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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Teacher Education and Administration
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Eighth Grade Science Teacher Quality Variables and Student Achievement
While No Child Left Behind ushered in the age of the "highly qualified" teacher, accountability focus has been shifted to the "highly effective" teacher, defined as teacher impact on student achievement. The Science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is used to judge the adequate yearly progress of students in Texas public schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of teacher factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, teaching experience, university selectivity, certification route, National Center for Education Statistics Locale/Code, number of science content and pedagogical course semester credit hours, grade point average for science content and pedagogical coursework) on student achievement using the eighth grade Science TAKS. The primary dependent variables were students' five objective scores and their overall scores on the eighth grade Science TAKS examination. The sample was 44 eighth grade science teachers and 4,119 students in Texas public schools. Multiple linear regression models enabled examinations of the relationships between teacher quality variables and student achievement. No significant relationships between the variables were found. Small effect sizes for the beta weights and structure coefficients occurred between teachers' science credit hours and TAKS objectives to explain 20% of the variance for TAKS Living Systems and the Environment, 39% of the variance for TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and 21% of the variance for TAKS Earth and Space Systems. Teacher experience accounted for 24% of the variance with TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and pedagogical credit hours explained 30% of the variance with TAKS Motion, Forces, and Energy. Science GPA explained 31% of the variance for the TAKS Earth and Space Systems objective. Policy makers should examine NCLB assumptions about teacher content knowledge as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness via student achievement on standardized tests. While measuring content knowledge provides a simple, efficient, and cost effective form of accountability, the small effect size indicated other factors, including teaching practice, need investigation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33159/
Elementary Math Achievement in Texas: What is Working?
Elementary math teachers (76) from selected Texas schools that included Grade 5 responded to an online self-report survey with respect to school-level factors that may be associated with student math achievement. Questions on the survey focused on school-level factors related to math, campus leadership, integration of technology in the math classroom, teacher expectations, utilization of student data in decision-making and professional development. The schools included in the study were rated as Acceptable or Exemplary schools by the Texas Education Agency for three-consecutive years (2007-2010). Logistic regression techniques were used to analyze the data and 11 questions out of 45 were analyzed to determine the odds ratio. Factors that were correlated with being an Exemplary campus were teacher certification routes, not benchmarking student progress, implementation of response to intervention (RTI), classroom management focus (equally divided between student and teacher centered) within the classroom, and technology integration. The results indicated that at the .05 level of probability, the only factor that met that level of significance was full implementation of RTI. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68020/
Elementary Teacher Attrition and Factors of Organizational Climate
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As the United States faces a critical teacher shortage, it is important to examine all factors that may contribute to the revolving door of teacher attrition. This study explored the climate of elementary schools to determine if there was a correlation between teacher attrition and school organizational climate. Three basic research questions were addressed: 1) Is there a relationship between school organizational climate and teacher attrition? 2) Is a change in campus leadership related to school organizational climate? 3) Is there a relationship between a change in campus leadership and teacher attrition? Thirty-seven elementary schools were examined in terms of their individual teacher attrition rates and their climate survey scores. The data utilized in this study came from one school district's climate survey and teacher attrition rates for the 2000-2001 school year. The findings of this study indicate that factors of organizational climate may predict teacher attrition rates. Specifically, instructiona support may be related to teacher attrition. Major components of instructional support include principal behaviors, respect for teaching and learning, and communication with administrators. Teacher attrition was not related to principal experience. Also, principal experience was not related to factors of school organizational climate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5525/
The Emergence of an Inner-City Professional Development School: A Case Study
This paper examined the process followed in the selection and establishment of an inner-city Professional Development School located in a large, North Texas school district. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278817/
The Emergent Literacy Behaviors of Bilingual Education Kindergarten Students During Modified Sustained Silent Reading : A Descriptive Study
The purpose of this study was to describe the behaviors of kindergarten students during Sustained Silent Reading sessions modified to be developmentally appropriate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278320/
Equity in Texas Public Education Facilities Funding
The need to establish appropriate, adequate, and decent educational facilities for school children across the nation has been well-established. The ability of school districts in each state to build these facilities has varied widely in the past. Historically, most facilities funding ability for school districts has come from the local community and has been tied to property wealth and the ability of the community to raise significant tax dollars to pay for school buildings. Responding to an expanding need for increased facilities funding and school funding litigation, the state of Texas added facilities funding mechanisms for public school facilities construction in the late 1990s. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the methods of facilities funding were equitable in the state of Texas. In this study, equity values were framed around three equity concepts established in school funding equity literature. These three concepts were (1) horizontal equity defined as the equal treatment of equals, (2) vertical equity defined as the unequal treatment of unequals, and (3) wealth neutrality defined as the absence of a relationship between school district wealth and the equal opportunity of students. The sample comprised 1,039 school districts in the state of Texas. Well-established equity measures were administered to data including capital outlays, weighted per pupil capital outlays, instructional facilities allotments, and school district wealth. Horizontal equity measures included the McLoone index, the Verstegen index, the federal range ratio, and the coefficient of variation tests. The Odden-Picus Adequacy index (OPAI) was administered to determine levels of vertical equity. Finally, wealth neutrality was determined utilizing the Pearson product-moment correlation test. Findings indicated that there were poor horizontal equity levels both in the top half and bottom half of the distribution of capital outlay spenders. A coefficient of variation test was administered to determine overall horizontal equity. While it did not indicate poor overall horizontal equity, the existence of extreme outliers in both halves of the distribution indicated that the dispersion of spending at the top and bottom of the distribution were inequitable. In fact, over the three year period of the study, fifteen percent of the top spending districts spent between forty and fifty percent of all capital outlay expenditures. Vertical equity was tested by implementing a court mandated equalization standard of eighty-five percent. When the OPAI was administered at this equity level, vertical equity was poorer than horizontal equity. Finally, while some state implemented facilities funding mechanisms were wealth-neutral, the overall funding system, with its heavy reliance on bonded indebtedness, was not. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3647/
Equity of access: Exploring Internet connectivity within Oklahoma public schools.
