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Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2721/
Well-Being and Academic Success in Gifted College Students: Early-College Entrants and Honors College Students
As a society, we seek to have our young people, including the gifted, be healthy and happy, and go to good schools with good teachers. Framed by Sayler's theoretical model of giftedness and thriving, this study examined psychological constructs (i.e. general self-efficacy, theories of intelligence, hope, gratitude, religiosity, disposition, and resiliency) to determine their mediating effect on personal well-being and academic success in gifted college students. The 213 subjects for this study included gifted college students from two distinct programs at the University of North Texas. One hundred twenty-two participants were students from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). TAMS is an early-college entrance program allowing gifted students to enter college after their sophomore year of high school. Ninety-one participants attended the UNT Honors College. Honors College students are gifted students who enter college after high school graduation. Latent transition, latent class, general linear model repeated measures, and regression analyses were used in the examination of the data. Results of the study revealed that positive disposition and hope-agency were significantly related to the development of personal well-being for gifted students during their first year of college. The ability to identify pathways to goals and the self-theory of intelligence as a fixed trait were significantly related to academic success during the first year at college. Knowledge of psychological constructs that are facilitative of the positive personal well-being and academic achievement helps parents, teachers, administrators, and counselors prepare gifted students for success in college. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31526/
Peer Mediation: an Empirical Exploration Empowering Elementary School Children to Resolve Conflicts Constructively
Conflict is inevitable in school and in life. Many children lack skills necessary to resolve daily conflicts constructively. Without knowledge of positive ways to manage conflicts, violence may result. Limited research suggests that involvement in a peer mediation program may have a positive influence on children. This study assessed effects peer mediation training and mediation experience had on student mediators. The pretest-posttest, control-group, and quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of a year long peer mediation program implemented in a suburban elementary school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277606/
Texas Public School Library Media Specialists' Perceptions of the Use of the Internet in their Schools
With the advent of the 21st century, technological innovations are transforming the face of education and the school library media center. One of these significant developments is the ability to communicate through the Internet. The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of Texas public school library media specialists who are active Internet users about their utilization of the Internet, and how their efforts in implementing and supervising Internet access in their school library media centers impact the Texas public schools that they serve. A survey instrument of Likert items was developed that queried these public school library media specialists for their perceptions of Internet use in their schools. MANOVA was the chosen statistical measure for this study. An initial electronic mail-out to 1,232 Texas public school library media specialists (K-12) with Internet addresses were contacted to participate in this study. After a time frame of one month, 196 Texas school library media specialists e-mailed the researcher, confirming their willingness to be a survey participant. All respondents to this e-mail request participated in this study, and a second U.S. mail-out was sent containing the actual survey instrument. The researcher found that the use of the Internet by school library media specialists in Texas did not increase global collegiality from the viewpoint of the survey respondents. Survey respondents felt that an Internet acceptable use policy did not ensure student access to the Internet in Texas public school library media centers. The study examined the relationship between acceptable use policies and Internet censorship, and the researcher found no connection between these two elements from the perspective of the school library media specialist. The study found that school library media specialists believe that their training did improve their students' library research skills. Furthermore, the survey respondents believed that their Internet training improved student learning. Finally, the study found no connection between school size, based on the Texas Education Agency's school classification system, and student access to the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277650/
Formal Education among the Siberian Yupik Eskimos on Sivuqaq, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska: an Ethno-Historical Study
The major focus of this study is the effect of formal education on individuals, communities, cultural traditions and values on Siberian Yupik Eskimos of Alaska. The first school on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska was founded in 1899 under the direction of Sheldon Jackson. The formal school curriculum for the next thirty years was secretarian. Upon the initial operation of formal schooling on the island, various other forms of schools have impacted the islanders of St. Lawrence. Chapter two is an overview of the background of education in Alaska from its beginning as a territory to its present status as the 49th state in the United States. Chapter three presents the history of formal schooling on St. Lawrence Island. Chapters two and three contain descriptions of various other forms of schooling within the state (i.e. Bureau of Indian Affairs, mission, state-owned) and when and how these forms either existed on the island or had an impact upon its villagers. Chapter four discusses the methodology utilized in conducting the research and fieldwork for this study. Research findings are discussed in chapter five and include verbatim transcriptions of interviews with villagers. These interviews are unedited in order for readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the study. The interviews included in this written finding are representative of interviews taken. Chapter six discusses conclusions gleaned over the course of this study and recommends further areas of study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278793/
The effect of trade books on the environmental literacy of 11th and 12th graders in aquatic science.
