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An Examination Of Three Texas High SchoolsÊ Restructuring Strategies That Resulted In An Academically Acceptable Rating

Description: This study examined three high schools in a large urban school district in Texas that achieved an academically acceptable rating after being sanctioned to reconstitute by state agencies. Texas state accountability standards are a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2011 (NCLB). Texas state law requires schools to design a reconstitution plan after the second year of receiving an academically unacceptable school rating for failing to meet the required standards on state assessments, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The plan must be implemented by the third year. A mixed methods approach was used to uncover the strategies that were successful during the restructuring initiative. Data was obtained from three sources: interviews, document analysis and surveys. Interviews were conducted with district administrators, campus based administrators and teachers of the three high schools. A sample of core content teachers were surveyed using questions from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Results revealed that each school chose to engage in a major form of restructuring that included the formation of a themed based magnet school. A team approach was used to devise, implement, and monitor the reconstitution plan. Common strategies unveiled in the study included the use of common assessments, collaborative planning among core teachers, professional development, continuous monitoring of student absences, extended learning times for students, and a focus on college readiness. Survey data revealed that the majority of teachers believed that collaboration positively impacted student achievement. It is recommended that schools undergoing restructuring choose a reconstitution option that allows for flexibility, use multiple resources to foster school improvement, and develop restructuring plans that serve as living documents. Further research is needed to study the principal's role in achieving an academically acceptable rating. This study could also be expanded to compare restructuring strategies of ...
Date: December 2011
Creator: Massey Fields, Chamara

Novice Generalist and Content teachers’ Perceptions of Contextual Factors Affecting Personal Teaching Efficacy

Description: New teachers begin the school year with optimism and enthusiasm, but their excitement quickly wanes as they encounter the realities of the everyday life of a teacher. When they do not experience the successes they predicted, many begin to doubt their capabilities, which results in a lowered sense of teaching efficacy. This descriptive study was designed to identify the contextual factors novice teachers perceive as influences on personal teaching efficacy and to examine the relationships between the factors. Two groups of novice teachers who were concurrently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate accelerated educator preparation program and working as first-year teachers were the participants in the study. Data were gathered for the study through focus group activities, twice weekly journal entries completed during the teaching year, and a culminating “lessons learned” paper written during the last month of the first year of teaching. Each of the two focus groups identified nine contextual factors they perceived to affect personal teaching efficacy. Six factors were identified by both groups: parental involvement, support from administrators and colleagues, classroom discipline, testing results, teaching strategies and outcomes, and relationships with administrators and colleagues. The groups, however, perceived the relationships between the contextual factors differently. The generalists perceived recursive relationships between the factors, while the content group perceived a linear relationship.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Hooten, Dorleen Billman

A Comparison of Principals’ Perceptions of Preparedness Based on Leadership Development Opportunities

Description: This research study identified the frequency in which six public school districts in Texas provided principals with effective development opportunities prior to the principalship excluding university or certification programs. A purposive sample of over 200 principals from six school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were asked to participate in the study yielding a response rate of 41%. Respondents identified through a questionnaire their leadership development opportunities and perceptions of preparedness on nine standards common to the profession. Principals were nominally grouped for comparison. The perceptions of preparedness for principals who received effective leadership development opportunities were compared to those who did not receive these same opportunities using an independent samples t-test to determine statistical significance (p < .05). Peer coaching yielded the most statistically significant results in three standards. This finding indicates principals who receive peer coaching prior to the principalship compared to those who did not perceive themselves as more prepared in the areas of community collaboration, political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context, and curriculum, instruction and assessment. Effect size was measured for the statistically significance standards to determine practical significance. Each of the five statistically significant standards yielded a medium effect size indicating that the leadership development methods received by participants explained approximately 30% of the difference.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Holacka, Karin V.

