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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
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/
The Impact of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! on Adolescent Girls
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine the impact, if any, of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! on adolescent girls in the areas of friendship, school issues, family issues, body image, and assertiveness after participating in the religious-based program for nine monthly modules. Participants completed pretests and posttests in the areas of self-concept and basic Jewish knowledge. Quantitative results demonstrated statistically significant results in the areas of basic knowledge of Jewish female role models, values, and traditions, and statistically significant results in the areas of general, parental/home, and global self-concept. Qualitative results revealed inconsistent results with application of lessons taught, with some effect being acknowledged in the areas of friendship, gossip, bullying, self-defense, and assertiveness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4922/
The impact of language planning and policy on high school long-term English language learners in a selected north Texas urban district.
Language policy reform movements have increased accountability in order for schools to improve student achievement and measure the progress of English language learners. The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown significantly in the school population, yet the level of academic achievement for this population continues to lag. Language planning and policy provide critical decisions about how to measure what students know in all subjects. In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature approved the assessment of the state curriculum to account for student learning while nationally the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires assessment and accountability to measure what students know. Long term English language learners (LTELs) in high school are of particular concern because they have not been able to meet standards on the state's assessments. These assessments are used for national NCLB accountability under Annual Yearly progress (AYP) indicators, the state's accountability and the Texas graduation criteria. The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of educational language planning and policy on LTELs who have lived and attended US schools for more than four school years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5131/
The impact of leadership capacity and style on professional learning communities in schools.
Leadership capacity may be enhanced when school staff members work together as a professional learning community (PLC). Leadership style may impact how well a school staff work as a professional learning community. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between principal leadership style and the level of PLC on 18 campuses across the US that were working on becoming PLCs. Staff members answered questions from two surveys which measured the level of leadership capacity, leadership style of the principal, and level of professional learning community within the schools. Questions regarding leadership capacity and leadership style were taken from the Leadership Capacity School Survey. Questions designed to measure the level of PLC on a campus were taken from the Professional Learning Community Assessment. The product-moment correlation coefficient or Pearson r was calculated between the answers from the questions from both surveys. The results indicated that when a capacity building principal is working with staff members to create a PLC, a higher level of PLC development is evidenced. When principals used collaboration with their staff, their schools operated at a lower level as a PLC. These results encourage principals to consider building capacity among their staff members if they want to create professional learning communities on their campus. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9740/
The impact of selected school factors on the test performance of African-American economically disadvantaged elementary students.
In order for America to retain its superior position in a global economy it is imperative that all students receive educational opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Currently, African-American economically disadvantaged students in the United States perform lower on standardized tests than their grade and age-level peers. Educators must find ways to improve the performance of students in this group in order to maximize future opportunities. Through a mixed-methodology approach, the current study finds three school factors that may positively impact the performance of African-American economically disadvantaged students: high expectations, student-teacher relationships and teacher effectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative analysis provides perspectives from principals primarily from a large urban school district on the impact of these factors on student performance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5275/
Impact of Teachers' Common Planning Time on the Academic Performance of Students in a Middle School Setting
The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the common planning time for a team of middle school teachers by comparing the standardized test scores of middle school students selected from two school districts located in North Texas. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) 2 * 4 design was utilized to measure the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) math and reading scale score for 7th grade students from the test administered in spring 2005. The data for this study were compared by the variables of school, gender, and ethnicity. The measuring tool utilized in this study determined the ratio of the amount of variance of the scores for individuals of between-groups as opposed to the amount of variance of within-groups, indicating if there were a statistically significant difference on the scores in any one particular variable compared to the variances of scores for the other variables in this study. The statistical results indicated that there were no statistical significant differences in the scores of students attending a middle school where the teachers received a common planning time. However, there was a noted difference in the percentage ratings on the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report published by TEA for the African American students who attended the school with the common planning time. These students had higher scores on the TAKS reading test. The TAKS math scores did not indicate any notable differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5431/
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/
The impact of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on reading, mathematics, and language achievement of Hispanic English language learners.
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This study sought to answer if the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program had a positive academic impact on Hispanic English language learners (ELL). HIPPY is a free, 2-year, home-based early intervention program for 4-and 5-year-old children. The program is intended to provide educational enrichment to at-risk children from poor and immigrant families, increase school readiness, and foster parent involvement in their children's education. A quasi-experimental design and quantitative measures were used to measure the academic success of Hispanic ELL students in reading, mathematics, and language arts. The sample included an experimental group and a purposeful control group. Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and participated in the HIPPY 4 and 5 programs were compared to Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and did not participate in HIPPY. Results from the Texas-mandated criterion referenced Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills (TAKS™) Test and the TerraNova® and TerraNova SUPERA® norm referenced tests were used in this study. Results from the TAKS Reading and TAKS Mathematics Grade 3 and the TerraNova reading, language, mathematics, and total composite scores were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. The treatment group and control group results from both assessments were measured and compared. A statistically significant difference was found in 5 out of the 6 null hypotheses tested. The treatment group statistically significantly outperformed the control group in the TAKS Reading and the TerraNova and TerraNova SUPERA reading, language, mathematics, and total composite assessments. This study substantiates that the HIPPY program works and can have a positive impact on a child's school readiness. Additionally, a significant range of sustainability was also established since the results were measured from assessments administered in the third grade and 5 years after the treatment group began participating in the HIPPY program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5227/
The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.
This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4772/
Incarcerated mothers in Cuenca, Ecuador: Perceptions of their environment and the impact it has on the lives of their young children and their education.
