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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Perceptions of Site Based Decision Making Implementation in the Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas
- In 1983, the report A Nation at Risk catapulted school reform to the forefront of national attention. The State of Texas responded with legislation dictating curriculum and instructional time. Failure to accomplish the desired improvement in student achievement caused these mandates to be eased. In lieu of the mandates, the Texas legislature and the Texas Education Agency have set expectation standards called academic indicators. Local districts and campuses must utilize site based decision making (SBDM) to determine how each campus will meet the set standards. Dealing primarily with curriculum roles and responsibilities, this study details perceptions of principals and teachers as SBDM was being implemented in a suburban school district serving 25,000 students. Data were gathered utilizing a structured interview and a follow-up telephone interview. Addressed in the study are perceptions of: (a) role changes, (b) responsibility changes, (c) needed improvements in the implementation process, (d) teacher empowerment, (e) positive and negative elements, and (f) student achievement.
- Perceptions of the Changing Roles of Central Instructional Support Staff as Site-Based Decision Making is Implemented in One School District: A Descriptive Study
- The purpose of this study was to analyze ways in which the roles of instructional support staff as perceived by principals and instructional support staff members in a large, suburban school district have been affected by the implementation of site-based decision making (SBDM). Research questions focused on changes which have occurred in the roles of instructional support staff and in the services provided to schools by support staff since the implementation of SBDM, the roles which support staff members believe they have in SBDM, the perceptions of principals regarding the roles of instructional support staff in SBDM, and a comparison of the views of instructional support staff and principals regarding the district's implementation of SBDM.
- Phasing Out Basic Classes: Patterns of Response to an Administrative Mandate
- The problem of this study was to determine patterns of response of Texas schools in implementing the Texas Education Agency mandate to phase out below grade level courses. High schools were instructed to phase out these courses, using one of four options outlined by the Texas Education Agency. The study was conducted in two parts with both a telephone survey and a mail survey. The data collected from the telephone survey was used to construct and validate the mail survey instrument. The mail survey was sent to a stratified sample of Texas high schools based on school size, district wealth, and geographical location.
- A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.
- This dissertation investigated the media literacy experiences of middle school students enrolled in a Texas school. The literature review suggested that middle school students may be overlooked as a distinct population in media literacy research. The primary guiding questions for this inquiry were (1) How is media literacy exhibited by middle school students within a formal school context? (2) How does an elective film and media class impact middle school students' media literacy? And (3) How do middle grade students' responses to media correspond with theoretical models for media literacy? The phenomenological research methodology included a reflective analysis of students' textual responses to non-print media clips (N=24) and a reflective analysis of follow-up personal interviews with a smaller group of middle school participants (n=5). A questionnaire completed by participants provided descriptive statistics about the sample group. Additionally, theoretical models of media literacy were used to evaluate participants' media responses in relation to theoretical constructs for media literacy. The findings resulted in 11 emergent themes which can be used to further discourse about media literacy and its role in middle school curriculum. The dissertation includes implications for educators based upon the emergent themes, as well as recommendations for further research.
- 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.
- The Politics of Grading: a Comparative Study of High School English Teachers' Personal Beliefs, Self-reported Systems, and Actual Practices
- The purpose of this study was to attain and analyze data regarding high school English teachers' beliefs about grading practices and their self-reported grading practices, to identify and understand disparities that exist between teachers' beliefs and self-reported practices, to identify discrepancies between the same self-reported practices and evidence of the practices actually utilized, and to consider teachers' perceptions as to the causes for these discrepancies. Instrumentation for this study included two surveys with both Likert and Likert-like items and an interview/portfolio analysis of teachers' grading systems. A combined total of 204 high school English-language arts teachers representing thirty-eight states and eighty-five schools comprised the sample. Corresponding pairs of Likert-type items were analyzed using studies of the mode, median, mean rank, and the Mann-Whitney U Test to study a comparison of the medians, and comparisons of true Likert scale item results were completed using studies of the means and an independent samples t-test. Interview/portfolio analysis data were analyzed both descriptively and inferentially including the calculation of 95% confidence intervals for generalizability. All open-ended items were considered qualitatively through a process of identifying and categorizing trends in language and over-arching themes. Results indicate that the sample finds grading practices recommended by experts in the field to be best grading practices, and respondents generally report the use of these same practices in their own grading systems. The data reveal, however, discrepancies between the majority of teachers' reported practices and their actual practices. Study participants are likely to place blame for these discrepancies on these sources: campus or district authorities, the limited time available, and the interferences caused by parents.
