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An Investigation of Preservice Teachers' Understanding of Buoyancy
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 = ...
Transfer of Instructional Practices From Freedom Schools to the Classroom
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.
Teaching Beyond the Walls: A Mixed Method Study of Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Belief Systems About Science Instruction
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.
Exploring the Dual-natured Impact of Digital Technology on Student-classroom Engagement in a Texas Public High School
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.
Student and Family Perspectives on Gifted and Advanced Academics Participation for African American High School Students
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.
Supporting Mathematics Understanding Through Funds of Knowledge
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.
Teachers’ Concerns and Uses of Ipads in the Classroom with the Concerns-based Adoption Model
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.
Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mathematics Intervention and Response to Intervention Practices
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 ...
Does an Online Post-baccalaureate Secondary Teacher Certification Program Produce Certified Teachers Who Remain in the Field?
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.
Physical Activity Impact on Executive Function and Academic Achievement with Elementary Students
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.
Student Teachers’ Changing Confidence in Teaching
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.
GIS in AP Human Geography: a Means of Developing Students’ Spatial Thinking?
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 ...
Funds of Knowledge and Early Literacy: A Case Study
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.
Levanten La Mano Si Me Entienden: Receptive Bilinguals’ Linguistic and Cultural Perceptions in Secondary Spanish Classes
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 ...
Transfer From a UTeach Replication Site to the Classroom: A Study of First and Second Year Instructional Practices
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.
A Descriptive Analysis of the Critical Thinking Model in Texas Elementary Education
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.
Teachers’ Perceptions of Their Responsibilities in Teaching Social Emotional Skills: a Case Study
This study investigated the beliefs of teachers at a particular elementary campus in North Texas during its first year of implementation of a social emotional curriculum regarding teaching social emotional skills and the influence of those beliefs on their classroom practices. The study drew from the works of Dewey and Bandura in the development of a framework for teacher decision making. A case study design incorporating multiple cases within the case study utilized a mixed-methods approach for data collection and analysis. Ten teachers volunteered and participated in the quantitative data collection, and four of those ten participated in the qualitative data collection through interviews and classroom observations. Data collection methods also included a demographic survey, a questionnaire on teacher beliefs about social emotional learning, and a self-ranking scale of practices related to teaching social emotional skills. Results indicated that although all participants believed social emotional skills instruction was part of their duties as teachers, their practices in teaching social emotional skills varied. Additionally, there was a mismatch between participants’ self-identified practices and the practices that were observed during the study. Administrative support for program implementation was high, but did not necessarily translate to effective practices during the first year of implementation of a particular program. While not significant in this study, variation in teacher characteristics may be important.
In-service Teacher Perception of Feedback From Formative Evaluation Within the Teacher Appraisal Process and Its Relationship to Teacher Self-efficacy
The purpose of the study is to describe the current status of and the relationships between teacher self-efficacy and in-service teachers’ perceptions and/or attitudes of (a) the quantity and quality of feedback from formative evaluation, (b) toward feedback from formative evaluation, and (c) the impact of feedback from formative evaluation on teacher self-efficacy. In addition to calculating correlation coefficients, 6 teachers were interviewed – 2 each from high, medium, and low efficacy schools. The quantitative data reported low, positive correlations between all of the factors. Statistically significant correlations were found between 8 of the 12 factors including teacher attitudes toward feedback from formative evaluation and: overall Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (r = .302), student engagement (r = .309), instructional strategies (r = .237) and classroom management (r =.266). Other statistically significant correlations were found between teacher perceptions of the impact of feedback from formative evaluation and its relationship to self-efficacy and: overall Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (r = .295), Student Engagement (r = .300), Instructional Strategies (r = .209), and Classroom Management (r = .282). The face-to-face interviews and online focus group supported the quantitative findings as the participants reported that they value formative evaluation and feedback and deem it a necessary component of professional growth. Participants felt that they would benefit from an increased number of formative evaluations followed by specific, frequent and positive feedback. The participants indicated that their self-efficacy was not negatively impacted by infrequent observations and/or feedback that lacks detail.
Measuring Teaching Effectiveness Using Value-Added and Observation Rubric Scores
This mixed-methods study examined the extent to which teacher performance and student performance measures correlated, and to understand which specific practices of mathematics teachers in Grades 3-5 related to student performance. Research was conducted at five elementary schools in a large, urban north Texas school district. Data sources included component scores and recorded evidence from observation rubrics, interviews with campus administrators, and value-added modeling (VAM) student growth scores. Findings indicated a modest relationship between teacher performance levels and student performance levels. Lack of access to individual teacher VAM data, per district policy, might have impacted the strength of the relationship. Interviews with administrators and an examination of the evidence cited in the observation rubrics identified specific practices associated with highly rated mathematics teaching. Differences in administrators’ experience levels with both mathematics instruction and the observation instrument might have influenced rubric scores and the level of specificity shown in evidence statements.
