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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: Educational Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
First Amendment Constraints of Public School Administrators to Regulate Off-campus Students' Speech in the Technology Age
In a world where students and teachers both rely on technology in the process of education, understanding the constraints of public school administrators to regulate off-campus student's speech is a vital issue. This dissertation focuses on ways to evaluate legal analysis of cases involved in off campus speech. The methodology of legal analysis is used to identify judicial reasoning concerning established legal principles pertaining to the constitutional right of public school students to freedom of expression, and the application of those principles to off-campus student expression delivered by electronic means. This research produces a number of key findings: Many lower court cases have favored with the students unless the school district could prove substantial disruption to the learning environment or a true threat existed due to the off campus speech. In addition, it is crucial for the districts to have concrete policies in place to educate the students about acceptable usage of technology. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that current approaches to punishing students for their offensive off campus speech does not uphold in the courts and administrators must be resilient to speech that may be unpleasant to them. This research also includes several recommendations for administrators such as guidelines on how to write their acceptable usage policy. It also provides a chart with a summary of critical cases of importance to administrators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271894/
The Impact of a Community College Teacher Education Program on the Success Rate of Minority Teacher Certification Students
The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already implementing similar pre-service teacher education programs. Overall, the results indicated that pre-service teacher education programs at the community college level can be effective at producing transfer students who successfully graduate from four-year teacher education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271877/
A Legal Analysis of Litigation Against Mississippi Educators and School Systems Under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
This dissertation analyzes court cases involving tort claims filed against Mississippi public schools and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. The question addressed was: How have the Mississippi courts interpreted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act in litigation against Mississippi school districts and their employees? The intent of this dissertation is to add to the understanding of the legal concept of sovereign immunity as it has been applied to public schools and their employees. This study's focus centers on litigation in the state of Mississippi involving school districts. Chapter 2 provides a historical summary of sovereign immunity (also known as governmental immunity) in the United States and the state of Mississippi up to the enactment of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act as well as an overview of general legal concepts involved in tort claims. Chapter 3 explains the research design and methodology used. This dissertation relied on legal principles of research and document analysis used in the legal profession. Chapter 4 consists of a thorough analysis of published case law brought before the Mississippi courts pertaining to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act and public school systems and their employees. Finally, chapter 5 describes the key findings of the analysis of case law involving Mississippi school districts and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271847/
The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3159/
Mentoring the first-year superintendent in Texas public schools.
This study determined what mentoring experiences first-year superintendents have had and what they need from a mentoring relationship. Structured interviews and field notes were used in this qualitative study focused on Texas first-year superintendents' perceived needs from mentors. Three patterns of mentoring relationships were found: 1) no mentor in the first year, 2) mentor-protégé relationship - those who developed mentoring relationships early in a career with a more senior person in the same school system, and 3) mentoring relationships of convenience - young relationships which developed outside the same system. Skills and knowledge areas novice superintendents identified as critical for mentor assistance were school finance, development of effective relationships with groups that have expectations of the superintendent while also improving student achievement, and working within the politics of the position. Mentor characteristics novice superintendents considered necessary for a positive effect on job success include: trustworthiness, confidentiality, empathy, encouraging, active listening, and integrity. An attitude in which the mentor problem solved with the protégé, and did not give an immediate solution was displayed. Mentors actively and frequently initiated contact. Ideas were freely exchanged, giving the protégé undivided attention while not making the protégé feel inferior. The effects that previous mentoring experiences had on novice superintendents influenced whether they chose to mentor another person. Most reported seeking or engaged in a new mentoring relationship. Differences in areas where help was needed among first-year superintendents associated with district size were reported. Assistance in finance was needed regardless of district size, gender, or ethnicity. Superintendents in small districts reported needing assistance in specific skill and knowledge areas. Those in larger districts reported mentor assistance in problem-solving processes to accomplish a task. Differences in needs of first-year superintendents based on gender or ethnicity were identified but generalizations could not be made due to small numbers. Recommendations for university administrative preparation programs and designing formal mentoring programs were made. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3127/
A Comparative Study of the Impact of the Total Quality Management Program on Exit Level Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Scores
The management style being used by school personnel in Texas and across the nation today is predominately that of a bureaucracy. This model was organized around the industrial revolution that was exercising authority at the turn of the century. Writers and researchers have pointed out that such a model is not capable of providing students the knowledge and skills they will need to enter an increasingly demanding society. One management style relatively new to the educational arena today is that of Total Quality Management. This study reports the results of the impact of the training in those principles by measurement of student test scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277696/
Computer Skills And Usage Of Students In Grades 10-12 Who Are Legally Blind: A Descriptive Analysis
This research project was a descriptive analysis of the computer usage and skills of academic students in grades 10-12 who are legally blind and attending public school in the Region 10 Education Service Center service area of Texas. In addition, this study provided a process that other regions in the state or educational agencies may duplicate to document the computer skills and usage of students with visual impairments in their area. Twenty-seven students who are legally blind were surveyed by their teachers of the visually impaired regarding their computer usage and skill abilities, and eleven of the twenty-seven students were interviewed by the researcher to gain further information pertaining to computer usage and future plans upon graduation. Using prior research as a basis for understanding how sighted students used the computer, it was found that students who are legally blind used the computer similarly to their sighted peers except that students with significant visual impairments seemed to use to the computer to listen to music more than their sighted counterparts. In addition, students who are legally blind indicated that they learned most of their computer skills at school rather than at home like their sighted teenagers. Furthermore, it was determined that students who are legally blind were not learning the computer skills necessary for success in post-secondary education and vocational endeavors. Although the students were being exposed to many different computer applications, most did not use the applications weekly, nor report that they were experienced with the majority of basic skills related to applications such as word processing, Internet searching, emailing, spreadsheets and databases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4327/
Analysis of special education compliance and special education funding in four Texas open-enrollment charter schools.
