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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Superintendent Preparation for the 21St Century
This study focused on the perceptions of six superintendents regarding the state of the profession as of 2012, and it reports their thoughts and suggestions as to what preparation is needed by superintendents for the 21st century. The participating superintendents, who were all members of the Western States Benchmarking Consortium, were employed in six school districts in five states. Data were collected through surveys and telephone interviews. The findings of this study clearly indicate a lack of cohesion between what superintendents learned in their university professional preparation programs and what they practice in their day to day activities. The superintendents involved in this study tended to favor a hybrid approach – rigorous theoretical insight grounded in real world practice. Since superintendents typically spend a good deal of their time solving challenging problems including funding shortfalls, competition from other educational institutions, and the constant scrutiny of the media; their preparation needs to provide opportunities to develop their leadership skills and solve real world problems in an environment where they can take risks. Mentoring and participation in professional consortiums were recommended as key elements for the preparation of the twenty-first century superintendent. This study contributes to the discussion of how to best prepare school leaders for the current and future demands of superintendency. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149596/
From Block to Traditional Schedule: The Impact on Academic Achievement, Attendance Rates, and Dropout Rates
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of school schedule on student achievement and attendance of ninth and tenth grade students in metropolitan area Texas high schools (n = 22) and campus dropout rates. High schools that were analyzed in this study made a transition from A/B block scheduling in the 2003-04 school year to a traditional school schedule in the 2004-05 school year. Academic achievement, attendance rates and dropout rates were gathered through the archived files of the Texas Agency through the Academic Indicator of Excellence System (AEIS). Academic achievement was measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics standardized tests. This study compared the mean scores of ninth grader student achievement, attendance, and dropout rates from the 2003-04 school year to the mean scores of the tenth graders from the same schools from the 2004-05 school year, after the schools converted from an A/B block schedule to a traditional class schedule. Each independent variable was divided into four subgroups; campus mean results, minority student results, limited English proficient (LEP) student results, and low-socioeconomic student results. Students under the A/B block scored significantly higher in reading achievement than when they were instructed the following year under a traditional schedule. Paired sample t-tests were conducted to analyze the data for each subgroup, and showed there was a statistically significance in reading / language arts student achievement scores for all subgroups. Statistical significance was determined with a ninety five percent confidence level (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis revealed varied results in mean scores for math academic achievement and attendance rates, but no statistical significant difference. Comparison of data showed a slight increase in mean scores for dropout rates in traditional schedule, however the results were not significant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9128/
The effects of an inquiry-based American history program on the achievement of middle school and high school students.
Implicit in the call for educational reform in the teaching of social studies has been the suggestion that pursuing inquiry-based principles will lead to improvement in student achievement. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two types of pedagogy: traditional and inquiry-based upon student achievement as measured by a standards-based, state administered examination. Second, this study examined the relationship between the treatment teachers' level of implementation and student achievement. A nonequivalent control group posttest and experimental design was used in this study. Subjects involved in this study include 84 secondary American history teachers and their respective students from a large urban public school district in Texas. The sample consisted of two groups, one taught by traditional/didactic instruction (n=48) and the other taught by inquiry-based pedagogy (n=36). Data for this study were collected using a classroom observation protocol based upon the level of use rubric developed by the concerns-based adoption model. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) (p<.05) was used to measure the effects of inquiry-based instruction and traditional pedagogy on student achievement. Student achievement results were measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for American history, grades 8 and 11. The study found that mean scores of the Grade 8 History Alive! group were significantly higher than the scores of the control group, but not for the Grade 11 History Alive! group. However, a comparison of mean scores by teachers' level-of-use suggested that the more faithful the teacher in designing standards-based lessons and delivering them through inquiry, the greater retention of American history student's knowledge about the subject. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5273/
Teacher certification content area tests: Predictors of teacher knowledge for post-baccalaureate secondary candidates.
In response to a growing teacher shortage, increasing numbers of secondary teachers are prepared through streamlined certification programs. For this reason, assessing candidates' content area knowledge gained from institutions of higher education across the United States is an important program admission factor as candidates must demonstrate content area knowledge by passing a Texas content area certification test (TExES). This study examines content knowledge for candidates enrolled in an online post­-baccalaureate program from September 1, 2002 through April 30, 2005. Academic transcript analysis and grades 8-­12 subject tests of the TExES were used as a proxy for subject matter knowledge for a sample of individuals seeking initial teacher certification in a post­-baccalaureate teacher certification at the University of North Texas. Descriptive data,linear regression, and logistic regression analyses were used to draw conclusions about the content area knowledge of the individuals in the sample. Scores on the TExES were used to determine the relationships between the content area knowledge of initial certification students and the number of content area courses completed, the grade point averages, and time elapsed between the completion of the last content area course and the student's initial attempt on the TExES. Results differed by the content area of the candidates. Analysis of variance results indicate significant differences between the five test groups with regard to number of courses taken F(4,139) = 9.334, p < .001 grade point average F(4,139) = 5.733, p < .001 and time between the last course taken F(4,139) = 6.135, p < .001. The three­-predictor model was statistically significant F(3,32) = 3.753, p = .02 for the History test group. The variable, upper-­level grade point average accounted for approximately 12% variance among scores within the History test group, and the variable months of time elapsed between last content area course work and the initial state content examination accounted for approximately 13% of variance among scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5267/
The impact of selected school factors on the test performance of African-American economically disadvantaged elementary students.
In order for America to retain its superior position in a global economy it is imperative that all students receive educational opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Currently, African-American economically disadvantaged students in the United States perform lower on standardized tests than their grade and age-level peers. Educators must find ways to improve the performance of students in this group in order to maximize future opportunities. Through a mixed-methodology approach, the current study finds three school factors that may positively impact the performance of African-American economically disadvantaged students: high expectations, student-teacher relationships and teacher effectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative analysis provides perspectives from principals primarily from a large urban school district on the impact of these factors on student performance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5275/
The effects of reciprocal teaching comprehension-monitoring strategy on 3rd grade students' reading comprehension.
