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- From Theory to Practice: A First Look at Success for Life - A Brain Research-Based Early Childhood Program
- Success For Life (SFL) is a brain research-based program for children, birth through age six. This research examined the development and implementation of SFL in 13 early childhood settings. Participants were 24 female early childhood teachers and 146 (73 male) children. Teachers included seven infant, four toddler, nine preschool and four kindergarten teachers. Children included infants(n=29), toddlers(n=27), and prek/kindergartners (n=90). A Request for Proposals was disseminated to identify possible implementation sites. After participation was confirmed, teachers attended a full day's training which included a description of brain development/function, the latest brain research, how to implement SFL and other logistics of the study. Program implementation occurred over approximately four months. A field site coordinator visited each site bimonthly to provide on-going technical assistance. This was an intervention project with a pre and post implementation design. Four instruments were used: a teacher questionnaire, a classroom environment measure, a child measure and teacher journals. Results suggested that teachers became more knowledgeable about brain development research and about how children grow and learn. Teachers were better able to make connections between brain research findings and how to apply these findings to their programs and daily activities. Likewise, the environment measure indicated that teachers were better able to arrange environments for learning. They reported that children showed significant increases in skills development and performance in the following areas: physical mastery, social relations/interactions, cognitive development, and language/communications. Additionally, teachers reported improvements in emotional expression and well-being among infants and toddlers. Toddlers and preschoolers showed significant increases in creative/ artistic expression. Finally, teachers indicated that preschoolers showed increases in initiative, use of logic/mathematics skills, and musical coordination and movement. Research findings suggest that Success For Life is able to bridge the gap between theory and practice and benefits children, teachers and programs.
- Parents' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education.
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The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP.
- Current and Future Trends in Computer Use in Elementary School Settings
- The study examined current and future trends in computer use in elementary school settings. A survey instrument was developed and validated for distribution to a random sample of 200 technology coordinators in the public school districts in the state of Texas from whom 95 responses were received. The survey instrument was used to obtain information about five areas of computer use in elementary schools. These areas are: physical configurations, instructional uses, implementation issues, training and staff development, and Internet use. The study found that all public school districts that participated in the study have acquired computer hardware in their elementary schools. In addition, some other advanced computer technology components are starting to be found in elementary schools, such as teacher workstations, CD-ROM, interactive video, computer multimedia, LCD panels, and laser printers. Respondents reported that elementary school teachers in their districts have incorporated computers into their classrooms as an instructional tool and many changes have occurred in teachers teaching styles due to computers. However, there are some problems that hinder the effective use of computers. The major problem is lack of training. A high percentage of respondents, 81.3%, indicated that the majority of their elementary school teachers had completed less than 30 hours of technology related professional development. Another problem was lack of funding which prevents most school districts from acquiring computer hardware and software. Currently, elementary schools in 87% of districts that participated in the study are connected to the Internet and the plan is that by the year 2001 all elementary schools will be connected.
- The Effect of Increased Collaboration Among the Library Media Specialist and School Personnel on Perceptions of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Library Media Specialist
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This study measured and explored changes in perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the library media specialist when the level of collaboration increased. Seven library media specialists targeted four members of their educational communities with whom to increase collaborative activities. Before and after the collaboration began, the library media specialists, the teachers with whom they chose to collaborate, other members from the same educational community, and a control group that did not participate in increased collaboration were given a roles and responsibilities rank-order form. This form was used to measure changes in perceptions regarding the importance of the three roles and selected responsibilities related to the three roles before and after the collaborative experience. The library media specialists and the targeted teachers also kept reflection logs to record factors that enhanced collaboration, factors that inhibited collaboration, and any changes in their teaching style as a result of the collaborative experience. Results indicate that the participating library media specialists themselves experienced the most change. Role identification remains a problem as library media specialists seek to become teaching partners with classroom teachers yet still must keep the library media center aligned with school and district goals and move toward making it an information center that provides information resources for all members of the educational community in an effective, efficient and timely manner. Major enhancers to increased collaboration included flexible scheduling of the library, sharing ideas and resources, partnership in teaching, and student achievement. Major inhibitors included time, wanting to keep things the way they were, and lack of resources. Changes in teaching practice included working with another professional instead of in isolation, integrating many resources into the lesson to provide for the learning needs of all students, the incorporation of technology into the lesson, and an awareness of the roles of both library media specialists and teachers.
- A study of block scheduling and instructional strategies and their influence on algebra achievement in classrooms throughout north central Texas
- The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of block scheduling and instructional strategies on student achievement in Algebra I. The study was conducted during the 1997-98 school year. This study was comprised of two components, a quantitative study and a qualitative study. The quantitative study focused on block and traditional scheduling and the influence identified through scores on the Texas End-of-Course exam for Algebra I. The sample for this study consisted of 59 school districts from five counties in the north Texas area. The qualitative portion of this study focused on 10 classrooms, 5 block and 5 traditional, taken from the sample of 59 districts. Data for the qualitative study included questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The End-of-Course scores were analyzed using an ANOVA at the .05 level of significance, no significant difference was identified in the achievement levels of the two groups. The qualitative data was organized by categories derived from the NCTM teaching standards. Data from this portion of the study indicated that teachers in both block and traditionally scheduled classes spend their class time in a similar manner, using similar materials, and using more traditional strategies. Additional analyses of data based upon usage of the graphing calculator and manipulatives also resulted in no significant difference. Although all comparisons between block and traditional scheduling and usage or non-usage of technology and/or manipulatives resulted in no significant difference, the block groups and those using technology and/or manipulatives had higher mean scores. This indicates that allowing teachers more time to use alternative instructional strategies would benefit the student, but this will not take place without the teacher receiving training and support.
- Examining the nature of interactions which facilitate learning and impact reading achievement during a reading apprenticeship: A case study of at-risk adolescent readers
- The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the interactions that take place during a reading apprenticeship which facilitate the learning of reading strategies by adolescent students who are at the middle school level and are still at-risk for reading failure and to investigate how a reading apprenticeship affects reading achievement in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and the self-perception of the reader. The case study was descriptive and interpretive in nature, and examined two students, each of whom was part of a one-to-one reading apprenticeship. The researcher served as participant observer in both cases and was the teacher in each of the one-to-one reading apprenticeships. The primary data set was qualitative in nature, and elements of quantitative data were also considered. Sessions included pretesting and posttesting using the Classroom Assessment of Reading Processes (Swearingen & Allen, 1997), reading from narrative or expository books, working with words, writing, and dialoguing about the reading. Reading strategies were directly taught, modeled, and reinforced by the teacher/researcher with the goal of the students internalizing the strategies and improving their reading in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension, as well as improving their attitudes toward reading and their self-perception about their reading ability. This study described a reading apprenticeship which positively impacted reading achievement for two students in the areas of fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development, as well as influencing their motivation for reading and their self-perceptions as readers. The environment of the reading apprenticeship, the dialogue that occurred throughout the reading apprenticeship, and strategy instruction, modeling, and reinforcement were found to be factors and interactions which facilitated learning during this intervention.
