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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: College of Education
 Degree Discipline: Special Education
Academic, Behavioral, and Social Competency Characteristics of Non-Handicapped, Learning Disabled, and Emotionally/Behaviorally Disordered Adjudicated Juveniles
The juvenile justice system is society's response to juvenile misconduct. In spite of numerous federal, state, and local programs, the problem of juvenile delinquency persists. An increasing number of juveniles are being taken into custody and placed in institutional settings. Although juvenile delinquents share a number of common general characteristics (e.g., sex, minority, lower socioeconomic status, a history of school failure), they are not a homogeneous group. Effective educational interventions with delinquent juveniles can meet their unique academic, vocational, and social skills deficits. Handicapped juveniles are disproportionately represented among juvenile correctional facility populations. The identification of handicapped juveniles among delinquent populations is compounded as they share many of the same general characteristics. Federal statutes require individualized educational programs for all handicapped juveniles. This research investigated academic, behavioral, and social competencies of non-handicapped and handicapped adjudicated youth. Specifically, this investigation assessed measures of academic performance, classroom behavior, self-esteem, and social behavior. ANOVA indicated statistically significant differences between non-handicapped, learning disabled, and emotionally/behaviorally disordered adjudicated juveniles in reading achievement, mathematics achievement, and teacher generated measures of classroom behavior. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331994/
An Analysis of Critical Skills Used by Correctional Education Personnel
A review of the literature indicated that critical skills needed by educators to work with adjudicated youth in correctional settings had not been sufficiently identified or analyzed. Research efforts using survey instruments appeared to offer a method for gathering data in order to develop and study a comprehensive list of critical skills of correctional educators. A survey instrument was developed in bifurcate format that required respondents to rate 135 skill items according to Importance and Proficiency. Two parallel Likert-type scales were provided so that respondents could rate items according to their perceptions of Importance and Proficiency, The instrument was mailed to three groups consisting of educators in youth correctional facilities, state level administrators of youth corrections, and college/university faculty in correctional education preservice teacher preparation programs. A total of 366 surveys were mailed with 183 (50%) returned. Four hypotheses and eight corollaries were developed. Data were analyzed using MANOVA to test for significant differences among all groups and within subjects for one group (correctional educators). The findings did not support the hypotheses or corollaries. Therefore, all hypotheses and corollaries were rejected. However, ANOVA and Chi-Square procedures revealed significant differences among groups and within Group 1, correctional educators. The findings suggested that educators tended to differ from state level administrators in regard to Importance and Proficiency for certain skill items. Differences were also found within the correctional educator group nationwide and across regions for certain skill items. Recommendations for correctional education preservice programs and state level inservice training programs were developed that may have importance for the education of adjudicated youth. Recommendations included an emphasis upon federal legislative guidelines for education of incarcerated youth, development of educator's skills in communication and interaction with facility administrators, parents, and local community agencies, and inclusion of vocational/career development and transitional programs in correctional settings. Additional specific recommendations were given relevant to future research with correctional educator competencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331291/
Choice for All? Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities
In order to assess the extent and quality of special education services in charter schools in north Texas, the researcher examined data submitted to Texa Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), and conducted qualitative interviews with selected charter school administrators. Five cornerstones of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): zero reject, individualized education program (IEP), appropriate assessment, free appropriate public education (FAPE), and least restrictive environment (LRE), were utilized in the assessment of quality. Levels of expertise in federal disability law and fiscal barriers were explored, as well. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2905/
Cyberbullying: Responses of Adolescents and Parents toward Digital Aggression