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain if conditions or combinations of conditions existed within Oklahoma public schools that created inequities in the availability of classroom Internet connections. A stratified random sample of the 471 school districts was used to identify 300 specific schools for the purpose of data analysis. Data was gathered utilizing a database provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and a researcher developed questionnaire. The database provided data relating to four independent variables (region, district size, school type, and school size,). The dependent variable, percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet, was obtained by the researcher designed questionnaire. The state database also provided percentage information relating to students who qualify as minorities and qualify for free or reduced lunches. The data was tested using a series of ANOVAs and a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The findings of the study are as follows: (a) The analysis of variance showed that none of the independent variables had a significant effect upon the percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet; (b) The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient revealed little or no correlation between the percentage of disadvantaged or minority students and the percentage of classroom Internet connections. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4663/
An Evaluation of the University of North Texas' "Youth Opportunities Unlimited" Program (a Compensatory Education Program for At-Risk, Secondary School Students)
Even though the Youth Opportunities Unlimited program has been in effect for ten years, there exists no current, comprehensive, effectiveness research on YOU. Such analysis is needed to determine the value of the YOU program. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the YOU program. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are used in this study. Quantitative analysis is provided through factual data collected through an alumni survey. Qualitative analysis is provided through personal opinion information obtained from YOU alumni through the survey and by personal interview. The YOU program at UNT is a successful compensatory education program that helps improve the education and the lives of America's at-risk students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278870/
An Examination of How 4-8 Preservice Teachers Understand and Implement Multicultural Concepts
Preparing teachers to teach in the diverse classroom has become one of the most important goals for universities and teacher training programs. The main purposes of this study included to examine what type of multicultural concepts were taught preservice teachers who sought certification in Grades 4-8 and how these preservice teachers understood and implemented multicultural concepts in their educational portfolios and coursework, field experiences, and student teaching. The population of the study consisted of 53 undergraduate, preservice teachers enrolled in the last two years of a 4-8 teacher certification program. A modified grounded theory methodology and interpretive approach was used in the analysis of the course syllabi, required readings and student coursework. The study found that this particular program exposed the preservice teachers to a significant number of multicultural concepts in preparation for teaching in the ethnically diverse schools in the area. In addition, the study looked at which of Grant and Sleeter's five multicultural approaches were found most often in the course syllabi and required readings, as well as the preservice teachers' portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The research found the majority of the course syllabi and assigned readings covered concepts in the human relations and multicultural education approaches. The majority of the preservice teachers in this study identified most often with the multicultural education approach, although all five multicultural approaches were found in various portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The study further indicates it was a combination of the multicultural courses, the field experiences, the student teaching, and the preservice teachers' adaptability to ethnic diversity that helped the preservice teachers experience successful opportunities with the students. The adaptability of the preservice teachers in the study also appears to match recent research that suggests that university students in general may be growing more accustomed to the ethnic diversity in the communities around them as the population demographics changes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271892/
An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance
Among educational researchers, important questions are being asked about how to improve mathematics instruction for elementary students. This study, conducted in a north Texas public school with 294 third- through fifth-grade students, ten teachers and three coaches, examined the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the mathematics teaching and coaching instruction they received. Student achievement was measured by the Computer Adaptive Instrument (CAT), which is administered three times a year in the district and is the main criterion for students’ performance/movement in the district’s response to intervention program for mathematics. The response to intervention model employs student data to guide instruction and learning in the classroom and in supplemental sessions. The theoretical framework of the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) was the basis to investigate the concerns that mathematics teachers and coaches had in using the CAT student data to inform their instruction. The CAT data, based on item response theory, was the innovation. Unique in this study was the paralleling of teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and profiles for their use of the data with student scores using an empirical approach. Data were collected at three intervals through the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire, the Levels of Use interviews, and the Innovation Configuration Components Matrix from teachers and at three intervals student CAT-scaled scores. Multiple regression analyses with the concerns and CAT scores and levels of use and CAT scores were conducted to determine if relationships existed between the variables. The findings indicated that, overall, the teachers and coaches who scored high in personal concerns at the three data points remained at low levels of use or non-use of CAT data in their instruction. Only two teachers indicated movement from high intense personal concerns to high concerns regarding the impact on students. This correlated with their increased use of CAT at the three-collection points. The regression analyses indicated no correlations between the teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and the CAT and no correlations between their levels of data use and the CAT. At the exit interviews, patterns suggested that the presence of a change facilitator might have made a difference in their understanding and use of the CAT data ultimately impacting student achievement. This study sets a new precedent in the use of CBAM data and offers insights into the necessity of providing support and training in a change process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407744/
