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- Parents' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education.
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The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP.
- Current and Future Trends in Computer Use in Elementary School Settings
- The study examined current and future trends in computer use in elementary school settings. A survey instrument was developed and validated for distribution to a random sample of 200 technology coordinators in the public school districts in the state of Texas from whom 95 responses were received. The survey instrument was used to obtain information about five areas of computer use in elementary schools. These areas are: physical configurations, instructional uses, implementation issues, training and staff development, and Internet use. The study found that all public school districts that participated in the study have acquired computer hardware in their elementary schools. In addition, some other advanced computer technology components are starting to be found in elementary schools, such as teacher workstations, CD-ROM, interactive video, computer multimedia, LCD panels, and laser printers. Respondents reported that elementary school teachers in their districts have incorporated computers into their classrooms as an instructional tool and many changes have occurred in teachers teaching styles due to computers. However, there are some problems that hinder the effective use of computers. The major problem is lack of training. A high percentage of respondents, 81.3%, indicated that the majority of their elementary school teachers had completed less than 30 hours of technology related professional development. Another problem was lack of funding which prevents most school districts from acquiring computer hardware and software. Currently, elementary schools in 87% of districts that participated in the study are connected to the Internet and the plan is that by the year 2001 all elementary schools will be connected.
- 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.
- The Effect of Increased Collaboration Among the Library Media Specialist and School Personnel on Perceptions of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Library Media Specialist
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This study measured and explored changes in perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the library media specialist when the level of collaboration increased. Seven library media specialists targeted four members of their educational communities with whom to increase collaborative activities. Before and after the collaboration began, the library media specialists, the teachers with whom they chose to collaborate, other members from the same educational community, and a control group that did not participate in increased collaboration were given a roles and responsibilities rank-order form. This form was used to measure changes in perceptions regarding the importance of the three roles and selected responsibilities related to the three roles before and after the collaborative experience. The library media specialists and the targeted teachers also kept reflection logs to record factors that enhanced collaboration, factors that inhibited collaboration, and any changes in their teaching style as a result of the collaborative experience. Results indicate that the participating library media specialists themselves experienced the most change. Role identification remains a problem as library media specialists seek to become teaching partners with classroom teachers yet still must keep the library media center aligned with school and district goals and move toward making it an information center that provides information resources for all members of the educational community in an effective, efficient and timely manner. Major enhancers to increased collaboration included flexible scheduling of the library, sharing ideas and resources, partnership in teaching, and student achievement. Major inhibitors included time, wanting to keep things the way they were, and lack of resources. Changes in teaching practice included working with another professional instead of in isolation, integrating many resources into the lesson to provide for the learning needs of all students, the incorporation of technology into the lesson, and an awareness of the roles of both library media specialists and teachers.
- Examining the nature of interactions which facilitate learning and impact reading achievement during a reading apprenticeship: A case study of at-risk adolescent readers
- The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the interactions that take place during a reading apprenticeship which facilitate the learning of reading strategies by adolescent students who are at the middle school level and are still at-risk for reading failure and to investigate how a reading apprenticeship affects reading achievement in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and the self-perception of the reader. The case study was descriptive and interpretive in nature, and examined two students, each of whom was part of a one-to-one reading apprenticeship. The researcher served as participant observer in both cases and was the teacher in each of the one-to-one reading apprenticeships. The primary data set was qualitative in nature, and elements of quantitative data were also considered. Sessions included pretesting and posttesting using the Classroom Assessment of Reading Processes (Swearingen & Allen, 1997), reading from narrative or expository books, working with words, writing, and dialoguing about the reading. Reading strategies were directly taught, modeled, and reinforced by the teacher/researcher with the goal of the students internalizing the strategies and improving their reading in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension, as well as improving their attitudes toward reading and their self-perception about their reading ability. This study described a reading apprenticeship which positively impacted reading achievement for two students in the areas of fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development, as well as influencing their motivation for reading and their self-perceptions as readers. The environment of the reading apprenticeship, the dialogue that occurred throughout the reading apprenticeship, and strategy instruction, modeling, and reinforcement were found to be factors and interactions which facilitated learning during this intervention.
- The Response of a Public School District to Charter School Competition: An Examination of Free-Market Effects
- The purpose of this study was to examine a school district's responses to charter schools operating within its boundaries. The selected district was the only one in the state with two large academically competitive charter schools for at least two years. Four questions guided the research: In terms of instruction, finance, communication, and leadership, how has the traditional district been impacted due to charter school existence? The exploratory research was timely since charter schools are proliferating as tax-supported public choice schools. While many have speculated about free-market effects of charter school competition on systemic educational reform, the debate has been chiefly along ideological lines; therefore, little empirical research addresses this issue. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to present a comprehensive case study. Twenty-six school officials and teachers were interviewed; 159 teachers and 1576 parents were surveyed. District, community, and state education department documents were analyzed. Since charter schools have existed in the district, numerous activities have taken place. Instructional initiatives included a high school academy, expanded technology, gifted and talented, tutoring, and dropout prevention. All elementary and middle schools required uniforms. The district's state accountability rating improved from acceptable to recognized. A leadership void was perceived due to students leaving to attend charter schools initially. The district was perceived as making efforts to improve communication with the community. The financial impact of charter schools was neutralized due to the district's student population increase, property wealth, and state charter funding structure. The data supported all of the hypotheses in terms of the impact of charter schools in the district on these activities: free-market effects of charter school competition were not established as the primary reason for internal organizational changes that occurred in the district. Anecdotal evidence suggested that charter schools may have played some role, but primarily they seemed to reinforce trends already occurring in the district.