Teacher Decision-Making: Cultural Mediation in Two High School English Language Arts Classrooms

Description: Although studies have addressed high school English language arts (ELA) instruction, little is known about the decision-making process of ELA teachers. How do teachers decide between the resources and instructional strategies at their disposal? This study focused on two monolingual teachers who were in different schools and grades. They were teaching mainstream students or English Language Learners. Both employed an approach to writing instruction that emphasized cultural mediation. Two questions guided this study: How does the enactment of culturally mediated writing instruction (CMWI) in a mainstream classroom compare to the enactment in an ESL classroom? What is the nature of teacher decision-making in these high school classrooms during English language arts instruction? Data were collected and analyzed using qualitative methodologies. The findings suggest that one teacher, who was familiar with CMWI’s principles and practices and saw students as partners, focused her decisions on engagement and participation. The other teacher deliberately embedded CMWI as an instructional stance. Her decisions focused on empathy, caring and meaningful connections. These teachers enacted CMWI in different ways to meet their students’ needs. They embraced the students’ cultural resources, used and built on their linguistic knowledge, expanded thinking strategies to make difficult information comprehensible, provided authentic learning opportunities, used formative assessments as instructional guides, and delivered just-in-time academic and non-academic support.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Araujo, Juan José

Rural School Principals' Perceived Use of Data in Data-Driven Decision-Making and the Impact on Student Achievement

Description: This study examined the impact of principals' data-driven decision-making practices on student achievement using the theoretical frame of Dervin's sense-making theory. This study is a quantitative cross-sectional research design where principals' perceptions about data were quantitatively captured at a single point in time. The participants for this study were 253 rural school principals currently serving in schools across Texas, and included both males and females across all ethnic groups, including white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other. A developed survey instrument was administered to principals. The findings from the quantitative SEM analyses indicated that the Principal Uses Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 1) and the Principal and Staff Ability to Analyze Data to Improve Student Achievement latent variable (Factor 2) were significantly and positively associated with student achievement. Higher scores on these two latent variables were associated with better student achievement. There was no statistical association between the Principal Uses Data to Design Teacher Professional Development latent variable (Factor 3) and this target outcome. In total, the three latent variables accounted for 6% of the variance in student achievement (TAKS). When the campus level outcome was considered, no statistically significant associations between any of the latent variables and this outcome were evident. In total, the three latent variables accounted for less than 2% of the variance in campus level.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Rogers, K. Kaye

School Consolidation Impact on State and Local Revenues and Expenditures in Texas

Description: This study examined financial aspects of the consolidation or annexation of 12 pairs of school districts in Texas during the period 1996-2006. Nine of the twelve districts consolidated by mutual agreement of the two school boards and three annexations were by order of the Commissioner of Education of Texas. Financial criteria studied were: a) per pupil expenditures, b) total state aid, c) transportation costs, d) administrative costs, e) school district "wealth" status, and f) facilities assets/liabilities. Each of the initial 24 independent school districts' criteria were collected for two years prior to consolidation and the 12 newly formed consolidated districts criteria were collected for the two years following consolidation. After consolidation, ten of the twelve districts had fewer than 1,000 students. Of the other two districts, one district had approximately 3,000 students and one large district had over 150,000 students. Some districts experienced increases in local expenditures relative to transportation, administrative costs and total expenditures while other districts decreased costs over time. Twelve non-consolidated districts with similar characteristics of the twelve consolidated districts were reviewed with the non-consolidated districts exhibiting increase and decrease fluctuations seen in the consolidated school districts. These findings suggested that each of the issues studied in public school finance need to be examined with more specific criteria in order to ascertain cause and effect relationships with regard to school consolidation financial impact on state and local revenues and expenditures.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Stewart, Marvin

