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Early College High School: Hispanic Students’ Perceptions and Experiences From a Texas Campus

Description: Early college high school (ECHS) is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. ECHS was developed with the intention of attracting students to pursue a 4-year college degree, especially students who might not attend college without intervention. The program targets students from low-income families, students who have low academic achievement, and students from minority groups including Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and opinions of Hispanic students about their experiences in an ECHS, and to better understand how their ECHS experiences affected motivation to engage in academics. The expectancy theory and college-going culture provided the theoretical framework for this case study. Semi-structured interviews captured the experiences of the participants. The study focused on 10 Hispanic students, 5 seniors and 5 juniors, enrolled at an ECHS located on a community college campus in Texas. The study found that students with higher motivation to work at high school and college courses had several reasons for choosing to attend ECHS. The reasons included a chance to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree simultaneously, free college tuition, and an accelerated program to get through college. The students also identified rewarding outcomes for completing college. Those outcomes included satisfying career, personal satisfaction, ability to provide for their family and making their family proud as the first high school graduate and college attendee. One student had a lower motivation to work at high school and college work. He chose to attend ECHS to seek more freedom than a traditional high school. He was not certain about graduating from high school and doubtful about college graduation. This study contributes to the ECHS literature by providing details on students’ experiences at an ECHS. Using the qualitative ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Brenner, Rose K.

Texas Principals’ Perceptions of Professional Development Provided By the Local School District

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Texas principals as to the degree to which their local school districts are meeting their ongoing professional development need. The study was conducted to analyze and describe the survey and interview responses of Texas principals as to their perceptions of the degree to which their local school districts provide learning experiences aligned with their needs. Texas principals’ perceptions regarding the characteristics of important and meaningful professional learning experiences were explored. The study included an analysis of the extent to which Texas principals perceive that the learning opportunities they are provided adequately meet those needs. Additionally, various factors influencing principals and their perceptions were examined. These factors included type of school, school setting, school system size, characteristics of students, and characteristics of the principals. The perceptions of school district staff development administrators were analyzed regarding topic importance, topic provision by the local district, and the usefulness of those topics. Finally, the perceptions of the principals and the staff development administrators were compared. Thirteen school districts participated in this study. Of the 273 principals surveyed, 155 completed the survey, yielding a return rate of 56.8%. One campus principal from each of the 13 districts was interviewed. Additionally, 13 district staff development administrators were surveyed and interviewed. Data analysis produced several findings. First, as a whole, principals rated the importance of each of the 22 proposed professional development topics at or above the important level. However, the degree to which local school districts provided training on those topics varied according to the size of the district and the setting of the campus. Second, the relationship between the professional development provided and the quality, or usefulness, of that school district’s training was considered strong for several of the 22 topics. Finally, principals and ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Brockman, Mary Elizabeth

Developing Oral Reading Fluency Among Hispanic High School English-language Learners: an Intervention Using Speech Recognition Software

Description: This study investigated oral reading fluency development among Hispanic high school English-language learners. Participants included 11 males and 9 females from first-year, second-year, and third-year English language arts classes. The pre-post experimental study, which was conducted during a four-week ESL summer program, included a treatment and a control group. The treatment group received a combination of components, including modified repeated reading with self-voice listening and oral dictation output from a speech recognition program. Each day, students performed a series of tasks, including dictation of part of the previous day’s passage; listening to and silently reading a new passage; dictating and correcting individual sentences from the new passage in the speech recognition environment; dictating the new passage as a whole without making corrections; and finally, listening to their own voice from their recorded dictation. This sequence was repeated in the subsequent sessions. Thus, this intervention was a technology-enhanced variation of repeated reading with a pronunciation dictation segment. Research questions focused on improvements in oral reading accuracy and rate, facility with the application, student perceptions toward the technology for reading, and the reliability of the speech recognition program. The treatment group improved oral reading accuracy by 50%, retained and transferred pronunciation of 55% of new vocabulary, and increased oral reading rate 16 words-correct-per-minute. Students used the intervention independently after three sessions. This independence may have contributed to students’ self-efficacy as they perceived improvements in their pronunciation, reading in general, and reported an increased liking of school. Students initially had a very positive perception toward using the technology for reading, but this perception decreased over the four weeks from 2.7 to 2.4 on a 3 point scale. The speech recognition program was reliable 94% of the time. The combination of the summer school program and intervention component stacking supported students’ gains in oral ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Ruffu, Russell

