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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

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.

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 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

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.

Parallels Between the Gaming Experience and Rosenblatt's Reader Response Theory

Description: The world of literacy has expanded alongside technology, and new literacies are being used as an alternative or an addition to traditional text. By including video gaming as literacy, the connection can be made between students' multimodal world outside of school with the world of literacy they encounter in school. This study took two approaches of a content study and a case study. A collective case study was used to examine the gaming experience of participants with three commercial video games falling into three separate genres: Sims FreePlay (simulation); Halo 1 (first person shooter); and World of Warcraft (role playing game). The 15 gamers were placed into three sets of five participants for each video game, and interviews were conducted to explore the gaming experience in relation to stance and transaction, which are major components of Louise Rosenblatt's reader response theory. Limited research has been conducted regarding reader response theory and the new literacies; by using the reader response lens, the gaming experience was compared to the reading experience to add the new literacies to the existing literature on reader response. As a way to look at both the text and the experience, a content study examined three mainstream video games to establish literacy content by using Zimmerman's gaming literacy theory. Even though this theory is useful by detailing elements found in video games and not traditional literature, literary value cannot be fully assessed unless the theory is developed further to include other components or discuss how the depth of the components can relate to literary value. The literature does not currently contain substantial research regarding how to assess the literary value of video games, so this study begins to add to the present literature by demonstrating that at least for these games the presence of the components of the ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Sanders, April

The Beliefs and Expectations of Effective Secondary Choral Teachers in Culturally Diverse Schools

Description: Through the years, educational theorists and researchers have been interested in a possible relationship between teachers' effectiveness and their beliefs and expectations. Three concepts underpinned this work: teacher effectiveness, cultural diversity, and teachers' beliefs and expectations. The premise of the study was that the beliefs and expectations of effective secondary choral teachers are related to the social-cultural contexts in which they teach. The study implemented critical discourse analysis as the theoretical framework and the in-depth phenomenological long interview for data collection. Three secondary choral teachers were selected to participate in the study based on the researcher's criteria. The study revealed how each teacher conceptualized student cultural diversity during the teaching experience. Teacher beliefs about effective teaching in culturally diverse settings were described as developing over time in phases along a continuum. The study also confirmed that teachers' beliefs about students can be changed through experiences and reflection. The study revealed effective teachers focused on three different types of expectations in the teaching and learning context and affirmed diverse cultural identities and backgrounds. Recommendations included the development of stronger mentorship programs to increase effective teaching strategies for the secondary choral classroom. The findings of this study support my previous work, which introduces a sequential learning framework for teaching music in culturally diverse schools.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Spradley, Mackie V.

An Examination of How 4-8 Preservice Teachers Understand and Implement Multicultural Concepts

Description: Preparing teachers to teach in the diverse classroom has become one of the most important goals for universities and teacher training programs. The main purposes of this study included to examine what type of multicultural concepts were taught preservice teachers who sought certification in Grades 4-8 and how these preservice teachers understood and implemented multicultural concepts in their educational portfolios and coursework, field experiences, and student teaching. The population of the study consisted of 53 undergraduate, preservice teachers enrolled in the last two years of a 4-8 teacher certification program. A modified grounded theory methodology and interpretive approach was used in the analysis of the course syllabi, required readings and student coursework. The study found that this particular program exposed the preservice teachers to a significant number of multicultural concepts in preparation for teaching in the ethnically diverse schools in the area. In addition, the study looked at which of Grant and Sleeter's five multicultural approaches were found most often in the course syllabi and required readings, as well as the preservice teachers' portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The research found the majority of the course syllabi and assigned readings covered concepts in the human relations and multicultural education approaches. The majority of the preservice teachers in this study identified most often with the multicultural education approach, although all five multicultural approaches were found in various portfolio artifacts, key assessments, and reflective writing samples. The study further indicates it was a combination of the multicultural courses, the field experiences, the student teaching, and the preservice teachers' adaptability to ethnic diversity that helped the preservice teachers experience successful opportunities with the students. The adaptability of the preservice teachers in the study also appears to match recent research that suggests that university students in general may be growing more ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Schellen, Julie K.