The purpose of this study was to conduct an in-depth examination of special education services in open-enrollment charter schools in north Texas and to examine relationships between special education compliance and funding. Six questions guided the research: How have the charter schools designed special education services, and do these services meet individual needs of students with disabilities? Have federal education and disability laws affected charter schools' admissions, operations, or student performance ratings? What were the levels of special education funding and compliance with federal and state regulations? Is there a relationship between special education funding and special education compliance with rules and regulations? Studies at the national and state levels have frequently been conducted in the form of surveys, and provide only preliminary information about the status of special education in charter schools. There is a paucity of case specific information about the management and delivery of special education services in open-enrollment charter schools. A within-case study research design was used for this investigation utilizing qualitative methods of structured open-ended interviews, observations at the schools, and document analysis. Administrators at four open-enrollment charter schools were interviewed to gather data for this multi-case study. The data supported the hypotheses related to special education services in open-enrollment charter schools. The schools in this study provided special education services with an inclusion model for the first two years. In their first years of operation, charter schools face challenges of small budgets, few if any special education students, and difficulty finding special education teachers and other staff. In the third year and beyond, the schools were able to add special education services and staff and were more stable in terms of budget and operations. For the time period analyzed, special education costs exceeded special education funding. Compliance with special education regulations was relatively high as services were provided to students with mild disabilities with a high commitment to individualized instruction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4394/
Career Paths to the Texas Public School Superintendency
This study focused on the identification of career paths that led to the Texas public school superintendency, including an examination of career path differences associated with gender, ethnicity, and district type, and on the identification of the career path positions superintendents perceived as being the most beneficial in preparing them for the superintendency. Additionally, the study examined place-bound versus career-bound superintendents. The most common career path to the Texas public school superintendency was secondary teacher, secondary principal, and superintendent. Female administrators and administrators who worked in large districts were more likely to take the director route to the superintendency. Additionally, most major urban superintendents took the director route to the superintendency. Ethnicity was not a significant factor in determining the career path to the superintendency. A significant correlation did exist between educational attainment and the secondary teacher, secondary assistant principal, secondary principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent career path. A higher representation of superintendent respondents who held earned doctorates existed in that career path than in any of the other career path groups. While educational attainment was important in higher paying districts, most Texas superintendents did not hold doctorates. Few held doctorates from the most prestigious, nationally recognized universities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4970/
The impact of alternative school intervention on subsequent student performance in the mainstream school environment.
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of alternative school intervention on subsequent student performance. The literature review examined the history and development of alternative schools, the legislation pertaining to alternative schools, and related studies. The population consisted of students placed in the discipline alternative education program (DAEP) of an alternative school located in a large suburban school district in north Texas. Students placed in DAEP in the spring semester of 2001 in grades 7, 8, 9, and 10 were included in the sample. Data on student success was gathered for the one semester prior to placement (pre-intervention) and for the two semesters after placement (post-intervention). Student success was measured in terms of course grade averages and attendance. The student sample was divided into the following subgroups: grade level, sex, ethnicity, and qualification for the school meal program. The students' grade averages were compared within the subgroups utilizing a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Tukey's post hoc comparison was utilized on the groups when ANOVA was found to be significant. The students' attendance was analyzed by comparing the proportion of days attended in each of the three semesters included in the study. A normal test of two independent means was conducted on the attendance proportions. The results of the study indicated the following significant findings (p <. 05): the eighth-grade students' grade averages were significantly lower in the second post-treatment semester, the 7th-grade students had lower attendance in the first post-treatment semester, the 8th-grade students had lower attendance in the second post-treatment semester, and the 10th-grade students had higher attendance in the first post-intervention semester. The female students' attendance was higher in both post-intervention semesters and significantly higher in the second. A discussion of the dropout rate for this group and recidivism to DAEP was included. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4367/
Principals' Leadership Beliefs: Are Personal and Environmental Influences Related to Self-Efficacy?
The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between principal self-efficacy and personal characteristics, school conditions, and professional preparation among a selected group of Texas, public school principals. The survey instrument included the Principal Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran & Garies in 2004, and other items. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a random sample of 965 Texas, public school principals. From that population, 289 principals completed the survey for a response rate of 30%. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the analyses which included descriptive statistics, correlations, and analysis of variance. Additionally, factor analysis and reliability were calculated for the PSES. The factor structure and reliability found in this study closely mirrored the results of earlier investigations, providing further support for the reliability and validity of the PSES. Out of 12 variables examined in relation to principal self-efficacy, a statistically significant relationship was found for gender, years of teaching experience, level, SES, parental involvement, and student discipline. However, all six of the statistically significant variables had a small effect size indicating limited practical significance. The results of this study support the need for continued research of principal self-efficacy beliefs. Principal self-efficacy research may help explain the relationships between effective principals and effective schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9747/
Educational Performance: Texas Open Enrollment Charter High Schools Compared to Traditional Public High Schools
The study examined mathematics and English student achievement, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil for Texas high school students in both open-enrollment charter schools and traditional public high schools for the 2009–2010 school year. All data were assembled using archived information found at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This information included the TEA report entitled Texas Open Enrollment Charter Schools Evaluation; TEA Snapshot Yearly Report; and Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) data files. Microsoft Excel (Version 2010) was used to randomly select traditional public high schools categorized as Title 1 and non-Title 1 for comparison with Title 1 and non-Title 1 open-enrollment charter high schools. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (IBM Statistics Version 20) was used for a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) conducted between one independent variable (charter or traditional school) and five dependent variables (mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil). Traditional public high school students had higher or better average mean values than charter schools for mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil. The ANOVA found that four of the five dependent variables were statistically significant at the 0.05 confidence level for the independent variable of school type, whether charter or traditional school. There was no significant difference found between the schools for attendance rates. Effect size calculations, using the eta-squared method, confirmed the comparisons with significant differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177215/
A Descriptive Law and Policy Analysis of Corporal Punishment in Florida Public School Districts
Corporal punishment is banned by state statute in 31 of the 50 U.S states. The 19 states that still allow the practice are largely located in the South and the Rocky Mountain West. However, data indicate that the practice of corporal punishment is still largely a Southern phenomenon. In the 19 states that allow the practice to continue in schools, many have seen the use of the disciplinary technique decline. Existing research documents the negative effects and very little research supports any positive benefits of corporal punishment. This study analyzes school board policies from the 67 public school districts in the state of Florida to determine if trends in policies and incidents of corporal punishment are similar Texas and North Carolina. Research on Texas and North Carolina indicate corporal punishment is used more frequently in districts with smaller enrollments, and in more rural areas. Data from this study suggests that the decrease in the number of incidents of corporal punishment as well as the concentration of the practice among school districts in Florida school follows the same trends of declining use that exist in Texas and North Carolina public schools. Findings illustrate a need for continued research of corporal punishment on a district-by-district and potentially a school-by-school basis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177202/
The effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students.
This dissertation examined the effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students who performed at or below grade level as determined by TAKS reading scale scores. Fifty students in fifth grade were chosen to participate in the study from five elementary schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Only 46 students completed the study. The study was conducted with a control (n = 23) and treatment group (n = 23). The fourth grade students were administered pretests and posttests using the ACES and the fourth grade TAKS reading test. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design to answer the research questions. The final data results did not indicate that the implementation of interventions significantly increased TAKS reading scores at the p > .05 level. In addition, there were no significant increases at the p > .05 level between the ACES pretests and posttests. Although there were no significant gains on the TAKS or ACES, there are implications the interventions had a positive effect on teacher perceptions of their students' academic competence and some growth was evident for the treatment groups on both TAKS and ACE. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9094/
The effects of the recapture provision of Senate Bill 7 of 1993 upon the quality of schools: An analysis of perceptions of administrators in both Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 schools.
