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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

Exploring the Dual-natured Impact of Digital Technology on Student-classroom Engagement in a Texas Public High School

Description: The past decade has become rife with an eagerness to integrate new digital technology into teaching. While there have been decades of research done on the importance of curriculum and pedagogy on student engagement, findings of actual technology integration are scarce. Moreover, what does it take to engage students in classroom activities and lessons when technology is introduced? The purpose of this study was to explore how digital technology, when integrated into classroom teaching and activities, impacted the students-classroom engagement based on the interim-cognitive, meta-cognitive, motivational, and behavioral markers. This was explored in a Texas public high school across the four core classes (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Data was collected in the form of observational field notes, transcripts of recorded lessons, and Likert-scaled surveys. Thematic analysis was used in analyzing qualitative data, Pearson’s correlation of those components found by factor analysis verified three of the five themes identified from the thematic analysis with statistical significance. The findings suggest that mere use of technology does not have a profound impact on student engagement. Instead, technology tends to amplify the existing classroom culture and social norms agreed upon between the teacher and their students. Texas teachers and students are also redefining the meaning of curriculum to include technology as a result of the attempted integration. This research finds that students’ hands-on activities under teachers’ guidance with the use of technology excel when teachers are molding digital work.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Ayers, Joseph J.

Levanten La Mano Si Me Entienden: Receptive Bilinguals’ Linguistic and Cultural Perceptions in Secondary Spanish Classes

Description: Receptive bilinguals have been in a dilemma of knowing just enough Spanish to write and aurally comprehend the curriculum at the beginning-intermediate levels of a Spanish language course. This dichotomy in classrooms with mixed-ability learners has created a need to reconsider placement and pedagogical structures tailored for these students in foreign language courses. Thus, this descriptive study examined the perceptions of receptive bilinguals, drawn from two secondary Spanish courses regarding receptive bilinguals’ language use, personal Spanish language abilities and confidence, personal beliefs about the language, and contentment with the course. For this study, 31 participants were selected from two public high schools in a suburb of a large metropolitan area in north Texas. Two surveys, a listening assessment and an online questionnaire, were administered at the end of the academic year. The Likert questionnaire items were analyzed using SPSS software, while open-ended questions were coded for recurrent themes. Analyses revealed four major findings. First, with regard to influence on language use, participants’ grandparents created the most interaction with the Spanish language when compared with the other family groups. In addition, Spanish influence through television, literature, radio, and music contributed to students’ early childhood Spanish learning. Second, as to language preference, although participants perceived English to be the language with which they were most at ease, they were also confident in their Spanish conversational abilities. Third, with respect to perceptions of language abilities, Spanish 2Pre-AP students noticed an increased ability in listening, speaking, and writing the language. In both courses, students’ receptive ability was one of the highest abilities. Receptive bilinguals reflected a sense of pride and passion for the language. They desired to improve their language through their own self-motivation as a way to connect with family. Fourth, and finally, in reporting on course contentment, participants expressed overall contentment with ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Baker, Adelita Gonzales

Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the current status of secondary teachers' implementation of the sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP) model and its effect on Hispanic English language learners' (ELL) English language proficiency and academic achievement. In addition, this study sought to determine whether teachers perceive the SIOP model as an effective tool for instruction of high school ELL students to increase English language content and English language proficiency. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Data were collected from four sources: Hispanic ELLs' English language proficiency scores, students' English Language Arts scores, an oral interview with participating teachers and teacher observations. Each teacher was observed at four points during the school year with the SIOP instrument. Quantitative data on student achievement were collected employing a pre-experimental, one-group pretest-post-test design. Qualitative data were collected using a time-series design. Findings revealed that on the two student assessment measures there were increases in English proficiency and English language arts achievement among the Hispanic ELLs. On the assessment of English language proficiency, the students of the teacher with the highest level of SIOP implementation made the highest gains; the students of the teacher with the second highest SIOP implementation level made the second highest gains; and students of the teacher with the lowest level of SIOP implementation made the smallest gains. These findings suggest that the higher the level of SIOP implementation, the greater the student academic achievement gains. The gains in academic achievement attributed to the proper implementation of the SIOP model can have an extensive impact on English language learners who have not previously experienced academic success. Teacher participants perceived the SIOP model as effective for delivery of content through sheltered instruction lessons for high school ELLs. The teachers agreed that the SIOP model's components provided a consistent structure ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Bertram, Rodney L.

