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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
The Five Dimensions of Professional Learning Communities in Improving Exemplary Texas Elementary Schools: A Descriptive Study
This descriptive study investigated the development of the 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model in 5 economically disadvantaged and diverse Texas elementary schools, which demonstrated improvement in student achievement on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) over a 5-year period. Each of the schools were given the highest performance rating of Exemplary during the 2008 school year according to criteria developed by the Texas accountability system and had changed from an Acceptable rating in 2004. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of the development of the 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model in improving exemplary Texas elementary schools and to identify and compare the possible commonalities and differences existing between the schools on the 5 dimensions of professional learning communities. The 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model investigated in this study include: 1) shared and supportive leadership, 2) shared values and vision, 3) collective learning and the application of learning, 4) shared personal practice and 5) supportive conditions (collegial relationships and structures). The method used in this study was a mixed method approach that employed a questionnaire, individual principal and teacher interviews and school performance documents to collect data. The questionnaire data was analyzed through descriptive and analytical statistics while the interviews were investigated by identifying and documenting emergent patterns and themes. The findings from this study suggest that sustainable professional learning communities are evident in the high performing schools selected for this study. The study implies the culture of these schools is supported by relationships fostered by trust and mutual respect and their success is attributed to the collaborative, collegial and collective learning of the staff. Staff members from these schools are focused on student learning while campus leadership, grade level and vertical teams provide the structures for sharing leadership and collective learning. The principals in these schools engage in supportive behaviors that facilitate professional community while districts assist schools as professional learning communities in part through organized data and resource personnel. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12084/
Formal Education among the Siberian Yupik Eskimos on Sivuqaq, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska: an Ethno-Historical Study
The major focus of this study is the effect of formal education on individuals, communities, cultural traditions and values on Siberian Yupik Eskimos of Alaska. The first school on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska was founded in 1899 under the direction of Sheldon Jackson. The formal school curriculum for the next thirty years was secretarian. Upon the initial operation of formal schooling on the island, various other forms of schools have impacted the islanders of St. Lawrence. Chapter two is an overview of the background of education in Alaska from its beginning as a territory to its present status as the 49th state in the United States. Chapter three presents the history of formal schooling on St. Lawrence Island. Chapters two and three contain descriptions of various other forms of schooling within the state (i.e. Bureau of Indian Affairs, mission, state-owned) and when and how these forms either existed on the island or had an impact upon its villagers. Chapter four discusses the methodology utilized in conducting the research and fieldwork for this study. Research findings are discussed in chapter five and include verbatim transcriptions of interviews with villagers. These interviews are unedited in order for readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the study. The interviews included in this written finding are representative of interviews taken. Chapter six discusses conclusions gleaned over the course of this study and recommends further areas of study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278793/
From Block to Traditional Schedule: The Impact on Academic Achievement, Attendance Rates, and Dropout Rates
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of school schedule on student achievement and attendance of ninth and tenth grade students in metropolitan area Texas high schools (n = 22) and campus dropout rates. High schools that were analyzed in this study made a transition from A/B block scheduling in the 2003-04 school year to a traditional school schedule in the 2004-05 school year. Academic achievement, attendance rates and dropout rates were gathered through the archived files of the Texas Agency through the Academic Indicator of Excellence System (AEIS). Academic achievement was measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics standardized tests. This study compared the mean scores of ninth grader student achievement, attendance, and dropout rates from the 2003-04 school year to the mean scores of the tenth graders from the same schools from the 2004-05 school year, after the schools converted from an A/B block schedule to a traditional class schedule. Each independent variable was divided into four subgroups; campus mean results, minority student results, limited English proficient (LEP) student results, and low-socioeconomic student results. Students under the A/B block scored significantly higher in reading achievement than when they were instructed the following year under a traditional schedule. Paired sample t-tests were conducted to analyze the data for each subgroup, and showed there was a statistically significance in reading / language arts student achievement scores for all subgroups. Statistical significance was determined with a ninety five percent confidence level (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis revealed varied results in mean scores for math academic achievement and attendance rates, but no statistical significant difference. Comparison of data showed a slight increase in mean scores for dropout rates in traditional schedule, however the results were not significant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9128/
From inside the Arab family: What literacy practices occur when raising bilingual and biliterate children?
