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 Degree Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction
Perceptions of preparedness and practices: A survey of teachers of English language learners.

Perceptions of preparedness and practices: A survey of teachers of English language learners.

Date: December 2007
Creator: Matson, Jill Lynn
Description: Mainstream teachers who obtained their English as a second language (ESL) certification by exam only are faced with increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. Decreasing standards for teacher ESL certification and increasing accountability for ELLs has made teachers' role in effectively increasing the language and academic skills of ELLs an area of major concern. This study used a survey and focus group interviews to obtain information regarding ESL-certified fourth- and fifth-grade teachers' perceived preparedness, practices and resources needs related to meeting the academic and language needs of ELLs in general education classrooms. The results indicated that teachers reported differences in their perceived preparedness based on years teaching experience, years of ESL certification, professional development hours, and university ESL courses, but not on certification route. The results also showed that teachers reported differences in their sheltered instruction practices based on the percentage of ELLs, but not on grade, instructional design, or preparedness. The correlation analysis revealed there is a positive correlation between preparedness and sheltered practices. The study revealed that while teachers are using strategies that make content lessons accessible and comprehensible to ELLs, they are often not specifically addressing the academic language development of their students. ...
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Students As Historians: The Historical Narrative Inquiry Model's Impact on Historical Thinking and Historical Empathy

Students As Historians: The Historical Narrative Inquiry Model's Impact on Historical Thinking and Historical Empathy

Date: December 2007
Creator: Colby, Sherri Rae
Description: The dissertation explores middle-school students' abilities to engage in historical thinking. I dispute the Hallam-Piaget model, which discourages analytical thinking through the assumption that children lack skills to think critically about history. My historical narrative inquiry model (1) teaches procedural knowledge (the process of "doing" history); (2) enhances interpretative skills; (3) cultivates historical perspectives based upon evidentiary history; and (4) encourages student authorship of historical narratives. In the fall semester of 2006, with a classroom of twenty-five seventh-graders, I initiated a research study designed to explore the impact of the historical narrative inquiry model through a sequence of thirty-two lessons. The lessons involved small- and large-group activities, including oral presentations, discussions about primary documents, and consideration of the relation between narratology and the creation of written history. Students generated their own historical narratives in order to articulate their perspectives. Eight students having varied reading-level proficiency served as primary participants in the study. Each of these students received pre- and post-intervention interviews. Outcomes reflected the enhancement of pedagogy intended to facilitate historical thinking and historical empathy in the classroom.
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Teenager's doing history out-of-school: An intrinsic case study of situated learning in history.

Teenager's doing history out-of-school: An intrinsic case study of situated learning in history.

Date: May 2008
Creator: Johnston, Glenn T.
Description: This intrinsic case study documents a community-based history expedition implemented as a project-based, voluntary, out-of-school history activity. The expedition's development was informed by the National Education Association's concept of the intensive study of history, its structure by the history seminary, and its spirit by Webb's account of seminar as history expedition. Specific study objectives included documentation of the planning, implementation, operation, and outcomes of the expedition, as well as the viability of the history expedition as a vehicle for engaging teenagers in the practice of history. Finally, the study examined whether a history expedition might serve as a curriculum of identity. Constructivist philosophy and situated learning theory grounded the analysis and interpretation of the study. Undertaken in North Central Texas, the study followed the experiences of six teenagers engaged as historians who were given one year to research and write a historical monograph. The monograph concerned the last horse cavalry regiment deployed overseas as a mounted combat unit by the U.S. Army during World War II. The study yielded qualitative data in the form of researcher observations, participant interviews, artifacts of participant writing, and participant speeches. In addition, the study includes evaluations of the historical monograph by subject matter experts. ...
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Characteristics of preservice teachers learning parent involvement practices.

Characteristics of preservice teachers learning parent involvement practices.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Trotti, Judy
Description: Numerous models of IS success and technology acceptance their extensions have been proposed and applied in empirical. This study continues this tradition and extends the body of knowledge on the topic of IS success by developing a more comprehensive model for measuring IS success and technology acceptance within a government organization. The proposed model builds upon three established IS success and technology acceptance frameworks namely the DeLone and McLean (2003), Venkatesh et al.'s (2003) unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT), and Wixom and Todd (2005). The findings from this study provide not only a comprehensive IS success assessment model but also insights into whether and how IS success models are influenced by application variables as applied within a government organization. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were performed for instrument refinement and validity test of the existing and proposed models. Using data from employees of a local government municipal, the comprehensive model explained 32 percent variance. Four of the hypothesis were fully supported five were not supported, and four were partially supported. In addition, the results suggest that behavioral intention may not be the best predictor of technology acceptance in a mandatory environment.
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The effects of individualized test coaching on teacher certification test scores.

The effects of individualized test coaching on teacher certification test scores.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Hall, Kathryn Cowart
Description: While student populations are growing, the gatekeeping devices of teacher certification examinations prevent many who want and are trained to teach from entering the profession. If failing these exams predicted failure to teach well, blocking students who do not pass certification exams from entering the profession might be a well-reasoned policy. However, many studies indicate that there is little correlation between certification test scores and quality of teaching. The present study investigated the effectiveness of a program to improve the scores of Texas elementary preservice teachers on a required certification exam. The program consisted of one-on-one coaching of preservice teachers upon the completion of coursework and prior to their taking the state's certification exam. Subjects' scores on a representative form of the certification test were used as pre-treatment measures. The content of the treatment program was individualized for each subject and determined by the specific items missed by each subject on the representative form. The post-treatment measure was the subject's score on the certification exam. Scores on the representative form and on the certification examination were compared to determine if there were significant differences between scores of preservice teachers who had been coached and those who were not coached. Since ...
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The relationship of teacher efficacy to teacher concerns and job-embedded professional development.

