UNT Theses and Dissertations - 444 Matching Results

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Validation of an Observation and Evaluation Instrument for the Supervision of Middle and Secondary Pre-Service Teachers

Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the validity and reliability of a revised observation and evaluation instrument of middle and secondary pre-service clinical teaching to be used as part of the clinical supervision cycle and for formative purposes. The North Texas Appraisal of Classroom Teaching (NTACT) serves as a performance assessment tool utilized by a south-central university-based educator preparation program for the evaluation and supervision of pre-service teachers during their last semester of their program. The researcher piloted and field-tested a redesigned observation and evaluation instrument (NTACT-V2) on observer participants with varying educational experiences in the south-central region. To accumulate evidence of validity and reliability, this study employed methods of factor analysis and generalizability study for developing a valid and reliable instrument to guide the refinement process of the NTACT observation and evaluation instrument. Some of the significant conclusions reached in this study were (a) the NTACT-V2 is a practical, user-friendly classroom observation and evaluation instrument; (b) the instrument refined and developed in this study exhibits appropriate content, face, and criterion validity as determined by a panel of experts and an extensive review of the literature; and, (c) a variety of observers can use the evaluation instrument with relative ease while achieving a high degree of reliability.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Bush, Brandon
Partner: UNT Libraries

Adequacy and Equity: How the Texas Supreme Court's Perceptions Have Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Description: The purpose of this study identifies state court cases involving public school finance specifically related to adequacy and equity in funding. Results address how state court cases have challenged the constitutionality of school finance in the United States, including Texas, over the last 50 years. The study further shows how the decisions from previous cases have influenced the Supreme Court of Texas decision in the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness litigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Ford, Daniel William
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship between the Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam and Student Achievement in College Level Math 1710-Calculus I

Description: The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the relationship between the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam and student achievement in college level Math 1710-Calculus I. The review of literature shows that this possible relationship is based on Alexander Astin's longitudinal input-environment-outcome (I-E-O) model. The I-E-O model was used to analyze the relationship between the input and outcome of the two variables. In addition, this quantitative study determined the relationship between a score of 3 or lower on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam and student achievement in college level Math 1710-Calculus I. The sample population of this study contained 91 students from various high schools in Texas. Spearman's rank correlation revealed there was a statistically significant relationship between Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam scores and final grades in Math 1710-Calculus I.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Bethley, Troy Y
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multimodal Design for Secondary English Language Arts: A Portraiture Study

Description: Employing the research approach known as portraiture, this study investigated the varying ways in which three secondary English language arts teachers at a visual and performing arts high school conceptualized and designed multimodal literacy learning. Also studied were the ways in which their students responded to these designs; and in keeping with portraiture, attention went to the changes in the researcher's own understandings. This multi-case study and cross-case analysis built on prior multimodal literacy research in secondary education, but unlike previous studies, gave major attention to how teachers' conceptualization of multimodality and their own roles related to the designs that they produced. Since the school emphasized arts as well as academics, particular attention went to teachers' conceptions of, and designs for, arts-related multimodalities. Data for the portraits came from observations, teacher and student interviews, artifacts, and a researcher journal. Recursive analysis focused on repetitive refrains, resonant metaphors, and emergent themes, which provided data for "painting" the teachers' portraits in prose. Findings show the connections among teachers' beliefs, values, and the multimodal designs, which included images, movement, sound, classroom displays, and room arrangements. The three teachers took dramatically different approaches to multimodal designs as they created their productions of English language arts. Differences across teachers were related to their conceptions of multimodal design (i.e., for social activism, for expression, for edification) and to their conceptions of their roles as multimodal literacy designers (i.e., challenger, facilitator, channel). Students' responses to, and participation in, the multimodal activities also varied across classroom and teacher. The concluding discussion addresses the relation of arts integration to multimodal literacy education, the value of students' transmodal activity, and connections between multimodality and portraiture. The study illustrates the potential of portraiture for studies of multimodality as well as the potential of using multiple modes to "paint" portraits. Lawrence-Lightfoot, S., ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Price, Cecelia Joyce
Partner: UNT Libraries

