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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Podcasting in an Eighth-Grade American History Class
- The purpose of this study was to see how students used podcasts in an eighth-grade American history unit and the value they placed on them as an educational tool. The 6-week study was conducted in a suburban middle school in a district that is part of a large metropolitan area in Texas. Participants included 29 students and 2 eighth-grade teachers. The research questions were the following: (1) How do students use podcasts in an eighth-grade American history class? (2) How do students perceive the impact of the podcasts on their overall learning of the subject material? and (3) Do the podcasts motivate the students to study? Quantitative data were collected through a Likert-scaled student survey and logs kept by students. Qualitative data were collected through an open-ended portion of the student survey, student focus group discussion, and a faculty interview. The treatment tools were audio podcasts in the form of vocabulary-quiz reviews, historical vignettes, lectures, and a unit test review—all on the topic of the American Revolution. The data indicated that the students primarily used their computers at home to listen to the podcasts as they prepared for quizzes and/or the unit test. The students believed that the podcasts had a positive impact upon their grade, were a positive educational tool, and helped them to better understand the material at hand. The students also wanted to see an expansion of podcast usage in other subjects. The students claimed that it motivated them to study and the participating teachers agreed that it motivated the students to study in a non-traditional manner. Data illustrated a need for further research regarding podcasting’s impact on grades and performance at the K-12 level, student podcast construction, podcast delivery modes, and podcast use with special education and ELL students.
- Practices and Policies in High Schools to Prevent Educator-to-Student sexual Misconduct: A Principal's Study of Knowledge and Experiences
- The purpose of this study was to investigate high school policies and procedures that address educator sexual misconduct. High school principals completed an online questionnaire which addressed administrator knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations; knowledge of district policies and procedures; experience with educator sexual misconduct; training and communication available in their schools and school districts for staff, parents, and students; the policies and procedures in place in secondary schools to prevent educator sexual misconduct; and related problems that are reported to school administrators. Responses were compared by school size, community type, and Title I eligibility. The findings of the study revealed that principals feel they have knowledge of the federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the district policies and procedures. However, principals reported a lack of specific policies addressing sexual harassment and discrimination of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender students; training for students and teachers in recognizing and responding to sexual misconduct; and sexual misconduct related to students with disabilities. In addition, most principals stated that their schools have not surveyed students to determine the extent of sexual harassment on the campus. Principals of the largest schools and the urban and suburban schools were more actively involved in educator-to-student sexual misconduct investigations.
- Pre-Service Teachers' Attitudes Toward Language Diversity
- This study examines pre-service teachers' attitudes toward language diversity and linguistically diverse students. Two hundred seventy-one teacher education students were surveyed to determine relative effects of demographic, mediating variables and psychosocial variables on language attitude as measured by the Language Attitudes of Teachers Scale (LATS). Independent variables include gender, age, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, region, psychological insecurity, cognitive sophistication, and helpfulness viewpoint. Research questions are established and methodology is outlined. A review of related literature places the study in the context of research with a broad interdisciplinary perspective and then links the study to other research relevant to the field of education. The findings of the study indicate that gender, race/ethnicity, teacher certification sought, political ideology, psychological insecurity, and cognitive sophistication contribute significantly to the variation found in attitude toward language diversity. The paper concludes with analyses and discussions of the significant variables and suggestions for application in teacher preparation.
- 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.
- The Predictive Value of Educational Productivity Input Variables on the Academic Success of Moderate to Large Texas High Schools.
- The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive value of selected input variables on the accountability rating of Texas high schools with student populations greater than or equal to 900. Specifically, this study analyzed the effect of student, staff and fiscal input variables in determining the odds of a high school in this study receiving a Low Performing, an Academically Acceptable, or a Recognized rating in the Texas public education accountability system - a system which is based in student performance on state standardized testing. Identifying a set of variables that helps predict campus accountability ratings provides campus administrators and teachers with information to improve student performance on standardized testing. Using statistical methods to determine the odds of campus ratings based on selected input variables, this study revealed that successful student remediation in mathematics is the most consistent, positive indicator of campus accountability rating out of 60 student, staff and fiscal inputs analyzed. However, the most telling aspect of this study is that inputs such as, teacher experience, teacher campus tenure, teacher degree level, student SAT performance, Advanced Placement testing performance and the percentage of low socioeconomic students were not statistically significant. The wider implications of these findings warrant further research into why these variables seem to have no affect on campus accountability rating.
- Predictors of College Readiness: an Analysis of the Student Readiness Inventory
- The purpose of this study was to better predict how a first semester college freshman becomes prepared for college. the theoretical framework guiding this study is Vrooms’ expectancy theory, motivation plays a key role in success. This study used a hierarchical multiple regression model. the independent variables of interest included high school percentile class rank, composite ACT scores, composite SAT scores, and the 10 themes as measured by the Student Readiness Inventory (SRI) to address two research questions: What are the psychosocial factors identified by the SRI are most relevant in predicting college success? What conventional academic indicators are most relevant in predicting college success? the sample size for this study was 5279 (n), including a stratified random sample of first semester college freshman enrolled in credit bearing courses; these participants were deemed college ready by the university. Academic Discipline accounted for 4.2% of the variance in first semester college GPA, General Determination accounted for 1.7% of the variance, and the remaining psychosocial factors of the SRI accounted for less than 1% of the variance. High school percentile class rank accounted for 10.7% of the variance, composite ACT accounted for 5.9% of the variance, and composite SAT accounted for 5.6% of the variance. Future analysis could be completed within demographic groups to include a stratified random sample of participants by ethnicity, gender, or economic status. Such analysis would build on this body of research providing additional guidance admission officers and K-12 educators.
