UNT Theses and Dissertations - 65 Matching Results

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Technology-enhanced Classroom Environments and English Language Acquisition Among Native Spanish-speaking, English Language Learners in the Preschool and Elementary Classroom

Description: This qualitative study addressed the question: What are the perceptions of preschool and elementary bilingual and ESL teachers on how technology-enhanced classroom environments support native Spanish-speaking English language learners in the acquisition of English as a second language? With the support of six school districts representing three different regions and 15 schools in Texas, this research investigated technology-enhanced learning environments and the influence of emerging technologies on language acquisition by focusing on classroom interactions and learner engagement in preschool and elementary settings. Forty-six teachers completed the self-identified online questionnaire and from that initial group of participants, 10 were chosen for the face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A two-cycle progressive refinement coding technique was used for the analysis of the teacher interviews. In Vivo coding was selected for the first-cycle coding methodology to study teacher perspectives using their direct language. For the second-cycle methodology, focus coding was chosen as a continuation of the analytical process examining the developing patterns resulting in the initial codes being grouped to form salient categories. This process of reanalyzing and reorganizing coded data led to the creation of four emergent themes and in the views of the teachers interviewed describes how emerging technologies influences English language acquisition. The four emergent themes identified were “engaging students for learning,” collaborating with others,” “developing and clarifying concepts,” and “creating authentic work.”
Date: August 2013
Creator: Miller, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries

Resource Allocation Efficiency at the Elementary and Middle School Levels in a Texas School District

Description: In recent years much attention has gone to school efficiency, as determined by assessing student achievement relative to expenditures at the school district level. The present study built on prior work in school efficiency with a focus on the school campus level instead of the district level. Included in the study were 28 elementary and middle school campuses in a selected school district in Texas. The approach taken in the investigation was data envelopment analysis (DEA), which provided scores for efficiency and was intended to provide clarity on efficiency research at the campus level. Past studies using the DEA model have involved business and private institutions, but not public schools. The DEA model calculated and assigned efficiency scores for each campuses. The two variable categories used to determine campus efficiency were student demographics and resource allocation. The total enrollment numbers included the number of White, economically disadvantaged, at-risk, and limited English proficiency students. The resource allocation variables included the total expenditures in instruction, instructional related services, instructional leadership, campus leadership, and student support services. The efficiency scores paired with student achievement scores determined campus efficiency and effectiveness. An effective and efficiency framework was used to represent the data with student achievement on the y-axis and campus efficiency scores on the x-axis. I applied Pearson product moment and regression analyses using the same variables as previous studies. The Pearson product moment assessed the correlation between student demographic variables, function code variables, and campus efficiency. The Pearson product showed a weak positive relationship between the number of White students and the number of LEP students enrolled in the district. The analysis also showed moderate and strong negative relationships between efficiency and instructional leadership and student support services. The regression analysis identified the student demographic and function code variables that affected the level ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: Hamlin, Lance
Partner: UNT Libraries

Moral Disengagement: an Exploratory Study of Predictive Factors for Digital Aggression and Cyberbullying

Description: A cross-sectional quantitative causal research design was employed to explore the relationship between adolescent digital aggression, cyberbully behavior and moral disengagement. A survey was created and electronically administered to 1077 high school students in Grades 9-12 in a selected school district in Texas. High school students were chosen because research has shown a decrease in traditional bullying and an increase of digital aggression and cyberbullying at this developmental level. A principal component analysis (PCA) of the survey was conducted to determine latent constructs. The results of the PCA revealed 6 latent variables, which included moral disengagement, school climate and culture, social relationships, spirituality, family systems, and mood (anger). Moral disengagement was the dependent variable in the current study, while the remaining latent constructs were treated as independent variables. In addition to the latent constructs, student demographics and self-identification as a cyberbully or cybervictim were included as independent variables in the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple regression models. An ANOVA of the survey items where the participants self-identified as a cyberobserver, a cybervictim or a cyberbully was initially conducted. Participants who identified as a cyberobserver explained less than 1.0% of the variance in moral disengagement. Additionally, participants who identified as a cybervictim also explained less than 1.0% of the variance in moral disengagement. However, participants identified as a cyberbully accounted for 7.28% of the variance in moral disengagement. Results of the multiple regression analyses indicated that gender, age, school climate and culture, social relationships, academic success, ethnicity, family systems, spirituality, and mood (anger) significantly impacted a student’s willingness to morally disengage and participate in digital aggression. Among these variables, the variance explained in moral disengagement ranged from 0.8% (Social Relationships) to 16.8% (Mood-Anger). The variables of socio-economic status and grade in school were not statistically significant predictors of moral ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: George, R. Jefferson
Partner: UNT Libraries

