolsÊ Restructuring Strategies That Resulted In An Academically Acceptable Rating
- This study examined three high schools in a large urban school district in Texas that achieved an academically acceptable rating after being sanctioned to reconstitute by state agencies. Texas state accountability standards are a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 (NCLB). Texas state law requires schools to design a reconstitution plan after the second year of receiving an academically unacceptable school rating for failing to meet the required standards on state assessments, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The plan must be implemented by the third year. A mixed methods approach was used to uncover the strategies that were successful during the restructuring initiative. Data was obtained from three sources: interviews, document analysis and surveys. Interviews were conducted with district administrators, campus based administrators and teachers of the three high schools. A sample of core content teachers were surveyed using questions from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Results revealed that each school chose to engage in a major form of restructuring that included the formation of a themed based magnet school. A team approach was used to devise, implement, and monitor the reconstitution plan. Common strategies unveiled in the study included the use of common assessments, collaborative planning among core teachers, professional development, continuous monitoring of student absences, extended learning times for students, and a focus on college readiness. Survey data revealed that the majority of teachers believed that collaboration positively impacted student achievement. It is recommended that schools undergoing restructuring choose a reconstitution option that allows for flexibility, use multiple resources to foster school improvement, and develop restructuring plans that serve as living documents. Further research is needed to study the principal's role in achieving an academically acceptable rating. This study could also be expanded to compare restructuring strategies of high schools across the country that has been forced by federal mandates to reconstitute.
- An Exploration of the Relationship Between Principal Leadership Efficacy, Principal Computer Self-Efficacy, and Student Achievement
- The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not relationships exist between principals' technology proficiency and student achievement as indicated by 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Secondly, the study examined whether or not relationships exist between principals' leadership self efficacy and student achievement as indicated in the 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Lastly, the select principal's personal and school demographic variables (principal gender, total years of experience as a professional, total years as principal at current school, total years of principal experience, highest degree earned, school economic status, school size) were considered within the study. The survey instruments used in this study were the Technology Proficiency Self Assessment Scale (TPSA) developed by Ropp in 2000 and the Principal's Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran and Garies in 2004. A total of 129 Texas principal's participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the school's social economic status only when using both the PSES and the TPSA instruments. The effect sizes reported were all moderate, which acknowledged that relationships did exist between all predictor variables tested. Based on the information provided for B weights, School's SES was found to be the best predictor of reading TAKS achievement, preceded by Principal's Highest Degree Earned and Gender. SPSS 16.0 was used to analyze all data. This study adds to the literature on principals' technology efficacy and principal's self efficacy.
- The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
- The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body.
- From Block to Traditional Schedule: The Impact on Academic Achievement, Attendance Rates, and Dropout Rates
- The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of school schedule on student achievement and attendance of ninth and tenth grade students in metropolitan area Texas high schools (n = 22) and campus dropout rates. High schools that were analyzed in this study made a transition from A/B block scheduling in the 2003-04 school year to a traditional school schedule in the 2004-05 school year. Academic achievement, attendance rates and dropout rates were gathered through the archived files of the Texas Agency through the Academic Indicator of Excellence System (AEIS). Academic achievement was measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics standardized tests. This study compared the mean scores of ninth grader student achievement, attendance, and dropout rates from the 2003-04 school year to the mean scores of the tenth graders from the same schools from the 2004-05 school year, after the schools converted from an A/B block schedule to a traditional class schedule. Each independent variable was divided into four subgroups; campus mean results, minority student results, limited English proficient (LEP) student results, and low-socioeconomic student results. Students under the A/B block scored significantly higher in reading achievement than when they were instructed the following year under a traditional schedule. Paired sample t-tests were conducted to analyze the data for each subgroup, and showed there was a statistically significance in reading / language arts student achievement scores for all subgroups. Statistical significance was determined with a ninety five percent confidence level (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis revealed varied results in mean scores for math academic achievement and attendance rates, but no statistical significant difference. Comparison of data showed a slight increase in mean scores for dropout rates in traditional schedule, however the results were not significant.
- Funds Budgeted for Educational Programs in Texas Schools during a Period of Changing Enrollment
- This study analyzes budgets of Texas school districts experiencing declining enrollments, as opposed to districts with increasing or steady enrollments. This study identifies how schools are expending funds to meet those needs while dealing with enrollment changes. A total of 924 school districts are studied. The changes in average daily attendance from 1993-1994 to 2003-2004 are used to categorize each district as having increasing, stable, or decreasing enrollments. The total dollar amount expended is compared to the total number of students in each district to determine the amount expended per student. The amounts expended for special education career and technology education, bilingual education, and compensatory education are compared to the number of students being served by those programs to determine a dollar amount that can also be compared from the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 school years. The per-student expenditures for each educational program are compared to the overall per-student expenditures in each enrollment category (increasing, stable, decreasing). The study reveals no clear pattern of change in the comparison of overall spending to individual program spending as district enrollments fluctuated.