Becoming Successful in Education: Beating the Odds, Despite a Background Entrenched in Poverty

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of three relationships on academic achievement in mathematics in students of poverty. The three factors that were examined included: teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer- student relationships. The driving question for the research was as follows: Do external factors such as teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer-student relationships lead to academic success for students of poverty? The study employed a non-experimental, quantitative approach and utilized longitudinal data from a national database High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS) used a sample of 944 public and private high schools across the USA. A total 0f 28,240 were represented in the survey. Of these 28,240 students, 2641 were used in this study as identified by parental income below the poverty threshold. The outcome of the study indicated that there was little or no correlation between the three relationships and mathematics achievement (academic success). Correlations between the dependent variable (math achievement) and the independent variables even though some were statistically significant their weights had no concrete significance. The study recommends that several initiatives can be instated in schools to support and enhance academic achievement in students of poverty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Thompson, Pauline A
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An Analysis of Litigation against Kansas Educators and School Districts under the Kansas Tort Claims Act

Description: This dissertation examines the significance of the Kansas Tort Claims Act of 1979 on state of Kansas court decisions in litigation against Kansas school districts and their employees. Through providing a historical perspective of the adoption and abolishment of the doctrine of sovereign immunity in the United States, which subsequently led to the enactment of the Federal Tort Claims Act, and ultimately led to the Kansas Tort Claims Act, the researcher analyzes pertinent case law and scholarly commentary pertaining to school negligence litigation. The goal of the analysis is to answer the following research question: How have Kansas state courts interpreted the Kansas Tort Claims Act in litigation against state school districts and their employees? Although the KTCA provides citizens with a vehicle for redress against governmental entities by virtue of tort claims, the KTCA also provides immunities from liability for governmental entities and their employees under exceptions to the KTCA. Most notably, the discretionary function exception and the recreational use exception are two exceptions to liability applied in a significant number of tort cases against Kansas school districts and employees. The case law analysis provides explanations for the types of actions of negligence that Kansas courts have qualified for school district or school employee liability, and, when permitted, negligent actions that qualified for immunity under a KTCA exception to liability.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Perry, Shaun Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of a Change Facilitator on Project-Based Learning Curriculum and Design

Description: This study sought to understand concerns and levels of use of a group of teachers in the process of developing a project-based learning (PBL) program, and the effect of a change facilitator on these processes. The research was guided by the following research questions: One, what are the concerns of teachers regarding the planning of a PBL curriculum? Two, what are the levels of use of teachers in the process of planning the PBL curriculum? Three, how does a change facilitator affect the process of change in the planning of a PBL curriculum? The population of this study consisted of seven subject area high school teachers and one district level administrative staff member. This study used the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) to study the PBL innovation. CBAM is a conceptual framework that describes, explains, and predicts teachers' concerns and behaviors throughout the change process in education. In this study, the teachers progressed through the levels of use on a timeline at a rate that was much more rapid that what is typical for implementation of an innovation in an educational setting. This rapid progression was the function of the teacher population studied and the change facilitator that led the PBL curriculum design process. With the leadership of the change facilitator, the goals of the PBL curriculum innovation were realized, and the team created a PBL curriculum with multidisciplinary PBL products that could be implemented after the development phase.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Fry, Jana
Partner: UNT Libraries

Artistic Decision Making and Implications for Engaging Theatrically Gifted and Talented Students in Non-Arts Classes