Role Expectations of the Texas Public High School Counselor as Perceived by Various Professional Groups

Description: This study seeks as its purpose to establish an .objective evaluation of the counselor and his role as seen by various professional groups. The primary purpose of the investigation is to compare the perceptions of these various groups as to the tasks a counselor may perform. The study involves the distribution of an opinionn-aire to one hundred public high school counselors, one hundred public high school principals, sixty-three counselor-educators, and forty-two administrator-educators. A return percentage of seventy-nine has been realized.
Date: August 1972
Creator: Wills, Curtis Edwin, 1941-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Board Training on the Relationship Between Board Members and CEOs

Description: The purpose of this study is to ascertain the opinions of chief executive officers (CEOs) and school board chairs of Texas private schools in educational service center (ESC) Regions 10 and 11 toward board training and the potential benefits for the success of their respective roles. Literature regarding private school board training is limited. As a result, most private school boards face challenges regarding school board training expectations, which could affect their roles and the roles of CEOs. The quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional research design examined Texas private school CEOs’ and school board chairs’ perceptions about school board training and the working relationships between Texas school CEOs and school boards. The researcher developed the survey and interview questions used in this study. Responses to a 4-point Likert-type scale instrument, short answer questions, and interviews were solicited from a population of private school CEO and school board chairs within ESC Regions 10 and 11 from schools with an enrollment of at least 100 students and that contained Grades 9 through 12. In-depth Interviews were conducted with 12 private school CEOs and 12 school board chairs with varying levels of school board training. The research findings indicate that board training does make a significant difference in the working relationships between CEOs and private school boards. The findings of this study may assist private school boards in addressing school board training and the components of such training, which would benefit the working relationships between CEOs and school boards, as well as the success of private schools.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Riley, Beth A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Analysis of Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education Decisions Regarding Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, School Administrator, Athletic Director and Central Office Administrator Term Contract Nonrenewal Appeals From 1983 to 2013

Description: I conducted a legal analysis of decisions by Texas Commissioners of Education in appeals by Texas school administrators from nonrenewal decisions made by Texas school districts from 1983 to 2013. I analyzed the findings of fact and conclusions of law described in the commissioners’ rulings to determine the legal basis of school districts’ decisions to nonrenew school administrators’ term employment contracts. I also examined the legal rationale for commissioners’ rulings and determined which party most commonly prevailed in these administrative proceedings—the respondent school district or the petitioner school administrator. In particular, the study determined factors that contributed to commissioners’ decisions to overrule or support school districts’ nonrenewal decisions. A careful review of commissioner decisions, which are accessible on the Texas Education Association website, identified 44 commissioner decisions involving appeals by superintendents, associate superintendents, public school administrators, athletic directors, or central office administrators concerning school districts’ term contract nonrenewal decisions from 1983 to 2013. Commissioners’ decisions in these cases were surveyed using legal research methods. This study provides recommendations to assist local education agencies to refine current policies and regulations regarding the nonrenewal of administrators’ term contracts, and provides insight on Texas Commissioners’ rulings on term contract nonrenewal appeals brought by Texas school administrators. The findings revealed that school boards’ lack of understanding of local policies and lack of evidence resulted in commissioners granting 27% of appeals. Additionally, commissioners denied 73% of the appeals because school boards provided at least one reason that met the substantial evidence standard of review, and respondents failed to substantiate allegations or enter evidence in evidentiary hearings.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Ramirez, Carlos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Immunity for New Mexico Public School Districts and the 1978 Tort Claims Act