Beliefs of Mathematics Pre-service Teachers About Project-based Learning
This study explored the beliefs of pre-service secondary mathematics teachers about project-based learning (PBL), as they encountered a project-based learning high school where they implemented a project-based unit of instruction. A qualitative study was conducted with one undergraduate cohort in a higher education science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) national initiative that has 40 U.S. replication sites. Using teaching philosophy statements and focus group discussions, the beliefs of STEM pre-service secondary teachers are made visible. The findings from this study reveal a recurring theme: the process of how these pre-service teachers seemed to evolve and mature as teachers, from novice toward becoming an expert, as they asked themselves internal questions that are common to developing teachers. These pre-service STEM teachers experienced 1) internal questions about their own growth as a potential teacher, as evidenced through their verbal and written statements; 2) tension between PBL content and pedagogy; and 3) tension between practice and theory. The findings also infer that there are potential critical variables that may contribute to pre-service teachers’ beliefs. Those variables identified were the following: 1) the sequence of when the project-based instruction (PBI) course was taken; 2) time, as related to when the participant took the PBI course in relationship to the final semester when they were engaged in apprentice teaching; and 3) the field placement location during the apprentice teaching semester.
Do Minutes Matter? Connecting Tardiness to Academic Achievement
Within the scope of all that is expected to be accomplished in education, what difference does a tardy make? This study was designed to examine the significance of tardiness, as it relates to student achievement, as measured by the results of the state math test. It also investigated the generation of change by the campus administrator to improve punctuality, with a new method of enforcing the tardy policy with the use of an electronic data system. This study used archived data from the one high school in a suburban school district in Texas. From a student population of 2,631, two subject groups of 919 and 1,310 were determined. Spearman rho results confirmed a moderate inverse relationship between student tardiness and results on the state math test. Descriptive discriminant analysis indicated that tardiness contributed to 25% of the variance in the results on the state math test, when considered alone, and had a smaller contribution when considered with other variables. A visual review of the data portrayed an inverse relationship between the occurrences of tardiness and the pass/fail results on the state math test; as tardiness increased, passing rates decreased. Wilcoxon signed rank test results revealed a reduction in the magnitude of tardiness with the implementation of a new method of enforcing the tardy policy. Tardiness does impact academic achievement, as affirmed in this study. Also, the campus administrator can implement changes that improve punctuality. This study signified that the phenomenon of tardiness should be given greater consideration as a factor impacting both cognitive and non-cognitive development and endorsed that minutes do matter.
A Multiple Case Study of Two African American Female Administrators in High Achieving Elementary Schools
African American female principals typically lead low socioeconomic elementary schools. Administrators in predominately urban schools are familiar with the needs of minority students. Although Title I funds are provided from the national government via local educational agencies (LEAs), this money is normally not enough to keep up with technology integration and programs of more affluent schools. Therefore, African American female administrators rely on culture to develop meaningful relationships with students, teachers, and parents and makeup for any financial hardships, which may exist during the transformation of urban elementary schools. Limited research is available on academic success in urban schools. Over the years, much of the focus has been on failure of underperforming schools with minority students and leaders. Additionally, there is a lack of research on the leadership of African American female school leaders. Thus, it is important to study successful African American female role models in urban schools. The purpose of this study was to examine transformational leadership skills evident in African American female principals at high-achieving, urban elementary schools. What are the transformational leadership skills evident in two African American female principals who work in high-achieving urban elementary schools? It was assumed that African American female principals applied some or all of the skills of transformational leadership when leading in two different urban elementary school settings. Successful transformational leadership can be categorized under the following four components 1) charismatic leadership (or idealized influence, CL or II), 2) inspirational motivation (IM), 3) intellectual stimulation (IS), and 4) individualized consideration (IC) (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1997). Results showed that African American female elementary school leaders displayed all tenets of the transformational leadership theory while leading high achieving campuses. However, the transformational leadership theoy was missing a cultural component from its doctrine.
