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 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
The Impact of Professional Development on Student Achievement As Measured by Math and Science Curriculum-based Assessments

The Impact of Professional Development on Student Achievement As Measured by Math and Science Curriculum-based Assessments

Date: August 2013
Creator: Parish, Deidre A.
Description: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of teacher professional development on student achievement measured by scores on curriculum-based assessments, CBAs. The participants in the study included 260 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math and science teachers. Teacher participation in professional development courses was collected for curriculum, instruction, differentiation, assessment, technology integration, and continuous improvement credit types. Achievement data for 8,454 students was used: 2,883 in 3rd grade, 2,752 in 4th grade, and 2,819 in 5th grade. The dependent variable of student achievement was dichotomized at the median: half of the student participants scored above the median and half of the students scored at and below the median. A series of logistic regression models were fit to the data that included examining all main effects and interaction terms among all variables to determine the best fitting model. The results of this study indicate that for 4th grade science, teacher professional development participation in curriculum, instruction, and differentiation credit strands increased the chances for students to score above the district median on CBAs. The larger number of professional development hours in a variety of credit strands had a negative impact on student achievement in 4th grade science. In ...
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Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading

Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading

Date: May 2014
Creator: Walker, Karen Elledge
Description: Much of the current discourse surrounding the practice of early reading has emerged from policies that dictate the definition and means by which reading is taught and by which reading success is measured. Although this discourse directly influences the work of preschool teachers, little is known about what preschool teachers think about early reading and how they develop these understandings or constructions. Research concerning preschool teachers’ constructions is useful because of the potential influence on teachers' decisions and classroom behaviors. The purpose of this study is to better understand preschool teachers’ constructions concerning early reading and the process of learning to read. Six preschool teachers, with a variety of personal, educational, and professional experiences, from four diverse early childhood programs in the North Texas area were interviewed over a nine-month period during which each participant was interviewed for approximately three hours. Through systematic, inductive analysis, three themes were identified under an overarching theme of the interdependent and relational nature of early reading influences: out-of-school interactions, in-school interactions, and interactions with text. Without exception, these teachers referred to their life experiences as influencing their approach to teaching in general and to teaching reading in particular. The goals these preschool teachers had ...
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Using Complexity Thinking to Build Adaptive Capacity in Schools: an Analysis of Organizational Change in California

Using Complexity Thinking to Build Adaptive Capacity in Schools: an Analysis of Organizational Change in California

Date: May 2014
Creator: Martin, Teddi Eberly
Description: In response to reductionist neoliberal approaches to organizational change that have been prevalent in American education since the 1980s, some educators have begun to employ a whole-systems approach to improving student learning. These approaches, based in complexity sciences, recognize the nonlinear, unpredictable nature of learning and the interconnected relationships among myriad factors that influence the teaching/learning that occurs in schools. In the summer preceding the 2011-2012 school year, a cohort of educators from California Unified School District participated in a 10-day training regarding human systems dynamics (HSD) and complexity thinking. Their goal was to build adaptive capacity throughout the district in the pursuit of improving student learning. Through analysis of the interviews from seven target participants from this training, this study investigates what target participants report regarding their use of HSD methods and models in their work in schools across the 2011-2012 school year. Findings indicate that target participants displayed distinct arcs of use of HSD methods/models. In addition, findings suggest that target participants’ need for support in learning and implementing HSD methods/models, the influence of systemic and individual history, and the role of agency affected their “arcs of use.” This study illuminates the ways in which HSD methods/models support ...
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Experiences and Perceptions of Students in Music and Mathematics

