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Academic Progress Scores to Predict Performance on a State Assessment

Description: This quantitative study examined seventh-grade reading scores to determine the extent to which certain demographic variables (race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status) explain and MAP reading scores predict reading scores on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in a selected northeast Texas public school. Standardized assessments only compare the relative performance of an individual student to other groups of students using scaled scores, which can vary from year to year and from state to state. With the advent of computer adaptive testing, this study provides information on the predictive validity of benchmark assessments. Specifically, this study looked for predictive evidence that indicates how accurately test data can predict criterion scores. Findings revealed, through a multiple regression analysis, that the fall MAP Rasch Unit (RIT) scores predicted the STAAR scale scores. Using SPSS version 22, the data were entered and analyzed in a multiple regression model to determine the presence of a statistical trend or lack thereof. Demographic data and MAP scores were entered into the regression model to examine the predictive validity of the MAP assessment in determining student performance on the STAAR seventh-grade state-mandated reading assessment. The statistical analysis revealed that MAP RIT scores explain a significant variance related to seventh-grade STAAR reading scale scores. There is a vital need for tools that improve a student's academic development and MAP assessments have been found to predict performance on state-mandated assessments.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Curry, David Mitchell

District Leadership Supporting PLC Implementation in a Rapid Growth District

Description: A growing body of work has emerged regarding the responsibilities required of district leaders in establishing plans that initiate and create conditions for sustainability of continuous improvement achieved through a systemic reform structure such as professional learning communities. However, limited research exists in respect to sustaining cultures of continuous improvement in rapid growth districts. Rapid growth districts can be described as school systems, which construct and open multiple campuses annually. The underlying premise of this study considered how humans interact with one another within a rapidly changing professional organization. Change theory, professional capital, organizational learning theory, and system reform emerge as the conceptual framework in this study of district support of professional learning communities. Data collection for this qualitative descriptive case study included interviewing six K-12 principals, administering the PLCA-DS survey to 247 K-12 staff members, and document review. Recognition of the importance of the PLC framework, building capacity, development of collaborative culture, and issues resulting from constant change due to rapid growth were the four themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The four themes combined with the components of the conceptual framework outline how district leaders in a rapidly changing environment cultivate a process leading to system-wide improvement.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Tinsley, Laurie Huffman

Instructional Coaching in a Small District: A Mixed Methods Study of Teachers' Concerns

Description: This study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design to study teachers' concerns during implementation of instructional coaching for math in a rural PK-12 district in north Texas over a three-year time period. Five campuses were included in the study: one high school (grades 9-12), one middle school (grades 6-8), and three elementary campuses (pre-kindergarten through grade 5). In a school district of 3,400 students and 241 teachers, fifty-two math teachers were surveyed and interviewed for their perceptions and concerns during implementation of instructional math coaching in order to assist central office administration in knowing how to support teachers through the change process. Data included the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) at three points during the study period analyzed through nonparametric statistical analysis. No statistically significant differences were found to exist between campuses. However, a statistically significant difference was found when campuses were grouped by elementary and secondary campuses. Open-Ended Statements of Concern and focus group interview data by campus served as qualitative data to triangulate concerns and to measure situational evidence of rurality influence on teachers' concerns. Convergence of qualitative and quantitative findings indicate concerns clustered in unconcerned, informational, and personal stages. Evidence of rural contextual influences point to limited resources and dense staff relationships in rural schools. This data aids the district under study in supporting teachers through the process of change as an instructional coaching program for math is implemented systemically.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Mayfield, Melissa J

Evolving Curricular Models in Culinary Arts: An Instrumental Case Study of a Technical Field

Description: The purpose of this research study was to examine how chefs and other individuals in the food industry understood the field of culinary arts. This study used an instrumental case study with purposeful sampling of multiple cases. Through a series of open-ended interviews using snowball-sampling strategy that concluded with 45 participants sharing their experiences in culinary education and employment, several themes emerged across all of the interviews: (1) Disempowerment of those who have been successful in the culinary arts; (2) Conflict in the field; and, (3) Needs of employers not being met. Following the analysis of the data, two research questions were inductively formed: (1) How do the participants' understandings vary based upon the three models (apprenticeship, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree) of culinary education? (2) How do these themes vary depending upon the three models of culinary education? What resulted was thick description of the impact of the three models of formal chef education has had on the field of culinary arts, followed by the potential in the development of the baccalaureate degree model as it represented an opportunity for field redefinition in culinary arts. This study produced a set of data revealing that current culinary education has become one that has bred disempowerment, continued conflict in the field of culinary arts, and left needs unfullfilled related to technical skills required for successful employment. The shift from the time-consuming and expensive model of apprenticeship to the development of the associate degree has necessitated a reconsideration of culinary education. What has been offered in this research is the potential for a transformation facilitated within a baccalaureate degree that could intertwine both technical skills and academic knowledge.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cossio, Allison