Description: This cognitive ethnographic study explored the mental processes that professional actors used when making artistic choices while engaged in creative practices to begin a conversation about how the theatrically gifted and talented population is viewed, researched, and educated in non-arts subjects. Professional actors at two sites were observed, videotaped, and interviewed over several rehearsals during play production. The major thematic findings indicated that artistic decision making results from actors engaging in a cyclical process of private work, affective validation, and collaboration. Implications for teaching theatrically gifted students call for classroom environments and processes that echo theatrical rehearsal structures, while engaging the imagination through personal connection and discovery.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Willerson, Amy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Bring Your Own Device Initiatives Related to Instructional Planning and Classroom Environment in Two Texas High Schools

Description: This study was an examination of 20 North Texas high school teachers' perceptions about the effects of bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives on instructional planning and classroom environment. The BYOD initiative at two high school campuses was studied through a qualitative approach, i.e. a collective case study. Data were collected through interviews, classroom observations, and reviews of participants' lesson planning documents. The findings indicated teachers had to plan for inequitable technology access, technology support, effective classroom management, and relevant content to support student learning effectively. Teachers participated in professional development focused on planning for student devices, effective use of instructional technology, and classroom management during this type of instruction. Results revealed that, during instruction that included students' devices, teachers believed student engagement and content retention were greater. Observation data also indicated that students were more engaged in the instruction. The interviews and classroom observations indicated that students assumed a more active role in their learning during these lessons, and teachers facilitated and provided more support as needed. Effective planning and classroom management were identified as key components in the success of this type of initiative. Overall, the study supports the necessity for relevant professional development for teachers and campus administrators to ensure the success of BYOD initiatives. Similarly, these two groups should work together to develop the campus framework to support BYOD technology in the classroom.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Miller, Shawn J
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multimodal Literacy Portfolios: Expressive and Receptive Opportunities for Children Labeled "At-Risk"

Description: Current literacy assessments are focused on a single mode of meaning-making (reading and writing, whether oral or written) and assume that literacy and language are "fixed systems"-- comprised of discrete skills that can be taught and measured in isolation. This validation and privileging of a single mode of assessment has resulted in children labeled "At-risk" falling significantly behind those without this label. This study investigates what a teacher can learn from a diverse range of assessment forms and modes. In a fourth-grade self-contained classroom, students engaged in multimodal assessments and created multimodal portfolios. Five students labeled "At-risk" were chosen for a deeper analysis. Students' artifacts, interviews, and observations served as the main data sources. Both narrative analysis and analysis of narrative were utilized to generate a more complete narrative of these five students as meaning makers and communicators. The general findings suggest that these children labeled "At-risk" were, in fact, able to engage in multimodal thinking and communication from a critical stance.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Young, Whitney J
Partner: UNT Libraries

School District Actions that Support the Development of Professional Learning Communities in High Schools

Description: A gap exists in education research in the area of district support for campus-based professional learning communities (PLCs). The current study was an examination of practitioner perceptions of district structures and practices that support the development and sustainability of PLCs in public high schools. I examined the perceptions of 341 teachers, campus administrators, and district administrators in a suburban North Texas public school district with three comprehensive high schools. Using a sequential mixed-method design, quantitative data from an electronic survey and qualitative data from face-to-face interviews were collected and analyzed. The findings revealed a generally positive view of central office support among the participants, including consistent ratings from each high school, each campus-level position, each content area, and each level of experience in the district. There was some misalignment of perceptions between campus-level and district-level staff. The study also uncovered a set of best and worst district practices, the six PLC strengtheners and six PLC inhibitors, which were synthesized into a set of recommendations and guidelines for district support for high school PLCs. From participant feedback, I concluded district support is needed and desired by high school practitioners and there are specific district practices and structures that are most effective. While the study results provide a practical set of recommendations for school districts for supporting high school PLC efforts, expanded research is necessary to confirm transferability to school districts of diverse sizes, locations, and demographics.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Axelson, Gregory Carl
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teacher Perceptions of Pay-for-Performance: An Investigation of Four Middle School Pay-for-Performance Programs in a Large Urban School District