Well-Being and Academic Success in Gifted College Students: Early-College Entrants and Honors College Students

Description: As a society, we seek to have our young people, including the gifted, be healthy and happy, and go to good schools with good teachers. Framed by Sayler's theoretical model of giftedness and thriving, this study examined psychological constructs (i.e. general self-efficacy, theories of intelligence, hope, gratitude, religiosity, disposition, and resiliency) to determine their mediating effect on personal well-being and academic success in gifted college students. The 213 subjects for this study included gifted college students from two distinct programs at the University of North Texas. One hundred twenty-two participants were students from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). TAMS is an early-college entrance program allowing gifted students to enter college after their sophomore year of high school. Ninety-one participants attended the UNT Honors College. Honors College students are gifted students who enter college after high school graduation. Latent transition, latent class, general linear model repeated measures, and regression analyses were used in the examination of the data. Results of the study revealed that positive disposition and hope-agency were significantly related to the development of personal well-being for gifted students during their first year of college. The ability to identify pathways to goals and the self-theory of intelligence as a fixed trait were significantly related to academic success during the first year at college. Knowledge of psychological constructs that are facilitative of the positive personal well-being and academic achievement helps parents, teachers, administrators, and counselors prepare gifted students for success in college.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Boazman, Janette Kay

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

Funds of Knowledge and Early Literacy: A Case Study

Description: When teachers are charged with educating students that are racially, culturally, or economically different from them, they may have little information on the culture and type of family involvement of their students. This lack of information contributes to perceptions of working-class families as socially disorganized and intellectually deficient. However, research embodying the theoretical framework funds of knowledge (FoK) attempts to counter deficient models through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, political, and economic contexts. The primary purpose of this study was to carefully examine Hispanic parents’ support of young children’s early literacy development in the home. The knowledge gleaned from an initial study of home support, by spending time in the home of a Hispanic family provided an avenue for action research in the classroom. A second purpose was to determine if the introduction of FoK ways of learning, when applied in the classroom, had an effect on early literacy skills. In addition, I maintained a journal that chronicled my experiences and led to an autoethnographic study of myself as a transforming white, female, prekindergarten teacher. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive FoK developed through historical, cultural, educational, and social experiences. Results further indicate that introduction of these familial FoK improved the oral language skills of prekindergarten students thus enhancing their early literacy development. Autoethnographic results indicate a personal progression toward not only understanding, but becoming an advocate, for the Hispanic population.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Butler, Ami R.

An Exploration of Teachers' Adoption of the Bring Your Own Technology Program

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' concerns, use, and actual practices in their adoption of the bring your own technology (BYOT) initiative. Twelve secondary teachers in a private school setting participated in this study. The participants represented all content areas including reading, math, science, and electives. The private school was in its third year of implementing BYOT. This case study incorporated multiple methods to collect data to gain a better understanding of teachers' adoption of an innovation, BYOT. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as a theoretical framework. All three CBAM tools provided data: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), levels of use interview protocol (LoUIP), and the innovation configuration (IC) map. Twelve of the participants completed the SoCQ across three different points in time. Six of the twelve teachers participated in three one-on-one interviews, including the LoUIP. Additionally, six teachers were observed in their classrooms during instruction. After triangulating all pieces of data, the majority of teachers had highest concerns related to self. Teachers were concerned about their ability to implement the innovation and managing BYOT in their classroom. Four of the six teachers had a level of use (LoU) at mechanical, and two teachers had a LoU at routine. The teachers' LoU indicated that they are using BYOT in the classroom; however, the majority of teachers observed had adoption practices mostly in the non-ideal variations of IC. The teachers' LoU and IC indicated that teachers had implemented BYOT in their own way and not necessarily in alignment with the campus' vision or expectations. This case study had several limitations, including the small number of participants and the brevity of classroom observations. Additionally, this study was limited to one school setting. Recommendations for future research include exploring teachers' adoption of BYOT in various school settings ...
Date: August 2013
Creator: Cardoza, Yanet