The relationship of teacher efficacy to teacher concerns and job-embedded professional development.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Doughney, John F.
Description: As educators search for ways of improving student achievement, it is imperative that focus be placed on teacher learning and development. Currently, the trend in public schools throughout the country is to look directly at students and the deficits they bring to the learning environment when responding to those who find fault with the educational system. The current study directed attention to teachers' beliefs about their ability to affect change in student learning. The study centered on seven research questions that sought to determine: (1) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' sense of efficacy; (2) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' stages of concern; (3) the relationship between teacher efficacy and stages of concern; (4) the status of teachers' level of use of an innovation; and (5) the dominance of teacher concerns prior to and after involvement in job-embedded professional development. Through a mixed methodology approach, quantitative and qualitative analyses provided perspectives from 30 teachers in a suburban North Texas school district on the impact of job-embedded professional development on teacher efficacy, stages of concern, and resulting levels of use of an educational innovation. Quantitative results of two surveys: the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran ...
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Success Factors among Early College Entrants

Success Factors among Early College Entrants

Date: August 2008
Creator: Hoggan, Barbara
Description: This study explored how various intrapersonal, familial, and life-goal characteristics related to the academic and personal success of first semester early college entrants attending the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) at the University of North Texas. The study sought to identify which intrapersonal factors and external factors affected grades, behavioral markers, and life satisfaction during the students' first semester at TAMS. Baseline data from TAMS entrance material such as standardized achievement test scores, previous grade point averages (GPA's), advanced courses taken, and other academic activities and awards were collected. Data were also collected from the students prior to their entry to the start of TAMS related to family cohesiveness, motivation, and career goals. Data from parents were gathered prior to the start of TAMS regarding parenting styles, demographics, parents' educational levels, careers, and income levels, as well as the child's homework, extracurricular activities, and other time demands. First semester grades, a measure of life satisfaction since the program began, and behavior reports from staff members were used as outcome/success indicators. These additional data were used to examine the relationship between success and familial/interpersonal/life goal factors.
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A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.

A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.

Date: December 2008
Creator: Payne, Sara M.
Description: This dissertation investigated the media literacy experiences of middle school students enrolled in a Texas school. The literature review suggested that middle school students may be overlooked as a distinct population in media literacy research. The primary guiding questions for this inquiry were (1) How is media literacy exhibited by middle school students within a formal school context? (2) How does an elective film and media class impact middle school students' media literacy? And (3) How do middle grade students' responses to media correspond with theoretical models for media literacy? The phenomenological research methodology included a reflective analysis of students' textual responses to non-print media clips (N=24) and a reflective analysis of follow-up personal interviews with a smaller group of middle school participants (n=5). A questionnaire completed by participants provided descriptive statistics about the sample group. Additionally, theoretical models of media literacy were used to evaluate participants' media responses in relation to theoretical constructs for media literacy. The findings resulted in 11 emergent themes which can be used to further discourse about media literacy and its role in middle school curriculum. The dissertation includes implications for educators based upon the emergent themes, as well as recommendations for further research.
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The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.

The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.

Date: December 2008
Creator: Lane, Ginny G.
Description: In this study I analyzed the 1089 desegregation outcomes in federal district courts that occurred between 1994 and 2004 in order to identify a) the legal and non-legal factors in the litigation process that predict pro-desegregation outcomes and b) the judicial patterns that impact the future of desegregation policy. Twenty-one legal and non-legal variables were analyzed via logistic regression analysis to identify factors that predict pro-desegregation outcomes. Only three predictor variables were statistically significant: Government Litigants; Region 3 (West) and Region 4 (Northeast.) Descriptive analyses of the data identified two trends in the pattern of litigation: The percentage of defendant wins increased after 1991 at a lesser rate than has been previously reported. I conclude that based on the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses the federal district courts are not a barrier to desegregation and can still be a part of a comprehensive desegregation strategy.
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A value-added approach to determine the relationships of mentoring to novice teacher classroom effectiveness.

A value-added approach to determine the relationships of mentoring to novice teacher classroom effectiveness.

Date: December 2008
Creator: Harris, Shelley B.
Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between scores of the new teachers' classroom effectiveness with numerical indexes of mentor support, mentor infrastructure, and workplace ecology. In addition, this study sought to determine the effect of various demographics (i.e., gender, age, race, degree, teaching level, and certification route) on the Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) scores of first-year teachers, and to determine the differences, if any, between the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores of first-year teachers who remained on campus, switched campuses, or left the district. This study is primarily correlational in nature - looking for relationships between quantifiable variables. The subjects are 68 first-year teachers. The mandatory mentoring program the subjects were involved in consisted of a paid, veteran teacher who worked on the same campus as the first-year teacher and assisted in instructional or behavioral needs. This study measured the impact of the first-year teachers' mentoring experiences to the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores and teacher retention. The findings suggest that the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores might not be an appropriate tool for uncovering which aspects of mentoring contribute to student achievement and retention. Adding the value-added measurement tool to the categories of mentor support (MS), mentor infrastructure ...
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