Social Networking, Workplace, and Entertainment Literacies: the Out-of-school Literate Lives of Newcomer Latina/o Adolescents

Description: Studies indicate that Latina/o immigrant youth engage in a wide range of sophisticated literacy practices outside of school that are often transnational, crossing various linguistic, cultural, and social spaces. Technology has further afforded immigrant youth the opportunity to develop transnational capabilities which are rare in the mainstream population, yet needed in the 21st century of global connectedness. However, Latino immigrant youth drop out of school at disproportional rates, suggesting that their literacy practices are not recognized or valued by the educational system. Using a New Literacy Studies perspective that recognizes multiple literacies that are meaningful within their sociocultural traditions, this collective case study investigated the range, form, and purpose of the out-of-school literacies of four Latina/o adolescent English Learners who are new arrivals. The qualitative methodology employed constructivist interviews, digital and actual artifacts, and observations. Findings demonstrated that the most prevalent out-of-school literacies the participants practice take place on the social networking site of Facebook, in their workplaces, and through the entertainment media sources of music and television. A cross-case analysis suggests that the literacy practices in these spaces have unique and purposeful roles for the individuals that allow them to connect to their home countries and maintain their Latina/o identities. Additionally, the participants use their out-of-school literacy practices to acquire English, support themselves, and establish a place to succeed. The five aforementioned spaces that their Facebook, workplace, and entertainment literacy practices fill are virtually absent from their in-school literacies. This study suggests literacy pedagogy and research must not continue to impose a narrow monolingual, monocultural, monoliterate, and monomodal view of Latina/o immigrant students which essentially divests them of their greatest resources. Their literacy practices demonstrate that they are transnational, transcultural, emergent bilinguals who competently engage in multimodal means of communication across multiple linguistic, cultural, social, and geographic borders. Educators ...
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Date: August 2012
Creator: Stewart, Mary Amanda

Data Envelopment Analysis: Measurement of Educational Efficiency in Texas

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficiency of Texas public school districts through Data Envelopment Analysis. The Data Envelopment Analysis estimation method calculated and assigned efficiency scores to each of the 931 school districts considered in the study. The efficiency scores were utilized in two phases. First, the school district efficiency scores were combined with school district student achievement to evaluate effectiveness with efficiency. A framework was constructed to graph the scores on an x-axis of student achievement scores and a y-axis of efficiency scores to further illustrate the data. The framework was evaluated with the full statewide sample and with school districts categorized into similar peer groups. Then, using variables selected from related scholarly literature, a regression analysis identified which factors impacted school district efficiency statewide. The non-discretionary variables included in the study were total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The discretionary variables selected included the teacher-to-student ratio, teachers’ average years of experience, the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees and the average teacher base salary. Amongst the seven factors selected for regression analysis, five statistically significant variables were identified as impacting statewide school district efficiency. All three non-discretionary variables were identified as statistically significant on efficiency and included total student enrollment, the percentage of non-white students and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Two discretionary factors showed statistically significant effects on efficiency which included teachers’ average years of experience and the percentage of teachers with master’s degrees. The teacher-to-student ratio and the average teacher base salary were ineffective in predicting efficiency. This study contributed to the understanding on educational efficiency. Data Envelopment Analysis has been employed mainly in the private sector to analyze efficiency in economics and business organizations. This study added to the educational research ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Carter, Lacy

