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Early Childhood Educators' Beliefs and Practices about Assessment

Description: Standardized tests are being administered to young children in greater numbers in recent years than ever before. Many more important educational decisions about children are being based on the results of these tests. This practice continues to escalate despite early childhood professional organizations' calls for a ban of standardized testing for children eight years of age and younger. Many early childhood educators have become dissatisfied with multiple-choice testing as a measure of student learning and are increasingly using various forms of alternative assessment to replace the more traditional testing formats. Teachers seem to be caught in the middle of the controversy between standardized testing and alternative assessment. This research examined what early childhood educators in one north Texas school district believe about assessment of young children and what assessment methods they report using in their classrooms, as well as factors which influence those beliefs and practices. The sample for this study was 84 teachers who taught prekindergarten through third grade. An eight-page questionnaire provided quantitative data and interviews and the researcher's journal provided qualitative data.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Diffily, Deborah

Effects of English and Bilingual Storybook Reading and Reenactment on the Retelling Abilities of Preschool Children

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the story retelling abilities of preschool children who have experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment bilingually, in English and Spanish, and preschool children who have experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment in English only. This is a clinical case study employing both quantitative and qualitative measures comparing four treatment groups. Three evaluation instruments were developed by the researcher and used for posttesting; a story comprehension test, a story retelling guidesheet/scoresheet, and a storybook literacy response evaluation. In addition, participant observation and teacher interviews were used to gather qualitative data regarding learning center extensions of the target text and teacher beliefs and practices about the use of storybooks. The findings from this study show that scores for children who experienced storybook reading and storybook reenactment were significantly better on both the story retelling and story comprehension measures. In addition, a larger proportion of children who experienced storybook reading and reenactment were found to perform at the second level of literacy response on the Levels of Literacy evaluation. No differences were found in relationship to the language used on any of the dependent measures. Findings fromqualitative data showed that children were involved in limited extensions of the storybook read to them regardless of whether they experienced storybook reenactment or discussion. Teacher beliefs and practices related to their role during learning center play was believed to have some influence on children's choices regarding story extensions or dramatic play theme content. Recommendations were made to pre-school teachers that story reenactment was an effective technique with both bilingual and monolingual presentation. Additional research questions were posed also.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Gutierrez-Gomez, Catalina

Home Literacy Portfolios: Tools for Sharing Literacy Information and for Assessing Parents' Awareness of and Involvement in their Prekindergarten Child's Literacy Development

Description: This qualitative study investigated parents' awareness of and involvement in their prekindergarten child's literacy development. In addition, the feasibility of parents using a home literacy portfolio for the purpose of exchanging literacy information with teachers at a parent/teacher conference was examined. Participants included six parent/child dyads, who qualified for a Texas public school prekindergarten program by meeting the requirements for either free or reduced lunches or for the English-as-a-Second Language program. Research tools included audiotaped interviews with parents and with teachers; observations at parent/child workshop sessions, which were also videotaped; and work samples, including a home literacy portfolio from each child. Findings indicate that parents are involved in their children's literacy development. Also, at home, children participate in both open-ended literacy activities and drill-oriented literacy activities, with most of the activities falling into the open-ended category. According to the findings, all of the parents were more aware of their child's literacy achievements after attending the parent/child workshop and developing a home literacy portfolio. In addition, the home literacy portfolio proved to be a useful tool for sharing information at parent/teacher conferences. Parents and teachers exchanged literacy information at the parent/teacher conference. In the process of explaining the portfolios, the parents shared information about their child's drawing development, writing development, and reading development. In contrast, the teachers shared some literacy information with the parents, but much of the information teachers shared reflected the child's participation in class or general information about the child. The findings suggest that the parent/child workshop is a cost-effective vehicle for directly involving parents in their child's education. Moreover, developing a home literacy portfolio provides a means of involving parents with their child and of helping parents' become more aware of their child's literacy development.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Williams, Patricia H. (Patricia Howard)

Multiple Measures of the Effectiveness of Public School Montessori Education in the Third Grade

Description: The problem of this study was to measure the effectiveness of a public school Montessori program. The purpose of this study was to measure and compare student academic achievement and self-concept, attendance and promotion rates, and level of parental involvement in the schools of students enrolled in public school Montessori and traditional programs. The 95 subjects in this study were third-grade subjects selected from the student populations in Montessori and traditional school sites. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) was used as the pre-test scores, and the Norm-referenced Assessment Program for Texas (NAPT) was used as the post-test scores to compare academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Multiple regression was used to compare the levels of academic achievement and self-concept. Multiple regression was also used to test for possible relationship between the Montessori and traditional programs and gender and ethnicity.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Cisneros, Márelou Medrano

Parents' Understanding of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Education

Description: The intent of this study was to determine what understanding and knowledge parents had of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP). The study examined whether the beliefs of parents who enrolled their children in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program had any impact on their expectations for a philosophy and curriculum that is centered around DAP. In addition, the study examined whether parents' understanding of DAP changed when their children transitioned from infant and toddler programs, to preschool. The study group consisted of parents with children in two privately owned NAEYC accredited centers in 1998 (N=131). Results from parent reports indicated a high level of parent knowledge regarding DAP.
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Date: May 1999
Creator: Grebe, Julie M.