The number of children whose mothers are incarcerated is increasing around the world. Educators of young children are faced with new challenges in their classrooms as they work with these children during their formative years for social-emotional development. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interview the mothers, in order to gain their perspective on how they feel their incarceration has affected their relationship with their children; how they believed it would affect their children in the future, and to investigate the perceptions of early childhood teachers who worked with children of incarcerated mothers. Using interviews, observations, journal, and field notes the researcher collected information from 3 incarcerated mothers, 3 of their children, and the 2 teachers who worked with these children. Overall findings were that the mother-child relationships are of extreme importance to the mothers. They have high hopes for a better life for their child, which includes concerns about their education. Mothers had fears that their incarceration would repeat itself in their children and desired for things to be different in their children's futures. They reported their incarceration affecting their children in negative ways. Their children had difficulty depicting their mothers in their drawings. Lastly, the teachers highly encouraged parental involvement, even though the mother was incarcerated. They expressed the importance of the mother-child relationship impacting the child's ability to learn, and teachers believed special training and preparation are necessary for working with these children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6078/
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/
Instructional Leadership Responsibilities of Assistant Principals in Large Texas High Schools
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent secondary assistant principals in large Texas high schools demonstrate behaviors consistent with what the literature describes as instructional leadership. Three hundred seventy principals and assistant principals of large Texas high schools participated in this study. The Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (Hallinger, 1987) was used to quantify instructional leadership in 10 different job functions. The study found that (a) assistant principals perceive themselves as exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (b) principals perceive their assistant principals exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (c) the perceptions of the principals and assistant principals were similar, and (d) principals and assistant principals reported more engagement in instructional leadership responsibilities and felt more pressured over the last five years under the new accountability and rating requirements of No Child Left Behind and the state assessments. These findings suggested that the administrative roles and responsibilities in high schools should be restructured to allow assistant principals to focus on instructional leadership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28432/
Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2721/
Interim Evaluation of the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program: A Working Model
The purpose of this study was to determine if, after one year of operation, the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program was progressing in accordance with the goals set out for the program. Questionnaires administered to 26 interns and 10 mentor principals and follow-up focus group interview sessions provided answers to the study's five research questions that explored the following: selection process; how interns' involvement in campus-based decision-making had changed; how mentor principals' perceptions toward interns had changed; and how administrative interns' perceptions of themselves and educational administration had changed. Findings from this study revealed the selection process provided the Dallas Public Schools an opportunity to select teacher-leaders from the district and to include a representative number of minority and women candidates for participation in the program. An area of weakness was seven interns with low GRE scores were admitted through an appeals process at the university. Another weakness revealed the majority of interns had been assigned more duties and responsibilities at the schools, but only 4 of 26 interns were being allowed to participate in any campus-based decision-making processes that could have an impact on school improvements. The study found the role of the mentor principal to be the most important factor in determining the satisfaction and success of the interns in the program. The embedded internship proved to be a disadvantage for the interns and principals, as the majority reported not having enough time to spend on administrative activities. Interns reported growth in personal and professional maturity and gained knowledge about the world of educational leadership. All 26 interns expressed the desire to become administrators in Dallas Public Schools upon completion of the program. Further research should include comparison studies between graduates of restructured programs and graduates of traditional programs to determine if there is a difference in school improvements and student achievement based upon the nature of the training of the school leader. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4497/
International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration
The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30493/
The International Newcomer Academy: A Case Study
This initial investigation into the special program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, the International Newcomer Academy (INA), examines and describes the nature of this new school in comparison with the nature of the Language Centers functioning in host schools as schools within schools. This study was prompted by the need to document perceptions, behaviors, and practices of all principal players, which might result in program improvement to benefit students. The primary goal for establishing this new school was to focus primarily on beginner limited English proficient (LEP) students so that the language centers would be relieved, and so do a better job of teaching intermediate and advanced LEP students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278499/
An investigation into the current practices of formal and informal teacher technologists on the use of computers in the classroom in an urban academy school and a private academy school.
The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of formal and informal teacher technologists in two school settings: an elite private, high school academy and an urban poor, middle school academy. This investigation included clarifying the role of the formal and informal teacher technologist and investigating the need for both formal and informal teacher technologists. This study also explored the technological differences between the public academy middle school and the private academy high school. Two formal and eight informal teacher technologists were interviewed face-to-face three times, each using the transcendental phenomenology research design. Each teacher technologist was also observed at least once in classroom and teacher training sessions. The results of this study revealed (1) the role of the teacher technologist was a fast technology problem solver; and (2) although students and teachers used technology, the schools lagged in adequate technology and/or teacher training; (3) the teacher technologists used the Internet to build and evaluate curriculum; (4) most students used tool software centered around project-based activities; (5) teacher technologists trained other teachers to be collaborative risk-takers in using technology; (6) teacher technologists shared what they learn with students and other teachers; and (7) students could be student-learners or student-teachers and teachers could be teacher-learners. Four conclusions were reached: technology and constructivist teaching are compatible; technology is a tool; new approaches to professional development are needed; and hardware and software should be standardized for maximum use. Additionally, both schools in this study were evolving the role of the formal teacher technologist. It was recommended that (1) the schools employ at least one fulltime formal teacher technologist whose main role is to assist teachers in technology classroom incorporation, (2) the schools form teams of informal teacher technologists, (3) and the public middle school academy purchase one laptop for each student to use anytime, anywhere. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4322/