- Preschool Mathematics: An Examination of One Program's Alignment with Recommendations from NAEYC and NCTM
- The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a preschool program followed the recommendations outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in their joint position statement "Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings." Six teachers were randomly selected from three of the preschool program's six locations that are situated in an urban city in North Texas. Two parts of this program's approach to mathematics were investigated: the teachers' instructional practices and the program's curricular materials. Data came from observations using the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics-Environment and Teaching (COEMET) protocol and field notes. Each teacher participated in three interviews over the course of this research. Analyses of these sources provided insights into teachers' instructional practices for mathematics. Reviews of curricular documents and lesson plans for mathematics instruction provided information pertaining to the math curriculum used at this preschool program. All of these data sources were analyzed using the framework presented in NAEYC and NCTM's position statement. Analysis of the data indicated that, although teachers did not have any knowledge of these guidelines, teachers followed some of these recommendations; such as presenting children with daily developmentally appropriate mathematics activities and connecting mathematics to classroom routines. Other practices did not align with NAEYC and NCTM's suggestions, such as offering children few opportunities to engage in problem-solving situations and providing an inconsistent integration of mathematics into meaningful activities related to other content areas. Several possible factors may have influenced teachers' use of these recommendations. Teachers' prior educational opportunities, the program's curriculum materials, and the teachers' prior experiences with mathematics all may have contributed to the teachers' understandings of high quality mathematics instructional practices. Results from this research help to provide the foundation for future investigations of how teachers of young children follow NAEYC and NCTM's recommendations.
- Preservice teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about cooperative learning in Kuwait: A quasi-experimental study
- The issue of developing effective teacher preparation and professional programs by providing effective teaching and learning strategies to prepare teachers to teach in more challenging ways and change their old ways of teaching to more powerful ones has gained great attention around the world. Cooperative learning was one of the astonishing strategies introduced by many researchers to prepare effective teachers and to solve many educational problems. Teacher educators have taken different approaches to help teachers learn and change in powerful ways. They have focused on the knowledge and attitudes of teachers in promoting their adoption of new practices through educational courses, workshops, and training. After introducing the cooperative learning strategy through a training workshop, this study investigated the knowledge of and attitude of teachers at the College of Basic Education (CBE) in Kuwait towards cooperative learning as a new teaching and learning strategy. The literature reviewed the historical and practical use, theoretical roots, different models, and outcomes of cooperative learning. In addition, (1) teachers' knowledge and attitudes as factors affecting implementation and (2) preservice teacher preparation and training in the use of cooperative learning were reviewed. An attitude survey and a knowledge test were developed based on Bouas, (1993) survey and test. Additionally, an interview guide and a demographic data survey were all used to collect data. The survey and the test were translated into the Arabic language. Ninety-one responses of participants in two experimental classes and one control class were analyzed. Twenty-one participants were interviewed. A significant difference in knowledge of and attitude towards cooperative learning was found between experimental classes and the control class (p< .05 for both knowledge and attitude). In conclusion, the training workshop affected preservice teachers' knowledge of and attitudes toward the cooperative learning strategy. Therefore, the researcher suggested that cooperative learning should be introduced in the College of Basic Education in Kuwait and the University of Kuwait as another teaching and learning strategy.
- 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.
- Reader-Reported Influences on a Fifth Grader's Transaction With Extended Text
- This study was designed to investigate the question of what goes on in a reader's mind as she transacts with extended text. It was a case study with one respondent, a ten year old girl. She reported, in writing, her thoughts during teacher read aloud, subsequent silent reading of the same text, and group discussions about the text. The findings support and flesh out Rosenblatt.s transactional theory, Vygotsky.s Zone of Proximal Development theory, and Lipman.s Philosophy for Children theory. Conclusions were that there are numerous sociocultural influences on a reader's transaction with text and that these influences must be taken into account in the classroom.
- 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.
- The relationship among teacher expectations, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement
- Accountability is a major issue in education and in Texas, the TAAS test is used to indicate performance of students, teachers, campuses, and districts. The stakes are high for students, as performance on this test has determined whether they progress to another grade and whether they will receive a diploma. Most research studies focus on relationships between the teacher and individual students or groups of students, but not classrooms. Expectations and high stakes testing are central within the educational process, and their relationship on student achievement should be investigated, especially since no studies on teacher attitudes toward the TAAS test have been found. This correlational study measured teacher attitudes toward the TAAS and teacher expectations for students through data collected from a survey. Student achievement information was collected from averaged Texas Learning Index scores for students by classroom over a two year period. The sample consisted of 22 4th, 8th, and 10th grade reading and/or math teachers who had taught in the same Texas mid-sized, rural school district for at least two years. Frequency, percent, mean, and standard deviation were used to analyze the responses on the survey. A median score distinguished between high/low expectations and between positive/negative attitudes toward the TAAS. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient identified relationships, with levels of significance determined at the .05 level. From this study, it appears that no relationship exists among teacher expectations for students, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement. It appears that teachers support the TAAS and see a relationship between the test and improved student performance, and view the TAAS as nondiscriminatory for race and socioeconomic status. While teacher expectation levels are not the same for all students, most teachers feel responsible for insuring that students learn while they are in the teachers' classrooms, and communicate, via word or action, the expectation that their students can learn at or above grade level.
- The relationship between computer-assisted instruction and alternative programs to enhance fifth-grade mathematics success on the annual Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
- The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between using computer-assisted instruction (CAI) and success on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) mathematics exam with fifth-grade students in Texas compared to the effect of alternative improvement approaches used by a control group. Research explored the use of SuccessMaker® CAI educational software (Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ, www.pearsoned.com) in public elementary schools in Texas. Successmaker® CAI was not a good predictor of passing percentage on the mathematics TAKS. Multiple regression analysis utilized in this quasi-experimental design study predicted a negative and not statistically significant change in the percentage of students passing the mathematics TAKS exam (B = -.448, p > .05). SuccessMaker® use exhibited a very small effect size (r = -.04) and accounted for less than 1% of the change in passing percentage (r2 = .0016). Multiple regression model predicted a negative and statistically significant effect upon mathematics passing percentage by economic disadvantage percentage (B = -.211, p < .01). The 95% confidence interval for B ranged from -.365 to -.057. The large effect size correlation coefficient (r = -.51) accounted for 26% of the variance in the mathematics TAKS passing percentage (r2 = .26).
