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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Effects of a Kindergarten-First Grade Looping Program on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem
The purpose of this study was to determine if academic achievement and academic self-esteem can be linked to the non-traditional organizational pattern of looping in kindergarten and first grade classes. Looping is defined as one teacher remaining with the same students for two or more years. Using a control group-experimental group design where the experimental group participated in the looping program and the control group did not, and applying the statistical procedure of multivariate analysis of variance (MANAVO), it was found that there was no significant difference between the subjects in the two groups on the criterion variable of academic achievement as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the criterion variable of academic self-esteem as measured by the Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Second Edition. It was concluded that further study would need to be done to determine if there are advantages to an organizational pattern of looping for students in public elementary schools.
The impact of 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.
Success Factors among Early College Entrants
This study explored how various intrapersonal, familial, and life-goal characteristics related to the academic and personal success of first semester early college entrants attending the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) at the University of North Texas. The study sought to identify which intrapersonal factors and external factors affected grades, behavioral markers, and life satisfaction during the students' first semester at TAMS. Baseline data from TAMS entrance material such as standardized achievement test scores, previous grade point averages (GPA's), advanced courses taken, and other academic activities and awards were collected. Data were also collected from the students prior to their entry to the start of TAMS related to family cohesiveness, motivation, and career goals. Data from parents were gathered prior to the start of TAMS regarding parenting styles, demographics, parents' educational levels, careers, and income levels, as well as the child's homework, extracurricular activities, and other time demands. First semester grades, a measure of life satisfaction since the program began, and behavior reports from staff members were used as outcome/success indicators. These additional data were used to examine the relationship between success and familial/interpersonal/life goal factors.
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.
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.
An Analysis of the Impact of Curriculum Management Audits on Public School Systems in Texas
The purposes of this study were to (1) identify the recommendations of Curriculum Management Audits conducted in Texas Public School systems, (2) determine the degree to which each of the recommendations had been implemented, and (3) determine the perceptions of stakeholders as to the factors instrumental in the real and potential impact of the audit. The researcher conducted interviews with superintendents and key central office administrators with a working knowledge of the audit report in each of the eleven Texas school districts studied. Respondents were asked to rate recommendations written for their districts using the following descriptors: Implemented, In Progress, Plan to Implement, Recommendation Modified, No Implementation. The ranking of recommendation implementation revealed that 85% of the recommendations made in the 11 audit reports reviewed in this study had received action toward implementation to some degree. Respondents were also asked to cite factors which facilitated or impeded recommendation implementation. Significant factors facilitating the implementation of recommendations were reported to be time, organizational structure/personnel and planning. The analysis of the collective recommendations revealed that school board policies were not adequate to direct the design, delivery and monitoring of curriculum when measured against audit Standard One criteria. School districts in Texas rely on the Texas Association of School Boards' policy division for policies. Findings indicate that greater alignment between the Texas Association of School Boards' policies and Curriculum Management Audit criteria must be sought in order for school districts in Texas to meet this Standard. System-wide planning, curriculum documents, and program-driven budgeting processes were other areas requiring attention of the school districts in the study. Evidence of the extent of implementation of recommendations suggests that school districts valued the audit report with its recommendations. It can be generally concluded that the Curriculum Management Audit had a positive impact on the involved school districts.
An Analysis of Teaching Periodicals for Aging Education Content
Ninety elementary public school teachers were surveyed to find out where they obtained their teaching ideas. Seven popular elementary-level teaching periodicals, dated 1989-1999, were analyzed for aging-related content, and compared with 27 of the National Academy for Teaching and Learning about Aging (NATLA) aspects of aging recommended for students' learning. Results indicate that public elementary teachers obtain their teaching ideas from various places: teaching institutes or workshops; other teachers; ideas or lessons they develop themselves; and teaching periodicals. A large percentage obtain lesson ideas from teaching periodicals that they browse or read. This finding may assist NATLA in making recommendations to particular editorial boards. Surprisingly, few teachers obtain their teaching ideas from state and local curricular mandates. When the periodical issues were analyzed, aging-related content was categorized in four ways: informational articles with selected teaching or learning activities; articles describing intergenerational programs or activities; book reviews with selected learning activities; and book review titles mentioning older adult characters. Category totals among the 7 periodicals were highest in book review titles mentioning older adult characters and book reviews with selected learning activities. The content was compared to NATLA's recommendations for students' learning. The findings were not significant. The aging aspect that appeared most often in book reviews with selected learning activities was that most living things have life cycles of patterned biological changes, and/or that death and disability can occur at any age. Whether we formally teach them about aging or not, children learn about it. Earlier studies indicate that even preschool children may stereotype the aging process and/or older adults. Curricular and instructional ideas provided in teaching materials, even in an informal format can provide education, which prepares children for real life experiences.