The purpose of this study was to compare the environmental literacy of 11th and 12th graders who participated in an eighteen-week environmental education program using trade books versus 11th- and 12th-graders who participated in an eighteen-week, traditional environmental education program without the use of trade books. This study was conducted using a quasi-experimental research technique. Four high school aquatic science classes at two suburban high schools were used in the research. One teacher at each high school taught one control class and one experimental class of aquatic science. In the experimental classes, four trade books were read to the classes during the eighteen-week semester. These four books were selected by the participating teachers before the semester began. The books used were A Home by the Sea, Sea Otter Rescue, There's a Hair in My Dirt, and The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo. The instrument used to measure environmental literacy was the Children's Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale. This test was given at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester. The scores at the end of the semester were analyzed by 2 X 2 mixed model ANOVA with the teacher as the random effect and the condition (trade books) as the fixed effect. The statistical analysis of this study showed that the students in the experimental classes did not score higher than the control classes on the Children's Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale or on a subset of "water" questions. Several limitations were placed on this research. These limitations included the following: (1) a small number of classes and a small number of teachers, (2) change from the original plan of using environmental science classes to aquatic science classes, (3) possible indifference of the students, and (4) restrictive teaching strategies of the teachers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4311/
The Effects of Technology Integration Techniques in Elementary Mathematics Methods Courses on Elementary Preservice Teachers' Computer Self-Efficacy, Software Integration Confidence, and Lesson Planning
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effect of computer technology integration techniques on preservice teachers' feelings of computer self-efficacy and feelings of confidence in software integration. It was also the purpose of this study to interpret these preservice teachers' confidence in using computer technology integration techniques in their own planning and instruction during student teaching. The participants in this study were from two intact, non-randomly-formed classrooms. They were 27 preservice teachers enrolled in the College of Education at a university in north central Texas in two sections of a course entitled EDEE 4350, Mathematics in the Elementary School. This study was quasi-experimental, with a nonequivalent pretest-posttest control group design. The independent variable was the type of instruction experienced in an elementary mathematics methods course: novel instruction with specialized computer technology integration techniques versus traditional instruction with no specialized technology integration techniques. The dependant variables were measured using the following instruments: the Demographic Data and Previous Context Use of the Computer Survey which described participants' demographics and their previous usage of the computer; the Self-Efficacy With Computer Technologies Scale; the Preservice Teacher Software Integration Confidence Scale; and the Lesson Plan Infusion/Integration Scale. The results of the data analysis revealed, through the inferential statistics run on the Self-Efficacy with Computer Technology Scale pretest and posttest, that there was no statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Preservice Teachers Software Integration Confidence Scale revealed a statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Lesson Plan Technology Infusion/Integration Scale revealed no statistical significance between treatment groups (p < .05). The study provides insight into the benefits of instruction in specific software integration techniques instruction. It suggests that when preservice teachers are given instruction in specific computer software integration techniques, they are more confident in the use of those techniques. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4307/
A Case Study of the Impact of the Middle School Data Coach on Teacher Use of Educational Test Data to Change Instruction
With the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2002 and its attendant increases in accountability pressure, many districts and schools currently embrace data analysis as an essential part of the instructional decision making process. In their attempts to overcome low achievement on state-mandated tests, some districts have begun employing data coaches. The study reported here, which was set in three middle schools in a northeast Texas school district, assessed the influence of the campus data coach on a middle school mathematics teachers' use of analyzed data to make instructional decisions. It also examined the extent to which the Data Coach/teacher relationship resolved teacher concerns about data-driven decision making. Phenomenological interviews with data coaches were guided by Seidman's (2006) three-series interview. Measurement of teacher use of data to make decisions was based on the concerns-based adoption model's levels of use interview protocol, stages of concern questionnaire, and innovation configuration map. By the end of one school year, two out of the three teachers never used data to make instructional decisions, although the non-users both had moved closer toward employing the innovation in their classroom. Data indicated all teachers were aware of the innovation, but all three ended the study with high personal concerns, signifying that the minimal efforts made by the data coaches to resolve concerns were not successful. This study's small sample gave the research paradigm of data-based decision making an in-depth glimpse into the process of implementing data-based instructional decision making and the Data Coach position on three middle school campuses in one large northeast Texas district. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33164/
The Effects of a Kindergarten-First Grade Looping Program on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem
The purpose of this study was to determine if academic achievement and academic self-esteem can be linked to the non-traditional organizational pattern of looping in kindergarten and first grade classes. Looping is defined as one teacher remaining with the same students for two or more years. Using a control group-experimental group design where the experimental group participated in the looping program and the control group did not, and applying the statistical procedure of multivariate analysis of variance (MANAVO), it was found that there was no significant difference between the subjects in the two groups on the criterion variable of academic achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the criterion variable of academic self-esteem as measured by the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Second Edition. It was concluded that further study would need to be done to determine if there are advantages to an organizational pattern of looping for students in public elementary schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3327/
The impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of at-risk students.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, and determination of short term and long term effects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4185/
Success Factors among Early College Entrants
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9091/
A meta-analysis of service learning research in middle and high schools.
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This study examines the relationship between service learning innovations and improved academics, self-concept, and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. Meta-Analysis is employed to arrive at effect-size estimates for each construct. A historical overview of service learning is presented and a detailed description of the study selection process is provided. The data revealed a moderate relationship between service learning participation and academics, self-concept and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. The findings are presented, and some appropriate conclusions are drawn. A discussion of the implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are also provided. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2995/
Teenager's doing history out-of-school: An intrinsic case study of situated learning in history.
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. The data indicate that participants and audience describe the history expedition as a highly motivational experience which empowered participants to think critically, write historically, and create an original product valuable to the regiment's veterans, the veterans' families, the State of Texas, and military historians. The study supports the contention of the National Education Association that the intensive study of history can be beneficial both to expedition participants and to their community. The assertion that engaging teenagers as researchers within a discipline serves as a curriculum of identity was supported in the study as well. The study underscored the importance of oral history as a gateway for learning about modern history. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6090/
An Analysis of the Impact of Curriculum Management Audits on Public School Systems in Texas
The purposes of this study were to (1) identify the recommendations of Curriculum Management Audits conducted in Texas Public School systems, (2) determine the degree to which each of the recommendations had been implemented, and (3) determine the perceptions of stakeholders as to the factors instrumental in the real and potential impact of the audit. The researcher conducted interviews with superintendents and key central office administrators with a working knowledge of the audit report in each of the eleven Texas school districts studied. Respondents were asked to rate recommendations written for their districts using the following descriptors: Implemented, In Progress, Plan to Implement, Recommendation Modified, No Implementation. The ranking of recommendation implementation revealed that 85% of the recommendations made in the 11 audit reports reviewed in this study had received action toward implementation to some degree. Respondents were also asked to cite factors which facilitated or impeded recommendation implementation. Significant factors facilitating the implementation of recommendations were reported to be time, organizational structure/personnel and planning. The analysis of the collective recommendations revealed that school board policies were not adequate to direct the design, delivery and monitoring of curriculum when measured against audit Standard One criteria. School districts in Texas rely on the Texas Association of School Boards' policy division for policies. Findings indicate that greater alignment between the Texas Association of School Boards' policies and Curriculum Management Audit criteria must be sought in order for school districts in Texas to meet this Standard. System-wide planning, curriculum documents, and program-driven budgeting processes were other areas requiring attention of the school districts in the study. Evidence of the extent of implementation of recommendations suggests that school districts valued the audit report with its recommendations. It can be generally concluded that the Curriculum Management Audit had a positive impact on the involved school districts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277718/
Effects of a Technology Enriched Learning Environment on Student Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills
The problem for this study was to enhance the development of higher order thinking skills and improve attitudes toward computers for fifth and sixth grade students. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a Technology Enriched Classroom on student development of higher order thinking skills and student attitudes toward the computer. A sample of 80 sixth grade and 86 fifth grade students was tested using the Ross Test of Higher Cognitive Processes. The Ross Test was selected because of its stated purpose to judge the effectiveness of curricula or instructional methodology designed to teach the higher-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation as defined by Bloom. The test consisted of 105 items grouped into seven subsections. In addition, the students were surveyed using the Computer Attitude Questionnaire developed by the Texas Center for Educational Technology. The questionnaire assessed sixty-five questions combined to measure eight attitudes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279055/
The influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.