Description: In this study, I explored the different perceptions of teachers in a large urban school district in Texas towards a pay-for-performance program used on their respective campuses between 2011-2016. In total, 97 teachers from four different middle school campuses participated in this study. A descriptive analyst was conducted on teacher responses to an online survey to answer the research questions examined in this study: 1) What are teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance program's impact on teacher motivation?, 2) What are teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance program's impact on teacher retention?, and 3) What are the differences among teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance programs on the participating campuses? The results indicate 48.3% and 53.4% of the participants perceive pay-for-performance programs as having a positive impact on teacher motivation and teacher retention, respectively. Additionally, the results demonstrate 47.5% of participating teachers responded positively towards the pay-for-performance program on their respective campuses. This study has implications for policymakers and school district leaders who may consider implementing teacher pay-for-performance programs. Future research studies might explore school districts of different sizes throughout Texas and across the United States to gain a broader prospective of pay-for-performance programs.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Whitaker, Norbert L
Partner: UNT Libraries

Academic Progress Scores to Predict Performance on a State Assessment

Description: This quantitative study examined seventh-grade reading scores to determine the extent to which certain demographic variables (race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status) explain and MAP reading scores predict reading scores on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in a selected northeast Texas public school. Standardized assessments only compare the relative performance of an individual student to other groups of students using scaled scores, which can vary from year to year and from state to state. With the advent of computer adaptive testing, this study provides information on the predictive validity of benchmark assessments. Specifically, this study looked for predictive evidence that indicates how accurately test data can predict criterion scores. Findings revealed, through a multiple regression analysis, that the fall MAP Rasch Unit (RIT) scores predicted the STAAR scale scores. Using SPSS version 22, the data were entered and analyzed in a multiple regression model to determine the presence of a statistical trend or lack thereof. Demographic data and MAP scores were entered into the regression model to examine the predictive validity of the MAP assessment in determining student performance on the STAAR seventh-grade state-mandated reading assessment. The statistical analysis revealed that MAP RIT scores explain a significant variance related to seventh-grade STAAR reading scale scores. There is a vital need for tools that improve a student's academic development and MAP assessments have been found to predict performance on state-mandated assessments.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Curry, David Mitchell
Partner: UNT Libraries

District Leadership Supporting PLC Implementation in a Rapid Growth District

Description: A growing body of work has emerged regarding the responsibilities required of district leaders in establishing plans that initiate and create conditions for sustainability of continuous improvement achieved through a systemic reform structure such as professional learning communities. However, limited research exists in respect to sustaining cultures of continuous improvement in rapid growth districts. Rapid growth districts can be described as school systems, which construct and open multiple campuses annually. The underlying premise of this study considered how humans interact with one another within a rapidly changing professional organization. Change theory, professional capital, organizational learning theory, and system reform emerge as the conceptual framework in this study of district support of professional learning communities. Data collection for this qualitative descriptive case study included interviewing six K-12 principals, administering the PLCA-DS survey to 247 K-12 staff members, and document review. Recognition of the importance of the PLC framework, building capacity, development of collaborative culture, and issues resulting from constant change due to rapid growth were the four themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The four themes combined with the components of the conceptual framework outline how district leaders in a rapidly changing environment cultivate a process leading to system-wide improvement.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tinsley, Laurie Huffman
Partner: UNT Libraries

Instructional Coaching in a Small District: A Mixed Methods Study of Teachers' Concerns