- Pre-Service Teachers' Attitudes Toward Language Diversity
- This study examines pre-service teachers' attitudes toward language diversity and linguistically diverse students. Two hundred seventy-one teacher education students were surveyed to determine relative effects of demographic, mediating variables and psychosocial variables on language attitude as measured by the Language Attitudes of Teachers Scale (LATS). Independent variables include gender, age, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, region, psychological insecurity, cognitive sophistication, and helpfulness viewpoint. Research questions are established and methodology is outlined. A review of related literature places the study in the context of research with a broad interdisciplinary perspective and then links the study to other research relevant to the field of education. The findings of the study indicate that gender, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, political ideology, psychological insecurity, and cognitive sophistication contribute significantly to the variation found in attitude toward language diversity. The paper concludes with analyses and discussions of the significant variables and suggestions for application in teacher preparation.
- 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.
- 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.
- The relationship between models of student laptop computer use and teacher instructional behavior
- This study investigated the relationship between four models of student laptop computer use and three components of teacher instructional behavior: planning, implementation of instruction, and evaluation of instruction. The four models of use: full access, dispersed, class set, and mixed, represented the numerous ways teachers in public and private schools and school districts nationwide implemented student use of laptop computers. Teacher planning behavior was investigated with regard to time, frequency, complexity, difficulty, the need for revision, and use of technological resources and materials. Implementation of instruction was examined with regard to student grouping, instructional strategies, instructional content/subject matter, teacher and student roles, assignments and learning tasks, and instructional activities. The evaluation of instruction component was examined with regard to assessment tasks, grading, and assessment of homework. Using a researcher-designed questionnaire, data was gathered in a single-stage cross-sectional survey from 356 teachers working in 74 public and private schools nationwide. Results indicated models of student laptop computer use had differential effects on teacher instructional behaviors. On average, teachers found planning to be more arduous, but more collegial, especially in the mixed model. The full access and mixed models were more likely to advance a constructivist approach to teacher instructional behaviors with regard to implementation and evaluation of instruction. Results from this study had implications for future research. The effects of student laptop computer use on the full access and mixed models of use should be given further study with regard to the implementation and evaluation of instruction.
- The Relationship of a Spiritual Calling to Motivation, Locus of Control, Burnout and Longevity in Teaching
- In this study, six research questions were addressed: (1) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different motivation (self, interaction, task) to his/her work than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (2) Does a teacher who feels a spiritual calling have a different locus of control (internal, external) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (3) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different degree of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (4) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different sense of voluntary commitment in the longevity of his/her work experience than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (5) Is there a different concentration of teachers who have a spiritual calling in public or parochial schools? (6) Does the public or religious school affiliation make a difference in research questions #1 through #4? A Teacher Motivation Inventory was compiled using The Orientation Inventory by Bass, Rotter's Internal/External Locus of Control, Maslach Burnout Inventory by Maslach, Jackson, and Schwab, a Researcher-made Spiritual Calling Inventory, and longevity questions. Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons test and Chi-square Test of Independence were used. This study was conducted in the spring of 1994 in public, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish elementary schools. Teachers who scored in the upper third on the Spiritual Calling Inventory were categorized as having a spiritual calling to teaching. Teachers who had a spiritual calling had a significantly more internal locus of control, were less likely to depersonalize students, had greater personal accomplishment and were more likely to choose teaching again than those not having a spiritual calling. A spiritual calling had a significant relationship to some very meaningful, attractive qualities in a teacher's personal attitude toward a teaching career.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.
- In this study I analyzed the 1089 desegregation outcomes in federal district courts that occurred between 1994 and 2004 in order to identify a) the legal and non-legal factors in the litigation process that predict pro-desegregation outcomes and b) the judicial patterns that impact the future of desegregation policy. Twenty-one legal and non-legal variables were analyzed via logistic regression analysis to identify factors that predict pro-desegregation outcomes. Only three predictor variables were statistically significant: Government Litigants; Region 3 (West) and Region 4 (Northeast.) Descriptive analyses of the data identified two trends in the pattern of litigation: The percentage of defendant wins increased after 1991 at a lesser rate than has been previously reported. I conclude that based on the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses the federal district courts are not a barrier to desegregation and can still be a part of a comprehensive desegregation strategy.