Actions Taken by Texas School Districts to Prevent Fraud

Description: This research is a descriptive analysis answering the question, what measures are currently taken by the leadership&#8213;boards of trustees and superintendents of schools&#8213;of Texas school districts to prevent embezzlement? The research perspective utilized was quantitative with a descriptive, cross-sectional design. Data collection was accomplished through a survey with questions constructed from the most commonly recommended strategies discovered through the review of literature. The survey was distributed to the 1031 superintendents of school districts in Texas via email. The response rate was 33% or 339 returned surveys. The data set created concentrates on the four most common preventive measures: policy and procedure, management, auditing, and ethics. These measures are considered as they function to interrupt the principles of the fraud triangle. Comparisons were completed regarding region, district size, superintendent tenure and superintendent experience. Policy adoption was found to be extremely widespread. Procedures written to fully implement policy were less prevalent. Review of management practices found problems concerning credit cards, personnel evaluations, and password access to multiple computer finance recordkeeping systems concentrated in one employee. External auditing programs were universal due to statutory mandate but internal auditors and internal audit committees were few. Ethics training for business office personnel existed but with little consistent application across districts. The adoption of a code of ethics for business office personnel was rare. Recommendations made were that school leaders should be educated concerning appropriate actions in the common prevention areas. They need an to understand the importance of internal auditing, know the language in local policy, and they need to write procedures.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Taylor, Gordon Douglas

An Ecological Understanding of Teacher Quality in Early Childhood Programs: Implications and Recommendations

Description: This research examined whether or not relationships exist between preschool teacher quality and parent involvement as indicated by the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model of Parent Involvement Survey. Additionally, the study also considered family income and child membership in special education as predictors of parent involvement. The survey instruments included the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised (ECERS-R) and the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Parent Involvement Survey. A total of 306 parents across 35 preschool classrooms participated in the study. Effect sizes, beta weights and structure coefficients from a series of multiple regression analyses measured the relationship between variables. A regression equation comprised of teacher quality, family income and child membership in special education was statistically significant in predicting parent school-based involvement. In the school-based involvement model the predictors teacher quality and child membership in special education accounted for a greater percentage of variance than did family income. Teacher quality demonstrated a small, negative beta weight but accounted for the greatest amount of variance among the three predictors within the school-based parent involvement model. A negative relationship between teacher quality and school-based parent involvement suggested that as teacher quality improved, parents reported less involvement in school-based activities and events. Findings for special education membership, however, demonstrated a reverse effect in the model and appeared to have a positive significant effect on school-based involvement of parents. The study contributes to the literature on the relationship between teacher quality and parent involvement in early childhood preschool programs.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Macias-Brown, Armandina A.

Effects of the Texas Principal Excellence Program on Texas Principal Leadership Behavior and School Outcomes

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership and school outcome effects of the Texas Principal Improvement program; which authorized the School Leadership Pilot Program under Texas Education Code 11.203. The specific research questions were: What effects did participating in the Texas Principal Excellence Program in 2009-2010 have on participants and their schools? What changes in participants' self-reported and peer-observed leader behaviors occurred between the initial assessment at the onset of the program and the final assessment once the program was completed? What changes were experienced in school's passing rate on mathematics and reading TAKS in schools having the same principal for the two years in 2008-2009 (pre-participation) and 2009-2010 (post participation). The research used TxPEP participating principals who agreed to take part in the study. Principals and a selected group of people who worked with them completed a 360-degree leadership feedback instrument addressing nine leadership competencies at the beginning and end of the program. Paired samples t-tests were used to determine if changes from pre-participation to post-participation were statistically significant. When a statistically significant difference was found, effect size and confidence intervals were calculated to place the data in context. Multiple regression and propensity score matching were used to analyze TAKS data for the second question. The study found that principals believed they were better able to lead after the conclusion of the TxPEP program and that their self-ratings were statistically higher on each of the nine Texas Principal competencies. The results of the 360-degree assessment showed that the peer group felt as if the principals had a statistically significant improvement on three of the nine principal competencies. Regression analysis showed there were no statistically significant changes in the school wide percent passing rates on math or reading TAKS after completion of the TxPEP program. Longitudinal research ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Fouche, Todd P.

