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Social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities: An application of Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction.

Description: This was a mixed methods study designed to investigate the social skills use of adolescents with learning disabilities through an application of Albert Bandura's theory of reciprocal interaction. Data were collected through ranking surveys, observations, interviews, and school records. Three questions were investigated. The first question was to determine whether the language deficits of LD students contributed to their general decreased social competency. Through data from the Social Skills Rating System, the seventh grade participants were considered socially competent to some degree by self report, their teachers, and their parents. Factor analysis revealed students were the best predictors of their social skills use from all data sources. In ranking participants' social skills use, students and teachers were more strongly correlated than were students and parents, or teachers and parents. No relationship of any strength existed between the participants' cognitive ability and their social competence. A use of Bandura's determinants indicated that a relationship existed between some subtypes of learning disabilities and some types of social skills misuse. The participants diagnosed with reading disability, auditory processing disability, receptive/expressive language disability, or nonverbal learning disability all made the majority of their observed social skills errors in the environmental determinant of Bandura's triad of reciprocal interaction. The participants in the four subtypes experienced their information processing deficits in attending to environmental stimuli, or in attending to inappropriate environmental stimuli. The area of the subtype of information processing deficit aligned with the determinant in which the participants in that subtype's social errors were experienced. Bandura's triad of cognition, environment, and behavior was not equilateral because the balance did not exist between the three determinants in participants with learning disabilities.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Clore, Christine W.

Voices of worth- listening to teachers: A phenomenological study of professional development and instructional change.

Description: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe and explain teachers' perceptions about effective professional development as well as to identify the environmental factors that affect the teacher participants' ability to engage in and implement various behaviors and beliefs transferred from the professional development experience. Four teachers were studied in depth for one school year, and data collected included in-depth interviews and classroom observations. Findings indicate three main themes related to the research questions, which sought to understand how teachers perceive and describe their experiences of participating in professional development and the factors that support or constrain their instructional decision-making as it relates to new knowledge and skills acquired through professional development. These themes are that: (a) Effective professional development must have a supportive context and meaningful purpose which: meets the physical and cognitive needs of participants; focuses on improving practice, content knowledge, and pedagogy; provides participants with choice, adequate time and ownership of learning experiences; and includes opportunities for sustained learning and accountability; (b) Learning experiences are greatly affected by interpersonal relationships and opportunities for social learning and should be built upon the principles of: taking risks in the learning environment; sharing beliefs in a community of practice with effective support structures; involving all members, including the leaders, in the community of practice; and including opportunities for dialogue and the sharing of best practices as tools for learning, and (c) Implementation efforts are influenced by multiple sources, including: collegial and administrator support; curriculum and standardized testing; and time. Effective professional development must include attention to assisting teachers in dealing with these influences when they become barriers to implementation efforts.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Roberts, Jennifer A.

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

Teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular activities: Profiles of frequent and infrequent use.

Description: The purpose of this study was to develop profiles that described teachers with infrequent and frequent teacher-directed student use of the Internet for curricular purposes. Responses to the teachers' self-reported needs, beliefs, demographics, Internet skill levels, and other information were examined as the basis for the study. The study was descriptive in nature, utilized correlation and causal-comparative methods, and employed a convenience sample. The population consisted of 3,187 public school teachers from Nebraska and four service regions in upstate New York. Data related to the research questions were gathered using an online survey. After minimum access was determined, frequencies, percentages, t tests, and correlations were used to examine the data. Teachers with infrequent (<15 mins. /week) teacher-directed student use of the Internet comprised 63% of the sample. Teachers from elementary and high school levels were almost equally represented in the infrequent use group. The majority of the high school level teachers were assigned to language arts, mathematics or science courses. Teachers in the frequent (>. 90 mins. /week) use group were predominately (75%) high school level, with the majority teaching computer and business subjects. Significant differences were found between the use groups regarding beliefs about the Internet's effect on students and schools and feelings about designing lessons that included the Internet or technology. Within the infrequent use group, significant correlations were found between comparative Internet skill levels and (a) hours of technology-related professional development and (b) willingness to use the Internet for professional development. Further study should be given to the question of how these differences and correlations may affect the amount of teacher-directed student use of the Internet. The profiles developed in this study provide a starting point to assist regional, district, and school-level personnel in assessing local needs and focusing resources on developing strategies to increase teacher-directed student ...
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Date: May 2002
Creator: Charles, Joan T.