- The School Council as an Agent of Instructional Change: a Comparative Case Study
- The involvement of teachers, parents, and administrators in shared decision making is a critical component in recent attempts to implement site-based decision making in Texas schools. This involvement is usually maintained through the school council, which is the sanctioned forum for discourse as defined by Texas laws. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and analyze the content and patterns of decision making discourse in three Texas elementary school councils. The research questions focused on (a) council member role descriptions, (b) training, (c) patterns of deliberation, and (d) varieties of issues discussed. A total of 44 council members participated in the research. Observation, interviews, structured group interviews, decision-making inventories, and documents were used to collect data from December 1992 until January 1994.
- Secondary Teachers’ Concerns about Response to Intervention: Using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model
- This case study addressed the problem of implementing response to intervention (RTI) in general secondary education. To investigate this problem, one north Texas school's RTI implementation was examined using the theoretical framework of the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) and defining RTI as the innovation. RTI-related practices were studied for 10 secondary teachers, two from each core subject (i.e., mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies) and the fine arts who had been implementing RTI for several years. Data regarding participants' stages of concern about and levels of use of RTI were collected across three time intervals using the three diagnostic instruments of CBAM (i.e., Stages of Concern Questionnaire, Levels of Use interviews, and Innovation Configuration Checklist matrix), behavioral observations during instruction and RTI meetings, and structured exit interviews of participants. Overall, findings indicated that the secondary teachers were at similar stages of concern and levels of use of RTI. Teachers' RTI concerns scores remained highest in the Self phase and lowest in the Impact phase of concern at all three intervals of data collection. As levels of RTI use increased, observed RTI use increased; however, teachers' RTI levels of use scores remained in the early levels of RTI implementation at all three intervals of data collection. Patterns in teachers' responses during exit interviews suggested that contextual factors unique to this setting (e.g., unexpected changes in RTI protocol, priorities of administrative personnel, and demands placed on teachers) may have influenced teachers' concerns about the teacher's role in, the professional development in, and the sustainability of RTI as an innovation. The literature does not currently address secondary teachers' concerns about and levels of use of RTI in relation to CBAM. Therefore, this study not only fills a gap in literature but also has implications for how teachers are trained and supported in implementing and sustaining the practices of consultation and differentiated instruction associated with RTI. This case study provided insight about the importance and value of teachers' participation and knowledge of RTI to facilitate the change process successfully.
- 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.
- 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.
- Site-based Curricular Decision Making : A Case Study
- The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the implementation year of state mandated, site-based management in a rural elementary school in north-central Texas.
- Social and Economic Characteristics Related to the Immediate College Transition of Recent High School Graduates: A Study of Southwest Region TRIO Participants' College Continuation
- The purpose of this study was to determine whether: 1) Southwest Region TRIO high school students between the years 1991 - 2001 continued to college immediately after high school at rates significantly different than similar population students on national and state levels; and 2) immediate college continuation for this group was a function of social and economic characteristics including race, gender, parental education, and home-care environment. The sample included 414 TRIO program participants from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Data on the 414 participants were gathered using an existing database containing demographic and post-secondary enrollment information on study participants. The findings of this study reveal Southwest Region TRIO students during this ten-year period continued to college immediately after high school at rates not significantly different than the national low-income population of students. Results indicate that when compared to all students in the five-state southwest region, the majority low-income, first-generation TRIO population continued to college at rates not significantly different than all-income students in the region. Findings of this study also revealed select social and economic characteristics were not predictors of immediate college continuation for this group. Finally, the study showed out-of-home care environment students continued to college at significantly higher rates than in-home care Southwest Region TRIO students.
- 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.