- Government Funding and Regulation of a Texas Voucher Program
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This study was designed to determine how willing private schools are to participate in a limited school voucher program if various state regulations are required and whether willingness to participate varies among types of schools. Provisions of voucher bills proposed in the Texas legislature and requirements included in other states' legislation were used to determine the sample, hypothetical voucher amount, and possible state regulations. Three hundred eighteen surveys were sent, and 150 were returned, giving a 47% return rate. Data were entered into SPSS and analyzed using chi-square and crosstabs. Initially chi square was used to see if findings were significant at the .0041 level. This alpha level was reached by using the Bonferroni correction factor, which holds experiment wise Type I error to .05. Crosstabs was used to determine if relationships between regulation acceptance and type of schools were significant. Overall, as the amount of regulation increased, private school willingness to participate in a voucher program decreased. The regulations rejected by a large majority of schools in all categories were open admissions and student religious exemptions. In the areas of testing, curriculum, and teacher qualifications, private schools were much more willing to participate if they were allowed to utilize their own practices than if required to follow regulations required of Texas public schools. These findings were significant. When analyzing what type of school would be most interested in participating in a voucher program, the factor that yielded the most significant results was amount of yearly tuition. Private school willingness to participate in a voucher program was directly related to the amount of tuition charged. Those private schools with tuitions that were at or below the hypothetical voucher amount were much more likely to participate than those with higher tuition. Overall, significant results were shown with almost every regulation.
- The High School Associate Principal: Case Studies of an Emerging Role in Educational Leadership and Administration
- Researchers in the field of educational administration have given little attention to the role of the associate principal. The research reported in this dissertation sought to fill that void through a close examination of the roles of the associate principals on two campuses in two different school districts. In addition to illustrating the role of the associate principal, the research examines how experience as an associate principal influences the careers of educational administrators. Data were collected primarily by means of semi-structured interviews with principals and district administrators as well as the associate principals themselves to provide multiple perspectives. Data were summarized in detailed interview logs, coded to discover the themes that were characteristic of each case, then analyzed to identify the patterns within and across the cases. The interviews were also analyzed as narratives reflecting on how experience as an associate principal can shape an educational administrator's career. The interview data were supplemented with documents relating to the associate principals, their campuses, and their districts. The results suggest that the associate principal position is a crucial step on the career ladder to a secondary principalship. Assistant principals with knowledge and skills in curriculum, instruction, and assessment are more likely to be selected as associates, and associates are more likely to be selected for principalships. The results also indicate that instructional leadership for associate principals in Texas focuses primarily on improving students' performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and on increasing participation in and performance on other standardized tests, in particular Advanced Placement, SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT (formerly American College Testing), and the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).
- High School Teachers’ Perceptions Of Their Principals As Culturally Proficient Leaders
- This study examined Texas high school teachers’ perceptions of their principals as culturally proficient leaders, focusing specifically on how teacher-, school-, and principal-related factors impacted these perceptions. A sample of 104 teachers in culturally diverse secondary schools from a large urban district in Texas participated. An electronic survey was utilized to collect data. Results yielded an average total cultural proficiency score of 111 out of a possible 175, indicating that teachers perceived their principals “sometimes use” culturally proficient practices. Teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s use of culturally proficient leadership practices varied significantly by years of teachers’ experience and school accountability rating (exemplary, academically acceptable, and academically unacceptable). Perceptions of teachers at an Exemplary school were significantly different (higher than the perceptions of teachers at other schools from the same district). Teachers with 11 to 20 years of teaching experience gave significantly lower ratings (22.45 points) than teachers with 1 to 5 years of experience (125.53) and teachers with over 20 years of experience (118.94). While differences were not statistically significant, black and Hispanic teachers rated their principals’ culturally proficient practices higher than white teachers. Age, subject area taught and teacher’s gender, or race being the same as the principal’s gender or race had no significant effect on total proficiency scores. This study supports prior findings that leadership policy and development programs must be refined to help leaders develop and utilize more culturally proficient skills that will lead to greater academic success for all students. Results indicate that principals need assistance in adapting to and managing the dynamics of difference as well as providing teachers with conflict resolution training. It is recommended that professional development departments conduct similar district-wide proficiency assessments as a first step in helping educators to understand the cultural proficiency conceptual framework. It is also recommended that school districts develop a rating system using the tenets of cultural proficiency to assist principals in improving their cultural proficiency scores.
- An Historical Analysis of Rule and Policy Changes in the Texas University Interscholastic League One-Act Play Contest, 1986-2006, and the Results of Those Changes: Administrator and Teacher Perceptions
- The University Interscholastic League (UIL) One-Act Play Contest is a competition where similarly sized Texas schools present an 18-40 minute play usually adjudicated by a single judge. At each level of competition the judge awards individual acting awards as well as selecting two productions to advance to the next level of competition. After the awards are announced the judge gives an oral critique to each of the schools. Because of the wide participation and diversity of plays produced, certain rules and guidelines have been adopted to ensure safety, allow for equity, satisfy legal standards, and make the running of the contest practical. These rules can be modified to achieve positive outcomes and improved educational results. Changes in the rules of a UIL contest are in accordance with stated educational objectives of the UIL. Occasionally, however, modifications in procedures raise questions. The problem of this study was to determine, from the perceptions of administrators and teachers, whether significant modifications in the rules and policies for the UIL One-Act Play Contest over a time span of 20 years have had impacts on the goals and procedures of the contest. The study utilized a qualitative approach through historical analysis and a survey to answer two research questions. Historical analysis identified the six modifications in the UIL OAP over the years 1986-2006. The survey instrument determined the impact of these changes on the goals and procedures of the contest. Based on the responses of the survey the competition experience has been enhanced by recent changes.
- The impact of drug testing on secondary school students.
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The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in different years (i.e. 1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000).