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Cyberbullying is a category of bullying that occurs in the digital realm which affects our students at astonishing rates. Unlike traditional bullying, where displays of aggression may be evident to bystanders, the ramification of cyberbullying occurs through unconventional ways (e.g., text messaging; online weblogs; video sharing), which results in many cases being camouflaged by the advancement in technology. Nonetheless, the effects of this digital form of peer aggression can be as detrimental as face-to-face bullying. The characteristics of cyberbullying and its influences on adolescents and parents of adolescents were examined. The data accrued is based on an anonymous survey through one of the following methods: (a) paper-pencil survey for adolescent group with 37-question items on the adolescent questionnaire and (b) web-based survey for the parent group with 22-question items on the parent questionnaire. Each survey was systematically coded according to the participating group and assigned code numbers (i.e., 1 represents adolescent group and 2 represents parent group) was provided to ensure confidentiality of the study. Survey examined individual variables among the two target groups: (a) adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age and (b) parents of adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age. Specifically, individual variables examined include (a) demographics, (b) personal experiences, (c) vicarious experiences, and (d) preventative resources. A total of 137 participants (62 adolescents; 75 parents) responded to the survey. Results indicated that 90% of the participants from the adolescent group have reported to experience either as victims or as bystanders of cyberbullying. In addition, 70% of the victims have been cyberbullied 1 to 2 times within a month period and 50% of the victims did not know the perpetrator. Secondly, 89% of parent participants indicated to be knowledgeable about the issues relating to cyberbullying and 89% reported to have no knowledge if their child has or has not been a victim of cyberbullying. Furthermore, qualitative findings of personal perspectives toward cyberbullying from each participating group are discussed. A review of literature is provided and results and analysis of the survey are discussed as well as recommendations for future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12215/
The Early Literacy Development of Young Mildly Handicapped Children
The purpose of this study was to describe the extent and quality of prior knowledge, transactional nature, and social context of literacy knowledge demonstrated by young mildly handicapped learners. The study was based on current theories of literacy which view literacy growth as part of the total language system development, and ethnographic methods were used to gather and analyze qualitative data. Language and literacy events were observed in three special education classrooms including 43 students ranging in age from 4 years 1 month to 9 years 11 months. Major findings of the study included: (a) The children in this study demonstrated prior literacy knowledge much like that of non-handicapped peers, (b) Demonstrations of oral and written language system transactions decreased after students received formal instruction in reading and writing. And (c) children's ability to interpret print depended greatly on the presence or absence of context with the print. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc330666/
Evaluating Quality Standards for Teachers in the Field of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
The purpose of this study is to determine quality indicators in the field of emotional and behavioral disorders based on six empirically validated standards outlined by the Council for Exceptional Children. Invitations to participate in the study were disseminated to a randomized selection of members within the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. Respondents (N = 199) included teachers (n = 128) and related service personnel (n = 71) who directly and indirectly work with students with emotional and behavioral disorders throughout the United States. A rank order list of the most important knowledge and skills to teachers with regard to demographic characteristics (i.e., types of communities, educational settings, or years of experience) was developed. Additionally, a rank order list was developed to determine which knowledge and skills related service personnel felt should be most important to teachers. Level of agreement was determined between teachers and related service personnel and variances among the rank order lists were examined. Results of the study revealed statistically significant variances in the rank order of knowledge and skills among educational settings of teachers (i.e., self-contained, resource, and general education/inclusion) across the standard of Learning Environments and Social Interactions. Rank orders in two knowledge and skills (i.e., assistive technology and structure) were significant. When rank order was compared between teachers and related service personnel, level of agreement was low within the standards of assessment (58%) and collaboration (63%). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5357/
An Examination of the Behavioral Dimensions of Behaviorally Disordered Students Across Grade Levels Utilizing Confirmatory Factor Analysis
A review of the literature regarding behavioral characteristics and underlying factors for behaviorally disordered (BD) students revealed that both elementary school aged and secondary school aged BD students may be able to be described by a similar factor structure. Utilizing ratings obtained on a national sample of BD students with the Behavioral Dimensions Rating Scale (BDRS). Research Edition, the pattern of item ratings for students in grades kindergarten through five (K-5) and grades six through eleven (6-11) was examined to confirm this literature-based theory. Multigroup simultaneous confirmatory factor analysis using maximum likelihood estimation procedures was utilized to compare the covariance structures of students in grades K-5 and grades 6-11. A goodness-of-fit index revealed that the covariance matrices of the two groups were invariant. Since the same factor structure could be used to describe BD students in grades K-5 and grades 6-11, the means for the two groups were compared using Hotelling's T^2 statistic for two independent samples. The analysis