The Role of Social Integration in the Persistence of African American Men in College

Description: This qualitative study addressed the experiences of African American males attending a predominantly White university as undergirded by the social integration aspects of Tinto's model of academic and social integration. The methodology was case study. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were held with currently enrolled seniors to capture the lived experiences of their reasons for attending college as well as major influences that contributed to their persistence decisions. The results revealed emerging themes of positive and negative family influence, religious beliefs, and a sense of self-efficacy as instrumental factors for the students' persistence. The level of social integration tended to differ by the age classification (traditional college-going versus non-traditional college student) and by the level of parental education. The components of the social integration model, as developed by Tinto contributed little to the sample's persistence decisions when compared to the themes presented during the interviews. Three observations emerged from the data: (1) The experiences of the non-traditional aged participants were different from the traditional aged college student experiences; (2) Although the participants experienced varying levels of social integration, for most of the 16 students, their persistence decisions were influenced more by their positive and negative relationships with family, religious beliefs, and sense of self-efficacy than by their interactions with peers and faculty and involvement in extracurricular activities; (3) the responses of the participants enriched and broadened the scope of Tinto's model as well as the current literature pertaining to persistence.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Garrett-Spencer, Jacqueline

Texas High School Principals' Attitudes Toward the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom

Description: This study examined Texas high school principals' attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. School leaders today face increasing demands with the revised state accountability system. For example, students with disabilities are required to take the Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills Test (TAKS) and on grade level. Hence, one of the strategies of schools has been to mainstream or include special education students in the regular classroom. Inclusion provides the opportunity for students with disabilities to be educated in the general education curriculum with their non-disabled peers. This study investigated the attitudes of Texas high school principals' attitudes toward the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. The principals' personal experiences, professional training, and formal training in inclusion were examined. This study was a qualitative study using survey methodology. The Principal's Inclusion Survey developed by Cindy Praisner and G.H. Stainback was distributed electronically to 1211 Texas high schools. With the permissions of Praisner and Stainback, the survey was loaded into Survey Monkey, which is a website for creation of professional online surveys. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The return rate was 395 (32.1%) overall responses. The results of the study concluded that majority of the principals agreed that inclusion of students with disabilities into the general education classroom was the best placement for the disabilities listed in the survey. However, for the more severe disabilities, the principals favored a more non-inclusive setting. Those disabilities included mental retardation and serious emotional disturbance. For the cognitive disabilities, combinations of an inclusive and non-inclusive setting were chosen. Also revealed in the study is that principals did not receive inclusion training as part of their formal education, but more emphasis was placed on special education law. The results of the survey indicated more training ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Farris, Troy K.

Hispanic Women Leaders in K&#8210;12 Public Education: Overcoming Barriers to Success

Description: Scholarly research has been written on the forces behind the barriers preventing Hispanic women from reaching the top of the public school ladder. These barriers are to be recognized and addressed. This study focuses not on the barriers which hinder forward and upward career movement, but instead examines how many Hispanic American women have not allowed these barriers to prevent them from achieving their goals of attaining the principalship. This study seeks to determine how Hispanic women principals came to grips with the challenges and barriers to promotion, and to success as K&#8210;12 school leaders. This qualitative research study consisted of 12 Hispanic female school principals from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The three districts selected were Fort Worth Independent School District, Arlington Independent School District, and Grand Prairie Independent School District. Three principals were from Grand Prairie Independent School District, two principals were from Arlington Independent School District, and seven principals were from the Fort Worth Independent School District. All of the 12 Hispanic school principals were interviewed. From the responses to each of the questions, themes became evident. The themes expressed what individual principals had done and the strategies they used to overcome the varied barriers which they confronted. The responses to the interview questions and the themes were very insightful and displayed the women's tenacity, courage, perseverance, and determination to succeed in their aspirations to become Hispanic female principals and leaders in their school districts.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Falk, Cora Torres

The Federal Judiciary and Establishment Clause Jurisprudence: Application of the Lemon Test since Mitchell v. Helms