The purpose of this 4-case study was to determine the significance of the effects of the recapture legislation in Texas upon the quality of schools as perceived by administrators in participating school districts, including those surrendering funds (Chapter 41) and those receiving funds (Chapter 42). The recapture provision requires districts above a designated level of property wealth to surrender excess funds to be appropriated to districts with property wealth below a designated level. The study solicited administrators’ perceptions in both district types as to whether the changes in funding have significantly affected the quality of their schools. Using University Scholastic League classifications as a guideline for size, 2 Chapter 41 districts, and 2 Chapter 42 districts, 1 small and 1 large of each type, were selected to participate. Variables included 5 indicators of schools quality that are repeatedly mentioned in literature concerning effective schools: curriculum, climate, leadership, facilities, and safety and security. A review of literature included the historical development of public school finance systems as well as studies of the effects of efforts to equalize funding upon both the financial health and academic performance of schools. A weak link or no link between funding systems and student performance or financial health was indicated. This study supported these conclusions with both Chapter 42 districts; however, there was a discrepancy between the perceptions of administrators in the two Chapter 41 districts, indicating a need for further study. The unique aspects of this study are that it solicited directly the perceptions of acting administrators and that it included administrators in districts receiving funds to determine how those funds are being used and whether they have a significant effect upon school quality. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9013/
Funds Budgeted for Educational Programs in Texas Schools during a Period of Changing Enrollment
This study analyzes budgets of Texas school districts experiencing declining enrollments, as opposed to districts with increasing or steady enrollments. This study identifies how schools are expending funds to meet those needs while dealing with enrollment changes. A total of 924 school districts are studied. The changes in average daily attendance from 1993-1994 to 2003-2004 are used to categorize each district as having increasing, stable, or decreasing enrollments. The total dollar amount expended is compared to the total number of students in each district to determine the amount expended per student. The amounts expended for special education career and technology education, bilingual education, and compensatory education are compared to the number of students being served by those programs to determine a dollar amount that can also be compared from the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 school years. The per-student expenditures for each educational program are compared to the overall per-student expenditures in each enrollment category (increasing, stable, decreasing). The study reveals no clear pattern of change in the comparison of overall spending to individual program spending as district enrollments fluctuated. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9051/
State accountability ratings as related to district size and diversity.
All Texas school districts were examined to determine the relationship of district size and diversity to the accountability ratings of selected Texas school districts and the implications of including all data in the accountability rating system. Eight large districts and 12 small districts were matched demographically utilizing data from the 2003-2004 school year. Information from the Texas Education Agency was accessed over 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The ratings were found to be lowered from Recognized to Academically Acceptable with the inclusion of these groups 6 out of 20 times. These findings indicate that the Texas accountability system, in its current structure, excludes certain students based upon race and economic status and is not in compliance with what the law intended. This study should be replicated on a larger scale to assess its validity for a larger sample of small districts. Equity among states should be examined to provide information for a nationwide accountability system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6049/
The impact of drug testing on secondary school students.
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The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in different years (i.e. 1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3281/
An Analysis of the Emotional Intelligence and Personality of Principals Leading Professional Learning Communities
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a principal's emotional intelligence and personality and his or her ability to implement and develop professional learning communities within the school. The Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA) was administered to principals and teachers in 13 schools in Texas ranging from elementary to high school. Based on the strength of the PLCA scores, two elementary schools were selected to participate in case study research. The principals of these two campuses were administered an emotional intelligence instrument (MSCEIT), a personality instrument (DiSC), and were interviewed along with three of their teachers. The findings indicate that both of these principals scored high in the Influential and Conscientiousness subscales and low in the Dominance subscale. The principals also possessed either near-average or above-average emotional intelligence with both principals scoring particularly strong in the Strategic subscale. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6093/
Assessment and Analysis of Per Pupil Expenditures: a Study Testing a Micro-Financial Model in Equity and Student Outcome Determination
The purpose of this study was to examine district level financial data to assess equity across districts, to compare equity benchmarks established in the literature using selected functions from the state's financial database, and to determine the predictive value of those functions to the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) tests of 1997. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279253/
Teachers' and Students' Perceptions of the Impact of Content Literacy Strategy Instruction on Teaching and Learning
Reading researchers agree that content literacy strategies are beneficial in helping students learn. However, teachers remain resistant to teaching the strategies. Additionally, many students, even at the college level, lack the learning strategies necessary to experience academic success. This study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of content literacy strategy instruction. The research questions that guided the study addressed the benefits, obstacles, and support and experiences needed to sustain the use of the strategies over time. Multiple data sources were used to investigate teachers' and students' perceptions of the research questions. The main benefit found was increased student understanding and learning of content; additional benefits included increased instructional repertoire, increased student engagement in class, and improved learner independence. Most of the obstacles documented in the literature were supported in the study; however, the obstacle of time was noted most frequently. Teacher confidence was observed by the researcher as an obstacle. The majority of participants indicated they would continue using the strategies learned during the study in the future. Students noted the support needed to sustain content literacy strategy use depended on teachers providing direct instruction, practice using the strategies, and personal success with the strategies. Teachers also identified practice and perseverance as critical to sustaining content literacy strategy instruction. The support teachers noted most frequently as important to successful implementation was collegial support - teachers helping teachers. Teacher meetings discussing the implementation process were viewed as critical to sustain effective content literacy strategy instruction. Additionally, quality teacher training, administrative support, and accountability were documented by teachers as important. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2709/
Supplementing Annual School District Budgets: Partnerships, Fundraisers, Foundations, and Local Support Venues
School finance is the topic of numerous research studies; printed in newspapers and magazines, heard on the radio and television, and frequently spoken among educators throughout the nation. Anyone dealing with education is searching for methods of obtaining additional funds for projects and supplies; and even adding money directly to school districts' budgets. To better understand the importance of searching for additional funds to supplement the annual school districts' budgets, this study examines four sources for obtaining financial assistance: partnerships, fundraising, foundations, and local source venues. Participants include 10 school districts in the state of Texas having only a single high school campus; five Chapter 41 school districts and five Chapter 42 school districts. Two school districts are selected from each classification level: A, AA, AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA. One Chapter 41 (wealthy) district will be compared with one Chapter 42 (poor) school district within the same classification level. The five selected Chapter 41 school districts are above the equalized wealth limit of $305,000 per weighted average daily attendance. Data gathering procedures utilize a purposive case study by interviewing administrators in each of the school districts; studying Texas Education Agency's School Report Card, each school district's Actual Financial Data Report; sending a survey to a district administrator within each school district; gathering data from the directors of partners-in-education or adopt-a-school programs; reviewing financial records from booster clubs and education foundations; and studying financial audits for each of the school districts. This study looks at the dependency on outside financial assistance to further educational endeavors, whether they are for enrichment purposes or for extended educational pursuits. The study examines how each school district utilizes some combination of supplements to obtain additional funds for their annual budgets, whether the district is classified as Chapter 41 or 42. Using the actual financial data records for each school district, per-pupil revenue is determined. Not all school districts have access to education foundations, and not all school districts rely on business partners in education. Yet, all school districts receive assistance from local parent-teacher organizations and booster clubs and allow fundraising efforts among the various campuses. All school districts have access to local support venues, even though some are quite limited. Overall, these four areas of obtaining additional funds make only a small percentage of impact upon the majority of the school district's budgets. Yet, some of the school districts are impacted by these revenue sources as much as the percentage of federal aid received. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6117/
The impact of the core knowledge curriculum at the junior high level as it relates to performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the comprehensive school reform model core knowledge on the reading achievement of eighth grade students located in a suburban north Texas school district. The data compared the mean scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills of students attending the experimental core knowledge school with the control school that did not use the core knowledge curriculum. Students from both schools were compared for student achievement gains overall as well as several other categories. The study also used a qualitative survey that asked key faculty members at both schools questions regarding levels of curriculum implementation, staff knowledge of curriculum, etc. The data showed no significant differences between student achievement scores at the experimental school compared with students at the control school. However, the study found that the type of standardized test seems to have an impact on whether students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement than students in a traditional curriculum. Students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement on norm-referenced standardized tests when compared with students not attending a core knowledge school. When taking a criterion-referenced test such as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, there is no difference in reading achievement between the two groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6105/
Equity of access: Exploring Internet connectivity within Oklahoma public schools.
