UNT Theses and Dissertations - 72 Matching Results

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Alternative Certification: A Comparison of Factors Affecting the Motivations of General and Special Educators
This study was developed to examine the motivations of individuals who chose alternative routes to teacher certification and what they believe were the strengths and weaknesses of their alternative certification preparation (ACP). Data accrued from this study were based on a 55-item online survey and participant information from an online focus group. The study compared the differences between general and special educators in regards to the motivating factors affecting the decision to become a teacher, remain a teacher, and in choosing a non-university-based ACP, as well as the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the ACP. The results from the survey suggest there are differences in the motivating factors affecting general and special educator's decision to become a teacher and to remain a teacher. Additional survey results suggest there are no differences in the reason these two groups chose a non-university-based ACP. The results of the survey and the online focus group were comparable for these two groups. The remainder of this dissertation includes a review of literature related to teacher shortages and teacher preparation including alternative certification. Additionally, information on the results and analysis of the study are discussed, as well as recommendations for future research.
Applied Use of Video Modeling in Educational and Clinical Settings: A Survey of Autism Professionals
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display deficits in communication and social interaction that can impact their ability to function in daily environments. To remediate these deficits, it is critical for professionals to use effective interventions. While there are many evidence-based practices (EBPs) identified for ASD (e.g., video modeling), the adoption of these EBPs may not occur automatically. Existing research suggests professionals have a generally favorable impression of video modeling. However, little research has examined opinions and applied use of video modeling, which was the purpose of the present study. Using survey methodology, data were collected from 510 professionals in various disciplines (e.g., special educators, speech-language pathologists [SLPs], and behavior analysts [BCBAs]). Data were analyzed primarily via factor analysis and multiple regression. Factor analysis was used to examine the underlying structure of the instrument, revealing two predominant factors: (1) interest in and (2) perceived accessibility of video modeling. Multiple regression was used to examine which demographic characteristics (e.g., age and years of experience) were associated with each factor. Results indicated that BCBAs and SLPs perceived video modeling as more accessible. In terms of interest, professionals who worked with preschool-aged students, who worked in a suburban location, and who had an extended family member with ASD showed higher interest in video modeling. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Attenuation of the Squared Canonical Correlation Coefficient Under Varying Estimates of Score Reliability
Research pertaining to the distortion of the squared canonical correlation coefficient has traditionally been limited to the effects of sampling error and associated correction formulas. The purpose of this study was to compare the degree of attenuation of the squared canonical correlation coefficient under varying conditions of score reliability. Monte Carlo simulation methodology was used to fulfill the purpose of this study. Initially, data populations with various manipulated conditions were generated (N = 100,000). Subsequently, 500 random samples were drawn with replacement from each population, and data was subjected to canonical correlation analyses. The canonical correlation results were then analyzed using descriptive statistics and an ANOVA design to determine under which condition(s) the squared canonical correlation coefficient was most attenuated when compared to population Rc2 values. This information was analyzed and used to determine what effect, if any, the different conditions considered in this study had on Rc2. The results from this Monte Carlo investigation clearly illustrated the importance of score reliability when interpreting study results. As evidenced by the outcomes presented, the more measurement error (lower reliability) present in the variables included in an analysis, the more attenuation experienced by the effect size(s) produced in the analysis, in this case Rc2. These results also demonstrated the role between and within set correlation, variable set size, and sample size played in the attenuation levels of the squared canonical correlation coefficient.
Comparing the Effects of Home Versus Clinic-Based Parent Training for Children with Autism
Research with parents on managing child problem behavior typically measures either child or parent behavior. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of training parents to implement a function-based behavior intervention plan (BIP) in a non-trained natural environment utilizing a Multiple Probe Design across Participants. Participants included four parent-child dyads. Measurement variables included parents' use of effective and ineffective strategies and child problem behavior. Intervention involved training parents to understand and implement the BIP using effective strategies, modeling the effective procedures, and providing feedback following parent implementation of procedures. Results showed that the intervention was very effective in promoting skill generalization of parents and decreasing child problem behavior. The findings have implications for research and clinical practice.
Comparing Three Approaches for Handling a Fourth Level of Nesting Structure in Cluster-Randomized Trials
This study compared 3 approaches for handling a fourth level of nesting structure when analyzing data from a cluster-randomized trial (CRT). CRTs can include 3 levels of nesting: repeated measures, individual, and cluster levels. However, above the cluster level, there may sometimes be an additional potentially important fourth level of nesting (e.g., schools, districts, etc., depending on the design) that is typically ignored in CRT data analysis. The current study examined the impact of ignoring this fourth level, accounting for it using a model-based approach, and accounting it using a design-based approach on parameter and standard error (SE) estimates. Several fixed effect and random effect variance parameters and SEs were biased across all 3 models. In the 4-level model, most SE biases decreased as the number of level 3 clusters increased and as the number of level 4 clusters decreased. Also, random effect variance biases decreased as the number of level 3 clusters increased. In the 3-level and complex models, SEs became more biased as the weight level 4 carried increased (i.e., larger intraclass correlation, more clusters at that level). The current results suggest that if a meaningful fourth level of nesting exists, future researchers should account for it using design-based approach; the model-based approach is not recommended. If the fourth level is not practically important, researchers may ignore it altogether.
Comparing Three Effect Sizes for Latent Class Analysis
Traditional latent class analysis (LCA) considers entropy R2 as the only measure of effect size. However, entropy may not always be reliable, a low boundary is not agreed upon, and good separation is limited to values of greater than .80. As applications of LCA grow in popularity, it is imperative to use additional sources to quantify LCA classification accuracy. Greater classification accuracy helps to ensure that the profile of the latent classes reflect the profile of the true underlying subgroups. This Monte Carlo study compared the quantification of classification accuracy and confidence intervals of three effect sizes, entropy R2, I-index, and Cohen’s d. Study conditions included total sample size, number of dichotomous indicators, latent class membership probabilities (γ), conditional item-response probabilities (ρ), variance ratio, sample size ratio, and distribution types for a 2-class model. Overall, entropy R2 and I-index showed the best accuracy and standard error, along with the smallest confidence interval widths. Results showed that I-index only performed well for a few cases.