Description: The issue of religion and its place in society has been a topic of controversy and debate since long before the creation of our constitutional republic. The relationship between religion and government has witnessed some of its most intense conflicts when the governmental entity in question involves public education. As our country moved into the 20th century, legal challenges in the field of public education began to emerge calling into question the constitutionality of various policies and practices at both the state and local levels. This dissertation examined the legal methodology that was initially developed and then subsequently modified as the judicial branch has interpreted how the Establishment Clause delineates the relationship between religion and public education. Because the United States Supreme Court has not overturned its decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, the tri-partite test it established still remains the law of the land. Subsequent decisions by the Court leading up to their ruling in Mitchell v. Helms, however, have continued to modify the judiciary's approach toward the use of the Lemon test in Establishment Clause jurisprudence. This research analyzed the decisions of the various federal courts subsequent to the ruling issued in Mitchell to discern both the present position of the federal judiciary as it relates to the continued validity of Lemon and theorizes how the future course of any Establishment Clause legal challenges may ultimately be resolved by the federal courts. The analysis suggested that, while the Supreme Court has avoided Lemon's three-part test as the standard for evaluating Establishment Clause claims, the lower courts continue to place a strong emphasis on the importance of the test established in Lemon as the basis for how they render their decisions with issues that involve public education. This data indicated that Lemon continues to be an important tool for determining ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Sanders, Russell Scott

Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the current status of secondary teachers' implementation of the sheltered instruction operational protocol (SIOP) model and its effect on Hispanic English language learners' (ELL) English language proficiency and academic achievement. In addition, this study sought to determine whether teachers perceive the SIOP model as an effective tool for instruction of high school ELL students to increase English language content and English language proficiency. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Data were collected from four sources: Hispanic ELLs' English language proficiency scores, students' English Language Arts scores, an oral interview with participating teachers and teacher observations. Each teacher was observed at four points during the school year with the SIOP instrument. Quantitative data on student achievement were collected employing a pre-experimental, one-group pretest-post-test design. Qualitative data were collected using a time-series design. Findings revealed that on the two student assessment measures there were increases in English proficiency and English language arts achievement among the Hispanic ELLs. On the assessment of English language proficiency, the students of the teacher with the highest level of SIOP implementation made the highest gains; the students of the teacher with the second highest SIOP implementation level made the second highest gains; and students of the teacher with the lowest level of SIOP implementation made the smallest gains. These findings suggest that the higher the level of SIOP implementation, the greater the student academic achievement gains. The gains in academic achievement attributed to the proper implementation of the SIOP model can have an extensive impact on English language learners who have not previously experienced academic success. Teacher participants perceived the SIOP model as effective for delivery of content through sheltered instruction lessons for high school ELLs. The teachers agreed that the SIOP model's components provided a consistent structure ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Bertram, Rodney L.

Elementary Math Achievement in Texas: What is Working?

Description: Elementary math teachers (76) from selected Texas schools that included Grade 5 responded to an online self-report survey with respect to school-level factors that may be associated with student math achievement. Questions on the survey focused on school-level factors related to math, campus leadership, integration of technology in the math classroom, teacher expectations, utilization of student data in decision-making and professional development. The schools included in the study were rated as Acceptable or Exemplary schools by the Texas Education Agency for three-consecutive years (2007-2010). Logistic regression techniques were used to analyze the data and 11 questions out of 45 were analyzed to determine the odds ratio. Factors that were correlated with being an Exemplary campus were teacher certification routes, not benchmarking student progress, implementation of response to intervention (RTI), classroom management focus (equally divided between student and teacher centered) within the classroom, and technology integration. The results indicated that at the .05 level of probability, the only factor that met that level of significance was full implementation of RTI.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Moore, Linda H.