Living in the United States creates unique challenges in biliteracy and bilingualism for the Arab family. While extant literature provides insight into the literacy interactions and experiences of families from many other cultures now living in the U.S. , there is next to nothing regarding the Arab family literacy experience. Thus, knowledge about the literacy activities Arab families engage in as they gain access to and knowledge of a new culture and language is important. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the literacy practices of the Arab families raising bilingual and biliterate children in the U.S. This study , using methodology based on ethnographic approaches, investigated the literacy events, behaviors and interactions which occurred within one Arab family over a 16-week period. A second group of participants were 5 other Arab families living in the U.S. Data sources included video and audio recordings, field notes, observations, journals, informal interviews, and artifacts of children's literacy. The researcher and the participants engaged as co-participants in the research. Findings showed that driving factors behind home literacy practices were religious beliefs and the imminence of return to the home country. Arab mothers were found to yield a heavy influence on the pursuit of literacy, as well as the consistency of literacy learning events in the home. Findings should contribute to helping parents of children with different cultural backgrounds and languages provide the most effective types of support in the home instruction to develop fluency in both the new and the primary language. Information gathered would also help teachers bring together these children with their peers and the subject matter to create a positive synergy wherein all learners can be successful. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4722/
From Knowing Content to Constructing Knowledge: A Trend Analysis of Secondary Science Education, 1953-1992
The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze secondary science education curriculum and instruction trends for the period 1953-1992 by using the technique of content analysis to examine a representative portion of journal articles and policy statements in secondary science education. Two major science publications, The Science Teacher and Science Education, were selected for analysis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278865/
From Theory to Practice: A First Look at Success for Life - A Brain Research-Based Early Childhood Program
Success For Life (SFL) is a brain research-based program for children, birth through age six. This research examined the development and implementation of SFL in 13 early childhood settings. Participants were 24 female early childhood teachers and 146 (73 male) children. Teachers included seven infant, four toddler, nine preschool and four kindergarten teachers. Children included infants(n=29), toddlers(n=27), and prek/kindergartners (n=90). A Request for Proposals was disseminated to identify possible implementation sites. After participation was confirmed, teachers attended a full day's training which included a description of brain development/function, the latest brain research, how to implement SFL and other logistics of the study. Program implementation occurred over approximately four months. A field site coordinator visited each site bimonthly to provide on-going technical assistance. This was an intervention project with a pre and post implementation design. Four instruments were used: a teacher questionnaire, a classroom environment measure, a child measure and teacher journals. Results suggested that teachers became more knowledgeable about brain development research and about how children grow and learn. Teachers were better able to make connections between brain research findings and how to apply these findings to their programs and daily activities. Likewise, the environment measure indicated that teachers were better able to arrange environments for learning. They reported that children showed significant increases in skills development and performance in the following areas: physical mastery, social relations/interactions, cognitive development, and language/communications. Additionally, teachers reported improvements in emotional expression and well-being among infants and toddlers. Toddlers and preschoolers showed significant increases in creative/ artistic expression. Finally, teachers indicated that preschoolers showed increases in initiative, use of logic/mathematics skills, and musical coordination and movement. Research findings suggest that Success For Life is able to bridge the gap between theory and practice and benefits children, teachers and programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6153/
Funding and Effectiveness of Staff Development Programs in Three North Texas School Districts
This dissertation study focused on three aspects of staff development in North Texas: 1) funding sources, 2) types of professional learning programs, and 3) teachers' views of the effectiveness of the funded programs. Qualitative data came from interviews with nine district administrators concerning funding sources and how those resources enhanced teacher skills. Quantitative data came from 1,277 responses from teachers regarding their background and perceptions about staff development. Data from interviews with district administrators were diagrammed to depict elements of funding staff development and to reveal how resources were used to plan, implement, and evaluate staff learning. An analysis of interview data revealed that availability of grants, property tax rates, and student enrollment affected how districts funded staff development. Administrators reported that districts funded professional learning that was planned according to academic initiatives, met the needs of adult learners, and adapted to the changing needs of school communities. Both administrators and practitioners reported that time was a lacking resource critical to developing staff knowledge. Practitioners reported that sufficient opportunity to collaborate with colleagues about learning initiatives was more valuable than teaching materials. Teacher questionnaires were analyzed for possible relationships between participant variables and responses concerning knowledge about funding constraints and professional development experiences. Data revealed that practitioner experience and graduate degrees were not related to teachers' use of knowledge about financial constraints to more efficiently implement learning from staff development. Participants did not perceive professional learning differently than peers. Most teachers connected professional learning with improved teaching practices but a small percent attributed student achievement to their professional learning. The majority of teachers considered collaborative learning settings to elicit more personal professional growth than other formats. The findings of the teacher questionnaire suggest that teaching practices could be impacted if participants gained more knowledge about district financial constraints when developing staff professionally. Therefore, future research about how districts share information concerning funding for professional learning is warranted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30473/
Funds Budgeted for Educational Programs in Texas Schools during a Period of Changing Enrollment
This study analyzes budgets of Texas school districts experiencing declining enrollments, as opposed to districts with increasing or steady enrollments. This study identifies how schools are expending funds to meet those needs while dealing with enrollment changes. A total of 924 school districts are studied. The changes in average daily attendance from 1993-1994 to 2003-2004 are used to categorize each district as having increasing, stable, or decreasing enrollments. The total dollar amount expended is compared to the total number of students in each district to determine the amount expended per student. The amounts expended for special education career and technology education, bilingual education, and compensatory education are compared to the number of students being served by those programs to determine a dollar amount that can also be compared from the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 school years. The per-student expenditures for each educational program are compared to the overall per-student expenditures in each enrollment category (increasing, stable, decreasing). The study reveals no clear pattern of change in the comparison of overall spending to individual program spending as district enrollments fluctuated. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9051/
Funds of Knowledge in a Hispanic Household: a Case Study of Family Experiences, Values, and Connections to Education
Traditionally, the field of education has often adopted a negative perspective in their views of minority families’ contributions to the educational progress of their children. However, research embodying the theoretical framework of ‘funds of knowledge’ attempts to counter that model through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, and cultural contexts. Teachers carry out studies of familial funds of knowledge in order to understand how family experiences shape the knowledge that a child brings to the classroom. There is then, the potential to use that body of knowledge to create meaningful learning experiences that connect prior understanding and experiences to classroom practice. This research served as a case study of the funds of knowledge existing in the home of a Hispanic family and the connections that existed between that knowledge and literacy. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive funds of knowledge that developed through their historical, cultural, and social experiences. They often used family networks, as well as formal and informal literacy experiences to share this knowledge with their children. A key component of the literacy value system that they communicated resulted from a desire to maintain aspects of their culture and heritage through maintaining and improving their children’s reading and linguistic abilities in Spanish. Furthermore, along with their emphasis on Spanish literacy, they held aspirations for their children related to familial and educational values that often stemmed from their expressed desire for their children to lead lives with greater opportunities and positive examples than they had experienced. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407772/
Gottshall Early Reading Intervention: A phonics based approach to enhance the achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys.