- A study of vocabulary instruction with fourth grade students participating in an individualized reading program
- he purpose of this study was to determine the effects of one approach to vocabulary instruction on the reading and writing vocabulary of fourth grade students in an individualized reading program. The vocabulary instructional approach used student-selected vocabulary words as well as instruction in vocabulary strategies such as context clues, structural analysis, and definition strategies. The twelve week study exposed one fourth grade classroom to vocabulary instruction in a Reading Workshop setting. Major components of the program were mini-lessons, which often involved vocabulary strategies, the silent reading of self-selected books, one-on-one researcher/student interactions, and the self-selection of vocabulary words. The research design is descriptive in nature and used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative data included student interviews, teacher interviews, student writing samples, and field note observations. Quantitative data included vocabulary test scores from two groups of students, Group A and Group B. Group A participated in the self-selected vocabulary approach and received vocabulary instruction from the researcher acting as participant observer. Group B received some vocabulary instruction from their classroom teacher, but did not participate in the same program. The test was constructed weekly from a class (Group A) generated list of ten words. Results from vocabulary tests indicate that the vocabulary instruction was effective in helping Group A learn vocabulary. Multiple exposures to words as well as use of vocabulary words in context influenced student performance on tests. Results from qualitative data indicate that students attend to vocabulary words in their print environment. In addition, students used vocabulary words in expressive language, including writing and speaking. The results of this study support opportunities for wide reading, implementation of a variety of vocabulary strategies, repeated exposures to vocabulary words, and opportunities for student choice of vocabulary, as ways to enhance vocabulary learning.
- The Influence of National Standards for Early Childhood Programs on Selected Rural Settings of the Education Service Centers in East Texas
- This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates.
- The developmental stages of concern of teachers toward the implementation of the Information Technology curriculum in Kuwait
- Change is best carried out by individual teachers, and, thus, identifying and resolving teachers concerns about an innovation is imperative in guiding the change process to a successful point of implementation. The purpose of this study was to identify concerns that teachers experienced when implementing the Information Technology curriculum in all intermediate schools in Kuwait and to examine the relationships among teachers reported stages of concern and other factors, such as gender and experience. The stages of concern, one dimension of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), was applied to reveal teachers concerns. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) and a demographic survey were completed by 248 respondents. The SoCQ measures seven stages of concern that reflect three dimensions: self (awareness, informational, and personal); task (management); and impact (consequence, collaboration, and refocusing Group profile analysis revealed that teachers had four high concerns related to collaboration, personal, refocusing, and informational stages. Teachers also reported low concerns at the management and awareness stages. Both females and males reported collaboration as their greater concern. Teachers with more years of experience reported higher impact concerns. The analysis of individuals peak concerns revealed that the majority of the respondents were adopters of the innovation. The analysis of the first highest and second highest concerns among teachers revealed the development of three patterns of concerns: self concerns, mixed concerns, and impact concerns. Results indicated that the majority of teachers were at the mixed-concern level. With more years of experience, teachers concerns shifted from self to task and finally to impact concerns. The results of concern analysis are consistent with Fullers theory of concern development. MANOVA revealed significant differences in means between females and males at management and refocusing stages. Females had higher concerns about management; males had higher refocusing concern. However, no significant relationship was found between experience and the reported stages of concern. For successful implementation, the concerns of teachers must be resolved. The CBAM including the SoCQ is recommended to KISITP coordinators as a diagnostic tool to facilitate change and to provide appropriate staff development. Suggestions were made for future research to continue validation of the SoCQ in Arabic cultures.
- Attitudes toward computer use and gender differences among Kuwaiti sixth-grade students
- Because computer use become more and more important in the educational environment, the attitudes of students toward computer may play an important role in their learning success. This study investigated the attitudes toward computers and gender differences of sixth-grade Kuwaiti students and examined the relationships between students attitudes toward computers and school, motivation/persistence, study habits, empathy, creative tendencies, and achievement in the Informatics field. The Computer Attitude Questionnaire (CAQ), translated from the English into Arabic Language for this study, was originally developed by Knezek and Miyashita for the Texas Center for Educational Technology (University of North Texas). The CAQ was administered to a random cluster sample of 10 public middle schools: (5 boys and 5 girls schools), with a total of 562 students, (265 boys and 297 girls), in the State of Kuwait during the academic year 1999-2000. The pilot test was conducted to calculate the reliability with Cronbachs alpha = .87 for the CAQ Arabic version. This study found positive attitudes toward computer use (mean = 3.31 on 4-point Likert-scale); however, girls had significantly more positive attitudes toward computers (mean = 3.36) than did boys (mean = 3.26). It also found statistically significant correlations between attitudes toward computers and school (r. = .149), motivation/persistence (r. = .459), study habits (r. = .371), empathy (r. = .308), creative tendencies (r. = .530), and achievement in the Informatics field (r. = .201). A statistically significant gender difference was found in the correlations between attitudes toward computers and empathy. Girls had a stronger correlation (r. = .405) than boys (r. = .215). This study also found that students who use computers at home (mean = 3.40) have more positive attitudes toward computers than did students who do not (mean = 3.22). The main conclusion of the current study is that students like to use computers, therefore, the researcher suggests that computer should be introduced for the students in the classrooms environment and to be integrated into the curriculum of all subject areas.