- The Response of a Public School District to Charter School Competition: An Examination of Free-Market Effects
- The purpose of this study was to examine a school district's responses to charter schools operating within its boundaries. The selected district was the only one in the state with two large academically competitive charter schools for at least two years. Four questions guided the research: In terms of instruction, finance, communication, and leadership, how has the traditional district been impacted due to charter school existence? The exploratory research was timely since charter schools are proliferating as tax-supported public choice schools. While many have speculated about free-market effects of charter school competition on systemic educational reform, the debate has been chiefly along ideological lines; therefore, little empirical research addresses this issue. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to present a comprehensive case study. Twenty-six school officials and teachers were interviewed; 159 teachers and 1576 parents were surveyed. District, community, and state education department documents were analyzed. Since charter schools have existed in the district, numerous activities have taken place. Instructional initiatives included a high school academy, expanded technology, gifted and talented, tutoring, and dropout prevention. All elementary and middle schools required uniforms. The district's state accountability rating improved from acceptable to recognized. A leadership void was perceived due to students leaving to attend charter schools initially. The district was perceived as making efforts to improve communication with the community. The financial impact of charter schools was neutralized due to the district's student population increase, property wealth, and state charter funding structure. The data supported all of the hypotheses in terms of the impact of charter schools in the district on these activities: free-market effects of charter school competition were not established as the primary reason for internal organizational changes that occurred in the district. Anecdotal evidence suggested that charter schools may have played some role, but primarily they seemed to reinforce trends already occurring in the district.
- The Influence of National Standards for Early Childhood Programs on Selected Rural Settings of the Education Service Centers in East Texas
- This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates.
- A study of vocabulary instruction with fourth grade students participating in an individualized reading program
- he purpose of this study was to determine the effects of one approach to vocabulary instruction on the reading and writing vocabulary of fourth grade students in an individualized reading program. The vocabulary instructional approach used student-selected vocabulary words as well as instruction in vocabulary strategies such as context clues, structural analysis, and definition strategies. The twelve week study exposed one fourth grade classroom to vocabulary instruction in a Reading Workshop setting. Major components of the program were mini-lessons, which often involved vocabulary strategies, the silent reading of self-selected books, one-on-one researcher/student interactions, and the self-selection of vocabulary words. The research design is descriptive in nature and used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative data included student interviews, teacher interviews, student writing samples, and field note observations. Quantitative data included vocabulary test scores from two groups of students, Group A and Group B. Group A participated in the self-selected vocabulary approach and received vocabulary instruction from the researcher acting as participant observer. Group B received some vocabulary instruction from their classroom teacher, but did not participate in the same program. The test was constructed weekly from a class (Group A) generated list of ten words. Results from vocabulary tests indicate that the vocabulary instruction was effective in helping Group A learn vocabulary. Multiple exposures to words as well as use of vocabulary words in context influenced student performance on tests. Results from qualitative data indicate that students attend to vocabulary words in their print environment. In addition, students used vocabulary words in expressive language, including writing and speaking. The results of this study support opportunities for wide reading, implementation of a variety of vocabulary strategies, repeated exposures to vocabulary words, and opportunities for student choice of vocabulary, as ways to enhance vocabulary learning.
- Attitudes toward computer use and gender differences among Kuwaiti sixth-grade students
- Because computer use become more and more important in the educational environment, the attitudes of students toward computer may play an important role in their learning success. This study investigated the attitudes toward computers and gender differences of sixth-grade Kuwaiti students and examined the relationships between students attitudes toward computers and school, motivation/persistence, study habits, empathy, creative tendencies, and achievement in the Informatics field. The Computer Attitude Questionnaire (CAQ), translated from the English into Arabic Language for this study, was originally developed by Knezek and Miyashita for the Texas Center for Educational Technology (University of North Texas). The CAQ was administered to a random cluster sample of 10 public middle schools: (5 boys and 5 girls schools), with a total of 562 students, (265 boys and 297 girls), in the State of Kuwait during the academic year 1999-2000. The pilot test was conducted to calculate the reliability with Cronbachs alpha = .87 for the CAQ Arabic version. This study found positive attitudes toward computer use (mean = 3.31 on 4-point Likert-scale); however, girls had significantly more positive attitudes toward computers (mean = 3.36) than did boys (mean = 3.26). It also found statistically significant correlations between attitudes toward computers and school (r. = .149), motivation/persistence (r. = .459), study habits (r. = .371), empathy (r. = .308), creative tendencies (r. = .530), and achievement in the Informatics field (r. = .201). A statistically significant gender difference was found in the correlations between attitudes toward computers and empathy. Girls had a stronger correlation (r. = .405) than boys (r. = .215). This study also found that students who use computers at home (mean = 3.40) have more positive attitudes toward computers than did students who do not (mean = 3.22). The main conclusion of the current study is that students like to use computers, therefore, the researcher suggests that computer should be introduced for the students in the classrooms environment and to be integrated into the curriculum of all subject areas.
- The developmental stages of concern of teachers toward the implementation of the Information Technology curriculum in Kuwait
- Change is best carried out by individual teachers, and, thus, identifying and resolving teachers concerns about an innovation is imperative in guiding the change process to a successful point of implementation. The purpose of this study was to identify concerns that teachers experienced when implementing the Information Technology curriculum in all intermediate schools in Kuwait and to examine the relationships among teachers reported stages of concern and other factors, such as gender and experience. The stages of concern, one dimension of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), was applied to reveal teachers concerns. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) and a demographic survey were completed by 248 respondents. The SoCQ measures seven stages of concern that reflect three dimensions: self (awareness, informational, and personal); task (management); and impact (consequence, collaboration, and refocusing Group profile analysis revealed that teachers had four high concerns related to collaboration, personal, refocusing, and informational stages. Teachers also reported low concerns at the management and awareness stages. Both females and males reported collaboration as their greater concern. Teachers with more years of experience reported higher impact concerns. The analysis of individuals peak concerns revealed that the majority of the respondents were adopters of the innovation. The analysis of the first highest and second highest concerns among teachers revealed the development of three patterns of concerns: self concerns, mixed concerns, and impact concerns. Results indicated that the majority of teachers were at the mixed-concern level. With more years of experience, teachers concerns shifted from self to task and finally to impact concerns. The results of concern analysis are consistent with Fullers theory of concern development. MANOVA revealed significant differences in means between females and males at management and refocusing stages. Females had higher concerns about management; males had higher refocusing concern. However, no significant relationship was found between experience and the reported stages of concern. For successful implementation, the concerns of teachers must be resolved. The CBAM including the SoCQ is recommended to KISITP coordinators as a diagnostic tool to facilitate change and to provide appropriate staff development. Suggestions were made for future research to continue validation of the SoCQ in Arabic cultures.