Learning to read is critical for quality of life and success in our society. Children who cannot read well face unsuccessful educational careers and limited job choices. Recently, policy makers and educators have made progress toward increasing the reading achievement of America's children. Still up to 60% of boys who live in poverty cannot read or read two years below grade level. In this experimental study, I designed and examined the effects of the Gottshall Early Reading Intervention (GERI) to determine if direct instruction with a small group, phonics based approach would increase the literacy achievement of low performing, rural, first grade boys. Participants were selected according to Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) scores, matched them across race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and randomly assigned them to experimental/control group. Three times per week for 15 weeks, boys in the experimental group attended 30-minute pullout sessions taught by trained professionals in addition to classroom reading instruction. Control group members received classroom reading instruction only. Findings reveal no significant differences in reading gains across all variables. However, descriptive data indicate higher percentages of gains for the experimental group on four out of five reading components with rate of gain higher on fifth. Statistics also show that Hispanics are more likely to benefit. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5177/
Government Funding and Regulation of a Texas Voucher Program
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This study was designed to determine how willing private schools are to participate in a limited school voucher program if various state regulations are required and whether willingness to participate varies among types of schools. Provisions of voucher bills proposed in the Texas legislature and requirements included in other states' legislation were used to determine the sample, hypothetical voucher amount, and possible state regulations. Three hundred eighteen surveys were sent, and 150 were returned, giving a 47% return rate. Data were entered into SPSS and analyzed using chi-square and crosstabs. Initially chi square was used to see if findings were significant at the .0041 level. This alpha level was reached by using the Bonferroni correction factor, which holds experiment wise Type I error to .05. Crosstabs was used to determine if relationships between regulation acceptance and type of schools were significant. Overall, as the amount of regulation increased, private school willingness to participate in a voucher program decreased. The regulations rejected by a large majority of schools in all categories were open admissions and student religious exemptions. In the areas of testing, curriculum, and teacher qualifications, private schools were much more willing to participate if they were allowed to utilize their own practices than if required to follow regulations required of Texas public schools. These findings were significant. When analyzing what type of school would be most interested in participating in a voucher program, the factor that yielded the most significant results was amount of yearly tuition. Private school willingness to participate in a voucher program was directly related to the amount of tuition charged. Those private schools with tuitions that were at or below the hypothetical voucher amount were much more likely to participate than those with higher tuition. Overall, significant results were shown with almost every regulation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4807/
Growing in Favor with God: Young Children's Spiritual Development and Implications for Christian Education
Experts do not agree on the definition of spiritual development although positive spiritual development benefits society in many ways. Without agreement on the definition of spiritual development and a common understanding of spiritual development, parents, teachers, and pastors who are entrusted with the task of fostering positive spiritual development in Christian settings face the challenges of determining what spiritual development is (definition), the desired goals (culmination) of spiritual development, and the most effective ways to meet those goals (context and content). The purpose of this study was to use data, from the social sciences and Christian points of view, to inform Christian education programs and arrive at recommendations for fostering young children's spiritual development. Data sources include textual literature from the social science and Christian points of view. In addition, the researcher gathered interview data from twenty children's pastors. Research results included: 1. It is possible that spirituality is associated with sensory awareness. 2. Examining spirituality as sensory awareness may lead to focusing on innate qualities of spiritual capacity with a more focused inclusion of children with special needs in faith-based programs, a God-given conscience, and consideration that children may be born with spiritual gifts to express their spiritual nature. 3. Congregations/parishes under utilize intergenerational activities, time for quiet and reflection, and opportunities to talk to children about spiritual matters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9823/
The High School Associate Principal: Case Studies of an Emerging Role in Educational Leadership and Administration
Researchers in the field of educational administration have given little attention to the role of the associate principal. The research reported in this dissertation sought to fill that void through a close examination of the roles of the associate principals on two campuses in two different school districts. In addition to illustrating the role of the associate principal, the research examines how experience as an associate principal influences the careers of educational administrators. Data were collected primarily by means of semi-structured interviews with principals and district administrators as well as the associate principals themselves to provide multiple perspectives. Data were summarized in detailed interview logs, coded to discover the themes that were characteristic of each case, then analyzed to identify the patterns within and across the cases. The interviews were also analyzed as narratives reflecting on how experience as an associate principal can shape an educational administrator's career. The interview data were supplemented with documents relating to the associate principals, their campuses, and their districts. The results suggest that the associate principal position is a crucial step on the career ladder to a secondary principalship. Assistant principals with knowledge and skills in curriculum, instruction, and assessment are more likely to be selected as associates, and associates are more likely to be selected for principalships. The results also indicate that instructional leadership for associate principals in Texas focuses primarily on improving students' performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and on increasing participation in and performance on other standardized tests, in particular Advanced Placement, SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT (formerly American College Testing), and the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33150/
High School Teachers’ Perceptions Of Their Principals As Culturally Proficient Leaders
This study examined Texas high school teachers’ perceptions of their principals as culturally proficient leaders, focusing specifically on how teacher-, school-, and principal-related factors impacted these perceptions. A sample of 104 teachers in culturally diverse secondary schools from a large urban district in Texas participated. An electronic survey was utilized to collect data. Results yielded an average total cultural proficiency score of 111 out of a possible 175, indicating that teachers perceived their principals “sometimes use” culturally proficient practices. Teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s use of culturally proficient leadership practices varied significantly by years of teachers’ experience and school accountability rating (exemplary, academically acceptable, and academically unacceptable). Perceptions of teachers at an Exemplary school were significantly different (higher than the perceptions of teachers at other schools from the same district). Teachers with 11 to 20 years of teaching experience gave significantly lower ratings (22.45 points) than teachers with 1 to 5 years of experience (125.53) and teachers with over 20 years of experience (118.94). While differences were not statistically significant, black and Hispanic teachers rated their principals’ culturally proficient practices higher than white teachers. Age, subject area taught and teacher’s gender, or race being the same as the principal’s gender or race had no significant effect on total proficiency scores. This study supports prior findings that leadership policy and development programs must be refined to help leaders develop and utilize more culturally proficient skills that will lead to greater academic success for all students. Results indicate that principals need assistance in adapting to and managing the dynamics of difference as well as providing teachers with conflict resolution training. It is recommended that professional development departments conduct similar district-wide proficiency assessments as a first step in helping educators to understand the cultural proficiency conceptual framework. It is also recommended that school districts develop a rating system using the tenets of cultural proficiency to assist principals in improving their cultural proficiency scores. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103367/