Contextualizing History Curriculum: A Qualitative Case Study in Balochistan Pakistan

Description: The purpose of the study was to evaluate Pakistan's national history curriculum in the post 18th constitutional amendment scenario. The amendment bequeathed the responsibility of education, including curriculum development, to the provinces. This study sought input from educators on ways the national curriculum currently addresses local needs and requirements as well as considerations for any potential changes or improvements. Traditionally, history curriculum has been used mainly for social identity formation and ideological indoctrination; current scholarship on history education has now also included national identity formation. Additionally, scholarship has begun to analyze possible purposes behind social identity formation, whether used negatively or positively. This study, which took place in Balochistan, Pakistan, used a qualitative case study approach. A provincial level conference was convened as a context and data source that involved 28 educators including teachers, teacher educators, curriculum experts, and policy actors as participants in the study. The texts of five representative educators engaged in the conference dialogue was selected for analysis. Discourse analysis was the methodology used to arrive at findings of the study. The study yielded several interesting findings that give insight about the national history curriculum of Pakistan and future curriculum practices of the Balochistan province. According to the selected educators, the national history curriculum of Pakistan has been unidimensional, based on Islamic ideology that embraces a religious national identity. The selected educators argued that the curriculum is unwelcoming to diversity, does not promote peace and equity, conceals truth, and hinders critical thinking. They found the national history curriculum non-representative of the local context of Balochistan province. In light of these findings, the selected educators proposed a history curriculum for Balochistan province that promotes peace, tolerance, equity, and respect for diversity, truth, and critical thinking. The participating educators saw a provincial/local focus as addressing many limitations of the ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Khan, Gulab

District Support: Strategies for Building Capacity in Elementary Principals in a Rapid Growth District

Description: The purpose of this descriptive case study was to examine the role of the central office staff and the strategies used to support capacity building in elementary principals in a rapid growth district. By synthesizing research and models from education reform scholars, the conceptual framework of professional capital, intrinsic motivation, the educational change process, and professional learning communities was generated to advance the understanding of utilizing PLCs as a foundation for central office to initiate and sustain continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The Professional Learning Community Assessment - District Support developed by Olivier, Huffman, and Cowan was administered to 126 participants within the curriculum and instruction department and three elementary schools to collect data to analyze the five dimensions of PLCs within the school district. Eleven interviews were conducted with members of the curriculum and instruction department and elementary principals. According to the eleven interviewees, and PLCA-DS, six themes emerged to support the role of capacity building in elementary principals using the PLC model as a framework. The PLC infrastructure, supportive central office, collaborative culture, continuous improvement, differentiated opportunities to learn, and data use were the six themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in elementary principals. Each of the five PLC dimensions were visible throughout the themes as the findings illustrated six key practices currently in motion within the rapid growth school district used to build capacity in elementary principals.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Jamar, Jacye

Elementary Students' Critical Examination of Characters in Children's Literature Depicting Social Justice

Description: Despite the ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, segregation in schools is still quite visible with suburban schools educating a student body of more than 70% White and urban schools comprised of mostly Black, Hispanic, and Asian students. Ideally, a school should dispel social and structural inequities through curriculum and quality resources, but fallibly, schools continue to be the vehicles to maintaining the status quo. Students who develop critical awareness and cultivate a critical literacy stance can become agents of change toward a more democratic society. In the current study, urban upper-elementary-age students were asked to engage in a critical literacy event by critically examining the power positions of characters in books that depict historical social injustice. The six female participants met in several sessions to read books and a newspaper article, use a critical reader response tool, and then engage in critical conversations about the books' characters. Their dialogue was recorded and analyzed using a critical discourse qualitative methodology. The findings show that older elementary students are capable of seeing multiple perspectives of an issue and can explain characters' power from born from privilege and fueled by fear and how a shift in power may occur through solidarity. The findings suggest school curriculum enhanced by media narrows the students' view of discrimination as being targeted mostly towards African-Americans, but those experiences through literature have the potential to expand the students' views to include other cultural groups. Subsequently, there is a need for broader teacher preparation using books that enhance students' views of social injustice.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Paiva, Deanne