In-service Teacher Perception of Feedback From Formative Evaluation Within the Teacher Appraisal Process and Its Relationship to Teacher Self-efficacy

Description: The purpose of the study is to describe the current status of and the relationships between teacher self-efficacy and in-service teachers’ perceptions and/or attitudes of (a) the quantity and quality of feedback from formative evaluation, (b) toward feedback from formative evaluation, and (c) the impact of feedback from formative evaluation on teacher self-efficacy. In addition to calculating correlation coefficients, 6 teachers were interviewed – 2 each from high, medium, and low efficacy schools. The quantitative data reported low, positive correlations between all of the factors. Statistically significant correlations were found between 8 of the 12 factors including teacher attitudes toward feedback from formative evaluation and: overall Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (r = .302), student engagement (r = .309), instructional strategies (r = .237) and classroom management (r =.266). Other statistically significant correlations were found between teacher perceptions of the impact of feedback from formative evaluation and its relationship to self-efficacy and: overall Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (r = .295), Student Engagement (r = .300), Instructional Strategies (r = .209), and Classroom Management (r = .282). The face-to-face interviews and online focus group supported the quantitative findings as the participants reported that they value formative evaluation and feedback and deem it a necessary component of professional growth. Participants felt that they would benefit from an increased number of formative evaluations followed by specific, frequent and positive feedback. The participants indicated that their self-efficacy was not negatively impacted by infrequent observations and/or feedback that lacks detail.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Curran, Chaney L.

The Impact of Collegial-Teaming on High-School and University Instructors: A Descriptive Multi-Case Study

Description: This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Dearman, Christina T.

The Transfer and Sustainability of a School-Wide Writing Program: Year 2.

Description: Writing is an important life skill that all students need in order to succeed in today's society. However, proficient writing skills develop over time, requiring years of quality instruction combined with motivation, encouragement, and lots of practice. School-wide writing is an approach that provides specific writing instruction in a consistent manner across all grade levels, allowing students to develop increasingly complex writing skills and strategies over time. Implementation of programs, such as school-wide writing, requires teachers to transfer new understandings and skills from the training room to the classroom as well as efforts to sustain the program over time. This multiple case study examines the characteristics of an elementary school-wide writing program that was introduced in the field by local teachers and transferred five years later to another school in the same district. The study also examines factors affecting the transfer and sustainability of the program during the second year of implementation. Findings from the study indicate that the elements of school-wide writing transferred from School 1 to School 2 at a low road level of transfer. Factors affecting transfer included inquiry, ongoing training, support systems, authentic writing experiences, and time. Factors contributing to sustainability included ongoing support, accountability, communication, positive feelings, time, and individuality.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Dickson, Violet Myers

Funds of Knowledge in a Hispanic Household: a Case Study of Family Experiences, Values, and Connections to Education

Description: Traditionally, the field of education has often adopted a negative perspective in their views of minority families’ contributions to the educational progress of their children. However, research embodying the theoretical framework of ‘funds of knowledge’ attempts to counter that model through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, and cultural contexts. Teachers carry out studies of familial funds of knowledge in order to understand how family experiences shape the knowledge that a child brings to the classroom. There is then, the potential to use that body of knowledge to create meaningful learning experiences that connect prior understanding and experiences to classroom practice. This research served as a case study of the funds of knowledge existing in the home of a Hispanic family and the connections that existed between that knowledge and literacy. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive funds of knowledge that developed through their historical, cultural, and social experiences. They often used family networks, as well as formal and informal literacy experiences to share this knowledge with their children. A key component of the literacy value system that they communicated resulted from a desire to maintain aspects of their culture and heritage through maintaining and improving their children’s reading and linguistic abilities in Spanish. Furthermore, along with their emphasis on Spanish literacy, they held aspirations for their children related to familial and educational values that often stemmed from their expressed desire for their children to lead lives with greater opportunities and positive examples than they had experienced.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Feild, Kelly A.