Examining the Relationship Between Persistence in Attendance in an Afterschool Program and an Early Warning Index for Dropout
School districts constantly struggle to find solutions to address the high school dropout problem. Literature supports the need to identify and intervene with these students earlier and in more systemic ways. The purpose of this study was to conduct a longitudinal examination of the relationship between sustained afterschool participation and the host district’s early warning index (EWI) associated with school dropout. Data included 65,341 students participating in an urban school district’s after school program from school years 2000-2001 through 2011-2012. The district serves more than 80,000 students annually. Data represented students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, and length of participation ranged from 1 through 12 years. Results indicated that student risk increased over time and that persistent participation in afterschool programming had a significant relationship with student individual growth trajectories. Slower growth rates, as evidenced through successive models, supported students being positively impacted by program participation. Additionally, participation was more meaningful if students persisted, as noted in the lower EWI rates, as compared to students who attended less consistently.
A Vygotskian Analysis of Preservice Teachers’ Conceptions of Dissolving and Density
The purpose of this study was to examine the content knowledge of 64 elementary preservice teachers for the concepts of dissolving and density. Vygotsky’s (1987) theory of concept development was used as a framework to categorize concepts and misconceptions resulting from evidences of preservice teacher knowledge including pre/post concept maps, writing artifacts, pre/post face-to-face interviews, examination results, and drawings. Statistical significances were found for pre- and post-concept map scores for dissolving (t = -5.773, p < 0.001) and density (t = -2.948, p = 0.005). As measured using Cohen’s d values, increases in mean scores showed a medium-large effect size for (dissolving) and a small effect size for density. The triangulated results using all data types revealed that preservice teachers held several robust misconceptions about dissolving including the explanation that dissolving is a breakdown of substances, a formation of mixtures, and/or involves chemical change. Most preservice teachers relied on concrete concepts (such as rate or solubility) to explain dissolving. With regard to density, preservice teachers held two robust misconceptions including confusing density with buoyancy to explain the phenomena of floating and sinking, and confusing density with heaviness, mass, and weight. Most preservice teachers gained one concept for density, the density algorithm. Most preservice teachers who participated in this study demonstrated Vygotsky’s notion of complex thinking and were unable to transform their thinking to the scientific conceptual level. That is, they were unable to articulate an understanding of either the process of dissolving or density that included a unified system of knowledge characterized as abstract, generalizable, and hierarchical. Results suggest the need to instruct preservice elementary science teachers about the particulate nature of matter, intermolecular forces, and the Archimedes' principle.
An Investigation Into the Relationships Between the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge of University Teacher Education Faculty and Their Age, Rank, and Gender
The purpose of this study was to determine what relationships exist between the age, rank, and gender of university faculty in teacher education and their technological pedagogical content knowledge. The survey instrument used was the Survey of Teacher Educators’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) which is an adaptation of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology developed by Schmidt. A total of 347 public Texas university teacher education faculty members participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and the effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between the variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the age, rank, and gender of the university teacher educator faculty member and their technological knowledge (TK). Based on the information provided for the b weights, age was found to be the best predictor of their technological knowledge (TK). The discriminant analysis identified what relationship exists between the ages of university teacher education faculty technology knowledge. The results of the discriminant analysis indicate the range 20-30 and 60+ contribute equally to teacher educators’ technological knowledge. Although no statistically significant results were determined with respect to the correlations between gender, age, and rank and technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical content knowledge, the descriptive data does suggest that some insight maybe gained from further analysis.
An Examination of Mathematics Teachers’ Use of Student Data in Relationship to Student Academic Performance
Among educational researchers, important questions are being asked about how to improve mathematics instruction for elementary students. This study, conducted in a north Texas public school with 294 third- through fifth-grade students, ten teachers and three coaches, examined the relationship between students’ achievement in mathematics and the mathematics teaching and coaching instruction they received. Student achievement was measured by the Computer Adaptive Instrument (CAT), which is administered three times a year in the district and is the main criterion for students’ performance/movement in the district’s response to intervention program for mathematics. The response to intervention model employs student data to guide instruction and learning in the classroom and in supplemental sessions. The theoretical framework of the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) was the basis to investigate the concerns that mathematics teachers and coaches had in using the CAT student data to inform their instruction. The CAT data, based on item response theory, was the innovation. Unique in this study was the paralleling of teachers’ and coaches’ concerns and profiles for their use of the data with student scores using an empirical approach. Data were collected at three intervals through the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire, the Levels of Use interviews, and the Innovation Configuration Components Matrix from teachers and at three intervals student CAT-scaled scores. Multiple regression analyses with the concerns and CAT scores and levels of use and CAT scores were conducted to determine if relationships existed between the variables. The findings indicated that, overall, the teachers and coaches who scored high in personal concerns at the three data points remained at low levels of use or non-use of CAT data in their instruction. Only two teachers indicated movement from high intense personal concerns to high concerns regarding the impact on students. This correlated with their increased use of CAT ...
