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Mentoring the first-year superintendent in Texas public schools.

Description: This study determined what mentoring experiences first-year superintendents have had and what they need from a mentoring relationship. Structured interviews and field notes were used in this qualitative study focused on Texas first-year superintendents' perceived needs from mentors. Three patterns of mentoring relationships were found: 1) no mentor in the first year, 2) mentor-protégé relationship - those who developed mentoring relationships early in a career with a more senior person in the same school system, and 3) mentoring relationships of convenience - young relationships which developed outside the same system. Skills and knowledge areas novice superintendents identified as critical for mentor assistance were school finance, development of effective relationships with groups that have expectations of the superintendent while also improving student achievement, and working within the politics of the position. Mentor characteristics novice superintendents considered necessary for a positive effect on job success include: trustworthiness, confidentiality, empathy, encouraging, active listening, and integrity. An attitude in which the mentor problem solved with the protégé, and did not give an immediate solution was displayed. Mentors actively and frequently initiated contact. Ideas were freely exchanged, giving the protégé undivided attention while not making the protégé feel inferior. The effects that previous mentoring experiences had on novice superintendents influenced whether they chose to mentor another person. Most reported seeking or engaged in a new mentoring relationship. Differences in areas where help was needed among first-year superintendents associated with district size were reported. Assistance in finance was needed regardless of district size, gender, or ethnicity. Superintendents in small districts reported needing assistance in specific skill and knowledge areas. Those in larger districts reported mentor assistance in problem-solving processes to accomplish a task. Differences in needs of first-year superintendents based on gender or ethnicity were identified but generalizations could not be made due to small numbers. ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: McNulty, Rock Edward

The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools

Description: The primary questions addressed in this dissertation are whether race-based admissions policies in charter schools are constitutionally permissible, and if not, how could an admissions policy be designed so that it would promote school diversity without violating the law? These questions are important because there are significant numbers of philosophers and scholars who hypothesize that student body diversity not only enhances educational outcomes but also is a necessary component of civic education in a liberal democracy. The researcher takes no particular stance on the benefits of educational diversity, focusing instead on the constitutional questions raised by the use of race-sensitive policies in the interest of diversity. The primary methodology used throughout is legal research, though the literature review includes references to political philosophers and social scientists as well as primary legal sources. Chapter I outlines the most frequent arguments made in favor of school diversity and suggests that the judicial philosophy expressed by the Supreme Court over the last twenty-five years has moved away from the philosophy expressed in Brown v. Board. In Chapter II, Supreme Court precedent on affirmative action policies is analyzed, focusing mainly on the decision of the divided Court in University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke. Chapter III provides a detailed analysis of how six different Federal Circuit Courts interpreted Bakke, highlighting numerous recurring judicial themes and concerns. In Chapter IV, existing charter school laws are examined state by state. Chapter V suggests several policy options for those interested in promoting a diverse charter school student body.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Black, Watt Lesley

The Impact of Poverty on Comparable Improvement Ranking for Elementary Campuses in Texas

Description: The problem was to determine how comparable is comparable improvement for campuses in Texas. An alternative strategy for determining comparable improvement was developed using 2000 comparable improvement data provided by the Texas Education Agency for 2,403 elementary campuses. Comparable improvement is a measure that shows how student performance has changed from one year to the next and then compares that growth to 40 schools that are demographically most similar to the target school. Instead of using the most dominant characteristic as in the current process, the percent of students in poverty was the initial sorting characteristic. The impact of sorting by poverty was reviewed in four areas: 1.) the impact on quartile placement, 2.) the TLI average growth for the comparison group, 3.) the award eligibility, and 4.) the changes in comparison group composition. No practical significant difference was found for research questions 1 and 3, however, a practical significant difference was found in group average TLI growth for math and in the comparison group composition. Overall, the alternative process had the greatest impact on campuses with 40-80% poverty. Three possible factors may have influenced the results. First, the middle poverty campuses had the most change in comparison group as found in question 4. Second, the interaction between the middle poverty campuses and the alternative process could have been fueled by the removal of the 1,295 campuses with poverty as the dominant characteristic in current system. Third, the high correlation between poverty and ethnicity may have limited any impact of the alternative process.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Holland, Vicki Gay