Description: In a 3-year timeframe, nearly 800 student negligence suits were filed, and most involved some claim of personal injury. Despite heightened public attention of negligence lawsuits against school districts and their employees, an empirical study of court decisions revealed that the volume of litigation against school districts remained steady from 1990 to 2005, the majority of cases were ruled in favor of the school district employees, and government and official immunity were most often the basis for these rulings. Researchers have concluded that immunity laws are strong in the United States, although they vary by state in their application. However, a primary recommendation was that, because of the misconception of a lack of immunity for public school employees, a comprehensive study on governmental and official immunity is needed. This dissertation employed legal research, analysis, and methodology to engage in a comprehensive investigation of teacher immunity in the four southern states of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Of central concern to this dissertation was the Tort Claims Act of 1978 from the State of New Mexico. The Tort Claims Act is the vehicle by which immunity is granted to public school employees. Court findings over the last 35 years point to three primary domains under which cases pertaining to immunity fall: negligence (62.5%), evaluation and supervision (16.7%), and student discipline (8.3%). Immunity appears strong across all three domains; however, only future studies on cases by state will determine whether states in the southwest United States are the norm or an anomaly.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Herauf, Todd J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Impact of School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports for African American Males in American Public Schools

Description: Research has shown that African American males are performing poorly in American public schools and are disciplined at a higher rate than other ethnic and gender groups. Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) has a long history of success with individual students and more recently in school-wide settings. School-wide PBIS offers schools the ability to tailor their rules, rewards, and consequences to the specific needs and culture of a school. This descriptive and quantitative study sought to determine if implementation with fidelity of SWPBIS positively correlated to reduced disciplinary measures. The object of this study was to determine in what ways disciplinary rates for African American males differ in American public schools that identify as using SWPBIS with fidelity as compared to American public schools that do not implement SWPBIS with fidelity. Disciplinary rates examined included ISS, OSS single incident, and OSS multiple incidents. Descriptive findings indicated that schools that implement SWPBIS show a lower rate of ISS and OSS incidents for African American males. The quantitative findings did not yield a statistically significance between schools with fidelity of implementation of SWPBIS and schools without fidelity of implementation of SWPBIS.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Luttrull, Pamelia D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationships Between the TeacherInsight Score and Student Performance As Measured by Student TAKS Academic Change Scores

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between TeacherInsight™ (TI) scores and student performance as measured by student academic change scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. School district administrators, particularly district personnel administrators, are continually faced with the task of screening and hiring potential teacher applicants who are expected to influence student achievement outcomes directly. Efforts to make the screening, selection, and hiring process more efficient and effective have led to the use of certain teacher prescreening selection instruments that provide a research-based assessment of teachers’ affective attributes, which purportedly predicts teacher effectiveness. This study addressed this concern using a teacher screening and selection tool, the TI, design by the Gallup Organization. According to the Gallup Organization, the TI is a predictor of teacher affective attributes or talents. The state of Texas uses a student evaluation process called the TAKS to measure student academic gains in certain subject areas. This study examined the relationship between the TI and teacher effectiveness as measured by student academic TAKS change scores in mathematics in fourth and fifth grade. I used data obtained from a single school district in north central Texas. The specific targeted population consisted of 874 students enrolled in mathematics and 44 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers hired over a 3-year period (20082011). I applied a quantitative causal-comparative research design. Descriptive statistics for all variables were presented and bivariate relationships between continuous variables were examined. A two-level linear regression model was used to predict student performance on state-mandated assessments using teachers’ TI scores while controlling for relevant covariates. The statistical significance level throughout the study was set at α = .05. A major finding of this study revealed that teachers’ TI scores were not significant predictors of student achievement in the final model (p ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Stewart, Robert L. (Robert Lee), 1960-
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Case Study of an Urban Charter School’s Journey of School Improvement: Organizational Theory, Institutional Learning and School Reform