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain if conditions or combinations of conditions existed within Oklahoma public schools that created inequities in the availability of classroom Internet connections. A stratified random sample of the 471 school districts was used to identify 300 specific schools for the purpose of data analysis. Data was gathered utilizing a database provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and a researcher developed questionnaire. The database provided data relating to four independent variables (region, district size, school type, and school size,). The dependent variable, percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet, was obtained by the researcher designed questionnaire. The state database also provided percentage information relating to students who qualify as minorities and qualify for free or reduced lunches. The data was tested using a series of ANOVAs and a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The findings of the study are as follows: (a) The analysis of variance showed that none of the independent variables had a significant effect upon the percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet; (b) The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed little or no correlation between the percentage of disadvantaged or minority students and the percentage of classroom Internet connections. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4663/
The Reading Together™ cross-age tutoring program and its effects on the English language proficiency and reading achievement of English language learners.
This dissertation provides research and data based on a study of cross-age tutoring and its effects on English language proficiency and English reading achievement of English language learners. The subjects for the study included native Spanish-speakers enrolled in third-grade bilingual classrooms in four elementary schools. The research study focused on the implementation of Reading Together™, a cross-age tutoring program published by The Learning Together Company. The 30-session tutoring program is designed to help English-speaking students progress from decoding words to reading with fluency and comprehension through older students tutoring younger students in a one-to-one setting. This highly structured program is used to provide supplemental instruction to second and/or third-grade students. This study utilized a quantitative approach to compare the results of English language learners who participated in the Reading Together cross-age tutoring program and English language learners who did not participate in the program. A quasi-experimental design was used in the research study. In this design, the treatment group and the control group were selected using specific criteria. Both groups took a pretest and posttest, but only the treatment group received the intervention. The study also determined if there was a relationship between initial language levels and reading gains. The study concluded the following: 1. Cross-age tutoring might possibly be an effective instructional strategy to assist English language learners in improving their oral language proficiency in English. 2. Even though third-grade participants in the cross-age tutoring program did not demonstrate significantly different reading levels from students not participating in the program, cross-age tutoring may still be an instructional strategy to be used with English language learners to assist them in second language reading. 3. Students' initial English oral language proficiency level does correlate to the students' English reading level. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4696/
School Resource Allocation in Texas Public Schools: Study of High-Poverty, High Performing Schools and High-Poverty, Low Performing Schools
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between resource allocation practices in specific categorical functions and student performance in reading and math. This study utilized quantitative research methods to study the effects of spending and performance over four years of analysis. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing information from the Texas Education Agency. The data was collected from 81 campuses and represented over 1,500 students. The study's outcomes reported that little or no correlation could be found between inputs (dollars spent in three categories) and outputs (student results in reading and math). However, subgroup analysis revealed that students from non- low socioeconomic (SES) households started out higher than their low SES counterparts, and low SES students performed worse over time in both reading and math. Math results decreased more dramatically than reading indicating a need for school-level training in data analysis to ensure that limited dollars are spent appropriately. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable in critical data analysis skills. The study further recommends that state policy-makers invest more heavily in early math instruction. In addition, the current study found that student achievement, in low-SES students, especially in mathematics is very alarming. Low SES students are starting out behind the non low-SES counterparts and perform progressively worse over time. State policy makers must address these concerns. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9927/
An Examination Of Three Texas High SchoolsÊ Restructuring Strategies That Resulted In An Academically Acceptable Rating
This study examined three high schools in a large urban school district in Texas that achieved an academically acceptable rating after being sanctioned to reconstitute by state agencies. Texas state accountability standards are a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 (NCLB). Texas state law requires schools to design a reconstitution plan after the second year of receiving an academically unacceptable school rating for failing to meet the required standards on state assessments, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The plan must be implemented by the third year. A mixed methods approach was used to uncover the strategies that were successful during the restructuring initiative. Data was obtained from three sources: interviews, document analysis and surveys. Interviews were conducted with district administrators, campus based administrators and teachers of the three high schools. A sample of core content teachers were surveyed using questions from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Results revealed that each school chose to engage in a major form of restructuring that included the formation of a themed based magnet school. A team approach was used to devise, implement, and monitor the reconstitution plan. Common strategies unveiled in the study included the use of common assessments, collaborative planning among core teachers, professional development, continuous monitoring of student absences, extended learning times for students, and a focus on college readiness. Survey data revealed that the majority of teachers believed that collaboration positively impacted student achievement. It is recommended that schools undergoing restructuring choose a reconstitution option that allows for flexibility, use multiple resources to foster school improvement, and develop restructuring plans that serve as living documents. Further research is needed to study the principal's role in achieving an academically acceptable rating. This study could also be expanded to compare restructuring strategies of high schools across the country that has been forced by federal mandates to reconstitute. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103357/
High School Teachers’ Perceptions Of Their Principals As Culturally Proficient Leaders
This study examined Texas high school teachers’ perceptions of their principals as culturally proficient leaders, focusing specifically on how teacher-, school-, and principal-related factors impacted these perceptions. A sample of 104 teachers in culturally diverse secondary schools from a large urban district in Texas participated. An electronic survey was utilized to collect data. Results yielded an average total cultural proficiency score of 111 out of a possible 175, indicating that teachers perceived their principals “sometimes use” culturally proficient practices. Teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s use of culturally proficient leadership practices varied significantly by years of teachers’ experience and school accountability rating (exemplary, academically acceptable, and academically unacceptable). Perceptions of teachers at an Exemplary school were significantly different (higher than the perceptions of teachers at other schools from the same district). Teachers with 11 to 20 years of teaching experience gave significantly lower ratings (22.45 points) than teachers with 1 to 5 years of experience (125.53) and teachers with over 20 years of experience (118.94). While differences were not statistically significant, black and Hispanic teachers rated their principals’ culturally proficient practices higher than white teachers. Age, subject area taught and teacher’s gender, or race being the same as the principal’s gender or race had no significant effect on total proficiency scores. This study supports prior findings that leadership policy and development programs must be refined to help leaders develop and utilize more culturally proficient skills that will lead to greater academic success for all students. Results indicate that principals need assistance in adapting to and managing the dynamics of difference as well as providing teachers with conflict resolution training. It is recommended that professional development departments conduct similar district-wide proficiency assessments as a first step in helping educators to understand the cultural proficiency conceptual framework. It is also recommended that school districts develop a rating system using the tenets of cultural proficiency to assist principals in improving their cultural proficiency scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103367/
Anti-bullying Policies And Practices In Texas Middle Schools