The Relationship Between Classroom Climate and Student Achievement

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between sixth grade students' academic achievement levels in math and their perceptions of school climate. Student characteristics of socioeconomic status and gender were used to identify groups for the purpose of data analysis. Data was gathered using the five independent variables of the My Class Inventory (satisfaction, friction, competitiveness, difficulty, and cohesiveness) and the dependent variable of the Stanford Achievement Total Math scores. The results of the data collection were tested using a Pearson product-moment analysis and a backward multiple regression analysis. A univariate analysis of variance was also used to compare the five independent variables of the My Class Inventory as well as to compare socioeconomic status and gender with the Stanford Achievement Total Math scores. The schools selected for this study were from a city in Texas with a population of approximately 100,000. The sample consisted of 262 sixth grade mathematics students. The findings of this study are as follows: (a) The Pearson product-moment correlation analysis revealed little, if any, correlation for any of the five subscale predictor variables; (b) the multiple regression analysis revealed that all five classroom climate indicators combined together could explain only 10.5% of the variance in mathematics achievement; (c) the univariate analysis of variance revealed that there is a significant relationship between the climate factors of friction and difficulty when compared to mathematics achievement; and (d) the univariate analysis of variance also revealed that mathematics achievement scores vary significantly as a function of economic category membership, but there appears to be no relationship to gender.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Bennett, Jan

A Study Of Correlations Between Learning Styles Of Students And Their Mathematics Scores On The Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test

Description: The problem of this study was to determine whether learning styles of students affect their math achievement scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test. The research questions addressed relevant to this study were: 1. Is there a positive correlation between students' learning styles and their achievement test scores in mathematics? 2. Is there a positive correlation between specific sub group's (as deemed by the state of Texas) and gender's learning styles and their achievement test scores in mathematics? The Pearson Product Moment Correlation coefficient and the Point-biserial correlation analysis was applied to the data collected from 500 fifth grade students attending a North Texas Intermediate school. The significance level was established at the .05 level. Part of the data was the student's responses to the Learning Style Inventory by Dunn, Dunn and Price. The findings established that the learning style preferences of all students in the area of persistence significantly impacted their math achievement scores. Gender and ethnicity were mitigating factors in the findings. These learning style preferences significantly impacted achievement in the following ways: * Caucasian students' preference of a high level of persistence in completing a difficult task. * Hispanic students' preference for a warm learning environment and motivational factor of pleasing the teacher. * Afro-American students' preference for kinesthetic learning. * Female students' learning style preferences appear in: - the design of the learning environment - the need for intake of food and/or drink - a high level of responsibility - a high sense of self-motivation , of teacher and of parent motivation. * Male students' learning style preferences appear in: - a warm learning environment - a high level of responsibility - the need for intake of food and/or drink - a high sense of teacher and of parent motivation - a late morning ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Kopsovich, Rosalind D.

A Descriptive Review and Analysis of the Creation and Development of an Advisory Program in an Inner-City Middle School

Description: This study described and analyzed the development and implementation of an advisory program at one urban middle school. Development of the advisory program began during the 1997-98 school year. The implementation of the program was examined during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years. This school site was chosen because of the in-depth research and planning of the program beyond the typical amount performed by many schools, and the wide-scale staff participation utilized in the program's development. In order to follow the processes of development and implementation, several models of change, innovation, and organizational analysis were used to provide focus for analysis of events that occurred during the three years of the program examined in this study. Data was collected in multiple manners. A complete review of school documents concerning the advisory program was performed, and over 50 percent of the faculty were interviewed through individual and team interviews. The findings of this study include various elements concerning the development and implementation of the advisory program. Data was collected and analyzed in three main categories including a) driving and resisting factors for beginning and implementing the program, b) processes used to plan, maintain and develop the program, and c) the periods in which the program became stable. Additional considerations were examined including the evaluation of the program, future possibilities for implementation, and staff roles in the program. Recommendations of the study include: limiting the focus of the advisory program; maintaining consistent goals; starting with a limited program; securing high staff participation; providing extensive time for planning; maintaining a high level of monitoring by administration and staff leaders; providing in-depth training; and, insuring that open lines of communication exist.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Hunter, Matthew P.

A Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Three Different GED Preparation Programs

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify effective instructional programs for GED tests preparation for students in a large suburban school district. Three different nonrandom, unequal naturally occurring instructional groups at three different locations were examined. One group participated in a traditional instruction program, a second group in a test/retest program, and a third group in a computer-assisted program. The demographics of the district population, the GED population, and the individual study groups were catalogued and analyzed. The demographics of the GED population were similar to the district population but different from the GED passers. Student characteristics did affect GED success. Both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered. Random students in each of the three groups were interviewed about their experiences in GED preparation using a questionnaire. Quantitative data were analyzed using frequencies, means, correlations, and a multiple regression analysis. Since the GED credential is an alternative to the high school diploma, its use as a dropout alternative is important to every school district. The study found that instructional methods had little impact on students' success in receiving the GED credential. The overall success rate of students was low in each group. The student's reading achievement score, GPA, and IQ score were predictors of GED tests success. Little research has been done in the area of GED instruction; perhaps this lack of work is due to the known limited effectiveness of GED preparation. Districts hoping to build effective GED programs should screen students prior to admission to a GED program. High school GED instruction seems to be effective for students likely to be successful in the regular school setting but in need of an immediate credential because of pregnancy or parenting or the need to work full-time or the desire to begin college study. Districts should also design programs ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Gardner, Marlene K.