Despite the positive outcomes for inquiry-based science education and recommendations from national and state standards, many teachers continue to rely upon more traditional methods of instruction This causal-comparative study was designed to determine the effects of the Inquiry Institute, a professional development program that is intended to strengthen science teachers' pedagogical knowledge and provide practice with inquiry methods based from a constructivist approach. This study will provide a understanding of a cause and effect relationship within three levels of the independent variable-length of participation in the Inquiry Institute (zero, three, or six days)-to determine whether or not the three groups differ on the dependent variables-beliefs, implementation, and barriers. Quantitative data were collected with the Science Inquiry Survey, a researcher-developed instrument designed to also ascertain qualitative information with the use of open-ended survey items. One-way ANOVAs were applied to the data to test for a significant difference in the means of the three groups. The findings of this study indicate that lengthier professional development in the Inquiry Institute holds the most benefits for the participants. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9911/
The Impact of Collegial-Teaming on High-School and University Instructors: A Descriptive Multi-Case Study
This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103308/
Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students
Today's global culture makes communication through writing in a foreign language a most desirable tool to expand personal and professional relations. However, teaching writing is a complex, time-consuming endeavor in any language. Foreign language teachers at every level struggle to fit writing into an already full curriculum and need the most effective methods and tools with which to teach. Technology may provide a viable scaffold to support writing instruction for teachers and students. The purpose of this research was to determine any benefits of weekly/structured, in-class, computer-assisted grammar drill and practice on the composition quality and quantity of intermediate university Spanish learners. A related purpose was to determine whether students who participated in such practice would access a computer-based writing assistant differently during writing than students without the treatment. The research design was a nonequivalent groups pretest-posttest design. Fifty-two subjects' compositions were graded with both holistic and analytic criteria to analyze composition quality and quantity, and statistical analyses assessed interactions of treatment and effects. The computer-based Atajo writing assistant, which could be accessed during composition, had a logging feature which provided unobtrusive observation of specific databases accessed by each student. There were no statistically significant differences found between the two groups in overall composition scores or in subscale scores. Improvements across time were observed in composition performance for both the experimental and control groups. The implementation of computer-based grammar and vocabulary practice did show a small to moderate positive effect; that is to say, students who received weekly, structured computer grammar and vocabulary practice had higher scores for composition quality and quantity on the posttest measure and accessed the databases less than the control group. The consistent positive trends in the composition data results intimate that over a more extended period of time, computer-based grammar instruction might enhance the quality and quantity of written composition in the foreign language classroom. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/
Religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence among nursing students.
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The purposes of this study were to examine the prevalence of current substance use and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence, and to investigate the relationships among religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators among nursing students at seven Seventh-day Adventist colleges. Data for this descriptive study were collected through Efinger's Alcohol Risk Survey (EARS) (Efinger, 1984), the CAGE Questionnaire ( Ewing , 1984), and the Intrinsic/Extrinsic-Revised Scale (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989). Participants were 241 nursing students enrolled in their first year of nursing courses at seven colleges and universities located across the United States . Findings indicated that 42% of students scored higher than the EARS mean; 24% reported current substance use; and 15% scored in the probable abuse/dependence category of CAGE. Students who reported current substance use and those scoring in the probable substance abuse/dependence category were significantly more likely to score above the EARS median. Intrinsic religiousness demonstrated a significant inverse relationship with current substance use. Significantly lower rates of current substance use were associated with higher rates of attendance at religious services. Respondents who indicated that their religion prohibited alcohol consumption reported significantly lower rates of current substance use than those who answered "No" or "I don't know" to their religion's prohibition of alcohol consumption. A substantial number of nursing students were found to have high numbers of early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence that warrant intervention. The majority of students who scored in the probable substance abuse/dependence category also had higher EARS scores, thereby increasing their risk for substance impairment. Religious variables appear to have had a mediating influence on current substance use with this sample. Prevention programs should be aimed at risks that are modifiable, thus enabling students to make healthy decisions about using substances. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4661/
The significance of supportive structure in improving student achievement in knowledge of the history of the Christian church in a Kenyan Bible college.
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The problem of this study was to determine whether Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a modified (highly structured) mastery learning model will demonstrate greater achievement in knowledge of Christian Church history as compared to Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a traditional (minimally structured) non-mastery learning model. The subjects were 17 second-year Kenyan Bible college students enrolled in a course on Christian Church history, and they were randomly assigned to the two treatment conditions. The researcher served as instructor for both groups. The experimental group used a textbook, detailed syllabus, 200 page study guide (featuring an advance organizer to provide an ideational scaffolding), and a lesson-development feature (providing an enabling objective, congruent questions, and informative feedback for each lesson segment). The control group used a textbook and a less-detailed syllabus. Both groups shared the same classroom lectures, class discussions, required assignments, examinations, and review of examination items. Five tests of Christian church history were administered, including a pretest, three unit tests, and a comprehensive course examination. Test data were analyzed using a 2 x 5 (treatment x testing occasion) repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA). The percentage of students performing at mastery level (80% correct) on each test was also calculated. Results indicated that, from the second unit test to the comprehensive examination, the modified mastery learning group achieved slightly but consistently higher mean percentage correct scores than the traditional group, but there was no significant main effect for treatment. In contrast, the main effect for testing occasion did reach statistical significance. Across the five test occasions, 8% to 51% more students in the modified mastery learning group attained mastery level as compared to the traditional learning group. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4464/
The Representation of Hispanic Females in Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Programs in a Selected North-Central Texas Public High School
Analysis of a particular north-central Texas public high school revealed a strong representation of Hispanic females in advanced academic programs, i.e., AP and GT in proportion to their representation in the overall student population. Research seems to indicate that a progressive approach to academic-potential identification; culturally effective mentoring, traditional Hispanic values, and newly emerging personal and social characteristics all seem to be contributing factors. This study seems to indicate that a new type of Hispanic female is emerging who is more assertive academically, more visible in the classroom, and less marriage-and-family oriented as might be believed by teachers, society, their peers, and perhaps even their parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3701/
Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy
New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84221/
Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model
The purpose of this study was to determine the current status of secondary teachers' implementation of the sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP) model and its effect on Hispanic English language learners' (ELL) English language proficiency and academic achievement. In addition, this study sought to determine whether teachers perceive the SIOP model as an effective tool for instruction of high school ELL students to increase English language content and English language proficiency. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Data were collected from four sources: Hispanic ELLs' English language proficiency scores, students' English Language Arts scores, an oral interview with participating teachers and teacher observations. Each teacher was observed at four points during the school year with the SIOP instrument. Quantitative data on student achievement were collected employing a pre-experimental, one-group pretest-post-test design. Qualitative data were collected using a time-series design. Findings revealed that on the two student assessment measures there were increases in English proficiency and English language arts achievement among the Hispanic ELLs. On the assessment of English language proficiency, the students of the teacher with the highest level of SIOP implementation made the highest gains; the students of the teacher with the second highest SIOP implementation level made the second highest gains; and students of the teacher with the lowest level of SIOP implementation made the smallest gains. These findings suggest that the higher the level of SIOP implementation, the greater the student academic achievement gains. The gains in academic achievement attributed to the proper implementation of the SIOP model can have an extensive impact on English language learners who have not previously experienced academic success. Teacher participants perceived the SIOP model as effective for delivery of content through sheltered instruction lessons for high school ELLs. The teachers agreed that the SIOP model's components provided a consistent structure for planning and delivery of their sheltered lessons. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67959/
Examining the effects of scheduled course time on mathematics achievement in high school students.