Hispanic Representation in the Superintendency: Perceived Competencies and Organizational Outcomes That Benefit School Districts
This study assessed 40 factors often cited in literature to determine the extent that Hispanic superintendents perceive them as influential when accessing the superintendency. Eight Hispanic superintendents in Texas participated in this qualitative study, which was based on interviews as well as written responses to a survey. This study found that the factors considered most influential to these superintendents were their ability to communicate, self-perception/self-efficacy, and level of overall preparedness. These findings contrast with previous research indicating that race or ethnicity, mentoring, and career path are most influential. The study also identified factors related to race and ethnicity that most influenced a Hispanic's ability to access the superintendency, albeit to a lesser degree. These factors were the ability to serve as a Hispanic role model to students, ability to increase Hispanic students' academic performance, and the ability to speak a second language. Moreover, through analysis of a large number of survey responses the study examined the extent to which a superintendent's race or ethnicity is significant to addressing the needs of Hispanics. To assure this question a comparative analysis of Hispanics' and non-Hispanics competencies and organizational outcome was conducted. The results indicate that superintendents, in general, regardless of race or ethnicity, can acquire knowledge about the Hispanic culture, develop cultural competence, and produce outcomes that affect Hispanics. A Hispanic, however, who possesses the ability to speak Spanish and has authentic cultural experiences, can potentially provide unique competencies in serving Hispanics. Cultural competence with Hispanics, however, does not supersede the importance of a superintendent's overall effectiveness and ability to meet the needs of all students. Whereas other studies have addressed the significance of cultural competency in other institutions that serve the public, such as the healthcare industry, this study addressed cultural competency in public education. Progressive definitions of cultural competency included the extent to which outcomes met constituent needs for measuring cultural competency. The overall findings in this study suggest a need to develop preparation programs that result in culturally competent leaders, a need to revise state required certification requirements to reflect a need for cultural competence, and a need to revise locally-developed job postings/descriptions to indicate that the superintendent must provide culturally competent leadership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283806/
Hispanic Women Leaders in K&#8210;12 Public Education: Overcoming Barriers to Success
Scholarly research has been written on the forces behind the barriers preventing Hispanic women from reaching the top of the public school ladder. These barriers are to be recognized and addressed. This study focuses not on the barriers which hinder forward and upward career movement, but instead examines how many Hispanic American women have not allowed these barriers to prevent them from achieving their goals of attaining the principalship. This study seeks to determine how Hispanic women principals came to grips with the challenges and barriers to promotion, and to success as K&#8210;12 school leaders. This qualitative research study consisted of 12 Hispanic female school principals from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The three districts selected were Fort Worth Independent School District, Arlington Independent School District, and Grand Prairie Independent School District. Three principals were from Grand Prairie Independent School District, two principals were from Arlington Independent School District, and seven principals were from the Fort Worth Independent School District. All of the 12 Hispanic school principals were interviewed. From the responses to each of the questions, themes became evident. The themes expressed what individual principals had done and the strategies they used to overcome the varied barriers which they confronted. The responses to the interview questions and the themes were very insightful and displayed the women's tenacity, courage, perseverance, and determination to succeed in their aspirations to become Hispanic female principals and leaders in their school districts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67980/
An Historical Analysis of Rule and Policy Changes in the Texas University Interscholastic League One-Act Play Contest, 1986-2006, and the Results of Those Changes: Administrator and Teacher Perceptions
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) One-Act Play Contest is a competition where similarly sized Texas schools present an 18-40 minute play usually adjudicated by a single judge. At each level of competition the judge awards individual acting awards as well as selecting two productions to advance to the next level of competition. After the awards are announced the judge gives an oral critique to each of the schools. Because of the wide participation and diversity of plays produced, certain rules and guidelines have been adopted to ensure safety, allow for equity, satisfy legal standards, and make the running of the contest practical. These rules can be modified to achieve positive outcomes and improved educational results. Changes in the rules of a UIL contest are in accordance with stated educational objectives of the UIL. Occasionally, however, modifications in procedures raise questions. The problem of this study was to determine, from the perceptions of administrators and teachers, whether significant modifications in the rules and policies for the UIL One-Act Play Contest over a time span of 20 years have had impacts on the goals and procedures of the contest. The study utilized a qualitative approach through historical analysis and a survey to answer two research questions. Historical analysis identified the six modifications in the UIL OAP over the years 1986-2006. The survey instrument determined the impact of these changes on the goals and procedures of the contest. Based on the responses of the survey the competition experience has been enhanced by recent changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28480/
Home-based family literacy practices of an Hispanic family: A case study of activities, functions, and the interface with school-based literacy expectations.
This study examined the home-based family literacy practices of one Hispanic family, especially focusing on the parents' memories of home-based and school-based literacy activities, current home-based literacy activities and functions, and the interface of home-based family literacy practices and school-based literacy expectations. Ethnographic data offered insight into the understanding that literacy acquisition begins in the home and is dependent and reflective of literacy experiences that are sociocultural based. These home-based family literacy activities and functions are broad in scope and are valuable forms of literacy. However, these activities of marginalized families are often regarded as unimportant and/or unrelated to school-based literacy expectations, and therefore inferior. In response to this perceived mismatch between home-based family literacy activities and school-based literacy expectations, educators approached families from a deficit perspective. This deficit assumption created a sense of devalue on the part of the parents, who assisted their children by culturally and socially relevant means. To meet the school-based literacy expectations familial relationships were jeopardized as the pressure, frustration, and guilt from educators can result in emotional and physical abuse from mother to her children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5353/
Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development
Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271820/
How Adult Readers Navigate Through Expository Text in a Hypermedia Environment to Construct Meaning
Research methods from both the qualitative and quantitative paradigms were used to answer the question concerning how adult readers navigate through informational text embedded in a hypermedia environment to construct meaning. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277689/
Identity issues in Asian-American children's and adolescent literature (1999-2007).