Computer Assisted Instruction to Improve Theory of Mind in Children with Autism
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show significant deficits in communication, emotion recognition, perspective taking, and social skills. One intervention gaining increased attention is the use of computer assisted instruction (CAI) to teach social, emotional and perspective-taking skills to individuals with ASD with the purpose of improving theory of mind skills. This study evaluated the effectiveness of CAI for improving theory of mind skills in four children with high functioning autism ages 5 to 12 years. A single-subject multiple baseline research design across participants was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of CAI. The software contained 22 instructional scenarios that asked participants to identify emotions of characters based on situational cues displayed in line drawn pictures and audio feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Mind-reading skills were assessed using ten randomly selected scenarios for various emotions and no audio feedback. Visual analysis of the data revealed that all four participants increased mind-reading skills during the CAI condition. Additionally, this study evaluated levels of task engagement during experimental conditions. Three of the four participants showed an increase in task engagement during CAI compared to paper-based social stories used during baseline. Generalization of skills was assessed through the use of social scenarios acted out by family members of participants. All four participants were able to correctly identify emotions displayed in generalization scenarios. Results demonstrated that CAI was an effective and socially viable method for improving ToM skills in children with autism and they could generalize their skills to untrained settings.
Construct Validation and Measurement Invariance of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory for Educational Settings
The present study examined the factor structure and measurement invariance of the revised version of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI-28), following adjustment of the wording of items such that they were appropriate to assess Coping Skills in an educational setting. A sample of middle school students (n = 1,037) completed the revised inventory. An initial confirmatory factor analysis led to the hypothesis of a better fitting model with two items removed. Reliability of the subscales and the instrument as a whole was acceptable. Items were examined for sex invariance with differential item functioning (DIF) using item response theory, and five items were flagged for significant sex non-invariance. Following removal of these items, comparison of the mean differences between male and female coping scores revealed that there was no significant difference between the two groups. Further examination of the generalizability of the coping construct and the potential transfer of psychosocial skills between athletic and academic settings are warranted.
Construct Validation of the Social-Emotional Character Development Scale in Belize: Measurement Invariance Through Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling
Social-emotional learning (SEL) measures assessing social-emotional learning and character development across a broad array of constructs have been developed but lack construct validity. Determining the efficacy of educational interventions requires structurally valid measures which are generalizable across settings, gender, and time. Utilizing recent factor analytic methods, the present study extends validity literature for SEL measures by investigating the structural validity and generalizability of the Social-Emotional and Character Development Scale (SECDS) with a large sample of children from schools in Belize (n = 1877, ages 8 to13). The SECDS exhibited structural and generalizability evidence of construct validity when examined under exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM). While a higher order confirmatory factor structure with six secondary factors provided acceptable fit, the ESEM six-factor structure provided both substantive and methodological advantages. The ESEM structural model situates the SECDS into the larger body of SEL literature while also exhibiting generalizability evidence over both gender and time.
Convergent Validity of Variables Residualized By a Single Covariate: the Role of Correlated Error in Populations and Samples
This study examined the bias and precision of four residualized variable validity estimates (C0, C1, C2, C3) across a number of study conditions. Validity estimates that considered measurement error, correlations among error scores, and correlations between error scores and true scores (C3) performed the best, yielding no estimates that were practically significantly different than their respective population parameters, across study conditions. Validity estimates that considered measurement error and correlations among error scores (C2) did a good job in yielding unbiased, valid, and precise results. Only in a select number of study conditions were C2 estimates unable to be computed or produced results that had sufficient variance to affect interpretation of results. Validity estimates based on observed scores (C0) fared well in producing valid, precise, and unbiased results. Validity estimates based on observed scores that were only corrected for measurement error (C1) performed the worst. Not only did they not reliably produce estimates even when the level of modeled correlated error was low, C1 produced values higher than the theoretical limit of 1.0 across a number of study conditions. Estimates based on C1 also produced the greatest number of conditions that were practically significantly different than their population parameters.
Criterion Validity of Common Career Interest Inventories: Relative Efficacy with High School Seniors
Professional school counselors frequently use career interest inventories as part of a comprehensive guidance program to help students create a post-secondary school plan. The present study evaluates the validity of three commonly used interest inventories, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Self-Directed Search, and Strong Interest Inventory on field of study choice for graduating high school seniors (N = 616) from a large, suburban high school in Texas. Students identified their intended postsecondary field of study category, were randomly assigned using stratification to three groups, and each group completed a different inventory. Group membership was evaluated to establish covariate balance on a wide variety of indicators. Data from each group was evaluated to determine the extent to which the inventory predicted the chosen field of study, as well as Other and Undeclared categories using logistic regression models. None of the inventory models suggest that the inventory accurately predicts Other or Undeclared outcomes. For students selecting intended postsecondary fields of study, the Self Directed Search predicts such outcomes better than other measures. Professional school and career counselors should consider the SDS in addition to narrative counseling strategies to add greater precision with career decision making among clients and students.
Culturally Competent Evaluations
Significant growth in the number of English language learners (ELLs) in U.S. schools is anticipated to continue, demanding that educators and evaluators have the skills necessary to distinguishing language difference from disability and provide appropriate services to these students. However, little research exists examining the role of evaluator's cultural competence in evaluating ELLs for special education; furthermore, what does exist shows that many evaluators report low levels of self-efficacy as it relates to assessing ELLs. The first chapter of the dissertation reports on a review of 21 articles conducted to address best practices for evaluating culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners, evaluator self-efficacy, and recommendations for conducting culturally competent assessments and evaluations. The majority of the articles identified in this review focused on recommendations for best practices for conducting evaluations rather than reporting empirical findings related to the topic. Only one study was identified that focused on appropriate training needed by evaluation staff to effectively discriminate between language difference and a disability. Based on the findings of this review, additional research, using a rigorous methodology is needed. Addressing that need, the second chapter reports the results of a study conducted to examine the effectiveness of Project PEAC3E (Preparing Evaluators to Accurately Conduct Culturally Competent Evaluations), a reform-oriented professional development model, using case-based activities designed to increase evaluators' sense of self-efficacy, cultural competence, and the accuracy of evaluator eligibility decisions for English language learners (ELLs). The study found that Project PEAC3E was effective in increasing evaluator self-efficacy.
Determination of the Optimal Number of Strata for Bias Reduction in Propensity Score Matching.
Previous research implementing stratification on the propensity score has generally relied on using five strata, based on prior theoretical groundwork and minimal empirical evidence as to the suitability of quintiles to adequately reduce bias in all cases and across all sample sizes. This study investigates bias reduction across varying number of strata and sample sizes via a large-scale simulation to determine the adequacy of quintiles for bias reduction under all conditions. Sample sizes ranged from 100 to 50,000 and strata from 3 to 20. Both the percentage of bias reduction and the standardized selection bias were examined. The results show that while the particular covariates in the simulation met certain criteria with five strata that greater bias reduction could be achieved by increasing the number of strata, especially with larger sample sizes. Simulation code written in R is included.