Understanding Principal Perceptions of Stress and Burnout: A Qualitative Case Study in North Texas School Districts

Description: This qualitative case study examined principals' perceptions regarding stress and burnout, investigated perspectives regarding ways to alleviate chronic stress, and analyzed the extent to which future role expectations are related to chronic stress and feelings of burnout. Perceptions of eight elementary principals in large, suburban school districts who experienced similar professional preparation prior to receiving their first principalship were analyzed. Participants, identified through criterion sampling, completed a demographic survey and then participated in a one-on-one interview with the researcher. Once data were collected, interviews were transcribed and analyzed to determine categories and themes. Findings revealed that participants struggle with significant stress in six specified domains: school type, students, parents and community, staff, district personnel, and other. Half of participants perceive that their stress will rise during the next five to ten years. Thirty-eight percent predicted that job stress will decline in the coming years, though they do not believe that identified stress factors will decrease. Instead, they believe that factors such as experience will help them to deal more effectively with the same challenges. Furthermore, 63% of participants do not plan to remain in their current principalship until retirement. All participants reported current personal stress-management strategies that fall into the categories of work-home balance or healthy habits. In campus-specific strategies, 63% focused on staff morale-building opportunities. Finally, 38% of participants did not feel that their district provides strategies that assist in the management of principalship stress.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Lovell, Joy E

Leadership and the Influences of Teacher Absenteeism

Description: This study explored campus principals' leadership behaviors and leadership styles to determine possible influences of leadership on teacher absences. The study was viewed through the framework of Bass and Avolio's (1985) transformational and transactional leadership styles. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Self-Report (MLQ-SR) was used to identify principals' perceptions of their leadership styles. Absence data were also collected and analyzed for the school years (2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015). Data were triangulated using one-on-one interviews with selected principals and teacher focus group discussions. The findings from this study verified that leadership style (described in terms of leadership behaviors) influenced teacher absenteeism indirectly through the culture and climate of the campus. Future research is recommended to discover whether incentive programs decrease teacher absenteeism and how leaders can influence their organizations through their behaviors.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ayala, Lori

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

Strategic Design: An Action Research Study on Community Relations in a Texas School District

Description: School leaders often contemplate implementing measures that will increase community and parent involvement in schools. There is a shortage of research that concisely takes school leadership through a process that details how to integrate parent and community input in a school transformation initiative and careful analysis of student outcomes. Within this study, I provide an in-depth look at one school district’s efforts to engage its community through strategic planning and mission and vision redesign. This process includes community involvement at every phase. For the purpose of this study, community refers to both community members who do not have children in the school system and parents of current students. In this study, I outline the inception of the transformation effort, the ongoing efforts to include community input in decision-making and campus implementation, and finally a review of the overarching impact on leadership, staff, students and community. Data collection analyzed in this study include assessment data, survey data, discipline data and walk through data collected by the school district.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Jund, Nicole Cathryn

An Analysis of the Leadership Competency Frameworks of Nontraditional Principal Preparation Programs

Description: This study explored the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs to determine how they aligned to research-based best practices for school leaders. The research questions that guided this work were: To what degree are the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities addressed in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs? How do the leaders of the nontraditional principal preparation programs view the degree to which their competencies include the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities? A multi-case study analysis was conducted that compared the competency frameworks of four nontraditional principal preparation programs. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA), and Teaching Trust were the nontraditional programs selected for this study. Leaders from the four organizations were interviewed. The findings from the research illustrated that a majority of the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities were included in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs. The study revealed that four of the McREL 21 were not included in any of the competency frameworks. Another finding was the lack of focus on talent management and personal dispositions in the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities. Nontraditional principal preparation programs are a growing avenue for principal preparation, as such their use of research on principal success was promising
Date: May 2016
Creator: Horton, Tonya Marie

Do Re Mi? Yes! Using Music and Visual Arts to Promote Thai Children's English Vocabulary Development