Published research suggests that literature should transmit ethnic and societal values as well as reassure one's own confidence and self-respect. This study provides a model for examining Asian-American children's and adolescent literature critically from the perspective of identity issues. It examines fifteen award-winning Asian-American children's and adolescent titles written by writers of that culture and published in the United States from 1999 to 2007, with a focus on Chinese (Taiwanese) American, Korean American, and Japanese American books. As published studies indicate, self, social, and ethnic identities are significantly intertwined. Hence, a content analysis was conducted based on these three major groups of categories. The findings of the study demonstrate that even though the selected books cover all three aspects of the identity issues to a certain degree, a considerably greater number of depictions of ethnic identities are made over those of internal identities and social identities. Moreover, less than half of the main characters assume an active role in improving the difficult situation. Two major voids regarding the presentation of social identities are successful social integration and positive social interactions. Recommendations for teaching, writing, illustrating, publishing, and future research are suggested, including publishing more Asian-American books which present an optimistic outlook on life, active conflict-resolving behaviors, and a balance of gender among individuals with whom the main character interacts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12155/
Identity of African American Characters in Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Award Winning Books: a Critical Content Analysis of Books From 1991 to 2011
The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical content analysis of the African American characters found in Newbery Medal award winning books recognized between the years of 1991 and 2011. The John Newbery Medal is a highly regarded award in the United States for children's literature and esteemed worldwide. Children's and adolescents' books receive this coveted award for the quality of their writing. Though these books are recognized for their quality writing, there is no guideline in the award criteria that evaluated the race and identity of the characters. Hence, there are two overarching research questions that guided this study. The first question asked: To what extent are the African American characters in each award winning book represented? Foci in answering this question were the frequency of African American characters and the development of their ethnic identities. The second question asked: How are the African American characters' intergroup attitudes and interactions represented? Foci in answering this question examined the frequency of intergroup interactions and the characters' attitudes within the context of each book. The theoretical framework that undergirded this study is critical literacy, which encourages adults and youth to examine issues of diversity and social justice through their reading. Eighteen books met the criteria for the study, which provided 98 African American characters for investigation through content analysis. The qualitative methodology used frequency counts, anecdotal notes and questionnaires to analyze the characters. Findings revealed two key themes: the characterization of ethnic identity as a reflection of society and African American characters as models of agency. Further themes became evident in this study as well: the evolution of cultural authenticity, strong African American female characters, importance of the African American family and the acknowledgement of African American involvement in history. These findings are significant because they provided evidence of the potential of these Newbery award winning books to be the catalyst for critical classroom conversations on identity and agency. Findings also provided increasingly strong examples of ethnic role models within these notable titles. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177233/
The Impact of a Community College Teacher Education Program on the Success Rate of Minority Teacher Certification Students
The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already implementing similar pre-service teacher education programs. Overall, the results indicated that pre-service teacher education programs at the community college level can be effective at producing transfer students who successfully graduate from four-year teacher education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271877/
The impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of at-risk students.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, and determination of short term and long term effects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4185/
The Impact of Collegial-Teaming on High-School and University Instructors: A Descriptive Multi-Case Study
This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103308/
Impact of Core Knowledge Curriculum on Reading Achievement
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of Core Knowledge curriculum, a Comprehensive School Reform model, on the reading achievement of elementary students located in a north Texas suburban school district. A repeated measures, matched-comparison design was employed using longitudinal data over a three year period. Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to determine if there were any significant differences in student achievement scores as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The experimental and control school were examined for student achievement gains overall, for advantaged versus disadvantaged students and for achievement gap differences. Although the results of the statistical analyses indicated that there were no significant differences in the reading TAKS scores of students participating in the study, experimental school students consistently had higher mean scores when compared to the control school in all areas. The evaluation of the achievement gap revealed that although the Core Knowledge school did not close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, the disadvantaged students' scores rose in proportion to the advantaged students, thus preventing an increase in the achievement gap between students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4717/
The impact of drug testing on secondary school students.
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The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in different years (i.e. 1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3281/
The Impact of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! on Adolescent Girls
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine the impact, if any, of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! on adolescent girls in the areas of friendship, school issues, family issues, body image, and assertiveness after participating in the religious-based program for nine monthly modules. Participants completed pretests and posttests in the areas of self-concept and basic Jewish knowledge. Quantitative results demonstrated statistically significant results in the areas of basic knowledge of Jewish female role models, values, and traditions, and statistically significant results in the areas of general, parental/home, and global self-concept. Qualitative results revealed inconsistent results with application of lessons taught, with some effect being acknowledged in the areas of friendship, gossip, bullying, self-defense, and assertiveness. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4922/
The impact of language planning and policy on high school long-term English language learners in a selected north Texas urban district.
Language policy reform movements have increased accountability in order for schools to improve student achievement and measure the progress of English language learners. The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown significantly in the school population, yet the level of academic achievement for this population continues to lag. Language planning and policy provide critical decisions about how to measure what students know in all subjects. In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature approved the assessment of the state curriculum to account for student learning while nationally the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires assessment and accountability to measure what students know. Long term English language learners (LTELs) in high school are of particular concern because they have not been able to meet standards on the state's assessments. These assessments are used for national NCLB accountability under Annual Yearly progress (AYP) indicators, the state's accountability and the Texas graduation criteria. The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of educational language planning and policy on LTELs who have lived and attended US schools for more than four school years. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5131/
The impact of leadership capacity and style on professional learning communities in schools.