This study was designed to determine the effects of two different schedule types on mathematics achievement in public high school students. The instruments used included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, given annually to all students in grades 3 through 11, the Texas Algebra I end-of-course examination, given as a district option to Algebra I students, and student final course grades as determined by classroom teachers. The study compared students' performance in these three areas during the 2004-2005 academic year in one suburban school district in North Texas. The study considers the type of schedule, either traditional or 8-block, between students in teachers' classes who teach the same course on both schedules concurrently. This study also investigates a qualitative aspect by including a short opinion survey of teachers' perceptions regarding student academic performance, teacher satisfaction and retention, and the ability to accomplish curricular goals. Findings from this research suggest course schedule does not have significant effects on student academic performance as measured using analyses of covariance comparisons with a 0.05 alpha-level, leading to the conclusion that a particular course schedule does not adversely impact student performance on academic measures. However, in some comparisons conducted within the course of the research, statistically significant results emerged. Qualitative data generated from a survey of teacher perceptions regarding the benefits of the two scheduling types, traditional 50-minute verses alternating day 8-block, suggested teachers preferred a traditional schedule over that of a block schedule design. Most teachers who responded to the survey instrument expressed the perception that traditional daily meeting classes allowed their students to be more successful. Additional research into the effects of scheduling types on students academic performance are suggested and would include examining larger population samples, a narrower study of specific courses within the field of mathematics, or an expansion of the content areas explored to fields such as science, languages, or non-academic core subjects, including the fine arts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3644/
Factors related to technology implementation of K-12 principals and teachers.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between principals' leadership styles and principals'/teachers' implementation of technology. The Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (LEAD) Self was used to identify the primary and secondary leadership styles of principals. The Level of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Questionnaire was used to identify the level of technology implementation (LoTi), personal computer use (PCU) and current instructional practice (CIP) scores for both teachers and principals. Data collected from 390 K-12 teachers and 22 principals of three large suburban districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was included in data analysis. The findings suggest that differing leadership styles do play a role in the LoTi, PCU, and CIP scores among teachers. Based on descriptive statistics it was determined that teachers with "participating" principals had higher mean LoTi and PCU scores than those with "telling" and "selling" principals. The difference in the mean PCU scores was statistically significant (p<.05) for teachers with "selling" and "participating" principals. Results also showed there was a statistical significance (p<.05) in the mean PCU and CIP scores of teachers working for principals with weak and high adaptability. Due to the low number of principals participating in this study, there is a need to conduct the same research using a larger more diverse sample of principals. The majority of principals in this study had either a primary leadership style of "participating" and a secondary leadership style of "selling" or vice versa. A larger population of principals would hopefully allow for the study of additional leadership styles and their effect on teacher use and implementation of technology. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5355/
An exploration of the relationships among teacher efficacy, collective teacher efficacy, and teacher demographic characteristics in conservative Christian schools.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether teachers' perceptions of self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy are interrelated and how these two constructs may be impacted by teacher demographic characteristics, such as educational level, grade level taught, and number of years of teaching experience. This study focused entirely on the interrelationships of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy in three suburban, conservative Christian schools in north Texas. Specifically, the demographic characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, particular school campus, number of years teaching, number of years teaching at the current school, highest degree received, type of teacher certification, certification grade level and subject area, grade level taught, and particular subject taught were studied for the non-random, convenience sample of 216 kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers. A correlational analysis of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy yielded a Pearson r of .35 at a statistically significant level (p < .01); combining these two variables with teacher demographic variables in multiple regression analyses confirmed the relationship between teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy and collective efficacy at a statistically significant level (p < .001). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the first multiple regression analysis (R2 = .284, p < .001) showed that individual teachers' perceptions of collective teacher efficacy explained the largest amount (43%) of the variance in teacher efficacy, followed by years of teaching experience (17%) and number of years of teaching at the current school (14%). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the second multiple regression analysis (R2 = .395, p < .001) indicated that individual teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy explained the largest amount of variance in collective teacher efficacy (31%), followed the elementary teacher variable (22%) and particular school (19%). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5376/
The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.
This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4772/
Parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a middle-school talent search.