Effects of a Technology Enriched Learning Environment on Student Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills
The problem for this study was to enhance the development of higher order thinking skills and improve attitudes toward computers for fifth and sixth grade students. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a Technology Enriched Classroom on student development of higher order thinking skills and student attitudes toward the computer. A sample of 80 sixth grade and 86 fifth grade students was tested using the Ross Test of Higher Cognitive Processes. The Ross Test was selected because of its stated purpose to judge the effectiveness of curricula or instructional methodology designed to teach the higher-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation as defined by Bloom. The test consisted of 105 items grouped into seven subsections. In addition, the students were surveyed using the Computer Attitude Questionnaire developed by the Texas Center for Educational Technology. The questionnaire assessed sixty-five questions combined to measure eight attitudes.
The influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.
Despite the positive outcomes for inquiry-based science education and recommendations from national and state standards, many teachers continue to rely upon more traditional methods of instruction This causal-comparative study was designed to determine the effects of the Inquiry Institute, a professional development program that is intended to strengthen science teachers' pedagogical knowledge and provide practice with inquiry methods based from a constructivist approach. This study will provide a understanding of a cause and effect relationship within three levels of the independent variable-length of participation in the Inquiry Institute (zero, three, or six days)-to determine whether or not the three groups differ on the dependent variables-beliefs, implementation, and barriers. Quantitative data were collected with the Science Inquiry Survey, a researcher-developed instrument designed to also ascertain qualitative information with the use of open-ended survey items. One-way ANOVAs were applied to the data to test for a significant difference in the means of the three groups. The findings of this study indicate that lengthier professional development in the Inquiry Institute holds the most benefits for the participants.
The Impact of Collegial-Teaming on High-School and University Instructors: A Descriptive Multi-Case Study
This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member.
Student to Teacher Racial/Ethnic Ratios as Contributors to Regional Achievement Gaps, 1999-2008
With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in 2002 and its mandates for annual yearly progress for all students, many districts and schools in Texas have had difficulty elevating African American and Hispanic students’ scores. The current study examined these students’ achievement on the annual Texas high-stakes measure as a function of a numerical construct that aligns the race/ethnicity of students when the teacher race is White. Earlier studies have shown that racial/ethnic compatibility between students and teachers improves student achievement in the primary grades. The study, which was set in 10 north Texas school districts and 30 high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, examined African American and Hispanic students’ achievement on the Texas state assessments in reading and mathematics over a 10-year period. District performance data came from 4,664,192 African American, Hispanic, and White students and 222, 834 White teachers. Campus level data encompassed 188,839 10th graders, 93,573 eighth graders, and 40,083 fourth graders, and 20,471 White teachers. Analysis revealed that, as the ratios of African American and Hispanic students to White teachers increased, the percentages of these two student groups passing the Texas assessments decreased. These patterns differed for White students whose passing percentages increased as these students’ numbers increased relative to White teachers in all settings except in elementary schools. These preliminary findings suggested that racial alignment at the high school and middle school levels might elevate African American and Hispanic achievement. Implications may lead to shifting focus on teacher quality and class size as the primary determinants of student achievement. Findings need validation with further study using larger data sets and sequential grade levels. If validated through further studies involving larger samples, contiguous grade levels, and more sophisticated statistical analysis, this study’s findings may have implications for teacher education curriculum, recruitment of minority teacher candidates, workforce retention, and state policy on class size limits.
Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students
Today's global culture makes communication through writing in a foreign language a most desirable tool to expand personal and professional relations. However, teaching writing is a complex, time-consuming endeavor in any language. Foreign language teachers at every level struggle to fit writing into an already full curriculum and need the most effective methods and tools with which to teach. Technology may provide a viable scaffold to support writing instruction for teachers and students. The purpose of this research was to determine any benefits of weekly/structured, in-class, computer-assisted grammar drill and practice on the composition quality and quantity of intermediate university Spanish learners. A related purpose was to determine whether students who participated in such practice would access a computer-based writing assistant differently during writing than students without the treatment. The research design was a nonequivalent groups pretest-posttest design. Fifty-two subjects' compositions were graded with both holistic and analytic criteria to analyze composition quality and quantity, and statistical analyses assessed interactions of treatment and effects. The computer-based Atajo writing assistant, which could be accessed during composition, had a logging feature which provided unobtrusive observation of specific databases accessed by each student. There were no statistically significant differences found between the two groups in overall composition scores or in subscale scores. Improvements across time were observed in composition performance for both the experimental and control groups. The implementation of computer-based grammar and vocabulary practice did show a small to moderate positive effect; that is to say, students who received weekly, structured computer grammar and vocabulary practice had higher scores for composition quality and quantity on the posttest measure and accessed the databases less than the control group. The consistent positive trends in the composition data results intimate that over a more extended period of time, computer-based grammar instruction might enhance the quality and quantity of written composition in the foreign language classroom.
Religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence among nursing students.
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The purposes of this study were to examine the prevalence of current substance use and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence, and to investigate the relationships among religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators among nursing students at seven Seventh-day Adventist colleges. Data for this descriptive study were collected through Efinger's Alcohol Risk Survey (EARS) (Efinger, 1984), the CAGE Questionnaire ( Ewing , 1984), and the Intrinsic/Extrinsic-Revised Scale (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989). Participants were 241 nursing students enrolled in their first year of nursing courses at seven colleges and universities located across the United States . Findings indicated that 42% of students scored higher than the EARS mean; 24% reported current substance use; and 15% scored in the probable abuse/dependence category of CAGE. Students who reported current substance use and those scoring in the probable substance abuse/dependence category were significantly more likely to score above the EARS median. Intrinsic religiousness demonstrated a significant inverse relationship with current substance use. Significantly lower rates of current substance use were associated with higher rates of attendance at religious services. Respondents who indicated that their religion prohibited alcohol consumption reported significantly lower rates of current substance use than those who answered "No" or "I don't know" to their religion's prohibition of alcohol consumption. A substantial number of nursing students were found to have high numbers of early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence that warrant intervention. The majority of students who scored in the probable substance abuse/dependence category also had higher EARS scores, thereby increasing their risk for substance impairment. Religious variables appear to have had a mediating influence on current substance use with this sample. Prevention programs should be aimed at risks that are modifiable, thus enabling students to make healthy decisions about using substances.
The significance of supportive structure in improving student achievement in knowledge of the history of the Christian church in a Kenyan Bible college.
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The problem of this study was to determine whether Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a modified (highly structured) mastery learning model will demonstrate greater achievement in knowledge of Christian Church history as compared to Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a traditional (minimally structured) non-mastery learning model. The subjects were 17 second-year Kenyan Bible college students enrolled in a course on Christian Church history, and they were randomly assigned to the two treatment conditions. The researcher served as instructor for both groups. The experimental group used a textbook, detailed syllabus, 200 page study guide (featuring an advance organizer to provide an ideational scaffolding), and a lesson-development feature (providing an enabling objective, congruent questions, and informative feedback for each lesson segment). The control group used a textbook and a less-detailed syllabus. Both groups shared the same classroom lectures, class discussions, required assignments, examinations, and review of examination items. Five tests of Christian church history were administered, including a pretest, three unit tests, and a comprehensive course examination. Test data were analyzed using a 2 x 5 (treatment x testing occasion) repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA). The percentage of students performing at mastery level (80% correct) on each test was also calculated. Results indicated that, from the second unit test to the comprehensive examination, the modified mastery learning group achieved slightly but consistently higher mean percentage correct scores than the traditional group, but there was no significant main effect for treatment. In contrast, the main effect for testing occasion did reach statistical significance. Across the five test occasions, 8% to 51% more students in the modified mastery learning group attained mastery level as compared to the traditional learning group.
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.
Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy
New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship.
Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model
The purpose of this study was to determine the current status of secondary teachers' implementation of the sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP) model and its effect on Hispanic English language learners' (ELL) English language proficiency and academic achievement. In addition, this study sought to determine whether teachers perceive the SIOP model as an effective tool for instruction of high school ELL students to increase English language content and English language proficiency. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Data were collected from four sources: Hispanic ELLs' English language proficiency scores, students' English Language Arts scores, an oral interview with participating teachers and teacher observations. Each teacher was observed at four points during the school year with the SIOP instrument. Quantitative data on student achievement were collected employing a pre-experimental, one-group pretest-post-test design. Qualitative data were collected using a time-series design. Findings revealed that on the two student assessment measures there were increases in English proficiency and English language arts achievement among the Hispanic ELLs. On the assessment of English language proficiency, the students of the teacher with the highest level of SIOP implementation made the highest gains; the students of the teacher with the second highest SIOP implementation level made the second highest gains; and students of the teacher with the lowest level of SIOP implementation made the smallest gains. These findings suggest that the higher the level of SIOP implementation, the greater the student academic achievement gains. The gains in academic achievement attributed to the proper implementation of the SIOP model can have an extensive impact on English language learners who have not previously experienced academic success. Teacher participants perceived the SIOP model as effective for delivery of content through sheltered instruction lessons for high school ELLs. The teachers agreed that the SIOP model's components provided a consistent structure for planning and delivery of their sheltered lessons.
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.
A study of block scheduling and instructional strategies and their influence on algebra achievement in classrooms throughout north central Texas
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of block scheduling and instructional strategies on student achievement in Algebra I. The study was conducted during the 1997-98 school year. This study was comprised of two components, a quantitative study and a qualitative study. The quantitative study focused on block and traditional scheduling and the influence identified through scores on the Texas End-of-Course exam for Algebra I. The sample for this study consisted of 59 school districts from five counties in the north Texas area. The qualitative portion of this study focused on 10 classrooms, 5 block and 5 traditional, taken from the sample of 59 districts. Data for the qualitative study included questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The End-of-Course scores were analyzed using an ANOVA at the .05 level of significance, no significant difference was identified in the achievement levels of the two groups. The qualitative data was organized by categories derived from the NCTM teaching standards. Data from this portion of the study indicated that teachers in both block and traditionally scheduled classes spend their class time in a similar manner, using similar materials, and using more traditional strategies. Additional analyses of data based upon usage of the graphing calculator and manipulatives also resulted in no significant difference. Although all comparisons between block and traditional scheduling and usage or non-usage of technology and/or manipulatives resulted in no significant difference, the block groups and those using technology and/or manipulatives had higher mean scores. This indicates that allowing teachers more time to use alternative instructional strategies would benefit the student, but this will not take place without the teacher receiving training and support.
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.
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.
Factors related to technology implementation of K-12 principals and teachers.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between principals' leadership styles and principals'/teachers' implementation of technology. The Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (LEAD) Self was used to identify the primary and secondary leadership styles of principals. The Level of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Questionnaire was used to identify the level of technology implementation (LoTi), personal computer use (PCU) and current instructional practice (CIP) scores for both teachers and principals. Data collected from 390 K-12 teachers and 22 principals of three large suburban districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was included in data analysis. The findings suggest that differing leadership styles do play a role in the LoTi, PCU, and CIP scores among teachers. Based on descriptive statistics it was determined that teachers with "participating" principals had higher mean LoTi and PCU scores than those with "telling" and "selling" principals. The difference in the mean PCU scores was statistically significant (p<.05) for teachers with "selling" and "participating" principals. Results also showed there was a statistical significance (p<.05) in the mean PCU and CIP scores of teachers working for principals with weak and high adaptability. Due to the low number of principals participating in this study, there is a need to conduct the same research using a larger more diverse sample of principals. The majority of principals in this study had either a primary leadership style of "participating" and a secondary leadership style of "selling" or vice versa. A larger population of principals would hopefully allow for the study of additional leadership styles and their effect on teacher use and implementation of technology.
An exploration of the relationships among teacher efficacy, collective teacher efficacy, and teacher demographic characteristics in conservative Christian schools.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether teachers' perceptions of self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy are interrelated and how these two constructs may be impacted by teacher demographic characteristics, such as educational level, grade level taught, and number of years of teaching experience. This study focused entirely on the interrelationships of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy in three suburban, conservative Christian schools in north Texas. Specifically, the demographic characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, particular school campus, number of years teaching, number of years teaching at the current school, highest degree received, type of teacher certification, certification grade level and subject area, grade level taught, and particular subject taught were studied for the non-random, convenience sample of 216 kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers. A correlational analysis of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy yielded a Pearson r of .35 at a statistically significant level (p < .01); combining these two variables with teacher demographic variables in multiple regression analyses confirmed the relationship between teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy and collective efficacy at a statistically significant level (p < .001). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the first multiple regression analysis (R2 = .284, p < .001) showed that individual teachers' perceptions of collective teacher efficacy explained the largest amount (43%) of the variance in teacher efficacy, followed by years of teaching experience (17%) and number of years of teaching at the current school (14%). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the second multiple regression analysis (R2 = .395, p < .001) indicated that individual teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy explained the largest amount of variance in collective teacher efficacy (31%), followed the elementary teacher variable (22%) and particular school (19%).