Transfer From a UTeach Replication Site to the Classroom: A Study of First and Second Year Instructional Practices

Description: Concerns based adoption model (CBAM) instruments were used to examine instructional practices of six graduates from a highly stylized, inquiry-based secondary math and science preparation program. Teachers were in the first or second years of teaching mathematics in six different secondary settings, ranging from poverty to wealthy schools. CBAM assumptions were tested. The primary assumption about concerns was that new teachers’ highest concerns would be within the self and task dimensions. According to Hall and Hord, it was assumed that the levels of use are typically in the orientation and preparation stages as a new teacher begins to implement an innovation, in the case of this study, inquiry-based instruction. All three instruments of the CBAM model were used for data collection and included: the Survey of Concerns Questionnaire, Innovation Components Configuration Map, and Levels of Use matrix. Teachers were observed, interviewed, and surveyed, three times each, across a five-month period. The findings from this study showed that the teachers had similar concerns and levels of use, which supported the assumptions outlined by the CBAM principles. Across the six teachers, the self and task concerns were high, aligning with the assumptions. However, unrelated and impact dimensions were noted, in opposition to the assumption. Likewise, assumptions of the levels of use were upheld in the orientation and preparation levels of use noted in the observations. Some mechanical levels of use were observed for a few of the teachers, an anomaly to the assumption.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Fields, Melanie

An Investigation Into the Relationships Between the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge of University Teacher Education Faculty and Their Age, Rank, and Gender

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine what relationships exist between the age, rank, and gender of university faculty in teacher education and their technological pedagogical content knowledge. The survey instrument used was the Survey of Teacher Educators’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) which is an adaptation of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology developed by Schmidt. A total of 347 public Texas university teacher education faculty members participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and the effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between the variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the age, rank, and gender of the university teacher educator faculty member and their technological knowledge (TK). Based on the information provided for the b weights, age was found to be the best predictor of their technological knowledge (TK). The discriminant analysis identified what relationship exists between the ages of university teacher education faculty technology knowledge. The results of the discriminant analysis indicate the range 20-30 and 60+ contribute equally to teacher educators’ technological knowledge. Although no statistically significant results were determined with respect to the correlations between gender, age, and rank and technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical content knowledge, the descriptive data does suggest that some insight maybe gained from further analysis.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Hamilton, Christina

Eighth Grade Science Teacher Quality Variables and Student Achievement

Description: While No Child Left Behind ushered in the age of the "highly qualified" teacher, accountability focus has been shifted to the "highly effective" teacher, defined as teacher impact on student achievement. The Science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is used to judge the adequate yearly progress of students in Texas public schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of teacher factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, teaching experience, university selectivity, certification route, National Center for Education Statistics Locale/Code, number of science content and pedagogical course semester credit hours, grade point average for science content and pedagogical coursework) on student achievement using the eighth grade Science TAKS. The primary dependent variables were students' five objective scores and their overall scores on the eighth grade Science TAKS examination. The sample was 44 eighth grade science teachers and 4,119 students in Texas public schools. Multiple linear regression models enabled examinations of the relationships between teacher quality variables and student achievement. No significant relationships between the variables were found. Small effect sizes for the beta weights and structure coefficients occurred between teachers' science credit hours and TAKS objectives to explain 20% of the variance for TAKS Living Systems and the Environment, 39% of the variance for TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and 21% of the variance for TAKS Earth and Space Systems. Teacher experience accounted for 24% of the variance with TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and pedagogical credit hours explained 30% of the variance with TAKS Motion, Forces, and Energy. Science GPA explained 31% of the variance for the TAKS Earth and Space Systems objective. Policy makers should examine NCLB assumptions about teacher content knowledge as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness via student achievement on standardized tests. While measuring content knowledge provides a simple, efficient, ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Harp, Amy