resulted in finding a significant difference between the two groups' means. A univariate F test was conducted for the behavioral dimensions to locate the source of the mean difference. A significant difference was found only for Factor I: Aggressive/Acting Out, indicating that teachers perceive these types of behavior to be more problematic for students in grades K-5. No significant differences were found between the two groups' means on Factor II: Socially Withdrawn, Factor III: Irresponsible/Inattentive, or Factor IV: Fearful/Anxious. This investigation has demonstrated that teachers can use the BDRS, Research Edition with confidence when assessing the behaviors of both elementary and secondary school aged students. Areas for further investigation include an examination for invariance across (a) more narrowly defined grade distributions, (b) gender, and (c) socioeconomic status. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332320/
Impact of Absent Father-Figures on Male Subjects and the Correlation to Juvenile Delinquency: Findings and Implications
This study was predicated on the belief that a father brings something unique to the family, thus, making irreplaceable contributions to the life of a child. Fathers are unique in that they provide something different from mothers. They are irreplaceable because when they are absent, children are said to suffer emotionally, intellectually, socially, and behaviorally. The contributions of fathers to a child's well being cannot be fully replaced by better programming, ensuring child support programs, or even by well-intentioned mentoring programs. A review of literature relevant to delinquency and adolescent behavioral and academic success revealed that there may be a correlation between a male role-model and the teaching of self-control and socially appropriate behaviors. Indeed, much of what the large body of research pertaining to fatherhood reveals is that, compared to children raised in two-parent homes, children who grow up without their fathers have significantly worse outcomes, on average, on almost every measure of well being (Horn, 2002). In addition, an understanding of the factors that may influence delinquent behaviors, in particular within the family unit, can better equip parents and educators to support those who may be exhibiting the beginning signs of delinquent behavior. This study was designed to determine the influence of, or correlation between, juvenile delinquency and the presence or absence of a father-figure in a child's life. Responses made on the Delinquency Check List between two sample sets, delinquent and non-delinquent adolescents, were examined. The study attempted to determine if delinquent activity among adolescents was differentiated by the absence or presence of a father-figure in a child's life. This study also investigated the frequency and severity of delinquent activities between adolescents in the determined sample groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4332/
Knowledge and attitudes of preservice teachers towards students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.
The study used a survey design to ascertain the levels of knowledge and attitudes of special education and non-special education preservice and inservice teachers towards students with different sexual orientations. The results of this study are based on 408 responses from preservice and inservice teachers enrolled at seven institutions of higher education within North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia offering teacher training programs in regular and/or special education. Two previously developed instruments were used to measure dependent variables in this study. Koch's modified version of The Knowledge about Homosexuality Questionnaire developep by Harris, Nightengale & Owen was used to measure the dependent variable of the preservice and inservice teacher's knowledge about homosexuality. Herek's Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men (ATLG) measured the dependent variable of attitudes towards homosexuals. The study found no significant differences reported mean scores for knowledge or attitude of homosexuality among the teacher groups surveyed: (a) special education preservice teachers, (b) non-special education preservice teachers, (c) special education inservice teachers, and (d) non-special education inservice teachers. Neither gender nor age were found to be factors in measures of knowledge or attitude of preservice or inservice teachers. Receiving prior instruction in serving the needs of GLBT students, or with a focus GLBT issues, contributed to higher levels of knowledge and more positive attitudes. This research identified current levels of knowledge and attitudes of preservice and inservice teachers towards GLBT youth, and this information may help outline areas of possible changes necessary in teacher preparation programs, research, and policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6147/
The Perceived Role of the Post-Secondary Transition Team Leader in Special Education in Texas