Reciprocal teaching comprehension-monitoring is a reading comprehension instructional procedure that combines four instructional strategies: predicting, summarizing, questioning, and clarifying to enhance students' comprehension of text. The procedure is a dialogue between the teacher and the students. During reciprocal teaching instruction, the teacher and students take turns leading the dialogue in order to enhance the students' comprehension-monitoring skills. The research on reciprocal teaching has included meta-analyses, group designs, qualitative designs, and single-subject research designs. These studies have identified gaps in the literature to include the measurement of treatment fidelity and treatment acceptability, as well as the psychometric properties of the instruments used to measure daily reading comprehension growth. These gaps were investigated in this study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of reciprocal teaching comprehension-monitoring with a group of fifteen 3rd grade students reading at grade level. Specifically, this study investigated the use of curriculum-based measurement maze probes (CBM-maze probes) to formatively assess the reading comprehension growth of the students. Additionally, this study implemented treatment integrity procedures and investigated the acceptability of reciprocal teaching and the CBM-maze probes through a treatment acceptability rating scale. A multiple baseline across groups with three phases (baseline, intervention, follow-up) was employed. Overall, visual analysis of the data suggested reciprocal teaching was an effective intervention in increasing reading comprehension abilities in students as measured by the CBM-maze probes. All three groups exhibited continual growth on the daily comprehension measures across all three phases. Implications for practice, cautions in interpreting the results, and future directions are discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3919/
The effects of the recapture provision of Senate Bill 7 of 1993 upon the quality of schools: An analysis of perceptions of administrators in both Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 schools.
The purpose of this 4-case study was to determine the significance of the effects of the recapture legislation in Texas upon the quality of schools as perceived by administrators in participating school districts, including those surrendering funds (Chapter 41) and those receiving funds (Chapter 42). The recapture provision requires districts above a designated level of property wealth to surrender excess funds to be appropriated to districts with property wealth below a designated level. The study solicited administrators’ perceptions in both district types as to whether the changes in funding have significantly affected the quality of their schools. Using University Scholastic League classifications as a guideline for size, 2 Chapter 41 districts, and 2 Chapter 42 districts, 1 small and 1 large of each type, were selected to participate. Variables included 5 indicators of schools quality that are repeatedly mentioned in literature concerning effective schools: curriculum, climate, leadership, facilities, and safety and security. A review of literature included the historical development of public school finance systems as well as studies of the effects of efforts to equalize funding upon both the financial health and academic performance of schools. A weak link or no link between funding systems and student performance or financial health was indicated. This study supported these conclusions with both Chapter 42 districts; however, there was a discrepancy between the perceptions of administrators in the two Chapter 41 districts, indicating a need for further study. The unique aspects of this study are that it solicited directly the perceptions of acting administrators and that it included administrators in districts receiving funds to determine how those funds are being used and whether they have a significant effect upon school quality. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9013/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2995/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3343/
The High School Associate Principal: Case Studies of an Emerging Role in Educational Leadership and Administration
Researchers in the field of educational administration have given little attention to the role of the associate principal. The research reported in this dissertation sought to fill that void through a close examination of the roles of the associate principals on two campuses in two different school districts. In addition to illustrating the role of the associate principal, the research examines how experience as an associate principal influences the careers of educational administrators. Data were collected primarily by means of semi-structured interviews with principals and district administrators as well as the associate principals themselves to provide multiple perspectives. Data were summarized in detailed interview logs, coded to discover the themes that were characteristic of each case, then analyzed to identify the patterns within and across the cases. The interviews were also analyzed as narratives reflecting on how experience as an associate principal can shape an educational administrator's career. The interview data were supplemented with documents relating to the associate principals, their campuses, and their districts. The results suggest that the associate principal position is a crucial step on the career ladder to a secondary principalship. Assistant principals with knowledge and skills in curriculum, instruction, and assessment are more likely to be selected as associates, and associates are more likely to be selected for principalships. The results also indicate that instructional leadership for associate principals in Texas focuses primarily on improving students' performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and on increasing participation in and performance on other standardized tests, in particular Advanced Placement, SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT (formerly American College Testing), and the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33150/
Eighth Grade Science Teacher Quality Variables and Student Achievement
While No Child Left Behind ushered in the age of the "highly qualified" teacher, accountability focus has been shifted to the "highly effective" teacher, defined as teacher impact on student achievement. The Science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is used to judge the adequate yearly progress of students in Texas public schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of teacher factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, teaching experience, university selectivity, certification route, National Center for Education Statistics Locale/Code, number of science content and pedagogical course semester credit hours, grade point average for science content and pedagogical coursework) on student achievement using the eighth grade Science TAKS. The primary dependent variables were students' five objective scores and their overall scores on the eighth grade Science TAKS examination. The sample was 44 eighth grade science teachers and 4,119 students in Texas public schools. Multiple linear regression models enabled examinations of the relationships between teacher quality variables and student achievement. No significant relationships between the variables were found. Small effect sizes for the beta weights and structure coefficients occurred between teachers' science credit hours and TAKS objectives to explain 20% of the variance for TAKS Living Systems and the Environment, 39% of the variance for TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and 21% of the variance for TAKS Earth and Space Systems. Teacher experience accounted for 24% of the variance with TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and pedagogical credit hours explained 30% of the variance with TAKS Motion, Forces, and Energy. Science GPA explained 31% of the variance for the TAKS Earth and Space Systems objective. Policy makers should examine NCLB assumptions about teacher content knowledge as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness via student achievement on standardized tests. While measuring content knowledge provides a simple, efficient, and cost effective form of accountability, the small effect size indicated other factors, including teaching practice, need investigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33159/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3348/
A select study of Texas Principal Preparation Programs and their Relationship to Adult Learning and the Professional Leadership Responsibilities of their Graduates
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between principal preparation programs in Texas and professional leadership practices and responsibilities based on Mid-continent Research for Educational and Learning's (McREL) 21 leadership responsibilities. The study also examined the relationship between Texas principal preparation programs and Knowles's principles of adult learning. Through an online survey, the study solicited practicing principals' perceptions as to whether McREL's 21 leadership responsibilities and Knowles's principles of adult learning were included in their principal preparation programs. Quantitative findings indicated there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their principal preparation programs and the university/certification program in which they obtained their principal certification. Additionally, there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the year their principal certification was completed. There were also no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the geographic location of the school district in which they were presently employed. However, the study found there were significant differences in two areas of leadership responsibilities when comparisons were generated between principals who were fully certified before assuming the role of principal and those who were not fully certified: 1) ideas/beliefs and 2) optimizer. Principals who had not completed their certification program scored the two areas higher than those who had. The study also utilized qualitative methodology through in-depth interviews with principal program coordinators and practicing principals. Program coordinators and principals revealed leadership responsibilities of "communication," "culture," and "visibility" as areas of emphasis and importance in their programs. The need for more emphasis in the area of "discipline" was communicated mutually by program coordinators and principals. Principals stated areas of "knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment" and "resources" as leadership responsibilities needing more emphasis. Both program coordinators and principals concurred principal preparation programs should have more emphasis and importance placed upon Knowles's principles of adult learning. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33205/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3327/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2917/
Career Paths to the Texas Public School Superintendency
This study focused on the identification of career paths that led to the Texas public school superintendency, including an examination of career path differences associated with gender, ethnicity, and district type, and on the identification of the career path positions superintendents perceived as being the most beneficial in preparing them for the superintendency. Additionally, the study examined place-bound versus career-bound superintendents. The most common career path to the Texas public school superintendency was secondary teacher, secondary principal, and superintendent. Female administrators and administrators who worked in large districts were more likely to take the director route to the superintendency. Additionally, most major urban superintendents took the director route to the superintendency. Ethnicity was not a significant factor in determining the career path to the superintendency. A significant correlation did exist between educational attainment and the secondary teacher, secondary assistant principal, secondary principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent career path. A higher representation of superintendent respondents who held earned doctorates existed in that career path than in any of the other career path groups. While educational attainment was important in higher paying districts, most Texas superintendents did not hold doctorates. Few held doctorates from the most prestigious, nationally recognized universities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4970/
The Impact of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! on Adolescent Girls
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine the impact, if any, of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! on adolescent girls in the areas of friendship, school issues, family issues, body image, and assertiveness after participating in the religious-based program for nine monthly modules. Participants completed pretests and posttests in the areas of self-concept and basic Jewish knowledge. Quantitative results demonstrated statistically significant results in the areas of basic knowledge of Jewish female role models, values, and traditions, and statistically significant results in the areas of general, parental/home, and global self-concept. Qualitative results revealed inconsistent results with application of lessons taught, with some effect being acknowledged in the areas of friendship, gossip, bullying, self-defense, and assertiveness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4922/
The impact of leadership capacity and style on professional learning communities in schools.
Leadership capacity may be enhanced when school staff members work together as a professional learning community (PLC). Leadership style may impact how well a school staff work as a professional learning community. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between principal leadership style and the level of PLC on 18 campuses across the US that were working on becoming PLCs. Staff members answered questions from two surveys which measured the level of leadership capacity, leadership style of the principal, and level of professional learning community within the schools. Questions regarding leadership capacity and leadership style were taken from the Leadership Capacity School Survey. Questions designed to measure the level of PLC on a campus were taken from the Professional Learning Community Assessment. The product-moment correlation coefficient or Pearson r was calculated between the answers from the questions from both surveys. The results indicated that when a capacity building principal is working with staff members to create a PLC, a higher level of PLC development is evidenced. When principals used collaboration with their staff, their schools operated at a lower level as a PLC. These results encourage principals to consider building capacity among their staff members if they want to create professional learning communities on their campus. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9740/
The effect of trade books on the environmental literacy of 11th and 12th graders in aquatic science.
The purpose of this study was to compare the environmental literacy of 11th and 12th graders who participated in an eighteen-week environmental education program using trade books versus 11th- and 12th-graders who participated in an eighteen-week, traditional environmental education program without the use of trade books. This study was conducted using a quasi-experimental research technique. Four high school aquatic science classes at two suburban high schools were used in the research. One teacher at each high school taught one control class and one experimental class of aquatic science. In the experimental classes, four trade books were read to the classes during the eighteen-week semester. These four books were selected by the participating teachers before the semester began. The books used were A Home by the Sea, Sea Otter Rescue, There's a Hair in My Dirt, and The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo. The instrument used to measure environmental literacy was the Children's Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale. This test was given at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester. The scores at the end of the semester were analyzed by 2 X 2 mixed model ANOVA with the teacher as the random effect and the condition (trade books) as the fixed effect. The statistical analysis of this study showed that the students in the experimental classes did not score higher than the control classes on the Children's Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale or on a subset of "water" questions. Several limitations were placed on this research. These limitations included the following: (1) a small number of classes and a small number of teachers, (2) change from the original plan of using environmental science classes to aquatic science classes, (3) possible indifference of the students, and (4) restrictive teaching strategies of the teachers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4311/
A value-added approach to determine the relationships of mentoring to novice teacher classroom effectiveness.
The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between scores of the new teachers' classroom effectiveness with numerical indexes of mentor support, mentor infrastructure, and workplace ecology. In addition, this study sought to determine the effect of various demographics (i.e., gender, age, race, degree, teaching level, and certification route) on the Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) scores of first-year teachers, and to determine the differences, if any, between the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores of first-year teachers who remained on campus, switched campuses, or left the district. This study is primarily correlational in nature - looking for relationships between quantifiable variables. The subjects are 68 first-year teachers. The mandatory mentoring program the subjects were involved in consisted of a paid, veteran teacher who worked on the same campus as the first-year teacher and assisted in instructional or behavioral needs. This study measured the impact of the first-year teachers' mentoring experiences to the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores and teacher retention. The findings suggest that the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores might not be an appropriate tool for uncovering which aspects of mentoring contribute to student achievement and retention. Adding the value-added measurement tool to the categories of mentor support (MS), mentor infrastructure (MI), and workplace ecology (WE), rendered no statistically significant results. Therefore, further research is necessary to continue to define the effective characteristics of mentoring and its impact on classroom effectiveness and retention. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9773/
Parental Perception of Satisfaction and Understanding of Special Education Services
The purpose of this study was to examine the satisfaction and understanding of parents of young children with disabilities in North Texas in regard to the special education services they receive through their local education authority. A mixed non-experimental research design utilizing the survey method was used to obtain the data collected from a sample of 230 parents with children with disabilities from preschool to elementary ages. Factorial analysis techniques were first used to assess the validity of the 14 quantitative items by splitting the sample into 2 equivalent groups: the development group and the validation group. Exploratory factor analysis extracted 2 factors after eliminating 4 items: satisfaction and understanding. This 2-factor structure was confirmed in the validation group. The final 10-item survey demonstrated satisfactory reliability and validity. Overall, parents were very satisfied with the special education services and reported a good understanding of those services. Two x two (number of children x years of services) ANOVAs were used to examine the differences on parental satisfaction and understanding. No statistically significant differences were found except that parents with 2 or 3 children were more satisfied than the counterparts with only 1 child in the special education program. This difference was practically meaningful. Data provided by 4 open-ended questions revealed that parent training and communication were the most popular strategies mentioned as methods to increase parental understanding of the special education process. The best sources of receiving special education information were ARD committees and teachers/diagnosticians. Excessive and wordy paperwork was the least helpful source of information regarding receiving special education. Postal-mail and the ARD meetings with diagnosticians were the best methods of acquiring special education information. Findings from this study, especially on the open-ended questions, suggested the special education program and services can be improved to better serve the parents and their children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6082/
Teenager's doing history out-of-school: An intrinsic case study of situated learning in history.
This intrinsic case study documents a community-based history expedition implemented as a project-based, voluntary, out-of-school history activity. The expedition's development was informed by the National Education Association's concept of the intensive study of history, its structure by the history seminary, and its spirit by Webb's account of seminar as history expedition. Specific study objectives included documentation of the planning, implementation, operation, and outcomes of the expedition, as well as the viability of the history expedition as a vehicle for engaging teenagers in the practice of history. Finally, the study examined whether a history expedition might serve as a curriculum of identity. Constructivist philosophy and situated learning theory grounded the analysis and interpretation of the study. Undertaken in North Central Texas, the study followed the experiences of six teenagers engaged as historians who were given one year to research and write a historical monograph. The monograph concerned the last horse cavalry regiment deployed overseas as a mounted combat unit by the U.S. Army during World War II. The study yielded qualitative data in the form of researcher observations, participant interviews, artifacts of participant writing, and participant speeches. In addition, the study includes evaluations of the historical monograph by subject matter experts. The data indicate that participants and audience describe the history expedition as a highly motivational experience which empowered participants to think critically, write historically, and create an original product valuable to the regiment's veterans, the veterans' families, the State of Texas, and military historians. The study supports the contention of the National Education Association that the intensive study of history can be beneficial both to expedition participants and to their community. The assertion that engaging teenagers as researchers within a discipline serves as a curriculum of identity was supported in the study as well. The study underscored the importance of oral history as a gateway for learning about modern history. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6090/
An Analysis of the Emotional Intelligence and Personality of Principals Leading Professional Learning Communities
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a principal's emotional intelligence and personality and his or her ability to implement and develop professional learning communities within the school. The Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA) was administered to principals and teachers in 13 schools in Texas ranging from elementary to high school. Based on the strength of the PLCA scores, two elementary schools were selected to participate in case study research. The principals of these two campuses were administered an emotional intelligence instrument (MSCEIT), a personality instrument (DiSC), and were interviewed along with three of their teachers. The findings indicate that both of these principals scored high in the Influential and Conscientiousness subscales and low in the Dominance subscale. The principals also possessed either near-average or above-average emotional intelligence with both principals scoring particularly strong in the Strategic subscale. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6093/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2192/
School Consolidation Impact on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures in Texas
This study examined financial aspects of the consolidation or annexation of 12 pairs of school districts in Texas during the period 1996-2006. Nine of the twelve districts consolidated by mutual agreement of the two school boards and three annexations were by order of the Commissioner of Education of Texas. Financial criteria studied were: a) per pupil expenditures, b) total state aid, c) transportation costs, d) administrative costs, e) school district "wealth" status, and f) facilities assets/liabilities. Each of the initial 24 independent school districts' criteria were collected for two years prior to consolidation and the 12 newly formed consolidated districts criteria were collected for the two years following consolidation. After consolidation, ten of the twelve districts had fewer than 1,000 students. Of the other two districts, one district had approximately 3,000 students and one large district had over 150,000 students. Some districts experienced increases in local expenditures relative to transportation, administrative costs and total expenditures while other districts decreased costs over time. Twelve non-consolidated districts with similar characteristics of the twelve consolidated districts were reviewed with the non-consolidated districts exhibiting increase and decrease fluctuations seen in the consolidated school districts. These findings suggested that each of the issues studied in public school finance need to be examined with more specific criteria in order to ascertain cause and effect relationships with regard to school consolidation financial impact on state and local revenues and expenditures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68048/
An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors
Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere more conducive to comprehensive learning. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3620/
An analysis of the benefits of the Student Success Initiative in the 3rd and 5th grades in a district in Texas.
The state of Texas passed the Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 1999 which requires all 3rd graders to pass the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to be promoted to the 4th grade, and for 5th graders to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 6th grade. Beginning in spring 2008, 8th graders will also need to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 9th grade. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic performance of 3rd and 5th grade students who did not meet the passing standard on the TAKS test and were retained during the 2005-2006 school year. The population of this study included 33 3rd graders and 49 5th graders who were retained during the 2005-2006 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. There was also a second population of 49 5th graders who were retained in 3rd grade during the 2003-2004 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. These students were enrolled in the 5th grade for the first time during the 2005-2006 school year. Their TAKS scores were examined to see whether students were still benefiting from the year of retention in 3rd grade. Results for all populations were broken down by ethnicity and program codes. The results of the study showed a statistically significant gain in 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math scores. The 5th grade reading scores did have a statistically significant improvement even though the reading mean score was still below the minimum passing score even after a year of retention. A cross tabulation done on students who had been retained in 3rd grade due to SSI requirements and were enrolled in the 5th grade during the study showed a greater significant growth in math than in reading. A strong correlation between the ITBS and TAKS tests were found in both 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math. A weak correlation between the tests was found in 5th grade reading. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3634/
Examining the effects of scheduled course time on mathematics achievement in high school students.
This study was designed to determine the effects of two different schedule types on mathematics achievement in public high school students. The instruments used included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, given annually to all students in grades 3 through 11, the Texas Algebra I end-of-course examination, given as a district option to Algebra I students, and student final course grades as determined by classroom teachers. The study compared students' performance in these three areas during the 2004-2005 academic year in one suburban school district in North Texas. The study considers the type of schedule, either traditional or 8-block, between students in teachers' classes who teach the same course on both schedules concurrently. This study also investigates a qualitative aspect by including a short opinion survey of teachers' perceptions regarding student academic performance, teacher satisfaction and retention, and the ability to accomplish curricular goals. Findings from this research suggest course schedule does not have significant effects on student academic performance as measured using analyses of covariance comparisons with a 0.05 alpha-level, leading to the conclusion that a particular course schedule does not adversely impact student performance on academic measures. However, in some comparisons conducted within the course of the research, statistically significant results emerged. Qualitative data generated from a survey of teacher perceptions regarding the benefits of the two scheduling types, traditional 50-minute verses alternating day 8-block, suggested teachers preferred a traditional schedule over that of a block schedule design. Most teachers who responded to the survey instrument expressed the perception that traditional daily meeting classes allowed their students to be more successful. Additional research into the effects of scheduling types on students academic performance are suggested and would include examining larger population samples, a narrower study of specific courses within the field of mathematics, or an expansion of the content areas explored to fields such as science, languages, or non-academic core subjects, including the fine arts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3644/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2208/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2233/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2221/
International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration
The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30493/
An Analysis of Performance Differences Between Self-Directed and Teacher-Directed Alternative Education Campuses in Texas
This study was conducted to analyze the performance differences between alternative education campuses in Texas that used teacher-directed strategies and those that used self-directed strategies. The study was also conducted to inform educators of the results these two strategies had achieved with at-risk students during the three years of 2006-2008. The study used the results from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test as reported in the AEIS annual reports from the Texas Education Agency. Alternative education schools were grouped according to the strategy used to educate at-risk students. The results of the statistical tests showed the two strategies had similar performance results and there was no statistical difference between the two. The results offered several implications concerning the ability of at-risk students to achieve in alternative education schools including possible reasons why students who were previously unsuccessful became successful in alternative settings. The report also addressed the number of students who continued to be unsuccessful even when placed on an alternative education campus. Possible reasons for this continued inability to succeed are discussed. Recommendations for further research were listed at the conclusion of the study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30430/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3089/
The effects of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking bilingual students taking the third grade TAKS reading test.
The purpose of this dissertation is to provide research and data examining the impact of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking ESL students on the third grade TAKS Reading test scores. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) As measured by the third grade TAKS reading test, what is the relationship between those limited english proficient (LEP) Spanish-speaking children who attended a pre-kindergarten program and those who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program? and (2) As measured by the third grade TAKS Reading test, how do the test scores of those LEP Spanish-speaking third graders who attended the district's pre-k program in 2000-2001 and testing in 2005, differ from those who attended the district's pre-k program in 2001-2002 and testing in 2006? The research study used a quantitative methodology designed as causal-comparative analysis. Independent t-tests were used to determine if there were any significant differences in test scores of third graders between the two groups of students. Although the results of the statistical analysis revealed some isolated statistically significant differences between those Spanish-speaking bilingual students who attended pre-kindergarten and those who did not, the data showed no real differences in the test scores of those students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12191/
Gottshall Early Reading Intervention: A phonics based approach to enhance the achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys.
Learning to read is critical for quality of life and success in our society. Children who cannot read well face unsuccessful educational careers and limited job choices. Recently, policy makers and educators have made progress toward increasing the reading achievement of America's children. Still up to 60% of boys who live in poverty cannot read or read two years below grade level. In this experimental study, I designed and examined the effects of the Gottshall Early Reading Intervention (GERI) to determine if direct instruction with a small group, phonics based approach would increase the literacy achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys. Participants were selected according to Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) scores, matched them across race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and randomly assigned them to experimental/control group. Three times per week for 15 weeks, boys in the experimental group attended 30-minute pullout sessions taught by trained professionals in addition to classroom reading instruction. Control group members received classroom reading instruction only. Findings reveal no significant differences in reading gains across all variables. However, descriptive data indicate higher percentages of gains for the experimental group on four out of five reading components with rate of gain higher on fifth. Statistics also show that Hispanics are more likely to benefit. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5177/
Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Public and Private Kindergarten Teachers in the United States and Taiwan
The purposes of the present study are to: (a) describe the beliefs and practices of the US and Taiwan (TW) public and private kindergarten teachers regarding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), (b) examine the group differences between the four groups of teachers, and (c) identify the salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practice in these teachers. Three hundred and fifty-seven kindergarten teachers participated in the study. The group sizes were 123, 123, 57, and 54 for Taiwan private, Taiwan public, US private, and US public kindergarten teachers, respectively. A survey was used to collect data. Findings from this study showed: (a) Both the US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers highly endorsed beliefs about DAP; (b) US and Taiwan kindergarten teachers also held strong beliefs about developmentally inappropriate practices (DIP); (c) DAP activities occurred regularly in the classrooms; (d) developmentally inappropriate practice (DIP) activities also took place a lot although they were lower than the DAP activities; (e) the Taiwan teachers had higher beliefs about DAP and lower beliefs about DIP than the US teachers; (f) the US teachers reported both higher DAP and DIP activities than the Taiwan teachers; (g) there were no differences between public and private kindergarten teachers; (h) hierarchical regression analyses using teacher's personal demographic variables as the first block and numbers of boys and girls as the second block were generally not effective; (i) there were different sets of best predictors from the backward regression for different dimensions of developmentally appropriate beliefs and practices; and (j) beliefs about DAP and DIP were usually more powerful than the demographic and classroom variables in predicting the DAP and DIP activities. Future studies are needed to refine the Teacher Belief Scale and Instructional Activity Scale instruments and include classroom observations to verify and expand the findings. Future teacher training on DAP should promote beliefs about DAP and reduce beliefs about DIP. Enhancing teachers' skills to implement the DAP activities and decrease the DIP activities is suggested. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5148/
The effects of socioeconomic status on growth rates in academic achievement.
The purpose of the study was to examine the differences in academic growth rates as demonstrated on the TAKS test among students based on those who received free lunches, those who received reduced-price lunches, and those not economically disadvantaged. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for reading and mathematics scale scores were obtained from five Texas public school districts for students who were in 3rd grade in 2003, 4th grade in 2004, 5th grade in 2005, and 6th grade in 2006. The sample included almost 10,000 students. The data were analyzed using SPSS and HLM. SPSS was used to identify descriptive statistics. Due to the nested nature of the data, HLM was used to compare data on three levels- the test level, student level, and district level. Not economically disadvantaged students scored the highest on both TAKS reading and mathematics exams with a mean scale score of 2357 and 2316 respectively in 2003. Compared to the not economically disadvantaged students, students receiving reduce-priced lunches scored approximately 100 points lower, and lowest were the students receiving free lunches, scoring another 50 points below students receiving reduced-price lunches. The results revealed that while gaps in achievement exist between SES levels, little difference exists in the growth rates of the SES subgroups. The results of this study support the need for continued effort to decrease the gap between students who are not economically disadvantaged and those receiving free or reduced-price meals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5193/
An Analysis of Advisory Committee Activities in a Successful Public School Bond Election
The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of specific advisory committee activities during a school bond proposal and election process. The study began with an extensive review of the literature on the use of advisory committee activities in school districts for the purpose of promoting a school bond issue. This revealed that school officials maintaining a low profile, the presence of a diverse community task force, focusing on YES voters, involving the committee in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community are all important in the passage of a school bond election. A survey was developed and administered to committee members, school board members and school district administrators in a North Texas school district that had successfully completed a bond election. Survey respondents consistently supported the practices put into place by the studied school district, which closely mirrored the activities espoused in the research. Respondents believed the diversity of the task force and the roles of the committee members to be crucial to the passage of the bond. The only subcategory of questions that drew mixed reviews and positions of support was that of the need for the administration and board to maintain a low profile. Participants in the survey viewed having a diverse community task force, focusing on YES votes, involvement in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community as being important to the successful passage of the school bond election, with clear dissemination of information being the most important activity of the committee. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4561/
Predicting student performance on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Exit Level Exam: Predictor modeling through logistic regression.
The purpose of this study was to investigate predicting student success on one example of a "high stakes" test, the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Exit Level Exam. Prediction algorithms for the mathematics, reading, and writing portions of the test were formulated using SPSS® statistical software. Student data available on all 440 students were input to logistic regression to build the algorithms. Approximately 80% of the students' results were predicted correctly by each algorithm. The data that were most predictive were the course related to the subject area of the test the student was taking, and the semester exam grade and semester average in the course related to the test. The standards of success or passing were making a 70% or higher on the mathematics, 88% or higher on the reading, and 76% or higher on the writing portion of the exam. The higher passing standards maintained a pass/fail dichotomy and simulate the standard on the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Exit Level Exam. The use of the algorithms can assist school staff in identifying individual students, not just groups of students, who could benefit from some type of academic intervention. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4577/
Effectiveness of a Web-based course in facilitating the integration of technology into early childhood curricula.
Although technology is available and used in early childhood classrooms, little is known about what early childhood teachers believe about the use of technology and how technology is integrated into early childhood curricula. This study was designed to (a) determine the beliefs of early childhood teachers about technology integration into early childhood curricula and (b) describe the extent to which early childhood teachers integrate technology in their early childhood curricula. The participants included 39 prekindergarten teachers who volunteered to participate in a technology integration project. The treatment group accessed a Web-based technology integration training program and participated in two classroom observations, along with completing an attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. The Prekindergarten Web-based Technology Integration Training included four modules each expanding the following themes: (a) national and state standards and guidelines for technology; (b) setting up a computer center; (c) integrating technology; (d) using the digital camera. The control group participated in two classroom observations without the benefit of the Web-based technology integration training program and completed the attitudinal questionnaire pretest and posttest. Results indicate that Prekindergarten teachers believe that technology can enhance a child's learning, but there was no statistically significant difference between the control and the treatment group. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5176/
A Chronological Study of Experiential Education in the American History Museum
This study traced the evolution of experiential education in American history museums from 1787 to 2007. Because of a decline in attendance, museum educators need to identify best practices to draw and retain audiences. I used 16 museology and history journals, books, and archives of museums prominent for using the method. I also interviewed 15 museum educators who employ experiential learning, one master interpreter of the National Park Service, and an independent museum exhibit developer. Experiential education involves doing with hands touching physical materials. Four minor questions concerned antecedents of experiential learning, reasons to invest in the method, the influence of social context, and cultural pluralism. Next is a review of the theorists whose works support experiential learning: Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Lewin, Bruner, Eisner, Hein, and David Kolb plus master parks interpreter Freeman Tilden. The 8 characteristics they support include prior experiences, physical action, interaction with the environment, use of the senses, emotion, social relationships, and personal meaning. Other sections are manifestation of experiential learning, transformation of history museums, and cultural pluralism in history museums. The research design is descriptive, and the procedure, document analysis and structured interview. Findings are divided by decades after the first 120 years. Social context, examples of experiential learning, and multicultural activities are detailed. Then findings are discussed by patterns of delivery: sensory experiences, actions as diversion and performance, outreach of traveling trunks and of organized activity, crafts as handwork and as skills, role-playing, simulation, hands-on museum work, and minor patterns. The decline of involvement of citizens in the civic and cultural life of the community has adversely affected history museums. Experiential learning can stop this trend and transform museum work, as open-air museums and the National Park Service have demonstrated. In the future history museums may include technology, a more diverse audience, and adults in its experiential educational plans to thrive. Further research is needed on evaluation, finances, and small museums. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5190/
Impact of Core Knowledge Curriculum on Reading Achievement
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of Core Knowledge curriculum, a Comprehensive School Reform model, on the reading achievement of elementary students located in a north Texas suburban school district. A repeated measures, matched-comparison design was employed using longitudinal data over a three year period. Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to determine if there were any significant differences in student achievement scores as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The experimental and control school were examined for student achievement gains overall, for advantaged versus disadvantaged students and for achievement gap differences. Although the results of the statistical analyses indicated that there were no significant differences in the reading TAKS scores of students participating in the study, experimental school students consistently had higher mean scores when compared to the control school in all areas. The evaluation of the achievement gap revealed that although the Core Knowledge school did not close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, the disadvantaged students' scores rose in proportion to the advantaged students, thus preventing an increase in the achievement gap between students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4717/
The school reform movement and high stakes standardized testing: An analysis of factors impacting the academic outcomes of students receiving special education services.
The purpose of this study was to investigate special education outcomes in relation to state standardized testing. It specifically sought to determine if a relationship existed between selected data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) comparing district students receiving special education services TAAS scores with selected district demographic, fiscal, and special education data. The population for this study consisted of all 2001-2002 grades 3-8 and 10 public school students with the exception of charter schools, special-purpose statutory districts, and state-administered districts. The reading analysis incorporated data from 896 Texas school districts. The mathematics analysis used data from 914 school districts. Multiple linear hierarchical regression was chosen as the method for statistical analysis. Data was obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as a special data pull. For both the reading and mathematics analyses, wealth and ethnicity were statistically insignificant although ethnicity individually accounted for a large percentage of the variance for both the reading (20.3%) and mathematics (13.2%) scores as well as producing negative β weights. All other predictor variables produced varying degrees of statistical significance. Community type, socioeconomic status, instructional expenditures per students, and instructional expenditures per student receiving special education services also produced negative β weights. Two variables in this study, enrollment and the percentage of students receiving special education services tested, produced positive β weights, substantial squared structure coefficients, and positive Pearson correlation coefficients. Of these two predictors, the strongest overall positive predictor for students receiving special education services success on the grades 3-8 and 10 reading and mathematics TAAS exams was the percentage of students receiving special education services tested. These percentages produced the largest positive correlations with passing rates (reading r = .283, mathematics r = .219) and the second largest regression coefficients (reading β = .224, mathematics β = .202). They individually accounted for the largest percentage of total criterion variance (reading = 33.0%, mathematics = 22.6%). For this study, these results clearly suggested that the dominant positive predictor of testing success for students receiving special education services was the percentage of students receiving special education services tested. Conversely, socioeconomic status was the dominant negative predictor. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4750/
The Constitutionality of Dress Code and Uniform Policies
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This dissertation proposes to delineate the criteria for determining the constitutionality of public school dress codes based on an examination of relevant case law. The study addresses the following underlying questions: (1) Do students have a constitutional right to freedom of choice regarding their personal dress and grooming in public schools? (2) If so, what is the origin of the right? (3) What justification does a school district need in order to intrude upon the right? (4) Does the extent to which there is a right, and that it is accorded support by the judiciary, depend on the student's age and grade level? (5) What do state statutes say about dress codes and uniforms? (6) Do state statutes comport with the circuit courts' rulings in the various jurisdictions? The first part of Chapter I examines the purpose of school uniforms as set forth in relevant educational literature and commentary. The second part of the chapter examines empirical evidence on the effects of dress codes and uniforms. Chapter II addresses the first three questions listed above concerning students' right to choice in personal dress, the origins of such a right, and the justification required for a school to intrude upon this right. Chapter III examines dress code rulings from the United States Courts of Appeals in order to ascertain patterns of judicial rationale and determine whether students' rights vary depending on age, grade level, or federal circuit court jurisdiction. Chapter IV examines existing state statutes with regard to dress codes and uniforms. Chapter V utilizes the legal principles that emerge from the research in Chapter III and draws from the survey of state statutes in Chapter IV to make a comparison of state statutes and circuit court rulings in each jurisdiction. If a state statute does not comport with federal law in its particular jurisdiction, modifications are suggested to bring the statute into line with relevant judicial rulings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4725/
The Representation of Hispanic Females in Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Programs in a Selected North-Central Texas Public High School
Analysis of a particular north-central Texas public high school revealed a strong representation of Hispanic females in advanced academic programs, i.e., AP and GT in proportion to their representation in the overall student population. Research seems to indicate that a progressive approach to academic-potential identification; culturally effective mentoring, traditional Hispanic values, and newly emerging personal and social characteristics all seem to be contributing factors. This study seems to indicate that a new type of Hispanic female is emerging who is more assertive academically, more visible in the classroom, and less marriage-and-family oriented as might be believed by teachers, society, their peers, and perhaps even their parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3701/
A study of the technology leadership of Texas high school principals.
Effectively integrating technology into school requires the presence of informed and visionary leadership. Past research on change in schools demonstrates the importance of the principal to that process. In that research it is obvious that the principal must possess more than skills and knowledge about the change, he or she must also possess leadership skills to lead the campus through the change. Despite this finding, very little research has been attempted to determine the leadership knowledge and skills of principals for technology integration. This study attempts to investigate the technology leadership of high school principals in Texas using the National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS*A). In addition, this study compares technology leadership among principals who have attended the Technology Leadership Academy with those who have not attended this training. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) What are the technology leadership actions of Texas' high school principals in each of the six technology leadership standards identified by the NETS*A standard document? (2) How are the technology leadership practices of high school principals who participated in the Technology Leadership Academy sponsored by TASA and TBEC different from those who have not participated in the training? Because no existing survey measured technology leadership using the NETS*A, a 46-part survey document was created by the researcher. The survey contained multiple questions covering each of the six standards of the NETS*A and was administered online. Descriptive statistics were used to answer the first research question. A MANVOA, using the combined mean scores for questions covering each NETS*A standard as the dependent variable and the principal's participation in the Technology Leadership Academy as the independent variable, was run to provide answers to the second research question. The principals in this study scored highly in each of the six NETS*A standards. The lowest combined mean score dealt with a principal's leadership and vision for technology. Descriptive statistics showed principals exhibited the highest combined mean score in the area of support, maintenance, and operations. Furthermore, the MANOVA indicated little difference between principals who attended the Technology Leadership Academy and those who did not attend. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4484/
Interim Evaluation of the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program: A Working Model
The purpose of this study was to determine if, after one year of operation, the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program was progressing in accordance with the goals set out for the program. Questionnaires administered to 26 interns and 10 mentor principals and follow-up focus group interview sessions provided answers to the study's five research questions that explored the following: selection process; how interns' involvement in campus-based decision-making had changed; how mentor principals' perceptions toward interns had changed; and how administrative interns' perceptions of themselves and educational administration had changed. Findings from this study revealed the selection process provided the Dallas Public Schools an opportunity to select teacher-leaders from the district and to include a representative number of minority and women candidates for participation in the program. An area of weakness was seven interns with low GRE scores were admitted through an appeals process at the university. Another weakness revealed the majority of interns had been assigned more duties and responsibilities at the schools, but only 4 of 26 interns were being allowed to participate in any campus-based decision-making processes that could have an impact on school improvements. The study found the role of the mentor principal to be the most important factor in determining the satisfaction and success of the interns in the program. The embedded internship proved to be a disadvantage for the interns and principals, as the majority reported not having enough time to spend on administrative activities. Interns reported growth in personal and professional maturity and gained knowledge about the world of educational leadership. All 26 interns expressed the desire to become administrators in Dallas Public Schools upon completion of the program. Further research should include comparison studies between graduates of restructured programs and graduates of traditional programs to determine if there is a difference in school improvements and student achievement based upon the nature of the training of the school leader. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4497/
Early Literacy: An Examination of the Principal Behaviors That Impact Reading Achievement
Literacy is fundamental to formal education, learning, and training for future career related skills. It provides not only the means of acquisition of information and skills during schooling, but it is a vital predictor of a person's general level of education in school as well as successful completion of schooling. Literacy skills serve as the major foundational skill for all school-based learning and without it, chances for academic and occupational success are limited. Despite the efforts of teachers, a significant portion of students continue to fail to achieve success in early literacy in school, with severe consequences for their subsequent educational progress, career opportunities and life chances. The extent of this problem varies throughout school systems. All of our children are affected by their reading ability, and as educators it is critical to provide for all students the most effective literacy programs and strategies which are research based, data-driven and successfully replicated. Because of the psychological, social and economic consequences of reading failure, it is critical to review the research to determine the risk factors that may predispose youngsters to reading failure, and the instructional practices that can be applied to ameliorate reading deficits at the earliest possible time. The failure to achieve in literacy is a fact, which continues to carry dire social and economic consequences for the children, as well as for this society. Furthermore, there is a substantial body of research indicating that schools have a narrow window of opportunity to make a difference. Students who fail to make progress in literacy during the first two years of school rarely catch up with their peers and are at-risk of becoming low achievers who are alienated from school and who dropout of education at the earliest opportunity. On the other hand, impressive empirical evidence is now available to support the notion that failure to make progress in literacy is preventable for all except a very small portion of children. This study reviews the relationship between the principal's knowledge of early literacy and student achievement in reading by the third grade. It will also describe the causal factors that may predispose young children to reading difficulties, as well as the instructional programs and teacher strategies that can be implemented to ameliorate the difficulties. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used to analyze the data. Narratives, tables and figures are used to further enhance the research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4439/
The Federal Judiciary and Establishment Clause Jurisprudence: Application of the Lemon Test since Mitchell v. Helms
The issue of religion and its place in society has been a topic of controversy and debate since long before the creation of our constitutional republic. The relationship between religion and government has witnessed some of its most intense conflicts when the governmental entity in question involves public education. As our country moved into the 20th century, legal challenges in the field of public education began to emerge calling into question the constitutionality of various policies and practices at both the state and local levels. This dissertation examined the legal methodology that was initially developed and then subsequently modified as the judicial branch has interpreted how the Establishment Clause delineates the relationship between religion and public education. Because the United States Supreme Court has not overturned its decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, the tri-partite test it established still remains the law of the land. Subsequent decisions by the Court leading up to their ruling in Mitchell v. Helms, however, have continued to modify the judiciary's approach toward the use of the Lemon test in Establishment Clause jurisprudence. This research analyzed the decisions of the various federal courts subsequent to the ruling issued in Mitchell to discern both the present position of the federal judiciary as it relates to the continued validity of Lemon and theorizes how the future course of any Establishment Clause legal challenges may ultimately be resolved by the federal courts. The analysis suggested that, while the Supreme Court has avoided Lemon's three-part test as the standard for evaluating Establishment Clause claims, the lower courts continue to place a strong emphasis on the importance of the test established in Lemon as the basis for how they render their decisions with issues that involve public education. This data indicated that Lemon continues to be an important tool for determining the validity of state programs and policies involving federal questions related to the Establishment Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67946/
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