Funds of Knowledge in a Hispanic Household: a Case Study of Family Experiences, Values, and Connections to Education
Traditionally, the field of education has often adopted a negative perspective in their views of minority families’ contributions to the educational progress of their children. However, research embodying the theoretical framework of ‘funds of knowledge’ attempts to counter that model through its assertion that all families possess extensive bodies of knowledge that have developed through social, historical, and cultural contexts. Teachers carry out studies of familial funds of knowledge in order to understand how family experiences shape the knowledge that a child brings to the classroom. There is then, the potential to use that body of knowledge to create meaningful learning experiences that connect prior understanding and experiences to classroom practice. This research served as a case study of the funds of knowledge existing in the home of a Hispanic family and the connections that existed between that knowledge and literacy. The results indicated that the family possessed extensive funds of knowledge that developed through their historical, cultural, and social experiences. They often used family networks, as well as formal and informal literacy experiences to share this knowledge with their children. A key component of the literacy value system that they communicated resulted from a desire to maintain aspects of their culture and heritage through maintaining and improving their children’s reading and linguistic abilities in Spanish. Furthermore, along with their emphasis on Spanish literacy, they held aspirations for their children related to familial and educational values that often stemmed from their expressed desire for their children to lead lives with greater opportunities and positive examples than they had experienced.
The Validation of a Short-cycle Formative Assessment Observation Protocol for Science and Mathematics Instruction
Over the years, teachers, administrators, and policy makers have been concerned with optimizing learning for all students. The No Child Left Behind Act put an emphasis on summative assessments, which measure what students have learned. In contrast, formative assessment has been shown in many studies to improve student achievement and motivation because it is applied while students are learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate, for middle and high school mathematics and science instruction, the validity and reliability of a newly developed observation instrument called AssessToday, which is used in a single class period to assess a teacher’s use of short-cycle formative assessment. The content validity of the instrument was supported through an extensive literature review, feedback from experts in the field of formative assessment, and an examination of 98 classroom observations. For assessing reliability of the instrument, inter-rater reliability coefficients were calculated using data collected by trained observers who independently rated teachers during the same class period using three measures: percentage of agreement between raters, Cohen’s kappa, and Fleiss kappa. Cohen’s kappa (N = 36 pairs) ranged from .62 to 1.00 for all observer pairs with an average kappa of .75 for mathematics (n = 16 pairs) and .76 for science (n = 20 pairs). The recommended threshold for kappa is k = .70. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the observation data and the determined factors related to the theoretical framework established in the literature. The results affirmed that the instrument is a tool to be utilized in short-cycle formative assessment with middle and high school science and mathematics teachers.
Teachers' Perceptions of their Enculturation Process
The purpose of this study was to construct portrayals of teachers7 work conceptions in various career stages from the stories they told and the metaphors they used to describe the ways in which teachers learned about their work. Specifically, the study included preservice teachers, first-year teachers, third-year teachers, and teachers with more than four years of teaching experience at the elementary and secondary school levels. Thirty-five elementary and secondary school teachers from the North-Central area of Texas participated in this study (nineteen inservice and sixteen preservice teachers). Qualitative techniques were employed to collect data. The preservice teachers filled out a questionnaire and wrote short stories about their preconceptions of their first year of teaching. Inservice teachers were interviewed using a short questionnaire and a long interview schedule. Nine inservice teachers participated in a storytelling workshop/focus group session. Group stories based on predetermined scenarios were constructed, tape-recorded and transcribed. The focus group session was videotaped and transcribed. Fifteen categories emerged from the analysis of the data: cyclical, ritualized, hierarchical, reciprocal, developmental, experiential, reflective, cumulative, body of knowledge, folkloric, individualized/personalized, order/control/manage, disciplinarian, facilitative, and replicative. These categories represent a summary of the constructs, images, contextual maps and metaphors held by these teachers to describe their enculturation process. The descriptive categories developed in this study offer teacher educators, supervisors and teachers a basis for understanding the culture of teachers. The storytelling technigues used in this study provide a means by which teachers and teacher-related personnel can generate further information about the enculturation process that can be applied to recruitment, orientation/ induction programming, reflective teacher preparation and change strategies.
