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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Reading Informational Tradebooks Aloud to Inner City Intermediate Fourth and Sixth Grade Students : A Comparison of Two Styles
This study measured the effects of reading aloud informational books to fourth and sixth grade students in the inner city. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279041/
Strategies Employed by School Administrators to Prevent or Reduce Gang-Related Activity and Violence in Selected High Schools in a North Central Texas School District
This research investigated the strategies used by school administrators in selected high schools to prevent or reduce gang-related activity and violence. Interviews were conducted with six high school principals, six assistant principals, fifteen staff members and eleven students. All of the students were gang members. The results of the study showed that there are gang members in all schools, but that their gang activity at school is curtailed by some specific strategies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278289/
Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2721/
A Study of Relationships Between University Interscholastic League Participation and Selected School Characteristics
The problem of this study was to determine whether differences exist between elementary and middle school campuses that participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) academic activities and similar campuses that do not participate. The Texas Education Agency Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) furnished data from 1993 through 1997 for this ex post facto comparative research. Using all Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) scores for grades 3 through 8, economically disadvantaged population data, attendance rates and campus accountability ratings, 12 hypotheses and 4 research questions were addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277619/
Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care
High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have at least a bachelor's degree in order to shorten the time to accreditation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271887/
Secondary Teachers’ Concerns about Response to Intervention: Using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model
This case study addressed the problem of implementing response to intervention (RTI) in general secondary education. To investigate this problem, one north Texas school's RTI implementation was examined using the theoretical framework of the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) and defining RTI as the innovation. RTI-related practices were studied for 10 secondary teachers, two from each core subject (i.e., mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies) and the fine arts who had been implementing RTI for several years. Data regarding participants' stages of concern about and levels of use of RTI were collected across three time intervals using the three diagnostic instruments of CBAM (i.e., Stages of Concern Questionnaire, Levels of Use interviews, and Innovation Configuration Checklist matrix), behavioral observations during instruction and RTI meetings, and structured exit interviews of participants. Overall, findings indicated that the secondary teachers were at similar stages of concern and levels of use of RTI. Teachers' RTI concerns scores remained highest in the Self phase and lowest in the Impact phase of concern at all three intervals of data collection. As levels of RTI use increased, observed RTI use increased; however, teachers' RTI levels of use scores remained in the early levels of RTI implementation at all three intervals of data collection. Patterns in teachers' responses during exit interviews suggested that contextual factors unique to this setting (e.g., unexpected changes in RTI protocol, priorities of administrative personnel, and demands placed on teachers) may have influenced teachers' concerns about the teacher's role in, the professional development in, and the sustainability of RTI as an innovation. The literature does not currently address secondary teachers' concerns about and levels of use of RTI in relation to CBAM. Therefore, this study not only fills a gap in literature but also has implications for how teachers are trained and supported in implementing and sustaining the practices of consultation and differentiated instruction associated with RTI. This case study provided insight about the importance and value of teachers' participation and knowledge of RTI to facilitate the change process successfully. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271832/
First Amendment Constraints of Public School Administrators to Regulate Off-campus Students' Speech in the Technology Age
In a world where students and teachers both rely on technology in the process of education, understanding the constraints of public school administrators to regulate off-campus student's speech is a vital issue. This dissertation focuses on ways to evaluate legal analysis of cases involved in off campus speech. The methodology of legal analysis is used to identify judicial reasoning concerning established legal principles pertaining to the constitutional right of public school students to freedom of expression, and the application of those principles to off-campus student expression delivered by electronic means. This research produces a number of key findings: Many lower court cases have favored with the students unless the school district could prove substantial disruption to the learning environment or a true threat existed due to the off campus speech. In addition, it is crucial for the districts to have concrete policies in place to educate the students about acceptable usage of technology. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that current approaches to punishing students for their offensive off campus speech does not uphold in the courts and administrators must be resilient to speech that may be unpleasant to them. This research also includes several recommendations for administrators such as guidelines on how to write their acceptable usage policy. It also provides a chart with a summary of critical cases of importance to administrators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271894/
Parallels Between the Gaming Experience and Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory
The world of literacy has expanded alongside technology, and new literacies are being used as an alternative or an addition to traditional text. By including video gaming as literacy, the connection can be made between students' multimodal world outside of school with the world of literacy they encounter in school. This study took two approaches of a content study and a case study. A collective case study was used to examine the gaming experience of participants with three commercial video games falling into three separate genres: Sims FreePlay (simulation); Halo 1 (first person shooter); and World of Warcraft (role playing game). The 15 gamers were placed into three sets of five participants for each video game, and interviews were conducted to explore the gaming experience in relation to stance and transaction, which are major components of Louise Rosenblatt's reader response theory. Limited research has been conducted regarding reader response theory and the new literacies; by using the reader response lens, the gaming experience was compared to the reading experience to add the new literacies to the existing literature on reader response. As a way to look at both the text and the experience, a content study examined three mainstream video games to establish literacy content by using Zimmerman's gaming literacy theory. Even though this theory is useful by detailing elements found in video games and not traditional literature, literary value cannot be fully assessed unless the theory is developed further to include other components or discuss how the depth of the components can relate to literary value. The literature does not currently contain substantial research regarding how to assess the literary value of video games, so this study begins to add to the present literature by demonstrating that at least for these games the presence of the components of the theory can be evaluated. This analysis of both the game and the experience demonstrated substantial parallels between the gaming experience and the reading transaction as well as looking at the viability of using gaming literacy theory to evaluate literacy value. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271890/
