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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
An Exploration of Teachers' Adoption of the Bring Your Own Technology Program
The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' concerns, use, and actual practices in their adoption of the bring your own technology (BYOT) initiative. Twelve secondary teachers in a private school setting participated in this study. The participants represented all content areas including reading, math, science, and electives. The private school was in its third year of implementing BYOT. This case study incorporated multiple methods to collect data to gain a better understanding of teachers' adoption of an innovation, BYOT. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as a theoretical framework. All three CBAM tools provided data: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), levels of use interview protocol (LoUIP), and the innovation configuration (IC) map. Twelve of the participants completed the SoCQ across three different points in time. Six of the twelve teachers participated in three one-on-one interviews, including the LoUIP. Additionally, six teachers were observed in their classrooms during instruction. After triangulating all pieces of data, the majority of teachers had highest concerns related to self. Teachers were concerned about their ability to implement the innovation and managing BYOT in their classroom. Four of the six teachers had a level of use (LoU) at mechanical, and two teachers had a LoU at routine. The teachers' LoU indicated that they are using BYOT in the classroom; however, the majority of teachers observed had adoption practices mostly in the non-ideal variations of IC. The teachers' LoU and IC indicated that teachers had implemented BYOT in their own way and not necessarily in alignment with the campus' vision or expectations. This case study had several limitations, including the small number of participants and the brevity of classroom observations. Additionally, this study was limited to one school setting. Recommendations for future research include exploring teachers' adoption of BYOT in various school settings (i.e., both public and private schools) and teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Researchers should consider exploring the impact of specific interventions and support on teachers' adoption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283863/
Hispanic Representation in the Superintendency: Perceived Competencies and Organizational Outcomes That Benefit School Districts
This study assessed 40 factors often cited in literature to determine the extent that Hispanic superintendents perceive them as influential when accessing the superintendency. Eight Hispanic superintendents in Texas participated in this qualitative study, which was based on interviews as well as written responses to a survey. This study found that the factors considered most influential to these superintendents were their ability to communicate, self-perception/self-efficacy, and level of overall preparedness. These findings contrast with previous research indicating that race or ethnicity, mentoring, and career path are most influential. The study also identified factors related to race and ethnicity that most influenced a Hispanic's ability to access the superintendency, albeit to a lesser degree. These factors were the ability to serve as a Hispanic role model to students, ability to increase Hispanic students' academic performance, and the ability to speak a second language. Moreover, through analysis of a large number of survey responses the study examined the extent to which a superintendent's race or ethnicity is significant to addressing the needs of Hispanics. To assure this question a comparative analysis of Hispanics' and non-Hispanics competencies and organizational outcome was conducted. The results indicate that superintendents, in general, regardless of race or ethnicity, can acquire knowledge about the Hispanic culture, develop cultural competence, and produce outcomes that affect Hispanics. A Hispanic, however, who possesses the ability to speak Spanish and has authentic cultural experiences, can potentially provide unique competencies in serving Hispanics. Cultural competence with Hispanics, however, does not supersede the importance of a superintendent's overall effectiveness and ability to meet the needs of all students. Whereas other studies have addressed the significance of cultural competency in other institutions that serve the public, such as the healthcare industry, this study addressed cultural competency in public education. Progressive definitions of cultural competency included the extent to which outcomes met constituent needs for measuring cultural competency. The overall findings in this study suggest a need to develop preparation programs that result in culturally competent leaders, a need to revise state required certification requirements to reflect a need for cultural competence, and a need to revise locally-developed job postings/descriptions to indicate that the superintendent must provide culturally competent leadership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283806/
Central Office Administrators' Perceptions of the Professional Learning Community Process
This study provides a qualitative interpretation of the work done by central office administrators in a school district in Texas as they supported and built capacity for the professional learning community (PLC) process over a five year time period. Literature by PLC scholars, especially R. DuFour, R.B. DuFour, Eaker, Hord, Hipp, Huffman, and Olivier, informed development of the study. In a school district of 19,000 students and 2,000 staff members, ten central office administrators were interviewed to gain their perceptions of their roles in the PLC process. Interviews were analyzed through the processes of initial, focused, and theoretical coding. Documents were examined and used as supplemental sources of data to corroborate the perspectives provided. Findings revealed the story of central office administrators who worked interdependently to support and build capacity in the implementation and sustainment of the PLC process. A thick description of the work based on their perceptions offers actions and behaviors of administrators specific to their roles and practices and protocols developed to hold the work together. A grounded theory was developed with regard to central office administrators' support and capacity-building for the PLC process. From the administrators' perceptions, six theoretical categories relating to central office support and capacity building of the PLC process emerged: 1) establishment, 2) deployment, 3) accountability for implementation, 4) adult learning, 5) collaboration, and 6) leadership development. The study contributes an interpretivist description of the involvement of central office in the PLC process and confirms the importance of the change process in the implementation of the PLC framework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283851/
The Effects of the Texas Reading First Response to Intervention Program on Student Achievement and Campus Special Education Rates
The purpose of this study was to examine special education populations, special education reading achievement, and regular education reading achievement in relation to the implementation of the Reading First three-tiered model as a response to Intervention platform. The population for this study focused on rural schools with Grades K-3 in attendance. Schools participated in the reading first grant period of the 2003-2009 school years. Forty-seven Texas Reading First schools were compared to 47 campuses having similar populations, socioeconomic makeups, and grade structures. This study utilized quantitative research measures to evaluate the level of special education populations on Reading First campuses using a response to intervention model. Quantitative measures were also used to evaluate those same campuses achievement rates of both special education and regular education students on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading tests. The study's outcome data showed little to no statistic significance for the three research questions. However, the inferential statistics showed a decrease in the special education population of the Reading First schools. Inferential statistics also indicated both the special education and the regular education students showed growth on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading tests. The use of a response to intervention program can be effective in the reduction of special education students identified on school campuses. Response to intervention programs can boost achievement levels of students receiving special education services. Students not enrolled in special education can benefit from effective response to intervention services. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283855/
Factors Related to Teacher Retention: the Lived Experiences of Four Teachers in an Urban, Hard-to-staff High School
Retaining quality teachers is critical to the success of America's schools. How to retain quality teachers, especially in high needs schools, is a question of fervent debate among educational researchers, policy makers, administrators, parents, and students. This study examines the issue of teacher retention from an emic perspective, focused on understanding the perspective of those closest to the retention decision, teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This study examines the lived experiences of four teachers at a hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school as these experiences impact their decisions to remain in teaching and at their current campus. Research methods adopted an existential phenomenological perspective and focused on understanding deeply the perspective of participants and how participants make meaning of their lived experiences as they relate to the retention decision. Three hour-long interviews were conducted with each of the four participants utilizing methodology laid out by Seidman (1991). Data were analyzed using NVIVO 10 to apply a series of coding and recoding procedures to interview transcripts. Conclusions suggest four factors motivated these teachers to teach and remain in their current hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school. These factors include: belief in the power of education, relationships with students, mentoring and professional partnering, and remaining professionally challenged. Findings suggest factors that drive teachers out of teaching and out of hard-to-staff schools include: inconsistent administrative support, low student motivation, and lack of resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283824/
Accountability in Schools: a Study of High School Accountability Ratings and College Success
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between high school campus accountability ratings, college readiness indicators, and the percent of students who achieved first year college success. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were used to analyze the relationship between the variables. Data was analyzed for two-year and four-year postsecondary educational institutions which were divided by eight school district types. Regression analysis of the relationship between high school campus accountability ratings and the percent of students who achieved first year college success for four- year post secondary educational institutions revealed statistically significant results ranging from R2 =.179 to R2 = .220. Similar results were found for two-year post secondary educational institutions with statistically significant results ranging from R2 = .049 to R2 = .218. The results indicated negligible to small relationships between the variables. Regression results of the analysis for the relationship between college readiness indicators and the percent of students who achieved first year college success revealed statistically significant results for 2 - year post secondary educational institutions ranging from R2 = .077 to R2 = .596 and for 4 -year post secondary educational institutions ranging from R2 = .048 to R2 = .304. These results indicated small to moderate relationships between college readiness indicators and the percent of students who achieve first year college success. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283865/
An Evaluation of the University of North Texas' "Youth Opportunities Unlimited" Program (a Compensatory Education Program for At-Risk, Secondary School Students)
Even though the Youth Opportunities Unlimited program has been in effect for ten years, there exists no current, comprehensive, effectiveness research on YOU. Such analysis is needed to determine the value of the YOU program. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the YOU program. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are used in this study. Quantitative analysis is provided through factual data collected through an alumni survey. Qualitative analysis is provided through personal opinion information obtained from YOU alumni through the survey and by personal interview. The YOU program at UNT is a successful compensatory education program that helps improve the education and the lives of America's at-risk students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278870/
Texas Public School Mission Statements : a Factor in the Involvement of Parents, Family, and/or Home in Educational Reform
Despite site-based decison making (SBDM) educational mandates, research determined the virtual exclusion of parents, family, and/or home as co-authoritative voice in Texas public school district mission statements. Qualitative analysis determined six parent roles within 155 inclusive mission statements through rhetorical deconstruction, a text-based grammatical evaluation procedure; quantitative analysis determined no significance between inclusive and exclusive districts in factors of size, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity. The implications of this study add further support to the growing parental insistence for greater educational decision-making options: ie., home schooling, voucher system, and charter schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278711/
The Relationship of Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Greek Kindergarten Teachers
Sixty Greek kindergarten teachers were surveyed regarding their teaching beliefs and practices using the Teachers Questionnaire based on guidelines recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A Varimax factor analysis produced four factors for the Teacher Belief Scale and five factors for the Instructional Activities Scale. Scores on developmentally appropriate factors were consistently higher than factors classified developmentally inappropriate. Correlation between appropriate beliefs and activities was significant (r = .470); correlation between inappropriate beliefs and practices was significant (r = .475). However, developmentally inappropriate beliefs were also positively correlated with developmentally appropriate practices (r = .537). Developmentally appropriate beliefs were not correlated with inappropriate practices. Results were discussed with possible theoretical and practical implications for future research and teacher development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278118/
Accomplished Teachers' Instructional Decisions About Shakespeare
Teachers' decisions are a powerful influence on student learning and it is important to fully document accomplished teachers' instructional decisions, as well as to investigate possible influences on those decisions. Shakespearean dramas are central to high school curricula across the U.S. and pose particular instructional challenges, therefore teachers' decisions about teaching these texts are of particular interest. There is limited empirical research, however, about these instructional decisions. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe how four accomplished high school English teachers working on a single campus make instructional decisions about teaching a Shakespearean play. Specifically, research questions addressed teachers' decisions regarding the teaching of a Shakespearean play and various influences on those decisions (self-reports and inferences from the data). Case study methodology was used, including an inductive analysis of individual teacher interviews, classroom observations, focus group, instructional artifacts, and researcher's journal. The findings revealed that instructional activities described by these teachers addressed support for meaning-making during four stages of reading instruction: (a) before, during, and after; (b) before; (c) during; and (d) after. Comparison of these cases suggests that, although each teacher brings personal preferences and unique background knowledge to her instructional decisions, all make decisions to promote student engagement and student construction of meaning. Regarding influences on these teachers' decisions about teaching the Shakespearean play, four categories were identified: (a) response to students; (b) aspects of the text; (c) response to contextual constraints and supports; and (d) personal preferences and background experiences. Individual teacher differences are clearly a strong influence, even among this group of colleagues on the same campus. Also, two influences not reported explicitly by the teachers suggest a complex integration of these influences. One is their intuitive thinking, which deserves a closer investigation in future research. The other proposes that each teacher's decisions are influenced by her instructional interaction working model (IIWM), a conceptual framework that shapes each teacher's conversational patterns, non-verbal behaviors, and other interactional patterns. Further research should explore the use of such a model to describe and explain the complexity of teachers' decisions, particularly when teaching complex, challenging tasks and texts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271873/
An Examination of How 4-8 Preservice Teachers Understand and Implement Multicultural Concepts
Preparing teachers to teach in the diverse classroom has become one of the most important goals for universities and teacher training programs. The main purposes of this study included to examine what type of multicultural concepts were taught preservice teachers who sought certification in Grades 4-8 and how these preservice teachers understood and implemented multicultural concepts in their educational portfolios and coursework, field experiences, and student teaching. The population of the study consisted of 53 undergraduate, preservice teachers enrolled in the last two years of a 4-8 teacher certification program. A modified grounded theory methodology and interpretive approach was used in the analysis of the course syllabi, required readings and student coursework. The study found that this particular program exposed the preservice teachers to a significant number of multicultural concepts in preparation for teaching in the ethnically diverse schools in the area. In addition, the study looked at which of Grant and Sleeter's five multicultural approaches were found most often in the course syllabi and required readings, as well as the preservice teachers' portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The research found the majority of the course syllabi and assigned readings covered concepts in the human relations and multicultural education approaches. The majority of the preservice teachers in this study identified most often with the multicultural education approach, although all five multicultural approaches were found in various portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The study further indicates it was a combination of the multicultural courses, the field experiences, the student teaching, and the preservice teachers' adaptability to ethnic diversity that helped the preservice teachers experience successful opportunities with the students. The adaptability of the preservice teachers in the study also appears to match recent research that suggests that university students in general may be growing more accustomed to the ethnic diversity in the communities around them as the population demographics changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271892/
First Amendment Constraints of Public School Administrators to Regulate Off-campus Students' Speech in the Technology Age
In a world where students and teachers both rely on technology in the process of education, understanding the constraints of public school administrators to regulate off-campus student's speech is a vital issue. This dissertation focuses on ways to evaluate legal analysis of cases involved in off campus speech. The methodology of legal analysis is used to identify judicial reasoning concerning established legal principles pertaining to the constitutional right of public school students to freedom of expression, and the application of those principles to off-campus student expression delivered by electronic means. This research produces a number of key findings: Many lower court cases have favored with the students unless the school district could prove substantial disruption to the learning environment or a true threat existed due to the off campus speech. In addition, it is crucial for the districts to have concrete policies in place to educate the students about acceptable usage of technology. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that current approaches to punishing students for their offensive off campus speech does not uphold in the courts and administrators must be resilient to speech that may be unpleasant to them. This research also includes several recommendations for administrators such as guidelines on how to write their acceptable usage policy. It also provides a chart with a summary of critical cases of importance to administrators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271894/
Parallels Between the Gaming Experience and Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory
The world of literacy has expanded alongside technology, and new literacies are being used as an alternative or an addition to traditional text. By including video gaming as literacy, the connection can be made between students' multimodal world outside of school with the world of literacy they encounter in school. This study took two approaches of a content study and a case study. A collective case study was used to examine the gaming experience of participants with three commercial video games falling into three separate genres: Sims FreePlay (simulation); Halo 1 (first person shooter); and World of Warcraft (role playing game). The 15 gamers were placed into three sets of five participants for each video game, and interviews were conducted to explore the gaming experience in relation to stance and transaction, which are major components of Louise Rosenblatt's reader response theory. Limited research has been conducted regarding reader response theory and the new literacies; by using the reader response lens, the gaming experience was compared to the reading experience to add the new literacies to the existing literature on reader response. As a way to look at both the text and the experience, a content study examined three mainstream video games to establish literacy content by using Zimmerman's gaming literacy theory. Even though this theory is useful by detailing elements found in video games and not traditional literature, literary value cannot be fully assessed unless the theory is developed further to include other components or discuss how the depth of the components can relate to literary value. The literature does not currently contain substantial research regarding how to assess the literary value of video games, so this study begins to add to the present literature by demonstrating that at least for these games the presence of the components of the theory can be evaluated. This analysis of both the game and the experience demonstrated substantial parallels between the gaming experience and the reading transaction as well as looking at the viability of using gaming literacy theory to evaluate literacy value. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271890/
The Impact of a Community College Teacher Education Program on the Success Rate of Minority Teacher Certification Students
The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already implementing similar pre-service teacher education programs. Overall, the results indicated that pre-service teacher education programs at the community college level can be effective at producing transfer students who successfully graduate from four-year teacher education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271877/
The Politics of Grading: a Comparative Study of High School English Teachers' Personal Beliefs, Self-reported Systems, and Actual Practices
The purpose of this study was to attain and analyze data regarding high school English teachers' beliefs about grading practices and their self-reported grading practices, to identify and understand disparities that exist between teachers' beliefs and self-reported practices, to identify discrepancies between the same self-reported practices and evidence of the practices actually utilized, and to consider teachers' perceptions as to the causes for these discrepancies. Instrumentation for this study included two surveys with both Likert and Likert-like items and an interview/portfolio analysis of teachers' grading systems. A combined total of 204 high school English-language arts teachers representing thirty-eight states and eighty-five schools comprised the sample. Corresponding pairs of Likert-type items were analyzed using studies of the mode, median, mean rank, and the Mann-Whitney U Test to study a comparison of the medians, and comparisons of true Likert scale item results were completed using studies of the means and an independent samples t-test. Interview/portfolio analysis data were analyzed both descriptively and inferentially including the calculation of 95% confidence intervals for generalizability. All open-ended items were considered qualitatively through a process of identifying and categorizing trends in language and over-arching themes. Results indicate that the sample finds grading practices recommended by experts in the field to be best grading practices, and respondents generally report the use of these same practices in their own grading systems. The data reveal, however, discrepancies between the majority of teachers' reported practices and their actual practices. Study participants are likely to place blame for these discrepancies on these sources: campus or district authorities, the limited time available, and the interferences caused by parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271904/
A Legal Analysis of Litigation Against Mississippi Educators and School Systems Under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
This dissertation analyzes court cases involving tort claims filed against Mississippi public schools and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. The question addressed was: How have the Mississippi courts interpreted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act in litigation against Mississippi school districts and their employees? The intent of this dissertation is to add to the understanding of the legal concept of sovereign immunity as it has been applied to public schools and their employees. This study's focus centers on litigation in the state of Mississippi involving school districts. Chapter 2 provides a historical summary of sovereign immunity (also known as governmental immunity) in the United States and the state of Mississippi up to the enactment of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act as well as an overview of general legal concepts involved in tort claims. Chapter 3 explains the research design and methodology used. This dissertation relied on legal principles of research and document analysis used in the legal profession. Chapter 4 consists of a thorough analysis of published case law brought before the Mississippi courts pertaining to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act and public school systems and their employees. Finally, chapter 5 describes the key findings of the analysis of case law involving Mississippi school districts and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271847/
Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care
High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have at least a bachelor's degree in order to shorten the time to accreditation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271887/
Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development
Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271820/
Secondary Teachers’ Concerns about Response to Intervention: Using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model
This case study addressed the problem of implementing response to intervention (RTI) in general secondary education. To investigate this problem, one north Texas school's RTI implementation was examined using the theoretical framework of the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) and defining RTI as the innovation. RTI-related practices were studied for 10 secondary teachers, two from each core subject (i.e., mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies) and the fine arts who had been implementing RTI for several years. Data regarding participants' stages of concern about and levels of use of RTI were collected across three time intervals using the three diagnostic instruments of CBAM (i.e., Stages of Concern Questionnaire, Levels of Use interviews, and Innovation Configuration Checklist matrix), behavioral observations during instruction and RTI meetings, and structured exit interviews of participants. Overall, findings indicated that the secondary teachers were at similar stages of concern and levels of use of RTI. Teachers' RTI concerns scores remained highest in the Self phase and lowest in the Impact phase of concern at all three intervals of data collection. As levels of RTI use increased, observed RTI use increased; however, teachers' RTI levels of use scores remained in the early levels of RTI implementation at all three intervals of data collection. Patterns in teachers' responses during exit interviews suggested that contextual factors unique to this setting (e.g., unexpected changes in RTI protocol, priorities of administrative personnel, and demands placed on teachers) may have influenced teachers' concerns about the teacher's role in, the professional development in, and the sustainability of RTI as an innovation. The literature does not currently address secondary teachers' concerns about and levels of use of RTI in relation to CBAM. Therefore, this study not only fills a gap in literature but also has implications for how teachers are trained and supported in implementing and sustaining the practices of consultation and differentiated instruction associated with RTI. This case study provided insight about the importance and value of teachers' participation and knowledge of RTI to facilitate the change process successfully. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271832/
Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives
The educational practice known as inclusion, which is based on values of equal opportunity and diversity, enables students with disabilities to attend the same general education classes as typically developing peers. Inclusion is a legal requirement in the United States and South Korea, but factors facilitating inclusion likely differ across countries. The purpose of the study was to examine PreK-6 school teachers' beliefs about inclusive practices in the United States and South Korea and to present a more informed direction for the future of inclusive education in both countries. Seventy-four teachers from the US and 54 from South Korea participated via email for this study employing surveys. Teachers provided their beliefs about inclusion items on the My Thinking About Inclusion (MTAI) scale, a 28-question instrument, and also provided information about their own gender, years of experience, education level, and teaching practices. A statistically significant difference was found between the teachers of the two nations for the full survey scale. The teachers' training area (i.e., general education or special education) in the US was significantly associated with the belief toward inclusion, and special education teachers in both countries were more agreeable to inclusion than general education practitioners were as shown by the MTAI scale. A strong relationship between accommodation and preparedness for disabilities was found. Most of the barrier factors to practicing inclusive education were considered substantial obstacles, but more so for South Korea teachers than US teachers. University coursework was the least preferred method for improving inclusive practices according to teachers in both countries. Based on the outcomes of the two nations' teachers' beliefs about inclusion, the author suggests that supportive practices, including collaboration between educators, professional development, partnerships with parents and families, and peer supports, be implemented within the two countries for the upkeep of inclusive practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271836/
The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image
Media is now a part of the early childhood world. In many countries, including industrialized and developing countries, children spend more time consuming various kinds of media. The impact of media on children's perception of their body images has been and continues to be a concern of parents and early childhood professionals. This research examined the influence of Disney movies on Thai kindergarten girls' body images and self-esteem. Thai kindergarten girls completed three measures of body self-image: the Body Figure Preference Scale, the Body Esteem Scale, and the Self-Esteem Scale. The girl participants were randomly assigned to two groups: focused on a female theme (FFT) and focused on a non-human theme (FNT). The experimental group viewed "female" Disney movie themes, while the control group viewed "animal" Disney movie themes. Girls in the experimental group expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after watching Disney movies, which was an expected finding. Results from the present study suggest that girls in both groups become concerned about their body esteem after video exposure. However, there was no significant difference in self-esteem between girls in FFT and FNT. In summary, the findings of this study support the belief that Disney movies influence young girls' perceptions of their body image, and they have an awareness of their body size. It can be concluded that Disney movies have an influence on Thai girls' body image dissatisfaction and body esteem. The results also indicated that Thai girls are not totally aware of the influence of Disney media on their self-esteem. Understanding how Disney movies, in particular, and other media, in general, influence young children, especially girls, can encourage parents and educators to identify risk factors associated with children's body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271773/
The Beliefs and Expectations of Effective Secondary Choral Teachers in Culturally Diverse Schools
Through the years, educational theorists and researchers have been interested in a possible relationship between teachers' effectiveness and their beliefs and expectations. Three concepts underpinned this work: teacher effectiveness, cultural diversity, and teachers' beliefs and expectations. The premise of the study was that the beliefs and expectations of effective secondary choral teachers are related to the social-cultural contexts in which they teach. The study implemented critical discourse analysis as the theoretical framework and the in-depth phenomenological long interview for data collection. Three secondary choral teachers were selected to participate in the study based on the researcher's criteria. The study revealed how each teacher conceptualized student cultural diversity during the teaching experience. Teacher beliefs about effective teaching in culturally diverse settings were described as developing over time in phases along a continuum. The study also confirmed that teachers' beliefs about students can be changed through experiences and reflection. The study revealed effective teachers focused on three different types of expectations in the teaching and learning context and affirmed diverse cultural identities and backgrounds. Recommendations included the development of stronger mentorship programs to increase effective teaching strategies for the secondary choral classroom. The findings of this study support my previous work, which introduces a sequential learning framework for teaching music in culturally diverse schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271902/
Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Characteristics in Relation to Family Earner Status and Self-perceived Interpersonal Competence
With an increasing number of married mothers who participated in paid work roles, fathers with full-time employed spouses now are expected to assume the role of caregiver and have higher frequency of engagement in parenting practices. This study of 235 university students from dual-earner and single-earner families investigated their retrospective perceptions of both mothers' and fathers' frequency of engagement in overall and specific parenting behaviors. These perceptions were measured by the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire-Revised Scale, which includes seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. Paired samples t-tests suggested that married mothers, whether fully employed outside the home or not, engaged more frequently, than their full-time employed spouses, in parenting characteristics related to bonding, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity. However, mothers' employment status had little influence upon the frequency at which either parent engaged in any of the seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. University students who perceived that both parents were more frequently engaged in specific parenting behaviors related to education, responsivity and sensitivity rated themselves higher on interpersonal competence, as measured by the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire-Revised Scale. Students who perceived that both parents were less frequently engaged in negative parenting behaviors rated themselves higher on competence in conflict management. In addition, family earner status had no significant impact on university students' levels of interpersonal competence. Although there was no significant gender difference in the levels of total interpersonal competence, male students reported higher levels of interpersonal competence in the domains of asserting influence and conflict management than their female counterparts. These findings revealed that like parents from single-earner families, parents from dual-earner families also demonstrated a significant discrepancy in the frequency of engagement in parenting practices. Mothers still invested considerably more time with their children than do fathers. Therefore, there may be a need to develop parent education programs for fathers so that they have opportunities to shape paternal identity and parental self-efficacy. Also, it is necessary to develop friendly family- employment policies and enhance social support networks that enable both full-time employed mothers and fathers to achieve a satisfactory balance between family and work. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177184/
A Descriptive Law and Policy Analysis of Corporal Punishment in Florida Public School Districts
Corporal punishment is banned by state statute in 31 of the 50 U.S states. The 19 states that still allow the practice are largely located in the South and the Rocky Mountain West. However, data indicate that the practice of corporal punishment is still largely a Southern phenomenon. In the 19 states that allow the practice to continue in schools, many have seen the use of the disciplinary technique decline. Existing research documents the negative effects and very little research supports any positive benefits of corporal punishment. This study analyzes school board policies from the 67 public school districts in the state of Florida to determine if trends in policies and incidents of corporal punishment are similar Texas and North Carolina. Research on Texas and North Carolina indicate corporal punishment is used more frequently in districts with smaller enrollments, and in more rural areas. Data from this study suggests that the decrease in the number of incidents of corporal punishment as well as the concentration of the practice among school districts in Florida school follows the same trends of declining use that exist in Texas and North Carolina public schools. Findings illustrate a need for continued research of corporal punishment on a district-by-district and potentially a school-by-school basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177202/
The Development of Algebraic Reasoning in Undergraduate Elementary Preservice Teachers
Although studies of teacher preparation programs have documented positive changes in mathematical knowledge for teaching with preservice teachers in mathematics content courses, this study focused on the impact of a mathematics methods course and follow-up student teaching assignment. The presumption was that preservice teachers would show growth in their mathematical knowledge during methods since the course was structured around active participation in mathematics, research-based pedagogy, and was concurrent with a two-day-per-week field experience in a local elementary school. Survey instruments utilized the computer adaptive test version of the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) measures from the Learning Mathematics for Teaching Project, and the Attitudes and Beliefs (towards mathematics) survey from the Mathematical Education of Elementary Teachers Project. A piecewise growth model analysis was conducted on data collected from 176 participants at 5 time-points (methods, 3 time-points; student teaching, 2 time-points) over a 9 month period. Although the participants' demographics were typical of U.S. undergraduate preservice teachers, findings suggest that initial low-level of mathematical knowledge, and a deep-rooted belief that there is only one way to solve mathematics problems, limited the impact of the methods and student teaching courses. The results from this study indicate that in (a) number sense, there was no significant change during methods (p = .392), but a significant decrease during student teaching (p < .001), and in (b) algebraic thinking, there was a significant decrease during methods (p < .001), but no significant change during student teaching (p = .653). Recommendations include that the minimum teacher preparation program entry requirements for mathematical knowledge be raised and that new teachers participate in continued professional development emphasizing both mathematical content knowledge and reform-based pedagogy to continue to peel away deep-rooted beliefs towards mathematics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177211/
Educational Performance: Texas Open Enrollment Charter High Schools Compared to Traditional Public High Schools
The study examined mathematics and English student achievement, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil for Texas high school students in both open-enrollment charter schools and traditional public high schools for the 2009–2010 school year. All data were assembled using archived information found at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This information included the TEA report entitled Texas Open Enrollment Charter Schools Evaluation; TEA Snapshot Yearly Report; and Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) data files. Microsoft Excel (Version 2010) was used to randomly select traditional public high schools categorized as Title 1 and non-Title 1 for comparison with Title 1 and non-Title 1 open-enrollment charter high schools. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (IBM Statistics Version 20) was used for a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) conducted between one independent variable (charter or traditional school) and five dependent variables (mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil). Traditional public high school students had higher or better average mean values than charter schools for mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil. The ANOVA found that four of the five dependent variables were statistically significant at the 0.05 confidence level for the independent variable of school type, whether charter or traditional school. There was no significant difference found between the schools for attendance rates. Effect size calculations, using the eta-squared method, confirmed the comparisons with significant differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177215/
Developing Culturally Responsive Literacy Teachers: Analysis of Academic, Demographic, and Experiential Factors Related to Teacher Self-efficacy
This mixed-methods study examined teachers' culturally responsive teaching (CRT) self-efficacy beliefs and the relationships among selected academic, demographic, and experiential factors. Guided by theoretical and empirical research on CRT, teacher dispositions, and assessment in teacher education (TE) programs for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, this study utilized an extended version of Siwatu's 2007 Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy (CRTSE) Scale to conduct correlational and comparative statistical analyses. Data sources included surveys from 265 participants enrolled in TE classes in the spring 2012 in Texas (one private and one public university). Content analyses were also conducted on participants' descriptions of CRT activities using a priori and inductive coding methods to triangulate and elaborate the explanation of quantitative results. In this population, those with higher CRTSE were typically young (undergraduates), specializing in ESL and bilingual certification coursework, who felt their TE program prepared them well for working with CLD student populations. Regression analyses showed that certain certification areas (ESL, bilingual, elementary, and advanced) and perceptions of better quality in TE program preparation for working with CLD students emerged as significant predictors of increased CRTSE. Those with second language skills were more efficacious in delivering linguistically-responsive instruction, and those professing more experiences with and interest in diverse individuals felt more confident in applying CRT skills. While the younger teacher candidates felt more efficacious, their descriptions of CRT were less sophisticated than those with more teaching experience. Despite much of the literature relating to CRT and minority teachers, ethnicity was not a significant factor in heightened CRTSE. This study informs TE programs for better measuring and supporting teacher candidate CRT development by revising and extending Siwatu's 2007 study in three ways. First, the CRTSE Scale instrument was extended to include items that address greater depth and breadth of the culturally responsive teaching continuum as developed by the researcher, relating particularly to language and literacy development of English language learners. Second, this study involved a more varied and appropriate population, including both pre-service and in-service teachers. Third, specific participant factors were analyzed to see which correlated with higher CRTSE Scale scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177251/
Identity of African American Characters in Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Award Winning Books: a Critical Content Analysis of Books From 1991 to 2011
The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical content analysis of the African American characters found in Newbery Medal award winning books recognized between the years of 1991 and 2011. The John Newbery Medal is a highly regarded award in the United States for children's literature and esteemed worldwide. Children's and adolescents' books receive this coveted award for the quality of their writing. Though these books are recognized for their quality writing, there is no guideline in the award criteria that evaluated the race and identity of the characters. Hence, there are two overarching research questions that guided this study. The first question asked: To what extent are the African American characters in each award winning book represented? Foci in answering this question were the frequency of African American characters and the development of their ethnic identities. The second question asked: How are the African American characters' intergroup attitudes and interactions represented? Foci in answering this question examined the frequency of intergroup interactions and the characters' attitudes within the context of each book. The theoretical framework that undergirded this study is critical literacy, which encourages adults and youth to examine issues of diversity and social justice through their reading. Eighteen books met the criteria for the study, which provided 98 African American characters for investigation through content analysis. The qualitative methodology used frequency counts, anecdotal notes and questionnaires to analyze the characters. Findings revealed two key themes: the characterization of ethnic identity as a reflection of society and African American characters as models of agency. Further themes became evident in this study as well: the evolution of cultural authenticity, strong African American female characters, importance of the African American family and the acknowledgement of African American involvement in history. These findings are significant because they provided evidence of the potential of these Newbery award winning books to be the catalyst for critical classroom conversations on identity and agency. Findings also provided increasingly strong examples of ethnic role models within these notable titles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177233/
Superintendent Preparation for the 21St Century
This study focused on the perceptions of six superintendents regarding the state of the profession as of 2012, and it reports their thoughts and suggestions as to what preparation is needed by superintendents for the 21st century. The participating superintendents, who were all members of the Western States Benchmarking Consortium, were employed in six school districts in five states. Data were collected through surveys and telephone interviews. The findings of this study clearly indicate a lack of cohesion between what superintendents learned in their university professional preparation programs and what they practice in their day to day activities. The superintendents involved in this study tended to favor a hybrid approach – rigorous theoretical insight grounded in real world practice. Since superintendents typically spend a good deal of their time solving challenging problems including funding shortfalls, competition from other educational institutions, and the constant scrutiny of the media; their preparation needs to provide opportunities to develop their leadership skills and solve real world problems in an environment where they can take risks. Mentoring and participation in professional consortiums were recommended as key elements for the preparation of the twenty-first century superintendent. This study contributes to the discussion of how to best prepare school leaders for the current and future demands of superintendency. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149596/
Social Networking, Workplace, and Entertainment Literacies: the Out-of-school Literate Lives of Newcomer Latina/o Adolescents
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Studies indicate that Latina/o immigrant youth engage in a wide range of sophisticated literacy practices outside of school that are often transnational, crossing various linguistic, cultural, and social spaces. Technology has further afforded immigrant youth the opportunity to develop transnational capabilities which are rare in the mainstream population, yet needed in the 21st century of global connectedness. However, Latino immigrant youth drop out of school at disproportional rates, suggesting that their literacy practices are not recognized or valued by the educational system. Using a New Literacy Studies perspective that recognizes multiple literacies that are meaningful within their sociocultural traditions, this collective case study investigated the range, form, and purpose of the out-of-school literacies of four Latina/o adolescent English Learners who are new arrivals. The qualitative methodology employed constructivist interviews, digital and actual artifacts, and observations. Findings demonstrated that the most prevalent out-of-school literacies the participants practice take place on the social networking site of Facebook, in their workplaces, and through the entertainment media sources of music and television. A cross-case analysis suggests that the literacy practices in these spaces have unique and purposeful roles for the individuals that allow them to connect to their home countries and maintain their Latina/o identities. Additionally, the participants use their out-of-school literacy practices to acquire English, support themselves, and establish a place to succeed. The five aforementioned spaces that their Facebook, workplace, and entertainment literacy practices fill are virtually absent from their in-school literacies. This study suggests literacy pedagogy and research must not continue to impose a narrow monolingual, monocultural, monoliterate, and monomodal view of Latina/o immigrant students which essentially divests them of their greatest resources. Their literacy practices demonstrate that they are transnational, transcultural, emergent bilinguals who competently engage in multimodal means of communication across multiple linguistic, cultural, social, and geographic borders. Educators must reconceptualize school-based literacy to account for the ways immigrant youth make meaning outside of school to provide them a more equitable education that will nurture their transnational skills needed in modern society. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149668/
Developing Oral Reading Fluency Among Hispanic High School English-language Learners: an Intervention Using Speech Recognition Software
This study investigated oral reading fluency development among Hispanic high school English-language learners. Participants included 11 males and 9 females from first-year, second-year, and third-year English language arts classes. The pre-post experimental study, which was conducted during a four-week ESL summer program, included a treatment and a control group. The treatment group received a combination of components, including modified repeated reading with self-voice listening and oral dictation output from a speech recognition program. Each day, students performed a series of tasks, including dictation of part of the previous day’s passage; listening to and silently reading a new passage; dictating and correcting individual sentences from the new passage in the speech recognition environment; dictating the new passage as a whole without making corrections; and finally, listening to their own voice from their recorded dictation. This sequence was repeated in the subsequent sessions. Thus, this intervention was a technology-enhanced variation of repeated reading with a pronunciation dictation segment. Research questions focused on improvements in oral reading accuracy and rate, facility with the application, student perceptions toward the technology for reading, and the reliability of the speech recognition program. The treatment group improved oral reading accuracy by 50%, retained and transferred pronunciation of 55% of new vocabulary, and increased oral reading rate 16 words-correct-per-minute. Students used the intervention independently after three sessions. This independence may have contributed to students’ self-efficacy as they perceived improvements in their pronunciation, reading in general, and reported an increased liking of school. Students initially had a very positive perception toward using the technology for reading, but this perception decreased over the four weeks from 2.7 to 2.4 on a 3 point scale. The speech recognition program was reliable 94% of the time. The combination of the summer school program and intervention component stacking supported students’ gains in oral reading fluency, suggesting that further study into applications of the intervention is warranted. Acceleration of oral reading skills and vocabulary acquisition for ELLs contributes to closing the reading gap between ELLs and native-English speakers. Fluent oral reading is strongly correlated with reading comprehension, and reading comprehension is essential for ELLs to be successful in school. Literacy support tools such as this intervention can play a role in ameliorating English acquisition faster than the rate attained through traditional practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149659/
Texas Principals’ Perceptions of Professional Development Provided By the Local School District
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Texas principals as to the degree to which their local school districts are meeting their ongoing professional development need. The study was conducted to analyze and describe the survey and interview responses of Texas principals as to their perceptions of the degree to which their local school districts provide learning experiences aligned with their needs. Texas principals’ perceptions regarding the characteristics of important and meaningful professional learning experiences were explored. The study included an analysis of the extent to which Texas principals perceive that the learning opportunities they are provided adequately meet those needs. Additionally, various factors influencing principals and their perceptions were examined. These factors included type of school, school setting, school system size, characteristics of students, and characteristics of the principals. The perceptions of school district staff development administrators were analyzed regarding topic importance, topic provision by the local district, and the usefulness of those topics. Finally, the perceptions of the principals and the staff development administrators were compared. Thirteen school districts participated in this study. Of the 273 principals surveyed, 155 completed the survey, yielding a return rate of 56.8%. One campus principal from each of the 13 districts was interviewed. Additionally, 13 district staff development administrators were surveyed and interviewed. Data analysis produced several findings. First, as a whole, principals rated the importance of each of the 22 proposed professional development topics at or above the important level. However, the degree to which local school districts provided training on those topics varied according to the size of the district and the setting of the campus. Second, the relationship between the professional development provided and the quality, or usefulness, of that school district’s training was considered strong for several of the 22 topics. Finally, principals and staff development administrators agreed on several characteristics of successful professional development efforts. This study’s findings offer implications for campus principals and school districts striving to meet the individual, campus, and district needs for professional development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149565/
Data Envelopment Analysis: Measurement of Educational Efficiency in Texas
The purpose of this study was to examine the efficiency of Texas public school districts through Data Envelopment Analysis. The Data Envelopment Analysis estimation method calculated and assigned efficiency scores to each of the 931 school districts considered in the study. The efficiency scores were utilized in two phases. First, the school district efficiency scores were combined with school district student achievement to evaluate effectiveness with efficiency. A framework was constructed to graph the scores on an x-axis of student achievement scores and a y-axis of efficiency scores to further illustrate the data. The framework was evaluated with the full statewide sample and with school districts categorized into similar peer groups. Then, using variables selected from related scholarly literature, a regression analysis identified which factors impacted school district efficiency statewide. The non-discretionary variables included in the study were total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The discretionary variables selected included the teacher-to-student ratio, teachers’ average years of experience, the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees and the average teacher base salary. Amongst the seven factors selected for regression analysis, five statistically significant variables were identified as impacting statewide school district efficiency. All three non-discretionary variables were identified as statistically significant on efficiency and included total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Two discretionary factors showed statistically significant effects on efficiency which included teachers’ average years of experience and the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees. The teacher-to-student ratio and the average teacher base salary were ineffective in predicting efficiency. This study contributed to the understanding on educational efficiency. Data Envelopment Analysis has been employed mainly in the private sector to analyze efficiency in economics and business organizations. This study added to the educational research on selecting Data Envelopment Analysis as a primary estimation method for analyzing the efficiency of school systems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149569/
The Demographics of Corporal Punishment in Texas
This dissertation examined the student discipline policies of 1,025 Texas school districts, as well as data from the Texas Education Agency’s Academic Excellence Indicator System in order to identify demographic patterns regarding corporal punishment policies in Texas schools. the study also studied the relationship between a district’s corporal punishment policy and student achievement. the dissertation utilized legal research methods and document analysis as its research methodology. Document analysis was the primary methodology used to answer the research questions whereby individual school district policies were identified and classified based on a number of demographic characteristics as well as the variations in corporal punishment policies among the various districts. the results of the study found that although more Texas school districts permit corporal punishment than have banned the practice, 60 percent of Texas school children go to school in districts where corporal punishment is not permitted. Corporal punishment is generally permitted in rural areas, with the majority of school districts in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle still allowing it by policy. a case study affirmed a finding from a national study regarding the type and locale of a student that is most likely disciplined using corporal punishment. the study determined that the larger Texas school districts have moved away from using corporal punishment as a disciplinary tactic. No district categorized as “Major Urban” by the Texas Education Agency permits corporal punishment of students. None of the larger districts categorized as “Urban” or “Major Suburban” that prohibit corporal punishment were identified as “Academically Unacceptable” under the State accountability system. This study also found that districts that prohibit corporal punishment and have a large number of minority students tend to have higher AEIS ratings. This study’s findings suggest that the elimination of corporal punishment in highly populated Texas school districts may be an indication that corporal punishment in the schools is gradually changing from being a largely Southern occurrence to being a primarily Southern rural phenomenon. This information could prove valuable for policy makers and legislators who are under a misconception that their constituents support corporal punishment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115140/
Predictors of College Readiness: an Analysis of the Student Readiness Inventory
The purpose of this study was to better predict how a first semester college freshman becomes prepared for college. the theoretical framework guiding this study is Vrooms’ expectancy theory, motivation plays a key role in success. This study used a hierarchical multiple regression model. the independent variables of interest included high school percentile class rank, composite ACT scores, composite SAT scores, and the 10 themes as measured by the Student Readiness Inventory (SRI) to address two research questions: What are the psychosocial factors identified by the SRI are most relevant in predicting college success? What conventional academic indicators are most relevant in predicting college success? the sample size for this study was 5279 (n), including a stratified random sample of first semester college freshman enrolled in credit bearing courses; these participants were deemed college ready by the university. Academic Discipline accounted for 4.2% of the variance in first semester college GPA, General Determination accounted for 1.7% of the variance, and the remaining psychosocial factors of the SRI accounted for less than 1% of the variance. High school percentile class rank accounted for 10.7% of the variance, composite ACT accounted for 5.9% of the variance, and composite SAT accounted for 5.6% of the variance. Future analysis could be completed within demographic groups to include a stratified random sample of participants by ethnicity, gender, or economic status. Such analysis would build on this body of research providing additional guidance admission officers and K-12 educators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115181/
Early College High School: Hispanic Students’ Perceptions and Experiences From a Texas Campus
Early college high school (ECHS) is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. ECHS was developed with the intention of attracting students to pursue a 4-year college degree, especially students who might not attend college without intervention. The program targets students from low-income families, students who have low academic achievement, and students from minority groups including Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and opinions of Hispanic students about their experiences in an ECHS, and to better understand how their ECHS experiences affected motivation to engage in academics. The expectancy theory and college-going culture provided the theoretical framework for this case study. Semi-structured interviews captured the experiences of the participants. The study focused on 10 Hispanic students, 5 seniors and 5 juniors, enrolled at an ECHS located on a community college campus in Texas. The study found that students with higher motivation to work at high school and college courses had several reasons for choosing to attend ECHS. The reasons included a chance to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree simultaneously, free college tuition, and an accelerated program to get through college. The students also identified rewarding outcomes for completing college. Those outcomes included satisfying career, personal satisfaction, ability to provide for their family and making their family proud as the first high school graduate and college attendee. One student had a lower motivation to work at high school and college work. He chose to attend ECHS to seek more freedom than a traditional high school. He was not certain about graduating from high school and doubtful about college graduation. This study contributes to the ECHS literature by providing details on students’ experiences at an ECHS. Using the qualitative method of an interview allowed the researcher to discover the richer picture of students' experiences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115053/
Children with Autism in Taiwan and the United States: Parental Stress, Parent-child Relationships, and the Reliability of a Child Development Inventory
Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood disorders in the world, and the families that have children with autism experience frustration and stress due to many practical problems. with the increase in the prevalence of autism, it is urgent to raise awareness of autism and to provide services and support for children with autism and their parents to improve the parent-child relationship and moderate the parental stress. with regard to families with children diagnosed as autistic, the purposes of this study are to: (a) examine the group differences in parental stress and parent-child relationship between Taiwan and the United States based on racial and cultural differences; (b) identify factors, if any, that influence the parental stress and parent-children relationship; (c) investigate if there are differences in the results of child development when children are diagnosed with autism in these two countries; (d) establish the Battelle Development Inventory-II in Mandarin Chinese version for use of evaluation with development delays in Taiwan. Findings revealed that: (a) the Battelle Developmental Inventory, Second Edition (BDI-II), is highly reliable with a great value of internal consistency in the use with parents and children with autism in Taiwan; (b) there is no significant difference in child development and parent-child relationship based on geographic region (Taiwan and the United States); (c) parents of children with autism in the United States overall have a more positive parent-child relationship and parenting attitude than parents of children with autism in Taiwan; (d) Children with autism who have a positive relationship with their parents have a higher pass rate on the evaluation of child development; (e) fathers reported higher pass rate on BDI-II than mothers in one of the standard deviations of over BDI-II performance; (f) parent-child relationships are positively correlated with parental stress; (g) parents who received services and support from a government agency or school in Taiwan have significantly lower scores on the parent-child relationship inventory; (h) fathers of children with autism have higher stress level than mothers; (i) parents who received services and support from parent groups (such as PTA or parent association) and from a government agency or school feel less stress than parents that did not receive those supports in Taiwan. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115114/
The Impact of Collegial-Teaming on High-School and University Instructors: A Descriptive Multi-Case Study
This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103308/
Struggling Middle School Readers Learning To Make Intertextual Connections With Texts
When people read, they often make connections to their lives, the world, and other texts. Often, these connections are not overt, but are a thinking process invisible to observers. The purpose of this study was to explore the intertextual connections struggling middle school students made as they read multiple topically-related texts to build knowledge, through observation of discussions, surveys, and interviews with students. The students received 30 lessons based on the constructivist model of comprehension. Data sources included observations during the delivery of these interactive lessons and surveys regarding their connections, their use of the connection strategies in content area classes, and their knowledge of the topic. The observations and surveys were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Information rich cases were developed from these data, as well as from interviews with selected students. Although the students were considered struggling readers, they did not respond to the instruction as stereotypical struggling readers. They were engaged, and they led discussions and shared connections with the class. The students demonstrated they learned to make connections and more text-to-text or intertextual connections overall. The students made connections when interested in the topic and had opportunities to discuss the texts. Finally, the students sometimes made connections in content area classes with opportunity in those classes. The study has implications for theory, future research, and practice of teachers and library media specialists. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103338/
Anti-bullying Policies And Practices In Texas Middle Schools
For over a decade national attention to bullying in American schools has increased, fueled by publicity about suicides of severely bullied youth. Schools have the charge of maintaining the safety of all students in order to ensure a positive learning environment, but there is little information about what they are doing to prevent bullying. The purpose of this study was to provide information on principals’ perceptions of bullying and what anti-bullying policies, procedures, and programs exist in Texas middle schools. Ninety-nine principals completed an online questionnaire that addressed: 1) their knowledge of district and campus policies concerning bullying; 2) their direct experience with bullying; and, 3) bullying-prevention strategies and training in place in their schools. Principals reported direct experience with all types of bullying included on the questionnaire in their schools, but had a surprisingly small mean of 14.8 verified bullying incidents during the 2010-2011 year. Over 60% felt the level of physical safety in their school was good or very good, but only 35% rated their school’s emotional safety as good or very good. Students, parents, and teachers reported bullying to the majority of principals; however, few schools conducted annual student surveys that could provide accurate information about bullying in their schools. Procedures required by state law were more likely to be in place than those not required, though not all schools complied with all requirements. Fewer than 10% of schools had implemented a formal anti-bullying program. The most commonly cited obstacles to effectively addressing bullying were lack of time to conduct investigations and getting parents to file written reports (40%); however, despite having anti-bullying training, 27% felt limited by the lack of strategies. This study fills a void in the literature by providing a statewide overview of middle school principals’ knowledge of district and campus policies and procedures on bullying. It also shows the extent to which legal requirements and best practices have been implemented. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103382/
High School Teachers’ Perceptions Of Their Principals As Culturally Proficient Leaders
This study examined Texas high school teachers’ perceptions of their principals as culturally proficient leaders, focusing specifically on how teacher-, school-, and principal-related factors impacted these perceptions. A sample of 104 teachers in culturally diverse secondary schools from a large urban district in Texas participated. An electronic survey was utilized to collect data. Results yielded an average total cultural proficiency score of 111 out of a possible 175, indicating that teachers perceived their principals “sometimes use” culturally proficient practices. Teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s use of culturally proficient leadership practices varied significantly by years of teachers’ experience and school accountability rating (exemplary, academically acceptable, and academically unacceptable). Perceptions of teachers at an Exemplary school were significantly different (higher than the perceptions of teachers at other schools from the same district). Teachers with 11 to 20 years of teaching experience gave significantly lower ratings (22.45 points) than teachers with 1 to 5 years of experience (125.53) and teachers with over 20 years of experience (118.94). While differences were not statistically significant, black and Hispanic teachers rated their principals’ culturally proficient practices higher than white teachers. Age, subject area taught and teacher’s gender, or race being the same as the principal’s gender or race had no significant effect on total proficiency scores. This study supports prior findings that leadership policy and development programs must be refined to help leaders develop and utilize more culturally proficient skills that will lead to greater academic success for all students. Results indicate that principals need assistance in adapting to and managing the dynamics of difference as well as providing teachers with conflict resolution training. It is recommended that professional development departments conduct similar district-wide proficiency assessments as a first step in helping educators to understand the cultural proficiency conceptual framework. It is also recommended that school districts develop a rating system using the tenets of cultural proficiency to assist principals in improving their cultural proficiency scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103367/
Missed Opportunities: Examining The LiteracyExperiences Of African American Students Displaced By Hurricane Katrina.