- The nature of the impact of a reading tutoring program on participating students in the classroom: A qualitative study
- The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to explore the nature of the impact that a tutoring program, which featured preservice teachers as tutors, had on participating fifth grade at-risk students literacy behaviors in the classroom.The researcher served in the role of passive participant observer during the scheduled language arts period three days per week in the participating students classroom for a period of twenty-three weeks. Field notes were made in the classroom and coded, and audio tapes were recorded and transcribed of the tutoring sessions. Formal and informal interviews with the teacher, tutors, and participating students were conducted, transcribed, and coded. Lesson plans and reflections developed and written by the tutors were gathered and coded. Observations indicated that there were four types of reading required on a daily basis in the classroom. Assigned readings made by the teacher included narrative and expository texts. Pleasure readings were materials chosen by the students, but at certain times were teacher initiated and at other times, student initiated. The four types of reading found in the classroom were mirrored by the tutoring sessions. Students observed in the classroom could be divided into two types and four categories. Those with positive attitudes were called eager readers. Eager readers were made up of good readers and struggling readers, who lacked some of the reading skills possessed by good readers. Reluctant readers were the second type and had either ambiguous or explicitly negative attitudes toward reading. The type of reader, together with the type of reading required, determined the success of the tutoring sessions. The results of the data analysis show that student motivation toward reading was a key factor in determining the success of the tutoring program. Two of the three student participants in the study reported learning skills in the tutoring program that they used in other contexts.
- Who is Helping Our Children? Development of a Model for the Training of Tutors for America Reads
- The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of training for college work study students who participated in an America Reads program, which was designed to help at-risk children struggling with reading. Two groups participated in this research study. One group of college tutors had minimal training in reading strategies at the beginning of the study and the other group of college tutors had continuous training and feedback throughout the study. The research study sought to answer the following questions: 1) Will training for college student tutors in the area of reading, more specifically in the strategies and skills, help improve their comprehension and vocabulary? And 2) Will training for college student tutors in the area of reading, more specifically in strategies and skills, significantly improve the comprehension and vocabulary scores of the children being tutored? This was a quasi-experimental research design, used to examine the effectiveness of training college students participating in the America Reads program. The tutors were pre-and post-tested, measuring both their vocabulary and comprehension knowledge at the beginning and the end of the study. The children being tutored were also pre- and post-tested, measuring both their vocabulary and comprehension knowledge at the beginning and the end of the study. The statistical analysis for this design was the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The ANCOVA was used to handle the main threat to the internal validity of this research design, due to the fact that the tutors for the control and experimental group were not selected randomly. The tutors and the children were randomly assigned to two groups. The control group of tutors received minimal training (11 hours) and the experimental group received the same minimal training with extra (21 hours) weekly training added. The study began in October 1999 and ended in December 1999. The tutoring sessions were 1 ½ hours long, three days a week. The training for the experimental group was for 1 ½ to 2 hours weekly. The results from this study found no significant difference between the control and experimental groups on comprehension, as measured by the assessment instruments. The results from this study did find, however, a significant difference between the control and the experimental groups on vocabulary, as measured by the assessment instruments.
- 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.
- A study of the effects of Everyday Mathematics on student achievement of third-, fourth, and fifth-grade students in a large North Texas Urban School District
- Data were examined in this study from student records in a large North Texas urban school district who were taught with two different mathematics curricula to determine whether or not they had different effects on student achievement. One of the mathematics curricula, Everyday Mathematics, was developed upon national mathematic standards, written by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The other mathematics curriculum was district-approved, using a textbook from a large publisher, with a more traditional approach. The students selected for the experimental group came from six schools that had implemented the Everyday Mathematics curriculum for the 1998-99 school year. An experimental group was formed from these students. Twelve schools with similar socioeconomic ratios, ethnic makeup and 1998 Iowa Test of Basic Skills mathematic score profiles were selected. A control group was formed from this population of students that was similar to the experimental group with the exception of having been taught using the district-approved mathematics curriculum. These two groups were very similar in socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, and grade level makeup. Most importantly, the experimental group and control group were almost identical (there was no statistically significant difference) in their 1998 Iowa Test of Basic Skills mathematics scores, a gauge used to demonstrate that prior mathematics ability was equal going into the 1998-99 school year. In the statistical analysis, almost all comparisons showed that the experimental group taught with the Everyday Mathematics curriculum had higher scores on the 1999 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills mathematics test. When compared to children with similar mathematics ability at the beginning of the 1998-99 school year, the students in this study who were taught using Everyday Mathematics showed greater achievement gains than students in classes that used the district-approved curriculum.
- Retention and attrition of doctoral candidates in higher education
- A number of studies have been conducted on the attrition rates of undergraduate and graduate students. However, the body of knowledge concerning attrition for doctoral students, especially those who have attained the level of “all but dissertation” (ABD), is limited. The purpose of this research was to examine retention and attrition factors of doctoral candidates from a typical Higher Education Doctoral Program (Research II Public Institution) who were admitted to candidacy from 1991 through July 2000. Participation of the subject population was limited to those who had attained the level of ABD--those who had previously fulfilled the residency, coursework, foreign language or tool-subject requirements, and successfully completed the comprehensive/qualifying exams. This population included current ABDs, previously attrited ABDs, and graduates of the degree program. The research study was qualitative and intended to identify the effect of specific, predetermined factors that may have influenced or affected the progress of current, previous, and graduated students towards the doctoral degree in higher education. This study obtained responses to questions from the questionnaire/survey instrument concerning factors that affected program completion or attrition. Students had the opportunity to elaborate on factors from their dissertation, advisement, and personal, financial, and employment experiences that affected their ability to complete the program through open-ended question responses. By examining key factors in the doctoral degree experience from the three sample groups (current ABDs, previous ABDs, and graduated Ed.Ds), this study was able to draw some conclusions about doctoral attrition. Reconstructing and comparing the experiences of ABDs from the point of candidacy to the point of attrition or completion of the program determined trends, commonalities, and issues affecting achievement. Results of this study add to the limited research concerning ABD attrition and provide an insight from the student perspective as to the obstacles and support variables in the quest for the doctoral degree.