Experiences and Perceptions of Students in Music and Mathematics

Date: May 2014
Creator: Cranmore, Jeff L.
Description: Since the time of Pythagoras, philosophers, educators, and researchers have theorized that connections exist between music and mathematics. While there is little doubt that engaging in musical or mathematical activities stimulates brain activity at high levels and that increased student involvement fosters a greater learning environment, several questions remain to determine if musical stimulation actually improves mathematic performance. This study took a qualitative approach that allowed 24 high school students to express their direct experiences with music and mathematics, as well as their perceptions of how the two fields are related. Participants were divided into four equal groups based on school music participation and level of mathematic achievement, as determined by their performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Students participated in a series of three interviews addressing their experiences in both music and mathematics, and took the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS). TAKS data and MIDAS information were triangulated with interview findings. Using a multiple intelligence lens, this study addressed the following questions: (a) How do students perceive themselves as musicians and mathematicians? (b) What experiences do students have in the fields of music and mathematics? (c) Where do students perceive themselves continuing in the ...
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Examining the Relationship Between Persistence in Attendance in an Afterschool Program and an Early Warning Index for Dropout

Examining the Relationship Between Persistence in Attendance in an Afterschool Program and an Early Warning Index for Dropout

Date: May 2014
Creator: King, Teresa C.
Description: School districts constantly struggle to find solutions to address the high school dropout problem. Literature supports the need to identify and intervene with these students earlier and in more systemic ways. The purpose of this study was to conduct a longitudinal examination of the relationship between sustained afterschool participation and the host district’s early warning index (EWI) associated with school dropout. Data included 65,341 students participating in an urban school district’s after school program from school years 2000-2001 through 2011-2012. The district serves more than 80,000 students annually. Data represented students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, and length of participation ranged from 1 through 12 years. Results indicated that student risk increased over time and that persistent participation in afterschool programming had a significant relationship with student individual growth trajectories. Slower growth rates, as evidenced through successive models, supported students being positively impacted by program participation. Additionally, participation was more meaningful if students persisted, as noted in the lower EWI rates, as compared to students who attended less consistently.
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Technology-enhanced Classroom Environments and English Language Acquisition Among Native Spanish-speaking, English Language Learners in the Preschool and Elementary Classroom

Technology-enhanced Classroom Environments and English Language Acquisition Among Native Spanish-speaking, English Language Learners in the Preschool and Elementary Classroom

Date: August 2013
Creator: Miller, Gary
Description: This qualitative study addressed the question: What are the perceptions of preschool and elementary bilingual and ESL teachers on how technology-enhanced classroom environments support native Spanish-speaking English language learners in the acquisition of English as a second language? With the support of six school districts representing three different regions and 15 schools in Texas, this research investigated technology-enhanced learning environments and the influence of emerging technologies on language acquisition by focusing on classroom interactions and learner engagement in preschool and elementary settings. Forty-six teachers completed the self-identified online questionnaire and from that initial group of participants, 10 were chosen for the face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A two-cycle progressive refinement coding technique was used for the analysis of the teacher interviews. In Vivo coding was selected for the first-cycle coding methodology to study teacher perspectives using their direct language. For the second-cycle methodology, focus coding was chosen as a continuation of the analytical process examining the developing patterns resulting in the initial codes being grouped to form salient categories. This process of reanalyzing and reorganizing coded data led to the creation of four emergent themes and in the views of the teachers interviewed describes how emerging technologies influences English language acquisition. The ...
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The Impact of Standards-based Report Cards on Reading Development of Primary Grade Students

The Impact of Standards-based Report Cards on Reading Development of Primary Grade Students

Date: August 2013
Creator: Newell, Suzanne Payne
Description: The purpose of this mixed-method study was to explore the instructional changes in first grade classrooms and reading progress of first grade students in relation to implementation of standards-based report cards (SBRC). The goal of this study, conducted in a suburban Texas school district, was to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference in reading progress between students enrolled in first grade classrooms in which traditional report cards were used in comparison to comparable classrooms in which SBRCs were used. Additionally, the instructional practices of teachers were examined to determine the types of changes that took place as the district moved from traditional report cards to SBRCs. A total of 709 students and 15 teachers were involved in the study. The study revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between the reading growth of students assessed in SBRC classrooms and those assessed with traditional report cards. There were, however, significant differences in instructional practices employed by teachers in SBRC classrooms. These changes in practice included instructing with a greater degree of focus on specific objectives to be taught, more closely following the district’s scope and sequence, greater communication regarding the grading criteria and methods used for reporting progress, ...
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Parental Perceptions of Marketing to Young Children: a Feminist Poststructural Perspective