An Investigation of Relationships Between Teacher and Administrator Knowledge and Perception of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills and Student Performance
The purpose of this study was to (1) gather information regarding knowledge of TAAS and perceptions (attitudes) about TAAS (excluding the current battery of End of Course Tests) from teachers and administrators; (2) relate teacher and administrator knowledge and perceptions of the test to student test performance as reported in the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) Reports. Answers to the following questions were sought: 1. To what extent do teachers and administrators possess different levels of knowledge regarding TAAS, and different attitudes toward TAAS about its purpose and usefulness? 2. Are differences in teacher and administrator knowledge of TAAS related to student performance? 3. Are differences in teacher and administrator attitude toward TAAS related to student performance? Information was collected, by means of a twenty-six-item survey measuring teacher and administrator knowledge and attitude toward TAAS. The selected schools were chosen from schools rated as either exemplary or low performing by the state accountability system. The data were examined using Descriptive Statistics (Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). ANOVA was performed to determine if a significant variance existed between the responses of teachers and administrators and also between exemplary and lowperforming schools. Exemplary and low performing schools were chosen to determine if there were differences in teacher and administrator responses from these two groups. The results of this study attempt to show what, if any differences there are in attitudes toward and knowledge about TAAS based on responses from teachers and administrators from both exemplary and low performing schools. Based on the analysis of the data, there is no evidence from this study that indicates that there are significant differences in knowledge between teachers and administrators regarding TAAS. There is evidence that administrators possess a more positive attitude toward TAAS than do teachers. There is no evidence presented in this study that differences in teacher or administrator knowledge significantly impact student performance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5812/
Latin Vocabulary Acquisition : An Experiment Using Information-processing Techniques of Chunking and Imagery
The purpose of the study was to determine the effect on student performance and attitude toward high school Latin by Latin I students when provided with vocabulary instruction through chunking and imagery. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277583/
Leadership and sustainable change: The relationship between leadership practices of principals and reculturing schools as professional learning communities.
This study examined the relationships between leadership practices of principals and strength of schools as sustainable professional learning communities. Strength of schools as professional learning communities was measured using the Professional Learning Communities Assessment; leadership practices were measured using the Leadership Practices Inventory both Self and Observer protocols. Findings indicated that neither principal's self-perceptions of their leadership practices nor teachers' assessments of their principals' leadership practices were related to strength of schools as professional learning communities. Findings did indicate ten specific leadership behaviors of principals that appear to be more highly related to strength of schools as learning communities. Further analysis which focused on the two strongest learning community schools and the two weakest learning community schools indicated that three specific leadership behaviors within Kouzes and Posner's practices of modeling the way and enabling others to act appear to be the most strongly related to reculturing schools as sustainable professional learning communities. Principals who set a personal example of what they expect of others are most likely to lead schools that function as strong learning communities. Additionally, principals who build consensus around a common set of values are also most likely to lead strong learning communities. Finally, principals who develop cooperative relationship with co-workers are most likely to lead schools that function as strong learning communities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9846/
Lease Purchase Financing: The Processes and Impact on New School Construction in Texas
The purpose of this study was to review and explore the concept of lease purchase financing for the construction of new facilities in Texas. It sought to determine the impact of lease purchase financing and the characteristics of those districts that have utilized lease purchase financing for the purpose of new school construction. A two pronged approach was used for the study, both quantitative and qualitative. The study examined all school districts that utilized lease purchasing and examined various traits of the districts. Data was acquired from the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Bond Review Board. The qualitative portion of the study included interviews with superintendents of nine different Texas school districts that have utilized lease purchase financing. The study concluded that lease purchase districts were generally small school districts that were property poor and have high property tax rates. The study also concluded that the major reason for districts to use lease purchase financing was to avoid having to hold an election in order to gain approval for the sale of traditional general obligation bonds. Another factor identified was the availability of state funds through the state Instructional Facility Allotment. The study also concluded that while districts sought to provide better programs for their students through better facilities, that students actually suffer due to instructional funds being used for the payment of long term debt. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4950/
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/
A Legal Analysis of Litigation Against Oklahoma Educators and School Districts under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act
This dissertation analyzed public court decisions in cases against Oklahoma school districts and their employees involving sovereign immunity claims filed under Oklahoma's Governmental Tort Claims Act. The questions addressed were: (1) How have the Oklahoma courts interpreted the Governmental Tort Claims Act, (Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 151 et seq.) in litigation against school districts and their employees? (2) What are the limits of immunity protection for Oklahoma school districts and their employees? (3) How has the statute of limitations in Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 156 and Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 157 been applied to Oklahoma educators in tort litigation? This dissertation utilized legal research as the methodology to answer the research questions. Chapter II provides a review of existing literature regarding sovereign immunity in the United States. Chapter III is a comprehensive study of Oklahoma sovereign immunity cases filed against Oklahoma school districts and educators under the Governmental Tort Claims Act with regard to negligence, corporal punishment and the statute of limitations. Chapter IV discusses the findings of the analysis of cases in Oklahoma and the amount of protection afforded to Oklahoma school districts and educators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28446/
Mainstream Success Following Placement in a Modified Type II Setting