Meta-Analysis of the Impact of After-School Programs on Students Reading and Mathematics Performance

Description: The purpose of this study employing meta-analysis was to assess the impact that after-school programs have on reading and mathematics outcomes. The participants in the primary studies were students in Grades K through 8; years 200 through 2009. The study utilized the theory of change as its theoretical basis. This meta-analysis used the effect size as the standard measure. It began with an overall Cohen's d of .40 for the impact that after-school programs have on reading and mathematics outcomes, and then proceeded to analyze three moderator variables: subject, time periods, and grade level.The findings of the meta-analysis, both overall and sub analyses, show that the independent variable, after-school programs, has an impact on the dependent variable, reading and mathematics. The overall results indicated that after-school programs are educationally significant in the areas of reading and mathematics combined. As for the moderator variable, the results for the areas of (a) subject (reading and mathematics), (b) time period (2000-2002, 2003-2005 and 2006-2009), and (c) grade (middle, and middle plus elementary combined), all indicated educationally significant results. The notable exception was the grade moderator, elementary.This study provides more information for researchers, practitioners and policy makers upon which to make practical research based decisions about after-school programs for the purpose of determining the applicability of such in their educational setting.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Crawford, Stanley T.

A Case Study of the Impact of the Middle School Data Coach on Teacher Use of Educational Test Data to Change Instruction

Description: With the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation in 2002 and its attendant increases in accountability pressure, many districts and schools currently embrace data analysis as an essential part of the instructional decision making process. In their attempts to overcome low achievement on state-mandated tests, some districts have begun employing data coaches. The study reported here, which was set in three middle schools in a northeast Texas school district, assessed the influence of the campus data coach on a middle school mathematics teachers' use of analyzed data to make instructional decisions. It also examined the extent to which the Data Coach/teacher relationship resolved teacher concerns about data-driven decision making. Phenomenological interviews with data coaches were guided by Seidman's (2006) three-series interview. Measurement of teacher use of data to make decisions was based on the concerns-based adoption model's levels of use interview protocol, stages of concern questionnaire, and innovation configuration map. By the end of one school year, two out of the three teachers never used data to make instructional decisions, although the non-users both had moved closer toward employing the innovation in their classroom. Data indicated all teachers were aware of the innovation, but all three ended the study with high personal concerns, signifying that the minimal efforts made by the data coaches to resolve concerns were not successful. This study's small sample gave the research paradigm of data-based decision making an in-depth glimpse into the process of implementing data-based instructional decision making and the Data Coach position on three middle school campuses in one large northeast Texas district.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Hill, Rachelle Phelps

School Authority Over Off-Campus Student Expression in the Electronic Age: Finding a Balance Between a Student's Constitutional Right to Free Speech and the Interest of Schools in Protecting School Personnel and Other Students from Cyber Bullying, Defamation, and Abuse

Description: In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, the Supreme Court ruled that students have speech rights in the school environment unless the speech causes or is likely to cause 1) a substantial disruption, or 2) interferes with the rights of others. The Supreme Court has yet to hear a case involving school officials' authority to regulate electronically-delivered derogatory student speech, and no uniform standard currently exists for determining when school authorities can discipline students for such speech when it occurs off campus without violating students' First Amendment rights. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine 19 federal and state court decisions in which school authorities were sued for disciplining students for electronically delivered, derogatory speech. Eighteen of these cases involved student speech that demeaned or defamed school teachers or administrators. Only one involved speech that demeaned another student. Each case was analyzed to identify significant factors in court holdings to provide a basis for the construction of a uniform legal standard for determining when school authorities can discipline students for this type of speech. The full application of Tinker's first and second prongs will provide school officials the authority needed to address this growing problem while still protecting legitimate off-campus student cyber expression. Predictions of future court holdings and policy recommendations are included.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Dryden, Joe

Preschool Mathematics: An Examination of One Program's Alignment with Recommendations from NAEYC and NCTM