Superintendent Preparation for the 21St Century

Description: This study focused on the perceptions of six superintendents regarding the state of the profession as of 2012, and it reports their thoughts and suggestions as to what preparation is needed by superintendents for the 21st century. The participating superintendents, who were all members of the Western States Benchmarking Consortium, were employed in six school districts in five states. Data were collected through surveys and telephone interviews. The findings of this study clearly indicate a lack of cohesion between what superintendents learned in their university professional preparation programs and what they practice in their day to day activities. The superintendents involved in this study tended to favor a hybrid approach – rigorous theoretical insight grounded in real world practice. Since superintendents typically spend a good deal of their time solving challenging problems including funding shortfalls, competition from other educational institutions, and the constant scrutiny of the media; their preparation needs to provide opportunities to develop their leadership skills and solve real world problems in an environment where they can take risks. Mentoring and participation in professional consortiums were recommended as key elements for the preparation of the twenty-first century superintendent. This study contributes to the discussion of how to best prepare school leaders for the current and future demands of superintendency.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Gober, Courtney Carson

Educational Performance: Texas Open Enrollment Charter High Schools Compared to Traditional Public High Schools

Description: The study examined mathematics and English student achievement, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil for Texas high school students in both open-enrollment charter schools and traditional public high schools for the 2009–2010 school year. All data were assembled using archived information found at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This information included the TEA report entitled Texas Open Enrollment Charter Schools Evaluation; TEA Snapshot Yearly Report; and Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) data files. Microsoft Excel (Version 2010) was used to randomly select traditional public high schools categorized as Title 1 and non-Title 1 for comparison with Title 1 and non-Title 1 open-enrollment charter high schools. The IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (IBM Statistics Version 20) was used for a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) conducted between one independent variable (charter or traditional school) and five dependent variables (mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil). Traditional public high school students had higher or better average mean values than charter schools for mathematics exit-level TAKS scores, English exit-level TAKS scores, attendance rates, dropout rates, and expenditures per pupil. The ANOVA found that four of the five dependent variables were statistically significant at the 0.05 confidence level for the independent variable of school type, whether charter or traditional school. There was no significant difference found between the schools for attendance rates. Effect size calculations, using the eta-squared method, confirmed the comparisons with significant differences.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Jackson, Nokomis “Butch,” Jr.

A Descriptive Law and Policy Analysis of Corporal Punishment in Florida Public School Districts

Description: Corporal punishment is banned by state statute in 31 of the 50 U.S states. The 19 states that still allow the practice are largely located in the South and the Rocky Mountain West. However, data indicate that the practice of corporal punishment is still largely a Southern phenomenon. In the 19 states that allow the practice to continue in schools, many have seen the use of the disciplinary technique decline. Existing research documents the negative effects and very little research supports any positive benefits of corporal punishment. This study analyzes school board policies from the 67 public school districts in the state of Florida to determine if trends in policies and incidents of corporal punishment are similar Texas and North Carolina. Research on Texas and North Carolina indicate corporal punishment is used more frequently in districts with smaller enrollments, and in more rural areas. Data from this study suggests that the decrease in the number of incidents of corporal punishment as well as the concentration of the practice among school districts in Florida school follows the same trends of declining use that exist in Texas and North Carolina public schools. Findings illustrate a need for continued research of corporal punishment on a district-by-district and potentially a school-by-school basis.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Goodson, Christopher B.

