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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

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

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.

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.

Gis in Ap Human Geography: a Means of Developing Students’ Spatial Thinking?

Description: Geography education is undergoing change in K-12 education due in part to the introduction of geospatial technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS). Although active engagement in GIS mapping would seem to enhance students’ spatial thinking, little is known about the mapping strategies that students employ or about changes in their geographic knowledge that would result. This study, set in a high school Advanced Placement human geography class, sought to contribute to these areas of inquiry. Participants performed a web-based GIS task focused on global population and migration. Attention in the study was on (a) the strategies students employed when investigating geographic phenomena using GIS, (b) changes in their cognitive maps, as assessed through sketch maps, resulting from the activity, (c) the relationship between GIS maps and sketch maps, and (d) the ways in which a subset of students serving as case studies explained the nature of their mapping. The study employed screen-captures, video-recordings, observations, pre- and post-study sketch maps, and interviews. Analyses of the GIS process revealed that, in creating their maps, the students used a number of strategies, which included searching, layering, removing layers of data, adjusting transparency, editing, and noting. Although searching and layering were employed by all students, there was variability across students in use of the other strategies. With respect to changes in their spatial thinking, analyses of the sketch maps showed increases in elaboration and accuracy in terms of migration patterns. When GIS maps were compared to sketch maps, analyses showed relations for many students. The six students who served as case studies revealed major connections between personal interests and the reasoning employed in mapping. They also described their entry points into the process. The study shows how real-time data collection, including screen captures, as well as more static measures, specifically sketch maps, can provide ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Webster, Megan L

The impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of at-risk students.

Description: The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Reed, Janice

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 Impact of Language Planning and Policy on High School Long-term English Language Learners in a Selected North Texas Urban District

Description: Language policy reform movements have increased accountability in order for schools to improve student achievement and measure the progress of English language learners. The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown significantly in the school population, yet the level of academic achievement for this population continues to lag. Language planning and policy provide critical decisions about how to measure what students know in all subjects. In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature approved the assessment of the state curriculum to account for student learning while nationally the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires assessment and accountability to measure what students know. Long term English language learners (LTELs) in high school are of particular concern because they have not been able to meet standards on the state's assessments. These assessments are used for national NCLB accountability under Annual Yearly progress (AYP) indicators, the state's accountability and the Texas graduation criteria. The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of educational language planning and policy on LTELs who have lived and attended US schools for more than four school years.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Piña-Hinojosa, Isabella

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)

The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.

Description: This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Hodges, Sarah

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-

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 influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.

Description: Despite the positive outcomes for inquiry-based science education and recommendations from national and state standards, many teachers continue to rely upon more traditional methods of instruction This causal-comparative study was designed to determine the effects of the Inquiry Institute, a professional development program that is intended to strengthen science teachers' pedagogical knowledge and provide practice with inquiry methods based from a constructivist approach. This study will provide a understanding of a cause and effect relationship within three levels of the independent variable-length of participation in the Inquiry Institute (zero, three, or six days)-to determine whether or not the three groups differ on the dependent variables-beliefs, implementation, and barriers. Quantitative data were collected with the Science Inquiry Survey, a researcher-developed instrument designed to also ascertain qualitative information with the use of open-ended survey items. One-way ANOVAs were applied to the data to test for a significant difference in the means of the three groups. The findings of this study indicate that lengthier professional development in the Inquiry Institute holds the most benefits for the participants.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Williams-Rossi, Dara

Intentions and Implementation of the Professional Development and Appraisal System in Texas

Description: The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high ...
Date: December 2000
Creator: Davis-Frost, Diane

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

The International Newcomer Academy: A Case Study

Description: This initial investigation into the special program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, the International Newcomer Academy (INA), examines and describes the nature of this new school in comparison with the nature of the Language Centers functioning in host schools as schools within schools. This study was prompted by the need to document perceptions, behaviors, and practices of all principal players, which might result in program improvement to benefit students. The primary goal for establishing this new school was to focus primarily on beginner limited English proficient (LEP) students so that the language centers would be relieved, and so do a better job of teaching intermediate and advanced LEP students.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Maduawuchukwu, Augustina Eberechukwu