Stereotype Vulnerability in Elementary Aged African American Students
This study explores a link between "stereotype vulnerability" and the documented under performance of African American students on standardized tests. The subjects were 41 third grade African American students matched according to language arts grades with 41 third grade Anglo students. The students were from predominately middle class suburban schools, with similar educational experiences. The data suggest that third grade African American and Anglo students from predominately middle class schools, with approximately equivalent language arts grades and similar educational experiences, will score comparably to one another regardless of testing conditions. The data also suggest that this sample of third grade students are confident in their academic ability and are not affected by negative stereotyping. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278149/
Teacher Implementation of a Pretreatment Assessment Procedure in a Public Middle School
In an attempt to determine the effectiveness of a pretreatment assessment procedure known as the scatter plot (Touchette, MacDonald, & Langer, 1985), direct observational data was collected by 13 middle school teachers on four "problem" students. After four weeks of data collection, interobserver agreement probes were calculated and a visual analysis of the plotted data was performed to ascertain a possible pattern of problem behavior. Additionally, in an attempt to assess the teachers' perceptions of the scatter plot, the 13 teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Although a visual analysis of the plotted data suggested a possible pattern of problem behavior, interobserver agreement probes failed to achieve a desired overall reliability of 90% or higher. Despite a low IOA, results of the questionnaire administered to the 13 teachers generally supported the use of the scatter plot as a means of assessing student behavior. Possible reasons for failing to attain an IOA of 90% or higher include the total number of students in a class, the number of subjects observed per period, the teacher's location in the classroom, and the subjects ability to recognize if the teacher was "looking." Recommendations are provided regarding future research concerning the scatter plot and other more formal approaches to assessing student behavior. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278169/
A Comparative Study of School District Expenditures in Texas Since the Enactment of Senate Bill 7
The purposes of this study were to: (a) determine the effects of Senate Bill 7 on expenditures in Texas school districts, (b) compare similarities and differences in expenditures among property-poor, medium-wealth, and wealthy-districts, (c) analyze spending patterns in light of equalization efforts, and (d) provide useful data to researchers in the area of equalization and adequacy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278137/
Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives
The educational practice known as inclusion, which is based on values of equal opportunity and diversity, enables students with disabilities to attend the same general education classes as typically developing peers. Inclusion is a legal requirement in the United States and South Korea, but factors facilitating inclusion likely differ across countries. The purpose of the study was to examine PreK-6 school teachers' beliefs about inclusive practices in the United States and South Korea and to present a more informed direction for the future of inclusive education in both countries. Seventy-four teachers from the US and 54 from South Korea participated via email for this study employing surveys. Teachers provided their beliefs about inclusion items on the My Thinking About Inclusion (MTAI) scale, a 28-question instrument, and also provided information about their own gender, years of experience, education level, and teaching practices. A statistically significant difference was found between the teachers of the two nations for the full survey scale. The teachers' training area (i.e., general education or special education) in the US was significantly associated with the belief toward inclusion, and special education teachers in both countries were more agreeable to inclusion than general education practitioners were as shown by the MTAI scale. A strong relationship between accommodation and preparedness for disabilities was found. Most of the barrier factors to practicing inclusive education were considered substantial obstacles, but more so for South Korea teachers than US teachers. University coursework was the least preferred method for improving inclusive practices according to teachers in both countries. Based on the outcomes of the two nations' teachers' beliefs about inclusion, the author suggests that supportive practices, including collaboration between educators, professional development, partnerships with parents and families, and peer supports, be implemented within the two countries for the upkeep of inclusive practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271836/
Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development
Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271820/
The Impact of a Community College Teacher Education Program on the Success Rate of Minority Teacher Certification Students
The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already implementing similar pre-service teacher education programs. Overall, the results indicated that pre-service teacher education programs at the community college level can be effective at producing transfer students who successfully graduate from four-year teacher education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271877/
Accomplished Teachers' Instructional Decisions About Shakespeare
Teachers' decisions are a powerful influence on student learning and it is important to fully document accomplished teachers' instructional decisions, as well as to investigate possible influences on those decisions. Shakespearean dramas are central to high school curricula across the U.S. and pose particular instructional challenges, therefore teachers' decisions about teaching these texts are of particular interest. There is limited empirical research, however, about these instructional decisions. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe how four accomplished high school English teachers working on a single campus make instructional decisions about teaching a Shakespearean play. Specifically, research questions addressed teachers' decisions regarding the teaching of a Shakespearean play and various influences on those decisions (self-reports and inferences from the data). Case study methodology was used, including an inductive analysis of individual teacher interviews, classroom observations, focus group, instructional artifacts, and researcher's journal. The findings revealed that instructional activities described by these teachers addressed support for meaning-making during four stages of reading instruction: (a) before, during, and after; (b) before; (c) during; and (d) after. Comparison of these cases suggests that, although each teacher brings personal preferences and unique background knowledge to her instructional decisions, all make decisions to promote student engagement and student construction of meaning. Regarding influences on these teachers' decisions about teaching the Shakespearean play, four categories were identified: (a) response to students; (b) aspects of the text; (c) response to contextual constraints and supports; and (d) personal preferences and background experiences. Individual teacher differences are clearly a strong influence, even among this group of colleagues on the same campus. Also, two influences not reported explicitly by the teachers suggest a complex integration of these influences. One is their intuitive thinking, which deserves a closer investigation in future research. The other proposes that each teacher's decisions are influenced by her instructional interaction working model (IIWM), a conceptual framework that shapes each teacher's conversational patterns, non-verbal behaviors, and other interactional patterns. Further research should explore the use of such a model to describe and explain the complexity of teachers' decisions, particularly when teaching complex, challenging tasks and texts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271873/