Latent Transition Analysis of Pre-service Teachers' Efficacy in Mathematics and Science

Description: This study modeled changes in pre-service teacher efficacy in mathematics and science over the course of the final year of teacher preparation using latent transition analysis (LTA), a longitudinal form of analysis that builds on two modeling traditions (latent class analysis (LCA) and auto-regressive modeling). Data were collected using the STEBI-B, MTEBI-r, and the ABNTMS instruments. The findings suggest that LTA is a viable technique for use in teacher efficacy research. Teacher efficacy is modeled as a construct with two dimensions: personal teaching efficacy (PTE) and outcome expectancy (OE). Findings suggest that the mathematics and science teaching efficacy (PTE) of pre-service teachers is a multi-class phenomena. The analyses revealed a four-class model of PTE at the beginning and end of the final year of teacher training. Results indicate that when pre-service teachers transition between classes, they tend to move from a lower efficacy class into a higher efficacy class. In addition, the findings suggest that time-varying variables (attitudes and beliefs) and time-invariant variables (previous coursework, previous experiences, and teacher perceptions) are statistically significant predictors of efficacy class membership. Further, analyses suggest that the measures used to assess outcome expectancy are not suitable for LCA and LTA procedures.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Ward, Elizabeth Kennedy

International Distance Learning in Special Education: A Program Evaluation of a US-Ecuador Collaboration

Description: The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs.
Date: August 2010
Creator: McPherson, Rebekah

Preservice teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about cooperative learning in Kuwait: A quasi-experimental study

Description: The issue of developing effective teacher preparation and professional programs by providing effective teaching and learning strategies to prepare teachers to teach in more challenging ways and change their old ways of teaching to more powerful ones has gained great attention around the world. Cooperative learning was one of the astonishing strategies introduced by many researchers to prepare effective teachers and to solve many educational problems. Teacher educators have taken different approaches to help teachers learn and change in powerful ways. They have focused on the knowledge and attitudes of teachers in promoting their adoption of new practices through educational courses, workshops, and training. After introducing the cooperative learning strategy through a training workshop, this study investigated the knowledge of and attitude of teachers at the College of Basic Education (CBE) in Kuwait towards cooperative learning as a new teaching and learning strategy. The literature reviewed the historical and practical use, theoretical roots, different models, and outcomes of cooperative learning. In addition, (1) teachers' knowledge and attitudes as factors affecting implementation and (2) preservice teacher preparation and training in the use of cooperative learning were reviewed. An attitude survey and a knowledge test were developed based on Bouas, (1993) survey and test. Additionally, an interview guide and a demographic data survey were all used to collect data. The survey and the test were translated into the Arabic language. Ninety-one responses of participants in two experimental classes and one control class were analyzed. Twenty-one participants were interviewed. A significant difference in knowledge of and attitude towards cooperative learning was found between experimental classes and the control class (p< .05 for both knowledge and attitude). In conclusion, the training workshop affected preservice teachers' knowledge of and attitudes toward the cooperative learning strategy. Therefore, the researcher suggested that cooperative learning should be introduced ...
Date: December 2001
Creator: Al-Dawoud, Afeefa

Preschool Mathematics: An Examination of One Program's Alignment with Recommendations from NAEYC and NCTM

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a preschool program followed the recommendations outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in their joint position statement "Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings." Six teachers were randomly selected from three of the preschool program's six locations that are situated in an urban city in North Texas. Two parts of this program's approach to mathematics were investigated: the teachers' instructional practices and the program's curricular materials. Data came from observations using the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics-Environment and Teaching (COEMET) protocol and field notes. Each teacher participated in three interviews over the course of this research. Analyses of these sources provided insights into teachers' instructional practices for mathematics. Reviews of curricular documents and lesson plans for mathematics instruction provided information pertaining to the math curriculum used at this preschool program. All of these data sources were analyzed using the framework presented in NAEYC and NCTM's position statement. Analysis of the data indicated that, although teachers did not have any knowledge of these guidelines, teachers followed some of these recommendations; such as presenting children with daily developmentally appropriate mathematics activities and connecting mathematics to classroom routines. Other practices did not align with NAEYC and NCTM's suggestions, such as offering children few opportunities to engage in problem-solving situations and providing an inconsistent integration of mathematics into meaningful activities related to other content areas. Several possible factors may have influenced teachers' use of these recommendations. Teachers' prior educational opportunities, the program's curriculum materials, and the teachers' prior experiences with mathematics all may have contributed to the teachers' understandings of high quality mathematics instructional practices. Results from this research help to provide the foundation for future investigations of ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Johnston, Elisabeth

