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 Degree Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Latent Transition Analysis of Pre-service Teachers' Efficacy in Mathematics and Science

Latent Transition Analysis of Pre-service Teachers' Efficacy in Mathematics and Science

Date: December 2009
Creator: Ward, Elizabeth Kennedy
Description: 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.
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International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration

International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration

Date: August 2010
Creator: McPherson, Rebekah
Description: 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 ...
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Funding and Effectiveness of Staff Development Programs in Three North Texas School Districts

Funding and Effectiveness of Staff Development Programs in Three North Texas School Districts

Date: August 2010
Creator: Ivey, Shannon Kay
Description: This dissertation study focused on three aspects of staff development in North Texas: 1) funding sources, 2) types of professional learning programs, and 3) teachers' views of the effectiveness of the funded programs. Qualitative data came from interviews with nine district administrators concerning funding sources and how those resources enhanced teacher skills. Quantitative data came from 1,277 responses from teachers regarding their background and perceptions about staff development. Data from interviews with district administrators were diagrammed to depict elements of funding staff development and to reveal how resources were used to plan, implement, and evaluate staff learning. An analysis of interview data revealed that availability of grants, property tax rates, and student enrollment affected how districts funded staff development. Administrators reported that districts funded professional learning that was planned according to academic initiatives, met the needs of adult learners, and adapted to the changing needs of school communities. Both administrators and practitioners reported that time was a lacking resource critical to developing staff knowledge. Practitioners reported that sufficient opportunity to collaborate with colleagues about learning initiatives was more valuable than teaching materials. Teacher questionnaires were analyzed for possible relationships between participant variables and responses concerning knowledge about funding constraints and ...
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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

The Parent Participation Discourse of a Community School: Diverse Ideas and Perceptions about Educational Partnership at an Inner City Community School

Date: August 2009
Creator: Coe, Alice Elizabeth
Description: 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.
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Teacher change: The effect of a professional development intervention on middle school mainstream teachers of English language learners.

Teacher change: The effect of a professional development intervention on middle school mainstream teachers of English language learners.

Date: December 2009
Creator: Anderson, Elsa Maria
Description: 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 ...
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The perception of English language arts teachers about instructional changes following the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

The perception of English language arts teachers about instructional changes following the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

Date: December 2009
Creator: Horn, Brian K.
Description: 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 ...
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Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice

Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice

Date: August 2009
Creator: Norris, Karen S.
Description: 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.
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The influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.

The influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.

Date: May 2009
Creator: Williams-Rossi, Dara
Description: 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.
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Constructing Transformative Experiences Through Problem Posing in a High School English Research Project.

Constructing Transformative Experiences Through Problem Posing in a High School English Research Project.

Date: May 2009
Creator: Revelle, Carol L.
Description: This dissertation chronicles my search to engage high school English students in inquiry as part of a formal research process. The perspective of critical literacy theory is used to describe the four phases of the problem posing process in shaping student research and action. Grounded in Freire's approach and consistent with Dewey and others who advocate inquiry, action and relevance, Wink's process is built into the instructional plan described in this study. Because of the real-life context of the classroom and the complex social phenomena being considered, a case study methodology was utilized in which multiple sources of data converged to develop the themes. Data sources included the work and artifacts of ten students in a tenth grade English class during the spring semester of 2008. The analysis focuses on the supports, the constraints and the impact of problem posing on the high school research assignment. The analysis, findings, and conclusions contribute to the literature in three areas: audience, reflection and grading.
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Voices of worth- listening to teachers: A phenomenological study of professional development and instructional change.

Voices of worth- listening to teachers: A phenomenological study of professional development and instructional change.

Date: May 2009
Creator: Roberts, Jennifer A.
Description: 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 ...
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