- Staff Development Methods for Planning Lessons with Integrated Technology
- This study compared cooperative and individual staff development methods for planning lessons with integrated technology. Twenty-three teachers from one elementary school participated in the study. The sample was the entire population. Nine participants were assigned to the control group, and fourteen participants were assigned to the experimental group. Names of participants were randomly drawn to determine group assignment. Participants in the control group worked individually in all three staff development sessions, while participants in the experimental group chose a partner, with whom they worked cooperatively in all three staff development sessions. Each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan prior to participation in three staff development sessions. Following the sessions, each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan. Three independent raters rated lesson plans to determine the participants' respective levels on the Level of Technology Implementation Observation Checklist (Moersch, 2001). The ratings of the lesson plans submitted before the training were compared to those collected after the training using a two-by-two mixed model ANOVA. The occasion (pre- vs. post-test), group, and interaction variables were all statistically significant at the .1 level; however, only the occasion variable had a strong effect size. These data suggest that (1) all teachers who participated in the training, whether individually or cooperatively, were able to develop lesson plans at a higher level of technology implementation and (2) cooperative staff development methods had no advantage over individual staff development methods with respect to teachers' ability to write lessons with integrated technology.
- Student to Teacher Racial/Ethnic Ratios as Contributors to Regional Achievement Gaps, 1999-2008
- With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in 2002 and its mandates for annual yearly progress for all students, many districts and schools in Texas have had difficulty elevating African American and Hispanic students’ scores. The current study examined these students’ achievement on the annual Texas high-stakes measure as a function of a numerical construct that aligns the race/ethnicity of students when the teacher race is White. Earlier studies have shown that racial/ethnic compatibility between students and teachers improves student achievement in the primary grades. The study, which was set in 10 north Texas school districts and 30 high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, examined African American and Hispanic students’ achievement on the Texas state assessments in reading and mathematics over a 10-year period. District performance data came from 4,664,192 African American, Hispanic, and White students and 222, 834 White teachers. Campus level data encompassed 188,839 10th graders, 93,573 eighth graders, and 40,083 fourth graders, and 20,471 White teachers. Analysis revealed that, as the ratios of African American and Hispanic students to White teachers increased, the percentages of these two student groups passing the Texas assessments decreased. These patterns differed for White students whose passing percentages increased as these students’ numbers increased relative to White teachers in all settings except in elementary schools. These preliminary findings suggested that racial alignment at the high school and middle school levels might elevate African American and Hispanic achievement. Implications may lead to shifting focus on teacher quality and class size as the primary determinants of student achievement. Findings need validation with further study using larger data sets and sequential grade levels. If validated through further studies involving larger samples, contiguous grade levels, and more sophisticated statistical analysis, this study’s findings may have implications for teacher education curriculum, recruitment of minority teacher candidates, workforce retention, and state policy on class size limits.
- Students' and teachers' perceptions of culturally responsive teaching: A case study of an urban middle school.
- This was a qualitative study that used the procedures of case study design while incorporating ethnographic techniques of interviewing and non-participant observation in classrooms with six selected students, six teachers, and eight interviews of selected administrators and staff members in one middle school in a large Texas urban school district. The purpose of this study was to understand the educational experiences and perceptions of selected immigrant students and their mainstream teachers. Following the method of case study design, the educational experiences of English Language Learner (ELL) students were examined in the naturally occurring context of the school and the classroom. Because the goal of case studies is to understand a given phenomenon from the perceptions of the participants (referred to as “emic” perspective) all participants were interviewed in-depth in order to understand their unique perceptions. The study took place during a five-month period in the spring of 2002. Data were analyzed concurrently during data collection and were framed by Geneva Gay's (2000) characteristics of culturally responsive teaching. The findings and interpretation of data are divided into three parts that encompass the results of the five research questions that guided this study. Part one presents the teachers' perceptions and addresses the themes that arose from research questions one and two: what are teachers' perceptions of the academic problems facing (ELL) students as they enter the mainstream classroom? What instructional practices do regular teachers use to meet the academic needs of students? Part two presents the students' perceptions and addresses the findings from research questions three and four: what are (ELL) students' perceptions of the academic challenges facing them in the mainstream classroom? What are the ELL students' perceptions of the instructional practices used by mainstream teachers to meet their academic needs? Part three addresses the fifth research question that guided this study: What administrative policies and procedures are in place in the school and district to meet the educational needs of ELL students?
- 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.