Central Office Administrators' Perceptions of the Professional Learning Community Process
This study provides a qualitative interpretation of the work done by central office administrators in a school district in Texas as they supported and built capacity for the professional learning community (PLC) process over a five year time period. Literature by PLC scholars, especially R. DuFour, R.B. DuFour, Eaker, Hord, Hipp, Huffman, and Olivier, informed development of the study. In a school district of 19,000 students and 2,000 staff members, ten central office administrators were interviewed to gain their perceptions of their roles in the PLC process. Interviews were analyzed through the processes of initial, focused, and theoretical coding. Documents were examined and used as supplemental sources of data to corroborate the perspectives provided. Findings revealed the story of central office administrators who worked interdependently to support and build capacity in the implementation and sustainment of the PLC process. A thick description of the work based on their perceptions offers actions and behaviors of administrators specific to their roles and practices and protocols developed to hold the work together. A grounded theory was developed with regard to central office administrators' support and capacity-building for the PLC process. From the administrators' perceptions, six theoretical categories relating to central office support and capacity building of the PLC process emerged: 1) establishment, 2) deployment, 3) accountability for implementation, 4) adult learning, 5) collaboration, and 6) leadership development. The study contributes an interpretivist description of the involvement of central office in the PLC process and confirms the importance of the change process in the implementation of the PLC framework.
Factors Related to Teacher Retention: the Lived Experiences of Four Teachers in an Urban, Hard-to-staff High School
Retaining quality teachers is critical to the success of America's schools. How to retain quality teachers, especially in high needs schools, is a question of fervent debate among educational researchers, policy makers, administrators, parents, and students. This study examines the issue of teacher retention from an emic perspective, focused on understanding the perspective of those closest to the retention decision, teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This study examines the lived experiences of four teachers at a hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school as these experiences impact their decisions to remain in teaching and at their current campus. Research methods adopted an existential phenomenological perspective and focused on understanding deeply the perspective of participants and how participants make meaning of their lived experiences as they relate to the retention decision. Three hour-long interviews were conducted with each of the four participants utilizing methodology laid out by Seidman (1991). Data were analyzed using NVIVO 10 to apply a series of coding and recoding procedures to interview transcripts. Conclusions suggest four factors motivated these teachers to teach and remain in their current hard-to-staff, urban, secondary school. These factors include: belief in the power of education, relationships with students, mentoring and professional partnering, and remaining professionally challenged. Findings suggest factors that drive teachers out of teaching and out of hard-to-staff schools include: inconsistent administrative support, low student motivation, and lack of resources.
An Exploration of Teachers' Adoption of the Bring Your Own Technology Program
The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' concerns, use, and actual practices in their adoption of the bring your own technology (BYOT) initiative. Twelve secondary teachers in a private school setting participated in this study. The participants represented all content areas including reading, math, science, and electives. The private school was in its third year of implementing BYOT. This case study incorporated multiple methods to collect data to gain a better understanding of teachers' adoption of an innovation, BYOT. The concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) was used as a theoretical framework. All three CBAM tools provided data: the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), levels of use interview protocol (LoUIP), and the innovation configuration (IC) map. Twelve of the participants completed the SoCQ across three different points in time. Six of the twelve teachers participated in three one-on-one interviews, including the LoUIP. Additionally, six teachers were observed in their classrooms during instruction. After triangulating all pieces of data, the majority of teachers had highest concerns related to self. Teachers were concerned about their ability to implement the innovation and managing BYOT in their classroom. Four of the six teachers had a level of use (LoU) at mechanical, and two teachers had a LoU at routine. The teachers' LoU indicated that they are using BYOT in the classroom; however, the majority of teachers observed had adoption practices mostly in the non-ideal variations of IC. The teachers' LoU and IC indicated that teachers had implemented BYOT in their own way and not necessarily in alignment with the campus' vision or expectations. This case study had several limitations, including the small number of participants and the brevity of classroom observations. Additionally, this study was limited to one school setting. Recommendations for future research include exploring teachers' adoption of BYOT in various school settings ...