The present study sought to identify variables that predicted parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a national gifted and talented identification program for middle school students and subsequent participation in recommended educational options. One hundred sixty-nine parents of students who qualified for either the 2001-2002 or 2002-2003 Duke Talent Identification Program participated in the study. The students were drawn from two large public school districts and six small private schools in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern United States. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to identify the variables predictive of parental decision-making regarding talent search participation. Each parent completed a questionnaire consisting of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Selected parents participated in structured follow-up interviews. The results of the study indicated that parental perception of the helpfulness of school personnel in explaining the purpose and process of the talent search was most predictive of participation in the talent search. The educational level of the father, parent's prior awareness of the purpose and process of talent search, and the number of enrichment activities in which the child had previously participated were also predictive of talent search participation. Qualitative data indicated that parents of both participants and nonparticipants had a limited understanding of the purpose, diagnostic power, and potential benefits of the talent search. Very few parents chose to seek extracurricular or curricular/instructional options following the talent search testing. Qualitative data indicated that parents did not choose these options due to cost, logistical concerns regarding the special programs, and reservations about the developmental appropriateness of such options for middle school students. Although talent searches are sponsored and administered by organizations outside the local school, this study suggests that parents mostly rely on their local school for notification of their child's nomination, information on the purpose and benefits of talent search, interpretation of test scores, and guidance in selecting appropriate curricular or extracurricular follow-up. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4754/
A Chronological Study of Experiential Education in the American History Museum
This study traced the evolution of experiential education in American history museums from 1787 to 2007. Because of a decline in attendance, museum educators need to identify best practices to draw and retain audiences. I used 16 museology and history journals, books, and archives of museums prominent for using the method. I also interviewed 15 museum educators who employ experiential learning, one master interpreter of the National Park Service, and an independent museum exhibit developer. Experiential education involves doing with hands touching physical materials. Four minor questions concerned antecedents of experiential learning, reasons to invest in the method, the influence of social context, and cultural pluralism. Next is a review of the theorists whose works support experiential learning: Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Lewin, Bruner, Eisner, Hein, and David Kolb plus master parks interpreter Freeman Tilden. The 8 characteristics they support include prior experiences, physical action, interaction with the environment, use of the senses, emotion, social relationships, and personal meaning. Other sections are manifestation of experiential learning, transformation of history museums, and cultural pluralism in history museums. The research design is descriptive, and the procedure, document analysis and structured interview. Findings are divided by decades after the first 120 years. Social context, examples of experiential learning, and multicultural activities are detailed. Then findings are discussed by patterns of delivery: sensory experiences, actions as diversion and performance, outreach of traveling trunks and of organized activity, crafts as handwork and as skills, role-playing, simulation, hands-on museum work, and minor patterns. The decline of involvement of citizens in the civic and cultural life of the community has adversely affected history museums. Experiential learning can stop this trend and transform museum work, as open-air museums and the National Park Service have demonstrated. In the future history museums may include technology, a more diverse audience, and adults in its experiential educational plans to thrive. Further research is needed on evaluation, finances, and small museums. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5190/
Perceptions of preparedness and practices: A survey of teachers of English language learners.
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. It is recommended that districts provide teachers with professional development opportunities that specifically address second language acquisition and practical ways to develop academic language across the content areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5145/
Students As Historians: The Historical Narrative Inquiry Model's Impact on Historical Thinking and Historical Empathy
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5192/
Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice
The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of reflection and document how a holistic approach to teacher reflection contributes to teachers' understanding of, and improvement in their pedagogical practice. The investigation asked how classroom observations, when followed by a reflective dialogue, impact pedagogical practice. The particular focus included how teachers make sense of observational data during a post-observation, reflective dialogue; how teachers reflect on classroom observational data; and how the holistic reflection experience impacts teachers' pedagogical practice. Three research questions guided this study. How do teachers make sense of observational data during a post observation reflective dialogue? How do teachers reflect on classroom observational data? How might the holistic reflection experience impact teachers' pedagogical practice? Findings from this study provide implications for incorporating the practice of teacher reflection and reflective dialogue as professional development and for educational research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc11018/
Theatre teachers' attitudes toward the University Interscholastic League One-Act Play contest.
The focus of aesthetic education is reflected in an arts curriculum designed for students to learn skills that make it possible for them to experience the world in a satisfying and meaningful manner. Incorporating aesthetics into school curriculum can be approached through the use of coordinated programs. In the state of Texas, over 1100 schools participate annually in the One-Act Play contest (OAP). The contest is governed by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which has designed and recommended a structure in which students actively participate in the fine art of theatre. This curriculum is the roadmap for instruction that leads students to learn the value of the aesthetic. This study examines teacher and student perception in the Texas One-Act Play contest and its implications for teaching and learning the aesthetic. The qualitative data were collected through a series of interviews and observations during the spring 2006 with five schools in the north Texas area. Students and teachers at each school were interviewed. Data revealed how the goals of the UIL OAP system are being met based on teachers' practices, perceptions, and experience. Implications of the study are seen through the teachers' attitude toward winning as well as how the elements of teaching, rehearsal technique, and external support systems affect the teachers' contest preparation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5462/
The Parent Participation Discourse of a Community School: Diverse Ideas and Perceptions about Educational Partnership at an Inner City Community School
Despite the widespread recommendation that schools "collaborate" with parents, little is found in the literature to elaborate on what this term or the common synonym "partnership" means, and further, how schools can invite diverse parental contributions to the table of educational discourse. The current study looks to contribute to the literature by analyzing the parent participation discourse in one community elementary school, utilizing critical discourse analysis and ethnographic observations. The findings reveal both school and parents' conceptions of the parents' partnership role as ancillary to that of the school's and the subsequent lack of true collaboration so advocated by the literature. Implications arise from this analysis which calls into question the examples of "collaboration" found in the literature, given the lack of theorizing regarding what collaboration inside of parent participation means. Contributions may shed light on the unintentional inequality of diverse parents in an effort toward true collaboration utilizing both the European American, middle class contributions of the educational institution alongside those of non-mainstream parents in creating an authentic educational atmosphere for diverse students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12098/
Teacher change: The effect of a professional development intervention on middle school mainstream teachers of English language learners.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a professional development intervention conducted with mainstream middle school teachers of English language learners (ELLs) in a North Texas school district. Teacher change was examined in the context of this intervention. Three groups of teachers participated in this study. Group 1 (n= 4) consisted of teachers returning to the intervention for a second year. Group 2 (n= 12) consisted of teachers new to the intervention. Group 3 (n = 16) served as the control group and consisted of teachers who were not part of the intervention. Mixed methods were utilized, including a self-assessment questionnaire, an observation tool, and data from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Statistically significant differences were found between teachers in Group 1 and teachers in Group 2 in the perception of self-efficacy. Statistically significant differences were also found for Group 1 and Group 2 teachers between the beginning and the end of the year. Group 3 teachers experienced a decrease in their perception of self-efficacy between the beginning and the end of the year. A statistically significant difference in the use of interaction was found across time for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2. The interaction of ELLs decreased between the beginning and the end of the year for teachers in Group 3. The use of modifications increased significantly for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2 and remained stable for teachers in Group 3 between the beginning and the end of the year. In the area of high expectations, no statistically significant difference was found between intervention teachers and the control group across time. An analysis of data for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test revealed a statistically significant difference in the percentage of All Students Commended for the writing test and in the percentage of All Students Met Standard in the social studies test between intervention and non-intervention classrooms. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12074/
A multi-state political process analysis of the anti-testing movement.