- The relationship between models of student laptop computer use and teacher instructional behavior
- This study investigated the relationship between four models of student laptop computer use and three components of teacher instructional behavior: planning, implementation of instruction, and evaluation of instruction. The four models of use: full access, dispersed, class set, and mixed, represented the numerous ways teachers in public and private schools and school districts nationwide implemented student use of laptop computers. Teacher planning behavior was investigated with regard to time, frequency, complexity, difficulty, the need for revision, and use of technological resources and materials. Implementation of instruction was examined with regard to student grouping, instructional strategies, instructional content/subject matter, teacher and student roles, assignments and learning tasks, and instructional activities. The evaluation of instruction component was examined with regard to assessment tasks, grading, and assessment of homework. Using a researcher-designed questionnaire, data was gathered in a single-stage cross-sectional survey from 356 teachers working in 74 public and private schools nationwide. Results indicated models of student laptop computer use had differential effects on teacher instructional behaviors. On average, teachers found planning to be more arduous, but more collegial, especially in the mixed model. The full access and mixed models were more likely to advance a constructivist approach to teacher instructional behaviors with regard to implementation and evaluation of instruction. Results from this study had implications for future research. The effects of student laptop computer use on the full access and mixed models of use should be given further study with regard to the implementation and evaluation of instruction.
- The Relationship Between TeacherInsight Scores and Professional Development and Appraisal System Domain Scores
- Many school districts and alternative certification programs use standardized interviews such as the TeacherInsight developed by the Gallup Organization. The TeacherInsight is a Web-based interview consisting of multiple choice and Likert-style items that produces a score between 0 and 100. The Gallup Organization claims that it helps hire the best teachers. The study analyzed the relationships between the TeacherInsight scores and the eight Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) domain scores for 527 teachers. The TeacherInsight scores produced a statistically significant correlation with only one of the eight PDAS domain scores. However, even that correlation (r = 0.14) was weak. All eight PDAS domain scores were only able to account for an additional 1.9% of the variance of TeacherInsight scores, above and beyond what was explained by the teachers' age, gender, years of experience, and highest degree earned. Another finding was that 47.4% of the teachers hired had TeacherInsight scores below the district recommended cutoff score of 67. The findings do not support the ability of the TeacherInsight to identify more effective teachers, based on Professional Development Appraisal System scores. The findings also cast doubt on the extent of consideration that principals in this district give the TeacherInsight scores during the selection process. Recommendations for future studies are provided.
- The relationship of teacher efficacy to teacher concerns and job-embedded professional development.
- As educators search for ways of improving student achievement, it is imperative that focus be placed on teacher learning and development. Currently, the trend in public schools throughout the country is to look directly at students and the deficits they bring to the learning environment when responding to those who find fault with the educational system. The current study directed attention to teachers' beliefs about their ability to affect change in student learning. The study centered on seven research questions that sought to determine: (1) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' sense of efficacy; (2) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' stages of concern; (3) the relationship between teacher efficacy and stages of concern; (4) the status of teachers' level of use of an innovation; and (5) the dominance of teacher concerns prior to and after involvement in job-embedded professional development. Through a mixed methodology approach, quantitative and qualitative analyses provided perspectives from 30 teachers in a suburban North Texas school district on the impact of job-embedded professional development on teacher efficacy, stages of concern, and resulting levels of use of an educational innovation. Quantitative results of two surveys: the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1979) revealed a strong focus on stage 0, awareness, concerns and no statistically significant gain in teacher efficacy as teachers engaged in job-embedded professional learning. Qualitative data were gathered through Levels of Use Focused Interviews (Loucks, Newlove, & Hall, 1975) and revealed more teacher involvement with the innovation than quantitative data suggested. Further investigation into the inconsistencies between dominance of teacher concerns and perceptions of levels of use is warranted.
- Religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence among nursing students.
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The purposes of this study were to examine the prevalence of current substance use and early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence, and to investigate the relationships among religiousness, current substance use, and early risk indicators among nursing students at seven Seventh-day Adventist colleges. Data for this descriptive study were collected through Efinger's Alcohol Risk Survey (EARS) (Efinger, 1984), the CAGE Questionnaire ( Ewing , 1984), and the Intrinsic/Extrinsic-Revised Scale (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989). Participants were 241 nursing students enrolled in their first year of nursing courses at seven colleges and universities located across the United States . Findings indicated that 42% of students scored higher than the EARS mean; 24% reported current substance use; and 15% scored in the probable abuse/dependence category of CAGE. Students who reported current substance use and those scoring in the probable substance abuse/dependence category were significantly more likely to score above the EARS median. Intrinsic religiousness demonstrated a significant inverse relationship with current substance use. Significantly lower rates of current substance use were associated with higher rates of attendance at religious services. Respondents who indicated that their religion prohibited alcohol consumption reported significantly lower rates of current substance use than those who answered "No" or "I don't know" to their religion's prohibition of alcohol consumption. A substantial number of nursing students were found to have high numbers of early risk indicators for substance abuse and dependence that warrant intervention. The majority of students who scored in the probable substance abuse/dependence category also had higher EARS scores, thereby increasing their risk for substance impairment. Religious variables appear to have had a mediating influence on current substance use with this sample. Prevention programs should be aimed at risks that are modifiable, thus enabling students to make healthy decisions about using substances.