- The nature of the impact of a reading tutoring program on participating students in the classroom: A qualitative study
- The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to explore the nature of the impact that a tutoring program, which featured preservice teachers as tutors, had on participating fifth grade at-risk students literacy behaviors in the classroom.The researcher served in the role of passive participant observer during the scheduled language arts period three days per week in the participating students classroom for a period of twenty-three weeks. Field notes were made in the classroom and coded, and audio tapes were recorded and transcribed of the tutoring sessions. Formal and informal interviews with the teacher, tutors, and participating students were conducted, transcribed, and coded. Lesson plans and reflections developed and written by the tutors were gathered and coded. Observations indicated that there were four types of reading required on a daily basis in the classroom. Assigned readings made by the teacher included narrative and expository texts. Pleasure readings were materials chosen by the students, but at certain times were teacher initiated and at other times, student initiated. The four types of reading found in the classroom were mirrored by the tutoring sessions. Students observed in the classroom could be divided into two types and four categories. Those with positive attitudes were called eager readers. Eager readers were made up of good readers and struggling readers, who lacked some of the reading skills possessed by good readers. Reluctant readers were the second type and had either ambiguous or explicitly negative attitudes toward reading. The type of reader, together with the type of reading required, determined the success of the tutoring sessions. The results of the data analysis show that student motivation toward reading was a key factor in determining the success of the tutoring program. Two of the three student participants in the study reported learning skills in the tutoring program that they used in other contexts.
- Pre-Service Teachers' Attitudes Toward Language Diversity
- This study examines pre-service teachers' attitudes toward language diversity and linguistically diverse students. Two hundred seventy-one teacher education students were surveyed to determine relative effects of demographic, mediating variables and psychosocial variables on language attitude as measured by the Language Attitudes of Teachers Scale (LATS). Independent variables include gender, age, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, region, psychological insecurity, cognitive sophistication, and helpfulness viewpoint. Research questions are established and methodology is outlined. A review of related literature places the study in the context of research with a broad interdisciplinary perspective and then links the study to other research relevant to the field of education. The findings of the study indicate that gender, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, political ideology, psychological insecurity, and cognitive sophistication contribute significantly to the variation found in attitude toward language diversity. The paper concludes with analyses and discussions of the significant variables and suggestions for application in teacher preparation.
- A study of the effects of Everyday Mathematics on student achievement of third-, fourth, and fifth-grade students in a large North Texas Urban School District
- Data were examined in this study from student records in a large North Texas urban school district who were taught with two different mathematics curricula to determine whether or not they had different effects on student achievement. One of the mathematics curricula, Everyday Mathematics, was developed upon national mathematic standards, written by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The other mathematics curriculum was district-approved, using a textbook from a large publisher, with a more traditional approach. The students selected for the experimental group came from six schools that had implemented the Everyday Mathematics curriculum for the 1998-99 school year. An experimental group was formed from these students. Twelve schools with similar socioeconomic ratios, ethnic makeup and 1998 Iowa Test of Basic Skills mathematic score profiles were selected. A control group was formed from this population of students that was similar to the experimental group with the exception of having been taught using the district-approved mathematics curriculum. These two groups were very similar in socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, and grade level makeup. Most importantly, the experimental group and control group were almost identical (there was no statistically significant difference) in their 1998 Iowa Test of Basic Skills mathematics scores, a gauge used to demonstrate that prior mathematics ability was equal going into the 1998-99 school year. In the statistical analysis, almost all comparisons showed that the experimental group taught with the Everyday Mathematics curriculum had higher scores on the 1999 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills mathematics test. When compared to children with similar mathematics ability at the beginning of the 1998-99 school year, the students in this study who were taught using Everyday Mathematics showed greater achievement gains than students in classes that used the district-approved curriculum.
- Who is Helping Our Children? Development of a Model for the Training of Tutors for America Reads
- The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of training for college work study students who participated in an America Reads program, which was designed to help at-risk children struggling with reading. Two groups participated in this research study. One group of college tutors had minimal training in reading strategies at the beginning of the study and the other group of college tutors had continuous training and feedback throughout the study. The research study sought to answer the following questions: 1) Will training for college student tutors in the area of reading, more specifically in the strategies and skills, help improve their comprehension and vocabulary? And 2) Will training for college student tutors in the area of reading, more specifically in strategies and skills, significantly improve the comprehension and vocabulary scores of the children being tutored? This was a quasi-experimental research design, used to examine the effectiveness of training college students participating in the America Reads program. The tutors were pre-and post-tested, measuring both their vocabulary and comprehension knowledge at the beginning and the end of the study. The children being tutored were also pre- and post-tested, measuring both their vocabulary and comprehension knowledge at the beginning and the end of the study. The statistical analysis for this design was the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The ANCOVA was used to handle the main threat to the internal validity of this research design, due to the fact that the tutors for the control and experimental group were not selected randomly. The tutors and the children were randomly assigned to two groups. The control group of tutors received minimal training (11 hours) and the experimental group received the same minimal training with extra (21 hours) weekly training added. The study began in October 1999 and ended in December 1999. The tutoring sessions were 1 ½ hours long, three days a week. The training for the experimental group was for 1 ½ to 2 hours weekly. The results from this study found no significant difference between the control and experimental groups on comprehension, as measured by the assessment instruments. The results from this study did find, however, a significant difference between the control and the experimental groups on vocabulary, as measured by the assessment instruments.
- Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
- The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices.
- The relationship among teacher expectations, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement
- Accountability is a major issue in education and in Texas, the TAAS test is used to indicate performance of students, teachers, campuses, and districts. The stakes are high for students, as performance on this test has determined whether they progress to another grade and whether they will receive a diploma. Most research studies focus on relationships between the teacher and individual students or groups of students, but not classrooms. Expectations and high stakes testing are central within the educational process, and their relationship on student achievement should be investigated, especially since no studies on teacher attitudes toward the TAAS test have been found. This correlational study measured teacher attitudes toward the TAAS and teacher expectations for students through data collected from a survey. Student achievement information was collected from averaged Texas Learning Index scores for students by classroom over a two year period. The sample consisted of 22 4th, 8th, and 10th grade reading and/or math teachers who had taught in the same Texas mid-sized, rural school district for at least two years. Frequency, percent, mean, and standard deviation were used to analyze the responses on the survey. A median score distinguished between high/low expectations and between positive/negative attitudes toward the TAAS. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient identified relationships, with levels of significance determined at the .05 level. From this study, it appears that no relationship exists among teacher expectations for students, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement. It appears that teachers support the TAAS and see a relationship between the test and improved student performance, and view the TAAS as nondiscriminatory for race and socioeconomic status. While teacher expectation levels are not the same for all students, most teachers feel responsible for insuring that students learn while they are in the teachers' classrooms, and communicate, via word or action, the expectation that their students can learn at or above grade level.