Developing Culturally Responsive Literacy Teachers: Analysis of Academic, Demographic, and Experiential Factors Related to Teacher Self-efficacy

Description: This mixed-methods study examined teachers' culturally responsive teaching (CRT) self-efficacy beliefs and the relationships among selected academic, demographic, and experiential factors. Guided by theoretical and empirical research on CRT, teacher dispositions, and assessment in teacher education (TE) programs for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, this study utilized an extended version of Siwatu's 2007 Culturally Responsive Teaching Self-Efficacy (CRTSE) Scale to conduct correlational and comparative statistical analyses. Data sources included surveys from 265 participants enrolled in TE classes in the spring 2012 in Texas (one private and one public university). Content analyses were also conducted on participants' descriptions of CRT activities using a priori and inductive coding methods to triangulate and elaborate the explanation of quantitative results. In this population, those with higher CRTSE were typically young (undergraduates), specializing in ESL and bilingual certification coursework, who felt their TE program prepared them well for working with CLD student populations. Regression analyses showed that certain certification areas (ESL, bilingual, elementary, and advanced) and perceptions of better quality in TE program preparation for working with CLD students emerged as significant predictors of increased CRTSE. Those with second language skills were more efficacious in delivering linguistically-responsive instruction, and those professing more experiences with and interest in diverse individuals felt more confident in applying CRT skills. While the younger teacher candidates felt more efficacious, their descriptions of CRT were less sophisticated than those with more teaching experience. Despite much of the literature relating to CRT and minority teachers, ethnicity was not a significant factor in heightened CRTSE. This study informs TE programs for better measuring and supporting teacher candidate CRT development by revising and extending Siwatu's 2007 study in three ways. First, the CRTSE Scale instrument was extended to include items that address greater depth and breadth of the culturally responsive teaching continuum as ...
Date: December 2012
Creator: Sarker, Amie

Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Characteristics in Relation to Family Earner Status and Self-perceived Interpersonal Competence

Description: With an increasing number of married mothers who participated in paid work roles, fathers with full-time employed spouses now are expected to assume the role of caregiver and have higher frequency of engagement in parenting practices. This study of 235 university students from dual-earner and single-earner families investigated their retrospective perceptions of both mothers' and fathers' frequency of engagement in overall and specific parenting behaviors. These perceptions were measured by the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire-Revised Scale, which includes seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. Paired samples t-tests suggested that married mothers, whether fully employed outside the home or not, engaged more frequently, than their full-time employed spouses, in parenting characteristics related to bonding, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity. However, mothers' employment status had little influence upon the frequency at which either parent engaged in any of the seven parenting characteristics and related behaviors. University students who perceived that both parents were more frequently engaged in specific parenting behaviors related to education, responsivity and sensitivity rated themselves higher on interpersonal competence, as measured by the Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire-Revised Scale. Students who perceived that both parents were less frequently engaged in negative parenting behaviors rated themselves higher on competence in conflict management. In addition, family earner status had no significant impact on university students' levels of interpersonal competence. Although there was no significant gender difference in the levels of total interpersonal competence, male students reported higher levels of interpersonal competence in the domains of asserting influence and conflict management than their female counterparts. These findings revealed that like parents from single-earner families, parents from dual-earner families also demonstrated a significant discrepancy in the frequency of engagement in parenting practices. Mothers still invested considerably more time with their children than do fathers. Therefore, there may be a need to develop ...
Date: December 2012
Creator: Chang, Wen-Chuan Rita

Identity of African American Characters in Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Award Winning Books: a Critical Content Analysis of Books From 1991 to 2011

Description: The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical content analysis of the African American characters found in Newbery Medal award winning books recognized between the years of 1991 and 2011. The John Newbery Medal is a highly regarded award in the United States for children's literature and esteemed worldwide. Children's and adolescents' books receive this coveted award for the quality of their writing. Though these books are recognized for their quality writing, there is no guideline in the award criteria that evaluated the race and identity of the characters. Hence, there are two overarching research questions that guided this study. The first question asked: To what extent are the African American characters in each award winning book represented? Foci in answering this question were the frequency of African American characters and the development of their ethnic identities. The second question asked: How are the African American characters' intergroup attitudes and interactions represented? Foci in answering this question examined the frequency of intergroup interactions and the characters' attitudes within the context of each book. The theoretical framework that undergirded this study is critical literacy, which encourages adults and youth to examine issues of diversity and social justice through their reading. Eighteen books met the criteria for the study, which provided 98 African American characters for investigation through content analysis. The qualitative methodology used frequency counts, anecdotal notes and questionnaires to analyze the characters. Findings revealed two key themes: the characterization of ethnic identity as a reflection of society and African American characters as models of agency. Further themes became evident in this study as well: the evolution of cultural authenticity, strong African American female characters, importance of the African American family and the acknowledgement of African American involvement in history. These findings are significant because they provided evidence of ...
Date: December 2012
Creator: Morton, Tami Butler