For over a decade national attention to bullying in American schools has increased, fueled by publicity about suicides of severely bullied youth. Schools have the charge of maintaining the safety of all students in order to ensure a positive learning environment, but there is little information about what they are doing to prevent bullying. The purpose of this study was to provide information on principals’ perceptions of bullying and what anti-bullying policies, procedures, and programs exist in Texas middle schools. Ninety-nine principals completed an online questionnaire that addressed: 1) their knowledge of district and campus policies concerning bullying; 2) their direct experience with bullying; and, 3) bullying-prevention strategies and training in place in their schools. Principals reported direct experience with all types of bullying included on the questionnaire in their schools, but had a surprisingly small mean of 14.8 verified bullying incidents during the 2010-2011 year. Over 60% felt the level of physical safety in their school was good or very good, but only 35% rated their school’s emotional safety as good or very good. Students, parents, and teachers reported bullying to the majority of principals; however, few schools conducted annual student surveys that could provide accurate information about bullying in their schools. Procedures required by state law were more likely to be in place than those not required, though not all schools complied with all requirements. Fewer than 10% of schools had implemented a formal anti-bullying program. The most commonly cited obstacles to effectively addressing bullying were lack of time to conduct investigations and getting parents to file written reports (40%); however, despite having anti-bullying training, 27% felt limited by the lack of strategies. This study fills a void in the literature by providing a statewide overview of middle school principals’ knowledge of district and campus policies and procedures on bullying. It also shows the extent to which legal requirements and best practices have been implemented. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103382/
The Influence of National Standards for Early Childhood Programs on Selected Rural Settings of the Education Service Centers in East Texas
This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2502/
A study of the technology leadership of Texas high school principals.
Effectively integrating technology into school requires the presence of informed and visionary leadership. Past research on change in schools demonstrates the importance of the principal to that process. In that research it is obvious that the principal must possess more than skills and knowledge about the change, he or she must also possess leadership skills to lead the campus through the change. Despite this finding, very little research has been attempted to determine the leadership knowledge and skills of principals for technology integration. This study attempts to investigate the technology leadership of high school principals in Texas using the National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS*A). In addition, this study compares technology leadership among principals who have attended the Technology Leadership Academy with those who have not attended this training. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) What are the technology leadership actions of Texas' high school principals in each of the six technology leadership standards identified by the NETS*A standard document? (2) How are the technology leadership practices of high school principals who participated in the Technology Leadership Academy sponsored by TASA and TBEC different from those who have not participated in the training? Because no existing survey measured technology leadership using the NETS*A, a 46-part survey document was created by the researcher. The survey contained multiple questions covering each of the six standards of the NETS*A and was administered online. Descriptive statistics were used to answer the first research question. A MANVOA, using the combined mean scores for questions covering each NETS*A standard as the dependent variable and the principal's participation in the Technology Leadership Academy as the independent variable, was run to provide answers to the second research question. The principals in this study scored highly in each of the six NETS*A standards. The lowest combined mean score dealt with a principal's leadership and vision for technology. Descriptive statistics showed principals exhibited the highest combined mean score in the area of support, maintenance, and operations. Furthermore, the MANOVA indicated little difference between principals who attended the Technology Leadership Academy and those who did not attend. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4484/
Placement in the prekindergarten bilingual and English as a second language programs as a predictor of reading achievement of 3rd grade students.
At the beginning of the 21st century, few challenges for educators compared to that of meeting the academic needs of the growing number of limited English proficient (LEP) students. Divergent views on whether those needs were best met through instruction in the student's first language and English, known as bilingual education, or instruction solely in English, compounded the challenge and led to varied language support programs. The present study looked at the prekindergarten (preK) language support program as a predictor of 3rd grade reading achievement of students with the intention of helping educators understand how best to serve LEP students. The study included an analysis of 3rd grade reading achievement for four groups of students with a primary home language of Spanish who attended bilingual or ESL prekindergarten. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) followed by descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) was used to analyze scores from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) reading test and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading test. No statistically significant difference in 3rd grade reading achievement was found among the four groups at the .05 level. There was, however, a small-to-medium effect size. The MANOVA indicated that the group to which the students belonged accounted for 5.5% of the variance in their scores. The DDA revealed the ITBS explained most of the difference in the group performance. The findings suggest that ESL instruction is a viable option to bilingual instruction for LEP preK students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4680/
Ninth grade student success: An analysis of a credit recovery program.
The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which a credit recovery program improved the academic success for high school freshmen. For the purpose of this study, academic success was defined as whether or not the student advanced from 9th to 10th grade. A total of 255 students from two junior high schools and one comprehensive high school were included in the study. Independent variables included program, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, TAKS Reading/Language Arts results, and TAKS Mathematics results. A review of related literature provided background information regarding the issues surrounding high school freshmen, dropouts, grade retention, and effective intervention programs. This quantitative study utilized descriptive statistics and logistic regression to analyze the relationship between the independent variables and student success as measured by whether or not the student advanced from ninth to tenth grade. In addition, the study examined the odds of success if participating in the credit recovery program. Sources of data included Incomplete and Failure Listing, Ninth Grade Advisor Listing, Tenth Grade Advisory Listing, and the Student Roster-Fall Collection. The Ninth Grade Success Initiative Program Evaluation for Cycles 6, 7, and 9 provided the individual student results of participation in the program. Levels of significance were set at the .05 level. The findings of this study indicated that no statistically significant relationship existed between participation in the credit recovery program, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, TAKS Reading/Language Arts results, TAKS Mathematics results, and advancing from 9th to 10th grade. It was concluded that further study would be needed to determine the most effective means for providing academic assistance to ninth grade students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4431/
The Effects of Teacher Certification on Freshman High School Students' Algebra I Achievement
The purpose of this study was to determine whether students taught by certified teachers and those taught by uncertified teachers had significantly different achievement on a state Algebra I End of Course examination. The specific research questions were: (1) Does type of teacher certification impact Algebra I End of Course (EOC) Exam scores for high school freshman when controlling for students' past mathematics success as measured by 8th grade TAAS mathematics test scores and teachers' years of experience? (2) Does type of teacher certification impact Algebra I End of Course (EOC) Exam passage rates for high school freshman when controlling for students' past mathematics success as measured by 8th grade TAAS mathematics test scores, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, and teachers' years of experience? This research was conducted in a large north Texas suburban school district. The entire population (N=1,433) of freshman students enrolled in year-long Algebra I was included for this study. Three statistical tests were used in data analysis for the first question. Analysis of covariance using student as well as teacher as the unit of analysis and hierarchical multiple regression were used to analyze students' specific scores. Logistic regression was used for the second research question. This study found that students in classes with non-certified teachers scored eight points lower on the Algebra I EOC Exam than those in classes with certified teachers. However, when controlling for students' prior mathematics achievement and other variables, the difference was of no practical significance. There was no practical significance in a student's odds of passing the examination between students in certified teachers' classrooms and those in uncertified teachers' classrooms. The results of this study offer further understanding of the debate over type of certification. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4490/
An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors
Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere more conducive to comprehensive learning. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3620/
An analysis of the benefits of the Student Success Initiative in the 3rd and 5th grades in a district in Texas.