- Retention and attrition of doctoral candidates in higher education
- A number of studies have been conducted on the attrition rates of undergraduate and graduate students. However, the body of knowledge concerning attrition for doctoral students, especially those who have attained the level of “all but dissertation” (ABD), is limited. The purpose of this research was to examine retention and attrition factors of doctoral candidates from a typical Higher Education Doctoral Program (Research II Public Institution) who were admitted to candidacy from 1991 through July 2000. Participation of the subject population was limited to those who had attained the level of ABD--those who had previously fulfilled the residency, coursework, foreign language or tool-subject requirements, and successfully completed the comprehensive/qualifying exams. This population included current ABDs, previously attrited ABDs, and graduates of the degree program. The research study was qualitative and intended to identify the effect of specific, predetermined factors that may have influenced or affected the progress of current, previous, and graduated students towards the doctoral degree in higher education. This study obtained responses to questions from the questionnaire/survey instrument concerning factors that affected program completion or attrition. Students had the opportunity to elaborate on factors from their dissertation, advisement, and personal, financial, and employment experiences that affected their ability to complete the program through open-ended question responses. By examining key factors in the doctoral degree experience from the three sample groups (current ABDs, previous ABDs, and graduated Ed.Ds), this study was able to draw some conclusions about doctoral attrition. Reconstructing and comparing the experiences of ABDs from the point of candidacy to the point of attrition or completion of the program determined trends, commonalities, and issues affecting achievement. Results of this study add to the limited research concerning ABD attrition and provide an insight from the student perspective as to the obstacles and support variables in the quest for the doctoral degree.
- Teachers' and Students' Perceptions of the Impact of Content Literacy Strategy Instruction on Teaching and Learning
- Reading researchers agree that content literacy strategies are beneficial in helping students learn. However, teachers remain resistant to teaching the strategies. Additionally, many students, even at the college level, lack the learning strategies necessary to experience academic success. This study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of content literacy strategy instruction. The research questions that guided the study addressed the benefits, obstacles, and support and experiences needed to sustain the use of the strategies over time. Multiple data sources were used to investigate teachers' and students' perceptions of the research questions. The main benefit found was increased student understanding and learning of content; additional benefits included increased instructional repertoire, increased student engagement in class, and improved learner independence. Most of the obstacles documented in the literature were supported in the study; however, the obstacle of time was noted most frequently. Teacher confidence was observed by the researcher as an obstacle. The majority of participants indicated they would continue using the strategies learned during the study in the future. Students noted the support needed to sustain content literacy strategy use depended on teachers providing direct instruction, practice using the strategies, and personal success with the strategies. Teachers also identified practice and perseverance as critical to sustaining content literacy strategy instruction. The support teachers noted most frequently as important to successful implementation was collegial support - teachers helping teachers. Teacher meetings discussing the implementation process were viewed as critical to sustain effective content literacy strategy instruction. Additionally, quality teacher training, administrative support, and accountability were documented by teachers as important.
- Teachers' Use of Children's Literature, Mathematics Manipulatives, and Scaffolding to Improve Preschool Mathematics Achievement: Does It Work?
- The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of an intervention involving teachers' use of children's literature, related storybook manipulatives, and a scaffolding (LMS) approach to learning would improve preschool children's mathematics test scores. Additionally, the LMS approach was examined to determine whether teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in mathematics instruction changed from the beginning to the end of the study. The subjects of the study included 60 preschool-aged children and six teachers from two child care centers. The preschool teachers participated in either a control or experimental condition (the LMS approach) in their daily mathematics instruction with their preschool children. The researcher tested the children using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability and an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The study was based on two main research questions. The first question asked if there was a difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding intervention group and children in the control group after assuring equivalency of the two groups. The second question addressed if preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. The answer to the first research question was that there was no statistically significant difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding group and children in the control group. However, the answer to the second question was that preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. Recommendations for future research on early childhood mathematics include the investigation of preschool children's ability, achievement, and interest in mathematics; teachers' use of mathematics scaffolding techniques; and longitudinal mathematics interventions beginning during the preschool years.
- An Analysis of Teaching Periodicals for Aging Education Content
- Ninety elementary public school teachers were surveyed to find out where they obtained their teaching ideas. Seven popular elementary-level teaching periodicals, dated 1989-1999, were analyzed for aging-related content, and compared with 27 of the National Academy for Teaching and Learning about Aging (NATLA) aspects of aging recommended for students' learning. Results indicate that public elementary teachers obtain their teaching ideas from various places: teaching institutes or workshops; other teachers; ideas or lessons they develop themselves; and teaching periodicals. A large percentage obtain lesson ideas from teaching periodicals that they browse or read. This finding may assist NATLA in making recommendations to particular editorial boards. Surprisingly, few teachers obtain their teaching ideas from state and local curricular mandates. When the periodical issues were analyzed, aging-related content was categorized in four ways: informational articles with selected teaching or learning activities; articles describing intergenerational programs or activities; book reviews with selected learning activities; and book review titles mentioning older adult characters. Category totals among the 7 periodicals were highest in book review titles mentioning older adult characters and book reviews with selected learning activities. The content was compared to NATLA's recommendations for students' learning. The findings were not significant. The aging aspect that appeared most often in book reviews with selected learning activities was that most living things have life cycles of patterned biological changes, and/or that death and disability can occur at any age. Whether we formally teach them about aging or not, children learn about it. Earlier studies indicate that even preschool children may stereotype the aging process and/or older adults. Curricular and instructional ideas provided in teaching materials, even in an informal format can provide education, which prepares children for real life experiences.
- A Comparison of Quantitative Skills in Texas Year-round Schools with Texas Traditional Calendar Schools
- This study analyzed the academic impact of year-round calendar schools as compared with the academic achievement of traditional calendar schools. The population studied was the 1998 public elementary schools in Texas. The academic impact was based upon the 1998 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test administrated by the Texas Education Agency. The two groups of schools studied were Texas elementary schools that were on a year-round calendar schedule, and the Texas elementary schools on a traditional calendar schedule. Multiple regression statistics were used, in addition to means, and differences between the means of variables. Year-round schools (YRE), when compared to the means of traditional schools, have means lower in math scores (6.16 percent) than traditional schools. Year-round schools have fewer African Americans students (2.78%), White students (21.06%), and special education students (.25%). Year-round schools are higher in population size (72.72students), Economic Disadvantaged students (15.87%), Hispanic students (23.46%), and Mobility (3.23%).
- A Descriptive Review and Analysis of the Creation and Development of an Advisory Program in an Inner-City Middle School
- This study described and analyzed the development and implementation of an advisory program at one urban middle school. Development of the advisory program began during the 1997-98 school year. The implementation of the program was examined during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years. This school site was chosen because of the in-depth research and planning of the program beyond the typical amount performed by many schools, and the wide-scale staff participation utilized in the program's development. In order to follow the processes of development and implementation, several models of change, innovation, and organizational analysis were used to provide focus for analysis of events that occurred during the three years of the program examined in this study. Data was collected in multiple manners. A complete review of school documents concerning the advisory program was performed, and over 50 percent of the faculty were interviewed through individual and team interviews. The findings of this study include various elements concerning the development and implementation of the advisory program. Data was collected and analyzed in three main categories including a) driving and resisting factors for beginning and implementing the program, b) processes used to plan, maintain and develop the program, and c) the periods in which the program became stable. Additional considerations were examined including the evaluation of the program, future possibilities for implementation, and staff roles in the program. Recommendations of the study include: limiting the focus of the advisory program; maintaining consistent goals; starting with a limited program; securing high staff participation; providing extensive time for planning; maintaining a high level of monitoring by administration and staff leaders; providing in-depth training; and, insuring that open lines of communication exist.