An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance

Description: Among educational researchers, important questions are being asked about how to improve mathematics instruction for elementary students. This study, conducted in a north Texas public school with 294 third- through fifth-grade students, ten teachers and three coaches, examined the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the mathematics teaching and coaching instruction they received. Student achievement was measured by the Computer Adaptive Instrument (CAT), which is administered three times a year in the district and is the main criterion for students’ performance/movement in the district’s response to intervention program for mathematics. The response to intervention model employs student data to guide instruction and learning in the classroom and in supplemental sessions. The theoretical framework of the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) was the basis to investigate the concerns that mathematics teachers and coaches had in using the CAT student data to inform their instruction. The CAT data, based on item response theory, was the innovation. Unique in this study was the paralleling of teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and profiles for their use of the data with student scores using an empirical approach. Data were collected at three intervals through the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire, the Levels of Use interviews, and the Innovation Configuration Components Matrix from teachers and at three intervals student CAT-scaled scores. Multiple regression analyses with the concerns and CAT scores and levels of use and CAT scores were conducted to determine if relationships existed between the variables. The findings indicated that, overall, the teachers and coaches who scored high in personal concerns at the three data points remained at low levels of use or non-use of CAT data in their instruction. Only two teachers indicated movement from high intense personal concerns to high concerns regarding the impact on students. This correlated with their increased use of CAT ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Hartmann, Lillian Ann

The Development of Algebraic Reasoning in Undergraduate Elementary Preservice Teachers

Description: Although studies of teacher preparation programs have documented positive changes in mathematical knowledge for teaching with preservice teachers in mathematics content courses, this study focused on the impact of a mathematics methods course and follow-up student teaching assignment. The presumption was that preservice teachers would show growth in their mathematical knowledge during methods since the course was structured around active participation in mathematics, research-based pedagogy, and was concurrent with a two-day-per-week field experience in a local elementary school. Survey instruments utilized the computer adaptive test version of the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) measures from the Learning Mathematics for Teaching Project, and the Attitudes and Beliefs (towards mathematics) survey from the Mathematical Education of Elementary Teachers Project. A piecewise growth model analysis was conducted on data collected from 176 participants at 5 time-points (methods, 3 time-points; student teaching, 2 time-points) over a 9 month period. Although the participants' demographics were typical of U.S. undergraduate preservice teachers, findings suggest that initial low-level of mathematical knowledge, and a deep-rooted belief that there is only one way to solve mathematics problems, limited the impact of the methods and student teaching courses. The results from this study indicate that in (a) number sense, there was no significant change during methods (p = .392), but a significant decrease during student teaching (p < .001), and in (b) algebraic thinking, there was a significant decrease during methods (p < .001), but no significant change during student teaching (p = .653). Recommendations include that the minimum teacher preparation program entry requirements for mathematical knowledge be raised and that new teachers participate in continued professional development emphasizing both mathematical content knowledge and reform-based pedagogy to continue to peel away deep-rooted beliefs towards mathematics.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Hayata, Carole Anne

Student to Teacher Racial/Ethnic Ratios as Contributors to Regional Achievement Gaps, 1999-2008

Description: With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in 2002 and its mandates for annual yearly progress for all students, many districts and schools in Texas have had difficulty elevating African American and Hispanic students’ scores. The current study examined these students’ achievement on the annual Texas high-stakes measure as a function of a numerical construct that aligns the race/ethnicity of students when the teacher race is White. Earlier studies have shown that racial/ethnic compatibility between students and teachers improves student achievement in the primary grades. The study, which was set in 10 north Texas school districts and 30 high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, examined African American and Hispanic students’ achievement on the Texas state assessments in reading and mathematics over a 10-year period. District performance data came from 4,664,192 African American, Hispanic, and White students and 222, 834 White teachers. Campus level data encompassed 188,839 10th graders, 93,573 eighth graders, and 40,083 fourth graders, and 20,471 White teachers. Analysis revealed that, as the ratios of African American and Hispanic students to White teachers increased, the percentages of these two student groups passing the Texas assessments decreased. These patterns differed for White students whose passing percentages increased as these students’ numbers increased relative to White teachers in all settings except in elementary schools. These preliminary findings suggested that racial alignment at the high school and middle school levels might elevate African American and Hispanic achievement. Implications may lead to shifting focus on teacher quality and class size as the primary determinants of student achievement. Findings need validation with further study using larger data sets and sequential grade levels. If validated through further studies involving larger samples, contiguous grade levels, and more sophisticated statistical analysis, this study’s findings may have implications for teacher education curriculum, recruitment of minority ...
Date: December 2011
Creator: Hays, James M.