The state of Texas passed the Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 1999 which requires all 3rd graders to pass the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to be promoted to the 4th grade, and for 5th graders to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 6th grade. Beginning in spring 2008, 8th graders will also need to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 9th grade. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic performance of 3rd and 5th grade students who did not meet the passing standard on the TAKS test and were retained during the 2005-2006 school year. The population of this study included 33 3rd graders and 49 5th graders who were retained during the 2005-2006 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. There was also a second population of 49 5th graders who were retained in 3rd grade during the 2003-2004 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. These students were enrolled in the 5th grade for the first time during the 2005-2006 school year. Their TAKS scores were examined to see whether students were still benefiting from the year of retention in 3rd grade. Results for all populations were broken down by ethnicity and program codes. The results of the study showed a statistically significant gain in 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math scores. The 5th grade reading scores did have a statistically significant improvement even though the reading mean score was still below the minimum passing score even after a year of retention. A cross tabulation done on students who had been retained in 3rd grade due to SSI requirements and were enrolled in the 5th grade during the study showed a greater significant growth in math than in reading. A strong correlation between the ITBS and TAKS tests were found in both 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math. A weak correlation between the tests was found in 5th grade reading. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3634/
Equity in Texas Public Education Facilities Funding
The need to establish appropriate, adequate, and decent educational facilities for school children across the nation has been well-established. The ability of school districts in each state to build these facilities has varied widely in the past. Historically, most facilities funding ability for school districts has come from the local community and has been tied to property wealth and the ability of the community to raise significant tax dollars to pay for school buildings. Responding to an expanding need for increased facilities funding and school funding litigation, the state of Texas added facilities funding mechanisms for public school facilities construction in the late 1990s. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the methods of facilities funding were equitable in the state of Texas. In this study, equity values were framed around three equity concepts established in school funding equity literature. These three concepts were (1) horizontal equity defined as the equal treatment of equals, (2) vertical equity defined as the unequal treatment of unequals, and (3) wealth neutrality defined as the absence of a relationship between school district wealth and the equal opportunity of students. The sample comprised 1,039 school districts in the state of Texas. Well-established equity measures were administered to data including capital outlays, weighted per pupil capital outlays, instructional facilities allotments, and school district wealth. Horizontal equity measures included the McLoone index, the Verstegen index, the federal range ratio, and the coefficient of variation tests. The Odden-Picus Adequacy index (OPAI) was administered to determine levels of vertical equity. Finally, wealth neutrality was determined utilizing the Pearson product-moment correlation test. Findings indicated that there were poor horizontal equity levels both in the top half and bottom half of the distribution of capital outlay spenders. A coefficient of variation test was administered to determine overall horizontal equity. While it did not indicate poor overall horizontal equity, the existence of extreme outliers in both halves of the distribution indicated that the dispersion of spending at the top and bottom of the distribution were inequitable. In fact, over the three year period of the study, fifteen percent of the top spending districts spent between forty and fifty percent of all capital outlay expenditures. Vertical equity was tested by implementing a court mandated equalization standard of eighty-five percent. When the OPAI was administered at this equity level, vertical equity was poorer than horizontal equity. Finally, while some state implemented facilities funding mechanisms were wealth-neutral, the overall funding system, with its heavy reliance on bonded indebtedness, was not. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3647/
Computer-assisted instruction in literacy skills for kindergarten students and perceptions of administrators and teachers.
The perceptions of administrators and teachers of a computer-assisted instructional program in literacy skills were collected by a survey. The survey participants were kindergarten teachers and administrators from four elementary schools in the same, fast-growing, suburban school district in Texas. Literacy assessments were given to all kindergarten students in the district in the fall, winter, and spring of the 2005-2006 school year. This study included a quasi-experimental research design to determine if students using the computer-assisted instructional program improved more on the district literacy assessments than students who did not use the program. The treatment group members were the 449 kindergarten students of the survey participants. The treatment group worked in The Imagination Station program for a nine-week trial period. The control group members were 1385 kindergarten students from thirteen other schools in the same school district. The study found that teachers and administrators perceived that their students' improvement in literacy skills after using the program was good. The quasi-experimental portion of the study found that there was a statistical difference between the treatment and control groups on the composite literacy assessment score. The group membership variable could explain 1.4% of the variance in the students' literacy assessment scores. Based on the small effect size, there was no practical difference between the groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3651/
Academic excellence and instructional expenditures in Texas.