The impact of language planning and policy on high school long-term English language learners in a selected north Texas urban district.
Language policy reform movements have increased accountability in order for schools to improve student achievement and measure the progress of English language learners. The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown significantly in the school population, yet the level of academic achievement for this population continues to lag. Language planning and policy provide critical decisions about how to measure what students know in all subjects. In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature approved the assessment of the state curriculum to account for student learning while nationally the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires assessment and accountability to measure what students know. Long term English language learners (LTELs) in high school are of particular concern because they have not been able to meet standards on the state's assessments. These assessments are used for national NCLB accountability under Annual Yearly progress (AYP) indicators, the state's accountability and the Texas graduation criteria. The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of educational language planning and policy on LTELs who have lived and attended US schools for more than four school years.
The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.
This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey.
Parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a middle-school talent search.
The present study sought to identify variables that predicted parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a national gifted and talented identification program for middle school students and subsequent participation in recommended educational options. One hundred sixty-nine parents of students who qualified for either the 2001-2002 or 2002-2003 Duke Talent Identification Program participated in the study. The students were drawn from two large public school districts and six small private schools in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern United States. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to identify the variables predictive of parental decision-making regarding talent search participation. Each parent completed a questionnaire consisting of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Selected parents participated in structured follow-up interviews. The results of the study indicated that parental perception of the helpfulness of school personnel in explaining the purpose and process of the talent search was most predictive of participation in the talent search. The educational level of the father, parent's prior awareness of the purpose and process of talent search, and the number of enrichment activities in which the child had previously participated were also predictive of talent search participation. Qualitative data indicated that parents of both participants and nonparticipants had a limited understanding of the purpose, diagnostic power, and potential benefits of the talent search. Very few parents chose to seek extracurricular or curricular/instructional options following the talent search testing. Qualitative data indicated that parents did not choose these options due to cost, logistical concerns regarding the special programs, and reservations about the developmental appropriateness of such options for middle school students. Although talent searches are sponsored and administered by organizations outside the local school, this study suggests that parents mostly rely on their local school for notification of their child's nomination, information on the purpose and benefits of talent search, interpretation of test scores, and guidance in selecting appropriate curricular or extracurricular follow-up.
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.
Perceptions of preparedness and practices: A survey of teachers of English language learners.
Mainstream teachers who obtained their English as a second language (ESL) certification by exam only are faced with increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. Decreasing standards for teacher ESL certification and increasing accountability for ELLs has made teachers' role in effectively increasing the language and academic skills of ELLs an area of major concern. This study used a survey and focus group interviews to obtain information regarding ESL-certified fourth- and fifth-grade teachers' perceived preparedness, practices and resources needs related to meeting the academic and language needs of ELLs in general education classrooms. The results indicated that teachers reported differences in their perceived preparedness based on years teaching experience, years of ESL certification, professional development hours, and university ESL courses, but not on certification route. The results also showed that teachers reported differences in their sheltered instruction practices based on the percentage of ELLs, but not on grade, instructional design, or preparedness. The correlation analysis revealed there is a positive correlation between preparedness and sheltered practices. The study revealed that while teachers are using strategies that make content lessons accessible and comprehensible to ELLs, they are often not specifically addressing the academic language development of their students. It is recommended that districts provide teachers with professional development opportunities that specifically address second language acquisition and practical ways to develop academic language across the content areas.
Students As Historians: The Historical Narrative Inquiry Model's Impact on Historical Thinking and Historical Empathy
The dissertation explores middle-school students' abilities to engage in historical thinking. I dispute the Hallam-Piaget model, which discourages analytical thinking through the assumption that children lack skills to think critically about history. My historical narrative inquiry model (1) teaches procedural knowledge (the process of "doing" history); (2) enhances interpretative skills; (3) cultivates historical perspectives based upon evidentiary history; and (4) encourages student authorship of historical narratives. In the fall semester of 2006, with a classroom of twenty-five seventh-graders, I initiated a research study designed to explore the impact of the historical narrative inquiry model through a sequence of thirty-two lessons. The lessons involved small- and large-group activities, including oral presentations, discussions about primary documents, and consideration of the relation between narratology and the creation of written history. Students generated their own historical narratives in order to articulate their perspectives. Eight students having varied reading-level proficiency served as primary participants in the study. Each of these students received pre- and post-intervention interviews. Outcomes reflected the enhancement of pedagogy intended to facilitate historical thinking and historical empathy in the classroom.
Unintended Outcomes: The effects of an entity's educator preparation accreditation on access to certification for individuals of color
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The purpose of this dissertation was twofold. First, the study sought to determine if the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) Reading score predicts success on the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). Second, the study addressed the effect on individuals of color of raising the minimum TASP Reading score entrance requirement for admission to teacher preparation programs. Data were collected from the ExCET Office of a Carnegie I metropolitan university. The defined sample consisted of 961 participants who had a TASP Reading score and had taken an Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, an Elementary Professional Development ExCET or a Secondary Professional ExCET between September 1999 and January 2001. Linear Regression, Box Test, Predictive Discriminate Analysis, and frequency distribution tables were used for analyses. This investigation examined the effects of the independent variable of TASP Reading score on the performance of participants on the dependent variable, the ExCET. Four null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. The TASP Reading score was a statistically significant predictor for success on the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, Elementary Professional Development ExCET, and the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. However, the Predictive Discriminate Analysis indicated that a TASP Reading score of 220 predicted that no candidates would fail the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, 6 participants would fail the Elementary Professional Development ExCET and 19 participants would fail the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. Five hypotheses addressed the effect of raising the TASP Reading score to 250. Findings of four hypotheses showed that raising this admission standard would impact the number of individuals of color granted admission to the teacher preparation program. These results call for the recommendation that governing agencies address the impact of state teacher education program accreditation that often results in the policy of relying on the TASP Reading score as one of the primary admission standards for teacher education programs. The unintended outcome of raising the reading admission standard in the anticipation of continued state accreditation is a noticeable loss of candidates of colors, especially African American candidates.
A Study of the Effect of School-Sponsored, Extra- Curricular Activities on High School Students. Cumulative Grade Point Average, SAT Score, ACT Score, and Core Curriculum Grade Point Average
This study investigated the effect of school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities on academic achievement for students at a private school in north central Texas. Students selected for this study were graduates from the classes of 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. With a minimum participation of two years during grades nine through twelve, students were categorized into subgroups of activities. After eliminating students who participated in more than one of the extra-curricular activities of music, drama, visual arts, and athletics, three hundred sixty-one students were represented. The identity of students was encoded and information was recorded for gender, school-sponsored, extra- curricular activities, cumulative grade point averages, SAT Scores, ACT Scores, and cumulative grade point averages in core curriculum subjects. A two-way ANOVA test with a two-by-five factorial design was completed for research questions one through four. A one-way ANOVA with a one-by-five factorial design was completed for research question five. When a significant F was found, Scheffe and LSD post hoc tests were completed to determine pair wise interaction. Statistical differences did exist when comparing school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities and cumulative grade point averages with musicians having a significantly higher cumulative grade point average, SAT scores, and ACT scores than athletes. A significant difference was found among the activity subgroups regarding the cumulative grade point averages in the core curriculum subjects of foreign language, history/English (an interdisciplinary subject at the studied school), mathematics, and science with musicians scoring significantly higher than athletes in all subjects. It is recommended that further studies be conducted to investigate the impact of activities on student achievement. Studies might include larger and different populations, the impact of participation at a younger age, and the impact of other activities on student achievement.