The Relationship of Developmentally Appropriate Beliefs and Practices of Greek Kindergarten Teachers

Description: Sixty Greek kindergarten teachers were surveyed regarding their teaching beliefs and practices using the Teachers Questionnaire based on guidelines recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A Varimax factor analysis produced four factors for the Teacher Belief Scale and five factors for the Instructional Activities Scale. Scores on developmentally appropriate factors were consistently higher than factors classified developmentally inappropriate. Correlation between appropriate beliefs and activities was significant (r = .470); correlation between inappropriate beliefs and practices was significant (r = .475). However, developmentally inappropriate beliefs were also positively correlated with developmentally appropriate practices (r = .537). Developmentally appropriate beliefs were not correlated with inappropriate practices. Results were discussed with possible theoretical and practical implications for future research and teacher development.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Syrrakou, Ioanna

The Relationships Between Leadership Styles and Personality Types of Texas Elementary Administrators

Description: The purposes of this study were to explore the leadership styles and personality types of Texas elementary administrators. The Leader Effectiveness and Adaptability Description-Self (LEAD-Self) assessed the leadership style and adaptability of the administrators. The four identified styles were Telling/Directing, Selling/Coaching, Participating/Supporting, and Delegating. The MBTI measured 16 combinations of 4 personality types which included Extrovert or Introvert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving. The sample was 200 Texas elementary administrators: 100 with early childhood certification and 100 without early childhood certification. A chi-square test of independence was utilized. Findings included: (a) A majority of Texas elementary administrators in both groups had a Selling/Coaching or Participating/Supporting leadership style; (b) Leadership adaptability scores of both groups were equivalent; (c) Most Texas elementary administrators had Introvert/Sensing/Thinking/Judging and Extrovert/Sensing/Thinking/Judging personality types; (d) Administrators with early childhood certification had a higher percentage of Intuitive personality types, while administrators without early childhood certification had a predominance of Sensing types; (e) A large percentage of administrators which had Participating/Supporting leadership styles had Feeling personality types; (f) No significant relationship between leadership styles and personality types was found in either group; and (g) No significant relationship between leadership adaptability and personality types was found in either group. Recommendations included: (a) further study to investigate the role of gender in leadership style and personality type; (b) further study to determine if elementary administrators have higher adaptability scores than secondary administrators; (c) further study to determine if elementary administrators have different leadership styles than secondary administrators; (d) further study to determine if elementary administrators have different personality types than secondary administrators; (e) further study to determine if leadership adaptability scores accurately portray an administrator's effectiveness; and (f) provide opportunities for future and practicing administrators to assess their leadership style, leadership adaptability, and personality type.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Penny, Andra Jones

Young Children's Communicative Strategies During Pretend Play in the Context of the Block Center

Description: In this study, various communicative strategies that young children employed to create and develop pretend play with peers in the block center were examined. Two preschools, one in Korea and the other in the United States, were selected. Subjects were children in the 4-year-old classroom in each school. The average age of the children at the time of the investigation was 59 months. For data collection, videotaping, audiotaping, field-note taking, interviews with teachers, and school enrollment records were used. During pretend block play, children created talk and actions in order to deal with challenges related to various aspects of play (e.g., accessory play materials, construction, plot, and enactment). Accordingly, children's communicative strategies were categorized as follows: (a) material communication, (b) construction communication, (c) plot communication, and (d) enactment. Also, subcategories under each category were developed. It was found that, in different phases of play in which they faced different types of challenges, children used certain strategies more often (communication about material selection and construction definition were most frequently used in the initiation phase of play). In terms of cultural aspects of the pretend play, in the Korean setting, the following were noticed: (a) a rigidly formed participant structure in which several positions were available, (b) the use of various comparison strategies, and (c) an overwhelmingly prevalent play theme: "The good guys winning over the bad guys." In the American setting, the following aspects were common: (a) frequent calling for the teachers when conflicts involving the ownership issue arose, (b) negotiable play atmosphere, and (c) consequent ample negotiation. Implications for educators as to how to encourage children to participate more in pretend play with peers in the block center were provided. Recommendations for further research pertained to the following: (a) methodological progress in studying children's play, (b) use of categories developed ...
Date: May 1996
Creator: Lee, Myungsook

Young Children's Construction of Physical Knowledge on Swings in the Outdoor Play Environment

Description: This investigation examined the development of young children's behaviors on swings in the outdoor play environment and their emerging understanding of the physics principles associated with those behaviors. The children's language interactions were also examined in an effort to determine the relationship between language and cognitive development in their construction of physical knowledge. The procedures involved observing the children's behaviors and collecting samples of their spontaneous language interactions during their swinging activities. Informal interviews were also conducted with individual and groups of children. The findings indicate that young children's swinging behaviors develop in eight hierarchical stages. As these behaviors develop, children experiment with the physics principles of balance, gravity, force, resistance, and resonance. Children's swinging behaviors develop in a social context. Many early behaviors are acquired through observing and modeling other children. Language provides the medium for more-experienced peers to assist novice swingers through encouragement and direct instruction. The stage development of swinging behaviors is compared to Cratty's Theory of Perceptual-Motor Development and Harrow's Taxonomy of the Psychomotor Domain. Children's cognitive processing and language interactions are discussed in the context of Piagetian and Vygotskian theories of development. Implications for instruction and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Fox, Jill Englebright