- Teachers' Use of Children's Literature, Mathematics Manipulatives, and Scaffolding to Improve Preschool Mathematics Achievement: Does It Work?
- The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of an intervention involving teachers' use of children's literature, related storybook manipulatives, and a scaffolding (LMS) approach to learning would improve preschool children's mathematics test scores. Additionally, the LMS approach was examined to determine whether teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in mathematics instruction changed from the beginning to the end of the study. The subjects of the study included 60 preschool-aged children and six teachers from two child care centers. The preschool teachers participated in either a control or experimental condition (the LMS approach) in their daily mathematics instruction with their preschool children. The researcher tested the children using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability and an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The study was based on two main research questions. The first question asked if there was a difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding intervention group and children in the control group after assuring equivalency of the two groups. The second question addressed if preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. The answer to the first research question was that there was no statistically significant difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding group and children in the control group. However, the answer to the second question was that preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. Recommendations for future research on early childhood mathematics include the investigation of preschool children's ability, achievement, and interest in mathematics; teachers' use of mathematics scaffolding techniques; and longitudinal mathematics interventions beginning during the preschool years.
- Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
- The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices.
- Teachers' and Students' Perceptions of the Impact of Content Literacy Strategy Instruction on Teaching and Learning
- Reading researchers agree that content literacy strategies are beneficial in helping students learn. However, teachers remain resistant to teaching the strategies. Additionally, many students, even at the college level, lack the learning strategies necessary to experience academic success. This study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of content literacy strategy instruction. The research questions that guided the study addressed the benefits, obstacles, and support and experiences needed to sustain the use of the strategies over time. Multiple data sources were used to investigate teachers' and students' perceptions of the research questions. The main benefit found was increased student understanding and learning of content; additional benefits included increased instructional repertoire, increased student engagement in class, and improved learner independence. Most of the obstacles documented in the literature were supported in the study; however, the obstacle of time was noted most frequently. Teacher confidence was observed by the researcher as an obstacle. The majority of participants indicated they would continue using the strategies learned during the study in the future. Students noted the support needed to sustain content literacy strategy use depended on teachers providing direct instruction, practice using the strategies, and personal success with the strategies. Teachers also identified practice and perseverance as critical to sustaining content literacy strategy instruction. The support teachers noted most frequently as important to successful implementation was collegial support - teachers helping teachers. Teacher meetings discussing the implementation process were viewed as critical to sustain effective content literacy strategy instruction. Additionally, quality teacher training, administrative support, and accountability were documented by teachers as important.
- The relationship among teacher expectations, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement
- Accountability is a major issue in education and in Texas, the TAAS test is used to indicate performance of students, teachers, campuses, and districts. The stakes are high for students, as performance on this test has determined whether they progress to another grade and whether they will receive a diploma. Most research studies focus on relationships between the teacher and individual students or groups of students, but not classrooms. Expectations and high stakes testing are central within the educational process, and their relationship on student achievement should be investigated, especially since no studies on teacher attitudes toward the TAAS test have been found. This correlational study measured teacher attitudes toward the TAAS and teacher expectations for students through data collected from a survey. Student achievement information was collected from averaged Texas Learning Index scores for students by classroom over a two year period. The sample consisted of 22 4th, 8th, and 10th grade reading and/or math teachers who had taught in the same Texas mid-sized, rural school district for at least two years. Frequency, percent, mean, and standard deviation were used to analyze the responses on the survey. A median score distinguished between high/low expectations and between positive/negative attitudes toward the TAAS. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient identified relationships, with levels of significance determined at the .05 level. From this study, it appears that no relationship exists among teacher expectations for students, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement. It appears that teachers support the TAAS and see a relationship between the test and improved student performance, and view the TAAS as nondiscriminatory for race and socioeconomic status. While teacher expectation levels are not the same for all students, most teachers feel responsible for insuring that students learn while they are in the teachers' classrooms, and communicate, via word or action, the expectation that their students can learn at or above grade level.
- A study of the relationships between personality as indicated by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and leadership strengths and weaknesses as identified by Skillscope
- The purpose of this study was to improve the quality of information used in leadership assessment and development programs. The study determined the relationships between personality type, as indicated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and leadership strengths and developmental needs as measured by Skillscope. The study also determined the relationships between personality type and congruence between self-awareness of strengths and developmental needs and ratings by knowledgeable observers. The discriminate analysis of the Skillscope leadership feedback instrument compared with the selected personality types revealed that personal management was a strength for both ISTJs and ESTJs. The decision-making skill was a strength for ISTJs, and power/influence was determined to be a strength for ESTJs. The high energy/results oriented skill was determined to be a developmental need for ISTJs. There was agreement between ENTJs and other raters as they both saw interpersonal relationships as a strength for that type. INTJs underrated themselves in interpersonal relationships, and ISTJs underrated themselves in decision-making. Further study is recommended to expand the general body of knowledge of leadership development research. Of particular concern are methods to identify and explore developmental needs of leaders and how those needs can be addressed in training programs. Three hundred sixty degree feedback instruments should be further analyzed in an effort to explain the differences between raters. Of concern is the high percentage of ISTJ types, which reveals a need to expand research to include significant numbers of other personality types. Consideration should be given to studies that identify the unique contributions of gender to leadership skills and development, and the impact culture has on leadership in organizations. Although statistically significant research is difficult to obtain in the behavioral sciences, the effort is worthwhile as it provides information that allows leadership development decisions to be made based on dependable data.