Description: This research examines the efficacy, if any, of the Music and Visual Arts (MVA) program in improving the English vocabulary development of first grade Thai students. The researcher developed the Vocabulary Recognition Assessment (VRA) as a measure of English vocabulary development. It employs the accuracy and rapidity method of word recognition as a measurement of English language development in Thai children. Forty first grade Thai students in a Bangkok elementary school participated in the study. Participants were divided equally between an experimental group and a control group. During a nine-week period, students in the experimental group were instructed with the MVA strategy, while students in the control group were taught with the Visual Arts (VA) strategy. Paired sample t-test, ANOVA, and ANCOVA were used to analyze data from the VRA, to compare the pre-test and the post-test in terms of accuracy scores and rapidity scores of the control group and the experimental group. Data revealed that students instructed with the MVA strategy improved their English vocabulary development in terms of accuracy of word recognition significantly more than students taught English using the VA strategy. No significant difference was found between the MVA strategy and the VA strategy in terms of rapidity of word recognition. The MVA strategy could be a useful strategy for Thai early childhood teachers to use in helping Thai children learn English vocabulary.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Mathayomchan, Somsuda

Analysis of Factors for Successful State-Level Support of Low-Performing Schools

Description: This study provides a qualitative look at Texas' Professional Service Providers' (PSPs) strategies for supporting low-performing schools. Four PSPs were selected for participation based on the number of schools they helped exit the Texas Title I School Improvement Program from 2007-2012. Data collected and analyzed included provider and principal interviews, providers' progress reports documenting services, and principals' evaluations of provider services. Results indicated key support strategies in two of four cases were supporting and mentoring/coaching while communicating and building trust were important in the other two cases. Communicating, reviewing information, and planning were important across all cases. The quality indicators aligning with the PSPs' strategies were fit, comprehensiveness, and coherence. They were also the most common across all cases. Finally, analysis of the evaluation of provider services revealed PSP-1 with the highest ratings, followed by PSP-2, PSP-3, and PSP-4 respectively. The findings suggest, first, that PSP support has a dual nature. Contextual support was provided based on the campus leaderships' skills and requests. PSPs also ensured coherence among the strategies of all stakeholders. Secondly, a hierarchy of quality service indicators aligned to the PSPs' strategies: fit, comprehensiveness, and coherence. Finally relationships are vital to a successful provider-campus relationship. The findings have implications for PSP selection, professional development, and evaluation.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Ewing, Angela R.

Transfer of Instructional Practices From Freedom Schools to the Classroom

Description: The instructional practices of three current classroom teachers who formerly served as Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) in the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools (CDFFS) Program were examined. Haskell (2001) outlined eleven principles of transfer of learning, which were used to survey the levels of transfer established from service in Freedom Schools to practice in the traditional classroom. Individual surveys, The Freedom School Pedagogies Teacher Observation Record (FSPTOR) along with interviews of each participant were used for data collection; all three components were used to triangulate the findings. The findings from this study verified that low transfer was observed when the minimal application of the principles of learning was applied. This study revealed that for transfer to occur at high levels, it is imperative that adherence to all 11 principals is made, and the understanding of transfer, the application of transfer, and reflection on transfer are implemented. If the transfer of instructional practices is a goal of CDFFS for SLIs, the CDFFS program should consider implementing transfer of learning theory in future SLI training.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Stanford, Myah D

A Spatial Econometric Study Examining the Determinants of Principal Salaries

Description: The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The purpose of the study was to examine district and community determinants of principals’ salaries using a spatial econometric framework. The findings have implications for education policy development related to pay for contribution, rather than pay based on tenure, experience, or district wealth. The quantitative study used a spatial regression approach to model school, district, and community factors as determinants of Texas high school principal’s salary. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. The findings provide empirical insights regarding how principal salaries are determined. The study found a statistically significant spatial autocorrelation relationship at p<.05 confirming geographic locations is a robust influence on principal salaries. After controlling for the spatial autocorrelation the study also found experience, gender, district wealth, and campus size significantly influence principal salaries. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between principal salary and student achievement. .
Date: May 2016
Creator: Bland, J. Edward

Determinants of Principal Pay in the State of Texas

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine district, campus, and community determinants of principal’s salaries using a spatial econometric framework. Among the district variables business tax (p = 0.001), property tax (p < .01), and the Herfindahl Index (measure of competition) were statistically significant indicators of principal salaries. The results suggest that more affluent districts tend to pay principals higher salaries, which was expected. Regarding campus characteristics, the percent of economically disadvantaged was not a statistically sound indicator (p = 0.468), but campus enrollment was significant (p = <.01). Interestingly as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students increased, the principal salary decreased. In contrast, as student enrollment increases the salary of principals increases, suggesting that principals of larger campuses earn higher salaries. Interestingly, student achievement was not a statistically significant predictor of principals’ salary given that pay for performance in Texas is at the forefront of political debate. Among the variables examined at the community level, only the percentage of homes owner occupied (p = 0.002) was found to be a statistically significant indicator of principal salary (p = .002). The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The paper utilized a spatial regression approach to examine the determinants of principal salary using data from the local, state, and national data sources. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational, and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Asbury, Elizabeth