Leadership capacity may be enhanced when school staff members work together as a professional learning community (PLC). Leadership style may impact how well a school staff work as a professional learning community. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between principal leadership style and the level of PLC on 18 campuses across the US that were working on becoming PLCs. Staff members answered questions from two surveys which measured the level of leadership capacity, leadership style of the principal, and level of professional learning community within the schools. Questions regarding leadership capacity and leadership style were taken from the Leadership Capacity School Survey. Questions designed to measure the level of PLC on a campus were taken from the Professional Learning Community Assessment. The product-moment correlation coefficient or Pearson r was calculated between the answers from the questions from both surveys. The results indicated that when a capacity building principal is working with staff members to create a PLC, a higher level of PLC development is evidenced. When principals used collaboration with their staff, their schools operated at a lower level as a PLC. These results encourage principals to consider building capacity among their staff members if they want to create professional learning communities on their campus. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9740/
The Impact of Professional Development on Student Achievement As Measured by Math and Science Curriculum-based Assessments
The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of teacher professional development on student achievement measured by scores on curriculum-based assessments, CBAs. The participants in the study included 260 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math and science teachers. Teacher participation in professional development courses was collected for curriculum, instruction, differentiation, assessment, technology integration, and continuous improvement credit types. Achievement data for 8,454 students was used: 2,883 in 3rd grade, 2,752 in 4th grade, and 2,819 in 5th grade. The dependent variable of student achievement was dichotomized at the median: half of the student participants scored above the median and half of the students scored at and below the median. A series of logistic regression models were fit to the data that included examining all main effects and interaction terms among all variables to determine the best fitting model. The results of this study indicate that for 4th grade science, teacher professional development participation in curriculum, instruction, and differentiation credit strands increased the chances for students to score above the district median on CBAs. The larger number of professional development hours in a variety of credit strands had a negative impact on student achievement in 4th grade science. In 5th grade science, the students whose teacher spent more hours in professional learning for continuous improvement had an increased likelihood of scoring above the district median on CBAs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500022/
The impact of selected school factors on the test performance of African-American economically disadvantaged elementary students.
In order for America to retain its superior position in a global economy it is imperative that all students receive educational opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Currently, African-American economically disadvantaged students in the United States perform lower on standardized tests than their grade and age-level peers. Educators must find ways to improve the performance of students in this group in order to maximize future opportunities. Through a mixed-methodology approach, the current study finds three school factors that may positively impact the performance of African-American economically disadvantaged students: high expectations, student-teacher relationships and teacher effectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative analysis provides perspectives from principals primarily from a large urban school district on the impact of these factors on student performance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5275/
The Impact of Standards-based Report Cards on Reading Development of Primary Grade Students
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to explore the instructional changes in first grade classrooms and reading progress of first grade students in relation to implementation of standards-based report cards (SBRC). The goal of this study, conducted in a suburban Texas school district, was to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference in reading progress between students enrolled in first grade classrooms in which traditional report cards were used in comparison to comparable classrooms in which SBRCs were used. Additionally, the instructional practices of teachers were examined to determine the types of changes that took place as the district moved from traditional report cards to SBRCs. A total of 709 students and 15 teachers were involved in the study. The study revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between the reading growth of students assessed in SBRC classrooms and those assessed with traditional report cards. There were, however, significant differences in instructional practices employed by teachers in SBRC classrooms. These changes in practice included instructing with a greater degree of focus on specific objectives to be taught, more closely following the district’s scope and sequence, greater communication regarding the grading criteria and methods used for reporting progress, use of the most recent achievement data when determining grades (in comparison to averaging of grades during a reporting period), and a greater awareness of students’ specific abilities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500184/
The Impact of Target Revenue Funding on Public School Districts in North Texas
A pre–post case study was conducted to examine how target revenue funding from Texas House Bill 1 (2006) has impacted the school districts within the Texas Education Service Center Region X area. Forced by the courts, the Texas Legislature was required to fix the Texas school finance system because of a de facto statewide property tax it had created by capping school district’s maintenance & operations tax rate at $1.50. Texas Governor Rick Perry used this opportunity to reduce school district M&O taxes by one-third. The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1 (2006), the Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act, in response to the courts and to address a continuous decline in state funding support for public education. The Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act reduced local school districts’ property tax rates and revenue with the assurance that these funds would be exchanged for state aid. Local school property taxes were reduced over two years, 2006–2007 and 2007-2008, by 33%. In order for the State of Texas to meet the state aid funding guarantee from House Bill 1 (2006), each school district was frozen to its 2005–2006 revenue per weighted student, which was called a district’s revenue target. This study examined the impact target revenue has had on these school districts by analyzing and comparing revenues and expenditures prior to and following the law’s implementation. Specifically, changes in per-student revenue, per-student expenditures, and district fund balances were assessed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500080/
The Impact of Teacher Quality on Reading Achievement of Fourth Grade Students: an Analysis of the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep)
