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A Case Study of Mathematics Teachers' Use of Short-Cycle Formative Assessment Strategies

Description: A single case study was used to examine two middle grades mathematics teachers' use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies. Data was collected using multiple sources to provide a description of this single case. Participant change in knowledge of short-cycle formative assessment strategies was collected and analyzed through participant pre- and post-interviews and targeted instructional support was provided through professional development sessions designed to meet diverse needs of participants. Participant change in use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies was collected and analyzed through classroom observations using Assess Today observation protocol and targeted instructional support was provided through post-observation conferences with written feedback. Findings from the study verified that changes in teachers' use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies were positively influenced by the targeted instructional support provided to each participant during the study. The study further indicated that an assessment of teacher's present knowledge and use of short-cycle formative assessment strategies should be considered before providing targeted instructional support to maximize the learning potential for each teacher. Future research is needed regarding the importance of building student self-efficacy through teacher use of short-cycle formative assessment, as well as the importance of involving students in the formative assessment process.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Davis, Adreana A

Social and Emotional Learning and Preservice Teacher Education: Assessing Preservice Teachers' Knowledge, Beliefs, and Attitudes

Description: In response to the main federal K-12 law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the teacher education program standards, teacher education programs have tried to address social and emotional learning (SEL) content in their curricula. Adding information on SEL alone may not be enough to overcome the shortenings of many existing early childhood programs. The current study attempted to address these shortenings through the inclusion of specialized SEL strategies and sample activities in addition to traditional content on social-emotional learning and development. This study was organized within a quasi-experimental design framework. One hundred thirty-nine preservice teachers were divided between control and treatment groups. The treatment group was exposed to the intervention (i.e. additional/special SEL strategies and activities) in the modified Nurturing Children's Social Competence class, while the control group was in the traditional version of the same class (i.e. traditional instruction with no additional/special SEL strategies and activities). All students were surveyed using the SEL Beliefs Scale for Preservice Teachers and the SEL Knowledge and Attitudes Scales for Preservice Teachers. The surveys were conducted at the beginning and at the end of the semester. An exploratory factor analysis, MANOVA, and descriptive discriminant analysis were used to analyze the data. Findings revealed that preservice teachers in the treatment group gained greater knowledge about (a) SEL in general, (b) the development of SEL skills in young children, and (c) implementation of the SEL strategies in the classroom. In addition, preservice teachers in the treatment group developed more positive attitudes toward implementation of SEL strategies and the importance of teaching social and emotional skills to young children. Even though SEL beliefs did not predict treatment / control group differences, there were statistically significant differences in the development of SEL beliefs within each group. Preservice teachers in both groups highly believed that creating ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Dolzhenko, Inna Nickole

Transfer of Learning in a K-8 STEM Academy Project Based Learning (PBL) Environment

Description: The multiple case study investigated levels and types of transfer observed in a K-8 STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) academy in a project-based learning (PBL) environment. The academy was constructed two years prior to the study and conducive to PBL instruction. The students and teachers were in the second year of using PBL in the subject of science at the time of the study. The grade levels observed were second, fourth, and sixth grade and each grade level had three PBL units examined from the beginning to the end of the unit. The nine case studies, from the three different grade levels, were observed to identify Haskell's levels and types of transfer as determined by project requirements, observation of students, completed projects, and student interviews. The findings from this study showed that while projects moved the students beyond knowledge acquisition to application of knowledge in completed projects such as books, films, dances, etc., higher levels of transfer and more types of transfer were not evident. Therefore, based on the results of this study, the evidence of lower levels of transfer suggests that the PBL units, though inventive and potentially valuable to student learning, were not designed for higher levels of transfer.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Fuller, Mary A