Description: The problem for this study was the need to increase and maintain in student achievement in charter schools. The purpose of this single-case study was to discover how an inner city charter school with a high percentage of at-risk students increased overall student achievement and attained acceptable performance status when faced simultaneously with administrative challenges and increases in state and federal standards. The participants for the single-case study included the school district’s superintendent, the high school principal, the dean of students, four faculty of the district, and one outside consultant appointed to work with the district by the state of Texas. The sampling for this study allowed for the opportunity to study in greater depth the choice of reform strategies and organizational structure designed to result in increased student achievement and student success over the course of two years. Since this was a single-case study of one charter school district, participants were referenced by the role in which they served. All district, campus, and participant names remained anonymous. The results showed the increased student achievement was made possible by several reform strategies and best practices. The primary reform strategies and best practices that had the greatest impact were consistent campus leadership and parent and community involvement with the campus. Mission and focus were secondary strategies that contributed to increasing teacher effectiveness and student achievement. All of the interviewees stated their work was “all about the kids” to support the theme of the common mission and focus the campus and district.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Subjinski, Amanda
Partner: UNT Libraries

Professional Learning Community Dimensions in a North Texas Elementary School’s Culture and Their Impact on Reading and Math Student Growth Scores

Description: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine which dimensions, as represented by the Professional Learning Community Assessment – Revised dimensions, are present in the environment of North Texas elementary schools and their impact on student growth. A survey design was utilized in which elementary principals and teachers in a selected school district completed the Professional Learning Community – Revised survey developed by Hipp and Huffman (2009), to gather perceptions of PLC implementation within their school environments as well as reflect strengths and needs regarding each dimension. The results of the survey were analyzed and one-to-one interviews were completed to clarify and support survey results. Bivariate and multiple regression analysis were used to determine correlations between dimensions present in a school’s environment and their impact on student growth. The study found a statistically significant relationship between the dimensions of shared values and vision and shared personal practice and math growth. Although PLCA-R dimensions were not found to be statistically significant in predicting reading and math growth, the effect sizes were notable at 22.4% for reading growth and 15.8% for math growth. This study’s findings provide important information which educators can use to implement practical application of Professional Learning Communities within their schools and districts. By understanding which dimensions are present within a school’s environment as well as their impact on student growth, educators can continue to increase knowledge and develop a focused plan for implementing strategies which are effective in strengthening teaching and learning in order to increase student achievement.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Patrick, Linda Denise
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Analysis of State Funds on Student Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Schools in Independent School Districts and Charter Schools in the State of Texas

Description: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the instructional outcomes in the independent school districts and charter schools in relation to the expenditure of public funds for instruction and total operating expenditures from the general fund. The study considered Texas elementary charter schools and independent school districts, whose school populations were identified as having greater than or equal to 50% of economically disadvantaged students, according to the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The study made use of multiple regression and was an ex post facto cross-sectional analysis utilizing production function theory. The study’s outcomes reported the difference in student achievement between elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools were small to negligible for math and reading achievement. The study also reported, there is no statistically significant difference in per pupil expenditure of public funds between elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools. Furthermore, there is no statistically significant relationship between student achievement and per pupil expenditure of public funds on elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Applewhite, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Teacher Professional Development on Student Achievement at a North Texas High School as Measured by End-of-Course Assessments in Algebra I and English Language Arts

Description: The purpose of this study determined if a significant relationship existed between the amount of professional development that teachers participated in and the impact on the classroom instruction that followed. The goal was to study the effect that this had on student achievement in the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for English 1 and Algebra 1 for students at a large north Texas high school. Testing years for the study included the school years 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16. Additional variables included the work in three areas of teacher professional development over the three-year period. Fourteen teachers, in two subjects, were studied in their implementation of classroom instruction. Particular attention was given to the instructional changes, and the number of hours of professional development in the areas of instruction, technology, and differentiation. Teachers were given opportunities to participate in 18 hours of professional development in all three areas in each of the three years. Teachers were then asked to incorporate the work that they completed each year into their day to day classroom instruction. The goal of the implementation of the professional development in addition to the curricular specifics regarding instruction of state standards was expected to produce increased state scale score marks for the students in the classes. Results of the study indicated success for students in the area of English 1 end-of-course assessment. From the beginning of the study, where student success rates in English state assessment was calculated at 47% overall passing rate, to the completion of the study, where student success was charted at 70% overall passing rate, significant changes were noted. In addition to the improvements made in English I, there were also significant changes made in the approaches to the Algebra 1 assessment. Classroom instructional practices were noted as much improved, and ...
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Younkman, Freddy W
Partner: UNT Libraries