Developing a Self-Respect Instrument to Distinguish Self-Respect from Self-Esteem
Throughout the scientific literature, researchers have referred to self-respect and self-esteem as being the same construct. However, the present study advocated that they exist as two distinct constructs. In this quantitative study, an instrument was developed to measure self-respect as a construct, and subsequently distinguish that self-respect is distinct from the construct of self-esteem. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) indicated 32.60% of the variance was accounted for by the 11-item Jefferson Self-Respect instrument (JSR), which measured self-respect as a unidimensional construct. The reliability estimate of the scores from the JSR reached an acceptable α = .82. Fit indices (RMSEA = .031, SRMR = .037, CFI = .982, and TLI = .977) from the confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) signified a well-fitted hypothesized model of self-respect that existed as a unidimensional construct. Additionally, the CFA revealed that the construct of self-respect, and self-esteem was generally distinct, and the strength of the correlation between the two constructs was moderately positive (r = .62).
Eastern Work Ethic: Structural Validity, Measurement Invariance, and Generational Differences
This present study examined the structural validity of a Chinese version of Multidimensional Work Ethic Profile (MWEP-C), using a large sample of Chinese parents and their young adult children (N = 1047). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was applied to evaluate the model fit of sample data on three competing models using two randomly split stratified subsamples. Measurement invariance for these two generational respondents was checked using differential item functioning (DIF) analysis. The results indicated that MWEP-C provided a reasonable fit for the sample data and the majority of survey items produced similar item-level responses for individuals that do not differ on the attributes of work ethic across these two generations. DIF items were detected based on advanced and successive iterations. Monte Carlo simulations were also conducted for creating threshold values and for chi-square probabilities based on 1,000 replications. After identifying the DIF items, model fit improved and generational differences and similarities in work ethic between parents and their young adult children were also identified. The results suggested that the younger Chinese generations have higher work ethic mean scores on the dimensions of work centrality and morality/ethics while they have similarities on time concept, self-reliance, delay of gratification, and hard work as their parents.
Educational Experiences of Youth with And/or At-risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Residing in Foster Care Settings
Research examining the academic experiences of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) residing in foster care (FC) is scarce. Research is warranted to understand the academic strengths, weaknesses, and school disciplinary experiences of youth with EBD residing in FC. Data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being II (NSCAW II) included data on eight participants classified as EBD. Having a limited number of participants classified as EBD in the data set, I used participants’ scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) to classify participants who may be at-risk for EBD. Analyses were conducted to determine if significant relationships existed between participants’ internalizing and externalizing scores on the CBCL and their (a) scores on assessments of academic achievement and (b) behavior problems leading to suspension or expulsion. Results indicated that participants’ scores on the CBCL were not predictive of their academic achievement or of their numbers of behavior problems leading to suspension or expulsion.
Educators' Perceptions of the Importance of Selected Competencies for Teachers of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and their Perceptions of Personal Proficiency
This study investigated educators' perceptions of the importance of competencies for teachers of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and their own proficiency in the competencies. Participants included educators who had completed university-based coursework on emotional and behavioral disorders. Competencies from the Qualification and Preparation of Teachers of Exceptional Children study were correlated with CEC's content standards and knowledge skill sets for special education teachers of individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders. Participants ranked 88 competencies on importance and proficiency. Results revealed that educators' proficiency in competencies, their years of experience, and level of education contribute a significant percentage of variance in their ratings of the importance of competencies. Implications for further research are provided.
The Effect of Co-teaching on the Academic Achievement Outcomes of Students with Disabilities: a Meta-analytic Synthesis
Co-teaching has been, and continues to be, a growing trend in American schools since the late 1990s. As the popularity of this service delivery model increases, there is an imperative need for empirical research focusing on how co-teaching affects academic outcomes of students who receive special education services. Evidence regarding the academic outcomes of co-teaching is limited, and reports mixed results. The purpose of this study is to provide a synthesis of research examining academic outcomes of co-teaching on students who receive special education services. Quantitative information from each research report was coded, an overall effect size was computed, and a moderator analysis was conducted. Results suggest a significant effect (g = .281, k = 32, p < .05) of co-teaching on the academic outcomes of students with disabilities when compared to students with disabilities who did not receive instruction in co-taught settings; though a larger effect was found among dissertation reports (g = .439, k = 25, p < .001). Additionally, a significant effect was found when examining the academic outcomes of students in co-teaching compared to the academic outcomes of students in a resource classroom setting (g = .435, k = 27, p < .001. Lastly, effects were stronger the longer these students were in co-teaching environments. Implications of findings and recommendations for further research are discussed.
The Effect of Naturalistic Behavior Strategies on the Quality of Social Interactions for Children with Autism
Autism is primarily a social disorder and deficits in social?orienting may be responsible for the failure of children with autism to initiate critical social behaviors. The purpose of this research was to improve the quality of social interactions of children with autism by implementing naturalistic behavior strategies intervention utilizing a multiple baseline design across four participants. Naturalistic behavior strategies comprised a comprehensive package of integrated components including: (a) intervention in the child’s natural environment; (b) child-initiated play activities ; (c) prompts to emit language; (d) shaping for all vocal approximations and (e) delivery of natural reinforcement with embedded social interactions to maintain learned behavior. In addition to intervention, generalization of child behaviors was assessed across untrained parents and/or caregivers in the same environment. Results indicated the effectiveness of naturalistic teaching strategies package in increasing (a) the frequency of vocal mands for all children, (b) the number of times that children initiated social engagement during manding, and (c) intervals of nonverbal dyadic orienting. These skills generalized across two untrained caregivers in the same clinical setting without any training from the interventionist. Two parents required training during the generalization phase in order for their child’s behaviors to maintain at levels demonstrated during the intervention phase. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.