A Legal Analysis of Litigation Against Mississippi Educators and School Systems Under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
This dissertation analyzes court cases involving tort claims filed against Mississippi public schools and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. The question addressed was: How have the Mississippi courts interpreted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act in litigation against Mississippi school districts and their employees? The intent of this dissertation is to add to the understanding of the legal concept of sovereign immunity as it has been applied to public schools and their employees. This study's focus centers on litigation in the state of Mississippi involving school districts. Chapter 2 provides a historical summary of sovereign immunity (also known as governmental immunity) in the United States and the state of Mississippi up to the enactment of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act as well as an overview of general legal concepts involved in tort claims. Chapter 3 explains the research design and methodology used. This dissertation relied on legal principles of research and document analysis used in the legal profession. Chapter 4 consists of a thorough analysis of published case law brought before the Mississippi courts pertaining to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act and public school systems and their employees. Finally, chapter 5 describes the key findings of the analysis of case law involving Mississippi school districts and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271847/
An Examination of How 4-8 Preservice Teachers Understand and Implement Multicultural Concepts
Preparing teachers to teach in the diverse classroom has become one of the most important goals for universities and teacher training programs. The main purposes of this study included to examine what type of multicultural concepts were taught preservice teachers who sought certification in Grades 4-8 and how these preservice teachers understood and implemented multicultural concepts in their educational portfolios and coursework, field experiences, and student teaching. The population of the study consisted of 53 undergraduate, preservice teachers enrolled in the last two years of a 4-8 teacher certification program. A modified grounded theory methodology and interpretive approach was used in the analysis of the course syllabi, required readings and student coursework. The study found that this particular program exposed the preservice teachers to a significant number of multicultural concepts in preparation for teaching in the ethnically diverse schools in the area. In addition, the study looked at which of Grant and Sleeter's five multicultural approaches were found most often in the course syllabi and required readings, as well as the preservice teachers' portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The research found the majority of the course syllabi and assigned readings covered concepts in the human relations and multicultural education approaches. The majority of the preservice teachers in this study identified most often with the multicultural education approach, although all five multicultural approaches were found in various portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The study further indicates it was a combination of the multicultural courses, the field experiences, the student teaching, and the preservice teachers' adaptability to ethnic diversity that helped the preservice teachers experience successful opportunities with the students. The adaptability of the preservice teachers in the study also appears to match recent research that suggests that university students in general may be growing more accustomed to the ethnic diversity in the communities around them as the population demographics changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271892/
The Relationship of Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Greek Kindergarten Teachers
Sixty Greek kindergarten teachers were surveyed regarding their teaching beliefs and practices using the Teachers Questionnaire based on guidelines recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A Varimax factor analysis produced four factors for the Teacher Belief Scale and five factors for the Instructional Activities Scale. Scores on developmentally appropriate factors were consistently higher than factors classified developmentally inappropriate. Correlation between appropriate beliefs and activities was significant (r = .470); correlation between inappropriate beliefs and practices was significant (r = .475). However, developmentally inappropriate beliefs were also positively correlated with developmentally appropriate practices (r = .537). Developmentally appropriate beliefs were not correlated with inappropriate practices. Results were discussed with possible theoretical and practical implications for future research and teacher development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278118/
A content analysis of reading software commercially available for Pre-K to 3rd grade children.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the content and characteristics of the currently available commercial reading software for Pre-K through third grade children. The design of the study was a content analysis. Based on the evaluation rubric established by the researcher, ten commercial reading software were selected to be analyzed. By reviewing and transcribing, the data were obtained, and then coded, categorized, and interpreted. The findings from the analysis revealed that all reading software programs offered exercised for practicing basic phonics skills; the alphabetic principle, letter-sound association, word knowledge, sentence building, and reading comprehension. Depending on the software developers, phonics-based practice was presented in two ways; separate skill-based practice emphasis and storybook-reading emphasis. All software programs utilized drill-and-practice, direct instruction and mastery learning methods and utilized gaming strategies to motivate and engage the learners. Multimedia technology was used to make the software more appealing. All reading software programs were developed on the perspectives that view learning to read as the continuum of a child's oral language development and background experience about words. It is recommended that parents and teachers review and select the software based on reliable information sources, use the software as supplementary practice based on the learning objectives identified and individual student needs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3124/
Well-Being and Academic Success in Gifted College Students: Early-College Entrants and Honors College Students