The Politics of Grading: a Comparative Study of High School English Teachers' Personal Beliefs, Self-reported Systems, and Actual Practices

Description: The purpose of this study was to attain and analyze data regarding high school English teachers' beliefs about grading practices and their self-reported grading practices, to identify and understand disparities that exist between teachers' beliefs and self-reported practices, to identify discrepancies between the same self-reported practices and evidence of the practices actually utilized, and to consider teachers' perceptions as to the causes for these discrepancies. Instrumentation for this study included two surveys with both Likert and Likert-like items and an interview/portfolio analysis of teachers' grading systems. A combined total of 204 high school English-language arts teachers representing thirty-eight states and eighty-five schools comprised the sample. Corresponding pairs of Likert-type items were analyzed using studies of the mode, median, mean rank, and the Mann-Whitney U Test to study a comparison of the medians, and comparisons of true Likert scale item results were completed using studies of the means and an independent samples t-test. Interview/portfolio analysis data were analyzed both descriptively and inferentially including the calculation of 95% confidence intervals for generalizability. All open-ended items were considered qualitatively through a process of identifying and categorizing trends in language and over-arching themes. Results indicate that the sample finds grading practices recommended by experts in the field to be best grading practices, and respondents generally report the use of these same practices in their own grading systems. The data reveal, however, discrepancies between the majority of teachers' reported practices and their actual practices. Study participants are likely to place blame for these discrepancies on these sources: campus or district authorities, the limited time available, and the interferences caused by parents.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Thibodeaux, Lisa M.

Peer Mediation: an Empirical Exploration Empowering Elementary School Children to Resolve Conflicts Constructively

Description: Conflict is inevitable in school and in life. Many children lack skills necessary to resolve daily conflicts constructively. Without knowledge of positive ways to manage conflicts, violence may result. Limited research suggests that involvement in a peer mediation program may have a positive influence on children. This study assessed effects peer mediation training and mediation experience had on student mediators. The pretest-posttest, control-group, and quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of a year long peer mediation program implemented in a suburban elementary school.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Link, Kathleen Elizabeth Barbieri

Texas Public School Library Media Specialists' Perceptions of the Use of the Internet in their Schools

Description: With the advent of the 21st century, technological innovations are transforming the face of education and the school library media center. One of these significant developments is the ability to communicate through the Internet. The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of Texas public school library media specialists who are active Internet users about their utilization of the Internet, and how their efforts in implementing and supervising Internet access in their school library media centers impact the Texas public schools that they serve. A survey instrument of Likert items was developed that queried these public school library media specialists for their perceptions of Internet use in their schools. MANOVA was the chosen statistical measure for this study. An initial electronic mail-out to 1,232 Texas public school library media specialists (K-12) with Internet addresses were contacted to participate in this study. After a time frame of one month, 196 Texas school library media specialists e-mailed the researcher, confirming their willingness to be a survey participant. All respondents to this e-mail request participated in this study, and a second U.S. mail-out was sent containing the actual survey instrument. The researcher found that the use of the Internet by school library media specialists in Texas did not increase global collegiality from the viewpoint of the survey respondents. Survey respondents felt that an Internet acceptable use policy did not ensure student access to the Internet in Texas public school library media centers. The study examined the relationship between acceptable use policies and Internet censorship, and the researcher found no connection between these two elements from the perspective of the school library media specialist. The study found that school library media specialists believe that their training did improve their students' library research skills. Furthermore, the survey respondents believed that their Internet training ...
Date: June 1997
Creator: Bruns, Loretta A. (Loretta Ann)

An Analysis of the Impact of Curriculum Management Audits on Public School Systems in Texas

Description: The purposes of this study were to (1) identify the recommendations of Curriculum Management Audits conducted in Texas Public School systems, (2) determine the degree to which each of the recommendations had been implemented, and (3) determine the perceptions of stakeholders as to the factors instrumental in the real and potential impact of the audit. The researcher conducted interviews with superintendents and key central office administrators with a working knowledge of the audit report in each of the eleven Texas school districts studied. Respondents were asked to rate recommendations written for their districts using the following descriptors: Implemented, In Progress, Plan to Implement, Recommendation Modified, No Implementation. The ranking of recommendation implementation revealed that 85% of the recommendations made in the 11 audit reports reviewed in this study had received action toward implementation to some degree. Respondents were also asked to cite factors which facilitated or impeded recommendation implementation. Significant factors facilitating the implementation of recommendations were reported to be time, organizational structure/personnel and planning. The analysis of the collective recommendations revealed that school board policies were not adequate to direct the design, delivery and monitoring of curriculum when measured against audit Standard One criteria. School districts in Texas rely on the Texas Association of School Boards' policy division for policies. Findings indicate that greater alignment between the Texas Association of School Boards' policies and Curriculum Management Audit criteria must be sought in order for school districts in Texas to meet this Standard. System-wide planning, curriculum documents, and program-driven budgeting processes were other areas requiring attention of the school districts in the study. Evidence of the extent of implementation of recommendations suggests that school districts valued the audit report with its recommendations. It can be generally concluded that the Curriculum Management Audit had a positive impact on the involved school ...
Date: August 1997
Creator: Murdock, Sunnye (Sunnye J.)