Central Office Administrators' Perceptions of the Professional Learning Community Process
This study provides a qualitative interpretation of the work done by central office administrators in a school district in Texas as they supported and built capacity for the professional learning community (PLC) process over a five year time period. Literature by PLC scholars, especially R. DuFour, R.B. DuFour, Eaker, Hord, Hipp, Huffman, and Olivier, informed development of the study. In a school district of 19,000 students and 2,000 staff members, ten central office administrators were interviewed to gain their perceptions of their roles in the PLC process. Interviews were analyzed through the processes of initial, focused, and theoretical coding. Documents were examined and used as supplemental sources of data to corroborate the perspectives provided. Findings revealed the story of central office administrators who worked interdependently to support and build capacity in the implementation and sustainment of the PLC process. A thick description of the work based on their perceptions offers actions and behaviors of administrators specific to their roles and practices and protocols developed to hold the work together. A grounded theory was developed with regard to central office administrators' support and capacity-building for the PLC process. From the administrators' perceptions, six theoretical categories relating to central office support and capacity building of the PLC process emerged: 1) establishment, 2) deployment, 3) accountability for implementation, 4) adult learning, 5) collaboration, and 6) leadership development. The study contributes an interpretivist description of the involvement of central office in the PLC process and confirms the importance of the change process in the implementation of the PLC framework.
An Exploration of Teachers' Adoption of the Bring Your Own Technology Program
The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' concerns, use, and actual practices in their adoption of the bring your own technology (BYOT) initiative. Twelve secondary teachers in a private school setting participated in this study. The participants represented all content areas including reading, math, science, and electives. The private school was in its third year of implementing BYOT. This case study incorporated multiple methods to collect data to gain a better understanding of teachers' adoption of an innovation, BYOT. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as a theoretical framework. All three CBAM tools provided data: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), levels of use interview protocol (LoUIP), and the innovation configuration (IC) map. Twelve of the participants completed the SoCQ across three different points in time. Six of the twelve teachers participated in three one-on-one interviews, including the LoUIP. Additionally, six teachers were observed in their classrooms during instruction. After triangulating all pieces of data, the majority of teachers had highest concerns related to self. Teachers were concerned about their ability to implement the innovation and managing BYOT in their classroom. Four of the six teachers had a level of use (LoU) at mechanical, and two teachers had a LoU at routine. The teachers' LoU indicated that they are using BYOT in the classroom; however, the majority of teachers observed had adoption practices mostly in the non-ideal variations of IC. The teachers' LoU and IC indicated that teachers had implemented BYOT in their own way and not necessarily in alignment with the campus' vision or expectations. This case study had several limitations, including the small number of participants and the brevity of classroom observations. Additionally, this study was limited to one school setting. Recommendations for future research include exploring teachers' adoption of BYOT in various school settings (i.e., both public and private schools) and teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Researchers should consider exploring the impact of specific interventions and support on teachers' adoption.
Factors Related to Teacher Retention: the Lived Experiences of Four Teachers in an Urban, Hard-to-staff High School
Retaining quality teachers is critical to the success of America's schools. How to retain quality teachers, especially in high needs schools, is a question of fervent debate among educational researchers, policy makers, administrators, parents, and students. This study examines the issue of teacher retention from an emic perspective, focused on understanding the perspective of those closest to the retention decision, teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This study examines the lived experiences of four teachers at a hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school as these experiences impact their decisions to remain in teaching and at their current campus. Research methods adopted an existential phenomenological perspective and focused on understanding deeply the perspective of participants and how participants make meaning of their lived experiences as they relate to the retention decision. Three hour-long interviews were conducted with each of the four participants utilizing methodology laid out by Seidman (1991). Data were analyzed using NVIVO 10 to apply a series of coding and recoding procedures to interview transcripts. Conclusions suggest four factors motivated these teachers to teach and remain in their current hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school. These factors include: belief in the power of education, relationships with students, mentoring and professional partnering, and remaining professionally challenged. Findings suggest factors that drive teachers out of teaching and out of hard-to-staff schools include: inconsistent administrative support, low student motivation, and lack of resources.
Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice
The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of reflection and document how a holistic approach to teacher reflection contributes to teachers' understanding of, and improvement in their pedagogical practice. The investigation asked how classroom observations, when followed by a reflective dialogue, impact pedagogical practice. The particular focus included how teachers make sense of observational data during a post-observation, reflective dialogue; how teachers reflect on classroom observational data; and how the holistic reflection experience impacts teachers' pedagogical practice. Three research questions guided this study. How do teachers make sense of observational data during a post observation reflective dialogue? How do teachers reflect on classroom observational data? How might the holistic reflection experience impact teachers' pedagogical practice? Findings from this study provide implications for incorporating the practice of teacher reflection and reflective dialogue as professional development and for educational research.