Influences on Latino Males' Enrollment in Four-Year Colleges

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore characteristics that influence Latino male students' enrollment in four-year colleges. This study utilized a mixed-methods approach and acquired information specifically pertaining to the high school Latino male population. Participants for the study included Latino male high school students in Grades 9-12, parents of Latino male high school students in Grades 9-12, and counselors of high school students in Grades 9-12. The study was conducted across two campuses. Data for student and parent participants were obtained through an online survey questionnaire and counselor data was obtained through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. The results of this study reveal that there are influential characteristics that contribute to Latino males' potential enrollment in college. Of the data obtained from student participants, 70.2% of participants on Campus 1 and 90.5% of participants on Campus 2 planned on attending college. Responses from parent surveys found that 85.8% of parents had expectations for their Latino male student to attend college. Through the semi-structured focus group interviews, it was found that the school district and campuses in which the study was conducted had several procedures or processes in place to positively encourage Latino male student enrollment in four-year colleges. Results of this study provide a better understanding and insight on characteristics that influence the high school Latino male student in Grades 9-12 to enroll in college.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Jones, Victor Jerrell
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Family Cultural Capital on Reading Motivation and Reading Behavior in Elementary School Students with New Immigrant Background: A Structural Equation Model

Description: This study was designed to investigate the impact of family cultural capital on reading motivation and reading behavior among new immigrant children and non-immigrant children. This research used Chang and Wang's family cultural capital, reading motivation, and reading behavior questionnaire to conduct the survey. The target population of this study was students enrolled in fifth grade and sixth grade in elementary school in the fall of 2017 in Tainan, Taiwan. The sample include 414 students from new immigrant families and 422 students from non-immigrant families; the total number of individuals was 837. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analytical procedures were performed to test the hypothesized relationships. The results indicate that the seven latent variables were related to each other directly or indirectly. The main findings of this study are as follows: 1) family socioeconomic status significantly affects students' acquisition of family cultural capital; 2) family reading habits significantly affect students' reading motivation; 3) intrinsic reading motivation significantly affects students' reading behavior; and 4) external reading motivation shows no direct significant effect on reading time or the number of items read.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Tseng, Hui Te Li
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship among Select School Variables and 8th Grade African American Male Academic Achievement

Description: This study was designed to investigate the correlational relationship between four school elements listed on the Texas Academic Progress Report (TAPR) and the academic achievement of 8th grade African American male students. Data for this study was provided from the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Office for Public Information Requests. The study included four independent variables: percent of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, average years of teachers' experience, attendance rate and average class size in mathematics. The dependent variable was the 8th grade African American males' performance on the mathematics STAAR exam. The study examined scores from the mathematics STAAR exam for the years 2012-2014. The sample population included 1,540 schools and 47,169 individual test results. The results of the correlational analysis indicate that none of the independent variables were correlated to each other, but each of the independent variables had a statistically significant correlation with the dependent variable at the p < .05 level. The study also sought to explore the variance in academic achievement that could be explained by the four independent variables when used as a model. The results of the simple multiple regression suggest that not only were the results statistically significant at the p < .01 level, but the model explained 32.4% of the variance in 8th grade African American males' performance on the STAAR mathematics exam in the years 2012-2014.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Bowser Jr., Jimmy Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Response to Intervention [RTI] and Promising Practices: What Works at the Secondary Level