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

The Impact of a Community College Teacher Education Program on the Success Rate of Minority Teacher Certification Students

Description: The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Perkins, Britine Lynee

Accomplished Teachers' Instructional Decisions About Shakespeare

Description: Teachers' decisions are a powerful influence on student learning and it is important to fully document accomplished teachers' instructional decisions, as well as to investigate possible influences on those decisions. Shakespearean dramas are central to high school curricula across the U.S. and pose particular instructional challenges, therefore teachers' decisions about teaching these texts are of particular interest. There is limited empirical research, however, about these instructional decisions. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe how four accomplished high school English teachers working on a single campus make instructional decisions about teaching a Shakespearean play. Specifically, research questions addressed teachers' decisions regarding the teaching of a Shakespearean play and various influences on those decisions (self-reports and inferences from the data). Case study methodology was used, including an inductive analysis of individual teacher interviews, classroom observations, focus group, instructional artifacts, and researcher's journal. The findings revealed that instructional activities described by these teachers addressed support for meaning-making during four stages of reading instruction: (a) before, during, and after; (b) before; (c) during; and (d) after. Comparison of these cases suggests that, although each teacher brings personal preferences and unique background knowledge to her instructional decisions, all make decisions to promote student engagement and student construction of meaning. Regarding influences on these teachers' decisions about teaching the Shakespearean play, four categories were identified: (a) response to students; (b) aspects of the text; (c) response to contextual constraints and supports; and (d) personal preferences and background experiences. Individual teacher differences are clearly a strong influence, even among this group of colleagues on the same campus. Also, two influences not reported explicitly by the teachers suggest a complex integration of these influences. One is their intuitive thinking, which deserves a closer investigation in future research. The other proposes that each teacher's decisions are ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Parris, Sheri Rene’

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.

First Amendment Constraints of Public School Administrators to Regulate Off-campus Students' Speech in the Technology Age

Description: In a world where students and teachers both rely on technology in the process of education, understanding the constraints of public school administrators to regulate off-campus student's speech is a vital issue. This dissertation focuses on ways to evaluate legal analysis of cases involved in off campus speech. The methodology of legal analysis is used to identify judicial reasoning concerning established legal principles pertaining to the constitutional right of public school students to freedom of expression, and the application of those principles to off-campus student expression delivered by electronic means. This research produces a number of key findings: Many lower court cases have favored with the students unless the school district could prove substantial disruption to the learning environment or a true threat existed due to the off campus speech. In addition, it is crucial for the districts to have concrete policies in place to educate the students about acceptable usage of technology. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that current approaches to punishing students for their offensive off campus speech does not uphold in the courts and administrators must be resilient to speech that may be unpleasant to them. This research also includes several recommendations for administrators such as guidelines on how to write their acceptable usage policy. It also provides a chart with a summary of critical cases of importance to administrators.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Shahzad, Erum H.