Effect Size Reporting and Interpreting Practices in Published Higher Education Journal Articles
Data-driven decision making is an integral part of higher education and it needs to be rooted in strong methodological and statistical practices. Key practices include the use and interpretation of effect sizes as well as a correct understanding of null hypothesis significance testing (NHST). Therefore, effect size reporting and interpreting practices in higher education journal articles represent an important area of inquiry. This study examined effect size reporting and interpretation practices of published quantitative studies in three core higher education journals: Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and Research in Higher Education. The review covered a three-year publication period between 2013 and 2015. Over the three-year span, a total of 249 articles were published by the three journals. The number of articles published across the three years did not vary appreciably. The majority of studies employed quantitative methods (71.1%), about a quarter of them used qualitative methods (25.7%), and the remaining 3.2% used mixed methods. Seventy-three studies were removed from further analysis because they did not feature any quantitative analyses. The remaining 176 quantitative articles represented the sample pool. Overall, 52.8% of the 176 studies in the final analysis reported effect size measures as part of their major findings. Of the 93 articles reporting effect sizes, 91.4% of them interpreted effect sizes for their major findings. The majority of studies that interpreted effect sizes also provided a minimal level of interpretation (60.2% of the 91.4%). Additionally, 26.9% of articles provided average effect size interpretation, and the remaining 4.3% of studies provided strong interpretation and discussed their findings in light of previous studies in their field.
Effects of a Prototypical Training Program on the Implementation of Systematic Observational Data Collection on Iep Objectives for the Core Deficits of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Legal mandates and best practice recommendations for the education of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) emphasize the importance of systematic, ongoing observational data collection in order to monitor progress and demonstrate accountability. The absence of such documentation in decision-making on instructional objectives indicates a weakness in bridging the research-to-practice gap in special education. Utilizing a multiple baseline design across participants, the current study evaluated the effects of a prototypical teacher training program (i.e., workshop, checklist, in-classroom training with feedback, and maintenance with a thinned schedule of feedback) on the frequency of data collection on core deficits of ASD and the use of data-based decision-making. Results indicate increases in daily mean frequency of data collection following intervention. Maintenance and generalization indicates variable responding across participants. Effect size (Cohen's d) indicates a large, clinically significant effect of the training program. Results are discussed in relation to training models, maintenance, and future research.
Effects of the Why Try Social Skills Program on Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders at an Alternative Campus
Approximately 20% of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) are sent to an alternative campus for their lack of social competence. Social skills training (SST) is an evidence-based intervention to help increase social competence for students with E/BD, but there is limited research that addresses SST for students with E/BD at alternative campuses. A mixed-methods design was utilized to examine SST at an alternative campus for students with E/BD. Pre-intervention data were collected for students' attendance, grades, office disciplinary referrals, and behavioral rating scales, after which, the Why Try SST program was implemented. Following the intervention, the same type of data were collected. Nonparametric statistics guided the quantitative analysis, because of the small population being studied. Differences from pre- to post-intervention were examined. Triangulation methods drove the qualitative data collection and analysis through observations, student interviews, and teacher interviews. Students exhibited significant differences from pre- to post-intervention in the number of office disciplinary referrals and several areas on the behavioral rating scales. Important insight into motivation and perceptions was gained through the observations and interviews.
Examination of Contributing Factors for Successful Postsecondary Transitions to Institutions of Higher Education for Youth with High-incidence Disabilities
Transitions are a natural part of life. Youth grow and develop physically, socially, psychologically, and intellectually during primary and secondary school years. The transition from secondary to postsecondary education is an important transition as youth not only move from high school to college, but also from adolescence to young adulthood. It is a time when young adults naturally desire to become more independent in pursuit of their personal dreams and aspirations. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact that academic, psychological, and social factors on youth with high-incidence disabilities as they strive to make successful postsecondary education transitions. Current trends indicate youth with high-incidence disabilities are graduating from high school and are attending vocational schools, colleges, and universities in increasing numbers. Transition barriers still limit many youth who could otherwise attend institutions of higher education regardless of disability type. Findings suggest academic and psychological factors most significantly predict successful postsecondary education transitions. Recommendations for improved transition planning and parental training are suggested.
A Hierarchical Regression Analysis of the Relationship Between Blog Reading, Online Political Activity, and Voting During the 2008 Presidential Campaign
The advent of the Internet has increased access to information and impacted many aspects of life, including politics. The present study utilized Pew Internet & American Life survey data from the November 2008 presidential election time period to investigate the degree to which political blog reading predicted online political discussion, online political participation, whether or not a person voted, and voting choice, over and above the predication that could be explained by demographic measures of age, education level, gender, income, marital status, race/ethnicity, and region. Ordinary least squares hierarchical regression revealed that political blog reading was positively and statistically significantly related to online political discussion and online political participation. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of a political blog reader voting were 1.98 the odds of a nonreader voting, but vote choice was not predicted by reading political blogs. These results are interpreted within the uses and gratifications framework and the understanding that blogs add an interpersonal communication aspect to a mass medium. As more people use blogs and the nature of the blog-reading audience shifts, continuing to track and describe the blog audience with valid measures will be important for researchers and practitioners alike. Subsequent potential effects of political blog reading on engagement, discussion, and participation will be important to understand as these effects could impact the political landscape of this country and, therefore, the world.
High School Teachers' Perceptions of Giftedness, Gifted Education, and Talent Development
In the field of gifted education, there is little research on the perceptions of high school teachers of the gifted about giftedness, good gifted education practices, and the nature and needs of gifted learners. The purpose of this study was to form a deeper understanding of how those educators who guide gifted learners out of high school and into adulthood perceive giftedness and gifted education. This qualitative study, conducted in two phases, took place in a large suburban school district with three large high school systems and was focused on the responses of high school teachers to assess their attitudes, feelings, and opinions about the nature and needs of gifted learners using a grounded theory model of analysis. Data collected from the 11 participants in the first phase of the analysis was combined with that collected from the 13 participants in phase two and validated throughout with continual comparison through memoing. Participants reported a general lack of engagement with scholarly work in the gifted education field as well as a dependence on the school district for effective training in classroom practice. Evidence also suggested a view of giftedness among the participants as an inherent quality of some people who needed to be properly trained in the instructional environment. Implications from this study suggest further research, both qualitative and quantitative, needs to focus on clarifying the perception of giftedness among high school teachers as well as how the delivery of effective training to those teachers can be implemented.
The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program’s Effect on Academic Achievement of TAKS Tests
This study investigated the effectiveness of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program on school readiness. The HIPPY program uses home-based instruction to aid parents in teaching their children school readiness skills. The curriculum in this program includes literacy, math, and social skills. Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills assesses the academic achievement of students in different grade levels and in various subject areas. The chi square test revealed that the children in the HIPPY program were more likely to have higher passing rates on the first administration of TAKS Reading, Math and Science sections compared to non-participants. The implementation of early intervention and parental involvement programs such as HIPPY helps to facilitate students‟ success.