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a preschool program followed the recommendations outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in their joint position statement "Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings." Six teachers were randomly selected from three of the preschool program's six locations that are situated in an urban city in North Texas. Two parts of this program's approach to mathematics were investigated: the teachers' instructional practices and the program's curricular materials. Data came from observations using the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics-Environment and Teaching (COEMET) protocol and field notes. Each teacher participated in three interviews over the course of this research. Analyses of these sources provided insights into teachers' instructional practices for mathematics. Reviews of curricular documents and lesson plans for mathematics instruction provided information pertaining to the math curriculum used at this preschool program. All of these data sources were analyzed using the framework presented in NAEYC and NCTM's position statement. Analysis of the data indicated that, although teachers did not have any knowledge of these guidelines, teachers followed some of these recommendations; such as presenting children with daily developmentally appropriate mathematics activities and connecting mathematics to classroom routines. Other practices did not align with NAEYC and NCTM's suggestions, such as offering children few opportunities to engage in problem-solving situations and providing an inconsistent integration of mathematics into meaningful activities related to other content areas. Several possible factors may have influenced teachers' use of these recommendations. Teachers' prior educational opportunities, the program's curriculum materials, and the teachers' prior experiences with mathematics all may have contributed to the teachers' understandings of high quality mathematics instructional practices. Results from this research help to provide the foundation for future investigations of ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Johnston, Elisabeth

An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Religiosity

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher religiosity and teacher self-efficacy. The present study builds upon previous research which has shown purposeful work in everyday living fosters intrinsic motivation, religious orientation affects daily living, and teacher self-efficacy beliefs predict student achievement. Religiosity and self-efficacy data were gathered from public school teachers from a suburban school district in North Texas and from private Christian schools in Western Washington. The Age Universal I-E scale (a measure of religious orientation intended to capture how one lives out his/her religiosity), Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, and a teacher characteristic form were used to collect data. In a multiple regression analysis, independent variables included teacher age, gender, grade level taught, experience level, campus type (public or private religious), and teacher religious orientation (intrinsic or extrinsic); the dependent variable was the score for teacher self-efficacy. The regression analysis resulted in an equation that explained only slightly more than 9% of the variance in the score for teacher self-efficacy. Three significant variables were identified--grade level taught, teacher age, and intrinsic religious orientation. Teacher age and teacher intrinsic religious orientation were the two most important contributors according to a comparison of beta weights. Intrinsic religious orientation contributed to the equation, but it acted as a suppressor variable in the study, having little predictive value by itself but contributing to the predictive value of the model. Based on the data collected, recommendations for future research and suggestions for field application are offered.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Wright, Karen K.

The High School Associate Principal: Case Studies of an Emerging Role in Educational Leadership and Administration

Description: Researchers in the field of educational administration have given little attention to the role of the associate principal. The research reported in this dissertation sought to fill that void through a close examination of the roles of the associate principals on two campuses in two different school districts. In addition to illustrating the role of the associate principal, the research examines how experience as an associate principal influences the careers of educational administrators. Data were collected primarily by means of semi-structured interviews with principals and district administrators as well as the associate principals themselves to provide multiple perspectives. Data were summarized in detailed interview logs, coded to discover the themes that were characteristic of each case, then analyzed to identify the patterns within and across the cases. The interviews were also analyzed as narratives reflecting on how experience as an associate principal can shape an educational administrator's career. The interview data were supplemented with documents relating to the associate principals, their campuses, and their districts. The results suggest that the associate principal position is a crucial step on the career ladder to a secondary principalship. Assistant principals with knowledge and skills in curriculum, instruction, and assessment are more likely to be selected as associates, and associates are more likely to be selected for principalships. The results also indicate that instructional leadership for associate principals in Texas focuses primarily on improving students' performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and on increasing participation in and performance on other standardized tests, in particular Advanced Placement, SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT (formerly American College Testing), and the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).
Date: December 2010
Creator: Fox, Kenneth F.