The Validation of a Short-cycle Formative Assessment Observation Protocol for Science and Mathematics Instruction

Description: Over the years, teachers, administrators, and policy makers have been concerned with optimizing learning for all students. The No Child Left Behind Act put an emphasis on summative assessments, which measure what students have learned. In contrast, formative assessment has been shown in many studies to improve student achievement and motivation because it is applied while students are learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate, for middle and high school mathematics and science instruction, the validity and reliability of a newly developed observation instrument called AssessToday, which is used in a single class period to assess a teacher’s use of short-cycle formative assessment. The content validity of the instrument was supported through an extensive literature review, feedback from experts in the field of formative assessment, and an examination of 98 classroom observations. For assessing reliability of the instrument, inter-rater reliability coefficients were calculated using data collected by trained observers who independently rated teachers during the same class period using three measures: percentage of agreement between raters, Cohen’s kappa, and Fleiss kappa. Cohen’s kappa (N = 36 pairs) ranged from .62 to 1.00 for all observer pairs with an average kappa of .75 for mathematics (n = 16 pairs) and .76 for science (n = 20 pairs). The recommended threshold for kappa is k = .70. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the observation data and the determined factors related to the theoretical framework established in the literature. The results affirmed that the instrument is a tool to be utilized in short-cycle formative assessment with middle and high school science and mathematics teachers.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Heitz, Layne

A Case Study of the Impact of the Middle School Data Coach on Teacher Use of Educational Test Data to Change Instruction

Description: With the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2002 and its attendant increases in accountability pressure, many districts and schools currently embrace data analysis as an essential part of the instructional decision making process. In their attempts to overcome low achievement on state-mandated tests, some districts have begun employing data coaches. The study reported here, which was set in three middle schools in a northeast Texas school district, assessed the influence of the campus data coach on a middle school mathematics teachers' use of analyzed data to make instructional decisions. It also examined the extent to which the Data Coach/teacher relationship resolved teacher concerns about data-driven decision making. Phenomenological interviews with data coaches were guided by Seidman's (2006) three-series interview. Measurement of teacher use of data to make decisions was based on the concerns-based adoption model's levels of use interview protocol, stages of concern questionnaire, and innovation configuration map. By the end of one school year, two out of the three teachers never used data to make instructional decisions, although the non-users both had moved closer toward employing the innovation in their classroom. Data indicated all teachers were aware of the innovation, but all three ended the study with high personal concerns, signifying that the minimal efforts made by the data coaches to resolve concerns were not successful. This study's small sample gave the research paradigm of data-based decision making an in-depth glimpse into the process of implementing data-based instructional decision making and the Data Coach position on three middle school campuses in one large northeast Texas district.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Hill, Rachelle Phelps

Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy

Description: New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Hooten, Dorleen Billman

Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mathematics Intervention and Response to Intervention Practices