Public school per pupil costs and demands for better performance have increased over the past several decades. While the overall per pupil expenditures have increased, the percent of the educational dollar directed toward instructional activities has remained at approximately 60%. A grass-roots movement known as the "65% Solution" caught national attention by claiming that schools are not efficiently allocating resources into areas that have the greatest link to student achievement, such as instruction. Proponents of the 65% Solution claim that per pupil expenditures can be increased by shifting funds from areas considered non-instructional to areas that directly impact student instruction, such as teachers and instructional materials. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between district Panel Recommended and Commended Performance TAKS Reading/ELA and Math results and three measurements of instructional expenditures, Instructional Staff Percent; TEA Instructional Expenditure Ratio; and the NCES Instructional Expenditure Ratio (65% Solution), in Texas public schools. Data was collected from the 2003-2004 AEIS report. Multiple regression was used to conduct the analyses. In most instances, there was little, if any, relationship between TAKS Reading/ELA and TAKS Math, and the Instructional Staff Percent (ISP), TEA Instructional Expenditure Ratio (TIER), and NCES Instructional Expenditure Ratio (NIER). However, a low to moderate relationship was discovered in the comparison of TAKS Reading/ELA, and the ISP and TIER. This result was the same for both the Panel Recommended and Commended Performance. In every instance, the ISP and TIER showed positive, statistically significant, relationships to TAKS results. The NIER, or 65% Solution, had the lowest correlation and was statistically insignificant in three out of four analyses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5370/
Early Literacy: An Examination of the Principal Behaviors That Impact Reading Achievement
Literacy is fundamental to formal education, learning, and training for future career related skills. It provides not only the means of acquisition of information and skills during schooling, but it is a vital predictor of a person's general level of education in school as well as successful completion of schooling. Literacy skills serve as the major foundational skill for all school-based learning and without it, chances for academic and occupational success are limited. Despite the efforts of teachers, a significant portion of students continue to fail to achieve success in early literacy in school, with severe consequences for their subsequent educational progress, career opportunities and life chances. The extent of this problem varies throughout school systems. All of our children are affected by their reading ability, and as educators it is critical to provide for all students the most effective literacy programs and strategies which are research based, data-driven and successfully replicated. Because of the psychological, social and economic consequences of reading failure, it is critical to review the research to determine the risk factors that may predispose youngsters to reading failure, and the instructional practices that can be applied to ameliorate reading deficits at the earliest possible time. The failure to achieve in literacy is a fact, which continues to carry dire social and economic consequences for the children, as well as for this society. Furthermore, there is a substantial body of research indicating that schools have a narrow window of opportunity to make a difference. Students who fail to make progress in literacy during the first two years of school rarely catch up with their peers and are at-risk of becoming low achievers who are alienated from school and who dropout of education at the earliest opportunity. On the other hand, impressive empirical evidence is now available to support the notion that failure to make progress in literacy is preventable for all except a very small portion of children. This study reviews the relationship between the principal's knowledge of early literacy and student achievement in reading by the third grade. It will also describe the causal factors that may predispose young children to reading difficulties, as well as the instructional programs and teacher strategies that can be implemented to ameliorate the difficulties. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used to analyze the data. Narratives, tables and figures are used to further enhance the research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4439/
A Comparison of Principals’ Perceptions of Preparedness Based on Leadership Development Opportunities
This research study identified the frequency in which six public school districts in Texas provided principals with effective development opportunities prior to the principalship excluding university or certification programs. A purposive sample of over 200 principals from six school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were asked to participate in the study yielding a response rate of 41%. Respondents identified through a questionnaire their leadership development opportunities and perceptions of preparedness on nine standards common to the profession. Principals were nominally grouped for comparison. The perceptions of preparedness for principals who received effective leadership development opportunities were compared to those who did not receive these same opportunities using an independent samples t-test to determine statistical significance (p < .05). Peer coaching yielded the most statistically significant results in three standards. This finding indicates principals who receive peer coaching prior to the principalship compared to those who did not perceive themselves as more prepared in the areas of community collaboration, political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context, and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Effect size was measured for the statistically significance standards to determine practical significance. Each of the five statistically significant standards yielded a medium effect size indicating that the leadership development methods received by participants explained approximately 30% of the difference. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84217/
An Analysis of Advisory Committee Activities in a Successful Public School Bond Election
The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of specific advisory committee activities during a school bond proposal and election process. The study began with an extensive review of the literature on the use of advisory committee activities in school districts for the purpose of promoting a school bond issue. This revealed that school officials maintaining a low profile, the presence of a diverse community task force, focusing on YES voters, involving the committee in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community are all important in the passage of a school bond election. A survey was developed and administered to committee members, school board members and school district administrators in a North Texas school district that had successfully completed a bond election. Survey respondents consistently supported the practices put into place by the studied school district, which closely mirrored the activities espoused in the research. Respondents believed the diversity of the task force and the roles of the committee members to be crucial to the passage of the bond. The only subcategory of questions that drew mixed reviews and positions of support was that of the need for the administration and board to maintain a low profile. Participants in the survey viewed having a diverse community task force, focusing on YES votes, involvement in early planning, focusing on disseminating information, and focusing on benefits to children and the community as being important to the successful passage of the school bond election, with clear dissemination of information being the most important activity of the committee. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4561/
Predicting student performance on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Exit Level Exam: Predictor modeling through logistic regression.
The purpose of this study was to investigate predicting student success on one example of a "high stakes" test, the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Exit Level Exam. Prediction algorithms for the mathematics, reading, and writing portions of the test were formulated using SPSS® statistical software. Student data available on all 440 students were input to logistic regression to build the algorithms. Approximately 80% of the students' results were predicted correctly by each algorithm. The data that were most predictive were the course related to the subject area of the test the student was taking, and the semester exam grade and semester average in the course related to the test. The standards of success or passing were making a 70% or higher on the mathematics, 88% or higher on the reading, and 76% or higher on the writing portion of the exam. The higher passing standards maintained a pass/fail dichotomy and simulate the standard on the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Exit Level Exam. The use of the algorithms can assist school staff in identifying individual students, not just groups of students, who could benefit from some type of academic intervention. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4577/
An analysis of the effect of distance learning on student self-efficacy of junior high school Spanish students.
Prior to the development of interactive television, schools that were either geographically isolated or financially restricted were often unable to provide courses that may have been essential for students. Interactive television has helped such school districts provide appropriate courses for their students. Because student self-efficacy is a significant indicator of student success, the relationship between distance learning and students' self-efficacy requires research. The problem of the study was to examine the impact of site location in a distance learning environment on student self-efficacy in Spanish instruction. The participants in this study were junior high school students enrolled in distance-learning Spanish classes at two junior high schools in a north central Texas independent school district. All of the students were taught by the same instructor. The age range of the students was from 11 to 14 years of age, and all students were in either the seventh or the eighth grade. Students took a modified version of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire at the end of each treatment. Using the counterbalanced design, each subject was matched to themselves. T-tests for nonindependent samples were used to compare the two treatments. The findings indicate that there is no significant difference in the level of student self-efficacy by site location. The findings in this study support the use of distance learning as a medium for Spanish instruction at the junior high school level. Because of the strong statistical relationship between self-efficacy and student performance, teachers and administrators can reasonably believe that site location will not hamper their students' success. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4563/
A Comparison of Academic Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Students Served in Title I Part A Programs: Targeted Assistance Versus Schoolwide Models
This study analyzed test scores of economically disadvantaged students who attended two elementary schools implementing different types of Title I models from 1999-2001. Test scores from the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9) were analyzed. One school implemented the targeted assistance model (less than 50% poverty), which focused resources on students were identified as failing or at risk of failing. The other a schoolwide model (95% poverty), which used resources to help all students in a school regardless of whether they ware failing, at risk of failing, or economically disadvantaged. The quantitative approach was used with a causal comparative design. A cohort of continuously enrolled students was identified for the TAAS (n=169 and 189) and the ITBS/SAT-9 (n=49 and 87). Descriptive statistics such as the frequency, mean, and standard deviation, were used to measure differences on the Texas Learning Index (TLI) for the TAAS, and Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) on the ITBS/SAT-9. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to partially adjust for preexisting differences among the groups and because randomization was not possible. The independent variable was type of Title I model, targeted assistance or schoolwide. The dependent variable was the achievement measure, and the covariate was the initial achievement scores in third grade (pretest). The ANCOVA reports and descriptive statistics showed that economically disadvantaged students performed better in reading and math on TAAS and ITBS/SAT-9 at the targeted assistance school in 1999 and 2001, with mixed results in 2000. The academic performance of economically disadvantaged students at the targeted model was consistent all three school years. They scored slightly lower than the non-economically disadvantaged students, but higher than their peers at the schoolwide model. The students' third grade pretest score was the most significant predictor of future performance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4773/
Character education programs and student suspension rates from school: Do character education programs decrease student suspensions from regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas?