Description: This study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design to study teachers' concerns during implementation of instructional coaching for math in a rural PK-12 district in north Texas over a three-year time period. Five campuses were included in the study: one high school (grades 9-12), one middle school (grades 6-8), and three elementary campuses (pre-kindergarten through grade 5). In a school district of 3,400 students and 241 teachers, fifty-two math teachers were surveyed and interviewed for their perceptions and concerns during implementation of instructional math coaching in order to assist central office administration in knowing how to support teachers through the change process. Data included the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) at three points during the study period analyzed through nonparametric statistical analysis. No statistically significant differences were found to exist between campuses. However, a statistically significant difference was found when campuses were grouped by elementary and secondary campuses. Open-Ended Statements of Concern and focus group interview data by campus served as qualitative data to triangulate concerns and to measure situational evidence of rurality influence on teachers' concerns. Convergence of qualitative and quantitative findings indicate concerns clustered in unconcerned, informational, and personal stages. Evidence of rural contextual influences point to limited resources and dense staff relationships in rural schools. This data aids the district under study in supporting teachers through the process of change as an instructional coaching program for math is implemented systemically.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Mayfield, Melissa J
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evolving Curricular Models in Culinary Arts: An Instrumental Case Study of a Technical Field

Description: The purpose of this research study was to examine how chefs and other individuals in the food industry understood the field of culinary arts. This study used an instrumental case study with purposeful sampling of multiple cases. Through a series of open-ended interviews using snowball-sampling strategy that concluded with 45 participants sharing their experiences in culinary education and employment, several themes emerged across all of the interviews: (1) Disempowerment of those who have been successful in the culinary arts; (2) Conflict in the field; and, (3) Needs of employers not being met. Following the analysis of the data, two research questions were inductively formed: (1) How do the participants' understandings vary based upon the three models (apprenticeship, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree) of culinary education? (2) How do these themes vary depending upon the three models of culinary education? What resulted was thick description of the impact of the three models of formal chef education has had on the field of culinary arts, followed by the potential in the development of the baccalaureate degree model as it represented an opportunity for field redefinition in culinary arts. This study produced a set of data revealing that current culinary education has become one that has bred disempowerment, continued conflict in the field of culinary arts, and left needs unfullfilled related to technical skills required for successful employment. The shift from the time-consuming and expensive model of apprenticeship to the development of the associate degree has necessitated a reconsideration of culinary education. What has been offered in this research is the potential for a transformation facilitated within a baccalaureate degree that could intertwine both technical skills and academic knowledge.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cossio, Allison
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elementary Students' Critical Examination of Characters in Children's Literature Depicting Social Justice

Description: Despite the ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, segregation in schools is still quite visible with suburban schools educating a student body of more than 70% White and urban schools comprised of mostly Black, Hispanic, and Asian students. Ideally, a school should dispel social and structural inequities through curriculum and quality resources, but fallibly, schools continue to be the vehicles to maintaining the status quo. Students who develop critical awareness and cultivate a critical literacy stance can become agents of change toward a more democratic society. In the current study, urban upper-elementary-age students were asked to engage in a critical literacy event by critically examining the power positions of characters in books that depict historical social injustice. The six female participants met in several sessions to read books and a newspaper article, use a critical reader response tool, and then engage in critical conversations about the books' characters. Their dialogue was recorded and analyzed using a critical discourse qualitative methodology. The findings show that older elementary students are capable of seeing multiple perspectives of an issue and can explain characters' power from born from privilege and fueled by fear and how a shift in power may occur through solidarity. The findings suggest school curriculum enhanced by media narrows the students' view of discrimination as being targeted mostly towards African-Americans, but those experiences through literature have the potential to expand the students' views to include other cultural groups. Subsequently, there is a need for broader teacher preparation using books that enhance students' views of social injustice.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Paiva, Deanne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding Principal Perceptions of Stress and Burnout: A Qualitative Case Study in North Texas School Districts