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

Staff Development Methods for Planning Lessons with Integrated Technology

Description: This study compared cooperative and individual staff development methods for planning lessons with integrated technology. Twenty-three teachers from one elementary school participated in the study. The sample was the entire population. Nine participants were assigned to the control group, and fourteen participants were assigned to the experimental group. Names of participants were randomly drawn to determine group assignment. Participants in the control group worked individually in all three staff development sessions, while participants in the experimental group chose a partner, with whom they worked cooperatively in all three staff development sessions. Each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan prior to participation in three staff development sessions. Following the sessions, each participant or pair of participants submitted a lesson plan. Three independent raters rated lesson plans to determine the participants' respective levels on the Level of Technology Implementation Observation Checklist (Moersch, 2001). The ratings of the lesson plans submitted before the training were compared to those collected after the training using a two-by-two mixed model ANOVA. The occasion (pre- vs. post-test), group, and interaction variables were all statistically significant at the .1 level; however, only the occasion variable had a strong effect size. These data suggest that (1) all teachers who participated in the training, whether individually or cooperatively, were able to develop lesson plans at a higher level of technology implementation and (2) cooperative staff development methods had no advantage over individual staff development methods with respect to teachers' ability to write lessons with integrated technology.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Heine, Jennifer Miers

A model for developing and disseminating multimedia materials for teacher educators.

Description: The purpose of this study was to develop a model that would enhance the development, dissemination, and adoption of educational multimedia materials. The grounded theory definition of open coding was used to analyze data collected from the 3-year Technology Leadership Web Library Project at the University of North Texas. Weekly meeting minutes, email communication, reports, notes, questionnaires, and surveys were examined to determine major factors involved in the process of product development and dissemination. From the analysis of this study, five major factors in product development and dissemination were identified. These factors were leadership, team dynamics, expert advisors, feedback, and consumers. The synthesis of the factors led to the development of the PROMOTE (process revolving around ongoing management of team and evaluative feedback) model. The PROMOTE model is based on the establishment of a system that includes leadership, development team, and expert advisors at its center. The system is tied together with well-established feedback loops for stages of evaluation. The PROMOTE model is iterative and uses consumer feedback to generate new products. The PROMOTE model differs from other product development and evaluation models both in the focus of the process and the nature of the evaluation feedback.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Hodges, Linda S.

Social and Economic Characteristics Related to the Immediate College Transition of Recent High School Graduates: A Study of Southwest Region TRIO Participants' College Continuation

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine whether: 1) Southwest Region TRIO high school students between the years 1991 - 2001 continued to college immediately after high school at rates significantly different than similar population students on national and state levels; and 2) immediate college continuation for this group was a function of social and economic characteristics including race, gender, parental education, and home-care environment. The sample included 414 TRIO program participants from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Data on the 414 participants were gathered using an existing database containing demographic and post-secondary enrollment information on study participants. The findings of this study reveal Southwest Region TRIO students during this ten-year period continued to college immediately after high school at rates not significantly different than the national low-income population of students. Results indicate that when compared to all students in the five-state southwest region, the majority low-income, first-generation TRIO population continued to college at rates not significantly different than all-income students in the region. Findings of this study also revealed select social and economic characteristics were not predictors of immediate college continuation for this group. Finally, the study showed out-of-home care environment students continued to college at significantly higher rates than in-home care Southwest Region TRIO students.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Cowan, Charisse L.

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

A value-added approach to determine the relationships of mentoring to novice teacher classroom effectiveness.

Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between scores of the new teachers' classroom effectiveness with numerical indexes of mentor support, mentor infrastructure, and workplace ecology. In addition, this study sought to determine the effect of various demographics (i.e., gender, age, race, degree, teaching level, and certification route) on the Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) scores of first-year teachers, and to determine the differences, if any, between the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores of first-year teachers who remained on campus, switched campuses, or left the district. This study is primarily correlational in nature - looking for relationships between quantifiable variables. The subjects are 68 first-year teachers. The mandatory mentoring program the subjects were involved in consisted of a paid, veteran teacher who worked on the same campus as the first-year teacher and assisted in instructional or behavioral needs. This study measured the impact of the first-year teachers' mentoring experiences to the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores and teacher retention. The findings suggest that the Classroom Effectiveness Index scores might not be an appropriate tool for uncovering which aspects of mentoring contribute to student achievement and retention. Adding the value-added measurement tool to the categories of mentor support (MS), mentor infrastructure (MI), and workplace ecology (WE), rendered no statistically significant results. Therefore, further research is necessary to continue to define the effective characteristics of mentoring and its impact on classroom effectiveness and retention.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Harris, Shelley B.