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

Prek-6 Teachers' Beliefs About Inclusive Practices in the United States and South Korea: Cross Cultural Perspectives

Description: The educational practice known as inclusion, which is based on values of equal opportunity and diversity, enables students with disabilities to attend the same general education classes as typically developing peers. Inclusion is a legal requirement in the United States and South Korea, but factors facilitating inclusion likely differ across countries. The purpose of the study was to examine PreK-6 school teachers' beliefs about inclusive practices in the United States and South Korea and to present a more informed direction for the future of inclusive education in both countries. Seventy-four teachers from the US and 54 from South Korea participated via email for this study employing surveys. Teachers provided their beliefs about inclusion items on the My Thinking About Inclusion (MTAI) scale, a 28-question instrument, and also provided information about their own gender, years of experience, education level, and teaching practices. A statistically significant difference was found between the teachers of the two nations for the full survey scale. The teachers' training area (i.e., general education or special education) in the US was significantly associated with the belief toward inclusion, and special education teachers in both countries were more agreeable to inclusion than general education practitioners were as shown by the MTAI scale. A strong relationship between accommodation and preparedness for disabilities was found. Most of the barrier factors to practicing inclusive education were considered substantial obstacles, but more so for South Korea teachers than US teachers. University coursework was the least preferred method for improving inclusive practices according to teachers in both countries. Based on the outcomes of the two nations' teachers' beliefs about inclusion, the author suggests that supportive practices, including collaboration between educators, professional development, partnerships with parents and families, and peer supports, be implemented within the two countries for the upkeep of inclusive practices.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Jeong, Hyunjeong

Home Literacy Practices in Diverse Families: Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Children's Literacy Development

Description: Although prior research has shown that parental involvement positively affects a child's literacy development, attention should also be directed to the factors that keep parents from being involved in their children's education. The study reported in this dissertation examined five factors: socioeconomic status, level of education, employment, culture, and language that may be influential in parental assistance of their children's literacy development in the home. The data sources for this investigation included interview responses and a demographic survey. Data from 17 parents, each from a different household, and each with a child in kindergarten were obtained and used for the study. For analyses of these data, content analysis was used to identify similar themes among the interview responses and the demographic survey. Results indicated the following: (1) the time parents spent assisting their child with literacy activities was affected by long work hours, (2) parents with a yearly income of $25,000 or less were unable to provide additional literacy materials for their children, (3) lack of multicultural literature caused culturally diverse parents to feel devalued, and (4) parents who did not speak English fluently lacked the strategies to assist their children in completing English literacy homework. The findings suggest there are significant factors in the home environment that impact the quality and amount of literacy activities that parents provide for their children. In order for teachers to support parents in providing for their children's literacy development, they need to be aware of these factors. In addition, teachers should be culturally sensitive by including multicultural literature in the curriculum.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Gonzalez, Lauren

Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care

Description: High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Reinke, Stephanie L.

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.

The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image

Description: Media is now a part of the early childhood world. In many countries, including industrialized and developing countries, children spend more time consuming various kinds of media. The impact of media on children's perception of their body images has been and continues to be a concern of parents and early childhood professionals. This research examined the influence of Disney movies on Thai kindergarten girls' body images and self-esteem. Thai kindergarten girls completed three measures of body self-image: the Body Figure Preference Scale, the Body Esteem Scale, and the Self-Esteem Scale. The girl participants were randomly assigned to two groups: focused on a female theme (FFT) and focused on a non-human theme (FNT). The experimental group viewed "female" Disney movie themes, while the control group viewed "animal" Disney movie themes. Girls in the experimental group expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after watching Disney movies, which was an expected finding. Results from the present study suggest that girls in both groups become concerned about their body esteem after video exposure. However, there was no significant difference in self-esteem between girls in FFT and FNT. In summary, the findings of this study support the belief that Disney movies influence young girls' perceptions of their body image, and they have an awareness of their body size. It can be concluded that Disney movies have an influence on Thai girls' body image dissatisfaction and body esteem. The results also indicated that Thai girls are not totally aware of the influence of Disney media on their self-esteem. Understanding how Disney movies, in particular, and other media, in general, influence young children, especially girls, can encourage parents and educators to identify risk factors associated with children's body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Asawarachan, Tanawan

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.