The topic of alternative schools is widely available in the literature; however, once a student has been labeled a "troublemaker" and has been placed in a District Alternative Education Program (DAEP), a Type II setting, there is limited information about the overall success of students upon their return to the mainstream. This study compared the success of students formerly placed in a modified disciplinary Type II setting, once they have returned to the mainstream, with their success prior to disciplinary placement. The purpose of the study was to examine if disciplinary measures that remove students from the mainstream environment negatively impact the variables that measure school success, despite legislative mandates such as No Child Left Behind, which advocates success for every student. The population for this study was 86 7th- through 11th-grade students assigned to a DAEP in Texas during the spring of 2003. A comparison of pre- and post-placement dependent variables measuring school success-attendance, passing core courses, behavioral achievement, standardized test score achievement, recidivism, and dropout rates-comprised this study. The independent variables-gender, ethnicity, grade level, socioeconomic status, and disciplinary offense-were used to compare and analyze each dependent variable. The dependent variables of attendance, passing core courses, and behavior demonstrated a decline in the measurement of school success across time. The only dependent variable that demonstrated improvement between the pre- and post-placement periods was achievement on standardized test scores. From the number of students who withdrew from the mainstream during the post-placement semesters, large recidivism and dropout rates were determined, which reflected the large percentage of students who were not successful in the district's mainstream. The comparisons of dependent variables by independent variables resulted in significance only in the analyses of attendance by grade level. This interaction was determined to be significant since p < .05. During both post-placement semesters, 11th-grade attendance increased by 20.2 points. Students in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades maintained a slight increase in attendance between the pre-placement and first post-placement semester yet experienced an attendance decline in the second post-placement semester. This decline was seen in all three grade levels between the pre-placement and the second post-placement semesters. Attendance among tenth graders declined throughout all semesters of the study. The comparison of attendance by disciplinary offense resulted in a large effect size (eta2). The eta2 reported within 29.8% accuracy in variability when attendance was compared by disciplinary offense. Students placed for assault demonstrated a 27.7 point increase in attendance by the second post-placement semester. Despite the comparison of attendance by the grade level of students being the only significant result, and the comparison of attendance by disciplinary offense resulting in a large effect size, several specific conclusions were drawn from the analyses of the pre- and post-placement data measuring school success. All dependent variable measurements, with the exception of standardized test score achievement, resulted in an overall reduction of mean scores across time. This decline indicates that students do demonstrate a decline in school success following a removal from a mainstream setting. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4753/
Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice
The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of reflection and document how a holistic approach to teacher reflection contributes to teachers' understanding of, and improvement in their pedagogical practice. The investigation asked how classroom observations, when followed by a reflective dialogue, impact pedagogical practice. The particular focus included how teachers make sense of observational data during a post-observation, reflective dialogue; how teachers reflect on classroom observational data; and how the holistic reflection experience impacts teachers' pedagogical practice. Three research questions guided this study. How do teachers make sense of observational data during a post observation reflective dialogue? How do teachers reflect on classroom observational data? How might the holistic reflection experience impact teachers' pedagogical practice? Findings from this study provide implications for incorporating the practice of teacher reflection and reflective dialogue as professional development and for educational research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc11018/
Math literacy: The relationship of algebra, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and AVID enrollment with high school math course completion and college readiness.
The questions guiding this research seek to discover the factors that affect high school math course completion and college readiness in a Texas suburban public school district. The first research question examines the relationship between 8th grade completion of Algebra I and high school mathematics course taking patterns and college readiness. The second question evaluates the relationship between race, gender, socioeconomic status and enrollment in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to college math readiness and high school mathematics course completion. Participants included 841 high school graduates of the class of 2006; 76% of the graduates were White, 15% Hispanic and 7% African American. Twenty-three percent of students were economically disadvantaged and 46% of students completed Algebra I in 8th grade. Chi-square, Cramer's V, and multiple regression were conducted to evaluate possible relationships between variables. The Chi-square and Cramer's V showed statistically significant (p<.05) relationships between 8th grade algebra completion and both college readiness and high school math course completion. A significant statistical relationship was also found between college readiness and each of the independent variables, ethnicity, economic status, completion of 8th grade algebra and enrollment in AVID. The number of math courses completed in high school was statistically related to ethnicity and economic status.. The findings of this study indicate that early access to Algebra I can positively affect the number of high school math courses a student completes and the likelihood that the student will be college ready after high school graduation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc11046/
Meeting the challenges of diversity: Beliefs of Taiwanese preservice early childhood teachers.
This study examines 797 Taiwanese pre-service early childhood teachers' diversity beliefs using the Personal and Professional Beliefs about Diversity Scales (PPBD). The purposes of this study are to: (a) validate the diversity belief's instrument, (b) investigate the relationship between diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts, (c) examine the group differences in diversity beliefs between pre-service teachers based on their demographic background, school characteristics, and cross-cultural experiences, (d) explore the influential determinants of diversity beliefs in the personal and professional contexts, and (f) identify the types of training early childhood pre-service teachers need regarding multicultural education in early childhood. The results indicate that (a) the professional context of PPBD is not robust to use in population outside the U.S. and needed to modify by adding more items based on current diversity literature and the cultural context in Taiwan, (b) school characteristics are the major contributors that foster pre-service teachers' diversity beliefs in both contexts, (c) school location is the most influential factor for the dependent variable of personal beliefs while experience of studying in another city and students' major become the salient factors for the professional beliefs about diversity, (d) the type of educational philosophy is contributing factor of predicting diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts. It echoes the multicultural education approaches advocated by Sleeter and Grant (2003), which say that the most important component of multicultural education involves an entire school and touches all areas including students, teachers, staff, and administrators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9847/
A meta-analysis of service learning research in middle and high schools.