A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.

Description: This dissertation investigated the media literacy experiences of middle school students enrolled in a Texas school. The literature review suggested that middle school students may be overlooked as a distinct population in media literacy research. The primary guiding questions for this inquiry were (1) How is media literacy exhibited by middle school students within a formal school context? (2) How does an elective film and media class impact middle school students' media literacy? And (3) How do middle grade students' responses to media correspond with theoretical models for media literacy? The phenomenological research methodology included a reflective analysis of students' textual responses to non-print media clips (N=24) and a reflective analysis of follow-up personal interviews with a smaller group of middle school participants (n=5). A questionnaire completed by participants provided descriptive statistics about the sample group. Additionally, theoretical models of media literacy were used to evaluate participants' media responses in relation to theoretical constructs for media literacy. The findings resulted in 11 emergent themes which can be used to further discourse about media literacy and its role in middle school curriculum. The dissertation includes implications for educators based upon the emergent themes, as well as recommendations for further research.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Payne, Sara M.

The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.

Description: In this study I analyzed the 1089 desegregation outcomes in federal district courts that occurred between 1994 and 2004 in order to identify a) the legal and non-legal factors in the litigation process that predict pro-desegregation outcomes and b) the judicial patterns that impact the future of desegregation policy. Twenty-one legal and non-legal variables were analyzed via logistic regression analysis to identify factors that predict pro-desegregation outcomes. Only three predictor variables were statistically significant: Government Litigants; Region 3 (West) and Region 4 (Northeast.) Descriptive analyses of the data identified two trends in the pattern of litigation: The percentage of defendant wins increased after 1991 at a lesser rate than has been previously reported. I conclude that based on the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses the federal district courts are not a barrier to desegregation and can still be a part of a comprehensive desegregation strategy.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Lane, Ginny G.

An investigation into the current practices of formal and informal teacher technologists on the use of computers in the classroom in an urban academy school and a private academy school.

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of formal and informal teacher technologists in two school settings: an elite private, high school academy and an urban poor, middle school academy. This investigation included clarifying the role of the formal and informal teacher technologist and investigating the need for both formal and informal teacher technologists. This study also explored the technological differences between the public academy middle school and the private academy high school. Two formal and eight informal teacher technologists were interviewed face-to-face three times, each using the transcendental phenomenology research design. Each teacher technologist was also observed at least once in classroom and teacher training sessions. The results of this study revealed (1) the role of the teacher technologist was a fast technology problem solver; and (2) although students and teachers used technology, the schools lagged in adequate technology and/or teacher training; (3) the teacher technologists used the Internet to build and evaluate curriculum; (4) most students used tool software centered around project-based activities; (5) teacher technologists trained other teachers to be collaborative risk-takers in using technology; (6) teacher technologists shared what they learn with students and other teachers; and (7) students could be student-learners or student-teachers and teachers could be teacher-learners. Four conclusions were reached: technology and constructivist teaching are compatible; technology is a tool; new approaches to professional development are needed; and hardware and software should be standardized for maximum use. Additionally, both schools in this study were evolving the role of the formal teacher technologist. It was recommended that (1) the schools employ at least one fulltime formal teacher technologist whose main role is to assist teachers in technology classroom incorporation, (2) the schools form teams of informal teacher technologists, (3) and the public middle school academy purchase one laptop for each student ...
Date: August 2003
Creator: Herring, Jennifer C.

The relationship between models of student laptop computer use and teacher instructional behavior

Description: This study investigated the relationship between four models of student laptop computer use and three components of teacher instructional behavior: planning, implementation of instruction, and evaluation of instruction. The four models of use: full access, dispersed, class set, and mixed, represented the numerous ways teachers in public and private schools and school districts nationwide implemented student use of laptop computers. Teacher planning behavior was investigated with regard to time, frequency, complexity, difficulty, the need for revision, and use of technological resources and materials. Implementation of instruction was examined with regard to student grouping, instructional strategies, instructional content/subject matter, teacher and student roles, assignments and learning tasks, and instructional activities. The evaluation of instruction component was examined with regard to assessment tasks, grading, and assessment of homework. Using a researcher-designed questionnaire, data was gathered in a single-stage cross-sectional survey from 356 teachers working in 74 public and private schools nationwide. Results indicated models of student laptop computer use had differential effects on teacher instructional behaviors. On average, teachers found planning to be more arduous, but more collegial, especially in the mixed model. The full access and mixed models were more likely to advance a constructivist approach to teacher instructional behaviors with regard to implementation and evaluation of instruction. Results from this study had implications for future research. The effects of student laptop computer use on the full access and mixed models of use should be given further study with regard to the implementation and evaluation of instruction.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Ashmore, Barbara A.