Multimodal Design for Secondary English Language Arts: A Portraiture Study

Description: Employing the research approach known as portraiture, this study investigated the varying ways in which three secondary English language arts teachers at a visual and performing arts high school conceptualized and designed multimodal literacy learning. Also studied were the ways in which their students responded to these designs; and in keeping with portraiture, attention went to the changes in the researcher's own understandings. This multi-case study and cross-case analysis built on prior multimodal literacy research in secondary education, but unlike previous studies, gave major attention to how teachers' conceptualization of multimodality and their own roles related to the designs that they produced. Since the school emphasized arts as well as academics, particular attention went to teachers' conceptions of, and designs for, arts-related multimodalities. Data for the portraits came from observations, teacher and student interviews, artifacts, and a researcher journal. Recursive analysis focused on repetitive refrains, resonant metaphors, and emergent themes, which provided data for "painting" the teachers' portraits in prose. Findings show the connections among teachers' beliefs, values, and the multimodal designs, which included images, movement, sound, classroom displays, and room arrangements. The three teachers took dramatically different approaches to multimodal designs as they created their productions of English language arts. Differences across teachers were related to their conceptions of multimodal design (i.e., for social activism, for expression, for edification) and to their conceptions of their roles as multimodal literacy designers (i.e., challenger, facilitator, channel). Students' responses to, and participation in, the multimodal activities also varied across classroom and teacher. The concluding discussion addresses the relation of arts integration to multimodal literacy education, the value of students' transmodal activity, and connections between multimodality and portraiture. The study illustrates the potential of portraiture for studies of multimodality as well as the potential of using multiple modes to "paint" portraits. Lawrence-Lightfoot, S., ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Price, Cecelia Joyce

The Effect of a Change Facilitator on Project-Based Learning Curriculum and Design

Description: This study sought to understand concerns and levels of use of a group of teachers in the process of developing a project-based learning (PBL) program, and the effect of a change facilitator on these processes. The research was guided by the following research questions: One, what are the concerns of teachers regarding the planning of a PBL curriculum? Two, what are the levels of use of teachers in the process of planning the PBL curriculum? Three, how does a change facilitator affect the process of change in the planning of a PBL curriculum? The population of this study consisted of seven subject area high school teachers and one district level administrative staff member. This study used the concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) to study the PBL innovation. CBAM is a conceptual framework that describes, explains, and predicts teachers' concerns and behaviors throughout the change process in education. In this study, the teachers progressed through the levels of use on a timeline at a rate that was much more rapid that what is typical for implementation of an innovation in an educational setting. This rapid progression was the function of the teacher population studied and the change facilitator that led the PBL curriculum design process. With the leadership of the change facilitator, the goals of the PBL curriculum innovation were realized, and the team created a PBL curriculum with multidisciplinary PBL products that could be implemented after the development phase.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Fry, Jana

Artistic Decision Making and Implications for Engaging Theatrically Gifted and Talented Students in Non-Arts Classes

Description: This cognitive ethnographic study explored the mental processes that professional actors used when making artistic choices while engaged in creative practices to begin a conversation about how the theatrically gifted and talented population is viewed, researched, and educated in non-arts subjects. Professional actors at two sites were observed, videotaped, and interviewed over several rehearsals during play production. The major thematic findings indicated that artistic decision making results from actors engaging in a cyclical process of private work, affective validation, and collaboration. Implications for teaching theatrically gifted students call for classroom environments and processes that echo theatrical rehearsal structures, while engaging the imagination through personal connection and discovery.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Willerson, Amy

Multimodal Literacy Portfolios: Expressive and Receptive Opportunities for Children Labeled "At-Risk"

Description: Current literacy assessments are focused on a single mode of meaning-making (reading and writing, whether oral or written) and assume that literacy and language are "fixed systems"-- comprised of discrete skills that can be taught and measured in isolation. This validation and privileging of a single mode of assessment has resulted in children labeled "At-risk" falling significantly behind those without this label. This study investigates what a teacher can learn from a diverse range of assessment forms and modes. In a fourth-grade self-contained classroom, students engaged in multimodal assessments and created multimodal portfolios. Five students labeled "At-risk" were chosen for a deeper analysis. Students' artifacts, interviews, and observations served as the main data sources. Both narrative analysis and analysis of narrative were utilized to generate a more complete narrative of these five students as meaning makers and communicators. The general findings suggest that these children labeled "At-risk" were, in fact, able to engage in multimodal thinking and communication from a critical stance.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Young, Whitney J

Validation of an Observation and Evaluation Instrument for the Supervision of Middle and Secondary Pre-Service Teachers

Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the validity and reliability of a revised observation and evaluation instrument of middle and secondary pre-service clinical teaching to be used as part of the clinical supervision cycle and for formative purposes. The North Texas Appraisal of Classroom Teaching (NTACT) serves as a performance assessment tool utilized by a south-central university-based educator preparation program for the evaluation and supervision of pre-service teachers during their last semester of their program. The researcher piloted and field-tested a redesigned observation and evaluation instrument (NTACT-V2) on observer participants with varying educational experiences in the south-central region. To accumulate evidence of validity and reliability, this study employed methods of factor analysis and generalizability study for developing a valid and reliable instrument to guide the refinement process of the NTACT observation and evaluation instrument. Some of the significant conclusions reached in this study were (a) the NTACT-V2 is a practical, user-friendly classroom observation and evaluation instrument; (b) the instrument refined and developed in this study exhibits appropriate content, face, and criterion validity as determined by a panel of experts and an extensive review of the literature; and, (c) a variety of observers can use the evaluation instrument with relative ease while achieving a high degree of reliability.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Bush, Brandon

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

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

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

Exploring the Dual-natured Impact of Digital Technology on Student-classroom Engagement in a Texas Public High School

Description: The past decade has become rife with an eagerness to integrate new digital technology into teaching. While there have been decades of research done on the importance of curriculum and pedagogy on student engagement, findings of actual technology integration are scarce. Moreover, what does it take to engage students in classroom activities and lessons when technology is introduced? The purpose of this study was to explore how digital technology, when integrated into classroom teaching and activities, impacted the students-classroom engagement based on the interim-cognitive, meta-cognitive, motivational, and behavioral markers. This was explored in a Texas public high school across the four core classes (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Data was collected in the form of observational field notes, transcripts of recorded lessons, and Likert-scaled surveys. Thematic analysis was used in analyzing qualitative data, Pearson’s correlation of those components found by factor analysis verified three of the five themes identified from the thematic analysis with statistical significance. The findings suggest that mere use of technology does not have a profound impact on student engagement. Instead, technology tends to amplify the existing classroom culture and social norms agreed upon between the teacher and their students. Texas teachers and students are also redefining the meaning of curriculum to include technology as a result of the attempted integration. This research finds that students’ hands-on activities under teachers’ guidance with the use of technology excel when teachers are molding digital work.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Ayers, Joseph J.

Does an Online Post-baccalaureate Secondary Teacher Certification Program Produce Certified Teachers Who Remain in the Field?

Description: Given issues in education concerning teacher shortages, the omnipresence of alternative certification programs and the growth of online programs in higher education, this study investigated teacher retention for 77 secondary education teachers who completed an online teacher preparation program in Texas. Teacher retention was examined from 2003-2013 and investigated the influence of factors such personal characteristics, working conditions and school setting characteristics on teacher retention. Data was collected electronically utilizing a survey instrument designed by two teacher education experts and I. A total of 21 variables and two open-ended questions were investigated using the survey instrument. Exploratory factor and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify a multi-factor model for teacher retention utilizing the participants' survey responses. These analyses yielded evidence of the program's effectiveness in preparing teachers for long careers. Specifically, the areas of program support, field experience, and classroom management were statistically significant factors that contributed positively to teacher retention. Additionally, variables outside the program, were examined. These factors included personal characteristics, working conditions, and school setting factors. The predictor model accounted for 56% of the variance; F (17, 54) = 3.015; p = < 0.001. In particular, working conditions contributed to 41% of the variance associated with the teacher retention model. A qualitative analysis of open-ended survey questions was used to further examine decisions to remain in teaching. Support of administration, colleagues, staff, and parents was shown to influence teacher retention.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Brooks, Kanini Wanjira Ward

Physical Activity Impact on Executive Function and Academic Achievement with Elementary Students

Description: This study tested the hypothesis that daily physical activity improves the executive function and academic achievement of 9- to 11-year-old children. The quasi-experimental, pretest–posttest design included 60 eligible fourth and fifth grade students (51.7% female, 98% Hispanic; 10.26 years of age). Twenty-five students elected to participate in school day, zero-hour (1 hour before school starts) physical activity program for 8 weeks. The 35 students who did not sign up for the program served as the control group as masked data provided by the school. Standardized measures, Adele Diamond flanker task and the Wide Range Achievement Test 4, assessed executive function and academic achievement, respectively. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to determine differences between groups on executive function and academic achievement. There were no observable benefits from daily physical activity on executive function and academic achievement. Convenience sampling and voluntary attendance potentially limited the effect of exercise on performance.
Date: August 2015
Creator: O’Brien, Caroline Clark