- The Representation of Hispanic Females in Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Programs in a Selected North-Central Texas Public High School
- Analysis of a particular north-central Texas public high school revealed a strong representation of Hispanic females in advanced academic programs, i.e., AP and GT in proportion to their representation in the overall student population. Research seems to indicate that a progressive approach to academic-potential identification; culturally effective mentoring, traditional Hispanic values, and newly emerging personal and social characteristics all seem to be contributing factors. This study seems to indicate that a new type of Hispanic female is emerging who is more assertive academically, more visible in the classroom, and less marriage-and-family oriented as might be believed by teachers, society, their peers, and perhaps even their parents.
- The Response of a Public School District to Charter School Competition: An Examination of Free-Market Effects
- The purpose of this study was to examine a school district's responses to charter schools operating within its boundaries. The selected district was the only one in the state with two large academically competitive charter schools for at least two years. Four questions guided the research: In terms of instruction, finance, communication, and leadership, how has the traditional district been impacted due to charter school existence? The exploratory research was timely since charter schools are proliferating as tax-supported public choice schools. While many have speculated about free-market effects of charter school competition on systemic educational reform, the debate has been chiefly along ideological lines; therefore, little empirical research addresses this issue. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to present a comprehensive case study. Twenty-six school officials and teachers were interviewed; 159 teachers and 1576 parents were surveyed. District, community, and state education department documents were analyzed. Since charter schools have existed in the district, numerous activities have taken place. Instructional initiatives included a high school academy, expanded technology, gifted and talented, tutoring, and dropout prevention. All elementary and middle schools required uniforms. The district's state accountability rating improved from acceptable to recognized. A leadership void was perceived due to students leaving to attend charter schools initially. The district was perceived as making efforts to improve communication with the community. The financial impact of charter schools was neutralized due to the district's student population increase, property wealth, and state charter funding structure. The data supported all of the hypotheses in terms of the impact of charter schools in the district on these activities: free-market effects of charter school competition were not established as the primary reason for internal organizational changes that occurred in the district. Anecdotal evidence suggested that charter schools may have played some role, but primarily they seemed to reinforce trends already occurring in the district.
- Retention and attrition of doctoral candidates in higher education
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A number of studies have been conducted on the attrition rates of undergraduate and graduate students. However, the body of knowledge concerning attrition for doctoral students, especially those who have attained the level of “all but dissertation” (ABD), is limited. The purpose of this research was to examine retention and attrition factors of doctoral candidates from a typical Higher Education Doctoral Program (Research II Public Institution) who were admitted to candidacy from 1991 through July 2000. Participation of the subject population was limited to those who had attained the level of ABD--those who had previously fulfilled the residency, coursework, foreign language or tool-subject requirements, and successfully completed the comprehensive/qualifying exams. This population included current ABDs, previously attrited ABDs, and graduates of the degree program. The research study was qualitative and intended to identify the effect of specific, predetermined factors that may have influenced or affected the progress of current, previous, and graduated students towards the doctoral degree in higher education. This study obtained responses to questions from the questionnaire/survey instrument concerning factors that affected program completion or attrition. Students had the opportunity to elaborate on factors from their dissertation, advisement, and personal, financial, and employment experiences that affected their ability to complete the program through open-ended question responses. By examining key factors in the doctoral degree experience from the three sample groups (current ABDs, previous ABDs, and graduated Ed.Ds), this study was able to draw some conclusions about doctoral attrition. Reconstructing and comparing the experiences of ABDs from the point of candidacy to the point of attrition or completion of the program determined trends, commonalities, and issues affecting achievement. Results of this study add to the limited research concerning ABD attrition and provide an insight from the student perspective as to the obstacles and support variables in the quest for the doctoral degree.
- The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.
- In this study I analyzed the 1089 desegregation outcomes in federal district courts that occurred between 1994 and 2004 in order to identify a) the legal and non-legal factors in the litigation process that predict pro-desegregation outcomes and b) the judicial patterns that impact the future of desegregation policy. Twenty-one legal and non-legal variables were analyzed via logistic regression analysis to identify factors that predict pro-desegregation outcomes. Only three predictor variables were statistically significant: Government Litigants; Region 3 (West) and Region 4 (Northeast.) Descriptive analyses of the data identified two trends in the pattern of litigation: The percentage of defendant wins increased after 1991 at a lesser rate than has been previously reported. I conclude that based on the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses the federal district courts are not a barrier to desegregation and can still be a part of a comprehensive desegregation strategy.
- The Role of Social Integration in the Persistence of African American Men in College
- This qualitative study addressed the experiences of African American males attending a predominantly White university as undergirded by the social integration aspects of Tinto's model of academic and social integration. The methodology was case study. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were held with currently enrolled seniors to capture the lived experiences of their reasons for attending college as well as major influences that contributed to their persistence decisions. The results revealed emerging themes of positive and negative family influence, religious beliefs, and a sense of self-efficacy as instrumental factors for the students' persistence. The level of social integration tended to differ by the age classification (traditional college-going versus non-traditional college student) and by the level of parental education. The components of the social integration model, as developed by Tinto contributed little to the sample's persistence decisions when compared to the themes presented during the interviews. Three observations emerged from the data: (1) The experiences of the non-traditional aged participants were different from the traditional aged college student experiences; (2) Although the participants experienced varying levels of social integration, for most of the 16 students, their persistence decisions were influenced more by their positive and negative relationships with family, religious beliefs, and sense of self-efficacy than by their interactions with peers and faculty and involvement in extracurricular activities; (3) the responses of the participants enriched and broadened the scope of Tinto's model as well as the current literature pertaining to persistence.