This study investigated the effects of teacher background variables on fourth grade reading achievement data collected from the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) using a causal-comparative research design. Teacher quality variables related to teacher credentials, instructional methods, training, and support were selected from the NAEP background questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to examine teacher background information and fourth grade reading NAEP scaled scores using measures of central tendency, independent t-tests, analysis of variance, and Tukey’s HSD post hoc analysis. Findings suggest that certain teacher quality variables positively impact fourth grade reading achievement. Significant differences existed among fourth grade reading scaled scores for the following variables: teaching credentials [region (p < .05), traditional preparation route (p < .001), highest degree earned(p < .05), years of experience (p < .001)]; instructional methods [reading aloud by students (p < .01), questioning character motives (p < .01), student selection of reading materials (p < .001), explaining/supporting text (p < .05), identifying main theme (p < .001), time spent on reading (p < .001), primary language arts integration (p < .05)]; teacher support [instructional grade level support/technical assistance by reading specialist (p < .05) and mentoring (p < .05)]. This study expands the current literature on teacher quality by exploring the effects of teacher variables on reading achievement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500054/
Impact of Teachers' Common Planning Time on the Academic Performance of Students in a Middle School Setting
The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the common planning time for a team of middle school teachers by comparing the standardized test scores of middle school students selected from two school districts located in North Texas. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) 2 * 4 design was utilized to measure the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) math and reading scale score for 7th grade students from the test administered in spring 2005. The data for this study were compared by the variables of school, gender, and ethnicity. The measuring tool utilized in this study determined the ratio of the amount of variance of the scores for individuals of between-groups as opposed to the amount of variance of within-groups, indicating if there were a statistically significant difference on the scores in any one particular variable compared to the variances of scores for the other variables in this study. The statistical results indicated that there were no statistical significant differences in the scores of students attending a middle school where the teachers received a common planning time. However, there was a noted difference in the percentage ratings on the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report published by TEA for the African American students who attended the school with the common planning time. These students had higher scores on the TAKS reading test. The TAKS math scores did not indicate any notable differences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5431/
The impact of the core knowledge curriculum at the junior high level as it relates to performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the comprehensive school reform model core knowledge on the reading achievement of eighth grade students located in a suburban north Texas school district. The data compared the mean scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills of students attending the experimental core knowledge school with the control school that did not use the core knowledge curriculum. Students from both schools were compared for student achievement gains overall as well as several other categories. The study also used a qualitative survey that asked key faculty members at both schools questions regarding levels of curriculum implementation, staff knowledge of curriculum, etc. The data showed no significant differences between student achievement scores at the experimental school compared with students at the control school. However, the study found that the type of standardized test seems to have an impact on whether students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement than students in a traditional curriculum. Students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement on norm-referenced standardized tests when compared with students not attending a core knowledge school. When taking a criterion-referenced test such as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, there is no difference in reading achievement between the two groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6105/
The impact of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on reading, mathematics, and language achievement of Hispanic English language learners.
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This study sought to answer if the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program had a positive academic impact on Hispanic English language learners (ELL). HIPPY is a free, 2-year, home-based early intervention program for 4-and 5-year-old children. The program is intended to provide educational enrichment to at-risk children from poor and immigrant families, increase school readiness, and foster parent involvement in their children's education. A quasi-experimental design and quantitative measures were used to measure the academic success of Hispanic ELL students in reading, mathematics, and language arts. The sample included an experimental group and a purposeful control group. Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and participated in the HIPPY 4 and 5 programs were compared to Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and did not participate in HIPPY. Results from the Texas-mandated criterion referenced Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills (TAKS™) Test and the TerraNova® and TerraNova SUPERA® norm referenced tests were used in this study. Results from the TAKS Reading and TAKS Mathematics Grade 3 and the TerraNova reading, language, mathematics, and total composite scores were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. The treatment group and control group results from both assessments were measured and compared. A statistically significant difference was found in 5 out of the 6 null hypotheses tested. The treatment group statistically significantly outperformed the control group in the TAKS Reading and the TerraNova and TerraNova SUPERA reading, language, mathematics, and total composite assessments. This study substantiates that the HIPPY program works and can have a positive impact on a child's school readiness. Additionally, a significant range of sustainability was also established since the results were measured from assessments administered in the third grade and 5 years after the treatment group began participating in the HIPPY program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5227/
The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.
This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4772/
The Implementation of Transition from Spanish Reading to English Reading Programs in Bilingual Classrooms
The purpose of this study was to describe the actual implementation of the transition process as observed in bilingual classrooms, and in particular, to examine the critical components (policy, curricular, and instructional characteristics) of the Spanish-to-English reading transition policies implemented in bilingual education programs in elementary schools in the Denton Independent School District in Texas. Four research questions drove this study. To investigate these questions, a multidimensional, descriptive research design was employed. The researcher used questionnaires, interviews, and field observations. The 11 educators, 6 bilingual teachers, 2 school-site principals, 2 school-site coordinators, and 1 district bilingual coordinator, were asked several types of questions (open response and closed response) using different types of instruments (questionnaires and interviews). Also, the six bilingual teachers were observed using two types of instruments (field notes and video tapes). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278095/
Incarcerated mothers in Cuenca, Ecuador: Perceptions of their environment and the impact it has on the lives of their young children and their education.