An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Religiosity
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher religiosity and teacher self-efficacy. The present study builds upon previous research which has shown purposeful work in everyday living fosters intrinsic motivation, religious orientation affects daily living, and teacher self-efficacy beliefs predict student achievement. Religiosity and self-efficacy data were gathered from public school teachers from a suburban school district in North Texas and from private Christian schools in Western Washington. The Age Universal I-E scale (a measure of religious orientation intended to capture how one lives out his/her religiosity), Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, and a teacher characteristic form were used to collect data. In a multiple regression analysis, independent variables included teacher age, gender, grade level taught, experience level, campus type (public or private religious), and teacher religious orientation (intrinsic or extrinsic); the dependent variable was the score for teacher self-efficacy. The regression analysis resulted in an equation that explained only slightly more than 9% of the variance in the score for teacher self-efficacy. Three significant variables were identified--grade level taught, teacher age, and intrinsic religious orientation. Teacher age and teacher intrinsic religious orientation were the two most important contributors according to a comparison of beta weights. Intrinsic religious orientation contributed to the equation, but it acted as a suppressor variable in the study, having little predictive value by itself but contributing to the predictive value of the model. Based on the data collected, recommendations for future research and suggestions for field application are offered. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33216/
An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors
Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere more conducive to comprehensive learning. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3620/
An Examination Of Three Texas High SchoolsÊ Restructuring Strategies That Resulted In An Academically Acceptable Rating
This study examined three high schools in a large urban school district in Texas that achieved an academically acceptable rating after being sanctioned to reconstitute by state agencies. Texas state accountability standards are a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 (NCLB). Texas state law requires schools to design a reconstitution plan after the second year of receiving an academically unacceptable school rating for failing to meet the required standards on state assessments, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The plan must be implemented by the third year. A mixed methods approach was used to uncover the strategies that were successful during the restructuring initiative. Data was obtained from three sources: interviews, document analysis and surveys. Interviews were conducted with district administrators, campus based administrators and teachers of the three high schools. A sample of core content teachers were surveyed using questions from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Results revealed that each school chose to engage in a major form of restructuring that included the formation of a themed based magnet school. A team approach was used to devise, implement, and monitor the reconstitution plan. Common strategies unveiled in the study included the use of common assessments, collaborative planning among core teachers, professional development, continuous monitoring of student absences, extended learning times for students, and a focus on college readiness. Survey data revealed that the majority of teachers believed that collaboration positively impacted student achievement. It is recommended that schools undergoing restructuring choose a reconstitution option that allows for flexibility, use multiple resources to foster school improvement, and develop restructuring plans that serve as living documents. Further research is needed to study the principal's role in achieving an academically acceptable rating. This study could also be expanded to compare restructuring strategies of high schools across the country that has been forced by federal mandates to reconstitute. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103357/
Examining First-Graders' Construction of Knowledge of Graphophonemic and Orthographic Relationships: Reading and Writing Student-Selected Continuous Text
The purpose of this study was to examine first-graders' construction of knowledge of graphophonemic and orthographic relationships. Three levels of treatment were assigned randomly to three groups of first-graders in their first semester of first grade. Treatment varied in student engagement with reading and writing texts based on student interests and in the amount of interaction students had with one another and the researcher as they read, wrote, and examined words, word patterns, and graphophonemic relationships. The study was based on a quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design (Campbell & Stanley, 1963) with an added within-subjects factor of 12 weekly test occasions. These weekly tests involved students writing a researcher-dictated continuous text selected by students in the full-treatment group from the larger portion of text read each week. Additional elements of qualitative research were included in the design and analyses. Quantitative analyses revealed statistically significant results. Qualitative data analyses confirmed that students who interacted daily with each other and the researcher in reading and writing activities constructed more knowledge about graphophonemic and orthographic relationships than peers from the partial-treatment group and the control group. Results led to conclusions and implications involving a reexamination of current and traditional methods of spelling instruction and assessment for young children. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278985/
Examining the effects of scheduled course time on mathematics achievement in high school students.
This study was designed to determine the effects of two different schedule types on mathematics achievement in public high school students. The instruments used included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, given annually to all students in grades 3 through 11, the Texas Algebra I end-of-course examination, given as a district option to Algebra I students, and student final course grades as determined by classroom teachers. The study compared students' performance in these three areas during the 2004-2005 academic year in one suburban school district in North Texas. The study considers the type of schedule, either traditional or 8-block, between students in teachers' classes who teach the same course on both schedules concurrently. This study also investigates a qualitative aspect by including a short opinion survey of teachers' perceptions regarding student academic performance, teacher satisfaction and retention, and the ability to accomplish curricular goals. Findings from this research suggest course schedule does not have significant effects on student academic performance as measured using analyses of covariance comparisons with a 0.05 alpha-level, leading to the conclusion that a particular course schedule does not adversely impact student performance on academic measures. However, in some comparisons conducted within the course of the research, statistically significant results emerged. Qualitative data generated from a survey of teacher perceptions regarding the benefits of the two scheduling types, traditional 50-minute verses alternating day 8-block, suggested teachers preferred a traditional schedule over that of a block schedule design. Most teachers who responded to the survey instrument expressed the perception that traditional daily meeting classes allowed their students to be more successful. Additional research into the effects of scheduling types on students academic performance are suggested and would include examining larger population samples, a narrower study of specific courses within the field of mathematics, or an expansion of the content areas explored to fields such as science, languages, or non-academic core subjects, including the fine arts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3644/
Examining the Nature of Interactions which Facilitate Learning and Impact Reading Achievement During a Reading Apprenticeship: A Case Study of At-risk Adolescent Readers
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the interactions that take place during a reading apprenticeship which facilitate the learning of reading strategies by adolescent students who are at the middle school level and are still at-risk for reading failure and to investigate how a reading apprenticeship affects reading achievement in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and the self-perception of the reader. The case study was descriptive and interpretive in nature, and examined two students, each of whom was part of a one-to-one reading apprenticeship. The researcher served as participant observer in both cases and was the teacher in each of the one-to-one reading apprenticeships. The primary data set was qualitative in nature, and elements of quantitative data were also considered. Sessions included pretesting and posttesting using the Classroom Assessment of Reading Processes (Swearingen & Allen, 1997), reading from narrative or expository books, working with words, writing, and dialoguing about the reading. Reading strategies were directly taught, modeled, and reinforced by the teacher/researcher with the goal of the students internalizing the strategies and improving their reading in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension, as well as improving their attitudes toward reading and their self-perception about their reading ability. This study described a reading apprenticeship which positively impacted reading achievement for two students in the areas of fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development, as well as influencing their motivation for reading and their self-perceptions as readers. The environment of the reading apprenticeship, the dialogue that occurred throughout the reading apprenticeship, and strategy instruction, modeling, and reinforcement were found to be factors and interactions which facilitated learning during this intervention. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2233/
Examining the Relationship Between Persistence in Attendance in an Afterschool Program and an Early Warning Index for Dropout
School districts constantly struggle to find solutions to address the high school dropout problem. Literature supports the need to identify and intervene with these students earlier and in more systemic ways. The purpose of this study was to conduct a longitudinal examination of the relationship between sustained afterschool participation and the host district’s early warning index (EWI) associated with school dropout. Data included 65,341 students participating in an urban school district’s after school program from school years 2000-2001 through 2011-2012. The district serves more than 80,000 students annually. Data represented students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, and length of participation ranged from 1 through 12 years. Results indicated that student risk increased over time and that persistent participation in afterschool programming had a significant relationship with student individual growth trajectories. Slower growth rates, as evidenced through successive models, supported students being positively impacted by program participation. Additionally, participation was more meaningful if students persisted, as noted in the lower EWI rates, as compared to students who attended less consistently. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500218/
Experiences and Perceptions of Students in Music and Mathematics
Since the time of Pythagoras, philosophers, educators, and researchers have theorized that connections exist between music and mathematics. While there is little doubt that engaging in musical or mathematical activities stimulates brain activity at high levels and that increased student involvement fosters a greater learning environment, several questions remain to determine if musical stimulation actually improves mathematic performance. This study took a qualitative approach that allowed 24 high school students to express their direct experiences with music and mathematics, as well as their perceptions of how the two fields are related. Participants were divided into four equal groups based on school music participation and level of mathematic achievement, as determined by their performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Students participated in a series of three interviews addressing their experiences in both music and mathematics, and took the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS). TAKS data and MIDAS information were triangulated with interview findings. Using a multiple intelligence lens, this study addressed the following questions: (a) How do students perceive themselves as musicians and mathematicians? (b) What experiences do students have in the fields of music and mathematics? (c) Where do students perceive themselves continuing in the fields of music and mathematics? and (d) How do students perceive the fields of music and mathematics relating to each other? Contrary to most existing literature, the students who perceived a connection between the two fields saw mathematics driving a deeper understanding of the musical element of rhythm. Not surprisingly, students with rich backgrounds in music and mathematics had a higher perception of the importance of those fields. Further, it became readily apparent that test data often played a minimal role in shaping student perceptions of themselves in the field of mathematics. Finally, it became apparent from listening to the experiences of high school students, there are many growth areas for schools in order to meet the needs of their students. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500113/
An Exploration of Teachers' Adoption of the Bring Your Own Technology Program
The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' concerns, use, and actual practices in their adoption of the bring your own technology (BYOT) initiative. Twelve secondary teachers in a private school setting participated in this study. The participants represented all content areas including reading, math, science, and electives. The private school was in its third year of implementing BYOT. This case study incorporated multiple methods to collect data to gain a better understanding of teachers' adoption of an innovation, BYOT. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as a theoretical framework. All three CBAM tools provided data: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), levels of use interview protocol (LoUIP), and the innovation configuration (IC) map. Twelve of the participants completed the SoCQ across three different points in time. Six of the twelve teachers participated in three one-on-one interviews, including the LoUIP. Additionally, six teachers were observed in their classrooms during instruction. After triangulating all pieces of data, the majority of teachers had highest concerns related to self. Teachers were concerned about their ability to implement the innovation and managing BYOT in their classroom. Four of the six teachers had a level of use (LoU) at mechanical, and two teachers had a LoU at routine. The teachers' LoU indicated that they are using BYOT in the classroom; however, the majority of teachers observed had adoption practices mostly in the non-ideal variations of IC. The teachers' LoU and IC indicated that teachers had implemented BYOT in their own way and not necessarily in alignment with the campus' vision or expectations. This case study had several limitations, including the small number of participants and the brevity of classroom observations. Additionally, this study was limited to one school setting. Recommendations for future research include exploring teachers' adoption of BYOT in various school settings (i.e., both public and private schools) and teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Researchers should consider exploring the impact of specific interventions and support on teachers' adoption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283863/
An Exploration of the Relationship Between Principal Leadership Efficacy, Principal Computer Self-Efficacy, and Student Achievement
The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not relationships exist between principals' technology proficiency and student achievement as indicated by 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Secondly, the study examined whether or not relationships exist between principals' leadership self efficacy and student achievement as indicated in the 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Lastly, the select principal's personal and school demographic variables (principal gender, total years of experience as a professional, total years as principal at current school, total years of principal experience, highest degree earned, school economic status, school size) were considered within the study. The survey instruments used in this study were the Technology Proficiency Self Assessment Scale (TPSA) developed by Ropp in 2000 and the Principal's Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran and Garies in 2004. A total of 129 Texas principal's participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the school's social economic status only when using both the PSES and the TPSA instruments. The effect sizes reported were all moderate, which acknowledged that relationships did exist between all predictor variables tested. Based on the information provided for B weights, School's SES was found to be the best predictor of reading TAKS achievement, preceded by Principal's Highest Degree Earned and Gender. SPSS 16.0 was used to analyze all data. This study adds to the literature on principals' technology efficacy and principal's self efficacy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28399/
An exploration of the relationships among teacher efficacy, collective teacher efficacy, and teacher demographic characteristics in conservative Christian schools.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether teachers' perceptions of self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy are interrelated and how these two constructs may be impacted by teacher demographic characteristics, such as educational level, grade level taught, and number of years of teaching experience. This study focused entirely on the interrelationships of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy in three suburban, conservative Christian schools in north Texas. Specifically, the demographic characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, particular school campus, number of years teaching, number of years teaching at the current school, highest degree received, type of teacher certification, certification grade level and subject area, grade level taught, and particular subject taught were studied for the non-random, convenience sample of 216 kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers. A correlational analysis of teacher efficacy and collective teacher efficacy yielded a Pearson r of .35 at a statistically significant level (p < .01); combining these two variables with teacher demographic variables in multiple regression analyses confirmed the relationship between teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy and collective efficacy at a statistically significant level (p < .001). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the first multiple regression analysis (R2 = .284, p < .001) showed that individual teachers' perceptions of collective teacher efficacy explained the largest amount (43%) of the variance in teacher efficacy, followed by years of teaching experience (17%) and number of years of teaching at the current school (14%). A review of the squared structure coefficients in the second multiple regression analysis (R2 = .395, p < .001) indicated that individual teachers' perceptions of teacher efficacy explained the largest amount of variance in collective teacher efficacy (31%), followed the elementary teacher variable (22%) and particular school (19%). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5376/
Exploring Team Performance as an Independent Variable: Can Performance Predict Resource Allocation?
Encouraging positive work team growth depends on, in part, the form and availability of organizational resources and support. Support systems have been found to be important for work team health and survival. However, managers are challenged to make resource decisions while working within company budgetary restraints. Previous research has indicated a positive relationship exists between teams provided with appropriate resources and support, and increased team performance. This study extended previous research by exploring if team performance can predict resources and support. Specifically, the means by which managers allocate resources based on team performance was examined. Archival data included 36 work teams and their managers drawn from four geographically dispersed manufacturing companies. Information gathered from a modified version of an original team support system instrument was used to assess the importance and presence of four resource systems. Additionally, a gap score was calculated from these scores to assess the alignment between resource need and resource existence. Data was used to assess the potential relationships between managers' perceptions of team performance and the manner by which resources are allocated. All hypotheses produced non-significant findings. Results of the hypotheses, data patterns, and limitations of the study are discussed, and opportunities for future research are presented. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5147/
Exploring Thai EFL University Students' Awareness of Their Knowledge, Use, and Control of Strategies in Reading and Writing
The purpose of this research was to conduct case studies to explore and describe Thai university students' awareness and application of cognitive and metacognitive strategies when reading and writing in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL). Four participants, including two high and two low English language proficiency learners, were selected from 14 students enrolled in a five-week course called English for Social Sciences offered at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005. The major sources of data for the analyses included the transcripts of the participants' pair discussions, think-aloud protocols, interviews, and daily journal entries. In addition, field work observations, reading and writing strategy checklists, participants' written work, and the comparison of the pretest and posttest results were also instrumental to the analyses. The interpretive approach of content analysis was employed for these four case studies. Findings were initially derived from the single-case analyses, and then from cross-case analyses. Major findings revealed that strategic knowledge enhanced these English-as-a-foreign- language (EFL) learners' proficiency in English reading and writing. However, applying elaborative strategies for higher-level reading was challenging for most of the participants. Two crucial factors that impeded their development were the learners' uncertain procedural and conditional knowledge of strategy uses and their limited English language proficiency due to limited exposure to the second language (L2). The teacher's explanations and modeling of strategies, the participants' opportunities to discuss strategy use with peers, and extensive practice positively enhanced their development. Additionally, the learners' schema and knowledge of text structures played significant roles in their development of the two skills. These English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners also developed metacognitive awareness and strategy applications, but not to the level that always enhanced effective regulation and control of their reading and writing behaviors. Combining reading and writing in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) instruction promoted the learners' awareness of the relationships of certain strategies for the two skills, and developed their literacy skills holistically. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5429/
Factors Related to Teacher Retention: the Lived Experiences of Four Teachers in an Urban, Hard-to-staff High School
Retaining quality teachers is critical to the success of America's schools. How to retain quality teachers, especially in high needs schools, is a question of fervent debate among educational researchers, policy makers, administrators, parents, and students. This study examines the issue of teacher retention from an emic perspective, focused on understanding the perspective of those closest to the retention decision, teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This study examines the lived experiences of four teachers at a hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school as these experiences impact their decisions to remain in teaching and at their current campus. Research methods adopted an existential phenomenological perspective and focused on understanding deeply the perspective of participants and how participants make meaning of their lived experiences as they relate to the retention decision. Three hour-long interviews were conducted with each of the four participants utilizing methodology laid out by Seidman (1991). Data were analyzed using NVIVO 10 to apply a series of coding and recoding procedures to interview transcripts. Conclusions suggest four factors motivated these teachers to teach and remain in their current hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school. These factors include: belief in the power of education, relationships with students, mentoring and professional partnering, and remaining professionally challenged. Findings suggest factors that drive teachers out of teaching and out of hard-to-staff schools include: inconsistent administrative support, low student motivation, and lack of resources. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283824/
The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3159/
The Federal Judiciary and Establishment Clause Jurisprudence: Application of the Lemon Test since Mitchell v. Helms
The issue of religion and its place in society has been a topic of controversy and debate since long before the creation of our constitutional republic. The relationship between religion and government has witnessed some of its most intense conflicts when the governmental entity in question involves public education. As our country moved into the 20th century, legal challenges in the field of public education began to emerge calling into question the constitutionality of various policies and practices at both the state and local levels. This dissertation examined the legal methodology that was initially developed and then subsequently modified as the judicial branch has interpreted how the Establishment Clause delineates the relationship between religion and public education. Because the United States Supreme Court has not overturned its decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, the tri-partite test it established still remains the law of the land. Subsequent decisions by the Court leading up to their ruling in Mitchell v. Helms, however, have continued to modify the judiciary's approach toward the use of the Lemon test in Establishment Clause jurisprudence. This research analyzed the decisions of the various federal courts subsequent to the ruling issued in Mitchell to discern both the present position of the federal judiciary as it relates to the continued validity of Lemon and theorizes how the future course of any Establishment Clause legal challenges may ultimately be resolved by the federal courts. The analysis suggested that, while the Supreme Court has avoided Lemon's three-part test as the standard for evaluating Establishment Clause claims, the lower courts continue to place a strong emphasis on the importance of the test established in Lemon as the basis for how they render their decisions with issues that involve public education. This data indicated that Lemon continues to be an important tool for determining the validity of state programs and policies involving federal questions related to the Establishment Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67946/
First Amendment Constraints of Public School Administrators to Regulate Off-campus Students' Speech in the Technology Age
In a world where students and teachers both rely on technology in the process of education, understanding the constraints of public school administrators to regulate off-campus student's speech is a vital issue. This dissertation focuses on ways to evaluate legal analysis of cases involved in off campus speech. The methodology of legal analysis is used to identify judicial reasoning concerning established legal principles pertaining to the constitutional right of public school students to freedom of expression, and the application of those principles to off-campus student expression delivered by electronic means. This research produces a number of key findings: Many lower court cases have favored with the students unless the school district could prove substantial disruption to the learning environment or a true threat existed due to the off campus speech. In addition, it is crucial for the districts to have concrete policies in place to educate the students about acceptable usage of technology. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that current approaches to punishing students for their offensive off campus speech does not uphold in the courts and administrators must be resilient to speech that may be unpleasant to them. This research also includes several recommendations for administrators such as guidelines on how to write their acceptable usage policy. It also provides a chart with a summary of critical cases of importance to administrators. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271894/
The 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/
Framing Bilingual Education Policy: Articulation and Implementation in Texas
Language education policy and its implementation have been controversial and ongoing issues throughout the United States, especially in the border state of Texas, with its large population of students who are learning English. This dissertation reports two studies, the first of which was a frame analysis of problems and solutions as represented by the five bills amending the Texas Education Code with regard to bilingual education and English as a second language programs. These laws, passed in 1969, 1973, 1975, 1981, and 2001, have been enacted since 1968, the year the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) was passed. The problem framed consistently by these state policy documents was inadequate instruction for children who come to school speaking languages other than English. More variability was seen in the framing of solutions, with approaches changing from the authorization of instruction in languages other than English, to the establishment of mandated bilingual programs, to the extension of special language programs, and to the establishment of dual language immersion programs. The primary ideology influencing the policy documents was the monolingual English ideology; however, alternative ideologies are apparent in the policies that allow for dual language immersion programs. Geographic information systems (GIS) analysis was used in the second study to investigate the geographic locations of particular programs and the demographics of students they served. Choropleth maps showed variability in program distribution across the state with distinct patterns apparent in only two programs. The maps indicated that districts with high percentages of student enrollment in one-way dual language programs tended to be located in and near the major metropolitan areas, whereas many districts offering early exit transitional bilingual programs tended to be located along the Texas-Mexico border. Despite the literature on bilingual/ESL program effectiveness, the predominant program in the border region of Texas is among those considered least beneficial to students learning English. This pair of studies illustrates the influence of monolingual English ideology on educational practice and policy through the implementation of programs by districts as well as the framing of bilingual education in legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc699899/
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 and Early Literacy: A Case Study
When teachers are charged with educating students that are racially, culturally, or economically different from them, they may have little information on the culture and type of family involvement of their students. This lack of information contributes to perceptions of working-class families as socially disorganized and intellectually deficient. However, research embodying the theoretical framework funds of knowledge (FoK) attempts to counter deficient models through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, political, and economic contexts. The primary purpose of this study was to carefully examine Hispanic parents’ support of young children’s early literacy development in the home. The knowledge gleaned from an initial study of home support, by spending time in the home of a Hispanic family provided an avenue for action research in the classroom. A second purpose was to determine if the introduction of FoK ways of learning, when applied in the classroom, had an effect on early literacy skills. In addition, I maintained a journal that chronicled my experiences and led to an autoethnographic study of myself as a transforming white, female, prekindergarten teacher. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive FoK developed through historical, cultural, educational, and social experiences. Results further indicate that introduction of these familial FoK improved the oral language skills of prekindergarten students thus enhancing their early literacy development. Autoethnographic results indicate a personal progression toward not only understanding, but becoming an advocate, for the Hispanic population. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799487/
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/
Gis in Ap Human Geography: a Means of Developing Students’ Spatial Thinking?
Geography education is undergoing change in K-12 education due in part to the introduction of geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS). Although active engagement in GIS mapping would seem to enhance students’ spatial thinking, little is known about the mapping strategies that students employ or about changes in their geographic knowledge that would result. This study, set in a high school Advanced Placement human geography class, sought to contribute to these areas of inquiry. Participants performed a web-based GIS task focused on global population and migration. Attention in the study was on (a) the strategies students employed when investigating geographic phenomena using GIS, (b) changes in their cognitive maps, as assessed through sketch maps, resulting from the activity, (c) the relationship between GIS maps and sketch maps, and (d) the ways in which a subset of students serving as case studies explained the nature of their mapping. The study employed screen-captures, video-recordings, observations, pre- and post-study sketch maps, and interviews. Analyses of the GIS process revealed that, in creating their maps, the students used a number of strategies, which included searching, layering, removing layers of data, adjusting transparency, editing, and noting. Although searching and layering were employed by all students, there was variability across students in use of the other strategies. With respect to changes in their spatial thinking, analyses of the sketch maps showed increases in elaboration and accuracy in terms of migration patterns. When GIS maps were compared to sketch maps, analyses showed relations for many students. The six students who served as case studies revealed major connections between personal interests and the reasoning employed in mapping. They also described their entry points into the process. The study shows how real-time data collection, including screen captures, as well as more static measures, specifically sketch maps, can provide insights into the spatial thinking of students while using GIS. It provides some support to educational approaches to geography in which students become creators of maps, not simply users of maps, and suggests that, through their own mapping process, students expand their cognitive maps and enhance their spatial thinking. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc801894/
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/
The History of a Model Program for Urban Underrepresented Students to Access Higher Education, 1990-1995
This study traced the development of the Equity 2000 Program in the Fort Worth Independent School District from its inception in 1990 to its sixth and final year as an exemplary program for equal access to higher education for minority and underserved youth. Program components included mathematics, counseling, staff development, academic enrichment activities, parent education and higher education linkages. Both primary and secondary sources were evaluated from the perspectives of internal and external criticism. The following conclusions were reached: 1) District policy must change if minority students are going to access algebra and geometry. 2) The lack of involvement of other curriculum areas created primarily a mathematics inservice program. 3) Required inservice was necessary to provide improved and more effective campus and district results. 4) The precollege guidance and counseling component needed integration with the mathematics component. 5) Lack of principals' involvement in the early development of the program contributed to uneven administrative support. 6) There was no definitive strategy for parental inclusion. 7) Funding sources were inadequate to fully implement all parts of the program. 8) There was limited participation of local institutions of higher education. 9) There was a lack of an ongoing, structured evaluation process to document the program's effectiveness. 10) Attitudes and perceptions of minority students and their parents about success in higher level mathematics courses can change over time. 11) The program was costly with limited documentation of the results. 12) Much of the training provided mathematics teachers and guidance counselors should be preservice instruction. The researcher made the following recommendations: conduct a historical study at each Equity site; continue the Summer Mathematics and Guidance Institutes; continue the Saturday Academy and the Algebra/Geometry Readiness Academies; provide outreach efforts to parents; provide precollege information to students and their parents; and provide related teacher and counselor preservice training. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278206/
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 Portfolios: Tools for Sharing Literacy Information and for Assessing Parents' Awareness of and Involvement in their Prekindergarten Child's Literacy Development
This qualitative study investigated parents' awareness of and involvement in their prekindergarten child's literacy development. In addition, the feasibility of parents using a home literacy portfolio for the purpose of exchanging literacy information with teachers at a parent/teacher conference was examined. Participants included six parent/child dyads, who qualified for a Texas public school prekindergarten program by meeting the requirements for either free or reduced lunches or for the English-as-a-Second Language program. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with parents and with teachers; observations at parent/child workshop sessions, which were also videotaped; and work samples, including a home literacy portfolio from each child. Findings indicate that parents are involved in their children's literacy development. Also, at home, children participate in both open-ended literacy activities and drill-oriented literacy activities, with most of the activities falling into the open-ended category. According to the findings, all of the parents were more aware of their child's literacy achievements after attending the parent/child workshop and developing a home literacy portfolio. In addition, the home literacy portfolio proved to be a useful tool for sharing information at parent/teacher conferences. Parents and teachers exchanged literacy information at the parent/teacher conference. In the process of explaining the portfolios, the parents shared information about their child's drawing development, writing development, and reading development. In contrast, the teachers shared some literacy information with the parents, but much of the information teachers shared reflected the child's participation in class or general information about the child. The findings suggest that the parent/child workshop is a cost-effective vehicle for directly involving parents in their child's education. Moreover, developing a home literacy portfolio provides a means of involving parents with their child and of helping parents' become more aware of their child's literacy development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278132/