- Rural School Principals' Perceived Use of Data in Data-Driven Decision-Making and the Impact on Student Achievement
- This study examined the impact of principals' data-driven decision-making practices on student achievement using the theoretical frame of Dervin's sense-making theory. This study is a quantitative cross-sectional research design where principals' perceptions about data were quantitatively captured at a single point in time. The participants for this study were 253 rural school principals currently serving in schools across Texas, and included both males and females across all ethnic groups, including white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other. A developed survey instrument was administered to principals. The findings from the quantitative SEM analyses indicated that the Principal Uses Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 1) and the Principal and Staff Ability to Analyze Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 2) were significantly and positively associated with student achievement. Higher scores on these two latent variables were associated with better student achievement. There was no statistical association between the Principal Uses Data to Design Teacher Professional Development latent variable (Factor 3) and this target outcome. In total, the three latent variables accounted for 6% of the variance in student achievement (TAKS). When the campus level outcome was considered, no statistically significant associations between any of the latent variables and this outcome were evident. In total, the three latent variables accounted for less than 2% of the variance in campus level.
- School Authority Over Off-Campus Student Expression in the Electronic Age: Finding a Balance Between a Student's Constitutional Right to Free Speech and the Interest of Schools in Protecting School Personnel and Other Students from Cyber Bullying, Defamation, and Abuse
- In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, the Supreme Court ruled that students have speech rights in the school environment unless the speech causes or is likely to cause 1) a substantial disruption, or 2) interferes with the rights of others. The Supreme Court has yet to hear a case involving school officials' authority to regulate electronically-delivered derogatory student speech, and no uniform standard currently exists for determining when school authorities can discipline students for such speech when it occurs off campus without violating students' First Amendment rights. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine 19 federal and state court decisions in which school authorities were sued for disciplining students for electronically delivered, derogatory speech. Eighteen of these cases involved student speech that demeaned or defamed school teachers or administrators. Only one involved speech that demeaned another student. Each case was analyzed to identify significant factors in court holdings to provide a basis for the construction of a uniform legal standard for determining when school authorities can discipline students for this type of speech. The full application of Tinker's first and second prongs will provide school officials the authority needed to address this growing problem while still protecting legitimate off-campus student cyber expression. Predictions of future court holdings and policy recommendations are included.
- School Consolidation Impact on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures in Texas
- This study examined financial aspects of the consolidation or annexation of 12 pairs of school districts in Texas during the period 1996-2006. Nine of the twelve districts consolidated by mutual agreement of the two school boards and three annexations were by order of the Commissioner of Education of Texas. Financial criteria studied were: a) per pupil expenditures, b) total state aid, c) transportation costs, d) administrative costs, e) school district "wealth" status, and f) facilities assets/liabilities. Each of the initial 24 independent school districts' criteria were collected for two years prior to consolidation and the 12 newly formed consolidated districts criteria were collected for the two years following consolidation. After consolidation, ten of the twelve districts had fewer than 1,000 students. Of the other two districts, one district had approximately 3,000 students and one large district had over 150,000 students. Some districts experienced increases in local expenditures relative to transportation, administrative costs and total expenditures while other districts decreased costs over time. Twelve non-consolidated districts with similar characteristics of the twelve consolidated districts were reviewed with the non-consolidated districts exhibiting increase and decrease fluctuations seen in the consolidated school districts. These findings suggested that each of the issues studied in public school finance need to be examined with more specific criteria in order to ascertain cause and effect relationships with regard to school consolidation financial impact on state and local revenues and expenditures.
- The School-Family-Community Partnership: A Superintendent's Perspective
- The purpose of this study was to describe, from a superintendent's perspective, the current status of school-family-community partnerships in North Texas school districts. A secondary purpose of this study was to allow the superintendents to express themselves in an open-ended format regarding factors that encourage and limit the development of these partnerships, as well as their three-year goals for creating successful partnerships in their districts. A review of the literature revealed that very limited research exists regarding the relationship between the school superintendent and the school-family-community partnership. This literature review focused on research related to the school-family-community partnership including its place in federal legislation, and a historical and current perspective of the school superintendency. The target population for this study included 156 superintendents from the two educational service centers that make up the Dallas/Fort-Worth Metroplex. This research study employed an online survey research methodology. The instrument used in this study was the Measure of School, Family, and Community Partnerships by Dr. Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University. Participants were asked to respond to fifty-two items placed in the six categories that represent Dr. Epstein's six types of involvement. Superintendents were also asked to respond to open-ended questions regarding what they perceive to be major factors that contribute to and limit the success of their school districts' school-family-community partnership efforts and what their primary goals were for improving these partnerships over the next three years. An analysis of district size in relation to superintendent perceptions of their district's school-family-partnership practices yielded no significant partnership practices. An analysis of district accountability ratings in relation to superintendent perceptions of their district's school-family-partnership practices yielded seven significant partnership practices. Finally, an analysis of superintendent experience yielded four significant superintendent partnership practices. The major factors superintendents perceive as not only contributing to, but limiting the success of their partnership programs revolved around parent involvement. The primary three-year goal that superintendent's reported for improving their district partnership programs overwhelmingly involved enhancing parent involvement.
- 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.
- 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.
- Searching for hidden treasure: The identification of under-represented gifted and talented students.
- The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of staff development on the nomination and identification of culturally diverse and/or economically disadvantaged students for gifted programs. Teachers kindergarten through fifth grade from ten districts (N = 100) received 30 hours of staff development in gifted education. The experimental group (n = 50) received a specialized version of the training. The control group (n = 50) received the standard training provided by the Education Service Center. Teachers in the experimental group completed three Stages of Concern questionnaires at the beginning and end of the training and in the fall. Two Levels of Use interviews were also conducted, one in the fall and one in the spring. Innovation configurations were developed utilizing interview results. A repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted to determine differences in concerns of teachers over time. The results revealed growth, however, not of a significant level. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to determine differences in levels of use of the instructional strategies presented in the training. Again, results revealed growth in classroom application of strategies; however, the amount of growth was not significant. A paired-samples t-test was conducted on the components of the innovation configurations. Differentiated instruction was not significantly different, however, grouping strategies and student products showed significant growth in classroom application. Student nomination and identification data were analyzed across six ethnicities: White not economically disadvantaged, White economically disadvantaged, Hispanic not economically disadvantaged, Hispanic economically disadvantaged, African American not economically disadvantaged, and African American economically disadvantaged. Chi-square analyses determined statistical significance in nominations of Hispanic economically disadvantaged and African American not economically disadvantaged. Significant differences in placement of students occurred in White economically disadvantaged and Hispanic economically disadvantaged groups. No Hispanic not economically disadvantaged students met placement criteria.