How Attitudes towards Statistics Courses and the Field of Statistics Predicts Statistics Anxiety among Undergraduate Social Science Majors: A Validation of the Statistical Anxiety Scale
The aim of this study was to validate an instrument that can be used by instructors or social scientist who are interested in evaluating statistics anxiety. The psychometric properties of the English version of the Statistical Anxiety Scale (SAS) was examined through a confirmatory factor analysis of scores from a sample of 323 undergraduate social science majors enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States. In previous studies, the psychometric properties of the Spanish and Italian versions of the SAS were validated; however, the English version of the SAS had never been assessed. Inconsistent with previous studies, scores on the English version of the SAS did not produce psychometrically acceptable values of validity. However, the results of this study suggested the potential value of a revised two-factor model SAS to measure statistics anxiety. Additionally, the Attitudes Towards Statistics (ATS) scale was used to examine the convergent and discriminant validities of the two-factor SAS. As expected, the correlation between the two factors of the SAS and the two factors of the ATS uncovered a moderately negative correlation between examination anxiety and attitudes towards the course. Additionally, the results of a structural regression model of attitudes towards statistics as a predictor of statistics anxiety suggested that attitudes towards the course and attitudes towards the field of statistics moderately predicts examination anxiety with attitudes towards the course having the greatest influence. It is recommended that future studies examine the relationship between attitudes towards statistics, statistics anxiety, and other variables such as academic achievement and instructional style.
The Impact of HIPPY on Maternal Self-Efficacy
Parenting self-efficacy refers to the ability of parents to have confidence in their abilities to effectively parent their children. Parenting self-efficacy can be divided into two types: (a) general parenting self-efficacy, which is defined as a parent’s overall sense of ability to effectively parent; and (b) task-specific parenting self-efficacy, which is defined as a parent’s confidence level to perform specific parenting tasks, such as teaching and nurturing (tested in this study). The study applied Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory to an analysis of (a) the effect of the HIPPY program in interaction with family and neighborhood variables on parenting self-efficacy and (b) the effect of the interaction of family and neighborhood variables on parenting self-efficacy. A group of 138 HIPPY mothers and a group of 76 comparison mothers who did not receive HIPPY services were surveyed. The sample was largely Hispanic. Results indicated HIPPY predicts task-specific parenting self-efficacy for teaching tasks, but not general parenting self-efficacy or task-specific efficacy for nurturance. Many family variables that reflected Hispanic family values were unique predictors of all three types of parenting self-efficacy, both in analyses involving interactions with HIPPY and with neighborhood variables. Neighborhood variables solely predicted general parenting self-efficacy. Moderation effects were found for the interaction between family conflict and neighborhoods in predicting general parenting self-efficacy, and the interactions between family control and all three types of parenting self-efficacy. Overall, the bioecological model was inapplicable to urban, Hispanic mothers in the surveyed population because of the lack of interaction effects found in the study.
The Impact of Teacher Perception of Cultural Competence on the Instructional Decision Making of English As Second Language (ESL) Students
Recent research suggests that culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices have the potential to increase student educational outcomes, as well as to reduce unnecessary or inappropriate placement referrals. Examination of the core components in CRT, teacher efficacy and cultural competence, is proposed to be a critical step to reduce unwarranted referrals of culturally and linguistically diverse students. However, there is limited empirical support for the relationship between CRT and instructional referrals, and even among existing studies there is inconsistency regarding the relation of these constructs. The purpose of this study is to examine teacher factors (i.e., teacher role, degree earned, years of teaching, ESL certification held, language proficiency and ethnicity) as a predictor of teacher competence, and the role these factors play in teachers’ referral decision making. To investigate these relationships, a national sample of elementary teachers (N = 258) completed a survey addressing their background, profession endorsements, sense of teaching efficiency, and the instructional decisions they would make in the scenarios presented. The results of this study revealed that teacher role (i.e., general, ESL or special educator) and ESL certification were important predictors of teacher competency. A statistically significant mean difference in teacher competency was found between teachers with and without ESL certification, indicating ESL certification as an important factor in deciding the level of teacher competency. Finally, teacher competency was found to improve teachers’ instructional decision making in scenarios in which the students displayed linguistic difficulties. The findings provide valuable insights to teacher training programs and other professional development entities regarding how to prepare educators to work more efficiently with ESL students.
Infants' Perceptions of Mothers Phone Use: Is Mothers' Phone Use Generating the Still Face Effect?
Using a modified still-face procedure the present study explores 3-6-month-old infants' behavioral and physiological responses to mothers' screen distractions during mother-infant interactions. In the modified phone still-face procedure the neutral face of the traditional still face procedure was replaced with mothers' texting on their mobile phones. Infants' cortisol stress responses to mothers' device use were assessed through the collection of 3 infant saliva samples. Infants' behavioral responses including facial expressions, vocalizations, gaze and self-comforting behaviors were also explored. All mother-infant interactions were videoed recorded and coded for analysis. Thirty-four mother-infant dyads participated, average ages for mothers was 29 years and 4.4 months for infants. As predicted, infants demonstrated the changes in affect associated with the still-face effect, with significant differences in positive and negative affect during the play phases and the phone still face phase. As a whole, infants did not respond with increased cortisol responses, however, when individual differences were explored 47% responded with increased stress during mothers' phone distractions. Mother's frequency and attitudes towards device use were also assessed but were unrelated to infant responses. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Is It More Advantageous to Administer Libqual+® Lite Over Libqual+®? an Analysis of Confidence Intervals, Root Mean Square Errors, and Bias
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) provides an option for librarians to administer a combination of LibQUAL+® and LibQUAL+® Lite to measure users' perceptions of library service quality. LibQUAL+® Lite is a shorter version of LibQUAL+® that uses planned missing data in its design. The present study investigates the loss of information in commonly administered proportions of LibQUAL+® and LibQUAL+® Lite when compared to administering LibQUAL+® alone. Data from previous administrations of LibQUAL+® protocol (2005, N = 525; 2007, N = 3,261; and 2009, N = 2,103) were used to create simulated datasets representing various proportions of LibQUAL+® versus LibQUAL+® Lite administration (0.2:0.8, 0.4:0.6. 0.5:0.5, 0.6:0.4, and 0.8:0.2). Statistics (i.e., means, adequacy and superiority gaps, standard deviations, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, and polychoric correlation coefficients) from simulated and real data were compared. Confidence intervals captured the original values. Root mean square errors and absolute and relative biases of correlations showed that accuracy in the estimates decreased with increase in percentage of planned missing data. The recommendation is to avoid using combinations with more than 20% planned missing data.