As a society, we seek to have our young people, including the gifted, be healthy and happy, and go to good schools with good teachers. Framed by Sayler's theoretical model of giftedness and thriving, this study examined psychological constructs (i.e. general self-efficacy, theories of intelligence, hope, gratitude, religiosity, disposition, and resiliency) to determine their mediating effect on personal well-being and academic success in gifted college students. The 213 subjects for this study included gifted college students from two distinct programs at the University of North Texas. One hundred twenty-two participants were students from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). TAMS is an early-college entrance program allowing gifted students to enter college after their sophomore year of high school. Ninety-one participants attended the UNT Honors College. Honors College students are gifted students who enter college after high school graduation. Latent transition, latent class, general linear model repeated measures, and regression analyses were used in the examination of the data. Results of the study revealed that positive disposition and hope-agency were significantly related to the development of personal well-being for gifted students during their first year of college. The ability to identify pathways to goals and the self-theory of intelligence as a fixed trait were significantly related to academic success during the first year at college. Knowledge of psychological constructs that are facilitative of the positive personal well-being and academic achievement helps parents, teachers, administrators, and counselors prepare gifted students for success in college. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31526/
The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3159/
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/
Peer Mediation: an Empirical Exploration Empowering Elementary School Children to Resolve Conflicts Constructively
Conflict is inevitable in school and in life. Many children lack skills necessary to resolve daily conflicts constructively. Without knowledge of positive ways to manage conflicts, violence may result. Limited research suggests that involvement in a peer mediation program may have a positive influence on children. This study assessed effects peer mediation training and mediation experience had on student mediators. The pretest-posttest, control-group, and quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of a year long peer mediation program implemented in a suburban elementary school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277606/
Texas Public School Library Media Specialists' Perceptions of the Use of the Internet in their Schools
With the advent of the 21st century, technological innovations are transforming the face of education and the school library media center. One of these significant developments is the ability to communicate through the Internet. The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of Texas public school library media specialists who are active Internet users about their utilization of the Internet, and how their efforts in implementing and supervising Internet access in their school library media centers impact the Texas public schools that they serve. A survey instrument of Likert items was developed that queried these public school library media specialists for their perceptions of Internet use in their schools. MANOVA was the chosen statistical measure for this study. An initial electronic mail-out to 1,232 Texas public school library media specialists (K-12) with Internet addresses were contacted to participate in this study. After a time frame of one month, 196 Texas school library media specialists e-mailed the researcher, confirming their willingness to be a survey participant. All respondents to this e-mail request participated in this study, and a second U.S. mail-out was sent containing the actual survey instrument. The researcher found that the use of the Internet by school library media specialists in Texas did not increase global collegiality from the viewpoint of the survey respondents. Survey respondents felt that an Internet acceptable use policy did not ensure student access to the Internet in Texas public school library media centers. The study examined the relationship between acceptable use policies and Internet censorship, and the researcher found no connection between these two elements from the perspective of the school library media specialist. The study found that school library media specialists believe that their training did improve their students' library research skills. Furthermore, the survey respondents believed that their Internet training improved student learning. Finally, the study found no connection between school size, based on the Texas Education Agency's school classification system, and student access to the Internet. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277650/
A Comparative Study of the Impact of the Total Quality Management Program on Exit Level Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Scores
The management style being used by school personnel in Texas and across the nation today is predominately that of a bureaucracy. This model was organized around the industrial revolution that was exercising authority at the turn of the century. Writers and researchers have pointed out that such a model is not capable of providing students the knowledge and skills they will need to enter an increasingly demanding society. One management style relatively new to the educational arena today is that of Total Quality Management. This study reports the results of the impact of the training in those principles by measurement of student test scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277696/
Texas Public School Mission Statements : a Factor in the Involvement of Parents, Family, and/or Home in Educational Reform
Despite site-based decison making (SBDM) educational mandates, research determined the virtual exclusion of parents, family, and/or home as co-authoritative voice in Texas public school district mission statements. Qualitative analysis determined six parent roles within 155 inclusive mission statements through rhetorical deconstruction, a text-based grammatical evaluation procedure; quantitative analysis determined no significance between inclusive and exclusive districts in factors of size, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity. The implications of this study add further support to the growing parental insistence for greater educational decision-making options: ie., home schooling, voucher system, and charter schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278711/
Formal Education among the Siberian Yupik Eskimos on Sivuqaq, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska: an Ethno-Historical Study
The major focus of this study is the effect of formal education on individuals, communities, cultural traditions and values on Siberian Yupik Eskimos of Alaska. The first school on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska was founded in 1899 under the direction of Sheldon Jackson. The formal school curriculum for the next thirty years was secretarian. Upon the initial operation of formal schooling on the island, various other forms of schools have impacted the islanders of St. Lawrence. Chapter two is an overview of the background of education in Alaska from its beginning as a territory to its present status as the 49th state in the United States. Chapter three presents the history of formal schooling on St. Lawrence Island. Chapters two and three contain descriptions of various other forms of schooling within the state (i.e. Bureau of Indian Affairs, mission, state-owned) and when and how these forms either existed on the island or had an impact upon its villagers. Chapter four discusses the methodology utilized in conducting the research and fieldwork for this study. Research findings are discussed in chapter five and include verbatim transcriptions of interviews with villagers. These interviews are unedited in order for readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the study. The interviews included in this written finding are representative of interviews taken. Chapter six discusses conclusions gleaned over the course of this study and recommends further areas of study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278793/
The Politics of Grading: a Comparative Study of High School English Teachers' Personal Beliefs, Self-reported Systems, and Actual Practices