- A study of block scheduling and instructional strategies and their influence on algebra achievement in classrooms throughout north central Texas
- The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of block scheduling and instructional strategies on student achievement in Algebra I. The study was conducted during the 1997-98 school year. This study was comprised of two components, a quantitative study and a qualitative study. The quantitative study focused on block and traditional scheduling and the influence identified through scores on the Texas End-of-Course exam for Algebra I. The sample for this study consisted of 59 school districts from five counties in the north Texas area. The qualitative portion of this study focused on 10 classrooms, 5 block and 5 traditional, taken from the sample of 59 districts. Data for the qualitative study included questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The End-of-Course scores were analyzed using an ANOVA at the .05 level of significance, no significant difference was identified in the achievement levels of the two groups. The qualitative data was organized by categories derived from the NCTM teaching standards. Data from this portion of the study indicated that teachers in both block and traditionally scheduled classes spend their class time in a similar manner, using similar materials, and using more traditional strategies. Additional analyses of data based upon usage of the graphing calculator and manipulatives also resulted in no significant difference. Although all comparisons between block and traditional scheduling and usage or non-usage of technology and/or manipulatives resulted in no significant difference, the block groups and those using technology and/or manipulatives had higher mean scores. This indicates that allowing teachers more time to use alternative instructional strategies would benefit the student, but this will not take place without the teacher receiving training and support.
- A Study of the Effect of School-Sponsored, Extra- Curricular Activities on High School Students. Cumulative Grade Point Average, SAT Score, ACT Score, and Core Curriculum Grade Point Average
- This study investigated the effect of school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities on academic achievement for students at a private school in north central Texas. Students selected for this study were graduates from the classes of 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. With a minimum participation of two years during grades nine through twelve, students were categorized into subgroups of activities. After eliminating students who participated in more than one of the extra-curricular activities of music, drama, visual arts, and athletics, three hundred sixty-one students were represented. The identity of students was encoded and information was recorded for gender, school-sponsored, extra- curricular activities, cumulative grade point averages, SAT Scores, ACT Scores, and cumulative grade point averages in core curriculum subjects. A two-way ANOVA test with a two-by-five factorial design was completed for research questions one through four. A one-way ANOVA with a one-by-five factorial design was completed for research question five. When a significant F was found, Scheffe and LSD post hoc tests were completed to determine pair wise interaction. Statistical differences did exist when comparing school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities and cumulative grade point averages with musicians having a significantly higher cumulative grade point average, SAT scores, and ACT scores than athletes. A significant difference was found among the activity subgroups regarding the cumulative grade point averages in the core curriculum subjects of foreign language, history/English (an interdisciplinary subject at the studied school), mathematics, and science with musicians scoring significantly higher than athletes in all subjects. It is recommended that further studies be conducted to investigate the impact of activities on student achievement. Studies might include larger and different populations, the impact of participation at a younger age, and the impact of other activities on student achievement.
- A Study of the Effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction on Developmental Math Students in Higher Education
- This quasi-experimental study examined the effects of participation in a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program on student test performance in a second-level developmental mathematics class in a four-year university setting. This research deviated from past research on Supplemental Instruction in that it examined effects of the program at the end of each test block rather than at the end of the course only. The quasi-experimental design was precipitated by an inability to control factors of participation and limited sample size. Test data were analyzed using analysis of variance; final course grades were analyzed using chi-square.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Teacher Implementation of a Pretreatment Assessment Procedure in a Public Middle School
- In an attempt to determine the effectiveness of a pretreatment assessment procedure known as the scatter plot (Touchette, MacDonald, & Langer, 1985), direct observational data was collected by 13 middle school teachers on four "problem" students. After four weeks of data collection, interobserver agreement probes were calculated and a visual analysis of the plotted data was performed to ascertain a possible pattern of problem behavior. Additionally, in an attempt to assess the teachers' perceptions of the scatter plot, the 13 teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Although a visual analysis of the plotted data suggested a possible pattern of problem behavior, interobserver agreement probes failed to achieve a desired overall reliability of 90% or higher. Despite a low IOA, results of the questionnaire administered to the 13 teachers generally supported the use of the scatter plot as a means of assessing student behavior. Possible reasons for failing to attain an IOA of 90% or higher include the total number of students in a class, the number of subjects observed per period, the teacher's location in the classroom, and the subjects ability to recognize if the teacher was "looking." Recommendations are provided regarding future research concerning the scatter plot and other more formal approaches to assessing student behavior.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Unintended Outcomes: The effects of an entity's educator preparation accreditation on access to certification for individuals of color