The Interpretations of the Concept of "Inclusion" Held by Key Policy Makers, Policy Drivers and Policy Implementers Concerned with Service Delivery to Special Education Students in Texas Urban Public School Settings

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine concepts of "inclusion" held by policy drivers (PD), policy makers (PM) and policy implementers (PI) from various national organizations, state agencies and school districts. Interviews were conducted with 14 informants, and responses recorded, transcribed and clustered according to patterns of language. Documents provided by informants were reviewed. A Likert-type questionnaire was developed, grounded in patterns of language used in interviews and documents. Descriptive and inferential statistics identified variance between and within groups. Of 430 questionnaires sent, 266 were returned. Factor analysis of 29 items yielded 5 factors (definition of inclusion, training and support, receptivity, benefits/barriers, and prerequisites). One way analysis of variance, tests for homogeneity and multiple range tests were performed. Patterns of understanding of inclusion were clarified, and interpretations and conclusions were drawn. Significant variance was found among PD, PM, and PI on 3 of 5 factors (benefits/barriers, prerequisites, receptivity) with the greatest variance being between PD and PI. The most significant variance among 8 school districts occurred with factor 1 (benefits/barriers of inclusion). Informants' degree of support for inclusion was frequently not reflective of the organizations they represented. All groups associated inclusion with attitudes and beliefs, rather than with actions or programs. By describing patterns of definitions and critical attributes of inclusion, the development and implementation of educational policy relating to students with disabilities may be facilitated. Observed variations in how inclusion is philosophically and operationally defined may play a critical role in the implementation of inclusionary practices. The language used by informants reflects barriers to successful implementation of inclusion, as well as possible solutions. Variance between policy drivers, policy makers and policy implementers, as well as between individuals and their respective organizations may have implications for the evolution and development of educational policy.
Date: May 1997
Creator: James, Leslie Charles

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.

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

An Investigation of Preservice Teachers' Understanding of Buoyancy

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the conceptual understandings of 55 elementary preservice teachers for the concept of buoyancy. This study used Ausubel’s Assimilation Theory (Ausubel, 1963) as a framework for a 15-week intervention that used pre/post concept maps (Cmaps), pre/post face-to-face semi-structured interviews, and drawings as evidences for change of formation of cognitive structures. Using a convergent parallel design and mixed methods approach, preservice teachers’ conceptions were analyzed using these evidences. Results of the study show that preservice teachers held both scientific conceptions and misconceptions about buoyancy as a force before and after an instructional intervention. Of importance were the existence of robust misconceptions about buoyancy that included inaccurate scientific knowledge about the foundational concepts of gravity, weight, mass, and density. The largest gains in scientific knowledge included the concepts of gravity, surface area, opposing forces, and the buoyant force. These concepts were consistently supported with evidence from post-concept maps, post, semi-structured interviews, and drawings. However, high frequencies of misconceptions were associated with these same aforementioned concepts as well as additional misconceptions about buoyancy-related concepts (i.e., weight, density, displacement, and sinking/floating). A paired t test showed a statistically significant difference (t = -3.504, p = .001) in the total number of scientifically correct concepts for the pre-concept maps (M = 0.51, SD = .879) and post-concept maps (M = 1.25, SD = 1.542). The Cohen’s d effect size was small, .47. Even through gains for the pre/post concept maps were noted, a qualitative analysis of the results indicated that not only were there serious gaps in the participant’s scientific understanding of buoyancy, after the instructional intervention an increased number of misconceptions were presented alongside the newly learned concepts. A paired t test examining misconceptions showed that there was a statistically significant difference (t = -3.160, p = ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Kirby, Benjamin

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