- A Comparison of Quantitative Skills in Texas Year-round Schools with Texas Traditional Calendar Schools
- This study analyzed the academic impact of year-round calendar schools as compared with the academic achievement of traditional calendar schools. The population studied was the 1998 public elementary schools in Texas. The academic impact was based upon the 1998 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test administrated by the Texas Education Agency. The two groups of schools studied were Texas elementary schools that were on a year-round calendar schedule, and the Texas elementary schools on a traditional calendar schedule. Multiple regression statistics were used, in addition to means, and differences between the means of variables. Year-round schools (YRE), when compared to the means of traditional schools, have means lower in math scores (6.16 percent) than traditional schools. Year-round schools have fewer African Americans students (2.78%), White students (21.06%), and special education students (.25%). Year-round schools are higher in population size (72.72students), Economic Disadvantaged students (15.87%), Hispanic students (23.46%), and Mobility (3.23%).
- A Descriptive Review and Analysis of the Creation and Development of an Advisory Program in an Inner-City Middle School
- This study described and analyzed the development and implementation of an advisory program at one urban middle school. Development of the advisory program began during the 1997-98 school year. The implementation of the program was examined during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years. This school site was chosen because of the in-depth research and planning of the program beyond the typical amount performed by many schools, and the wide-scale staff participation utilized in the program's development. In order to follow the processes of development and implementation, several models of change, innovation, and organizational analysis were used to provide focus for analysis of events that occurred during the three years of the program examined in this study. Data was collected in multiple manners. A complete review of school documents concerning the advisory program was performed, and over 50 percent of the faculty were interviewed through individual and team interviews. The findings of this study include various elements concerning the development and implementation of the advisory program. Data was collected and analyzed in three main categories including a) driving and resisting factors for beginning and implementing the program, b) processes used to plan, maintain and develop the program, and c) the periods in which the program became stable. Additional considerations were examined including the evaluation of the program, future possibilities for implementation, and staff roles in the program. Recommendations of the study include: limiting the focus of the advisory program; maintaining consistent goals; starting with a limited program; securing high staff participation; providing extensive time for planning; maintaining a high level of monitoring by administration and staff leaders; providing in-depth training; and, insuring that open lines of communication exist.
- An Analysis of Teaching Periodicals for Aging Education Content
- Ninety elementary public school teachers were surveyed to find out where they obtained their teaching ideas. Seven popular elementary-level teaching periodicals, dated 1989-1999, were analyzed for aging-related content, and compared with 27 of the National Academy for Teaching and Learning about Aging (NATLA) aspects of aging recommended for students' learning. Results indicate that public elementary teachers obtain their teaching ideas from various places: teaching institutes or workshops; other teachers; ideas or lessons they develop themselves; and teaching periodicals. A large percentage obtain lesson ideas from teaching periodicals that they browse or read. This finding may assist NATLA in making recommendations to particular editorial boards. Surprisingly, few teachers obtain their teaching ideas from state and local curricular mandates. When the periodical issues were analyzed, aging-related content was categorized in four ways: informational articles with selected teaching or learning activities; articles describing intergenerational programs or activities; book reviews with selected learning activities; and book review titles mentioning older adult characters. Category totals among the 7 periodicals were highest in book review titles mentioning older adult characters and book reviews with selected learning activities. The content was compared to NATLA's recommendations for students' learning. The findings were not significant. The aging aspect that appeared most often in book reviews with selected learning activities was that most living things have life cycles of patterned biological changes, and/or that death and disability can occur at any age. Whether we formally teach them about aging or not, children learn about it. Earlier studies indicate that even preschool children may stereotype the aging process and/or older adults. Curricular and instructional ideas provided in teaching materials, even in an informal format can provide education, which prepares children for real life experiences.
- The Effects of Parenting Stress and Academic Self-Concept on Reading Ability in a Clinic Referral Sample
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This study investigated the relationships among the variables of parenting stress, academic self-concept, and reading ability. The purpose of this study was to determine whether parenting stress and academic self-concept contributed to the child's reading ability. Two hypotheses were investigated in an effort to accomplish this purpose. The subjects used in this study were forty-nine children and their primary caretakers referred to The Child and Family Resource Center, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, during the academic years of 1994 through 1999. Subjects ranged in age from seven to eighteen years of age. Academically, the subjects ranged from first graders through eleventh graders. All subjects lived in and attended schools in Denton County or neighboring counties. Parental employment ranged from unskilled laborers to medical doctors. The participating families included biological, step, adoptive, single, and divorced families. Abidin's Parenting Stress Index was used to measure parental stress experienced by the primary caretaker. The Intellectual and School Status cluster of the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale was used to measure the child's academic self-concept and the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised provided a measure of the child's reading ability. Test scores were obtained following a review of The Child and Family Resource Center's documented files. Multiple regression statistics revealed no significant relationship between neither parenting stress and the child's reading ability nor the child's academic self-concept and reading ability. Standardized beta coefficients and bivariate correlation results indicated a relationship between academic self-concept and reading ability. Additional research is recommended for future research that encompasses a larger and more diverse sample.
- The Effectiveness of Homeschool Collegiate Preparation: Four Alumni's Perceptions
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This qualitative study seeks to assess the effectiveness of homeschool collegiate preparation through the eyes of homeschool alumni. Four alumni who are current college students participated in the study. A triangulation of methods, which included surveys, open-ended questionnaires, and interviews, ensured reliability and validity. Although the students represented a wide range of varied homeschool experiences, the perceptions of all the students were that their environments prepared them for collegiate-level work at levels that are above average.