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The purpose of this dissertation was twofold. First, the study sought to determine if the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) Reading score predicts success on the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). Second, the study addressed the effect on individuals of color of raising the minimum TASP Reading score entrance requirement for admission to teacher preparation programs. Data were collected from the ExCET Office of a Carnegie I metropolitan university. The defined sample consisted of 961 participants who had a TASP Reading score and had taken an Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, an Elementary Professional Development ExCET or a Secondary Professional ExCET between September 1999 and January 2001. Linear Regression, Box Test, Predictive Discriminate Analysis, and frequency distribution tables were used for analyses. This investigation examined the effects of the independent variable of TASP Reading score on the performance of participants on the dependent variable, the ExCET. Four null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. The TASP Reading score was a statistically significant predictor for success on the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, Elementary Professional Development ExCET, and the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. However, the Predictive Discriminate Analysis indicated that a TASP Reading score of 220 predicted that no candidates would fail the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, 6 participants would fail the Elementary Professional Development ExCET and 19 participants would fail the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. Five hypotheses addressed the effect of raising the TASP Reading score to 250. Findings of four hypotheses showed that raising this admission standard would impact the number of individuals of color granted admission to the teacher preparation program. These results call for the recommendation that governing agencies address the impact of state teacher education program accreditation that often results in the policy of relying on the TASP Reading score as one of the primary admission standards for teacher education programs. The unintended outcome of raising the reading admission standard in the anticipation of continued state accreditation is a noticeable loss of candidates of colors, especially African American candidates.
- The Validation of a Short-cycle Formative Assessment Observation Protocol for Science and Mathematics Instruction
- Over the years, teachers, administrators, and policy makers have been concerned with optimizing learning for all students. The No Child Left Behind Act put an emphasis on summative assessments, which measure what students have learned. In contrast, formative assessment has been shown in many studies to improve student achievement and motivation because it is applied while students are learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate, for middle and high school mathematics and science instruction, the validity and reliability of a newly developed observation instrument called AssessToday, which is used in a single class period to assess a teacher’s use of short-cycle formative assessment. The content validity of the instrument was supported through an extensive literature review, feedback from experts in the field of formative assessment, and an examination of 98 classroom observations. For assessing reliability of the instrument, inter-rater reliability coefficients were calculated using data collected by trained observers who independently rated teachers during the same class period using three measures: percentage of agreement between raters, Cohen’s kappa, and Fleiss kappa. Cohen’s kappa (N = 36 pairs) ranged from .62 to 1.00 for all observer pairs with an average kappa of .75 for mathematics (n = 16 pairs) and .76 for science (n = 20 pairs). The recommended threshold for kappa is k = .70. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the observation data and the determined factors related to the theoretical framework established in the literature. The results affirmed that the instrument is a tool to be utilized in short-cycle formative assessment with middle and high school science and mathematics teachers.
- A value-added approach to determine the relationships of mentoring to novice teacher classroom effectiveness.
- The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between scores of the new teachers' classroom effectiveness with numerical indexes of mentor support, mentor infrastructure, and workplace ecology. In addition, this study sought to determine the effect of various demographics (i.e., gender, age, race, degree, teaching level, and certification route) on the Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) scores of first-year teachers, and to determine the differences, if any, between the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores of first-year teachers who remained on campus, switched campuses, or left the district. This study is primarily correlational in nature - looking for relationships between quantifiable variables. The subjects are 68 first-year teachers. The mandatory mentoring program the subjects were involved in consisted of a paid, veteran teacher who worked on the same campus as the first-year teacher and assisted in instructional or behavioral needs. This study measured the impact of the first-year teachers' mentoring experiences to the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores and teacher retention. The findings suggest that the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores might not be an appropriate tool for uncovering which aspects of mentoring contribute to student achievement and retention. Adding the value-added measurement tool to the categories of mentor support (MS), mentor infrastructure (MI), and workplace ecology (WE), rendered no statistically significant results. Therefore, further research is necessary to continue to define the effective characteristics of mentoring and its impact on classroom effectiveness and retention.
- 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.
- 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.