The purpose of this study was to determine if character education programs impact the suspension rates of students from regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas. The data was also examined to determine if the number of years since a school's implementation of a character education program has an impact on the effectiveness of the programs as measured by the suspension rates of students from school. Finally, the study sought to determine if the socio-economic status of the schools has an impact on the effectiveness of character education programs as measured by the student suspension rates. A random sample of 135 regular instructional public elementary schools in Texas was collected. The principal of each school completed a questionnaire that was used to sort schools into three groups: schools with "direct" character education programs, schools with "indirect" character education programs, and schools that have implemented no type of character education program. A two-year history of suspensions was obtained for each school. The data was analyzed using one-way and two-way ANOVAs. The results of the analyses indicated that the implementation of character education programs, no matter what type, did not produce statistically significant differences in student suspension rates from school. Furthermore, the data revealed that neither the number of years since the implementation of the character education programs nor the socio-economic status of the schools had an impact on the effectiveness of the character education programs as measured by the student suspension rates from school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4778/
The school reform movement and high stakes standardized testing: An analysis of factors impacting the academic outcomes of students receiving special education services.
The purpose of this study was to investigate special education outcomes in relation to state standardized testing. It specifically sought to determine if a relationship existed between selected data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) comparing district students receiving special education services TAAS scores with selected district demographic, fiscal, and special education data. The population for this study consisted of all 2001-2002 grades 3-8 and 10 public school students with the exception of charter schools, special-purpose statutory districts, and state-administered districts. The reading analysis incorporated data from 896 Texas school districts. The mathematics analysis used data from 914 school districts. Multiple linear hierarchical regression was chosen as the method for statistical analysis. Data was obtained from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as a special data pull. For both the reading and mathematics analyses, wealth and ethnicity were statistically insignificant although ethnicity individually accounted for a large percentage of the variance for both the reading (20.3%) and mathematics (13.2%) scores as well as producing negative β weights. All other predictor variables produced varying degrees of statistical significance. Community type, socioeconomic status, instructional expenditures per students, and instructional expenditures per student receiving special education services also produced negative β weights. Two variables in this study, enrollment and the percentage of students receiving special education services tested, produced positive β weights, substantial squared structure coefficients, and positive Pearson correlation coefficients. Of these two predictors, the strongest overall positive predictor for students receiving special education services success on the grades 3-8 and 10 reading and mathematics TAAS exams was the percentage of students receiving special education services tested. These percentages produced the largest positive correlations with passing rates (reading r = .283, mathematics r = .219) and the second largest regression coefficients (reading β = .224, mathematics β = .202). They individually accounted for the largest percentage of total criterion variance (reading = 33.0%, mathematics = 22.6%). For this study, these results clearly suggested that the dominant positive predictor of testing success for students receiving special education services was the percentage of students receiving special education services tested. Conversely, socioeconomic status was the dominant negative predictor. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4750/
The Relationship Among Effective School Correlates, School and District Practices, and Exemplary Student Performance in Texas
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) annually rates campuses and districts on how well they meet standards of student performance. Since the high standard is so difficult for campuses and districts to reach, educators continually seek ways to improve student performance. The effective schools process is research-based and has stood the test of time. Descriptive statistics were used in this study to identify practices within the effective schools correlates that exemplary campuses implement. Campuses with long-term exemplary ratings were identified using the TEA data base. Campus site-based teams were surveyed using the More Effective Schools Staff Survey. Data was collected on elementary and secondary campuses with homogenous, diverse, economically advantaged, and economically disadvantaged student populations. District instructional leaders for those campuses completed a District Instructional Leader Survey to determine what practices districts implement to support their exemplary campuses. Findings from this quantitative study revealed what effective schools practices were highly evident on these exemplary campuses, regardless of diversity, economic status, district size, community type, property wealth, or location within the state. Findings also revealed that district leaders provide direction and support in the areas of (a) professional development; (b) beliefs, mission, and goals; (c) curriculum; (d) instruction; (e) assessment; and (f) site-based decision making. The research data imply that campus or district administrators can improve the performance of their students if the identified practices are implemented. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5195/
The effects of socioeconomic status on growth rates in academic achievement.
The purpose of the study was to examine the differences in academic growth rates as demonstrated on the TAKS test among students based on those who received free lunches, those who received reduced-price lunches, and those not economically disadvantaged. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for reading and mathematics scale scores were obtained from five Texas public school districts for students who were in 3rd grade in 2003, 4th grade in 2004, 5th grade in 2005, and 6th grade in 2006. The sample included almost 10,000 students. The data were analyzed using SPSS and HLM. SPSS was used to identify descriptive statistics. Due to the nested nature of the data, HLM was used to compare data on three levels- the test level, student level, and district level. Not economically disadvantaged students scored the highest on both TAKS reading and mathematics exams with a mean scale score of 2357 and 2316 respectively in 2003. Compared to the not economically disadvantaged students, students receiving reduce-priced lunches scored approximately 100 points lower, and lowest were the students receiving free lunches, scoring another 50 points below students receiving reduced-price lunches. The results revealed that while gaps in achievement exist between SES levels, little difference exists in the growth rates of the SES subgroups. The results of this study support the need for continued effort to decrease the gap between students who are not economically disadvantaged and those receiving free or reduced-price meals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5193/
Factors that influence teacher turnover in Texas: Correlations with variables from the academic excellence indicator system for the year 1998-99
The teacher shortage problem is a national and state concern. In 1998, the Texas State Board of Education Certification reported that school districts in Texas had to hire teachers to fill over 63,000 vacancies. Teacher resignations, other than retirement, contributed to over 46,000 teachers who left the profession about 19 % of the state's total teacher workforce. A significant number of Texas teachers left the profession in the first five years. The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (1996) called the attrition of new teachers a chronic problem for American schools. Reducing the teacher shortage in Texas must begin with reducing the teacher turnover rate. Most studies concerning teacher attrition or turnover either address salary, or working conditions. Many of the studies deal with affective and subjective data regarding teacher turnover. The studies on teacher turnover often do not address quantifiable data collected uniformly across districts. Few studies address a comprehensive set of quantitative data to determine the variables associated with teacher turnover. This study addressed teacher turnover through quantitative research of data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) with multiple analysis to provide insights to teacher turnover conditions and trends. The population for the study included all 1042 Texas school districts, and 61 Charter schools. The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) was used to determine the variables and supply data for the study. The study addressed only district data not individual school or campus data. The data captured for this dissertation were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlational methods, and regression tools of research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2817/
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