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This study examines the relationship between service learning innovations and improved academics, self-concept, and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. Meta-Analysis is employed to arrive at effect-size estimates for each construct. A historical overview of service learning is presented and a detailed description of the study selection process is provided. The data revealed a moderate relationship between service learning participation and academics, self-concept and social or personal growth in middle and high school students. The findings are presented, and some appropriate conclusions are drawn. A discussion of the implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are also provided. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2995/
Meta-Analysis of the Impact of After-School Programs on Students Reading and Mathematics Performance
The purpose of this study employing meta-analysis was to assess the impact that after-school programs have on reading and mathematics outcomes. The participants in the primary studies were students in Grades K through 8; years 200 through 2009. The study utilized the theory of change as its theoretical basis. This meta-analysis used the effect size as the standard measure. It began with an overall Cohen's d of .40 for the impact that after-school programs have on reading and mathematics outcomes, and then proceeded to analyze three moderator variables: subject, time periods, and grade level.The findings of the meta-analysis, both overall and sub analyses, show that the independent variable, after-school programs, has an impact on the dependent variable, reading and mathematics. The overall results indicated that after-school programs are educationally significant in the areas of reading and mathematics combined. As for the moderator variable, the results for the areas of (a) subject (reading and mathematics), (b) time period (2000-2002, 2003-2005 and 2006-2009), and (c) grade (middle, and middle plus elementary combined), all indicated educationally significant results. The notable exception was the grade moderator, elementary.This study provides more information for researchers, practitioners and policy makers upon which to make practical research based decisions about after-school programs for the purpose of determining the applicability of such in their educational setting. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67972/
Missed Opportunities: Examining The LiteracyExperiences Of African American Students Displaced By Hurricane Katrina.
The purpose of this study was to examine how five African American middle school students, who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina represent their literacy experiences before, during, and after their displacement. Specifically, the two research questions were: (a) What are the stories that these middle school students tell about their lives, before, during, and after their displacement, and (b) What do their stories reveal about their literacy experience before, during, and after their displacement? Narrative Inquiry was the chosen methodology for the study, which allowed the participants to tell their experiences from a first-person perspective. It also encouraged the participants to reflect upon these experiences, in order to give meaning to their thoughts and emotions. Employing a critical lens and perspective, I constructed a narrative profile for each participant, which was then analyzed using these methods. Each narrative profile detailed the literacy experiences of the participants before Hurricane Katrina, during the transition period, and current literacy experiences now that the participants are resettled and attending school in the host city. These data were supplemented by archival data such as report cards, individual education plans (IEPs), and Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores. Data analysis of the five participants’ literacy experiences revealed common themes. These participants have pleasant memories of school literacy before the storm and mentioned “choice” as a component of those experiences. During the transition period, few or no literacy experiences took place. Hence, there were missed opportunities for the participants to use literacy experiences to make connections to their new world. Participants reported current classroom and school experiences were controlled environments that led to controlled literacy experiences. This compartmentalization of literacy experiences is not consistent with the critical literacy perspective adopted in this study. Their interviews suggested that they that they saw no connection between school literacy and their literacy experiences outside school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103373/
A model for developing and disseminating multimedia materials for teacher educators.
The purpose of this study was to develop a model that would enhance the development, dissemination, and adoption of educational multimedia materials. The grounded theory definition of open coding was used to analyze data collected from the 3-year Technology Leadership Web Library Project at the University of North Texas. Weekly meeting minutes, email communication, reports, notes, questionnaires, and surveys were examined to determine major factors involved in the process of product development and dissemination. From the analysis of this study, five major factors in product development and dissemination were identified. These factors were leadership, team dynamics, expert advisors, feedback, and consumers. The synthesis of the factors led to the development of the PROMOTE (process revolving around ongoing management of team and evaluative feedback) model. The PROMOTE model is based on the establishment of a system that includes leadership, development team, and expert advisors at its center. The system is tied together with well-established feedback loops for stages of evaluation. The PROMOTE model is iterative and uses consumer feedback to generate new products. The PROMOTE model differs from other product development and evaluation models both in the focus of the process and the nature of the evaluation feedback. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3342/
Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Characteristics in Relation to Family Earner Status and Self-perceived Interpersonal Competence
With an increasing number of married mothers who participated in paid work roles, fathers with full-time employed spouses now are expected to assume the role of caregiver and have higher frequency of engagement in parenting practices. This study of 235 university students from dual-earner and single-earner families investigated their retrospective perceptions of both mothers' and fathers' frequency of engagement in overall and specific parenting behaviors. These perceptions were measured by the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire-Revised Scale, which includes seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. Paired samples t-tests suggested that married mothers, whether fully employed outside the home or not, engaged more frequently, than their full-time employed spouses, in parenting characteristics related to bonding, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity. However, mothers' employment status had little influence upon the frequency at which either parent engaged in any of the seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. University students who perceived that both parents were more frequently engaged in specific parenting behaviors related to education, responsivity and sensitivity rated themselves higher on interpersonal competence, as measured by the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire-Revised Scale. Students who perceived that both parents were less frequently engaged in negative parenting behaviors rated themselves higher on competence in conflict management. In addition, family earner status had no significant impact on university students' levels of interpersonal competence. Although there was no significant gender difference in the levels of total interpersonal competence, male students reported higher levels of interpersonal competence in the domains of asserting influence and conflict management than their female counterparts. These findings revealed that like parents from single-earner families, parents from dual-earner families also demonstrated a significant discrepancy in the frequency of engagement in parenting practices. Mothers still invested considerably more time with their children than do fathers. Therefore, there may be a need to develop parent education programs for fathers so that they have opportunities to shape paternal identity and parental self-efficacy. Also, it is necessary to develop friendly family- employment policies and enhance social support networks that enable both full-time employed mothers and fathers to achieve a satisfactory balance between family and work. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177184/
A multi-state political process analysis of the anti-testing movement.