Description: This qualitative case study examined principals' perceptions regarding stress and burnout, investigated perspectives regarding ways to alleviate chronic stress, and analyzed the extent to which future role expectations are related to chronic stress and feelings of burnout. Perceptions of eight elementary principals in large, suburban school districts who experienced similar professional preparation prior to receiving their first principalship were analyzed. Participants, identified through criterion sampling, completed a demographic survey and then participated in a one-on-one interview with the researcher. Once data were collected, interviews were transcribed and analyzed to determine categories and themes. Findings revealed that participants struggle with significant stress in six specified domains: school type, students, parents and community, staff, district personnel, and other. Half of participants perceive that their stress will rise during the next five to ten years. Thirty-eight percent predicted that job stress will decline in the coming years, though they do not believe that identified stress factors will decrease. Instead, they believe that factors such as experience will help them to deal more effectively with the same challenges. Furthermore, 63% of participants do not plan to remain in their current principalship until retirement. All participants reported current personal stress-management strategies that fall into the categories of work-home balance or healthy habits. In campus-specific strategies, 63% focused on staff morale-building opportunities. Finally, 38% of participants did not feel that their district provides strategies that assist in the management of principalship stress.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Lovell, Joy E
Partner: UNT Libraries

Leadership and the Influences of Teacher Absenteeism

Description: This study explored campus principals' leadership behaviors and leadership styles to determine possible influences of leadership on teacher absences. The study was viewed through the framework of Bass and Avolio's (1985) transformational and transactional leadership styles. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Self-Report (MLQ-SR) was used to identify principals' perceptions of their leadership styles. Absence data were also collected and analyzed for the school years (2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015). Data were triangulated using one-on-one interviews with selected principals and teacher focus group discussions. The findings from this study verified that leadership style (described in terms of leadership behaviors) influenced teacher absenteeism indirectly through the culture and climate of the campus. Future research is recommended to discover whether incentive programs decrease teacher absenteeism and how leaders can influence their organizations through their behaviors.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ayala, Lori
Partner: UNT Libraries

Contextualizing History Curriculum: A Qualitative Case Study in Balochistan Pakistan

Description: The purpose of the study was to evaluate Pakistan's national history curriculum in the post 18th constitutional amendment scenario. The amendment bequeathed the responsibility of education, including curriculum development, to the provinces. This study sought input from educators on ways the national curriculum currently addresses local needs and requirements as well as considerations for any potential changes or improvements. Traditionally, history curriculum has been used mainly for social identity formation and ideological indoctrination; current scholarship on history education has now also included national identity formation. Additionally, scholarship has begun to analyze possible purposes behind social identity formation, whether used negatively or positively. This study, which took place in Balochistan, Pakistan, used a qualitative case study approach. A provincial level conference was convened as a context and data source that involved 28 educators including teachers, teacher educators, curriculum experts, and policy actors as participants in the study. The texts of five representative educators engaged in the conference dialogue was selected for analysis. Discourse analysis was the methodology used to arrive at findings of the study. The study yielded several interesting findings that give insight about the national history curriculum of Pakistan and future curriculum practices of the Balochistan province. According to the selected educators, the national history curriculum of Pakistan has been unidimensional, based on Islamic ideology that embraces a religious national identity. The selected educators argued that the curriculum is unwelcoming to diversity, does not promote peace and equity, conceals truth, and hinders critical thinking. They found the national history curriculum non-representative of the local context of Balochistan province. In light of these findings, the selected educators proposed a history curriculum for Balochistan province that promotes peace, tolerance, equity, and respect for diversity, truth, and critical thinking. The participating educators saw a provincial/local focus as addressing many limitations of the ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Khan, Gulab
Partner: UNT Libraries

District Support: Strategies for Building Capacity in Elementary Principals in a Rapid Growth District

Description: The purpose of this descriptive case study was to examine the role of the central office staff and the strategies used to support capacity building in elementary principals in a rapid growth district. By synthesizing research and models from education reform scholars, the conceptual framework of professional capital, intrinsic motivation, the educational change process, and professional learning communities was generated to advance the understanding of utilizing PLCs as a foundation for central office to initiate and sustain continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The Professional Learning Community Assessment - District Support developed by Olivier, Huffman, and Cowan was administered to 126 participants within the curriculum and instruction department and three elementary schools to collect data to analyze the five dimensions of PLCs within the school district. Eleven interviews were conducted with members of the curriculum and instruction department and elementary principals. According to the eleven interviewees, and PLCA-DS, six themes emerged to support the role of capacity building in elementary principals using the PLC model as a framework. The PLC infrastructure, supportive central office, collaborative culture, continuous improvement, differentiated opportunities to learn, and data use were the six themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in elementary principals. Each of the five PLC dimensions were visible throughout the themes as the findings illustrated six key practices currently in motion within the rapid growth school district used to build capacity in elementary principals.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Jamar, Jacye
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Investigation of Preservice Teachers' Understanding of Buoyancy