- 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.
- A meta-analysis of service learning research in middle and high schools.
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This study examines the relationship between service learning innovations and improved academics, self-concept, and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. Meta-Analysis is employed to arrive at effect-size estimates for each construct. A historical overview of service learning is presented and a detailed description of the study selection process is provided. The data revealed a moderate relationship between service learning participation and academics, self-concept and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. The findings are presented, and some appropriate conclusions are drawn. A discussion of the implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are also provided.
- 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.
- Reader-Reported Influences on a Fifth Grader's Transaction With Extended Text
- This study was designed to investigate the question of what goes on in a reader's mind as she transacts with extended text. It was a case study with one respondent, a ten year old girl. She reported, in writing, her thoughts during teacher read aloud, subsequent silent reading of the same text, and group discussions about the text. The findings support and flesh out Rosenblatt.s transactional theory, Vygotsky.s Zone of Proximal Development theory, and Lipman.s Philosophy for Children theory. Conclusions were that there are numerous sociocultural influences on a reader's transaction with text and that these influences must be taken into account in the classroom.
- Effects of teaching reading through discussion of text structures.
- The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of teaching reading through discussion of text structures on students' reading comprehension. The design of the study was a Pretest-Posttest Control-Group Design. One hundred twenty-six sophomore and senior Thai college students majoring in English and attending afternoon English classes participated in the 10-week study and were randomly assigned to an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received reading instruction in the characteristics of narrative and expository text structures and how to discuss the details of story by applying knowledge of text structures. The control group, on the other hand, read each story silently by themselves and answered comprehension questions. The posttest means of the two groups were compared, and a t test was used to test the significance difference of the means. The results did not reveal any differences between the means. The short time of the intervention may be a crucial factor that made the two strategies yield the same effects. However, the survey responses showed the participants liked reading through discussion of text structures more than reading by themselves.
- The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
- The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body.
- A content analysis of reading software commercially available for Pre-K to 3rd grade children.
- The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the content and characteristics of the currently available commercial reading software for Pre-K through third grade children. The design of the study was a content analysis. Based on the evaluation rubric established by the researcher, ten commercial reading software were selected to be analyzed. By reviewing and transcribing, the data were obtained, and then coded, categorized, and interpreted. The findings from the analysis revealed that all reading software programs offered exercised for practicing basic phonics skills; the alphabetic principle, letter-sound association, word knowledge, sentence building, and reading comprehension. Depending on the software developers, phonics-based practice was presented in two ways; separate skill-based practice emphasis and storybook-reading emphasis. All software programs utilized drill-and-practice, direct instruction and mastery learning methods and utilized gaming strategies to motivate and engage the learners. Multimedia technology was used to make the software more appealing. All reading software programs were developed on the perspectives that view learning to read as the continuum of a child's oral language development and background experience about words. It is recommended that parents and teachers review and select the software based on reliable information sources, use the software as supplementary practice based on the learning objectives identified and individual student needs.
- 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.
- Attrition rates of teachers trained in alternative teacher certification programs, those trained in the centers for the professional development of teachers, and those trained in traditional university programs.
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This study uses teacher employment data provided by the State Board for Educator Certification to examine the similarities and differences between initial employment and attrition rates of teachers trained in three prevalent types of Texas teacher preparation programs; alternative certification programs (ACP), the centers for professional development of teachers (CPDT), and traditional certification programs (TCP). The population for the study includes all Texas teachers who completed training in these programs in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The study found that ACP participants gain employment as Texas public school teachers at a significantly higher rate than their CPDT and TCP trained peers in year-one after completion of their training. However, ACP completers experience higher attrition rates in each of the subsequent years investigated. The study concludes that the overall cumulative attrition rate of new teachers trained in these programs is not as pronounced as originally presumed, but that low production levels cannot keep up with the growing demand for new teachers. Teacher preparation program leaders must seek ways to recruit and train more teachers.
- Better Teaching Model? Middle School Science Classroom Using the 4MAT Instructional Strategy vs. Lessons Created Without this Model
- The problem investigated was the need for effective and efficient learning for middle school science students to meet expectations set in Goals 2000. The use of the 4MAT Instructional Method was investigated as a possible method for attainment of current science standards. The study included one middle school science instructor's classes with 89 participating students. Measurements were taken and comparisons drawn using three assessment methods to determine if improved academic achievement and attitude scores resulted. Data analysis yielded no significant conclusion in either academic achievement or attitude improvement; however, observations of the researcher indicated potential usefulness of the 4MAT approach. The t-value calculated in the assessment methods was insufficient with a .05 probability of error present in the findings. The limitations of the study skewed the results and outweighed the possible observational insight.
- 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.
- Assessing the effect of inquiry-based professional development on science achievement tests scores.