- A select study of Texas Principal Preparation Programs and their Relationship to Adult Learning and the Professional Leadership Responsibilities of their Graduates
- The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between principal preparation programs in Texas and professional leadership practices and responsibilities based on Mid-continent Research for Educational and Learning's (McREL) 21 leadership responsibilities. The study also examined the relationship between Texas principal preparation programs and Knowles's principles of adult learning. Through an online survey, the study solicited practicing principals' perceptions as to whether McREL's 21 leadership responsibilities and Knowles's principles of adult learning were included in their principal preparation programs. Quantitative findings indicated there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their principal preparation programs and the university/certification program in which they obtained their principal certification. Additionally, there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the year their principal certification was completed. There were also no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the geographic location of the school district in which they were presently employed. However, the study found there were significant differences in two areas of leadership responsibilities when comparisons were generated between principals who were fully certified before assuming the role of principal and those who were not fully certified: 1) ideas/beliefs and 2) optimizer. Principals who had not completed their certification program scored the two areas higher than those who had. The study also utilized qualitative methodology through in-depth interviews with principal program coordinators and practicing principals. Program coordinators and principals revealed leadership responsibilities of "communication," "culture," and "visibility" as areas of emphasis and importance in their programs. The need for more emphasis in the area of "discipline" was communicated mutually by program coordinators and principals. Principals stated areas of "knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment" and "resources" as leadership responsibilities needing more emphasis. Both program coordinators and principals concurred principal preparation programs should have more emphasis and importance placed upon Knowles's principles of adult learning.
- Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model
- The purpose of this study was to determine the current status of secondary teachers' implementation of the sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP) model and its effect on Hispanic English language learners' (ELL) English language proficiency and academic achievement. In addition, this study sought to determine whether teachers perceive the SIOP model as an effective tool for instruction of high school ELL students to increase English language content and English language proficiency. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Data were collected from four sources: Hispanic ELLs' English language proficiency scores, students' English Language Arts scores, an oral interview with participating teachers and teacher observations. Each teacher was observed at four points during the school year with the SIOP instrument. Quantitative data on student achievement were collected employing a pre-experimental, one-group pretest-post-test design. Qualitative data were collected using a time-series design. Findings revealed that on the two student assessment measures there were increases in English proficiency and English language arts achievement among the Hispanic ELLs. On the assessment of English language proficiency, the students of the teacher with the highest level of SIOP implementation made the highest gains; the students of the teacher with the second highest SIOP implementation level made the second highest gains; and students of the teacher with the lowest level of SIOP implementation made the smallest gains. These findings suggest that the higher the level of SIOP implementation, the greater the student academic achievement gains. The gains in academic achievement attributed to the proper implementation of the SIOP model can have an extensive impact on English language learners who have not previously experienced academic success. Teacher participants perceived the SIOP model as effective for delivery of content through sheltered instruction lessons for high school ELLs. The teachers agreed that the SIOP model's components provided a consistent structure for planning and delivery of their sheltered lessons.
- The significance of supportive structure in improving student achievement in knowledge of the history of the Christian church in a Kenyan Bible college.
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The problem of this study was to determine whether Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a modified (highly structured) mastery learning model will demonstrate greater achievement in knowledge of Christian Church history as compared to Kenyan Bible college students who receive instruction using a traditional (minimally structured) non-mastery learning model. The subjects were 17 second-year Kenyan Bible college students enrolled in a course on Christian Church history, and they were randomly assigned to the two treatment conditions. The researcher served as instructor for both groups. The experimental group used a textbook, detailed syllabus, 200 page study guide (featuring an advance organizer to provide an ideational scaffolding), and a lesson-development feature (providing an enabling objective, congruent questions, and informative feedback for each lesson segment). The control group used a textbook and a less-detailed syllabus. Both groups shared the same classroom lectures, class discussions, required assignments, examinations, and review of examination items. Five tests of Christian church history were administered, including a pretest, three unit tests, and a comprehensive course examination. Test data were analyzed using a 2 x 5 (treatment x testing occasion) repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA). The percentage of students performing at mastery level (80% correct) on each test was also calculated. Results indicated that, from the second unit test to the comprehensive examination, the modified mastery learning group achieved slightly but consistently higher mean percentage correct scores than the traditional group, but there was no significant main effect for treatment. In contrast, the main effect for testing occasion did reach statistical significance. Across the five test occasions, 8% to 51% more students in the modified mastery learning group attained mastery level as compared to the traditional learning group.
- Social and Economic Characteristics Related to the Immediate College Transition of Recent High School Graduates: A Study of Southwest Region TRIO Participants' College Continuation
- The purpose of this study was to determine whether: 1) Southwest Region TRIO high school students between the years 1991 - 2001 continued to college immediately after high school at rates significantly different than similar population students on national and state levels; and 2) immediate college continuation for this group was a function of social and economic characteristics including race, gender, parental education, and home-care environment. The sample included 414 TRIO program participants from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Data on the 414 participants were gathered using an existing database containing demographic and post-secondary enrollment information on study participants. The findings of this study reveal Southwest Region TRIO students during this ten-year period continued to college immediately after high school at rates not significantly different than the national low-income population of students. Results indicate that when compared to all students in the five-state southwest region, the majority low-income, first-generation TRIO population continued to college at rates not significantly different than all-income students in the region. Findings of this study also revealed select social and economic characteristics were not predictors of immediate college continuation for this group. Finally, the study showed out-of-home care environment students continued to college at significantly higher rates than in-home care Southwest Region TRIO students.