Knowledge and Confidence of Speech-Language Pathologists Regarding Autism
The increased prevalence rate of autism has immense implications for speech language pathologists (SLPs) who are directly involved in the education and service delivery for students with autism. However, few studies have documented the effectiveness of the knowledge and confidence of SLPs regarding autism. The purpose of this study was to measure the knowledge and confidence of SLPs regarding autism and the extent to which their educational and professional training prepared them to work effectively with this population. An online survey was administered to and returned by 336 SLPs nation-wide. Two multiple linear regressions were conducted to determine the variables that explained overall knowledge and confidence. The number of students with autism on one's caseload explained most of the variance. Independent sample t-test results depicted knowledge and confidence scores of SLPs who were behaviorally trained versus those who were not behaviorally trained. SLPs who were behaviorally trained had higher mean scores on measures of knowledge and confidence when compared to those without formal behavioral training. Finally, a bivariate correlation was conducted to explore the relationship between knowledge and confidence of SLPs, however, results were not statistically significant.
Knowledge and Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Special Education Administrators.
A significant rise in the number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) served in today's schools requires special education administrators to possess knowledge in this area. The purpose of this study was to determine the general knowledge of special education administrators concerning ASD and knowledge of educational programming, to explore their educational training and professional development experiences in ASD, to identify the training needs of special education administrators in ASD, and to determine if knowledge, training and experience in ASD predict litigation. Using survey methods, data were collected from a sample of 106 special education administrators in Texas. Data revealed special education administrators were most knowledgeable of general characteristics, common myths, and instructional strategies, and less knowledgeable of eligibility criteria. Knowledge regarding educational programming for learners with ASD produced mixed results. Logistic regression analysis revealed general autism knowledge, knowledge of educational programming, training, and experience in ASD were not factors predicting litigation. Although results indicated none of the factors explored in this study were predictors of litigation, areas of need regarding professional development were identified. Implications for future research are also discussed.
Mexican Mothers’ Experiences with Depression, Intimate Partner Violence, and Immigration: a Mixed Methods Study of Maternal Self-efficacy
This study investigated the relation between maternal self-efficacy, depression, and intimate partner violence among Mexican immigrant and Mexican mothers. The research was conducted using a parallel mixed methods approach including both qualitative and quantitative methods. A total of 136 mothers living in the United States and Mexico completed surveys, and 10 mothers participated in semi-structured interviews. In a regression on maternal depression, living in Mexico as opposed to the U.S., psychological violence, and maternal self-efficacy were significant predictors of maternal depression. In the qualitative data analysis, we found five main themes: perceptions, cultural influence, involvement, resources, and barriers. In this stage of the study, Mexican and Mexican immigrant mothers described in detail their experiences of being a mother, their perceptions of maternal self-efficacy, and the influence of intimate partner violence and depression on their effectiveness as mothers. Overall, Mexican immigrant families appeared to have healthier relationships and greater well-being than Mexican families.
Missing Data Treatments at the Second Level of Hierarchical Linear Models
The current study evaluated the performance of traditional versus modern MDTs in the estimation of fixed-effects and variance components for data missing at the second level of an hierarchical linear model (HLM) model across 24 different study conditions. Variables manipulated in the analysis included, (a) number of Level-2 variables with missing data, (b) percentage of missing data, and (c) Level-2 sample size. Listwise deletion outperformed all other methods across all study conditions in the estimation of both fixed-effects and variance components. The model-based procedures evaluated, EM and MI, outperformed the other traditional MDTs, mean and group mean substitution, in the estimation of the variance components, outperforming mean substitution in the estimation of the fixed-effects as well. Group mean substitution performed well in the estimation of the fixed-effects, but poorly in the estimation of the variance components. Data in the current study were modeled as missing completely at random (MCAR). Further research is suggested to compare the performance of model-based versus traditional MDTs, specifically listwise deletion, when data are missing at random (MAR), a condition that is more likely to occur in practical research settings.
Moral Judgment and Digital Piracy: Predicting Attitudes, Intention, and Behavior Regarding Digital Piracy Using a Modified Version of the Defining Issues Test
Digital piracy, the illegal copying or downloading of copyrighted digital products without approval from the copyright holders, has brought great economic loss to the software and digital media industries. Previous studies using moral developmental theory have not found consistent relationships between moral judgment and attitudes towards digital piracy. While some researchers have developed individual test items to assess relationships between moral judgment and attitudes toward digital piracy, others have relied on the Defining Issues Test (DIT). However, in that the DIT represents a general measure of moral judgment based on broad social issues, it, too, may not adequately assess an individual’s reasoning specific to issues regarding digital piracy. The purpose of this study was to create a reliable instrument (i.e., DP-DIT) modeled after the DIT designed to assess moral judgment regarding digital piracy as well as to examine and compare the ability of both DP-DIT and DIT2-short to predict attitudes, intentions and behaviors regarding digital piracy of college students. Results indicated the reliability of both the DIT2-short and the DP-DIT were discounted, quite likely due to the small number of stories contained in each. DP-DIT appeared to have greater predictive ability due to its advantage in predicting attitudes toward digital piracy, especially using DP-DIT MNS. However, even though here DP-DIT MNS was the strongest predictor of attitudes toward digital piracy, it explained a limited amount of variance. Further research to improve reliability and validity of DP-DIT is warranted.
A Multilevel Multitrait-Multimethod Analysis of the Child Behavior Checklist
Behavioral and emotional problems (BEPs) are known to affect children's ability to shape and maintain effective social relationships. BEPs are typically categorized into two main factors: internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Internalizing behaviors represent introverted problems, directed inwardly to the individual. While externalizing behavior patterns represent behaviors that are directed outwardly. Behaviors, emotions and thoughts are experienced by all people but on a continuum rather than in terms of absence versus presence of the behavior. The child behavior checklist (CBCL) is used to measure BEPs. The system of CBCL (parent form) measures also includes a teacher rating form and a youth self-report. Using 62 teachers and 311 students, the present study assessed convergent and discriminant validity using a correlated trait, correlated method minus one [CT-C(M-1)] model. The results showed low to moderate teacher-student agreement on the traits. To extend the theoretical structure of the teacher and self-report forms, the present study assessed the nested structure of the data using a multilevel model. Results revealed the nested structure of the data should not be ignored.