A study of the relationships between personality as indicated by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and leadership strengths and weaknesses as identified by Skillscope

Description: The purpose of this study was to improve the quality of information used in leadership assessment and development programs. The study determined the relationships between personality type, as indicated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and leadership strengths and developmental needs as measured by Skillscope. The study also determined the relationships between personality type and congruence between self-awareness of strengths and developmental needs and ratings by knowledgeable observers. The discriminate analysis of the Skillscope leadership feedback instrument compared with the selected personality types revealed that personal management was a strength for both ISTJs and ESTJs. The decision-making skill was a strength for ISTJs, and power/influence was determined to be a strength for ESTJs. The high energy/results oriented skill was determined to be a developmental need for ISTJs. There was agreement between ENTJs and other raters as they both saw interpersonal relationships as a strength for that type. INTJs underrated themselves in interpersonal relationships, and ISTJs underrated themselves in decision-making. Further study is recommended to expand the general body of knowledge of leadership development research. Of particular concern are methods to identify and explore developmental needs of leaders and how those needs can be addressed in training programs. Three hundred sixty degree feedback instruments should be further analyzed in an effort to explain the differences between raters. Of concern is the high percentage of ISTJ types, which reveals a need to expand research to include significant numbers of other personality types. Consideration should be given to studies that identify the unique contributions of gender to leadership skills and development, and the impact culture has on leadership in organizations. Although statistically significant research is difficult to obtain in the behavioral sciences, the effort is worthwhile as it provides information that allows leadership development decisions to be made based on dependable data.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Cunnyngham, Hal F.

Factors that influence teacher turnover in Texas: Correlations with variables from the academic excellence indicator system for the year 1998-99

Description: The teacher shortage problem is a national and state concern. In 1998, the Texas State Board of Education Certification reported that school districts in Texas had to hire teachers to fill over 63,000 vacancies. Teacher resignations, other than retirement, contributed to over 46,000 teachers who left the profession about 19 % of the state's total teacher workforce. A significant number of Texas teachers left the profession in the first five years. The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (1996) called the attrition of new teachers a chronic problem for American schools. Reducing the teacher shortage in Texas must begin with reducing the teacher turnover rate. Most studies concerning teacher attrition or turnover either address salary, or working conditions. Many of the studies deal with affective and subjective data regarding teacher turnover. The studies on teacher turnover often do not address quantifiable data collected uniformly across districts. Few studies address a comprehensive set of quantitative data to determine the variables associated with teacher turnover. This study addressed teacher turnover through quantitative research of data from the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) with multiple analysis to provide insights to teacher turnover conditions and trends. The population for the study included all 1042 Texas school districts, and 61 Charter schools. The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) was used to determine the variables and supply data for the study. The study addressed only district data not individual school or campus data. The data captured for this dissertation were analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlational methods, and regression tools of research.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Burns, Bobby C.

The Relationship Among Teacher Expectations, Teacher Attitudes Toward the TAAS, and Student Achievement

Description: Accountability is a major issue in education and in Texas, the TAAS test is used to indicate performance of students, teachers, campuses, and districts. The stakes are high for students, as performance on this test has determined whether they progress to another grade and whether they will receive a diploma. Most research studies focus on relationships between the teacher and individual students or groups of students, but not classrooms. Expectations and high stakes testing are central within the educational process, and their relationship on student achievement should be investigated, especially since no studies on teacher attitudes toward the TAAS test have been found. This correlational study measured teacher attitudes toward the TAAS and teacher expectations for students through data collected from a survey. Student achievement information was collected from averaged Texas Learning Index scores for students by classroom over a two year period. The sample consisted of 22 4th, 8th, and 10th grade reading and/or math teachers who had taught in the same Texas mid-sized, rural school district for at least two years. Frequency, percent, mean, and standard deviation were used to analyze the responses on the survey. A median score distinguished between high/low expectations and between positive/negative attitudes toward the TAAS. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient identified relationships, with levels of significance determined at the .05 level. From this study, it appears that no relationship exists among teacher expectations for students, teacher attitudes toward the TAAS, and student achievement. It appears that teachers support the TAAS and see a relationship between the test and improved student performance, and view the TAAS as nondiscriminatory for race and socioeconomic status. While teacher expectation levels are not the same for all students, most teachers feel responsible for insuring that students learn while they are in the teachers' classrooms, and communicate, via word ...
Date: December 2000
Creator: Sweatt, Shelley S.