Parental Perceptions of Marketing to Young Children: a Feminist Poststructural Perspective

Date: May 2014
Creator: Wolff, Kenya E.
Description: This study examined parental perceptions of marketing to young children using a feminist post-structural theoretical framework to specifically examine the following questions, 1) To what extent are parents aware of the marketing tactics being directed toward young children? 2) How do power/knowledge relations and practices produce parent’s multiple subjectivities as they parent their children in regards to commercial culture? 3) How can early childhood educators adapt pedagogy and practice in order to meet the needs of children growing up within the context of a commercialized childhood? In-depth unstructured interviews revealed that parents within this study tend to view themselves as solely responsible for their children and do not support governmental regulation of the advertising industry. In most cases, the parents in the study empathized with marketers trying to sell their products to children. Furthermore, while participants in this study were concerned about how consumer culture influences children’s subjectivities, they were more concerned about “adult content” than corporate access to children. Many of the parental perceptions uncovered mirror neoliberal discourses including an emphasis on individual responsibility, the belief that government regulation is censorship and the privileging of economic rationale by systematically representing children as sources of profit. This study utilized Deleuzean ...
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Resource Allocation Efficiency at the Elementary and Middle School Level in a Texas School District

Resource Allocation Efficiency at the Elementary and Middle School Level in a Texas School District

Date: May 2014
Creator: Hamlin, Lance
Description: In recent years much attention has gone to school efficiency, as determined by assessing student achievement relative to expenditures at the school district level. The present study built on prior work in school efficiency with a focus on the school campus level instead of the district level. Included in the study were 28 elementary and middle school campuses in a selected school district in Texas. The approach taken in the investigation was data envelopment analysis (DEA), which provided scores for efficiency and was intended to provide clarity on efficiency research at the campus level. Past studies using the DEA model have involved business and private institutions, but not public schools. The DEA model calculated and assigned efficiency scores for each campuses. The two variable categories used to determine campus efficiency were student demographics and resource allocation. The total enrollment numbers included the number of White, economically disadvantaged, at-risk, and limited English proficiency students. The resource allocation variables included the total expenditures in instruction, instructional related services, instructional leadership, campus leadership, and student support services. The efficiency scores paired with student achievement scores determined campus efficiency and effectiveness. An effective and efficiency framework was used to represent the data with student ...
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The Impact of Teacher Quality on Reading Achievement of Fourth Grade Students: an Analysis of the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep)

The Impact of Teacher Quality on Reading Achievement of Fourth Grade Students: an Analysis of the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep)

Date: May 2014
Creator: Curry, Daphney Leann
Description: This study investigated the effects of teacher background variables on fourth grade reading achievement data collected from the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) using a causal-comparative research design. Teacher quality variables related to teacher credentials, instructional methods, training, and support were selected from the NAEP background questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to examine teacher background information and fourth grade reading NAEP scaled scores using measures of central tendency, independent t-tests, analysis of variance, and Tukey’s HSD post hoc analysis. Findings suggest that certain teacher quality variables positively impact fourth grade reading achievement. Significant differences existed among fourth grade reading scaled scores for the following variables: teaching credentials [region (p < .05), traditional preparation route (p < .001), highest degree earned(p < .05), years of experience (p < .001)]; instructional methods [reading aloud by students (p < .01), questioning character motives (p < .01), student selection of reading materials (p < .001), explaining/supporting text (p < .05), identifying main theme (p < .001), time spent on reading (p < .001), primary language arts integration (p < .05)]; teacher support [instructional grade level support/technical assistance by reading specialist (p < .05) and mentoring ...
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