Formal Education among the Siberian Yupik Eskimos on Sivuqaq, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska: an Ethno-Historical Study
The major focus of this study is the effect of formal education on individuals, communities, cultural traditions and values on Siberian Yupik Eskimos of Alaska. The first school on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska was founded in 1899 under the direction of Sheldon Jackson. The formal school curriculum for the next thirty years was secretarian. Upon the initial operation of formal schooling on the island, various other forms of schools have impacted the islanders of St. Lawrence. Chapter two is an overview of the background of education in Alaska from its beginning as a territory to its present status as the 49th state in the United States. Chapter three presents the history of formal schooling on St. Lawrence Island. Chapters two and three contain descriptions of various other forms of schooling within the state (i.e. Bureau of Indian Affairs, mission, state-owned) and when and how these forms either existed on the island or had an impact upon its villagers. Chapter four discusses the methodology utilized in conducting the research and fieldwork for this study. Research findings are discussed in chapter five and include verbatim transcriptions of interviews with villagers. These interviews are unedited in order for readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the study. The interviews included in this written finding are representative of interviews taken. Chapter six discusses conclusions gleaned over the course of this study and recommends further areas of study.
Effects of a Technology Enriched Learning Environment on Student Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills
The problem for this study was to enhance the development of higher order thinking skills and improve attitudes toward computers for fifth and sixth grade students. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a Technology Enriched Classroom on student development of higher order thinking skills and student attitudes toward the computer. A sample of 80 sixth grade and 86 fifth grade students was tested using the Ross Test of Higher Cognitive Processes. The Ross Test was selected because of its stated purpose to judge the effectiveness of curricula or instructional methodology designed to teach the higher-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation as defined by Bloom. The test consisted of 105 items grouped into seven subsections. In addition, the students were surveyed using the Computer Attitude Questionnaire developed by the Texas Center for Educational Technology. The questionnaire assessed sixty-five questions combined to measure eight attitudes.
From Knowing Content to Constructing Knowledge: A Trend Analysis of Secondary Science Education, 1953-1992
The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze secondary science education curriculum and instruction trends for the period 1953-1992 by using the technique of content analysis to examine a representative portion of journal articles and policy statements in secondary science education. Two major science publications, The Science Teacher and Science Education, were selected for analysis.
The Impact of Student Thinking Journals and Generic Problem Solving Software on Problem Solving Performance and Transfer of Problem Solving Skills
This study examined the effects of specially designed thinking journal activities that have been attributed with encouraging reflective thinking, on instruction using generic, or content-free problem solving software. Sixty-three fourth grade students participated in four instructional sessions using a software package called Moptown Hotel. Students completed separate posttests that measured (1) performance on problems of the same kind as those used in instruction, and (2) transfer of skills to other kinds of problems. Scores of students who wrote thinking journals prior to testing were compared with scores of students who did not. Results indicate that students who wrote thinking journals performed the same as students who did not when tested on problems similar to those practiced in class. Tests in which students transferred their skills to word problems, however, produced significant differences. There was no significant difference between scores when averaged over all four weekly occasions. However, for the final session alone, students who wrote thinking journals scored higher on tests of problem solving transfer than students who did not (p < .01). The study also examined the relationship between the degree of metacognitive thought displayed in students' journal entries, and their measured problem solving ability. Results indicate that students who had higher average reflectivity scores also had higher average problem solving performance and transfer scores (p < .05). It was also noted that the significant relationship between reflectivity and scores of problem solving ability was only observed in male students. It was concluded that under the right conditions, and for the right kinds of problems, thinking journal writing can help students understand their own thinking processes, resulting in improved problem solving behavior. The study also raises the question of whether there are differences between the ways that male and female students apply metacognitive awareness gained through journal writing experiences.
Implementation of the Middle School Concept: a Profile of Perceived Effects
This study addressed the perceptions of teachers, parents, and students in a suburban middle school about the effects of implementation of the middle school concept on instruction, peer group interaction, teacher attitudes and practices, and school culture. A qualitative approach was used for this study. Interview questions were developed to determine perceptions about effects in the areas identified in the research questions. Interviews were conducted with selected teachers, parents, and students who had exposure to the school before and after planned changes were implemented. Documents were examined for evidence of perceptions in the four areas identified. In addition, an existing data set (a student survey} was examined and the same survey was administered to a more recent group of students to identify possible patterns in student perceptions.
A Comparison of Teachers' Sense of Efficacy of Traditionally and Alternatively Certified First Year Teachers
The purpose of this study was to compare the self-efficacy of two groups of first year teachers working in a large urban school district in North Texas. Twenty-eight of the participants were certified teachers. Ten participants held college degrees unrelated to teaching and were undergoing an alternative certification process. The Teacher Efficacy Scale was administered at the beginning and the end of the school year. Data from this scale was analyzed to determine if there were differences between the regular certification teachers and the alternative certification teachers at the beginning and the end of the school year, and to determine if their sense of efficacy changed over the course of the school year.