Eighth Grade Science Teacher Quality Variables and Student Achievement

Description: While No Child Left Behind ushered in the age of the "highly qualified" teacher, accountability focus has been shifted to the "highly effective" teacher, defined as teacher impact on student achievement. The Science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is used to judge the adequate yearly progress of students in Texas public schools. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of teacher factors (i.e., ethnicity, gender, teaching experience, university selectivity, certification route, National Center for Education Statistics Locale/Code, number of science content and pedagogical course semester credit hours, grade point average for science content and pedagogical coursework) on student achievement using the eighth grade Science TAKS. The primary dependent variables were students' five objective scores and their overall scores on the eighth grade Science TAKS examination. The sample was 44 eighth grade science teachers and 4,119 students in Texas public schools. Multiple linear regression models enabled examinations of the relationships between teacher quality variables and student achievement. No significant relationships between the variables were found. Small effect sizes for the beta weights and structure coefficients occurred between teachers' science credit hours and TAKS objectives to explain 20% of the variance for TAKS Living Systems and the Environment, 39% of the variance for TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and 21% of the variance for TAKS Earth and Space Systems. Teacher experience accounted for 24% of the variance with TAKS Structures and Properties of Matter, and pedagogical credit hours explained 30% of the variance with TAKS Motion, Forces, and Energy. Science GPA explained 31% of the variance for the TAKS Earth and Space Systems objective. Policy makers should examine NCLB assumptions about teacher content knowledge as a significant indicator of teacher effectiveness via student achievement on standardized tests. While measuring content knowledge provides a simple, efficient, ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Harp, Amy

Practices and Policies in High Schools to Prevent Educator-to-Student sexual Misconduct: A Principal's Study of Knowledge and Experiences

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate high school policies and procedures that address educator sexual misconduct. High school principals completed an online questionnaire which addressed administrator knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations; knowledge of district policies and procedures; experience with educator sexual misconduct; training and communication available in their schools and school districts for staff, parents, and students; the policies and procedures in place in secondary schools to prevent educator sexual misconduct; and related problems that are reported to school administrators. Responses were compared by school size, community type, and Title I eligibility. The findings of the study revealed that principals feel they have knowledge of the federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the district policies and procedures. However, principals reported a lack of specific policies addressing sexual harassment and discrimination of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender students; training for students and teachers in recognizing and responding to sexual misconduct; and sexual misconduct related to students with disabilities. In addition, most principals stated that their schools have not surveyed students to determine the extent of sexual harassment on the campus. Principals of the largest schools and the urban and suburban schools were more actively involved in educator-to-student sexual misconduct investigations.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Spain, Carolyn

A select study of Texas Principal Preparation Programs and their Relationship to Adult Learning and the Professional Leadership Responsibilities of their Graduates

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between principal preparation programs in Texas and professional leadership practices and responsibilities based on Mid-continent Research for Educational and Learning's (McREL) 21 leadership responsibilities. The study also examined the relationship between Texas principal preparation programs and Knowles's principles of adult learning. Through an online survey, the study solicited practicing principals' perceptions as to whether McREL's 21 leadership responsibilities and Knowles's principles of adult learning were included in their principal preparation programs. Quantitative findings indicated there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their principal preparation programs and the university/certification program in which they obtained their principal certification. Additionally, there were no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the year their principal certification was completed. There were also no significant differences between principals' perceptions of their programs and the geographic location of the school district in which they were presently employed. However, the study found there were significant differences in two areas of leadership responsibilities when comparisons were generated between principals who were fully certified before assuming the role of principal and those who were not fully certified: 1) ideas/beliefs and 2) optimizer. Principals who had not completed their certification program scored the two areas higher than those who had. The study also utilized qualitative methodology through in-depth interviews with principal program coordinators and practicing principals. Program coordinators and principals revealed leadership responsibilities of "communication," "culture," and "visibility" as areas of emphasis and importance in their programs. The need for more emphasis in the area of "discipline" was communicated mutually by program coordinators and principals. Principals stated areas of "knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment" and "resources" as leadership responsibilities needing more emphasis. Both program coordinators and principals concurred principal preparation programs should have more emphasis and ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Styles, Delesa Haynes