- This study analyzed student test scores to determine if teacher participation in an inquiry-based professional development was able to make a statistically significant difference in student achievement levels. Test scores for objectives that assessed the critical thinking skills and problem-solving strategies modeled in a science inquiry institute were studied. Inquiry-based experiences are the cornerstones for meeting the science standards for scientific literacy. State mandated assessment tests measure the levels of student achievement and are reported as meeting minimum expectations or showing mastery for specific learning objectives. Students test scores from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test (TAAS) for 8th grade science and the Biology End Of Course (EOC) exams were analyzed using ANCOVA, Chi Square, and Logistic Regression, with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) 7th Grade Science Subtest as covariate. It was hypothesized that the students of Inquiry Institute teachers would have higher scale scores and better rates of mastery on the critical thinking objectives than the students of non-Institute teachers. It was also hypothesized that it would be possible to predict student mastery on the objectives that assessed critical thinking and problem solving based on Institute participation. This quasi-experimental study did not show a statistically significant difference between the two groups. The effects of inquiry-based professional development may not be determined by analyzing the results of the standardized tests currently being used in Texas. Inquiry training may make a difference, but because of factors such as the ceiling effect, insufficient time to implement the program, and test items that are intended to but do not address critical thinking skills, the TAAS and EOC tests may not accurately assess effects of the Inquiry Institute. The results of this study did indicate the best predictor of student mastery for the 8th grade science TAAS and Biology EOC may possibly be prior knowledge acquired in elementary school and as demonstrated on the 7th grade ITBS science subtest.
- 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?
- 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.
- A model for developing and disseminating multimedia materials for teacher educators.
- The purpose of this study was to develop a model that would enhance the development, dissemination, and adoption of educational multimedia materials. The grounded theory definition of open coding was used to analyze data collected from the 3-year Technology Leadership Web Library Project at the University of North Texas. Weekly meeting minutes, email communication, reports, notes, questionnaires, and surveys were examined to determine major factors involved in the process of product development and dissemination. From the analysis of this study, five major factors in product development and dissemination were identified. These factors were leadership, team dynamics, expert advisors, feedback, and consumers. The synthesis of the factors led to the development of the PROMOTE (process revolving around ongoing management of team and evaluative feedback) model. The PROMOTE model is based on the establishment of a system that includes leadership, development team, and expert advisors at its center. The system is tied together with well-established feedback loops for stages of evaluation. The PROMOTE model is iterative and uses consumer feedback to generate new products. The PROMOTE model differs from other product development and evaluation models both in the focus of the process and the nature of the evaluation feedback.
- The Effects of a Kindergarten-First Grade Looping Program on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem
- The purpose of this study was to determine if academic achievement and academic self-esteem can be linked to the non-traditional organizational pattern of looping in kindergarten and first grade classes. Looping is defined as one teacher remaining with the same students for two or more years. Using a control group-experimental group design where the experimental group participated in the looping program and the control group did not, and applying the statistical procedure of multivariate analysis of variance (MANAVO), it was found that there was no significant difference between the subjects in the two groups on the criterion variable of academic achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the criterion variable of academic self-esteem as measured by the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Second Edition. It was concluded that further study would need to be done to determine if there are advantages to an organizational pattern of looping for students in public elementary schools.
- The impact of drug testing on secondary school students.
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The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in different years (i.e. 1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000).
- 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.
- An analysis of changes in perceptions of certified athletic trainers from 1996 to 2006 on the women in athletic training survey
- This study investigates how perceptions vary in athletic trainers regarding issues pertaining to women in the profession. Subjects included 1500 male and 1500 female certified athletic trainers who responded to 44 demographic and perceptions survey items used to determine whether perceptions were different based on the respondent's gender. Results were compared to a previously disseminated survey in 1996 to also determine if perceptions had changed from 10 years earlier. Results regarding the presentation of awards and the attainment of leadership positions in the organization were also compared to actual data collected. The data suggested that males perceptions had not changed, but females' perceptions had changed, in that females perceived that opportunities had improved. Data regarding the number of females who had ascended to leadership positions or had received awards did not support these perceptions, however, and female athletic trainers continue to struggle to obtain equality in both of these areas. Additionally, homosocial reproduction continues to influence the decreased number of women who are hired into various jobs, or advance into leadership positions, maintaining patriarchy in the athletics arena and in the athletic training organizations. Results suggested that because athletic training has been dominated by men since its inception, patriarchy continues to influence the lack of ascension of women into leadership positions and awards recognition. Many women are choosing to leave the profession due to the gender role pressure that they can not sustain a career in athletic training and raise a family. Men's professional sports continue to reject the concept of hiring women to serve as athletic trainers with their athletes, which also continues to preserve a patriarchal environment.
- Computer-assisted instruction in literacy skills for kindergarten students and perceptions of administrators and teachers.
- The perceptions of administrators and teachers of a computer-assisted instructional program in literacy skills were collected by a survey. The survey participants were kindergarten teachers and administrators from four elementary schools in the same, fast-growing, suburban school district in Texas. Literacy assessments were given to all kindergarten students in the district in the fall, winter, and spring of the 2005-2006 school year. This study included a quasi-experimental research design to determine if students using the computer-assisted instructional program improved more on the district literacy assessments than students who did not use the program. The treatment group members were the 449 kindergarten students of the survey participants. The treatment group worked in The Imagination Station program for a nine-week trial period. The control group members were 1385 kindergarten students from thirteen other schools in the same school district. The study found that teachers and administrators perceived that their students' improvement in literacy skills after using the program was good. The quasi-experimental portion of the study found that there was a statistical difference between the treatment and control groups on the composite literacy assessment score. The group membership variable could explain 1.4% of the variance in the students' literacy assessment scores. Based on the small effect size, there was no practical difference between the groups.