Parent Involvement and Science Achievement: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis
This study examined science achievement growth across elementary and middle school and parent school involvement using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Class of 1998 – 1999 (ECLS-K). The ECLS-K is a nationally representative kindergarten cohort of students from public and private schools who attended full-day or half-day kindergarten class in 1998 – 1999. The present study’s sample (N = 8,070) was based on students that had a sampling weight available from the public-use data file. Students were assessed in science achievement at third, fifth, and eighth grades and parents of the students were surveyed at the same time points. Analyses using latent growth curve modeling with time invariant and varying covariates in an SEM framework revealed a positive relationship between science achievement and parent involvement at eighth grade. Furthermore, there were gender and racial/ethnic differences in parents’ school involvement as a predictor of science achievement. Findings indicated that students with lower initial science achievement scores had a faster rate of growth across time. The achievement gap between low and high achievers in earth, space and life sciences lessened from elementary to middle school. Parents’ involvement with school usually tapers off after elementary school, but due to parent school involvement being a significant predictor of eighth grade science achievement, later school involvement may need to be supported and better implemented in secondary schooling.
Parenting Style, Frequency of Electronic Communication with Parents, and the Development of Independence in First Year, First Semester College Students
During the transition to college, emerging adults are expected to develop independence and increase individual responsibility as they live away from home for the first time. Modern electronic communication has enabled emerging adults to maintain frequent, daily contact with the parent, a pattern of communication Hofer refers to as an “electronic tether.” This study examined the link between parenting style and the development of independence of first year, first semester college students. Although these students were in frequent contact with their designated parent, no correlation between frequency of communication and parenting style or independence was found. Both authoritative and helicopter parenting significantly positively predicted attitudinal independence. However, permissive parenting functioned as a significant negative predictor. Authoritarian, permissive, and helicopter parenting significantly positively predicted conflictual independence. However, authoritative parenting functioned as a significant negative predictor. Both authoritative and helicopter parenting significantly positively predicted emotional and functional independence.
Parents’ Reported Utilization, Accessibility, and Effectiveness of Academic Support Resources for Military Adolescents at Fort Hood Military Base
Academic support resources are increasingly available to military-connected youth; however, the military community, in general, tends to under-utilize available resources. The research literature has not clearly identified accessibility to military academic support resources or perceived effectiveness of resources as explanations for under-utilization of adolescent support services. The current research study examines military parents' perceptions of academic resource programs looking at how parents' perception of resource accessibility and resource effectiveness were related to program utilization. Based on qualitative analysis of military parent interviews, utilization was related to both accessibility and effectiveness. This research adds to the literature by identifying the relationship to between accessibility and utilization and reported effectiveness and utilization of academic support resources.
Perceptions of Family Vacation and Family Cohesion and the Moderating Effects of Parenting Style
Family cohesion, or emotional bonding, is important to family functioning. Shared activities such as family vacations offer opportunities for strengthening the family unit which can improve cohesion. Additionally, parenting style has direct influence on the family unit and family cohesion. This study’s purpose was to assess to what extent the perception of the family vacation experience predicted the perception of family cohesion and whether that relationship was moderated by parenting style. An online survey was conducted, resulting in 97 adult participants responding to items regarding their last family vacation, family cohesion, and parenting style. Using hierarchical multiple regression, a medium effect size was found for the predictive ability of a participant’s perception of their last family vacation on family cohesion. Findings also indicated a negative correlation between an authoritarian parenting style and perception of family cohesion, but a positive relationship between the interaction of family vacation experience and authoritarian parenting to family cohesion. Stronger predictive abilities were found for those with children in the 3-11 age group. Results may encourage parent and family educators to use family vacation as a tool in assisting families with the processes of building strong and cohesive families.
A Performance Evaluation of Confidence Intervals for Ordinal Coefficient Alpha
Ordinal coefficient alpha is a newly derived non-parametric reliability estimate. As with any point estimate, ordinal coefficient alpha is merely an estimate of a population parameter and tends to vary from sample to sample. Researchers report the confidence interval to provide readers with the amount of precision obtained. Several methods with differing computational approaches exist for confidence interval estimation for alpha, including the Fisher, Feldt, Bonner, and Hakstian and Whalen (HW) techniques. Overall, coverage rates for the various methods were unacceptably low with the Fisher method as the highest performer at 62%. Because of the poor performance across all four confidence interval methods, a need exists to develop a method which works well for ordinal coefficient alpha.
Personnel Preparation in Special Education: An Exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorders Programmatic Changes in Institutions of Higher Education Teacher Training Programs
Programmatic change related to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) training in special education teacher education programs across the U.S. and institutional variables that influenced change were examined. Variables included institutions’ current coverage of autism content in coursework and institution enrollment. One faculty member from each identified institution was invited to participate in the study. Data were collected from 136 special education faculty using an exploratory survey instrument, the National Survey on ASD Preparation in Undergraduate Special Education Teacher Training Programs (NSAP). This study was designed around themes which emerged from empirical and pragmatic research findings conceptualizing prevalent issues in personnel preparation for ASD including critical knowledge and skills needed by teachers to effectively serve students with ASD. Results indicated a significant number of programmatic changes (66%) remain to be implemented in undergraduate special education programs at institutions participating in the study.
Physical Literacy and Intention to Play Interscholastic Sports in Sixth Grade Physical Education Students
Prevalence of physical inactivity in children and adolescents and the associated epidemic of obesity are increasing concerns. U.S. national health statistics indicate early adolescence (i.e., 10-14 years) appears to be a period of importance regarding physical activity, sedentary behavior, health-related physical fitness, and obesity trends. Considering a significant portion of their waking hours are spent in school, it is widely held that schools' should play a significant role in increasing students' physical activity and health-related physical fitness. To do this, physical education in schools focus on providing quality physical education programs that produce physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of health-producing physical activity. In effect, a call for developing a comprehensive and valid measure of physical literacy has been aptly expressed. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation was to test the psychometric properties of proposed models of physical literacy, examine correlates of the physical literacy factor, and investigate the significance of the relationship between physical literacy and interscholastic sport intention via structural equation modeling. Participants were 400 (231 female, 169 male) sixth-grade physical education students who completed three brief surveys assessing maturation, self-efficacy, self-esteem, knowledge and understanding, motivation, physical activity and sport participation, and interscholastic sport intention. In addition, students completed a sedentary behavior log, a health-related physical fitness assessment, and an overhand throwing skill assessment. Analyses offered overall support for the proposed physical literacy measurement models. Results also supported positive relationship Physical literacy was statistically significantly positively related physical activity and sport team participation, and significantly negatively related and screen-time sedentary behavior. Results also supported a positive path between physical literacy and interscholastic sport intention. The implications of promoting physical literacy within physical education are discussed in light of the three higher-order underlying factors of physical literacy.