The Effectiveness of a Professional Learning Community on Student Achievement in Elementary Reading and Mathematics in a Large Urban School District

Description: The study was to determine the impact of a Professional Learning Community on student achievement as measured by the state's criterion referenced reading and mathematics achievement tests. Data for this study were extracted from the school district's student database. Two cohorts of 90 students each were randomly selected from a population of approximately 600 students in 3 schools that participated in a Professional Learning Community (treatment) and 3 schools that did not (control). Professional Learning Communities known as PLCs, can serve as a major theoretical framework to promote the improvement of classroom teachers' instructional practice, teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Reading and mathemtics mean scale scores were extracted at three time points (year 1, year 2, and year 3) across three grades (grade 3, grade 4 and grade 5). Test for equality of variance found that no statistically significant difference existed between the mean scale scores of the two cohorts at the beginning of the study. The findings revealed that both cohorts trend toward increased academic achievement from year to year individually; however, when compared to each other, no statistically significant difference existed. Further research is indicated to examine each PLC for implementation, support and leadership as they relate to the PLC and a focus on instruction and learning.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Landry, Jacqueline Hayles

Impact of Teacher and Student Ethnicity on Student Assessment

Description: The purpose of the study was to answer the questions: Do students show greater academic success in English language arts/reading as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethinicity? Do students show greater academic success in math as measured by the TAKS exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethnicity? Minority students' success on the TAKS test was compared to the assessment scores of White students from the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-13 school year in thre suburban school districts. This topic has been a subject of discussion since the late 10970s when Cardenas and Cardenas (1977) studeied the achievement among minority students and their White peers. The conversation continued through authors such as Takei and Shouse (2008), Hays (2011), Ladson-Billings (2006), Dee (2003,2005), and Brown (2006). To answer these reserach questions, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted on the data collected. Although the study verified the achievement gap between minority students and White students, the study indicated no consistent pattern corroborating that minority students were more successful when taught by teachers of the same ethnicity. In many cases, students learned better with teachers of a different ethnicity. Black students were successful with Hispanic or White teachers, Hispanic students were successful with Black or White teachers, and White students were successful with Black or Hispanic students. The TAKS assessment scores were the only data used to support this analysis.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Barnes, Barbara

Teaching Beyond the Walls: A Mixed Method Study of Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Belief Systems About Science Instruction

Description: This mixed method study investigated K-6 teacher candidates' beliefs about informal science instruction prior to and after their experiences in a 15-week science methods course and in comparison to a non-intervention group. The study is predicated by the literature that supports the extent to which teachers' beliefs influence their instructional practices. The intervention integrated the six strands of learning science in informal science education (NRC, 2009) and exposed candidates to out-of-school-time environments (NRC, 2010). Participants included 17 candidates in the intervention and 75 in the comparison group. All were undergraduate K-6 teacher candidates at one university enrolled in different sections of a required science methods course. All the participants completed the Beliefs about Science Teaching (BAT) survey. Reflective journals, drawings, interviews, and microteaching protocols were collected from participants in the intervention. There was no statistically significant difference in pre or post BAT scores of the two groups; However, there was a statistically significant interaction effect for the intervention group over time. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed that the intervention candidates displayed awareness of each of the six strands of learning science in informal environments and commitment to out-of-school-time learning of science. This study supports current reform efforts favoring integration of informal science instructional strategies in science methods courses of elementary teacher education programs.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Asim, Sumreen

Culturally Proficient Leadership: Teacher Perceptions of Elementary School Principals in Urban, Title I Schools

Description: This study examined elementary teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s level of cultural proficiency. Practices for Developing a Culturally Competent School Environment, a survey Camille Smith and adapted by Dr. Mack T. Hines, was completed from a sample size of 119 teachers. The survey contained 35 items, including six constructs: valuing diversity, assessing the culture, managing the dynamics of difference, institutionalizing cultural knowledge and resources, adapting to diversity and inclusiveness. Teachers rated their principal using a Likert scale which consisted of 1 = never uses, 2 = rarely uses, 3 = sometimes uses, 4 = frequently uses, and 5 = always uses. Teachers of various races, ages and years with their principal participated in this study. The study reveals that these variables do not make a statistically significant difference in the teachers’ perception of how proficient they are in valuing diversity, a assessing his/her own culture and institutionalizing cultural knowledge. This quantitative study reveals the variances of statistical significance of teacher demographics: age, gender, years served under current principal and accountability rating of the school. Cultural proficiency is important to the development and maintenance of the necessary relationships among students, teachers, principals and the school community.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hendrix, Royond P.