The purpose of this study was to attain and analyze data regarding high school English teachers' beliefs about grading practices and their self-reported grading practices, to identify and understand disparities that exist between teachers' beliefs and self-reported practices, to identify discrepancies between the same self-reported practices and evidence of the practices actually utilized, and to consider teachers' perceptions as to the causes for these discrepancies. Instrumentation for this study included two surveys with both Likert and Likert-like items and an interview/portfolio analysis of teachers' grading systems. A combined total of 204 high school English-language arts teachers representing thirty-eight states and eighty-five schools comprised the sample. Corresponding pairs of Likert-type items were analyzed using studies of the mode, median, mean rank, and the Mann-Whitney U Test to study a comparison of the medians, and comparisons of true Likert scale item results were completed using studies of the means and an independent samples t-test. Interview/portfolio analysis data were analyzed both descriptively and inferentially including the calculation of 95% confidence intervals for generalizability. All open-ended items were considered qualitatively through a process of identifying and categorizing trends in language and over-arching themes. Results indicate that the sample finds grading practices recommended by experts in the field to be best grading practices, and respondents generally report the use of these same practices in their own grading systems. The data reveal, however, discrepancies between the majority of teachers' reported practices and their actual practices. Study participants are likely to place blame for these discrepancies on these sources: campus or district authorities, the limited time available, and the interferences caused by parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271904/
The Beliefs and Expectations of Effective Secondary Choral Teachers in Culturally Diverse Schools
Through the years, educational theorists and researchers have been interested in a possible relationship between teachers' effectiveness and their beliefs and expectations. Three concepts underpinned this work: teacher effectiveness, cultural diversity, and teachers' beliefs and expectations. The premise of the study was that the beliefs and expectations of effective secondary choral teachers are related to the social-cultural contexts in which they teach. The study implemented critical discourse analysis as the theoretical framework and the in-depth phenomenological long interview for data collection. Three secondary choral teachers were selected to participate in the study based on the researcher's criteria. The study revealed how each teacher conceptualized student cultural diversity during the teaching experience. Teacher beliefs about effective teaching in culturally diverse settings were described as developing over time in phases along a continuum. The study also confirmed that teachers' beliefs about students can be changed through experiences and reflection. The study revealed effective teachers focused on three different types of expectations in the teaching and learning context and affirmed diverse cultural identities and backgrounds. Recommendations included the development of stronger mentorship programs to increase effective teaching strategies for the secondary choral classroom. The findings of this study support my previous work, which introduces a sequential learning framework for teaching music in culturally diverse schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271902/
Computer Skills And Usage Of Students In Grades 10-12 Who Are Legally Blind: A Descriptive Analysis
This research project was a descriptive analysis of the computer usage and skills of academic students in grades 10-12 who are legally blind and attending public school in the Region 10 Education Service Center service area of Texas. In addition, this study provided a process that other regions in the state or educational agencies may duplicate to document the computer skills and usage of students with visual impairments in their area. Twenty-seven students who are legally blind were surveyed by their teachers of the visually impaired regarding their computer usage and skill abilities, and eleven of the twenty-seven students were interviewed by the researcher to gain further information pertaining to computer usage and future plans upon graduation. Using prior research as a basis for understanding how sighted students used the computer, it was found that students who are legally blind used the computer similarly to their sighted peers except that students with significant visual impairments seemed to use to the computer to listen to music more than their sighted counterparts. In addition, students who are legally blind indicated that they learned most of their computer skills at school rather than at home like their sighted teenagers. Furthermore, it was determined that students who are legally blind were not learning the computer skills necessary for success in post-secondary education and vocational endeavors. Although the students were being exposed to many different computer applications, most did not use the applications weekly, nor report that they were experienced with the majority of basic skills related to applications such as word processing, Internet searching, emailing, spreadsheets and databases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4327/
Actions Taken by Texas School Districts to Prevent Fraud
This research is a descriptive analysis answering the question, what measures are currently taken by the leadership―boards of trustees and superintendents of schools―of Texas school districts to prevent embezzlement? The research perspective utilized was quantitative with a descriptive, cross-sectional design. Data collection was accomplished through a survey with questions constructed from the most commonly recommended strategies discovered through the review of literature. The survey was distributed to the 1031 superintendents of school districts in Texas via email. The response rate was 33% or 339 returned surveys. The data set created concentrates on the four most common preventive measures: policy and procedure, management, auditing, and ethics. These measures are considered as they function to interrupt the principles of the fraud triangle. Comparisons were completed regarding region, district size, superintendent tenure and superintendent experience. Policy adoption was found to be extremely widespread. Procedures written to fully implement policy were less prevalent. Review of management practices found problems concerning credit cards, personnel evaluations, and password access to multiple computer finance recordkeeping systems concentrated in one employee. External auditing programs were universal due to statutory mandate but internal auditors and internal audit committees were few. Ethics training for business office personnel existed but with little consistent application across districts. The adoption of a code of ethics for business office personnel was rare. Recommendations made were that school leaders should be educated concerning appropriate actions in the common prevention areas. They need an to understand the importance of internal auditing, know the language in local policy, and they need to write procedures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68052/
An Ecological Understanding of Teacher Quality in Early Childhood Programs: Implications and Recommendations
This research examined whether or not relationships exist between preschool teacher quality and parent involvement as indicated by the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model of Parent Involvement Survey. Additionally, the study also considered family income and child membership in special education as predictors of parent involvement. The survey instruments included the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS-R) and the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Parent Involvement Survey. A total of 306 parents across 35 preschool classrooms participated in the study. Effect sizes, beta weights and structure coefficients from a series of multiple regression analyses measured the relationship between variables. A regression equation comprised of teacher quality, family income and child membership in special education was statistically significant in predicting parent school-based involvement. In the school-based involvement model the predictors teacher quality and child membership in special education accounted for a greater percentage of variance than did family income. Teacher quality demonstrated a small, negative beta weight but accounted for the greatest amount of variance among the three predictors within the school-based parent involvement model. A negative relationship between teacher quality and school-based parent involvement suggested that as teacher quality improved, parents reported less involvement in school-based activities and events. Findings for special education membership, however, demonstrated a reverse effect in the model and appeared to have a positive significant effect on school-based involvement of parents. The study contributes to the literature on the relationship between teacher quality and parent involvement in early childhood preschool programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68006/