I applied McAdam's political process model for social movement analysis to examine the level of collective resistance to high stakes testing in California, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Texas from 1985 to 2005. Data on protest occurrences in those states were gathered from online news reports, anti-testing organization websites, and electronic interviews from individuals associated with the anti-testing movement. Variables used in the analysis included each state's key educational accountability legislation, political affiliations of state political leaders, state political leaders' support of accountability issues, student ethnicity profiles, poverty indicators, dropout rates, and collective bargaining laws. I examined the relationship between those variables and protest development in terms of the political process model's three components: framing processes, mobilizing structures, and political opportunity. I concluded California and Massachusetts, with their strong networks of anti-testing organizations, showed more instances of protest than any other state. Slightly fewer protests occurred in New York. Texas showed few instances of anti-testing protests and there were no reports of protests in South Carolina. There was evidence of framing efforts from both proponents and opponents of high-stakes testing, with proponents' framing efforts tending to be more covert. I found that anti-testing protests were primarily initiated by middle-class and affluent groups of citizens, who demonstrated greater political access but whose major concerns differed by state. Evidence showed that although all five states have Republican governors, protests emerged more readily in the three states whose legislatures had a Democratic majority. I found that protest efforts were inhibited when protesters faced serious consequences as a result of their actions. In addition, state political leaders began to take part in the anti-testing protest movement once the state became subject to sanctions under the strict performance requirements imposed by No Child Left Behind. Overall, the political process model proved to be a highly efficient analytical tool in this context. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5501/
The perception of English language arts teachers about instructional changes following the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.
Accountability in education has been expanding for the past twenty years. As standards for curricular areas continued to develop, educational shareholders desired a way to measure student achievement contextualized by the established standards. Since 1964, policies expanded federal involvement with education, and with the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, high-stakes testing became a significant part of public education. In Texas, testing transitioned in 2003 to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (TAKS) test, an assessment that determines grade advancement for students, ratings for school districts, and additional compensation for some teachers. Along with the increasing expectations for student achievement, the need for effective instruction also increases. This dissertation studies how English language arts (ELA) teachers in four North Texas suburban high schools perceive instructional change following the implementation of TAKS. One hundred twenty-one teachers (n=121) were surveyed using an instrument broken into seven categories: student-centered instruction, student interest, instructional communication, time, classroom environment, teacher knowledge, and assessment. Participants were separated into two groups, teachers with one to six years of experience with a district or seven or more years with a district. Using a rating scale for each statement on the survey instrument, participants indicated the direction and magnitude of change or indicated no change occurred. When comparing an overall average frequency percentage for each possible rating for each category, the two highest percentages for both surveyed groups indicated no instructional change since the implementation of TAKS. However, when considering specific statements about professional growth and instructor knowledge, both groups were likely to rate a change as positive. Whereas, if the statement suggested instructional areas constricted by time, participants for both groups were likely to rate a change as negative. Additionally, an ANOVA indicated no significant difference between either of the participating groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12134/
The relationship of teacher efficacy to teacher concerns and job-embedded professional development.
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 & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1979) revealed a strong focus on stage 0, awareness, concerns and no statistically significant gain in teacher efficacy as teachers engaged in job-embedded professional learning. Qualitative data were gathered through Levels of Use Focused Interviews (Loucks, Newlove, & Hall, 1975) and revealed more teacher involvement with the innovation than quantitative data suggested. Further investigation into the inconsistencies between dominance of teacher concerns and perceptions of levels of use is warranted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9107/
Teacher certification content area tests: Predictors of teacher knowledge for post-baccalaureate secondary candidates.
In response to a growing teacher shortage, increasing numbers of secondary teachers are prepared through streamlined certification programs. For this reason, assessing candidates' content area knowledge gained from institutions of higher education across the United States is an important program admission factor as candidates must demonstrate content area knowledge by passing a Texas content area certification test (TExES). This study examines content knowledge for candidates enrolled in an online post­-baccalaureate program from September 1, 2002 through April 30, 2005. Academic transcript analysis and grades 8-­12 subject tests of the TExES were used as a proxy for subject matter knowledge for a sample of individuals seeking initial teacher certification in a post­-baccalaureate teacher certification at the University of North Texas. Descriptive data,linear regression, and logistic regression analyses were used to draw conclusions about the content area knowledge of the individuals in the sample. Scores on the TExES were used to determine the relationships between the content area knowledge of initial certification students and the number of content area courses completed, the grade point averages, and time elapsed between the completion of the last content area course and the student's initial attempt on the TExES. Results differed by the content area of the candidates. Analysis of variance results indicate significant differences between the five test groups with regard to number of courses taken F(4,139) = 9.334, p < .001 grade point average F(4,139) = 5.733, p < .001 and time between the last course taken F(4,139) = 6.135, p < .001. The three­-predictor model was statistically significant F(3,32) = 3.753, p = .02 for the History test group. The variable, upper-­level grade point average accounted for approximately 12% variance among scores within the History test group, and the variable months of time elapsed between last content area course work and the initial state content examination accounted for approximately 13% of variance among scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5267/
Photographic metaphors: A multiple case study of second language teachers' experiences using the acquisition model.