From Knowing Content to Constructing Knowledge: A Trend Analysis of Secondary Science Education, 1953-1992

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze secondary science education curriculum and instruction trends for the period 1953-1992 by using the technique of content analysis to examine a representative portion of journal articles and policy statements in secondary science education. Two major science publications, The Science Teacher and Science Education, were selected for analysis.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Kelly, Janet Arlene

The Impact of Student Thinking Journals and Generic Problem Solving Software on Problem Solving Performance and Transfer of Problem Solving Skills

Description: This study examined the effects of specially designed thinking journal activities that have been attributed with encouraging reflective thinking, on instruction using generic, or content-free problem solving software. Sixty-three fourth grade students participated in four instructional sessions using a software package called Moptown Hotel. Students completed separate posttests that measured (1) performance on problems of the same kind as those used in instruction, and (2) transfer of skills to other kinds of problems. Scores of students who wrote thinking journals prior to testing were compared with scores of students who did not. Results indicate that students who wrote thinking journals performed the same as students who did not when tested on problems similar to those practiced in class. Tests in which students transferred their skills to word problems, however, produced significant differences. There was no significant difference between scores when averaged over all four weekly occasions. However, for the final session alone, students who wrote thinking journals scored higher on tests of problem solving transfer than students who did not (p < .01). The study also examined the relationship between the degree of metacognitive thought displayed in students' journal entries, and their measured problem solving ability. Results indicate that students who had higher average reflectivity scores also had higher average problem solving performance and transfer scores (p < .05). It was also noted that the significant relationship between reflectivity and scores of problem solving ability was only observed in male students. It was concluded that under the right conditions, and for the right kinds of problems, thinking journal writing can help students understand their own thinking processes, resulting in improved problem solving behavior. The study also raises the question of whether there are differences between the ways that male and female students apply metacognitive awareness gained through journal writing experiences.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Sullivan, Gary E. (Gary Eugene)

Perceptions of the Changing Roles of Central Instructional Support Staff as Site-Based Decision Making is Implemented in One School District: A Descriptive Study

Description: The purpose of this study was to analyze ways in which the roles of instructional support staff as perceived by principals and instructional support staff members in a large, suburban school district have been affected by the implementation of site-based decision making (SBDM). Research questions focused on changes which have occurred in the roles of instructional support staff and in the services provided to schools by support staff since the implementation of SBDM, the roles which support staff members believe they have in SBDM, the perceptions of principals regarding the roles of instructional support staff in SBDM, and a comparison of the views of instructional support staff and principals regarding the district's implementation of SBDM.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Barnum, Rebecca Ann

Implementation of the Middle School Concept: a Profile of Perceived Effects

Description: This study addressed the perceptions of teachers, parents, and students in a suburban middle school about the effects of implementation of the middle school concept on instruction, peer group interaction, teacher attitudes and practices, and school culture. A qualitative approach was used for this study. Interview questions were developed to determine perceptions about effects in the areas identified in the research questions. Interviews were conducted with selected teachers, parents, and students who had exposure to the school before and after planned changes were implemented. Documents were examined for evidence of perceptions in the four areas identified. In addition, an existing data set (a student survey} was examined and the same survey was administered to a more recent group of students to identify possible patterns in student perceptions.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Hartin, Gail Bantle

The Implementation of Transition from Spanish Reading to English Reading Programs in Bilingual Classrooms

Description: The purpose of this study was to describe the actual implementation of the transition process as observed in bilingual classrooms, and in particular, to examine the critical components (policy, curricular, and instructional characteristics) of the Spanish-to-English reading transition policies implemented in bilingual education programs in elementary schools in the Denton Independent School District in Texas. Four research questions drove this study. To investigate these questions, a multidimensional, descriptive research design was employed. The researcher used questionnaires, interviews, and field observations. The 11 educators, 6 bilingual teachers, 2 school-site principals, 2 school-site coordinators, and 1 district bilingual coordinator, were asked several types of questions (open response and closed response) using different types of instruments (questionnaires and interviews). Also, the six bilingual teachers were observed using two types of instruments (field notes and video tapes).
Date: December 1994
Creator: Amaya, Jesús, 1956-