- Social Networking, Workplace, and Entertainment Literacies: the Out-of-school Literate Lives of Newcomer Latina/o Adolescents
- Studies indicate that Latina/o immigrant youth engage in a wide range of sophisticated literacy practices outside of school that are often transnational, crossing various linguistic, cultural, and social spaces. Technology has further afforded immigrant youth the opportunity to develop transnational capabilities which are rare in the mainstream population, yet needed in the 21st century of global connectedness. However, Latino immigrant youth drop out of school at disproportional rates, suggesting that their literacy practices are not recognized or valued by the educational system. Using a New Literacy Studies perspective that recognizes multiple literacies that are meaningful within their sociocultural traditions, this collective case study investigated the range, form, and purpose of the out-of-school literacies of four Latina/o adolescent English Learners who are new arrivals. The qualitative methodology employed constructivist interviews, digital and actual artifacts, and observations. Findings demonstrated that the most prevalent out-of-school literacies the participants practice take place on the social networking site of Facebook, in their workplaces, and through the entertainment media sources of music and television. A cross-case analysis suggests that the literacy practices in these spaces have unique and purposeful roles for the individuals that allow them to connect to their home countries and maintain their Latina/o identities. Additionally, the participants use their out-of-school literacy practices to acquire English, support themselves, and establish a place to succeed. The five aforementioned spaces that their Facebook, workplace, and entertainment literacy practices fill are virtually absent from their in-school literacies. This study suggests literacy pedagogy and research must not continue to impose a narrow monolingual, monocultural, monoliterate, and monomodal view of Latina/o immigrant students which essentially divests them of their greatest resources. Their literacy practices demonstrate that they are transnational, transcultural, emergent bilinguals who competently engage in multimodal means of communication across multiple linguistic, cultural, social, and geographic borders. Educators must reconceptualize school-based literacy to account for the ways immigrant youth make meaning outside of school to provide them a more equitable education that will nurture their transnational skills needed in modern society.
- Social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities: An application of Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction.
- This was a mixed methods study designed to investigate the social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities through an application of Albert Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction. Data were collected through ranking surveys, observations, interviews, and school records. Three questions were investigated. The first question was to determine whether the language deficits of LD students contributed to their general decreased social competency. Through data from the Social Skills Rating System, the seventh grade participants were considered socially competent to some degree by self report, their teachers, and their parents. Factor analysis revealed students were the best predictors of their social skills use from all data sources. In ranking participants' social skills use, students and teachers were more strongly correlated than were students and parents, or teachers and parents. No relationship of any strength existed between the participants' cognitive ability and their social competence. A use of Bandura's determinants indicated that a relationship existed between some subtypes of learning disabilities and some types of social skills misuse. The participants diagnosed with reading disability, auditory processing disability, receptive/expressive language disability, or nonverbal learning disability all made the majority of their observed social skills errors in the environmental determinant of Bandura's triad of reciprocal interaction. The participants in the four subtypes experienced their information processing deficits in attending to environmental stimuli, or in attending to inappropriate environmental stimuli. The area of the subtype of information processing deficit aligned with the determinant in which the participants in that subtype's social errors were experienced. Bandura's triad of cognition, environment, and behavior was not equilateral because the balance did not exist between the three determinants in participants with learning disabilities.
- Staff Development Methods for Planning Lessons with Integrated Technology
- This study compared cooperative and individual staff development methods for planning lessons with integrated technology. Twenty-three teachers from one elementary school participated in the study. The sample was the entire population. Nine participants were assigned to the control group, and fourteen participants were assigned to the experimental group. Names of participants were randomly drawn to determine group assignment. Participants in the control group worked individually in all three staff development sessions, while participants in the experimental group chose a partner, with whom they worked cooperatively in all three staff development sessions. Each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan prior to participation in three staff development sessions. Following the sessions, each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan. Three independent raters rated lesson plans to determine the participants' respective levels on the Level of Technology Implementation Observation Checklist (Moersch, 2001). The ratings of the lesson plans submitted before the training were compared to those collected after the training using a two-by-two mixed model ANOVA. The occasion (pre- vs. post-test), group, and interaction variables were all statistically significant at the .1 level; however, only the occasion variable had a strong effect size. These data suggest that (1) all teachers who participated in the training, whether individually or cooperatively, were able to develop lesson plans at a higher level of technology implementation and (2) cooperative staff development methods had no advantage over individual staff development methods with respect to teachers' ability to write lessons with integrated technology.
- Struggling Middle School Readers Learning To Make Intertextual Connections With Texts
- When people read, they often make connections to their lives, the world, and other texts. Often, these connections are not overt, but are a thinking process invisible to observers. The purpose of this study was to explore the intertextual connections struggling middle school students made as they read multiple topically-related texts to build knowledge, through observation of discussions, surveys, and interviews with students. The students received 30 lessons based on the constructivist model of comprehension. Data sources included observations during the delivery of these interactive lessons and surveys regarding their connections, their use of the connection strategies in content area classes, and their knowledge of the topic. The observations and surveys were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Information rich cases were developed from these data, as well as from interviews with selected students. Although the students were considered struggling readers, they did not respond to the instruction as stereotypical struggling readers. They were engaged, and they led discussions and shared connections with the class. The students demonstrated they learned to make connections and more text-to-text or intertextual connections overall. The students made connections when interested in the topic and had opportunities to discuss the texts. Finally, the students sometimes made connections in content area classes with opportunity in those classes. The study has implications for theory, future research, and practice of teachers and library media specialists.
- Students' and teachers' perceptions of culturally responsive teaching: A case study of an urban middle school.