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The purpose of this study was to examine and document second language teachers' perceptions of their implementation of a meaning-making approach, known as the Acquisition Model, to second language instruction. Of particular focus were the concerns and strategies the second language teachers experienced when changing their pedagogical practice from mechanical to meaning making. The main research question, which guided this study, was: "What is the 'lived experience' of L2 teachers as they implement an innovative pedagogy to teach a second language?" The researcher addressed this research question through Max van Manen's (1990) six step phenomenological method, "Researching Lived Experience" and image-based research techniques (i.e., photo elicitation and reflexive photography). In addition, the researcher also created and applied an innovative data collection technique, which she called Collaborative Imagery. Findings from this study generated various implications in the areas of second language education, curricular change, teacher reflection, image-based research, and educational research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5229/
A Comparison of the Self-Efficacy Scores of Preservice Teachers Based on Initial College Experience
The purpose of this study was to determine if any statistically significant difference exists between the self-efficacy scores of student teachers who began their college experience at the community college level and student teachers who began their education at the university level. The study was used to determine whether or not the type of initial college experience impacted the first two years of college study, in relation to the development of a sense of self-efficacy at the end of the program of study. Self-efficacy data were gathered from beginning student teachers at two comparative institutions. The participants were enrolled in the colleges of education at two large metropolitan universities. One university was located in southern Texas and the other was located in north central Texas. The Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale was the instrument used, as well as a researcher-made questionnaire that collected demographic data. In addition to pattern of education, other independent variables included age, gender, ethnicity, certification level sought by the participant, and the number of contact hours spent by the participant in early field experiences in K-12 classrooms. A multiple regression analysis indicated no statistically significant difference in the composite score of the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, a measure of self-efficacy. The TSES also loads on three factors: Instructional Strategies, Classroom Management, and Student Engagement. Multiple regression analyses of the individual factor scores indicated no statistically significant predictive ability for self-efficacy on any of the subscales across initial college experience. Multiple regression analyses as well as MANOVAs were conducted to determine if the demographic variables of gender, age, ethnicity, G.P.A, certification level, and contact hours impacted TSES scores. The dependent variable was the general self-efficacy scores and the individual factor scores (i.e., Student Engagement, Instructional Strategies and Classroom Management) of student teachers as measured by the TSES. Analyses indicated a positive relationship between age, pattern of education, and global self-efficacy scores. In addition, a statistically significant relationship was indicated between age, pattern of education, and the factor of Instructional Strategies. No statistically significant relationship was found between initial college experience and global TSES scores or factor scores across the other demographic variables. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5250/
Social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities: An application of Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction.
This was a mixed methods study designed to investigate the social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities through an application of Albert Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction. Data were collected through ranking surveys, observations, interviews, and school records. Three questions were investigated. The first question was to determine whether the language deficits of LD students contributed to their general decreased social competency. Through data from the Social Skills Rating System, the seventh grade participants were considered socially competent to some degree by self report, their teachers, and their parents. Factor analysis revealed students were the best predictors of their social skills use from all data sources. In ranking participants' social skills use, students and teachers were more strongly correlated than were students and parents, or teachers and parents. No relationship of any strength existed between the participants' cognitive ability and their social competence. A use of Bandura's determinants indicated that a relationship existed between some subtypes of learning disabilities and some types of social skills misuse. The participants diagnosed with reading disability, auditory processing disability, receptive/expressive language disability, or nonverbal learning disability all made the majority of their observed social skills errors in the environmental determinant of Bandura's triad of reciprocal interaction. The participants in the four subtypes experienced their information processing deficits in attending to environmental stimuli, or in attending to inappropriate environmental stimuli. The area of the subtype of information processing deficit aligned with the determinant in which the participants in that subtype's social errors were experienced. Bandura's triad of cognition, environment, and behavior was not equilateral because the balance did not exist between the three determinants in participants with learning disabilities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5291/
Voices of worth- listening to teachers: A phenomenological study of professional development and instructional change.
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe and explain teachers' perceptions about effective professional development as well as to identify the environmental factors that affect the teacher participants' ability to engage in and implement various behaviors and beliefs transferred from the professional development experience. Four teachers were studied in depth for one school year, and data collected included in-depth interviews and classroom observations. Findings indicate three main themes related to the research questions, which sought to understand how teachers perceive and describe their experiences of participating in professional development and the factors that support or constrain their instructional decision-making as it relates to new knowledge and skills acquired through professional development. These themes are that: (a) Effective professional development must have a supportive context and meaningful purpose which: meets the physical and cognitive needs of participants; focuses on improving practice, content knowledge, and pedagogy; provides participants with choice, adequate time and ownership of learning experiences; and includes opportunities for sustained learning and accountability; (b) Learning experiences are greatly affected by interpersonal relationships and opportunities for social learning and should be built upon the principles of: taking risks in the learning environment; sharing beliefs in a community of practice with effective support structures; involving all members, including the leaders, in the community of practice; and including opportunities for dialogue and the sharing of best practices as tools for learning, and (c) Implementation efforts are influenced by multiple sources, including: collegial and administrator support; curriculum and standardized testing; and time. Effective professional development must include attention to assisting teachers in dealing with these influences when they become barriers to implementation efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9831/
The Transfer and Sustainability of a School-Wide Writing Program: Year 2.
Writing is an important life skill that all students need in order to succeed in today's society. However, proficient writing skills develop over time, requiring years of quality instruction combined with motivation, encouragement, and lots of practice. School-wide writing is an approach that provides specific writing instruction in a consistent manner across all grade levels, allowing students to develop increasingly complex writing skills and strategies over time. Implementation of programs, such as school-wide writing, requires teachers to transfer new understandings and skills from the training room to the classroom as well as efforts to sustain the program over time. This multiple case study examines the characteristics of an elementary school-wide writing program that was introduced in the field by local teachers and transferred five years later to another school in the same district. The study also examines factors affecting the transfer and sustainability of the program during the second year of implementation. Findings from the study indicate that the elements of school-wide writing transferred from School 1 to School 2 at a low road level of transfer. Factors affecting transfer included inquiry, ongoing training, support systems, authentic writing experiences, and time. Factors contributing to sustainability included ongoing support, accountability, communication, positive feelings, time, and individuality. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30450/
Teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular activities: Profiles of frequent and infrequent use.