I applied McAdam's political process model for social movement analysis to examine the level of collective resistance to high stakes testing in California, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Texas from 1985 to 2005. Data on protest occurrences in those states were gathered from online news reports, anti-testing organization websites, and electronic interviews from individuals associated with the anti-testing movement. Variables used in the analysis included each state's key educational accountability legislation, political affiliations of state political leaders, state political leaders' support of accountability issues, student ethnicity profiles, poverty indicators, dropout rates, and collective bargaining laws. I examined the relationship between those variables and protest development in terms of the political process model's three components: framing processes, mobilizing structures, and political opportunity. I concluded California and Massachusetts, with their strong networks of anti-testing organizations, showed more instances of protest than any other state. Slightly fewer protests occurred in New York. Texas showed few instances of anti-testing protests and there were no reports of protests in South Carolina. There was evidence of framing efforts from both proponents and opponents of high-stakes testing, with proponents' framing efforts tending to be more covert. I found that anti-testing protests were primarily initiated by middle-class and affluent groups of citizens, who demonstrated greater political access but whose major concerns differed by state. Evidence showed that although all five states have Republican governors, protests emerged more readily in the three states whose legislatures had a Democratic majority. I found that protest efforts were inhibited when protesters faced serious consequences as a result of their actions. In addition, state political leaders began to take part in the anti-testing protest movement once the state became subject to sanctions under the strict performance requirements imposed by No Child Left Behind. Overall, the political process model proved to be a highly efficient analytical tool in this context. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5501/
The nature of the impact of a reading tutoring program on participating students in the classroom: A qualitative study
The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to explore the nature of the impact that a tutoring program, which featured preservice teachers as tutors, had on participating fifth grade at-risk students’ literacy behaviors in the classroom.The researcher served in the role of passive participant observer during the scheduled language arts period three days per week in the participating students’ classroom for a period of twenty-three weeks. Field notes were made in the classroom and coded, and audio tapes were recorded and transcribed of the tutoring sessions. Formal and informal interviews with the teacher, tutors, and participating students were conducted, transcribed, and coded. Lesson plans and reflections developed and written by the tutors were gathered and coded. Observations indicated that there were four types of reading required on a daily basis in the classroom. Assigned readings made by the teacher included narrative and expository texts. Pleasure readings were materials chosen by the students, but at certain times were teacher initiated and at other times, student initiated. The four types of reading found in the classroom were mirrored by the tutoring sessions. Students observed in the classroom could be divided into two types and four categories. Those with positive attitudes were called eager readers. Eager readers were made up of good readers and struggling readers, who lacked some of the reading skills possessed by good readers. Reluctant readers were the second type and had either ambiguous or explicitly negative attitudes toward reading. The type of reader, together with the type of reading required, determined the success of the tutoring sessions. The results of the data analysis show that student motivation toward reading was a key factor in determining the success of the tutoring program. Two of the three student participants in the study reported learning skills in the tutoring program that they used in other contexts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2660/
Networking of North and West Texas Superintendents
This study examined the professional networking of North and West Texas public school superintendents. It looked at how these superintendents professionally network, use professional organizations in networking, and how they extend opportunities beyond the organizations to gain knowledge and information about their demanding and stressful responsibilities. Lastly, it looked at superintendents in the field on whom others rely for knowledge and understanding. Surveys were mailed out to 443 North and West Texas public schools. Only the superintendents from those districts were asked to complete the survey. This limitation was desired to restrict the population to only the superintendents of schools, thus focusing the study on the professional networking of only superintendents. Three hundred sixty (360) superintendents responded to the survey, a return rate of 81.3%. This research concluded that superintendents professionally network by communicating through monthly meetings, organizational conferences or meetings, or email. Their networks are facilitated through communication, contacts, location, longevity, and organizational associations. These organizations provide the superintendent's primary network contact. The number of contacts in a network is usually a small group of 5 to 9 professionals who are known from longevity in the profession, prior educational positions, similar district size, being located in or near a city, and other geographic neighbors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28391/
Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy
New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84221/
Parallels Between the Gaming Experience and Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory
The world of literacy has expanded alongside technology, and new literacies are being used as an alternative or an addition to traditional text. By including video gaming as literacy, the connection can be made between students' multimodal world outside of school with the world of literacy they encounter in school. This study took two approaches of a content study and a case study. A collective case study was used to examine the gaming experience of participants with three commercial video games falling into three separate genres: Sims FreePlay (simulation); Halo 1 (first person shooter); and World of Warcraft (role playing game). The 15 gamers were placed into three sets of five participants for each video game, and interviews were conducted to explore the gaming experience in relation to stance and transaction, which are major components of Louise Rosenblatt's reader response theory. Limited research has been conducted regarding reader response theory and the new literacies; by using the reader response lens, the gaming experience was compared to the reading experience to add the new literacies to the existing literature on reader response. As a way to look at both the text and the experience, a content study examined three mainstream video games to establish literacy content by using Zimmerman's gaming literacy theory. Even though this theory is useful by detailing elements found in video games and not traditional literature, literary value cannot be fully assessed unless the theory is developed further to include other components or discuss how the depth of the components can relate to literary value. The literature does not currently contain substantial research regarding how to assess the literary value of video games, so this study begins to add to the present literature by demonstrating that at least for these games the presence of the components of the theory can be evaluated. This analysis of both the game and the experience demonstrated substantial parallels between the gaming experience and the reading transaction as well as looking at the viability of using gaming literacy theory to evaluate literacy value. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271890/
The Parent Participation Discourse of a Community School: Diverse Ideas and Perceptions about Educational Partnership at an Inner City Community School
Despite the widespread recommendation that schools "collaborate" with parents, little is found in the literature to elaborate on what this term or the common synonym "partnership" means, and further, how schools can invite diverse parental contributions to the table of educational discourse. The current study looks to contribute to the literature by analyzing the parent participation discourse in one community elementary school, utilizing critical discourse analysis and ethnographic observations. The findings reveal both school and parents' conceptions of the parents' partnership role as ancillary to that of the school's and the subsequent lack of true collaboration so advocated by the literature. Implications arise from this analysis which calls into question the examples of "collaboration" found in the literature, given the lack of theorizing regarding what collaboration inside of parent participation means. Contributions may shed light on the unintentional inequality of diverse parents in an effort toward true collaboration utilizing both the European American, middle class contributions of the educational institution alongside those of non-mainstream parents in creating an authentic educational atmosphere for diverse students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12098/
Parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a middle-school talent search.