The role for the transition team leader (TTL) has not been formalized at the state level in Texas. The purpose of this study was to determine the current perceptions of the public school superintendents in Texas for the roles, responsibilities, and functions of the TTL. The framework of the survey questionnaire was based on eight categories of expertise for the TTL derived from a review of the literature and from professional experience in preparing handicapped individuals for the world of work. The findings are listed as desirable and undesirable characteristics for the role or job description of the TTL. The desirable characteristics for the role of TTL were viewed as: (a) having experience with handicapped populations, (b) having skills to supervise others, (c) being a liaison between agencies, (d) making program adjustments as needed, (e) providing training, (f) knowing how to explain the transition program to staff, (g) being a liaison with parents, (h) being a liaison with community employers, (i) knowing pertinent regulations, (j) knowing the characteristics for each of the handicapping conditions, and (k) knowing the options and barriers to transportation for handicapped individuals in the community. The least desirable characteristics identified with the role of the TTL were: (a) The need for certification of the TTL, (b) making curricular changes at the elementary level, (c) the TTL as the Educational Diagnostician, (d) the TTL as a parent of a handicapped individual participating in the transition program, and (e) the TTL encouraging severely handicapped individuals to remain in the public schools until the maximum age of 21. These categorical data were grouped by ESC area with urban, suburban, and rural demographics. These data were analyzed by a three-way ANOVA design and significant differences were found by category, by ESC area, and by population designation. The public school superintendents have perceived the role of the TTL as a new position, community-based, community-oriented, transferable, and requiring no additional certification procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331402/
Perceptions of Temperament Characteristics of Children Classified as Learning Disabled
This study addresses how the temperament characteristics of seven year old learning disabled students are viewed in relation to those of the normally achieving students. Teacher perceptions, parent perceptions, and teacher versus parent perceptions are examined utilizing the six dimensions (activity, adaptability, approach/withdrawal, intensity, distractibility, and persistence) and the three factors (emotionality, sociability, and persistence) of the Temperament Assessment Battery. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331733/
Personality Type Preferences of Juvenile Delinquents
The purpose of this study was to identify and explore personality characteristics of juvenile delinquents, to compare those characteristics with those of the general population, and determine if there are significant differences, as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), between the personality characteristics of juvenile delinquents and the general population. Juvenile delinquents who were adjudicated into a Texas Youth Commission facility in North Texas were subjects for this study. Participants included 186 males who ranged in age from 14 years to 20 years. Statistical analyses were performed for each of the research questions. When comparing MBTI scores of juvenile delinquents to the general population, significant differences were found on the dichotomous scales, temperaments, function pairs, and types. All type preferences are represented within the juvenile delinquent population. The MBTI can be useful in responding to the education and rehabilitation needs of juvenile delinquents. Knowledge of personality type can help caregivers meet the needs of juvenile delinquents. Understanding personality type preference can serve to provide a deeper understanding of the behaviors that lead to adjudication of juvenile delinquents. A discovery of the types of adolescents who are adjudicated could lead to preventive measures, early detection, and early intervention for students at risk of becoming juvenile delinquents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2653/
The Prevalence of Specific Learning Disabilities in School-Aged Hearing Impaired Children
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the prevalence of specific learning disabilities in school-aged hearing impaired children based on the proposed theoretical definition of the National Joint Committee for Learning Disabilities (1981) and the theoretical definition constructed by the Canadian Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities (1981). The operationalization of these theoretical definitions, coupled with the current operational definition issued by the Texas Education Agency (1983), formulated the investigative framework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332116/
Social Skills and Problem Behavior Assessment of General and Special Education Vocational Students
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The purpose of this study was to analyze students' specific ITP-related social skills goals, student self-reported social skills, and the relationship between teacher and employer ratings of vocational students social skills and problem behaviors. This study examined (48) vocational students, (24) general education vocational students and (24) special education vocational students in grades nine through twelve. The students' vocational teachers and employers also participated in the study. This represented (144) individual assessment of social skills and problem behaviors utilizing the Social Skills Rating System -Student version (SSRS-S) and the Social Skills Rating System Teachers -version (SSRS-T). The findings indicated no specific social skill goals were deliminated in the students' ITP's. However, the findings did indicate the general education vocational students rated themselves higher, on average, on the empathy subscale than did the special education students. The analysis of data comparing standardized social skill scores, social skill subscale scores, standardized problem behavior scores, and standardized problem behavior subscale scores between teachers and employers for general and special education vocational students indicated employers rated special education students higher on the cooperation subscale only. No other differences were found. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2561/