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

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-

Phasing Out Basic Classes: Patterns of Response to an Administrative Mandate

Description: The problem of this study was to determine patterns of response of Texas schools in implementing the Texas Education Agency mandate to phase out below grade level courses. High schools were instructed to phase out these courses, using one of four options outlined by the Texas Education Agency. The study was conducted in two parts with both a telephone survey and a mail survey. The data collected from the telephone survey was used to construct and validate the mail survey instrument. The mail survey was sent to a stratified sample of Texas high schools based on school size, district wealth, and geographical location.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Dugger, Harry Neil

The Effect of the Use of Laser Video Disc on Achievement, Attitude, and Confidence of High School Biology Students

Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of level III video disc instruction on high school biology students. There were three areas studied: students' achievement in biology, students' attitude toward biology, and confidence. The experimental group consisted of 70 biology students. The control group also consisted of 70 biology students. The teacher of the experimental group used level in video disc instruction to teach about invertebrates, vertebrates, human systems, and plants throughout the semester. The teachers of the control group taught the same topics during the same period using the traditional lecture method and without level III video disc instruction. Students took the Biology Achievement Test, the Purdue Master Attitude Scale, and the Confidence in Learning Inventory before and after the treatment period. A t-test on the pretest scores of the experimental group and the control group showed no significant difference between the two groups. The experimental group also took the Technology Preference Survey after the treatment period.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Garza, Federico (Federico Angel)

A Content Analysis of School Reading Textbooks in Taiwan and in Texas

Description: The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare the values, beliefs, and ideas in school reading textbooks (Readers) in Taiwan and in Texas. It intended to examine the social control function of school Readers, with which a culture deliberately molds its young generation. This study employed primarily qualitative methods. The collection of data used the technique of content analysis, student surveys, and teacher expert panel discussions. The analysis of data followed a constant comparative approach. The themes shared by the two sets of Readers included family, friends, humans and living creatures, political ideals, reading/writing, appreciation of nature, science, indomitable spirit, turning danger into safety, setting goals, education, desirable and undesirable qualities or behaviors. Despite the similarities of these themes, the substance or focus of them may vary. The themes unique to the Texas Readers were content knowledge, cultural diversity, dilemma and choice, observations about people, words, tomorrow's technology, winning, and general truth. The themes unique to the Taiwan Readers included life philosophy, learning, necessary difficulties, sensitivity, and military strategies. The theme occurring most frequently in both sets of Readers was the desirable qualities or behaviors. The values advocated in the Taiwan Readers were idealistic and had a society-centered focus (for example, patriotism, appreciation of others, serving others, and honesty). Absolute moral principles were taught. A group orientation and altruism were evident. In contrast, the Texas Readers did not have such an emphasis on the concept of group. Personal feelings, individual accomplishments, and self-centered values (for instance, effort, courage, determination, talent, and independence) received more attention. The values were perceived to be relative to the situation. The Taiwan Readers, produced by a national education system, transmitted traditional Chinese beliefs and values. The Texas Readers, with the publishers' intent to avoid controversies, presented more general or universal values. Although the ...
Date: August 1993
Creator: Wang, Sheue-shya

Teacher Study Groups: A Case Study

Description: The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the operation and impact of teacher study groups at one school site throughout a school year. The study was exploratory in nature. The research questions focused on the major factors in the school's external and internal context that impacted the study groups, the typical behaviors and interactions of the study group participants, and the impact of the study groups on the participants, the curriculum, and instruction.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Rowland, Elizabeth Fraser

The Effects of a Strategic Thinking Program on the Cognitive Ability of Seventh Grade Students

Description: This study used a posttest only design to determine the effects of a strategic thinking program on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT, Form 4) scores of seventh graders who received direct instruction in Strategic Thinking Skills (STS) with the scores of seventh graders who did not receive direct instruction in STS. The study was conducted in a large suburban middle school in north Texas.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Houchins, Joyce S. (Joyce Ann S.)

The Use of Technology in the Delivery of Instruction in Algebra II in Texas Public Secondary Schools

Description: The purpose of this study was to survey Algebra II teachers in the State of Texas to determine the extent to which they use technology for the delivery of instruction. Additionally, the study attempted to determine reasons why teachers do or do not use technology when they have a choice.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Clay, James H. (James Hamilton)

The Effect of Training in Test Item Writing on Test Performance of Junior High Students

Description: Students in an inner city junior high school in North Central Texas participated in a study whose purpose was to examine the effect of training in test item construction on their later test performance. The experimental group underwent twelve weeks of instruction using the Test Item Construction Method (TICM). In these sessions students learned to develop test items similar to those on which they were tested annually by the state via the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). The TICM aligned with state mandated test specifications.
Date: May 1997
Creator: Tunks, Jeanne L.