Motion Versus Non-Motion in Interactive Video Lessons in High School Physical Science
The most important question addresed in this study was whether there is any difference in student learning between a motion group and a non-motion group. The interactive video courseware is currently a part of the curriculum in this district. It was used in its original form with the contrast group. For the experimental group one unit of the courseware was modified to remove the motion video and replace it with photorealistic graphics that served as the non-motion part of the study. Covariates were selected to compensate for any differences in the two groups. A pretest and posttest was administered to both groups. Analysis of the posttest scores indicated that there was no difference in learning if motion in the presentation was the only variable.
Perceptions of Site Based Decision Making Implementation in the Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas
In 1983, the report A Nation at Risk catapulted school reform to the forefront of national attention. The State of Texas responded with legislation dictating curriculum and instructional time. Failure to accomplish the desired improvement in student achievement caused these mandates to be eased. In lieu of the mandates, the Texas legislature and the Texas Education Agency have set expectation standards called academic indicators. Local districts and campuses must utilize site based decision making (SBDM) to determine how each campus will meet the set standards. Dealing primarily with curriculum roles and responsibilities, this study details perceptions of principals and teachers as SBDM was being implemented in a suburban school district serving 25,000 students. Data were gathered utilizing a structured interview and a follow-up telephone interview. Addressed in the study are perceptions of: (a) role changes, (b) responsibility changes, (c) needed improvements in the implementation process, (d) teacher empowerment, (e) positive and negative elements, and (f) student achievement.
The Effects of Writing-to-learn Tasks on Achievement and Attitude in Mathematics
The problem of this study was to determine the effects of implementing writing-to-learn tasks in mathematics instruction on fourth grade students' achievement and attitude toward mathematics. Also addressed in this study is whether or not achievement and attitude measures of female students and low achieving students are effected by the use of writing in mathematics.
A Study of the Effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction on Developmental Math Students in Higher Education
This quasi-experimental study examined the effects of participation in a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program on student test performance in a second-level developmental mathematics class in a four-year university setting. This research deviated from past research on Supplemental Instruction in that it examined effects of the program at the end of each test block rather than at the end of the course only. The quasi-experimental design was precipitated by an inability to control factors of participation and limited sample size. Test data were analyzed using analysis of variance; final course grades were analyzed using chi-square.
The Relationship of a Spiritual Calling to Motivation, Locus of Control, Burnout and Longevity in Teaching
In this study, six research questions were addressed: (1) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different motivation (self, interaction, task) to his/her work than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (2) Does a teacher who feels a spiritual calling have a different locus of control (internal, external) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (3) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different degree of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (4) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different sense of voluntary commitment in the longevity of his/her work experience than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (5) Is there a different concentration of teachers who have a spiritual calling in public or parochial schools? (6) Does the public or religious school affiliation make a difference in research questions #1 through #4? A Teacher Motivation Inventory was compiled using The Orientation Inventory by Bass, Rotter's Internal/External Locus of Control, Maslach Burnout Inventory by Maslach, Jackson, and Schwab, a Researcher-made Spiritual Calling Inventory, and longevity questions. Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons test and Chi-square Test of Independence were used. This study was conducted in the spring of 1994 in public, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish elementary schools. Teachers who scored in the upper third on the Spiritual Calling Inventory were categorized as having a spiritual calling to teaching. Teachers who had a spiritual calling had a significantly more internal locus of control, were less likely to depersonalize students, had greater personal accomplishment and were more likely to choose teaching again than those not having a spiritual calling. A spiritual calling had a significant relationship to some very meaningful, attractive qualities in ...
Effects of a Teacher Inservice Training Model on Students' Perceptions of Elementary Science
The purpose of this study was to test a teacher inservice training model which was designed to increase the number and use of hands-on science activities, increase the number of times teachers teach science, and improve students' perceptions of science.
The School Council as an Agent of Instructional Change: a Comparative Case Study
The involvement of teachers, parents, and administrators in shared decision making is a critical component in recent attempts to implement site-based decision making in Texas schools. This involvement is usually maintained through the school council, which is the sanctioned forum for discourse as defined by Texas laws. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and analyze the content and patterns of decision making discourse in three Texas elementary school councils. The research questions focused on (a) council member role descriptions, (b) training, (c) patterns of deliberation, and (d) varieties of issues discussed. A total of 44 council members participated in the research. Observation, interviews, structured group interviews, decision-making inventories, and documents were used to collect data from December 1992 until January 1994.
Homecourt: A Nondirective Student Support Group
The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze how Homecourt, a nondirective support group at a public high school in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, operates and how it affects students.
A Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Video-Based versus Live Presentation Staff Development on Teachers' Cognitive Learning and Attitudes
The problem of this study was the identification of effective and efficient means of providing quality staff development for reading instruction within a school-district setting. The study investigated the comparative effectiveness of two staff development delivery systems measured by 1) a cognitive test of a school district's reading program and 2) an affective measure of teacher attitudes toward staff development. The sample was drawn from the teacher population of a large urban school district. The 46 subjects were elementary school teachers in grades K-5 randomly divided into two groups: Group A (videotape with a trained on-site facilitator) and Group B (face-to-face live presenter). Participants in the study received training using "The Fort Worth Reading Program," a staff development program designed by the researcher. In addition to the presentation of content information, which is the central component, the program features small group discussions, off-line activities, and question and answer periods. Both groups received the same treatment with the following exception. A central component to the Group A training was the presentation of content information in a videotape format. Group B did not view the videotape, but received the same information via live presenter. Two instruments developed by the researcher were used in the study: 1) The Teacher Staff Development Questionnaire, a Likert-type survey to obtain teacher attitudes toward staff development, and 2) The Cognitive Test of Reading Knowledge, an instrument designed to measure cognitive objectives of the district's reading program. A multivariate analysis of covariance revealed no statistically significant differences between the groups. It was concluded that elementary classroom teachers, regardless of their attitudes toward staff development, learn content material equally well with either of the two delivery systems explored in this study. Specific suggestions and recommendations for further studies are addressed and discussed. Examples of the measurement instruments are included.
The Emergence of an Inner-City Professional Development School: A Case Study
This paper examined the process followed in the selection and establishment of an inner-city Professional Development School located in a large, North Texas school district.
Self-Perception of Objectivity in the Use of the TTAS
The purpose of this study was to determine if appraisers using the TTAS in Texas perceived themselves as being objective in the evaluation process. The population for this study was 213 appraisers, both elementary and secondary, chosen randomly from four educational service areas in four regions of Texas. Data were obtained from a 25-item questionnaire mailed to the appraisers. The organization of this study includes a statement of the problem, the research questions, a review of the literature, the methods and procedures used to collect the data, the analysis of the data, and a summary of the findings, conclusions, implications, and recommendations for additional research. Data from the 213 returned questionnaires were treated with the chi-square test of independence. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Regardless of the level, elementary or secondary, of the administrator, the majority of respondents held the same views. 2. Regardless of the region of Texas from which the respondents came, the majority of respondents held the same views. 3. Regardless of the number of years of experience of the appraisers, the majority of respondents held the same views. 4. The majority of respondents felt they are objective in their use of the TTAS. The implications are that the TTAS instrument is being used as was its intention, and that the appraisers feel comfortable in the use of the TTAS. Since the TTAS is effective as seen through a majority of respondents, it may be used in future revisions of the current instrument or by other districts as a model by which to begin construction of their own appraisal instruments.
The Relationship between Level of Implementation of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Curriculum and Evaluation Standards and 5th Grade Louisiana Educational Assessment Program Math Scores
This study examined the relationship between levels of implementation of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Curriculum and Evaluation Standards and 5th Grade Louisiana Educational Assessment Program Math Scores with the effects of race of students accounted for. Secondary areas of interest were the relationship between LEAP mathematics scores with the effects of race of students accounted for and the teacher characteristics of years experience and educational attainment and of the relationship between level of implementation of the Standards and teacher characteristics. The population, from which a sample size of 250 was randomly drawn, was comprised of 1994-95 Louisiana public school teachers who taught in a regular 5th grade or departmentalized math class. Survey research was used to place the responding teachers at one of the five levels of implementation. Hierarchical Multiple Regression was used to analyze the question of primary interest. Race of the students was found to have accounted for nearly 9% of the variance in LEAP mathematics scores. This figure was statistically significant. The independent variable Level of Implementation of the Standards produced ambiguous results. Students of Level 1 (non-implementers) teachers were found to have statistically significantly higher LEAP scores than did students of Level 2 teachers. The Level 1 students had scores which were non-statistically significantly higher than did those of Level 3 and 5. Students of Level 4 teachers had scores which were significantly higher than those students whose teachers were at Level 2 and 5. No significant relationship was found to exist between student LEAP mathematics scores and teacher characteristics of years experience and educational attainment nor between levels of implementation of the Standards and the same two teacher characteristics. Despite these findings, in light of the amount of research pointing to their value, implementation of Standards is still highly recommended.