Description: Response to intervention has become a widely implemented early intervention and pre-referral program in many schools due to the reauthorization of the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Limited studies exist that validate how teacher preparation programs are preparing the next generation of teachers to assess students, apply early academic interventions, monitor progress, and make educational decisions for students with learning difficulties as part of an RTI program. The purpose of this study was to examine elementary pre-service teachers’ perceptions and experiences in a mathematics intervention project (MIP), as part of a university mathematics methods course as related to RTI practices. Data were collected from multiple sources, including: Seidman’s three-step interview series with pre-service participants and course instructors, document analysis of the Mathematics Interactions Project (MIP) students’ responses, mathematics methods course syllabi, and observations of the mathematics methods course instruction. Haskell’s transfer theory was used as the framework from which to analyze the data. It was assumed that if a majority of the 11 principles of meaningful transfer were addressed, higher levels of transfer from university instruction to intervention instruction would be observed during the MIP. Findings indicate differences in RTI understanding according to elementary education degree plan. Candidates in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program did not demonstrate a strong foundational understanding of RTI, evidenced by a lower level of transfer about RTI. Alternately, pre-service teachers in the special education degree plan had a stronger foundational knowledge of RTI, discussed how RTI learning was supported, and had more experiences to implement RTI (principles 1, 7, and 9). Pre-service teachers in the Special Education (SPED) certification degree plan demonstrated a higher level of transfer since more of the principles were met; this was foundational in Haskell’s transfer theory. Implications are that elementary education programs, and particularly projects such ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Hurlbut, Amanda Renee

Secondary Teachers’ Concerns about Response to Intervention: Using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model

Description: This case study addressed the problem of implementing response to intervention (RTI) in general secondary education. To investigate this problem, one north Texas school's RTI implementation was examined using the theoretical framework of the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) and defining RTI as the innovation. RTI-related practices were studied for 10 secondary teachers, two from each core subject (i.e., mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies) and the fine arts who had been implementing RTI for several years. Data regarding participants' stages of concern about and levels of use of RTI were collected across three time intervals using the three diagnostic instruments of CBAM (i.e., Stages of Concern Questionnaire, Levels of Use interviews, and Innovation Configuration Checklist matrix), behavioral observations during instruction and RTI meetings, and structured exit interviews of participants. Overall, findings indicated that the secondary teachers were at similar stages of concern and levels of use of RTI. Teachers' RTI concerns scores remained highest in the Self phase and lowest in the Impact phase of concern at all three intervals of data collection. As levels of RTI use increased, observed RTI use increased; however, teachers' RTI levels of use scores remained in the early levels of RTI implementation at all three intervals of data collection. Patterns in teachers' responses during exit interviews suggested that contextual factors unique to this setting (e.g., unexpected changes in RTI protocol, priorities of administrative personnel, and demands placed on teachers) may have influenced teachers' concerns about the teacher's role in, the professional development in, and the sustainability of RTI as an innovation. The literature does not currently address secondary teachers' concerns about and levels of use of RTI in relation to CBAM. Therefore, this study not only fills a gap in literature but also has implications for how teachers are trained and supported ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Isbell, Laura J.

Funding and Effectiveness of Staff Development Programs in Three North Texas School Districts

Description: This dissertation study focused on three aspects of staff development in North Texas: 1) funding sources, 2) types of professional learning programs, and 3) teachers' views of the effectiveness of the funded programs. Qualitative data came from interviews with nine district administrators concerning funding sources and how those resources enhanced teacher skills. Quantitative data came from 1,277 responses from teachers regarding their background and perceptions about staff development. Data from interviews with district administrators were diagrammed to depict elements of funding staff development and to reveal how resources were used to plan, implement, and evaluate staff learning. An analysis of interview data revealed that availability of grants, property tax rates, and student enrollment affected how districts funded staff development. Administrators reported that districts funded professional learning that was planned according to academic initiatives, met the needs of adult learners, and adapted to the changing needs of school communities. Both administrators and practitioners reported that time was a lacking resource critical to developing staff knowledge. Practitioners reported that sufficient opportunity to collaborate with colleagues about learning initiatives was more valuable than teaching materials. Teacher questionnaires were analyzed for possible relationships between participant variables and responses concerning knowledge about funding constraints and professional development experiences. Data revealed that practitioner experience and graduate degrees were not related to teachers' use of knowledge about financial constraints to more efficiently implement learning from staff development. Participants did not perceive professional learning differently than peers. Most teachers connected professional learning with improved teaching practices but a small percent attributed student achievement to their professional learning. The majority of teachers considered collaborative learning settings to elicit more personal professional growth than other formats. The findings of the teacher questionnaire suggest that teaching practices could be impacted if participants gained more knowledge about district financial constraints when developing ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Ivey, Shannon Kay