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the conceptual understandings of 55 elementary preservice teachers for the concept of buoyancy. This study used Ausubel’s Assimilation Theory (Ausubel, 1963) as a framework for a 15-week intervention that used pre/post concept maps (Cmaps), pre/post face-to-face semi-structured interviews, and drawings as evidences for change of formation of cognitive structures. Using a convergent parallel design and mixed methods approach, preservice teachers’ conceptions were analyzed using these evidences. Results of the study show that preservice teachers held both scientific conceptions and misconceptions about buoyancy as a force before and after an instructional intervention. Of importance were the existence of robust misconceptions about buoyancy that included inaccurate scientific knowledge about the foundational concepts of gravity, weight, mass, and density. The largest gains in scientific knowledge included the concepts of gravity, surface area, opposing forces, and the buoyant force. These concepts were consistently supported with evidence from post-concept maps, post, semi-structured interviews, and drawings. However, high frequencies of misconceptions were associated with these same aforementioned concepts as well as additional misconceptions about buoyancy-related concepts (i.e., weight, density, displacement, and sinking/floating). A paired t test showed a statistically significant difference (t = -3.504, p = .001) in the total number of scientifically correct concepts for the pre-concept maps (M = 0.51, SD = .879) and post-concept maps (M = 1.25, SD = 1.542). The Cohen’s d effect size was small, .47. Even through gains for the pre/post concept maps were noted, a qualitative analysis of the results indicated that not only were there serious gaps in the participant’s scientific understanding of buoyancy, after the instructional intervention an increased number of misconceptions were presented alongside the newly learned concepts. A paired t test examining misconceptions showed that there was a statistically significant difference (t = -3.160, p = ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Kirby, Benjamin
Partner: UNT Libraries

Strategic Design: An Action Research Study on Community Relations in a Texas School District

Description: School leaders often contemplate implementing measures that will increase community and parent involvement in schools. There is a shortage of research that concisely takes school leadership through a process that details how to integrate parent and community input in a school transformation initiative and careful analysis of student outcomes. Within this study, I provide an in-depth look at one school district’s efforts to engage its community through strategic planning and mission and vision redesign. This process includes community involvement at every phase. For the purpose of this study, community refers to both community members who do not have children in the school system and parents of current students. In this study, I outline the inception of the transformation effort, the ongoing efforts to include community input in decision-making and campus implementation, and finally a review of the overarching impact on leadership, staff, students and community. Data collection analyzed in this study include assessment data, survey data, discipline data and walk through data collected by the school district.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Jund, Nicole Cathryn
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of the Leadership Competency Frameworks of Nontraditional Principal Preparation Programs

Description: This study explored the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs to determine how they aligned to research-based best practices for school leaders. The research questions that guided this work were: To what degree are the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities addressed in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs? How do the leaders of the nontraditional principal preparation programs view the degree to which their competencies include the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities? A multi-case study analysis was conducted that compared the competency frameworks of four nontraditional principal preparation programs. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA), and Teaching Trust were the nontraditional programs selected for this study. Leaders from the four organizations were interviewed. The findings from the research illustrated that a majority of the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities were included in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs. The study revealed that four of the McREL 21 were not included in any of the competency frameworks. Another finding was the lack of focus on talent management and personal dispositions in the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities. Nontraditional principal preparation programs are a growing avenue for principal preparation, as such their use of research on principal success was promising
Date: May 2016
Creator: Horton, Tonya Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries