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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

Determinants of Principal Pay in the State of Texas

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine district, campus, and community determinants of principal’s salaries using a spatial econometric framework. Among the district variables business tax (p = 0.001), property tax (p < .01), and the Herfindahl Index (measure of competition) were statistically significant indicators of principal salaries. The results suggest that more affluent districts tend to pay principals higher salaries, which was expected. Regarding campus characteristics, the percent of economically disadvantaged was not a statistically sound indicator (p = 0.468), but campus enrollment was significant (p = <.01). Interestingly as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students increased, the principal salary decreased. In contrast, as student enrollment increases the salary of principals increases, suggesting that principals of larger campuses earn higher salaries. Interestingly, student achievement was not a statistically significant predictor of principals’ salary given that pay for performance in Texas is at the forefront of political debate. Among the variables examined at the community level, only the percentage of homes owner occupied (p = 0.002) was found to be a statistically significant indicator of principal salary (p = .002). The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The paper utilized a spatial regression approach to examine the determinants of principal salary using data from the local, state, and national data sources. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational, and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Asbury, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Do Re Mi? Yes! Using Music and Visual Arts to Promote Thai Children's English Vocabulary Development

Description: This research examines the efficacy, if any, of the Music and Visual Arts (MVA) program in improving the English vocabulary development of first grade Thai students. The researcher developed the Vocabulary Recognition Assessment (VRA) as a measure of English vocabulary development. It employs the accuracy and rapidity method of word recognition as a measurement of English language development in Thai children. Forty first grade Thai students in a Bangkok elementary school participated in the study. Participants were divided equally between an experimental group and a control group. During a nine-week period, students in the experimental group were instructed with the MVA strategy, while students in the control group were taught with the Visual Arts (VA) strategy. Paired sample t-test, ANOVA, and ANCOVA were used to analyze data from the VRA, to compare the pre-test and the post-test in terms of accuracy scores and rapidity scores of the control group and the experimental group. Data revealed that students instructed with the MVA strategy improved their English vocabulary development in terms of accuracy of word recognition significantly more than students taught English using the VA strategy. No significant difference was found between the MVA strategy and the VA strategy in terms of rapidity of word recognition. The MVA strategy could be a useful strategy for Thai early childhood teachers to use in helping Thai children learn English vocabulary.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Mathayomchan, Somsuda
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effectiveness of a Professional Learning Community on Student Achievement in Elementary Reading and Mathematics in a Large Urban School District

Description: The study was to determine the impact of a Professional Learning Community on student achievement as measured by the state's criterion referenced reading and mathematics achievement tests. Data for this study were extracted from the school district's student database. Two cohorts of 90 students each were randomly selected from a population of approximately 600 students in 3 schools that participated in a Professional Learning Community (treatment) and 3 schools that did not (control). Professional Learning Communities known as PLCs, can serve as a major theoretical framework to promote the improvement of classroom teachers' instructional practice, teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Reading and mathemtics mean scale scores were extracted at three time points (year 1, year 2, and year 3) across three grades (grade 3, grade 4 and grade 5). Test for equality of variance found that no statistically significant difference existed between the mean scale scores of the two cohorts at the beginning of the study. The findings revealed that both cohorts trend toward increased academic achievement from year to year individually; however, when compared to each other, no statistically significant difference existed. Further research is indicated to examine each PLC for implementation, support and leadership as they relate to the PLC and a focus on instruction and learning.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Landry, Jacqueline Hayles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Impact of Teacher and Student Ethnicity on Student Assessment

Description: The purpose of the study was to answer the questions: Do students show greater academic success in English language arts/reading as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethinicity? Do students show greater academic success in math as measured by the TAKS exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethnicity? Minority students' success on the TAKS test was compared to the assessment scores of White students from the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-13 school year in thre suburban school districts. This topic has been a subject of discussion since the late 10970s when Cardenas and Cardenas (1977) studeied the achievement among minority students and their White peers. The conversation continued through authors such as Takei and Shouse (2008), Hays (2011), Ladson-Billings (2006), Dee (2003,2005), and Brown (2006). To answer these reserach questions, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted on the data collected. Although the study verified the achievement gap between minority students and White students, the study indicated no consistent pattern corroborating that minority students were more successful when taught by teachers of the same ethnicity. In many cases, students learned better with teachers of a different ethnicity. Black students were successful with Hispanic or White teachers, Hispanic students were successful with Black or White teachers, and White students were successful with Black or Hispanic students. The TAKS assessment scores were the only data used to support this analysis.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Barnes, Barbara
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

A Spatial Econometric Study Examining the Determinants of Principal Salaries

Description: The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The purpose of the study was to examine district and community determinants of principals’ salaries using a spatial econometric framework. The findings have implications for education policy development related to pay for contribution, rather than pay based on tenure, experience, or district wealth. The quantitative study used a spatial regression approach to model school, district, and community factors as determinants of Texas high school principal’s salary. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. The findings provide empirical insights regarding how principal salaries are determined. The study found a statistically significant spatial autocorrelation relationship at p<.05 confirming geographic locations is a robust influence on principal salaries. After controlling for the spatial autocorrelation the study also found experience, gender, district wealth, and campus size significantly influence principal salaries. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between principal salary and student achievement. .
Date: May 2016
Creator: Bland, J. Edward
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

Teaching Beyond the Walls: A Mixed Method Study of Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Belief Systems About Science Instruction

Description: This mixed method study investigated K-6 teacher candidates' beliefs about informal science instruction prior to and after their experiences in a 15-week science methods course and in comparison to a non-intervention group. The study is predicated by the literature that supports the extent to which teachers' beliefs influence their instructional practices. The intervention integrated the six strands of learning science in informal science education (NRC, 2009) and exposed candidates to out-of-school-time environments (NRC, 2010). Participants included 17 candidates in the intervention and 75 in the comparison group. All were undergraduate K-6 teacher candidates at one university enrolled in different sections of a required science methods course. All the participants completed the Beliefs about Science Teaching (BAT) survey. Reflective journals, drawings, interviews, and microteaching protocols were collected from participants in the intervention. There was no statistically significant difference in pre or post BAT scores of the two groups; However, there was a statistically significant interaction effect for the intervention group over time. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed that the intervention candidates displayed awareness of each of the six strands of learning science in informal environments and commitment to out-of-school-time learning of science. This study supports current reform efforts favoring integration of informal science instructional strategies in science methods courses of elementary teacher education programs.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Asim, Sumreen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Transfer of Instructional Practices From Freedom Schools to the Classroom

Description: The instructional practices of three current classroom teachers who formerly served as Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) in the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools (CDFFS) Program were examined. Haskell (2001) outlined eleven principles of transfer of learning, which were used to survey the levels of transfer established from service in Freedom Schools to practice in the traditional classroom. Individual surveys, The Freedom School Pedagogies Teacher Observation Record (FSPTOR) along with interviews of each participant were used for data collection; all three components were used to triangulate the findings. The findings from this study verified that low transfer was observed when the minimal application of the principles of learning was applied. This study revealed that for transfer to occur at high levels, it is imperative that adherence to all 11 principals is made, and the understanding of transfer, the application of transfer, and reflection on transfer are implemented. If the transfer of instructional practices is a goal of CDFFS for SLIs, the CDFFS program should consider implementing transfer of learning theory in future SLI training.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Stanford, Myah D
Partner: UNT Libraries

Culturally Proficient Leadership: Teacher Perceptions of Elementary School Principals in Urban, Title I Schools

Description: This study examined elementary teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s level of cultural proficiency. Practices for Developing a Culturally Competent School Environment, a survey Camille Smith and adapted by Dr. Mack T. Hines, was completed from a sample size of 119 teachers. The survey contained 35 items, including six constructs: valuing diversity, assessing the culture, managing the dynamics of difference, institutionalizing cultural knowledge and resources, adapting to diversity and inclusiveness. Teachers rated their principal using a Likert scale which consisted of 1 = never uses, 2 = rarely uses, 3 = sometimes uses, 4 = frequently uses, and 5 = always uses. Teachers of various races, ages and years with their principal participated in this study. The study reveals that these variables do not make a statistically significant difference in the teachers’ perception of how proficient they are in valuing diversity, a assessing his/her own culture and institutionalizing cultural knowledge. This quantitative study reveals the variances of statistical significance of teacher demographics: age, gender, years served under current principal and accountability rating of the school. Cultural proficiency is important to the development and maintenance of the necessary relationships among students, teachers, principals and the school community.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hendrix, Royond P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Description: The problem that guided this study was a socio-constructivist view of education via online learning. Based in the extant literature, a deficiency existed that directly correlated online learning closing the academic achievement gap between student populations. In other words, schools invested in technology; however, few empirical data sets existed that established a connection between technology integration and the academic achievement of different student groups. The purpose of this pooled regression analysis study was to determine whether the method of class instruction effected academic achievement gaps between three subpopulations based on gender, race, and SES. Specifically, this study examined whether gender, race, and SES could predict semester grades within and across traditional, blended, and online course instructional methods. The dependent variable for this study was student success in the form of an end-of-unit test grade designed to evaluate student understanding of the curriculum. The independent variables included student gender, ethnicity, and SES. Quantitative data were collected through an analysis of Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and student end-of-unit exam grades. The research suggests one combined interaction, [gender x race] in the traditional learning environment, is statistically significant while several independent interactions are significant. Those independent interactions are TAKS scores, gender, and Socio-economic status. According to the trends in this research, no significant differences exists in academic achievement between African American males and White males enrolled in traditional, blended or online classes. This non-significance is important. As suggested, when all other external factors, in this research, are held constant and the academic playing field is level, male students perform equally within the classroom, also, because no significant differences exists in academic achievement, the quality of instruction from well-trained, highly qualified educators can be an integral factor in closing the achievement gap between African American, low-SES male students.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Eldridge D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Child Development Associate Credential System 2.0 on Candidate Success Rates

Description: The purpose of this research was to identify the impact of process changes that have been made to the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is a beginning early childhood teacher credential that focuses on competency based standards widely seen as necessary for early childhood teachers to possess. The process in which early childhood teachers receive their credential changed in 2013 with the implementation of CDA credential 2.0. Changes included taking a computerized exam and the implementation of a professional development specialist conducting an on-site classroom observation. In order to determine the impact that CDA 2.0 had on teacher credentialing success rates, a mixed-method sequential design was employed. First, existing data sets of success rates from a national scholarship program were reviewed. Following, interviews with CDA credential seekers were conducted. Findings revealed that while candidate success rates increased for those receiving CDA credentials under the 2.0 system, the actual number of candidates receiving scholarships to pursue the CDA credential through the national scholarship program decreased. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews indicated that three areas that impacted CDA 2.0 candidate success rates were the professional education programs and instructors, the CDA Exam, and Professional Development Specialists. This is the first research study to examine the CDA credential process. The findings demonstrate that the 2.0 system provides candidates with necessary supports to be successful. A significant question arising out of the data is how a determination is made to issue a credential. Before QRIS and public policy initiatives employ more efforts to professionalize the field of early childhood – primarily through the CDA credential – the process by which one obtains a credential should be more thoroughly examined.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Davis, Travis J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Organizational Behavior: Perceptions Analysis of Micro and Macro Organizational Behavior in an Organizational Setting

Description: Understanding organizational behavior (OB) has profoundly influenced organizational performance and how people behave in organizations. Researchers have suggested various micro and macro organizational behaviors to be the impetus for high-performing organizations. Through a policy capturing approach this study builds on these findings by specifically examining the perceptions of micro and macro organizational behaviors in an organizational setting. The participants (n =181) completed a Micro and Macro Organizational Behavior Perceptions Questionnaire. Results showed perception differences exist between subordinates and supervisors. Additionally, participants perceived job satisfaction to be the most important micro organizational behavior, whereas organizational design was perceived to be the most important macro organizational behavior. However when comparing hierarchal positions in the organization, supervisors weighted leadership as the most important and subordinates weighted job satisfaction as the most important organizational behavior. While these findings only scratch the surface as to how organizational behavior is perceived, the implications challenge leaders to close the OB perception gap. Correspondingly, organizational behavior thinking may result in improving individual and organizational performance.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Delich, Joshua T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

School and Community Partnerships: Effect on At-risk Elementary Student Populations

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the current practices of school and community partnerships in five North Texas elementary schools. In addition, the study focused on the influence community partnerships have on at-risk students based on at-risk indicators data. The literature revealed that when schools, parents, and families work together, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enrolled in coursework beyond high school. The target population included approximately 350 administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals from five North Texas elementary schools. Also included were the respective partners from each of the five elementary schools. This research included online survey instrument and data were gathered and analyzed through a combination of statistical procedures and descriptive and inferential statistics. The results may provide other schools with a profile of school and community partnerships that can be implemented as a method to help their at-risk student populations. Findings included a descriptive analysis of factors that contributed to the success of community engagement efforts as well as those factors that limited those efforts. A secondary purpose of this study was of continuous improvement in developing these approaches through a goal-setting approach. Schools included in the study provided a next steps plan by describing their major goal(s) for improving existing school and community partnerships over the next 3 years.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Tucker, Linda Cavazos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-efficacy, Academic Engagement, and Student-teacher Relationships for Ninth-grade African American Male Students’ Algebra I Achievement: a Structural Equation Model

Description: The purpose of the current study was to discern the effects of three latent constructs – self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships on Algebra I achievement among ninth-grade African American male students. A nationally representative sample from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS09) was used in the study. Study participants were 697 African American males enrolled in ninth grade in the fall of 2009 across the United States. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analytical procedures were performed to test the hypothesized relationships of Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) theoretical assumptions. The results indicate that the three latent variables directly or indirectly were related to Algebra I achievement among ninth grade African American male students. Moreover, the results revealed that self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships constructs had direct significant impact on Algebra I academic performance; nonetheless, the relationships were not strong. These two latent variables had small effect sizes of 5% and 1%, respectively. Combined, self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships explained only 8% of the variance in the Algebra I achievement among African American males across the United States (R2=.08). The magnitude effect of these factors on Algebra I achievement was minimal. Overall, these findings suggest that the self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships latent variables had a negligible effect as predictors of Algebra I academic success among ninth grade African American male students. A summary of the results are presented and future research is recommended.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Onsongo, Evans N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does an Online Post-baccalaureate Secondary Teacher Certification Program Produce Certified Teachers Who Remain in the Field?

Description: Given issues in education concerning teacher shortages, the omnipresence of alternative certification programs and the growth of online programs in higher education, this study investigated teacher retention for 77 secondary education teachers who completed an online teacher preparation program in Texas. Teacher retention was examined from 2003-2013 and investigated the influence of factors such personal characteristics, working conditions and school setting characteristics on teacher retention. Data was collected electronically utilizing a survey instrument designed by two teacher education experts and I. A total of 21 variables and two open-ended questions were investigated using the survey instrument. Exploratory factor and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify a multi-factor model for teacher retention utilizing the participants' survey responses. These analyses yielded evidence of the program's effectiveness in preparing teachers for long careers. Specifically, the areas of program support, field experience, and classroom management were statistically significant factors that contributed positively to teacher retention. Additionally, variables outside the program, were examined. These factors included personal characteristics, working conditions, and school setting factors. The predictor model accounted for 56% of the variance; F (17, 54) = 3.015; p = < 0.001. In particular, working conditions contributed to 41% of the variance associated with the teacher retention model. A qualitative analysis of open-ended survey questions was used to further examine decisions to remain in teaching. Support of administration, colleagues, staff, and parents was shown to influence teacher retention.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Brooks, Kanini Wanjira Ward
Partner: UNT Libraries

Efficacy in Texas Charter Schools Compared to Traditional Public Schools

Description: The need to spur innovation and improve student performance initiated the formation of, under different legislative acts, charter schools that include variations of traditional public schools. With the enthusiasm and level of investment going into the formation of charter schools, it is necessary to explore whether these schools have achieved their objectives. This study explored whether Texas open enrollment charter schools perform bettered compared to Texas public schools. The study applied a causal comparative quantitative research design. School data on graduation and dropout rates, college preparation, attendance rates, and overall performance were analyzed quantitatively. Student achievement data available for statistical analysis includes student performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) state assessment from 2007 to 2011. Data analysis for race, special programs, at risk, economically disadvantaged, and limited English proficiency was incorporated. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance techniques were included in the data analysis. The analysis extended to post hoc tests to determine variables that caused variation. The study found Texas open-enrollment charter schools had more African American students but fewer Whites compared to public schools. Students in public schools performed better than those in charter schools, and Whites yielded the best performance. Charter schools had high dropout rates, low attendance, and low graduation rates, while public schools had low dropout rates, high attendance, and high graduation rates. Finally, public schools had more students ready for college than charter schools.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Keller, Karlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Longitudinal Impact of Technology Immersion Through a One-to-One Mobile Technology Program on Reading and Math Performance in a Rural Title I Public School District

Description: In conjunction with the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot program (TIP), the State of Texas implemented a four-year annual evaluation called the Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (eTxTiP). It focused on the technology immersion experience through one-to-one mobile technology of sixth grade students in 22 selected middle schools. Initial findings suggested academic growth, especially in math, increased rigor of student work, greater teacher collaboration, a more positive school environment, and transformation of instructional practices. This study focused on one of the original schools selected to participate in the TIP program, exploring the impact over time of one-to-one mobile technology on one group of students over an 8-year period beginning with their third grade year. The selected school’s demographic makeup reflected a large number of schools within the state, including its size, rural location and economically disadvantaged student population. Based on an interrupted time series design, state assessment data was analyzed using a piecewise growth model. The study revealed no statistically significant academic growth in reading and math performance among the participants.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ice, Laura R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Physical Activity Impact on Executive Function and Academic Achievement with Elementary Students

Description: This study tested the hypothesis that daily physical activity improves the executive function and academic achievement of 9- to 11-year-old children. The quasi-experimental, pretest–posttest design included 60 eligible fourth and fifth grade students (51.7% female, 98% Hispanic; 10.26 years of age). Twenty-five students elected to participate in school day, zero-hour (1 hour before school starts) physical activity program for 8 weeks. The 35 students who did not sign up for the program served as the control group as masked data provided by the school. Standardized measures, Adele Diamond flanker task and the Wide Range Achievement Test 4, assessed executive function and academic achievement, respectively. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to determine differences between groups on executive function and academic achievement. There were no observable benefits from daily physical activity on executive function and academic achievement. Convenience sampling and voluntary attendance potentially limited the effect of exercise on performance.
Date: August 2015
Creator: O’Brien, Caroline Clark
Partner: UNT Libraries

Student and Family Perspectives on Gifted and Advanced Academics Participation for African American High School Students

Description: Many students and their families do not understand the impact of students’ involvement in gifted or advanced academics educational programs and their potentially positive effects and challenges. Nationally African American students are underrepresented in gifted and advanced academics courses in high schools; however, African American students and families often do not advocate for their inclusion in these educational pathways. A survey of literature supporting this study of voices of African American families concerning gifted and advanced academics participation focused on (1) the historical underpinnings for equity and excellence for African American and for gifted and advanced academics learners, (2) how the lack of an agreed upon definition of gifted and advanced academics by the professional field might contribute to the problem, and (3) how African American parents made educational decisions for and with their children, especially concerning college. Employing semi-structured interviews and a focus group, this qualitative case study examined how four students from each of three groups, gifted and talented, advanced academics, and neither, and a representative group of their parents perceived these programs and their children’s involvement in them within the framework provided by a single school district. African American families in this study asked for a partnership to support their children in building resiliency to choose and remain in gifted and advanced academics programs. Students reported that they could access more rigorous coursework if they were supported by mentoring peers, in addition to informed family and educators. The matching intonations and word choices of the children and parents suggested academic success pathways as students carried the voices of their families with them.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Zeske, Karen Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Supporting Mathematics Understanding Through Funds of Knowledge