Preschool Teachers' Self-reported Levels of Preparation for Classroom Behavior Management
Research indicates that serious behavior problems begin during the early childhood years. The study examined the perceived preparedness of teachers related to behavior management as well as preschool teachers' usage of evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. The data indicates that preschool teachers feel prepared for managing aggression in their classrooms and report utilizing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies regularly. Additionally, the data shows a weak relationship between teacher variables and the likelihood of feeling prepared for managing aggression or utilizing evidence-based strategies. The results can be used to gain a better understanding of special education preschool teachers' training needs in regard to behavior management and managing behavior problems in the preschool classroom.
Reliability Generalization: a Systematic Review and Evaluation of Meta-analytic Methodology and Reporting Practice
Reliability generalization (RG) is a method for meta-analysis of reliability coefficients to estimate average score reliability across studies, determine variation in reliability, and identify study-level moderator variables influencing score reliability. A total of 107 peer-reviewed RG studies published from 1998 to 2013 were systematically reviewed to characterize the meta-analytic methods employed and to evaluate quality of reporting practice against standards for transparency in meta-analysis reporting. Most commonly, RG studies meta-analyzed alpha coefficients, which were synthesized using an unweighted, fixed-effects model applied to untransformed coefficients. Moderator analyses most frequently included multiple regression and bivariate correlations employing a fixed-effects model on untransformed, unweighted coefficients. Based on a unit-weighted scoring system, mean reporting quality for RG studies was statistically less than that for a comparison study of 198 meta-analyses in the organizational sciences across 42 indicators; however, means were not statistically significantly different between the two studies when evaluating reporting quality on 18 indicators deemed essential to ethical reporting practice in meta-analyses. Since its inception a wide variety of statistical methods have been applied to RG, and meta-analysis of reliability coefficients has extended to fields outside of psychological measurement, such as medicine and business. A set of guidelines for conducting and reporting RG studies is provided.
Resilience Among Graduates From Alternative Education Programs
Research has shown that students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) typically have poor life outcomes. Students with EBD who are placed in an alternative education setting are likely to continue a path toward failure without carefully designed effective services. Existing studies have independently examined resilience in children and youth and alternative education settings. However, there is a gap in research examining resilience in students who have graduated from alternative education settings. Using semi-structured interviews, the present interpretive and descriptive qualitative study sought to explore factors of resilience in individuals who graduated from alternative education settings. The study sought to identify elements, specific to alternative education settings, that have contributed to resilience in young adulthood and to further our understanding of how alternative education placements have contributed to the participants’ current life status. Findings revealed three themes specific to alternative education settings that contributed to participants’ resilience: teachers who show that they care about their students, a positive learning environment, and a small student-teacher ratio where participants were able to get more one-on-one instruction. Additionally, two other themes arose from the data: having a supportive family and an innate sense of self.
The Role of Chosen Creativity Measurements in Observed Relationships to Personality
Creativity is a complex construct that is conceptualized and measured in multiple ways. This study examined the relationship between creativity and personality taking this into account. It was hypothesized that applying different conceptions and measures would cause variation in the creativity-personality relationship. The participants (N = 224) were undergraduate students completed six creativity measures, a personality inventory, and a demographic questionnaire. Personality predicted more creative production (R2 = .277) than creative potential (R2 = .176) and more self-reported creativity (R2 = .348) than that which was externally-rated (R2 = .149). Personality predicted creativity beyond demographic and intellect variables, but the effects varied based on the creativity measure. Openness was most consistently and strongly related to creativity. Other personality factors demonstrated suppression effects in multiple models. Overall, the results suggest that despite relatively small effects of personality on creativity, it can help strengthen prediction in creativity models. Implications for educational settings and future research are discussed.
The Role of Physical Activity and Physical Fitness on Biomarkers Associated with Depression and Cardiovascular Disease
Two important health issues that can develop during young adulthood are related to mental health (e.g., depression) and physical health (e.g., cardiovascular disease). A common characteristic for both of these diseases is low-grade and chronic inflammation, but inflammation is negatively associated with physical activity (PA) and physical fitness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate how PA and physical fitness were associated with biomarkers for depression and cardiovascular disease. Participants included 41 undergraduates who were considered to be "physical fit" (n = 21, Males = 15) or "physically unfit" (n = 20, Males = 17). They completed a battery of physical fitness assessments (e.g., 20m shuttle run, body fat percentage, handgrip strength, push-ups, blood pressure, and waist circumference), a self-report measure for depression and stress, and wore an accelerometer for one week. Afterwards, blood was drawn to estimate CVD risk using biomarkers for metabolic syndrome (i.e., triglycerides, glucose, and HDL) and inflammation (i.e., C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin-6, interleukin-1b, and tumor necrosis factor alpha). The physically fit group had more moderate and vigorous PA, lower body fat percentage and handgrip strength scores, and performed better on the VO2max, curl-up, and plank tests compared to the physically unfit group. They also had a healthier profile for CVD (i.e., smaller waist circumference, lower triglycerides and glucose concentrations, higher HDL, and lower CRP) and lower self-reported depression and stress scores compared to the physically unfit group.
The Roles Elementary School Counselors Perform in the Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This nation-wide study investigated elementary school counselors (ESC) self-reported: (a) professional background and training; (b) general knowledge of autism spectrum disorders (ASD); (c) attitudes towards ASD; and (d) roles performed with students identified with ASD. Also investigated was the predictive relationships between professional background, training, knowledge, and attitudes on roles (counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination) performed with students identified with ASD. Descriptive statistics were utilized to address professional background, training, knowledge, attitude and characteristics of ESC participants. These variables were also examined in relationship to the four role types. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to test for significant relationships. A series of four multiple regression analyses predicting each of the total roles scores for counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination were also conducted. Results of the study suggest (a) ESC have limited training experiences of ASD, leading to self-education about this population of students, (b) ESC possess general knowledge about ASD, (c) overall, ESC have positive attitudes towards ASD, and (d) ESC perform all conceptualized roles in the education of students with ASD. Regression models revealed eight predictors found to influence roles: total knowledge, attitudes, geographic setting, U.S. region, years practiced, conference training, self-education, and ASD caseload. Significantly associated with performing roles across all four domains was the number of students with ASD on ESC caseload.