The present study sought to identify variables that predicted parental decision-making regarding their child's participation in a national gifted and talented identification program for middle school students and subsequent participation in recommended educational options. One hundred sixty-nine parents of students who qualified for either the 2001-2002 or 2002-2003 Duke Talent Identification Program participated in the study. The students were drawn from two large public school districts and six small private schools in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern United States. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to identify the variables predictive of parental decision-making regarding talent search participation. Each parent completed a questionnaire consisting of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Selected parents participated in structured follow-up interviews. The results of the study indicated that parental perception of the helpfulness of school personnel in explaining the purpose and process of the talent search was most predictive of participation in the talent search. The educational level of the father, parent's prior awareness of the purpose and process of talent search, and the number of enrichment activities in which the child had previously participated were also predictive of talent search participation. Qualitative data indicated that parents of both participants and nonparticipants had a limited understanding of the purpose, diagnostic power, and potential benefits of the talent search. Very few parents chose to seek extracurricular or curricular/instructional options following the talent search testing. Qualitative data indicated that parents did not choose these options due to cost, logistical concerns regarding the special programs, and reservations about the developmental appropriateness of such options for middle school students. Although talent searches are sponsored and administered by organizations outside the local school, this study suggests that parents mostly rely on their local school for notification of their child's nomination, information on the purpose and benefits of talent search, interpretation of test scores, and guidance in selecting appropriate curricular or extracurricular follow-up. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4754/
Parental Perception of Satisfaction and Understanding of Special Education Services
The purpose of this study was to examine the satisfaction and understanding of parents of young children with disabilities in North Texas in regard to the special education services they receive through their local education authority. A mixed non-experimental research design utilizing the survey method was used to obtain the data collected from a sample of 230 parents with children with disabilities from preschool to elementary ages. Factorial analysis techniques were first used to assess the validity of the 14 quantitative items by splitting the sample into 2 equivalent groups: the development group and the validation group. Exploratory factor analysis extracted 2 factors after eliminating 4 items: satisfaction and understanding. This 2-factor structure was confirmed in the validation group. The final 10-item survey demonstrated satisfactory reliability and validity. Overall, parents were very satisfied with the special education services and reported a good understanding of those services. Two x two (number of children x years of services) ANOVAs were used to examine the differences on parental satisfaction and understanding. No statistically significant differences were found except that parents with 2 or 3 children were more satisfied than the counterparts with only 1 child in the special education program. This difference was practically meaningful. Data provided by 4 open-ended questions revealed that parent training and communication were the most popular strategies mentioned as methods to increase parental understanding of the special education process. The best sources of receiving special education information were ARD committees and teachers/diagnosticians. Excessive and wordy paperwork was the least helpful source of information regarding receiving special education. Postal-mail and the ARD meetings with diagnosticians were the best methods of acquiring special education information. Findings from this study, especially on the open-ended questions, suggested the special education program and services can be improved to better serve the parents and their children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6082/
Parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs in Taiwan.
Western educational policies and practices have impacted Taiwanese early childhood programs. The concept of developmentally appropriate practice has become part of the educational program for young children in Taiwan. This research study was completed to: (a) describe Taiwanese parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood programs; (b) examine group differences between fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP; (c) investigate group differences between parents of different socioeconomic statuses beliefs about DAP; (d) explore group differences between parents' beliefs about DAP when their children attend different types of schools (public and private); and (e) identify salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs of Taiwanese parents. Three hundred seventy-nine matched Taiwanese parent pairs (mothers and fathers) participated in this survey research study. All parents had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Four hundred forty-eight children attended public schools, and 415 attended private schools. The Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire was modified and used to collect data in this study. Findings showed: (a) fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP are significantly correlated; (b) fathers' and mothers' socioeconomic statuses are significantly correlated with their developmentally inappropriate practice beliefs; and (c) parents' socioeconomic status was a significant predictor of their DAP belief scores and family, culture, and inclusion belief scores. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire with Taiwanese parents. Including parent's age, child's gender, child's birth order, residential region, and number of children as variables in future research studies may explain variations in parents' DAP beliefs. Employing qualitative methods, such as classroom observations, case studies, and interviews may be used to verify these findings. The Taiwanese Ministries of Education and Interior may find this study's results useful in creating policies and best practices related to the education of young children. Teachers may use these results to guide their work with parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9008/
Parents' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education.
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The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2192/
Peer Mediation: an Empirical Exploration Empowering Elementary School Children to Resolve Conflicts Constructively
Conflict is inevitable in school and in life. Many children lack skills necessary to resolve daily conflicts constructively. Without knowledge of positive ways to manage conflicts, violence may result. Limited research suggests that involvement in a peer mediation program may have a positive influence on children. This study assessed effects peer mediation training and mediation experience had on student mediators. The pretest-posttest, control-group, and quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of a year long peer mediation program implemented in a suburban elementary school. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277606/
The perception of English language arts teachers about instructional changes following the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.