The number of children whose mothers are incarcerated is increasing around the world. Educators of young children are faced with new challenges in their classrooms as they work with these children during their formative years for social-emotional development. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interview the mothers, in order to gain their perspective on how they feel their incarceration has affected their relationship with their children; how they believed it would affect their children in the future, and to investigate the perceptions of early childhood teachers who worked with children of incarcerated mothers. Using interviews, observations, journal, and field notes the researcher collected information from 3 incarcerated mothers, 3 of their children, and the 2 teachers who worked with these children. Overall findings were that the mother-child relationships are of extreme importance to the mothers. They have high hopes for a better life for their child, which includes concerns about their education. Mothers had fears that their incarceration would repeat itself in their children and desired for things to be different in their children's futures. They reported their incarceration affecting their children in negative ways. Their children had difficulty depicting their mothers in their drawings. Lastly, the teachers highly encouraged parental involvement, even though the mother was incarcerated. They expressed the importance of the mother-child relationship impacting the child's ability to learn, and teachers believed special training and preparation are necessary for working with these children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6078/
The Influence of National Standards for Early Childhood Programs on Selected Rural Settings of the Education Service Centers in East Texas
This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2502/
Instructional Leadership Responsibilities of Assistant Principals in Large Texas High Schools
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent secondary assistant principals in large Texas high schools demonstrate behaviors consistent with what the literature describes as instructional leadership. Three hundred seventy principals and assistant principals of large Texas high schools participated in this study. The Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (Hallinger, 1987) was used to quantify instructional leadership in 10 different job functions. The study found that (a) assistant principals perceive themselves as exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (b) principals perceive their assistant principals exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (c) the perceptions of the principals and assistant principals were similar, and (d) principals and assistant principals reported more engagement in instructional leadership responsibilities and felt more pressured over the last five years under the new accountability and rating requirements of No Child Left Behind and the state assessments. These findings suggested that the administrative roles and responsibilities in high schools should be restructured to allow assistant principals to focus on instructional leadership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28432/
Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas
The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high level of impact upon their classroom practices as a result of implementation of the PDAS instrument. If future research reveals that the perceived impact is accurate and that classroom practices of teachers did change as a result of the instrument's implementation to the degree perceived, then this is a model for policy implementation at the state level that is extremely effective. Furthermore, additional researchers may investigate the link between classroom practices and student achievement. This research study is a first step toward describing effective, replicable practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2721/
Interim Evaluation of the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program: A Working Model
The purpose of this study was to determine if, after one year of operation, the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program was progressing in accordance with the goals set out for the program. Questionnaires administered to 26 interns and 10 mentor principals and follow-up focus group interview sessions provided answers to the study's five research questions that explored the following: selection process; how interns' involvement in campus-based decision-making had changed; how mentor principals' perceptions toward interns had changed; and how administrative interns' perceptions of themselves and educational administration had changed. Findings from this study revealed the selection process provided the Dallas Public Schools an opportunity to select teacher-leaders from the district and to include a representative number of minority and women candidates for participation in the program. An area of weakness was seven interns with low GRE scores were admitted through an appeals process at the university. Another weakness revealed the majority of interns had been assigned more duties and responsibilities at the schools, but only 4 of 26 interns were being allowed to participate in any campus-based decision-making processes that could have an impact on school improvements. The study found the role of the mentor principal to be the most important factor in determining the satisfaction and success of the interns in the program. The embedded internship proved to be a disadvantage for the interns and principals, as the majority reported not having enough time to spend on administrative activities. Interns reported growth in personal and professional maturity and gained knowledge about the world of educational leadership. All 26 interns expressed the desire to become administrators in Dallas Public Schools upon completion of the program. Further research should include comparison studies between graduates of restructured programs and graduates of traditional programs to determine if there is a difference in school improvements and student achievement based upon the nature of the training of the school leader. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4497/
An Internal Belief System: Variables that Influence Eighth-Grade Girls' Mathematics Achievement-Related Behaviors
The purposes of this study were to apply a model of achievement-related behaviors to a sample of eighth-grade girls and to ascertain whether this theoretical model continued to describe girls' internal beliefs regarding mathematics. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278134/
International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration
The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30493/
The International Newcomer Academy: A Case Study
This initial investigation into the special program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, the International Newcomer Academy (INA), examines and describes the nature of this new school in comparison with the nature of the Language Centers functioning in host schools as schools within schools. This study was prompted by the need to document perceptions, behaviors, and practices of all principal players, which might result in program improvement to benefit students. The primary goal for establishing this new school was to focus primarily on beginner limited English proficient (LEP) students so that the language centers would be relieved, and so do a better job of teaching intermediate and advanced LEP students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278499/
An investigation into the current practices of formal and informal teacher technologists on the use of computers in the classroom in an urban academy school and a private academy school.
The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of formal and informal teacher technologists in two school settings: an elite private, high school academy and an urban poor, middle school academy. This investigation included clarifying the role of the formal and informal teacher technologist and investigating the need for both formal and informal teacher technologists. This study also explored the technological differences between the public academy middle school and the private academy high school. Two formal and eight informal teacher technologists were interviewed face-to-face three times, each using the transcendental phenomenology research design. Each teacher technologist was also observed at least once in classroom and teacher training sessions. The results of this study revealed (1) the role of the teacher technologist was a fast technology problem solver; and (2) although students and teachers used technology, the schools lagged in adequate technology and/or teacher training; (3) the teacher technologists used the Internet to build and evaluate curriculum; (4) most students used tool software centered around project-based activities; (5) teacher technologists trained other teachers to be collaborative risk-takers in using technology; (6) teacher technologists shared what they learn with students and other teachers; and (7) students could be student-learners or student-teachers and teachers could be teacher-learners. Four conclusions were reached: technology and constructivist teaching are compatible; technology is a tool; new approaches to professional development are needed; and hardware and software should be standardized for maximum use. Additionally, both schools in this study were evolving the role of the formal teacher technologist. It was recommended that (1) the schools employ at least one fulltime formal teacher technologist whose main role is to assist teachers in technology classroom incorporation, (2) the schools form teams of informal teacher technologists, (3) and the public middle school academy purchase one laptop for each student to use anytime, anywhere. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4322/
An Investigation Into the Relationships Between the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge of University Teacher Education Faculty and Their Age, Rank, and Gender
The purpose of this study was to determine what relationships exist between the age, rank, and gender of university faculty in teacher education and their technological pedagogical content knowledge. The survey instrument used was the Survey of Teacher Educators’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) which is an adaptation of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology developed by Schmidt. A total of 347 public Texas university teacher education faculty members participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and the effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between the variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the age, rank, and gender of the university teacher educator faculty member and their technological knowledge (TK). Based on the information provided for the b weights, age was found to be the best predictor of their technological knowledge (TK). The discriminant analysis identified what relationship exists between the ages of university teacher education faculty technology knowledge. The results of the discriminant analysis indicate the range 20-30 and 60+ contribute equally to teacher educators’ technological knowledge. Although no statistically significant results were determined with respect to the correlations between gender, age, and rank and technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical content knowledge, the descriptive data does suggest that some insight maybe gained from further analysis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500063/