- The Effects of Parenting Stress and Academic Self-Concept on Reading Ability in a Clinic Referral Sample
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This study investigated the relationships among the variables of parenting stress, academic self-concept, and reading ability. The purpose of this study was to determine whether parenting stress and academic self-concept contributed to the child's reading ability. Two hypotheses were investigated in an effort to accomplish this purpose. The subjects used in this study were forty-nine children and their primary caretakers referred to The Child and Family Resource Center, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, during the academic years of 1994 through 1999. Subjects ranged in age from seven to eighteen years of age. Academically, the subjects ranged from first graders through eleventh graders. All subjects lived in and attended schools in Denton County or neighboring counties. Parental employment ranged from unskilled laborers to medical doctors. The participating families included biological, step, adoptive, single, and divorced families. Abidin's Parenting Stress Index was used to measure parental stress experienced by the primary caretaker. The Intellectual and School Status cluster of the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale was used to measure the child's academic self-concept and the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised provided a measure of the child's reading ability. Test scores were obtained following a review of The Child and Family Resource Center's documented files. Multiple regression statistics revealed no significant relationship between neither parenting stress and the child's reading ability nor the child's academic self-concept and reading ability. Standardized beta coefficients and bivariate correlation results indicated a relationship between academic self-concept and reading ability. Additional research is recommended for future research that encompasses a larger and more diverse sample.
- A study of the relationships between personality as indicated by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and leadership strengths and weaknesses as identified by Skillscope
- The purpose of this study was to improve the quality of information used in leadership assessment and development programs. The study determined the relationships between personality type, as indicated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and leadership strengths and developmental needs as measured by Skillscope. The study also determined the relationships between personality type and congruence between self-awareness of strengths and developmental needs and ratings by knowledgeable observers. The discriminate analysis of the Skillscope leadership feedback instrument compared with the selected personality types revealed that personal management was a strength for both ISTJs and ESTJs. The decision-making skill was a strength for ISTJs, and power/influence was determined to be a strength for ESTJs. The high energy/results oriented skill was determined to be a developmental need for ISTJs. There was agreement between ENTJs and other raters as they both saw interpersonal relationships as a strength for that type. INTJs underrated themselves in interpersonal relationships, and ISTJs underrated themselves in decision-making. Further study is recommended to expand the general body of knowledge of leadership development research. Of particular concern are methods to identify and explore developmental needs of leaders and how those needs can be addressed in training programs. Three hundred sixty degree feedback instruments should be further analyzed in an effort to explain the differences between raters. Of concern is the high percentage of ISTJ types, which reveals a need to expand research to include significant numbers of other personality types. Consideration should be given to studies that identify the unique contributions of gender to leadership skills and development, and the impact culture has on leadership in organizations. Although statistically significant research is difficult to obtain in the behavioral sciences, the effort is worthwhile as it provides information that allows leadership development decisions to be made based on dependable data.
- The Effectiveness of Homeschool Collegiate Preparation: Four Alumni's Perceptions
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This qualitative study seeks to assess the effectiveness of homeschool collegiate preparation through the eyes of homeschool alumni. Four alumni who are current college students participated in the study. A triangulation of methods, which included surveys, open-ended questionnaires, and interviews, ensured reliability and validity. Although the students represented a wide range of varied homeschool experiences, the perceptions of all the students were that their environments prepared them for collegiate-level work at levels that are above average.
- An Investigation of Relationships Between Teacher and Administrator Knowledge and Perception of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills and Student Performance
- The purpose of this study was to (1) gather information regarding knowledge of TAAS and perceptions (attitudes) about TAAS (excluding the current battery of End of Course Tests) from teachers and administrators; (2) relate teacher and administrator knowledge and perceptions of the test to student test performance as reported in the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) Reports. Answers to the following questions were sought: 1. To what extent do teachers and administrators possess different levels of knowledge regarding TAAS, and different attitudes toward TAAS about its purpose and usefulness? 2. Are differences in teacher and administrator knowledge of TAAS related to student performance? 3. Are differences in teacher and administrator attitude toward TAAS related to student performance? Information was collected, by means of a twenty-six-item survey measuring teacher and administrator knowledge and attitude toward TAAS. The selected schools were chosen from schools rated as either exemplary or low performing by the state accountability system. The data were examined using Descriptive Statistics (Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). ANOVA was performed to determine if a significant variance existed between the responses of teachers and administrators and also between exemplary and lowperforming schools. Exemplary and low performing schools were chosen to determine if there were differences in teacher and administrator responses from these two groups. The results of this study attempt to show what, if any differences there are in attitudes toward and knowledge about TAAS based on responses from teachers and administrators from both exemplary and low performing schools. Based on the analysis of the data, there is no evidence from this study that indicates that there are significant differences in knowledge between teachers and administrators regarding TAAS. There is evidence that administrators possess a more positive attitude toward TAAS than do teachers. There is no evidence presented in this study that differences in teacher or administrator knowledge significantly impact student performance.
- The relationship between models of student laptop computer use and teacher instructional behavior
- This study investigated the relationship between four models of student laptop computer use and three components of teacher instructional behavior: planning, implementation of instruction, and evaluation of instruction. The four models of use: full access, dispersed, class set, and mixed, represented the numerous ways teachers in public and private schools and school districts nationwide implemented student use of laptop computers. Teacher planning behavior was investigated with regard to time, frequency, complexity, difficulty, the need for revision, and use of technological resources and materials. Implementation of instruction was examined with regard to student grouping, instructional strategies, instructional content/subject matter, teacher and student roles, assignments and learning tasks, and instructional activities. The evaluation of instruction component was examined with regard to assessment tasks, grading, and assessment of homework. Using a researcher-designed questionnaire, data was gathered in a single-stage cross-sectional survey from 356 teachers working in 74 public and private schools nationwide. Results indicated models of student laptop computer use had differential effects on teacher instructional behaviors. On average, teachers found planning to be more arduous, but more collegial, especially in the mixed model. The full access and mixed models were more likely to advance a constructivist approach to teacher instructional behaviors with regard to implementation and evaluation of instruction. Results from this study had implications for future research. The effects of student laptop computer use on the full access and mixed models of use should be given further study with regard to the implementation and evaluation of instruction.
- Effects of teaching reading through discussion of text structures.
- The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of teaching reading through discussion of text structures on students' reading comprehension. The design of the study was a Pretest-Posttest Control-Group Design. One hundred twenty-six sophomore and senior Thai college students majoring in English and attending afternoon English classes participated in the 10-week study and were randomly assigned to an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received reading instruction in the characteristics of narrative and expository text structures and how to discuss the details of story by applying knowledge of text structures. The control group, on the other hand, read each story silently by themselves and answered comprehension questions. The posttest means of the two groups were compared, and a t test was used to test the significance difference of the means. The results did not reveal any differences between the means. The short time of the intervention may be a crucial factor that made the two strategies yield the same effects. However, the survey responses showed the participants liked reading through discussion of text structures more than reading by themselves.