Student and Family Perspectives on Gifted and Advanced Academics Participation for African American High School Students

Description: Many students and their families do not understand the impact of students’ involvement in gifted or advanced academics educational programs and their potentially positive effects and challenges. Nationally African American students are underrepresented in gifted and advanced academics courses in high schools; however, African American students and families often do not advocate for their inclusion in these educational pathways. A survey of literature supporting this study of voices of African American families concerning gifted and advanced academics participation focused on (1) the historical underpinnings for equity and excellence for African American and for gifted and advanced academics learners, (2) how the lack of an agreed upon definition of gifted and advanced academics by the professional field might contribute to the problem, and (3) how African American parents made educational decisions for and with their children, especially concerning college. Employing semi-structured interviews and a focus group, this qualitative case study examined how four students from each of three groups, gifted and talented, advanced academics, and neither, and a representative group of their parents perceived these programs and their children’s involvement in them within the framework provided by a single school district. African American families in this study asked for a partnership to support their children in building resiliency to choose and remain in gifted and advanced academics programs. Students reported that they could access more rigorous coursework if they were supported by mentoring peers, in addition to informed family and educators. The matching intonations and word choices of the children and parents suggested academic success pathways as students carried the voices of their families with them.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Zeske, Karen Marie

Teachers’ Concerns and Uses of iPads in the Classroom with the Concerns-based Adoption Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of high school teachers’ concerns, willingness, aptitude, and use of iPads in the classroom during the adoption of a new technology. The design of this case study included a sample of eight teachers from the English, math, science, and history departments who were surveyed, observed, and interviewed using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM). This study is guided by three research questions: (1) What are teachers’ concerns about using iPads in the high school English, math, science, and history classrooms? (2) What are teachers’ levels of iPad use in the English, math, science, and history classrooms? (3) What are teachers’ pedagogical practices as they use iPads in the English, math, science, and history classrooms? To research these questions, the study measured teacher concerns with the triangulation of three diagnostic instruments from the Concerns-Based Adoption Model: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), the Innovation Configurations Map (IC Map), and the Levels of Use (LoU) matrix. The CBAM model was used to address the scarcity of literature regarding iPad use in content-area classrooms. The findings from the research show that the impact of introducing a new technology is more multifaceted than previously assumed. A teacher’s inclination and skill to use a new technology with their students varies considerably within a school and different approaches are observed across subject areas such as English, math, science, and history. When the Concerns-Based Adoption Model is used in organizational change, teacher concerns are revealed, which leads to finding opportunities for intervention and support by change facilitators who help individuals progress in the adoption of an innovation.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Stewart, Gail

Supporting Mathematics Understanding Through Funds of Knowledge

Description: Parents are often criticized for the types of roles they play in their children’s education. Rather than assuming parents do not contribute to their children’s learning, this study identified the various ways Hispanic parents support mathematics learning in the home. Using a funds of knowledge lens, the history, practices, and experiences of families that contributed to their children’s mathematics understanding was explored. The purpose of this study was to identify the unique funds of knowledge among three Hispanic families living in the same city, specifically, how parents supported their children’s mathematics learning through funds of knowledge. Five Hispanic parents from three households participated in a series of three home interviews. The semi--‐structured interviews addressed family, school, and educational history of the parents, routines of the household, and perceived roles parents played in their children’s mathematics learning. Participants contributed to their children’s mathematics learning through various funds of knowledge including time management, music, sports, construction, shopping, and cooking. Participating parents shared knowledge with their children through questioning and discussion, providing experiences, and promoting practice. In this study, participants valued education and supported their children’s mathematics learning at home and school activities. This study contributes to the existing funds of knowledge research by expanding the work on how Hispanic parents support mathematics learning.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Williams, Julie J.

Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mathematics Intervention and Response to Intervention Practices

Description: Response to intervention has become a widely implemented early intervention and pre-referral program in many schools due to the reauthorization of the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Limited studies exist that validate how teacher preparation programs are preparing the next generation of teachers to assess students, apply early academic interventions, monitor progress, and make educational decisions for students with learning difficulties as part of an RTI program. The purpose of this study was to examine elementary pre-service teachers’ perceptions and experiences in a mathematics intervention project (MIP), as part of a university mathematics methods course as related to RTI practices. Data were collected from multiple sources, including: Seidman’s three-step interview series with pre-service participants and course instructors, document analysis of the Mathematics Interactions Project (MIP) students’ responses, mathematics methods course syllabi, and observations of the mathematics methods course instruction. Haskell’s transfer theory was used as the framework from which to analyze the data. It was assumed that if a majority of the 11 principles of meaningful transfer were addressed, higher levels of transfer from university instruction to intervention instruction would be observed during the MIP. Findings indicate differences in RTI understanding according to elementary education degree plan. Candidates in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program did not demonstrate a strong foundational understanding of RTI, evidenced by a lower level of transfer about RTI. Alternately, pre-service teachers in the special education degree plan had a stronger foundational knowledge of RTI, discussed how RTI learning was supported, and had more experiences to implement RTI (principles 1, 7, and 9). Pre-service teachers in the Special Education (SPED) certification degree plan demonstrated a higher level of transfer since more of the principles were met; this was foundational in Haskell’s transfer theory. Implications are that elementary education programs, and particularly projects such ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Hurlbut, Amanda Renee

Student Teachers’ Changing Confidence in Teaching

Description: Research shows that student teachers find the mentor teacher and the student teaching experience itself the two most influential factors in their practicum experience. This study examined five student teachers and the two mentor teachers of each in elementary school settings within a metropolitan school district in North Texas. Lave and Wenger’s (1991, 2002) community of practice theory informed this study. Data sources included mentor teacher interviews, student teacher interviews, student teacher observations, student teacher/mentor teacher dialogue journals, and student teacher reflections. A collective case study approach was followed to gain a detailed understanding of the experiences of the five student teachers, looking specifically at their confidence in teaching and the factors associated with it. Findings indicated that the confidence in teaching of all five student teachers changed throughout their practicum experiences. Results suggested many factors influenced these changes. Student teachers shared that the student teaching experience, the grade level/subjects taught, their relationships with their students, and their relationships with their mentor teachers contributed to their confidence. The mentor teachers perceived that student teachers’ confidence could be influenced by consistency in classroom management and their interactions with their mentor teachers. Two areas of influence on student teacher confidence not uncovered by other researchers were the quest of student teachers for perfection while teaching and the need of mentor teachers for control of the content presented by the student teachers, especially during the months prior to state-mandated testing. Implications of the study included the need for university supervisors to mediate between student teachers and mentor teachers in promoting shared ownership of student learning within that community of practice enabled by student teaching.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Stearns, Catherine L.

GIS in AP Human Geography: a Means of Developing Students’ Spatial Thinking?

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

Funds of Knowledge and Early Literacy: A Case Study

Description: When teachers are charged with educating students that are racially, culturally, or economically different from them, they may have little information on the culture and type of family involvement of their students. This lack of information contributes to perceptions of working-class families as socially disorganized and intellectually deficient. However, research embodying the theoretical framework funds of knowledge (FoK) attempts to counter deficient models through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, political, and economic contexts. The primary purpose of this study was to carefully examine Hispanic parents’ support of young children’s early literacy development in the home. The knowledge gleaned from an initial study of home support, by spending time in the home of a Hispanic family provided an avenue for action research in the classroom. A second purpose was to determine if the introduction of FoK ways of learning, when applied in the classroom, had an effect on early literacy skills. In addition, I maintained a journal that chronicled my experiences and led to an autoethnographic study of myself as a transforming white, female, prekindergarten teacher. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive FoK developed through historical, cultural, educational, and social experiences. Results further indicate that introduction of these familial FoK improved the oral language skills of prekindergarten students thus enhancing their early literacy development. Autoethnographic results indicate a personal progression toward not only understanding, but becoming an advocate, for the Hispanic population.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Butler, Ami R.