Description: The primary focus of RtI has been at the elementary school level. However, over the past few years there has been a shift, and RtI has been expanding to secondary schools. Through this expansion, it is unclear if RtI has been effectively implemented at the secondary level. The ultimate goal for any school implementing change is institutionalization or sustainability. Therefore, this qualitative case study examined the institutionalization or sustainability of RtI systems in one high school. This study was designed to deepen the understanding of secondary RtI and to add to the literature on RtI at the secondary level. The purpose was to understand how one secondary school addressed the complexity and uniqueness of the secondary environment while sustaining RtI practices. The participants in this study shared several research-based practices that they believed assisted struggling students to become academically successful. The findings regarding RtI practices and implementation were supported by researchers whose works were analyzed in the literature review. The study concluded that understanding the phases of change, the three major forces which influenced change and a clear, well thought out plan are vital components to success.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Little, Regena Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of the Fifty-Cent Test on Fast-Growth Texas School Districts: A Case Study of Three Districts

Description: A three-district case study was conducted to determine the effects of the 50-cent debt test on fast-growth Texas school districts. The 50-cent debt test for Texas schools came into existence as part of Senate Bill 351 in 1991. Prior to the passing of Senate Bill 351, districts in Texas were limited to issuing 10% of their assessed valuation. Of the 75 school districts that currently meet the criteria to be considered a fast-growth district, 15 of the districts had an Interest and Sinking tax rate of $0.50 in 2014. Also, 33 of the 75 districts had an Interest and Sinking tax rate of $0.40 or higher in 2014. The 50-cent cap on the interest and sinking fund tax rate for districts is arbitrary and inefficient. The limit does not take into account a district's enrollment growth or the wishes of local taxpayers who might vote to authorize debt to build additional facilities or a higher tax rate to pay down debt sooner. Over the past 20 years, Texas voters have approved $96.7 billion of the $118.4 billion resulting in over 81% of funding sought for facilities being approved. The issuance of the approved bond authorization by these voters is governed by the Texas Attorney General's Office, and local districts must pass the 50-cent test by statute. This study examined the impact the 50-cent test has had on three districts through interviews with district staff, and by analyzing and comparing enrollment and various financial data. Specifically, property values, bond types and terms, as well as project delays and operating budgets were assessed.
Date: August 2018
Creator: O'Neal, Thomas Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries

Trends in Special Education Due Process Hearings in Texas from 2010-2015: School, Parent, and Social Justice Issues that Inform a Principal's Decision-Making

Description: This study explores all due process hearings that occurred in Texas public school districts from 2010-2015. Special attention was paid to the reasons for the hearings within the legal reports addressed and their outcomes. The study was conducted using a quantitative approach involving a legal document content analysis of due process hearings to select the participants to be interviewed with a qualitative semi-structured interview protocol. Following this process, nine participants from one district were interviewed. Responses were then analyzed for themes and patterns using qualitative methods, and conclusions were drawn based on the data. The study found that campus and central office administrators believed socio-economic levels, lack of empathy shown to parents, and distrust contributed to parents' decisions to file due process complaints or litigation. They also believed that placement decisions influenced by student discipline, parent denial about the impact of the disability on children, and parent entitlement played a role. Lastly, the nine participants found that parent advocacy and communication were strong contributors to the amount of due process hearings held at Evergreen ISD.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Poton, Marcy Rose
Partner: UNT Libraries

College Readiness and Dual Credit Participation of Alternative High School Students

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which alternative schools add value to the college readiness of their students, as well as to measure the capacity of alternative school students to successfully complete dual credit courses while enrolled at the alternative school. This mixed methods study utilized an exploratory approach with a descriptive research design to explore the extent to which alternative schools produce college-ready students. The Texas Success Initiative Assessment was used to measure participants' academic readiness levels in mathematics, reading, and writing. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to provide their own perspectives on their college readiness levels through a student survey and semi-structured face-to-face interview. The results of this study reveal that the college readiness levels of alternative high school students varied across academic areas. Of the tested participants, 41.1% were college ready in reading, 52.1% in writing, and 16.7% in mathematics. Additionally, the findings reveal that dual credit course participation was not a viable option because of course prerequisites and the amount of time needed to complete dual credit courses. Results of this study expand on the literature to provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of alternative school programs, the college readiness levels of alternative high school students, and the capacity of alternative high school students to successfully complete college coursework while in high school.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Bradley, Jeffrey James
Partner: UNT Libraries

School System Improvement through Building Leadership, Adult Learning, and Capacity: A Consideration of Instructional Rounds as a Systemic Improvement Practice