- This was a qualitative study that used the procedures of case study design while incorporating ethnographic techniques of interviewing and non-participant observation in classrooms with six selected students, six teachers, and eight interviews of selected administrators and staff members in one middle school in a large Texas urban school district. The purpose of this study was to understand the educational experiences and perceptions of selected immigrant students and their mainstream teachers. Following the method of case study design, the educational experiences of English Language Learner (ELL) students were examined in the naturally occurring context of the school and the classroom. Because the goal of case studies is to understand a given phenomenon from the perceptions of the participants (referred to as “emic” perspective) all participants were interviewed in-depth in order to understand their unique perceptions. The study took place during a five-month period in the spring of 2002. Data were analyzed concurrently during data collection and were framed by Geneva Gay's (2000) characteristics of culturally responsive teaching. The findings and interpretation of data are divided into three parts that encompass the results of the five research questions that guided this study. Part one presents the teachers' perceptions and addresses the themes that arose from research questions one and two: what are teachers' perceptions of the academic problems facing (ELL) students as they enter the mainstream classroom? What instructional practices do regular teachers use to meet the academic needs of students? Part two presents the students' perceptions and addresses the findings from research questions three and four: what are (ELL) students' perceptions of the academic challenges facing them in the mainstream classroom? What are the ELL students' perceptions of the instructional practices used by mainstream teachers to meet their academic needs? Part three addresses the fifth research question that guided this study: What administrative policies and procedures are in place in the school and district to meet the educational needs of ELL students?
- Students As Historians: The Historical Narrative Inquiry Model's Impact on Historical Thinking and Historical Empathy
- The dissertation explores middle-school students' abilities to engage in historical thinking. I dispute the Hallam-Piaget model, which discourages analytical thinking through the assumption that children lack skills to think critically about history. My historical narrative inquiry model (1) teaches procedural knowledge (the process of "doing" history); (2) enhances interpretative skills; (3) cultivates historical perspectives based upon evidentiary history; and (4) encourages student authorship of historical narratives. In the fall semester of 2006, with a classroom of twenty-five seventh-graders, I initiated a research study designed to explore the impact of the historical narrative inquiry model through a sequence of thirty-two lessons. The lessons involved small- and large-group activities, including oral presentations, discussions about primary documents, and consideration of the relation between narratology and the creation of written history. Students generated their own historical narratives in order to articulate their perspectives. Eight students having varied reading-level proficiency served as primary participants in the study. Each of these students received pre- and post-intervention interviews. Outcomes reflected the enhancement of pedagogy intended to facilitate historical thinking and historical empathy in the classroom.
- A study of block scheduling and instructional strategies and their influence on algebra achievement in classrooms throughout north central Texas
- The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of block scheduling and instructional strategies on student achievement in Algebra I. The study was conducted during the 1997-98 school year. This study was comprised of two components, a quantitative study and a qualitative study. The quantitative study focused on block and traditional scheduling and the influence identified through scores on the Texas End-of-Course exam for Algebra I. The sample for this study consisted of 59 school districts from five counties in the north Texas area. The qualitative portion of this study focused on 10 classrooms, 5 block and 5 traditional, taken from the sample of 59 districts. Data for the qualitative study included questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The End-of-Course scores were analyzed using an ANOVA at the .05 level of significance, no significant difference was identified in the achievement levels of the two groups. The qualitative data was organized by categories derived from the NCTM teaching standards. Data from this portion of the study indicated that teachers in both block and traditionally scheduled classes spend their class time in a similar manner, using similar materials, and using more traditional strategies. Additional analyses of data based upon usage of the graphing calculator and manipulatives also resulted in no significant difference. Although all comparisons between block and traditional scheduling and usage or non-usage of technology and/or manipulatives resulted in no significant difference, the block groups and those using technology and/or manipulatives had higher mean scores. This indicates that allowing teachers more time to use alternative instructional strategies would benefit the student, but this will not take place without the teacher receiving training and support.
- A study of computer technology use and technology leadership of Texas elementary public school principals.
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The purpose of this study was to determine Texas elementary principals' level of computer technology use and their leadership in technology integration activities as defined by the National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS*A). Additionally the study addressed technology implementation as an innovation and used the literature concerning change and innovation models to identify organizational and personal factors that might affect the level of technology use and the leadership behaviors. Survey data retrieved from 216 Texas elementary public school principals led to the formation of the following conclusions. The elementary principals involved this study reported high level computer technology use, especially with the computer tools involving communication. Principals also reported high level leadership performance to the NETS*A standards. Multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) revealed no significant difference in mean scores between the dependent variables of computer use or leadership performance to the NETS*A standards and the independent variables including the organizational factors of school location, district spending per student, campus minority status, and campus Title I status. A regression analysis revealed a statistically significant positive relationship between principals' computer technology use and personal variables of training and perceived risk-benefit. Another regression analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between principals' technology leadership performance to the NETS*A standards and personal variables of training, perceived risk-benefit and perceived pressure to implement technology. Multiple regression analyses revealed no correlation between the dependent variables of technology use and technology leadership. A correlation analysis revealed a weak correlation between the two dependent variables with less than 4% of the variance explained by that relationship. There is a need for continuing research examining possible relationships between principals' technology use, their technology leadership behaviors, and the degree of technology integration in their schools. The findings from this study could be used by principal preparation programs to focus on technology integration training and personal factors that may affect principals' technology leadership behavior and technology use.
- A Study of Factors Related to Teacher Retention
- Teacher attrition is a problem with a number of implications, not the least of which is the teacher shortage. Almost half of all new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, creating a difficult model where more teachers leave the teaching profession compared to teachers entering the profession. Part of the problem is a result of career progression. However, most of teacher attrition is a result of factors such as inadequate pay, administrative support, workplace conditions, student related issues, and collegiality with peers. Without a thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to teacher attrition it is impossible to create an environment where "No Child is Left Behind". Although teachers do not enter the profession with the notion of getting rich, they do need to make enough money to support themselves and their families. Furthermore, professional status in America is closely tied to socioeconomic status. Therefore, while salary may be the largest component of teacher attrition, school and district characteristics, teacher qualifications, and demographics also affect a teacher's decision to leave the profession.