Levanten La Mano Si Me Entienden: Receptive Bilinguals’ Linguistic and Cultural Perceptions in Secondary Spanish Classes

Description: Receptive bilinguals have been in a dilemma of knowing just enough Spanish to write and aurally comprehend the curriculum at the beginning-intermediate levels of a Spanish language course. This dichotomy in classrooms with mixed-ability learners has created a need to reconsider placement and pedagogical structures tailored for these students in foreign language courses. Thus, this descriptive study examined the perceptions of receptive bilinguals, drawn from two secondary Spanish courses regarding receptive bilinguals’ language use, personal Spanish language abilities and confidence, personal beliefs about the language, and contentment with the course. For this study, 31 participants were selected from two public high schools in a suburb of a large metropolitan area in north Texas. Two surveys, a listening assessment and an online questionnaire, were administered at the end of the academic year. The Likert questionnaire items were analyzed using SPSS software, while open-ended questions were coded for recurrent themes. Analyses revealed four major findings. First, with regard to influence on language use, participants’ grandparents created the most interaction with the Spanish language when compared with the other family groups. In addition, Spanish influence through television, literature, radio, and music contributed to students’ early childhood Spanish learning. Second, as to language preference, although participants perceived English to be the language with which they were most at ease, they were also confident in their Spanish conversational abilities. Third, with respect to perceptions of language abilities, Spanish 2Pre-AP students noticed an increased ability in listening, speaking, and writing the language. In both courses, students’ receptive ability was one of the highest abilities. Receptive bilinguals reflected a sense of pride and passion for the language. They desired to improve their language through their own self-motivation as a way to connect with family. Fourth, and finally, in reporting on course contentment, participants expressed overall contentment with ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Baker, Adelita Gonzales

Transfer From a UTeach Replication Site to the Classroom: A Study of First and Second Year Instructional Practices

Description: Concerns based adoption model (CBAM) instruments were used to examine instructional practices of six graduates from a highly stylized, inquiry-based secondary math and science preparation program. Teachers were in the first or second years of teaching mathematics in six different secondary settings, ranging from poverty to wealthy schools. CBAM assumptions were tested. The primary assumption about concerns was that new teachers’ highest concerns would be within the self and task dimensions. According to Hall and Hord, it was assumed that the levels of use are typically in the orientation and preparation stages as a new teacher begins to implement an innovation, in the case of this study, inquiry-based instruction. All three instruments of the CBAM model were used for data collection and included: the Survey of Concerns Questionnaire, Innovation Components Configuration Map, and Levels of Use matrix. Teachers were observed, interviewed, and surveyed, three times each, across a five-month period. The findings from this study showed that the teachers had similar concerns and levels of use, which supported the assumptions outlined by the CBAM principles. Across the six teachers, the self and task concerns were high, aligning with the assumptions. However, unrelated and impact dimensions were noted, in opposition to the assumption. Likewise, assumptions of the levels of use were upheld in the orientation and preparation levels of use noted in the observations. Some mechanical levels of use were observed for a few of the teachers, an anomaly to the assumption.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Fields, Melanie

A Descriptive Analysis of the Critical Thinking Model in Texas Elementary Education

Description: Contributions from elementary education to the practice and reality of critical thinking are rare, largely because attempts in basic education to elucidate a concept of critical thinking have a hard time breaking through the elusiveness and indeterminacy that characterize the history and reality of the concept. This situation is due to, and a consequence of, the difficulty of delimiting critical thinking from related fields, such as metacognition, higher-order-thinking, problem solving, informal logic, reasoning skills, and decision making, to name a few. Texas school authorities designed and put into practice a battery of tools to evaluate critical thinking through the assessment programs TAKS and STAAR, without taking a position regarding the indeterminacy problems of the content of critical thinking. The purpose of this study was to reconstruct the pieces of the critical thinking model imparted to Texas elementary school children since 1999 and continues today. The findings indicate that the critical thinking model implemented in Texas elementary schools is a particular version of a skills-only approach of critical thinking that follows the classical logical paradigm, consisting of two sets of complementary skills. This model acquaints students with the components and structure of five types of arguments while it fails to substantiate the logic of argument support that demonstrates how reasons support claims and the strength of support. The application of an adequacy conditions rubric showed the strengths of the model at the argumentation analysis level, yet it showed clear signs of incompleteness and inconsistencies at the argument structure level that distort its purpose and function.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Quijano, Oswaldo Jorge