Accountability in education has been expanding for the past twenty years. As standards for curricular areas continued to develop, educational shareholders desired a way to measure student achievement contextualized by the established standards. Since 1964, policies expanded federal involvement with education, and with the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, high-stakes testing became a significant part of public education. In Texas, testing transitioned in 2003 to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (TAKS) test, an assessment that determines grade advancement for students, ratings for school districts, and additional compensation for some teachers. Along with the increasing expectations for student achievement, the need for effective instruction also increases. This dissertation studies how English language arts (ELA) teachers in four North Texas suburban high schools perceive instructional change following the implementation of TAKS. One hundred twenty-one teachers (n=121) were surveyed using an instrument broken into seven categories: student-centered instruction, student interest, instructional communication, time, classroom environment, teacher knowledge, and assessment. Participants were separated into two groups, teachers with one to six years of experience with a district or seven or more years with a district. Using a rating scale for each statement on the survey instrument, participants indicated the direction and magnitude of change or indicated no change occurred. When comparing an overall average frequency percentage for each possible rating for each category, the two highest percentages for both surveyed groups indicated no instructional change since the implementation of TAKS. However, when considering specific statements about professional growth and instructor knowledge, both groups were likely to rate a change as positive. Whereas, if the statement suggested instructional areas constricted by time, participants for both groups were likely to rate a change as negative. Additionally, an ANOVA indicated no significant difference between either of the participating groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12134/
Perceptions of agency: Beliefs of four adolescent girls in high school as revealed through literature discussions.
Published research suggests that cultural practices and institutional structures influence adolescent girls' engagement and achievement in school. This study was an attempt to further investigate that claim by describing the perceptions of agency held by four adolescent girls in high school. Members of the same English class, the girls volunteered to participate in three lunchtime meetings to discuss Evelyn Coleman's (2001) Born In Sin. Analysis of classroom observations, transcripts of audio recordings of the book discussions, and individual interviews yielded a more precise definition of agency than those used in previous research, including a view of agency as dialogic. In addition, four major themes describe these girls' agentic moves: (1) a temporal orientation, which connects the past, present, and future; (2) responsibility for positive and negative events; (3) strategic decision making; (4) negotiating with people in power. Implications of this study inform both teaching decisions and future research related to adolescent girls. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9111/
Perceptions of preparedness and practices: A survey of teachers of English language learners.
Mainstream teachers who obtained their English as a second language (ESL) certification by exam only are faced with increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. Decreasing standards for teacher ESL certification and increasing accountability for ELLs has made teachers' role in effectively increasing the language and academic skills of ELLs an area of major concern. This study used a survey and focus group interviews to obtain information regarding ESL-certified fourth- and fifth-grade teachers' perceived preparedness, practices and resources needs related to meeting the academic and language needs of ELLs in general education classrooms. The results indicated that teachers reported differences in their perceived preparedness based on years teaching experience, years of ESL certification, professional development hours, and university ESL courses, but not on certification route. The results also showed that teachers reported differences in their sheltered instruction practices based on the percentage of ELLs, but not on grade, instructional design, or preparedness. The correlation analysis revealed there is a positive correlation between preparedness and sheltered practices. The study revealed that while teachers are using strategies that make content lessons accessible and comprehensible to ELLs, they are often not specifically addressing the academic language development of their students. It is recommended that districts provide teachers with professional development opportunities that specifically address second language acquisition and practical ways to develop academic language across the content areas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5145/
The Perceptions of Site-based Management by the Principal
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of principals who had served in their positions prior to and since the state-mandated implementation of site-based management. The study sought to determine if the state mandates impacted the principals' perceptions regarding the pre-existing site-based management in their district. The study also sought to determine relationships between support or lack of support and the principals' gender, age, ethnicity, years as principal, and educational level. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279045/
A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.
This dissertation investigated the media literacy experiences of middle school students enrolled in a Texas school. The literature review suggested that middle school students may be overlooked as a distinct population in media literacy research. The primary guiding questions for this inquiry were (1) How is media literacy exhibited by middle school students within a formal school context? (2) How does an elective film and media class impact middle school students' media literacy? And (3) How do middle grade students' responses to media correspond with theoretical models for media literacy? The phenomenological research methodology included a reflective analysis of students' textual responses to non-print media clips (N=24) and a reflective analysis of follow-up personal interviews with a smaller group of middle school participants (n=5). A questionnaire completed by participants provided descriptive statistics about the sample group. Additionally, theoretical models of media literacy were used to evaluate participants' media responses in relation to theoretical constructs for media literacy. The findings resulted in 11 emergent themes which can be used to further discourse about media literacy and its role in middle school curriculum. The dissertation includes implications for educators based upon the emergent themes, as well as recommendations for further research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9744/
Photographic metaphors: A multiple case study of second language teachers' experiences using the acquisition model.
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The purpose of this study was to examine and document second language teachers' perceptions of their implementation of a meaning-making approach, known as the Acquisition Model, to second language instruction. Of particular focus were the concerns and strategies the second language teachers experienced when changing their pedagogical practice from mechanical to meaning making. The main research question, which guided this study, was: "What is the 'lived experience' of L2 teachers as they implement an innovative pedagogy to teach a second language?" The researcher addressed this research question through Max van Manen's (1990) six step phenomenological method, "Researching Lived Experience" and image-based research techniques (i.e., photo elicitation and reflexive photography). In addition, the researcher also created and applied an innovative data collection technique, which she called Collaborative Imagery. Findings from this study generated various implications in the areas of second language education, curricular change, teacher reflection, image-based research, and educational research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5229/
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/