- Equity in Texas Public Education Facilities Funding
- The need to establish appropriate, adequate, and decent educational facilities for school children across the nation has been well-established. The ability of school districts in each state to build these facilities has varied widely in the past. Historically, most facilities funding ability for school districts has come from the local community and has been tied to property wealth and the ability of the community to raise significant tax dollars to pay for school buildings. Responding to an expanding need for increased facilities funding and school funding litigation, the state of Texas added facilities funding mechanisms for public school facilities construction in the late 1990s. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the methods of facilities funding were equitable in the state of Texas. In this study, equity values were framed around three equity concepts established in school funding equity literature. These three concepts were (1) horizontal equity defined as the equal treatment of equals, (2) vertical equity defined as the unequal treatment of unequals, and (3) wealth neutrality defined as the absence of a relationship between school district wealth and the equal opportunity of students. The sample comprised 1,039 school districts in the state of Texas. Well-established equity measures were administered to data including capital outlays, weighted per pupil capital outlays, instructional facilities allotments, and school district wealth. Horizontal equity measures included the McLoone index, the Verstegen index, the federal range ratio, and the coefficient of variation tests. The Odden-Picus Adequacy index (OPAI) was administered to determine levels of vertical equity. Finally, wealth neutrality was determined utilizing the Pearson product-moment correlation test. Findings indicated that there were poor horizontal equity levels both in the top half and bottom half of the distribution of capital outlay spenders. A coefficient of variation test was administered to determine overall horizontal equity. While it did not indicate poor overall horizontal equity, the existence of extreme outliers in both halves of the distribution indicated that the dispersion of spending at the top and bottom of the distribution were inequitable. In fact, over the three year period of the study, fifteen percent of the top spending districts spent between forty and fifty percent of all capital outlay expenditures. Vertical equity was tested by implementing a court mandated equalization standard of eighty-five percent. When the OPAI was administered at this equity level, vertical equity was poorer than horizontal equity. Finally, while some state implemented facilities funding mechanisms were wealth-neutral, the overall funding system, with its heavy reliance on bonded indebtedness, was not.
- Examining the effects of scheduled course time on mathematics achievement in high school students.
- This study was designed to determine the effects of two different schedule types on mathematics achievement in public high school students. The instruments used included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, given annually to all students in grades 3 through 11, the Texas Algebra I end-of-course examination, given as a district option to Algebra I students, and student final course grades as determined by classroom teachers. The study compared students' performance in these three areas during the 2004-2005 academic year in one suburban school district in North Texas. The study considers the type of schedule, either traditional or 8-block, between students in teachers' classes who teach the same course on both schedules concurrently. This study also investigates a qualitative aspect by including a short opinion survey of teachers' perceptions regarding student academic performance, teacher satisfaction and retention, and the ability to accomplish curricular goals. Findings from this research suggest course schedule does not have significant effects on student academic performance as measured using analyses of covariance comparisons with a 0.05 alpha-level, leading to the conclusion that a particular course schedule does not adversely impact student performance on academic measures. However, in some comparisons conducted within the course of the research, statistically significant results emerged. Qualitative data generated from a survey of teacher perceptions regarding the benefits of the two scheduling types, traditional 50-minute verses alternating day 8-block, suggested teachers preferred a traditional schedule over that of a block schedule design. Most teachers who responded to the survey instrument expressed the perception that traditional daily meeting classes allowed their students to be more successful. Additional research into the effects of scheduling types on students academic performance are suggested and would include examining larger population samples, a narrower study of specific courses within the field of mathematics, or an expansion of the content areas explored to fields such as science, languages, or non-academic core subjects, including the fine arts.
- An analysis of the benefits of the Student Success Initiative in the 3rd and 5th grades in a district in Texas.
- The state of Texas passed the Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 1999 which requires all 3rd graders to pass the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to be promoted to the 4th grade, and for 5th graders to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 6th grade. Beginning in spring 2008, 8th graders will also need to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 9th grade. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic performance of 3rd and 5th grade students who did not meet the passing standard on the TAKS test and were retained during the 2005-2006 school year. The population of this study included 33 3rd graders and 49 5th graders who were retained during the 2005-2006 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. There was also a second population of 49 5th graders who were retained in 3rd grade during the 2003-2004 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. These students were enrolled in the 5th grade for the first time during the 2005-2006 school year. Their TAKS scores were examined to see whether students were still benefiting from the year of retention in 3rd grade. Results for all populations were broken down by ethnicity and program codes. The results of the study showed a statistically significant gain in 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math scores. The 5th grade reading scores did have a statistically significant improvement even though the reading mean score was still below the minimum passing score even after a year of retention. A cross tabulation done on students who had been retained in 3rd grade due to SSI requirements and were enrolled in the 5th grade during the study showed a greater significant growth in math than in reading. A strong correlation between the ITBS and TAKS tests were found in both 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math. A weak correlation between the tests was found in 5th grade reading.
- An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors
- Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere more conducive to comprehensive learning.
- Third-year Evaluation of the University of North Texas/ Dallas Independent School District/ Southern Regional Education Board Leadership Development Program
- Under No Child Left Behind legislation of 2002, school principals shoulder the burden of school success determined by test scores of students. Challenges principals face demand school leaders possess greater knowledge and skills than administrators of the past. The need for well-trained, skilled school leaders makes it important to study the subject of school leadership training. This study examined a school leadership preparation partnership between the University of North Texas and Dallas Independent School District. Primary supporting references include work by Bottoms and O'Neill (2001) calling for the 16-member states of the Southern Regional Education Board to train a new breed of principal to meet the current demands for student achievement in public schools. This research adds to the body of knowledge of school leadership development programs, particularly those that involve cohort-based study groups and shared service partnerships between school districts and universities. Major questions investigated: 1) How did participation in the program change the involvement of administrative interns in campus-based decision-making? 2) How has participation in the program changed the ways participants perceive themselves? 3) What actions have members of the cohort group taken in their teacher-leader/administrative positions to affect student achievement? 4) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UNT/DISD/SREB Leadership Development Program partnership? Information was gathered from 16 of the 26 program participants through questionnaires, interviews, and document study.