Description: The problem of the study was determining the supportive conditions related to instructional rounds (rounds) to understand better what conditions may allow for sustained systemic improvement over time. Three Texas school districts were studied to understand the perceptions of district leaders, principals, teacher leaders, and teachers with regard to the sustainability of instructional rounds as a systemic improvement practice, the supportive conditions necessary for sustainability, the salient characteristics that differentiated rounds from other improvement practices, and the potential of rounds to build organizational capacity. Observation of network rounds visits and document analysis was conducted to determine alignment of perception with observation and documents. Findings include perceptions, themes, and critical factors for the sustainability of rounds as an effective systemic improvement practice. Supportive conditions emerged as the most significant perception expressed by the participants. Implications for action for school districts beginning or continuing implementation of instructional rounds are suggested based upon findings from participant perceptions and observation of networks. Suggestions for future research are shared. With supportive conditions in place, instructional rounds has the potential to serve as an effective systemic improvement practice.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Warnock, Teresa Georgeanne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Practices that Influence Instructional Coaches' Perceptions of Effectiveness

Description: As instructional coaches are being implemented across the country, their purpose is reviewed, as well as which types of instructional coaching tend to have the most impact on teachers' instructional growth. In this study, I explored instructional coaching and coaches' perceived effectiveness as they work with teachers. A look at the effect of non-evaluative feedback with an instructional coach, and how that helps sustain teachers' pedagogical practice, is taken into consideration as coaches' work towards developing teacher efficacy. I examined instructional coaching through the conceptual framework of professional development and change. This qualitative study included a focus group, personal narratives, and individual interviews to analyze the components of successful instructional coaching models, and how well instructional coaches feel supported as they work with teachers. Findings demonstrated that instructional coaches perceive their work with teachers to be effective and provided information on the practices and conditions that surround their work. The information gained from the study provides a resource for district leaders to evaluate a current coaching model program, or implement a new coaching model program, within their district.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Koehler, Laura Yvette
Partner: UNT Libraries

Supportive Systems for Building Capacity of the Elementary Instructional Coach

Description: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the systems in place to build the capacity of elementary instructional coaches in a fast-growth district. Through syntheses of research from educational scholars, the conceptual framework was developed with a focus on building capacity of instructional coaches in an ever-changing environment of fast-growth through the lens of professional learning communities, human and social capital, and support from district and campus administration. This study assessed the perceptions of six instructional coaches, six principals, and six district leaders from Rose ISD regarding the school district's support for building the capacity of instructional coaches within the elementary instructional coaching program. The three-part data collection process included document analysis, in-depth interviews, and focus group interviews to support triangulation of data. Through the a priori coding process, the following four themes emerged that highlight key components needed to support district leaders in establishing systems to build the capacity of instructional coaches in an ever-changing environment caused by fast growth: structured time for professional learning, program clarity, collaborative support systems, and implementation of a professional learning community framework. This study revealed a specific need to further understand systems for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional coaching program in an ever-changing environment of a fast-growth district.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Fiori, Christy
Partner: UNT Libraries

African American Student Placement in Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship (predicative capability) between selected variables, specifically, African American student enrollment, teacher ethnicity, and urban or rural district classification and the number of African American student placements in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP). The study used a non-experimental ex post facto design. Archival data from the Texas Education Agency were used to identify Texas schools that sent African American students to a DAEP during the 2013-2014 school year. Archival data from the Texas Education Agency were also used to identify African American student enrollment and teacher ethnicity for the selected school districts. Finally, archival data from the Texas Department of Agriculture were used to identify district classifications of urban or rural. Participants in this study consisted of 187 school districts that placed African American students in a DAEP during the 2013-2014 school year. Based on the findings, teacher ethnicity and African American student enrollment are statistically significant contributions to African American student placement in a DAEP. Urban or rural district classification is not a statistically significant predictor in the same placements. Results of this study add to existing literature by confirming that there is an overrepresentation of African American student placements in DAEPs and suggesting possible ways to combat this epidemic.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Foss, Ivy
Partner: UNT Libraries