- A meta-analysis of service learning research in middle and high schools.
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This study examines the relationship between service learning innovations and improved academics, self-concept, and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. Meta-Analysis is employed to arrive at effect-size estimates for each construct. A historical overview of service learning is presented and a detailed description of the study selection process is provided. The data revealed a moderate relationship between service learning participation and academics, self-concept and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. The findings are presented, and some appropriate conclusions are drawn. A discussion of the implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are also provided.
- Preservice teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about cooperative learning in Kuwait: A quasi-experimental study
- The issue of developing effective teacher preparation and professional programs by providing effective teaching and learning strategies to prepare teachers to teach in more challenging ways and change their old ways of teaching to more powerful ones has gained great attention around the world. Cooperative learning was one of the astonishing strategies introduced by many researchers to prepare effective teachers and to solve many educational problems. Teacher educators have taken different approaches to help teachers learn and change in powerful ways. They have focused on the knowledge and attitudes of teachers in promoting their adoption of new practices through educational courses, workshops, and training. After introducing the cooperative learning strategy through a training workshop, this study investigated the knowledge of and attitude of teachers at the College of Basic Education (CBE) in Kuwait towards cooperative learning as a new teaching and learning strategy. The literature reviewed the historical and practical use, theoretical roots, different models, and outcomes of cooperative learning. In addition, (1) teachers' knowledge and attitudes as factors affecting implementation and (2) preservice teacher preparation and training in the use of cooperative learning were reviewed. An attitude survey and a knowledge test were developed based on Bouas, (1993) survey and test. Additionally, an interview guide and a demographic data survey were all used to collect data. The survey and the test were translated into the Arabic language. Ninety-one responses of participants in two experimental classes and one control class were analyzed. Twenty-one participants were interviewed. A significant difference in knowledge of and attitude towards cooperative learning was found between experimental classes and the control class (p< .05 for both knowledge and attitude). In conclusion, the training workshop affected preservice teachers' knowledge of and attitudes toward the cooperative learning strategy. Therefore, the researcher suggested that cooperative learning should be introduced in the College of Basic Education in Kuwait and the University of Kuwait as another teaching and learning strategy.
- Reader-Reported Influences on a Fifth Grader's Transaction With Extended Text
- This study was designed to investigate the question of what goes on in a reader's mind as she transacts with extended text. It was a case study with one respondent, a ten year old girl. She reported, in writing, her thoughts during teacher read aloud, subsequent silent reading of the same text, and group discussions about the text. The findings support and flesh out Rosenblatt.s transactional theory, Vygotsky.s Zone of Proximal Development theory, and Lipman.s Philosophy for Children theory. Conclusions were that there are numerous sociocultural influences on a reader's transaction with text and that these influences must be taken into account in the classroom.
- Attrition rates of teachers trained in alternative teacher certification programs, those trained in the centers for the professional development of teachers, and those trained in traditional university programs.
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This study uses teacher employment data provided by the State Board for Educator Certification to examine the similarities and differences between initial employment and attrition rates of teachers trained in three prevalent types of Texas teacher preparation programs; alternative certification programs (ACP), the centers for professional development of teachers (CPDT), and traditional certification programs (TCP). The population for the study includes all Texas teachers who completed training in these programs in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The study found that ACP participants gain employment as Texas public school teachers at a significantly higher rate than their CPDT and TCP trained peers in year-one after completion of their training. However, ACP completers experience higher attrition rates in each of the subsequent years investigated. The study concludes that the overall cumulative attrition rate of new teachers trained in these programs is not as pronounced as originally presumed, but that low production levels cannot keep up with the growing demand for new teachers. Teacher preparation program leaders must seek ways to recruit and train more teachers.
- A content analysis of reading software commercially available for Pre-K to 3rd grade children.
- The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the content and characteristics of the currently available commercial reading software for Pre-K through third grade children. The design of the study was a content analysis. Based on the evaluation rubric established by the researcher, ten commercial reading software were selected to be analyzed. By reviewing and transcribing, the data were obtained, and then coded, categorized, and interpreted. The findings from the analysis revealed that all reading software programs offered exercised for practicing basic phonics skills; the alphabetic principle, letter-sound association, word knowledge, sentence building, and reading comprehension. Depending on the software developers, phonics-based practice was presented in two ways; separate skill-based practice emphasis and storybook-reading emphasis. All software programs utilized drill-and-practice, direct instruction and mastery learning methods and utilized gaming strategies to motivate and engage the learners. Multimedia technology was used to make the software more appealing. All reading software programs were developed on the perspectives that view learning to read as the continuum of a child's oral language development and background experience about words. It is recommended that parents and teachers review and select the software based on reliable information sources, use the software as supplementary practice based on the learning objectives identified and individual student needs.
- The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
- The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body.
- Teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular activities: Profiles of frequent and infrequent use.
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The purpose of this study was to develop profiles that described teachers with infrequent and frequent teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular purposes. Responses to the teachers' self-reported needs, beliefs, demographics, Internet skill levels, and other information were examined as the basis for the study. The study was descriptive in nature, utilized correlation and causal-comparative methods, and employed a convenience sample. The population consisted of 3,187 public school teachers from Nebraska and four service regions in upstate New York. Data related to the research questions were gathered using an online survey. After minimum access was determined, frequencies, percentages, t tests, and correlations were used to examine the data. Teachers with infrequent (<15 mins. /week) teacher-directed student use of the Internet comprised 63% of the sample. Teachers from elementary and high school levels were almost equally represented in the infrequent use group. The majority of the high school level teachers were assigned to language arts, mathematics or science courses. Teachers in the frequent (>. 90 mins. /week) use group were predominately (75%) high school level, with the majority teaching computer and business subjects. Significant differences were found between the use groups regarding beliefs about the Internet's effect on students and schools and feelings about designing lessons that included the Internet or technology. Within the infrequent use group, significant correlations were found between comparative Internet skill levels and (a) hours of technology-related professional development and (b) willingness to use the Internet for professional development. Further study should be given to the question of how these differences and correlations may affect the amount of teacher-directed student use of the Internet. The profiles developed in this study provide a starting point to assist regional, district, and school-level personnel in assessing local needs and focusing resources on developing strategies to increase teacher-directed student use of the Internet.
- Better Teaching Model? Middle School Science Classroom Using the 4MAT Instructional Strategy vs. Lessons Created Without this Model
- The problem investigated was the need for effective and efficient learning for middle school science students to meet expectations set in Goals 2000. The use of the 4MAT Instructional Method was investigated as a possible method for attainment of current science standards. The study included one middle school science instructor's classes with 89 participating students. Measurements were taken and comparisons drawn using three assessment methods to determine if improved academic achievement and attitude scores resulted. Data analysis yielded no significant conclusion in either academic achievement or attitude improvement; however, observations of the researcher indicated potential usefulness of the 4MAT approach. The t-value calculated in the assessment methods was insufficient with a .05 probability of error present in the findings. The limitations of the study skewed the results and outweighed the possible observational insight.
- Assessing the effect of inquiry-based professional development on science achievement tests scores.
- This study analyzed student test scores to determine if teacher participation in an inquiry-based professional development was able to make a statistically significant difference in student achievement levels. Test scores for objectives that assessed the critical thinking skills and problem-solving strategies modeled in a science inquiry institute were studied. Inquiry-based experiences are the cornerstones for meeting the science standards for scientific literacy. State mandated assessment tests measure the levels of student achievement and are reported as meeting minimum expectations or showing mastery for specific learning objectives. Students test scores from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test (TAAS) for 8th grade science and the Biology End Of Course (EOC) exams were analyzed using ANCOVA, Chi Square, and Logistic Regression, with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) 7th Grade Science Subtest as covariate. It was hypothesized that the students of Inquiry Institute teachers would have higher scale scores and better rates of mastery on the critical thinking objectives than the students of non-Institute teachers. It was also hypothesized that it would be possible to predict student mastery on the objectives that assessed critical thinking and problem solving based on Institute participation. This quasi-experimental study did not show a statistically significant difference between the two groups. The effects of inquiry-based professional development may not be determined by analyzing the results of the standardized tests currently being used in Texas. Inquiry training may make a difference, but because of factors such as the ceiling effect, insufficient time to implement the program, and test items that are intended to but do not address critical thinking skills, the TAAS and EOC tests may not accurately assess effects of the Inquiry Institute. The results of this study did indicate the best predictor of student mastery for the 8th grade science TAAS and Biology EOC may possibly be prior knowledge acquired in elementary school and as demonstrated on the 7th grade ITBS science subtest.
- The Effects of a Kindergarten-First Grade Looping Program on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem
- The purpose of this study was to determine if academic achievement and academic self-esteem can be linked to the non-traditional organizational pattern of looping in kindergarten and first grade classes. Looping is defined as one teacher remaining with the same students for two or more years. Using a control group-experimental group design where the experimental group participated in the looping program and the control group did not, and applying the statistical procedure of multivariate analysis of variance (MANAVO), it was found that there was no significant difference between the subjects in the two groups on the criterion variable of academic achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the criterion variable of academic self-esteem as measured by the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Second Edition. It was concluded that further study would need to be done to determine if there are advantages to an organizational pattern of looping for students in public elementary schools.
- The impact of drug testing on secondary school students.
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The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in different years (i.e. 1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000).
- A model for developing and disseminating multimedia materials for teacher educators.
- The purpose of this study was to develop a model that would enhance the development, dissemination, and adoption of educational multimedia materials. The grounded theory definition of open coding was used to analyze data collected from the 3-year Technology Leadership Web Library Project at the University of North Texas. Weekly meeting minutes, email communication, reports, notes, questionnaires, and surveys were examined to determine major factors involved in the process of product development and dissemination. From the analysis of this study, five major factors in product development and dissemination were identified. These factors were leadership, team dynamics, expert advisors, feedback, and consumers. The synthesis of the factors led to the development of the PROMOTE (process revolving around ongoing management of team and evaluative feedback) model. The PROMOTE model is based on the establishment of a system that includes leadership, development team, and expert advisors at its center. The system is tied together with well-established feedback loops for stages of evaluation. The PROMOTE model is iterative and uses consumer feedback to generate new products. The PROMOTE model differs from other product development and evaluation models both in the focus of the process and the nature of the evaluation feedback.
- Social and Economic Characteristics Related to the Immediate College Transition of Recent High School Graduates: A Study of Southwest Region TRIO Participants' College Continuation
- The purpose of this study was to determine whether: 1) Southwest Region TRIO high school students between the years 1991 - 2001 continued to college immediately after high school at rates significantly different than similar population students on national and state levels; and 2) immediate college continuation for this group was a function of social and economic characteristics including race, gender, parental education, and home-care environment. The sample included 414 TRIO program participants from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Data on the 414 participants were gathered using an existing database containing demographic and post-secondary enrollment information on study participants. The findings of this study reveal Southwest Region TRIO students during this ten-year period continued to college immediately after high school at rates not significantly different than the national low-income population of students. Results indicate that when compared to all students in the five-state southwest region, the majority low-income, first-generation TRIO population continued to college at rates not significantly different than all-income students in the region. Findings of this study also revealed select social and economic characteristics were not predictors of immediate college continuation for this group. Finally, the study showed out-of-home care environment students continued to college at significantly higher rates than in-home care Southwest Region TRIO students.
- Staff Development Methods for Planning Lessons with Integrated Technology
- This study compared cooperative and individual staff development methods for planning lessons with integrated technology. Twenty-three teachers from one elementary school participated in the study. The sample was the entire population. Nine participants were assigned to the control group, and fourteen participants were assigned to the experimental group. Names of participants were randomly drawn to determine group assignment. Participants in the control group worked individually in all three staff development sessions, while participants in the experimental group chose a partner, with whom they worked cooperatively in all three staff development sessions. Each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan prior to participation in three staff development sessions. Following the sessions, each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan. Three independent raters rated lesson plans to determine the participants' respective levels on the Level of Technology Implementation Observation Checklist (Moersch, 2001). The ratings of the lesson plans submitted before the training were compared to those collected after the training using a two-by-two mixed model ANOVA. The occasion (pre- vs. post-test), group, and interaction variables were all statistically significant at the .1 level; however, only the occasion variable had a strong effect size. These data suggest that (1) all teachers who participated in the training, whether individually or cooperatively, were able to develop lesson plans at a higher level of technology implementation and (2) cooperative staff development methods had no advantage over individual staff development methods with respect to teachers' ability to write lessons with integrated technology.
- Students' and teachers' perceptions of culturally responsive teaching: A case study of an urban middle school.
- This was a qualitative study that used the procedures of case study design while incorporating ethnographic techniques of interviewing and non-participant observation in classrooms with six selected students, six teachers, and eight interviews of selected administrators and staff members in one middle school in a large Texas urban school district. The purpose of this study was to understand the educational experiences and perceptions of selected immigrant students and their mainstream teachers. Following the method of case study design, the educational experiences of English Language Learner (ELL) students were examined in the naturally occurring context of the school and the classroom. Because the goal of case studies is to understand a given phenomenon from the perceptions of the participants (referred to as “emic” perspective) all participants were interviewed in-depth in order to understand their unique perceptions. The study took place during a five-month period in the spring of 2002. Data were analyzed concurrently during data collection and were framed by Geneva Gay's (2000) characteristics of culturally responsive teaching. The findings and interpretation of data are divided into three parts that encompass the results of the five research questions that guided this study. Part one presents the teachers' perceptions and addresses the themes that arose from research questions one and two: what are teachers' perceptions of the academic problems facing (ELL) students as they enter the mainstream classroom? What instructional practices do regular teachers use to meet the academic needs of students? Part two presents the students' perceptions and addresses the findings from research questions three and four: what are (ELL) students' perceptions of the academic challenges facing them in the mainstream classroom? What are the ELL students' perceptions of the instructional practices used by mainstream teachers to meet their academic needs? Part three addresses the fifth research question that guided this study: What administrative policies and procedures are in place in the school and district to meet the educational needs of ELL students?
- The effect of a laboratory-based, in-context, constructivist teaching approach on preservice teachers' science knowledge and teaching efficacy.
- This study began with a concern about elementary teachers, as a whole, avoiding the teaching of science in the elementary classroom. The three main factors noted as reasons for this avoidance were: (1) minimum science requirements to reach certification, leading to a lack of preparedness; (2) lack of exposure to science in elementary school; and (3) general dislike for and understanding of science leading to a low self-efficacy in science teaching. The goal of the Environmental Science Lab for Elementary Educators (ESLEE) was to conduct an intervention. The intervention was lab-based and utilized in-context, constructivist approaches to positively influence participants' abilities to retain science content knowledge and to affect their belief in themselves as teachers. This intervention was created to respond to all three of the main avoidance factors noted above. The research utilized a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest control group design. Two pretests and two posttests (science teaching efficacy and content knowledge) were given to all 1,100 environmental science lab students at the participating institution over two long semesters. Three experimental/control groups were formed from this population. The Experimental Group was comprised of 46 students who participated in the ESLEE Intervention. Control Group 1 was comprised of 232 self-described preservice educators (SDPEEs) in "regular" labs. Control Group 2 was comprised of 62 nonSDPEEs taught by ESLEE instructors in "regular" lab settings. A DM MANOVA was used to analyze the data. The results demonstrated that the ESLEE Intervention was statistically significant at the p> .05 level for science teaching efficacy between the Experimental Group and Control Group 1, and was statistically significant for both content knowledge and efficacy between the Experimental Group and Control Group 2. More notably, the effect size (delta) results ranged from .19 to .71 and .06 to .55 (partial eta squared) and demonstrated the practical significance of implementing the ESLEE Intervention.
- Elementary Teacher Attrition and Factors of Organizational Climate
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As the United States faces a critical teacher shortage, it is important to examine all factors that may contribute to the revolving door of teacher attrition. This study explored the climate of elementary schools to determine if there was a correlation between teacher attrition and school organizational climate. Three basic research questions were addressed: 1) Is there a relationship between school organizational climate and teacher attrition? 2) Is a change in campus leadership related to school organizational climate? 3) Is there a relationship between a change in campus leadership and teacher attrition? Thirty-seven elementary schools were examined in terms of their individual teacher attrition rates and their climate survey scores. The data utilized in this study came from one school district's climate survey and teacher attrition rates for the 2000-2001 school year. The findings of this study indicate that factors of organizational climate may predict teacher attrition rates. Specifically, instructiona support may be related to teacher attrition. Major components of instructional support include principal behaviors, respect for teaching and learning, and communication with administrators. Teacher attrition was not related to principal experience. Also, principal experience was not related to factors of school organizational climate.
- The impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of at-risk students.
- The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, and determination of short term and long term effects.
- A Study Of The Effects Of High School Scheduling Systems On Achievement Rates, Attendance Rates, And Dropout Rates
- This study attempted to determine if the type of class schedule (traditional, A/B block, or accelerated block) used in Texas public high schools significantly affects students' achievement results, attendance rates and dropout rates. One thousand four hundred ninety (1490) Texas high school principals were surveyed to determine the type of schedule currently in use on each campus, the type of schedule previously used on each campus, the length of time the current schedule has been in place on each campus, and the length of time that the previous schedule was used on each campus. This study is particularly significant in that this research provides information to assist principals in determining if block scheduling is instrumental in improving achievement in reading and mathematics, in improving attendance and in lowering dropout rates. The results of the study indicated that the use of a particular type of schedule: traditional, A/B block, or accelerated block is not directly correlated to improved achievement, attendance, or dropout rates. An expectation that the implementation of a traditional, A/B block, or accelerated block schedule will be the sole factor to cause improved student achievement, improved attendance rates or improved dropout rates is inappropriate. Ultimately, campus and districts officials must assure that effective teaching practices are occurring on each campus, regardless of the schedule type. Currently, a projected (Texas) state education funding shortfall is causing school district administrators to review cost-saving options for the 2003 - 2004 fiscal year. There is discussion in many districts regarding the fact that traditional scheduling is more economical than A/B block or accelerated block scheduling. The results of this study indicate that the decision to move campuses from A/B block or accelerated block to traditional scheduling might be made as a cost-saving move without negatively impacting student achievement, attendance rates or dropout rates.
- A Case Study of Parental Behaviors in an English Language Learner Community Technology Literacy Lab Setting and the Extension of the Behaviors in the Home
- The purpose of the study was to describe a family literacy program attempting to teach adult English language learners (ELL) the knowledge and skills that would allow them to support their children's learning at home. The methodology employed was a multi-case study. Fourteen adult participants were interviewed to gather information regarding the factors that influenced the adult participant's ability to support their child's learning prior to participation in the family literacy program. The study focused on the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired in the literacy program and used to support their child's learning at home and the curriculum and instruction that the participants used to influence their child's learning. The methodology used to gather information included adult English language learner interviews, field observations, and contact analysis of lesson plans. The following conclusions were derived based on analysis of the data: 1. In the family literacy program that was studied, the only prior factor that appeared to influence the parent's ability to support their child's learning was the education level of the participant. 2. Pronunciation, conversation, listening, grammar and writing are are essential skills that ELL parents use to support their child's learning. Attitudes were directly affected by the participants' ability to master the English language in order to be able to guide their children through the U.S. educational system. 3. The curriculum supported the learning; however the instruction was vital to modeling the procedures for learning that the participants used to support their children's success in school. 4. Regardless of other factors such as marital status, occupation, and other variations in family background, all participants based their ability to support their child's learning on their own ability to master the English language.
- Computer Skills And Usage Of Students In Grades 10-12 Who Are Legally Blind: A Descriptive Analysis
- This research project was a descriptive analysis of the computer usage and skills of academic students in grades 10-12 who are legally blind and attending public school in the Region 10 Education Service Center service area of Texas. In addition, this study provided a process that other regions in the state or educational agencies may duplicate to document the computer skills and usage of students with visual impairments in their area. Twenty-seven students who are legally blind were surveyed by their teachers of the visually impaired regarding their computer usage and skill abilities, and eleven of the twenty-seven students were interviewed by the researcher to gain further information pertaining to computer usage and future plans upon graduation. Using prior research as a basis for understanding how sighted students used the computer, it was found that students who are legally blind used the computer similarly to their sighted peers except that students with significant visual impairments seemed to use to the computer to listen to music more than their sighted counterparts. In addition, students who are legally blind indicated that they learned most of their computer skills at school rather than at home like their sighted teenagers. Furthermore, it was determined that students who are legally blind were not learning the computer skills necessary for success in post-secondary education and vocational endeavors. Although the students were being exposed to many different computer applications, most did not use the applications weekly, nor report that they were experienced with the majority of basic skills related to applications such as word processing, Internet searching, emailing, spreadsheets and databases.