Rural School Principals' Perceived Use of Data in Data-Driven Decision-Making and the Impact on Student Achievement
This study examined the impact of principals' data-driven decision-making practices on student achievement using the theoretical frame of Dervin's sense-making theory. This study is a quantitative cross-sectional research design where principals' perceptions about data were quantitatively captured at a single point in time. The participants for this study were 253 rural school principals currently serving in schools across Texas, and included both males and females across all ethnic groups, including white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other. A developed survey instrument was administered to principals. The findings from the quantitative SEM analyses indicated that the Principal Uses Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 1) and the Principal and Staff Ability to Analyze Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 2) were significantly and positively associated with student achievement. Higher scores on these two latent variables were associated with better student achievement. There was no statistical association between the Principal Uses Data to Design Teacher Professional Development latent variable (Factor 3) and this target outcome. In total, the three latent variables accounted for 6% of the variance in student achievement (TAKS). When the campus level outcome was considered, no statistically significant associations between any of the latent variables and this outcome were evident. In total, the three latent variables accounted for less than 2% of the variance in campus level. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68041/
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/
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/
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 Effects of Technology Integration Techniques in Elementary Mathematics Methods Courses on Elementary Preservice Teachers' Computer Self-Efficacy, Software Integration Confidence, and Lesson Planning
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effect of computer technology integration techniques on preservice teachers' feelings of computer self-efficacy and feelings of confidence in software integration. It was also the purpose of this study to interpret these preservice teachers' confidence in using computer technology integration techniques in their own planning and instruction during student teaching. The participants in this study were from two intact, non-randomly-formed classrooms. They were 27 preservice teachers enrolled in the College of Education at a university in north central Texas in two sections of a course entitled EDEE 4350, Mathematics in the Elementary School. This study was quasi-experimental, with a nonequivalent pretest-posttest control group design. The independent variable was the type of instruction experienced in an elementary mathematics methods course: novel instruction with specialized computer technology integration techniques versus traditional instruction with no specialized technology integration techniques. The dependant variables were measured using the following instruments: the Demographic Data and Previous Context Use of the Computer Survey which described participants' demographics and their previous usage of the computer; the Self-Efficacy With Computer Technologies Scale; the Preservice Teacher Software Integration Confidence Scale; and the Lesson Plan Infusion/Integration Scale. The results of the data analysis revealed, through the inferential statistics run on the Self-Efficacy with Computer Technology Scale pretest and posttest, that there was no statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Preservice Teachers Software Integration Confidence Scale revealed a statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Lesson Plan Technology Infusion/Integration Scale revealed no statistical significance between treatment groups (p < .05). The study provides insight into the benefits of instruction in specific software integration techniques instruction. It suggests that when preservice teachers are given instruction in specific computer software integration techniques, they are more confident in the use of those techniques. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4307/
Principals' Leadership Beliefs: Are Personal and Environmental Influences Related to Self-Efficacy?
The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between principal self-efficacy and personal characteristics, school conditions, and professional preparation among a selected group of Texas, public school principals. The survey instrument included the Principal Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran & Garies in 2004, and other items. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a random sample of 965 Texas, public school principals. From that population, 289 principals completed the survey for a response rate of 30%. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the analyses which included descriptive statistics, correlations, and analysis of variance. Additionally, factor analysis and reliability were calculated for the PSES. The factor structure and reliability found in this study closely mirrored the results of earlier investigations, providing further support for the reliability and validity of the PSES. Out of 12 variables examined in relation to principal self-efficacy, a statistically significant relationship was found for gender, years of teaching experience, level, SES, parental involvement, and student discipline. However, all six of the statistically significant variables had a small effect size indicating limited practical significance. The results of this study support the need for continued research of principal self-efficacy beliefs. Principal self-efficacy research may help explain the relationships between effective principals and effective schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9747/
Educational Performance: Texas Open Enrollment Charter High Schools Compared to Traditional Public High Schools
The study examined mathematics and English student achievement, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil for Texas high school students in both open-enrollment charter schools and traditional public high schools for the 2009–2010 school year. All data were assembled using archived information found at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This information included the TEA report entitled Texas Open Enrollment Charter Schools Evaluation; TEA Snapshot Yearly Report; and Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) data files. Microsoft Excel (Version 2010) was used to randomly select traditional public high schools categorized as Title 1 and non-Title 1 for comparison with Title 1 and non-Title 1 open-enrollment charter high schools. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (IBM Statistics Version 20) was used for a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) conducted between one independent variable (charter or traditional school) and five dependent variables (mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil). Traditional public high school students had higher or better average mean values than charter schools for mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil. The ANOVA found that four of the five dependent variables were statistically significant at the 0.05 confidence level for the independent variable of school type, whether charter or traditional school. There was no significant difference found between the schools for attendance rates. Effect size calculations, using the eta-squared method, confirmed the comparisons with significant differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177215/