Self-efficacy, Academic Engagement, and Student-teacher Relationships for Ninth-grade African American Male Students’ Algebra I Achievement: a Structural Equation Model

Description: The purpose of the current study was to discern the effects of three latent constructs – self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships on Algebra I achievement among ninth-grade African American male students. A nationally representative sample from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS09) was used in the study. Study participants were 697 African American males enrolled in ninth grade in the fall of 2009 across the United States. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analytical procedures were performed to test the hypothesized relationships of Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) theoretical assumptions. The results indicate that the three latent variables directly or indirectly were related to Algebra I achievement among ninth grade African American male students. Moreover, the results revealed that self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships constructs had direct significant impact on Algebra I academic performance; nonetheless, the relationships were not strong. These two latent variables had small effect sizes of 5% and 1%, respectively. Combined, self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships explained only 8% of the variance in the Algebra I achievement among African American males across the United States (R2=.08). The magnitude effect of these factors on Algebra I achievement was minimal. Overall, these findings suggest that the self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships latent variables had a negligible effect as predictors of Algebra I academic success among ninth grade African American male students. A summary of the results are presented and future research is recommended.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Onsongo, Evans N.

Effects of Child Development Associate Credential System 20 on Candidate Success Rates

Description: The purpose of this research was to identify the impact of process changes that have been made to the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is a beginning early childhood teacher credential that focuses on competency based standards widely seen as necessary for early childhood teachers to possess. The process in which early childhood teachers receive their credential changed in 2013 with the implementation of CDA credential 2.0. Changes included taking a computerized exam and the implementation of a professional development specialist conducting an on-site classroom observation. In order to determine the impact that CDA 2.0 had on teacher credentialing success rates, a mixed-method sequential design was employed. First, existing data sets of success rates from a national scholarship program were reviewed. Following, interviews with CDA credential seekers were conducted. Findings revealed that while candidate success rates increased for those receiving CDA credentials under the 2.0 system, the actual number of candidates receiving scholarships to pursue the CDA credential through the national scholarship program decreased. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews indicated that three areas that impacted CDA 2.0 candidate success rates were the professional education programs and instructors, the CDA Exam, and Professional Development Specialists. This is the first research study to examine the CDA credential process. The findings demonstrate that the 2.0 system provides candidates with necessary supports to be successful. A significant question arising out of the data is how a determination is made to issue a credential. Before QRIS and public policy initiatives employ more efforts to professionalize the field of early childhood – primarily through the CDA credential – the process by which one obtains a credential should be more thoroughly examined.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Davis, Travis J.

Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Description: The problem that guided this study was a socio-constructivist view of education via online learning. Based in the extant literature, a deficiency existed that directly correlated online learning closing the academic achievement gap between student populations. In other words, schools invested in technology; however, few empirical data sets existed that established a connection between technology integration and the academic achievement of different student groups. The purpose of this pooled regression analysis study was to determine whether the method of class instruction effected academic achievement gaps between three subpopulations based on gender, race, and SES. Specifically, this study examined whether gender, race, and SES could predict semester grades within and across traditional, blended, and online course instructional methods. The dependent variable for this study was student success in the form of an end-of-unit test grade designed to evaluate student understanding of the curriculum. The independent variables included student gender, ethnicity, and SES. Quantitative data were collected through an analysis of Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and student end-of-unit exam grades. The research suggests one combined interaction, [gender x race] in the traditional learning environment, is statistically significant while several independent interactions are significant. Those independent interactions are TAKS scores, gender, and Socio-economic status. According to the trends in this research, no significant differences exists in academic achievement between African American males and White males enrolled in traditional, blended or online classes. This non-significance is important. As suggested, when all other external factors, in this research, are held constant and the academic playing field is level, male students perform equally within the classroom, also, because no significant differences exists in academic achievement, the quality of instruction from well-trained, highly qualified educators can be an integral factor in closing the achievement gap between African American, low-SES male students.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Eldridge D.