The purpose of this study was to examine how five African American middle school students, who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina represent their literacy experiences before, during, and after their displacement. Specifically, the two research questions were: (a) What are the stories that these middle school students tell about their lives, before, during, and after their displacement, and (b) What do their stories reveal about their literacy experience before, during, and after their displacement? Narrative Inquiry was the chosen methodology for the study, which allowed the participants to tell their experiences from a first-person perspective. It also encouraged the participants to reflect upon these experiences, in order to give meaning to their thoughts and emotions. Employing a critical lens and perspective, I constructed a narrative profile for each participant, which was then analyzed using these methods. Each narrative profile detailed the literacy experiences of the participants before Hurricane Katrina, during the transition period, and current literacy experiences now that the participants are resettled and attending school in the host city. These data were supplemented by archival data such as report cards, individual education plans (IEPs), and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores. Data analysis of the five participants’ literacy experiences revealed common themes. These participants have pleasant memories of school literacy before the storm and mentioned “choice” as a component of those experiences. During the transition period, few or no literacy experiences took place. Hence, there were missed opportunities for the participants to use literacy experiences to make connections to their new world. Participants reported current classroom and school experiences were controlled environments that led to controlled literacy experiences. This compartmentalization of literacy experiences is not consistent with the critical literacy perspective adopted in this study. Their interviews suggested that they that they saw no connection between school literacy and their literacy experiences outside school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103373/
Podcasting in an Eighth-Grade American History Class
The purpose of this study was to see how students used podcasts in an eighth-grade American history unit and the value they placed on them as an educational tool. The 6-week study was conducted in a suburban middle school in a district that is part of a large metropolitan area in Texas. Participants included 29 students and 2 eighth-grade teachers. The research questions were the following: (1) How do students use podcasts in an eighth-grade American history class? (2) How do students perceive the impact of the podcasts on their overall learning of the subject material? and (3) Do the podcasts motivate the students to study? Quantitative data were collected through a Likert-scaled student survey and logs kept by students. Qualitative data were collected through an open-ended portion of the student survey, student focus group discussion, and a faculty interview. The treatment tools were audio podcasts in the form of vocabulary-quiz reviews, historical vignettes, lectures, and a unit test review—all on the topic of the American Revolution. The data indicated that the students primarily used their computers at home to listen to the podcasts as they prepared for quizzes and/or the unit test. The students believed that the podcasts had a positive impact upon their grade, were a positive educational tool, and helped them to better understand the material at hand. The students also wanted to see an expansion of podcast usage in other subjects. The students claimed that it motivated them to study and the participating teachers agreed that it motivated the students to study in a non-traditional manner. Data illustrated a need for further research regarding podcasting’s impact on grades and performance at the K-12 level, student podcast construction, podcast delivery modes, and podcast use with special education and ELL students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103307/
Critical Literacy Practices, Social Action Projects, and the Reader Who Struggles in School
This study, conducted at an urban public school, explored the engagements of five, fourth grade, African American students who struggled with reading in school as they participated in critical literacy practices and social action projects with the assumption that critical analysis of written texts and concrete social actions were necessary for student empowerment. Using Discourse Analysis within a microethnographic framework, participants’ responses were analyzed. Early in the study, participants were hesitant to join in critical conversations about race. Over time, as participants deepened their critical literacy engagements, they divulged lived racism both in their private and public worlds. Specifically, the participants described the tensions and transgressions they experienced as minorities from civil rights curriculum, teachers and other students. The findings revealed instead of text based analyses, critical literacy practices transformed into the participants’ critical analysis of racism they experienced in their various worlds (home, school, and the larger, outside world) through language (not text). Similarly, the pre-conceived idea of social action projects changed from the creation of concrete products or actions into discussions in which mainstream discourse was interrupted. Tacit and overt understandings about race, identity and power suggested that the participants assumed multiple and contradictory identities (such as “victim of racism” and “racially prejudiced”) that both empowered and oppressed others in the social action group. Implications for critical literacy practices include that empowering and liberating pedagogy through ‘risky conversations’ is difficult, transitory and radical within the context of school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103287/
An Examination Of Three Texas High SchoolsÊ Restructuring Strategies That Resulted In An Academically Acceptable Rating
This study examined three high schools in a large urban school district in Texas that achieved an academically acceptable rating after being sanctioned to reconstitute by state agencies. Texas state accountability standards are a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 (NCLB). Texas state law requires schools to design a reconstitution plan after the second year of receiving an academically unacceptable school rating for failing to meet the required standards on state assessments, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The plan must be implemented by the third year. A mixed methods approach was used to uncover the strategies that were successful during the restructuring initiative. Data was obtained from three sources: interviews, document analysis and surveys. Interviews were conducted with district administrators, campus based administrators and teachers of the three high schools. A sample of core content teachers were surveyed using questions from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Results revealed that each school chose to engage in a major form of restructuring that included the formation of a themed based magnet school. A team approach was used to devise, implement, and monitor the reconstitution plan. Common strategies unveiled in the study included the use of common assessments, collaborative planning among core teachers, professional development, continuous monitoring of student absences, extended learning times for students, and a focus on college readiness. Survey data revealed that the majority of teachers believed that collaboration positively impacted student achievement. It is recommended that schools undergoing restructuring choose a reconstitution option that allows for flexibility, use multiple resources to foster school improvement, and develop restructuring plans that serve as living documents. Further research is needed to study the principal's role in achieving an academically acceptable rating. This study could also be expanded to compare restructuring strategies of high schools across the country that has been forced by federal mandates to reconstitute. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103357/
Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy
New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84221/
Teacher Decision-Making: Cultural Mediation in Two High School English Language Arts Classrooms
Although studies have addressed high school English language arts (ELA) instruction, little is known about the decision-making process of ELA teachers. How do teachers decide between the resources and instructional strategies at their disposal? This study focused on two monolingual teachers who were in different schools and grades. They were teaching mainstream students or English Language Learners. Both employed an approach to writing instruction that emphasized cultural mediation. Two questions guided this study: How does the enactment of culturally mediated writing instruction (CMWI) in a mainstream classroom compare to the enactment in an ESL classroom? What is the nature of teacher decision-making in these high school classrooms during English language arts instruction? Data were collected and analyzed using qualitative methodologies. The findings suggest that one teacher, who was familiar with CMWI’s principles and practices and saw students as partners, focused her decisions on engagement and participation. The other teacher deliberately embedded CMWI as an instructional stance. Her decisions focused on empathy, caring and meaningful connections. These teachers enacted CMWI in different ways to meet their students’ needs. They embraced the students’ cultural resources, used and built on their linguistic knowledge, expanded thinking strategies to make difficult information comprehensible, provided authentic learning opportunities, used formative assessments as instructional guides, and delivered just-in-time academic and non-academic support. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84162/
A Comparison of Principals’ Perceptions of Preparedness Based on Leadership Development Opportunities
This research study identified the frequency in which six public school districts in Texas provided principals with effective development opportunities prior to the principalship excluding university or certification programs. A purposive sample of over 200 principals from six school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were asked to participate in the study yielding a response rate of 41%. Respondents identified through a questionnaire their leadership development opportunities and perceptions of preparedness on nine standards common to the profession. Principals were nominally grouped for comparison. The perceptions of preparedness for principals who received effective leadership development opportunities were compared to those who did not receive these same opportunities using an independent samples t-test to determine statistical significance (p < .05). Peer coaching yielded the most statistically significant results in three standards. This finding indicates principals who receive peer coaching prior to the principalship compared to those who did not perceive themselves as more prepared in the areas of community collaboration, political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context, and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Effect size was measured for the statistically significance standards to determine practical significance. Each of the five statistically significant standards yielded a medium effect size indicating that the leadership development methods received by participants explained approximately 30% of the difference. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84217/
School Consolidation Impact on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures in Texas
This study examined financial aspects of the consolidation or annexation of 12 pairs of school districts in Texas during the period 1996-2006. Nine of the twelve districts consolidated by mutual agreement of the two school boards and three annexations were by order of the Commissioner of Education of Texas. Financial criteria studied were: a) per pupil expenditures, b) total state aid, c) transportation costs, d) administrative costs, e) school district "wealth" status, and f) facilities assets/liabilities. Each of the initial 24 independent school districts' criteria were collected for two years prior to consolidation and the 12 newly formed consolidated districts criteria were collected for the two years following consolidation. After consolidation, ten of the twelve districts had fewer than 1,000 students. Of the other two districts, one district had approximately 3,000 students and one large district had over 150,000 students. Some districts experienced increases in local expenditures relative to transportation, administrative costs and total expenditures while other districts decreased costs over time. Twelve non-consolidated districts with similar characteristics of the twelve consolidated districts were reviewed with the non-consolidated districts exhibiting increase and decrease fluctuations seen in the consolidated school districts. These findings suggested that each of the issues studied in public school finance need to be examined with more specific criteria in order to ascertain cause and effect relationships with regard to school consolidation financial impact on state and local revenues and expenditures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68048/
Rural School Principals' Perceived Use of Data in Data-Driven Decision-Making and the Impact on Student Achievement
This study examined the impact of principals' data-driven decision-making practices on student achievement using the theoretical frame of Dervin's sense-making theory. This study is a quantitative cross-sectional research design where principals' perceptions about data were quantitatively captured at a single point in time. The participants for this study were 253 rural school principals currently serving in schools across Texas, and included both males and females across all ethnic groups, including white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other. A developed survey instrument was administered to principals. The findings from the quantitative SEM analyses indicated that the Principal Uses Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 1) and the Principal and Staff Ability to Analyze Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 2) were significantly and positively associated with student achievement. Higher scores on these two latent variables were associated with better student achievement. There was no statistical association between the Principal Uses Data to Design Teacher Professional Development latent variable (Factor 3) and this target outcome. In total, the three latent variables accounted for 6% of the variance in student achievement (TAKS). When the campus level outcome was considered, no statistically significant associations between any of the latent variables and this outcome were evident. In total, the three latent variables accounted for less than 2% of the variance in campus level. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68041/
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