Teachers' and Students' Perceptions of the Impact of Content Literacy Strategy Instruction on Teaching and Learning

Description: Reading researchers agree that content literacy strategies are beneficial in helping students learn. However, teachers remain resistant to teaching the strategies. Additionally, many students, even at the college level, lack the learning strategies necessary to experience academic success. This study sought to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of content literacy strategy instruction. The research questions that guided the study addressed the benefits, obstacles, and support and experiences needed to sustain the use of the strategies over time. Multiple data sources were used to investigate teachers' and students' perceptions of the research questions. The main benefit found was increased student understanding and learning of content; additional benefits included increased instructional repertoire, increased student engagement in class, and improved learner independence. Most of the obstacles documented in the literature were supported in the study; however, the obstacle of time was noted most frequently. Teacher confidence was observed by the researcher as an obstacle. The majority of participants indicated they would continue using the strategies learned during the study in the future. Students noted the support needed to sustain content literacy strategy use depended on teachers providing direct instruction, practice using the strategies, and personal success with the strategies. Teachers also identified practice and perseverance as critical to sustaining content literacy strategy instruction. The support teachers noted most frequently as important to successful implementation was collegial support - teachers helping teachers. Teacher meetings discussing the implementation process were viewed as critical to sustain effective content literacy strategy instruction. Additionally, quality teacher training, administrative support, and accountability were documented by teachers as important.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Maher, Sheila

A survey of mentor/mentee activities in beginning teacher induction programs in Region XI

Description: The recruitment and retention of teachers demand attention with estimates of two million new teachers needed in the next decade. Hiring under qualified teachers necessitates adequate induction programs. Development of a recommendation for a teacher induction program comprises the purpose of the study. The recommended induction and support program addresses the activities perceived as valuable by both mentors and mentees. The researcher describes the mentor programs currently in place in Region XI in northern Texas by surveying the mentors and mentees; of particular relevance is a determination and description of the program model in place. Data sources include the literature review and information obtained from Region XI mentors/mentees. Data shows the model in Region XI is primarily a colleague model. Mentors and mentees are matched for grade level, content area and physical proximity. Three of the most frequently occurring activities are in the category emotional support, three in logistical concerns, two in systems information, one in student management, and one in instructional support. Mentees believe those activities associated with classroom management and organization and developing confidence and self-esteem are most important. Mentors concur. Specific recommendations for structuring a comprehensive beginning teacher induction and support program include reexamining the program currently in use, prioritizing timing of implementation, articulating campus mentoring goals, adhering to logistical areas of concern, providing training for the mentors in a program of psychological support that focuses on the psychological needs of the beginning teacher, providing time within the day, and evaluating current programs at the end of each year using those beginning teachers involved.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Wright, Telena

The Influence of National Standards for Early Childhood Programs on Selected Rural Settings of the Education Service Centers in East Texas

Description: This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Sanders, Mary Elizabeth

The Response of a Public School District to Charter School Competition: An Examination of Free-Market Effects

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine a school district's responses to charter schools operating within its boundaries. The selected district was the only one in the state with two large academically competitive charter schools for at least two years. Four questions guided the research: In terms of instruction, finance, communication, and leadership, how has the traditional district been impacted due to charter school existence? The exploratory research was timely since charter schools are proliferating as tax-supported public choice schools. While many have speculated about free-market effects of charter school competition on systemic educational reform, the debate has been chiefly along ideological lines; therefore, little empirical research addresses this issue. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to present a comprehensive case study. Twenty-six school officials and teachers were interviewed; 159 teachers and 1576 parents were surveyed. District, community, and state education department documents were analyzed. Since charter schools have existed in the district, numerous activities have taken place. Instructional initiatives included a high school academy, expanded technology, gifted and talented, tutoring, and dropout prevention. All elementary and middle schools required uniforms. The district's state accountability rating improved from acceptable to recognized. A leadership void was perceived due to students leaving to attend charter schools initially. The district was perceived as making efforts to improve communication with the community. The financial impact of charter schools was neutralized due to the district's student population increase, property wealth, and state charter funding structure. The data supported all of the hypotheses in terms of the impact of charter schools in the district on these activities: free-market effects of charter school competition were not established as the primary reason for internal organizational changes that occurred in the district. Anecdotal evidence suggested that charter schools may have played some role, but primarily they seemed to ...
Date: December 1999
Creator: Patrick, Diane Porter