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The purpose of this study was to develop profiles that described teachers with infrequent and frequent teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular purposes. Responses to the teachers' self-reported needs, beliefs, demographics, Internet skill levels, and other information were examined as the basis for the study. The study was descriptive in nature, utilized correlation and causal-comparative methods, and employed a convenience sample. The population consisted of 3,187 public school teachers from Nebraska and four service regions in upstate New York. Data related to the research questions were gathered using an online survey. After minimum access was determined, frequencies, percentages, t tests, and correlations were used to examine the data. Teachers with infrequent (<15 mins. /week) teacher-directed student use of the Internet comprised 63% of the sample. Teachers from elementary and high school levels were almost equally represented in the infrequent use group. The majority of the high school level teachers were assigned to language arts, mathematics or science courses. Teachers in the frequent (>. 90 mins. /week) use group were predominately (75%) high school level, with the majority teaching computer and business subjects. Significant differences were found between the use groups regarding beliefs about the Internet's effect on students and schools and feelings about designing lessons that included the Internet or technology. Within the infrequent use group, significant correlations were found between comparative Internet skill levels and (a) hours of technology-related professional development and (b) willingness to use the Internet for professional development. Further study should be given to the question of how these differences and correlations may affect the amount of teacher-directed student use of the Internet. The profiles developed in this study provide a starting point to assist regional, district, and school-level personnel in assessing local needs and focusing resources on developing strategies to increase teacher-directed student use of the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3095/
Latent Transition Analysis of Pre-service Teachers' Efficacy in Mathematics and Science
This study modeled changes in pre-service teacher efficacy in mathematics and science over the course of the final year of teacher preparation using latent transition analysis (LTA), a longitudinal form of analysis that builds on two modeling traditions (latent class analysis (LCA) and auto-regressive modeling). Data were collected using the STEBI-B, MTEBI-r, and the ABNTMS instruments. The findings suggest that LTA is a viable technique for use in teacher efficacy research. Teacher efficacy is modeled as a construct with two dimensions: personal teaching efficacy (PTE) and outcome expectancy (OE). Findings suggest that the mathematics and science teaching efficacy (PTE) of pre-service teachers is a multi-class phenomena. The analyses revealed a four-class model of PTE at the beginning and end of the final year of teacher training. Results indicate that when pre-service teachers transition between classes, they tend to move from a lower efficacy class into a higher efficacy class. In addition, the findings suggest that time-varying variables (attitudes and beliefs) and time-invariant variables (previous coursework, previous experiences, and teacher perceptions) are statistically significant predictors of efficacy class membership. Further, analyses suggest that the measures used to assess outcome expectancy are not suitable for LCA and LTA procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30425/
International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration
The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30493/
Preservice teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about cooperative learning in Kuwait: A quasi-experimental study
The issue of developing effective teacher preparation and professional programs by providing effective teaching and learning strategies to prepare teachers to teach in more challenging ways and change their old ways of teaching to more powerful ones has gained great attention around the world. Cooperative learning was one of the astonishing strategies introduced by many researchers to prepare effective teachers and to solve many educational problems. Teacher educators have taken different approaches to help teachers learn and change in powerful ways. They have focused on the knowledge and attitudes of teachers in promoting their adoption of new practices through educational courses, workshops, and training. After introducing the cooperative learning strategy through a training workshop, this study investigated the knowledge of and attitude of teachers at the College of Basic Education (CBE) in Kuwait towards cooperative learning as a new teaching and learning strategy. The literature reviewed the historical and practical use, theoretical roots, different models, and outcomes of cooperative learning. In addition, (1) teachers' knowledge and attitudes as factors affecting implementation and (2) preservice teacher preparation and training in the use of cooperative learning were reviewed. An attitude survey and a knowledge test were developed based on Bouas, (1993) survey and test. Additionally, an interview guide and a demographic data survey were all used to collect data. The survey and the test were translated into the Arabic language. Ninety-one responses of participants in two experimental classes and one control class were analyzed. Twenty-one participants were interviewed. A significant difference in knowledge of and attitude towards cooperative learning was found between experimental classes and the control class (p< .05 for both knowledge and attitude). In conclusion, the training workshop affected preservice teachers' knowledge of and attitudes toward the cooperative learning strategy. Therefore, the researcher suggested that cooperative learning should be introduced in the College of Basic Education in Kuwait and the University of Kuwait as another teaching and learning strategy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3070/
Preschool Mathematics: An Examination of One Program's Alignment with Recommendations from NAEYC and NCTM
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a preschool program followed the recommendations outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in their joint position statement "Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings." Six teachers were randomly selected from three of the preschool program's six locations that are situated in an urban city in North Texas. Two parts of this program's approach to mathematics were investigated: the teachers' instructional practices and the program's curricular materials. Data came from observations using the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics-Environment and Teaching (COEMET) protocol and field notes. Each teacher participated in three interviews over the course of this research. Analyses of these sources provided insights into teachers' instructional practices for mathematics. Reviews of curricular documents and lesson plans for mathematics instruction provided information pertaining to the math curriculum used at this preschool program. All of these data sources were analyzed using the framework presented in NAEYC and NCTM's position statement. Analysis of the data indicated that, although teachers did not have any knowledge of these guidelines, teachers followed some of these recommendations; such as presenting children with daily developmentally appropriate mathematics activities and connecting mathematics to classroom routines. Other practices did not align with NAEYC and NCTM's suggestions, such as offering children few opportunities to engage in problem-solving situations and providing an inconsistent integration of mathematics into meaningful activities related to other content areas. Several possible factors may have influenced teachers' use of these recommendations. Teachers' prior educational opportunities, the program's curriculum materials, and the teachers' prior experiences with mathematics all may have contributed to the teachers' understandings of high quality mathematics instructional practices. Results from this research help to provide the foundation for future investigations of how teachers of young children follow NAEYC and NCTM's recommendations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33174/
Eighth Grade Science Teacher Quality Variables and Student Achievement
While No Child Left Behind ushered in the age of the "highly qualified" teacher, accountability focus has been shifted to the "highly effective" teacher, defined as teacher impact on student achievement. The Science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is used to judge the adequate yearly progress of students in Texas public schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of teacher factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, teaching experience, university selectivity, certification route, National Center for Education Statistics Locale/Code, number of science content and pedagogical course semester credit hours, grade point average for science content and pedagogical coursework) on student achievement using the eighth grade Science TAKS. The primary dependent variables were students' five objective scores and their overall scores on the eighth grade Science TAKS examination. The sample was 44 eighth grade science teachers and 4,119 students in Texas public schools. Multiple linear regression models enabled examinations of the relationships between teacher quality variables and student achievement. No significant relationships between the variables were found. Small effect sizes for the beta weights and structure coefficients occurred between teachers' science credit hours and TAKS objectives to explain 20% of the variance for TAKS Living Systems and the Environment, 39% of the variance for TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and 21% of the variance for TAKS Earth and Space Systems. Teacher experience accounted for 24% of the variance with TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and pedagogical credit hours explained 30% of the variance with TAKS Motion, Forces, and Energy. Science GPA explained 31% of the variance for the TAKS Earth and Space Systems objective. Policy makers should examine NCLB assumptions about teacher content knowledge as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness via student achievement on standardized tests. While measuring content knowledge provides a simple, efficient, and cost effective form of accountability, the small effect size indicated other factors, including teaching practice, need investigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33159/
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