Description: Parents are often criticized for the types of roles they play in their children’s education. Rather than assuming parents do not contribute to their children’s learning, this study identified the various ways Hispanic parents support mathematics learning in the home. Using a funds of knowledge lens, the history, practices, and experiences of families that contributed to their children’s mathematics understanding was explored. The purpose of this study was to identify the unique funds of knowledge among three Hispanic families living in the same city, specifically, how parents supported their children’s mathematics learning through funds of knowledge. Five Hispanic parents from three households participated in a series of three home interviews. The semi--‐structured interviews addressed family, school, and educational history of the parents, routines of the household, and perceived roles parents played in their children’s mathematics learning. Participants contributed to their children’s mathematics learning through various funds of knowledge including time management, music, sports, construction, shopping, and cooking. Participating parents shared knowledge with their children through questioning and discussion, providing experiences, and promoting practice. In this study, participants valued education and supported their children’s mathematics learning at home and school activities. This study contributes to the existing funds of knowledge research by expanding the work on how Hispanic parents support mathematics learning.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Williams, Julie J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring the Dual Language Program Implementation and Biliteracy Trajectories at Two Schools

Description: With the increase in emergent bilinguals and higher standards for all, the challenge for educational stakeholders is to fully utilize dual language programs as a prominent means toward meeting and surpassing rigorous state and national standards. Part of maximizing dual language programs’ impact, and the purpose of this study, was to provide detailed analyses of program models and student biliteracy development. Thus, the research questions sought to explore the level of understanding and implementation of dual language programs in general and the biliteracy component in particular at each campus, before documenting the second through fifth grade English and Spanish reading biliteracy trajectories of students at each school. Both campuses experienced more challenges in the implementation of the program structure, staff quality, and professional development rather than in curriculum and instruction. Furthermore, although both campuses’ students experienced positive trajectories towards biliteracy by the end of fifth grade, each campus was characterized by different rates and correlation between English and Spanish reading growth in each grade. Finally, the researcher conducted a split plot MANOVA to examine how much variance in the biliteracy trajectories was explained by school attendance, gender, initial English oral language and initial Spanish oral language; only school of attendance and initial English oral language levels explained the variance in biliteracy trajectories for students at these campuses.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Babino, Alexandra
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teachers’ Concerns and Uses of iPads in the Classroom with the Concerns-based Adoption Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of high school teachers’ concerns, willingness, aptitude, and use of iPads in the classroom during the adoption of a new technology. The design of this case study included a sample of eight teachers from the English, math, science, and history departments who were surveyed, observed, and interviewed using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM). This study is guided by three research questions: (1) What are teachers’ concerns about using iPads in the high school English, math, science, and history classrooms? (2) What are teachers’ levels of iPad use in the English, math, science, and history classrooms? (3) What are teachers’ pedagogical practices as they use iPads in the English, math, science, and history classrooms? To research these questions, the study measured teacher concerns with the triangulation of three diagnostic instruments from the Concerns-Based Adoption Model: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), the Innovation Configurations Map (IC Map), and the Levels of Use (LoU) matrix. The CBAM model was used to address the scarcity of literature regarding iPad use in content-area classrooms. The findings from the research show that the impact of introducing a new technology is more multifaceted than previously assumed. A teacher’s inclination and skill to use a new technology with their students varies considerably within a school and different approaches are observed across subject areas such as English, math, science, and history. When the Concerns-Based Adoption Model is used in organizational change, teacher concerns are revealed, which leads to finding opportunities for intervention and support by change facilitators who help individuals progress in the adoption of an innovation.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Stewart, Gail
Partner: UNT Libraries