A Descriptive Law and Policy Analysis of Corporal Punishment in Florida Public School Districts
Corporal punishment is banned by state statute in 31 of the 50 U.S states. The 19 states that still allow the practice are largely located in the South and the Rocky Mountain West. However, data indicate that the practice of corporal punishment is still largely a Southern phenomenon. In the 19 states that allow the practice to continue in schools, many have seen the use of the disciplinary technique decline. Existing research documents the negative effects and very little research supports any positive benefits of corporal punishment. This study analyzes school board policies from the 67 public school districts in the state of Florida to determine if trends in policies and incidents of corporal punishment are similar Texas and North Carolina. Research on Texas and North Carolina indicate corporal punishment is used more frequently in districts with smaller enrollments, and in more rural areas. Data from this study suggests that the decrease in the number of incidents of corporal punishment as well as the concentration of the practice among school districts in Florida school follows the same trends of declining use that exist in Texas and North Carolina public schools. Findings illustrate a need for continued research of corporal punishment on a district-by-district and potentially a school-by-school basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177202/
The Development of Algebraic Reasoning in Undergraduate Elementary Preservice Teachers
Although studies of teacher preparation programs have documented positive changes in mathematical knowledge for teaching with preservice teachers in mathematics content courses, this study focused on the impact of a mathematics methods course and follow-up student teaching assignment. The presumption was that preservice teachers would show growth in their mathematical knowledge during methods since the course was structured around active participation in mathematics, research-based pedagogy, and was concurrent with a two-day-per-week field experience in a local elementary school. Survey instruments utilized the computer adaptive test version of the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) measures from the Learning Mathematics for Teaching Project, and the Attitudes and Beliefs (towards mathematics) survey from the Mathematical Education of Elementary Teachers Project. A piecewise growth model analysis was conducted on data collected from 176 participants at 5 time-points (methods, 3 time-points; student teaching, 2 time-points) over a 9 month period. Although the participants' demographics were typical of U.S. undergraduate preservice teachers, findings suggest that initial low-level of mathematical knowledge, and a deep-rooted belief that there is only one way to solve mathematics problems, limited the impact of the methods and student teaching courses. The results from this study indicate that in (a) number sense, there was no significant change during methods (p = .392), but a significant decrease during student teaching (p < .001), and in (b) algebraic thinking, there was a significant decrease during methods (p < .001), but no significant change during student teaching (p = .653). Recommendations include that the minimum teacher preparation program entry requirements for mathematical knowledge be raised and that new teachers participate in continued professional development emphasizing both mathematical content knowledge and reform-based pedagogy to continue to peel away deep-rooted beliefs towards mathematics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177211/
Developing Culturally Responsive Literacy Teachers: Analysis of Academic, Demographic, and Experiential Factors Related to Teacher Self-efficacy
This mixed-methods study examined teachers' culturally responsive teaching (CRT) self-efficacy beliefs and the relationships among selected academic, demographic, and experiential factors. Guided by theoretical and empirical research on CRT, teacher dispositions, and assessment in teacher education (TE) programs for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, this study utilized an extended version of Siwatu's 2007 Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy (CRTSE) Scale to conduct correlational and comparative statistical analyses. Data sources included surveys from 265 participants enrolled in TE classes in the spring 2012 in Texas (one private and one public university). Content analyses were also conducted on participants' descriptions of CRT activities using a priori and inductive coding methods to triangulate and elaborate the explanation of quantitative results. In this population, those with higher CRTSE were typically young (undergraduates), specializing in ESL and bilingual certification coursework, who felt their TE program prepared them well for working with CLD student populations. Regression analyses showed that certain certification areas (ESL, bilingual, elementary, and advanced) and perceptions of better quality in TE program preparation for working with CLD students emerged as significant predictors of increased CRTSE. Those with second language skills were more efficacious in delivering linguistically-responsive instruction, and those professing more experiences with and interest in diverse individuals felt more confident in applying CRT skills. While the younger teacher candidates felt more efficacious, their descriptions of CRT were less sophisticated than those with more teaching experience. Despite much of the literature relating to CRT and minority teachers, ethnicity was not a significant factor in heightened CRTSE. This study informs TE programs for better measuring and supporting teacher candidate CRT development by revising and extending Siwatu's 2007 study in three ways. First, the CRTSE Scale instrument was extended to include items that address greater depth and breadth of the culturally responsive teaching continuum as developed by the researcher, relating particularly to language and literacy development of English language learners. Second, this study involved a more varied and appropriate population, including both pre-service and in-service teachers. Third, specific participant factors were analyzed to see which correlated with higher CRTSE Scale scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177251/
Identity of African American Characters in Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Award Winning Books: a Critical Content Analysis of Books From 1991 to 2011
The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical content analysis of the African American characters found in Newbery Medal award winning books recognized between the years of 1991 and 2011. The John Newbery Medal is a highly regarded award in the United States for children's literature and esteemed worldwide. Children's and adolescents' books receive this coveted award for the quality of their writing. Though these books are recognized for their quality writing, there is no guideline in the award criteria that evaluated the race and identity of the characters. Hence, there are two overarching research questions that guided this study. The first question asked: To what extent are the African American characters in each award winning book represented? Foci in answering this question were the frequency of African American characters and the development of their ethnic identities. The second question asked: How are the African American characters' intergroup attitudes and interactions represented? Foci in answering this question examined the frequency of intergroup interactions and the characters' attitudes within the context of each book. The theoretical framework that undergirded this study is critical literacy, which encourages adults and youth to examine issues of diversity and social justice through their reading. Eighteen books met the criteria for the study, which provided 98 African American characters for investigation through content analysis. The qualitative methodology used frequency counts, anecdotal notes and questionnaires to analyze the characters. Findings revealed two key themes: the characterization of ethnic identity as a reflection of society and African American characters as models of agency. Further themes became evident in this study as well: the evolution of cultural authenticity, strong African American female characters, importance of the African American family and the acknowledgement of African American involvement in history. These findings are significant because they provided evidence of the potential of these Newbery award winning books to be the catalyst for critical classroom conversations on identity and agency. Findings also provided increasingly strong examples of ethnic role models within these notable titles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177233/
A Case Study of the Impact of the Middle School Data Coach on Teacher Use of Educational Test Data to Change Instruction
With the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2002 and its attendant increases in accountability pressure, many districts and schools currently embrace data analysis as an essential part of the instructional decision making process. In their attempts to overcome low achievement on state-mandated tests, some districts have begun employing data coaches. The study reported here, which was set in three middle schools in a northeast Texas school district, assessed the influence of the campus data coach on a middle school mathematics teachers' use of analyzed data to make instructional decisions. It also examined the extent to which the Data Coach/teacher relationship resolved teacher concerns about data-driven decision making. Phenomenological interviews with data coaches were guided by Seidman's (2006) three-series interview. Measurement of teacher use of data to make decisions was based on the concerns-based adoption model's levels of use interview protocol, stages of concern questionnaire, and innovation configuration map. By the end of one school year, two out of the three teachers never used data to make instructional decisions, although the non-users both had moved closer toward employing the innovation in their classroom. Data indicated all teachers were aware of the innovation, but all three ended the study with high personal concerns, signifying that the minimal efforts made by the data coaches to resolve concerns were not successful. This study's small sample gave the research paradigm of data-based decision making an in-depth glimpse into the process of implementing data-based instructional decision making and the Data Coach position on three middle school campuses in one large northeast Texas district. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33164/
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 impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of at-risk students.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, and determination of short term and long term effects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4185/
The effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students.
This dissertation examined the effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students who performed at or below grade level as determined by TAKS reading scale scores. Fifty students in fifth grade were chosen to participate in the study from five elementary schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Only 46 students completed the study. The study was conducted with a control (n = 23) and treatment group (n = 23). The fourth grade students were administered pretests and posttests using the ACES and the fourth grade TAKS reading test. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design to answer the research questions. The final data results did not indicate that the implementation of interventions significantly increased TAKS reading scores at the p > .05 level. In addition, there were no significant increases at the p > .05 level between the ACES pretests and posttests. Although there were no significant gains on the TAKS or ACES, there are implications the interventions had a positive effect on teacher perceptions of their students' academic competence and some growth was evident for the treatment groups on both TAKS and ACE. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9094/
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/
Funds Budgeted for Educational Programs in Texas Schools during a Period of Changing Enrollment
This study analyzes budgets of Texas school districts experiencing declining enrollments, as opposed to districts with increasing or steady enrollments. This study identifies how schools are expending funds to meet those needs while dealing with enrollment changes. A total of 924 school districts are studied. The changes in average daily attendance from 1993-1994 to 2003-2004 are used to categorize each district as having increasing, stable, or decreasing enrollments. The total dollar amount expended is compared to the total number of students in each district to determine the amount expended per student. The amounts expended for special education career and technology education, bilingual education, and compensatory education are compared to the number of students being served by those programs to determine a dollar amount that can also be compared from the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 school years. The per-student expenditures for each educational program are compared to the overall per-student expenditures in each enrollment category (increasing, stable, decreasing). The study reveals no clear pattern of change in the comparison of overall spending to individual program spending as district enrollments fluctuated. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9051/
Parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs in Taiwan.
Western educational policies and practices have impacted Taiwanese early childhood programs. The concept of developmentally appropriate practice has become part of the educational program for young children in Taiwan. This research study was completed to: (a) describe Taiwanese parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood programs; (b) examine group differences between fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP; (c) investigate group differences between parents of different socioeconomic statuses beliefs about DAP; (d) explore group differences between parents' beliefs about DAP when their children attend different types of schools (public and private); and (e) identify salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs of Taiwanese parents. Three hundred seventy-nine matched Taiwanese parent pairs (mothers and fathers) participated in this survey research study. All parents had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Four hundred forty-eight children attended public schools, and 415 attended private schools. The Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire was modified and used to collect data in this study. Findings showed: (a) fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP are significantly correlated; (b) fathers' and mothers' socioeconomic statuses are significantly correlated with their developmentally inappropriate practice beliefs; and (c) parents' socioeconomic status was a significant predictor of their DAP belief scores and family, culture, and inclusion belief scores. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire with Taiwanese parents. Including parent's age, child's gender, child's birth order, residential region, and number of children as variables in future research studies may explain variations in parents' DAP beliefs. Employing qualitative methods, such as classroom observations, case studies, and interviews may be used to verify these findings. The Taiwanese Ministries of Education and Interior may find this study's results useful in creating policies and best practices related to the education of young children. Teachers may use these results to guide their work with parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9008/
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