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Current and Future Trends in Computer Use in Elementary School Settings
The study examined current and future trends in computer use in elementary school settings. A survey instrument was developed and validated for distribution to a random sample of 200 technology coordinators in the public school districts in the state of Texas from whom 95 responses were received. The survey instrument was used to obtain information about five areas of computer use in elementary schools. These areas are: physical configurations, instructional uses, implementation issues, training and staff development, and Internet use. The study found that all public school districts that participated in the study have acquired computer hardware in their elementary schools. In addition, some other advanced computer technology components are starting to be found in elementary schools, such as teacher workstations, CD-ROM, interactive video, computer multimedia, LCD panels, and laser printers. Respondents reported that elementary school teachers in their districts have incorporated computers into their classrooms as an instructional tool and many changes have occurred in teachers’ teaching styles due to computers. However, there are some problems that hinder the effective use of computers. The major problem is lack of training. A high percentage of respondents, 81.3%, indicated that the majority of their elementary school teachers had completed less than 30 hours of technology related professional development. Another problem was lack of funding which prevents most school districts from acquiring computer hardware and software. Currently, elementary schools in 87% of districts that participated in the study are connected to the Internet and the plan is that by the year 2001 all elementary schools will be connected.
Preservice teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge about cooperative learning in Kuwait: A quasi-experimental study
The issue of developing effective teacher preparation and professional programs by providing effective teaching and learning strategies to prepare teachers to teach in more challenging ways and change their old ways of teaching to more powerful ones has gained great attention around the world. Cooperative learning was one of the astonishing strategies introduced by many researchers to prepare effective teachers and to solve many educational problems. Teacher educators have taken different approaches to help teachers learn and change in powerful ways. They have focused on the knowledge and attitudes of teachers in promoting their adoption of new practices through educational courses, workshops, and training. After introducing the cooperative learning strategy through a training workshop, this study investigated the knowledge of and attitude of teachers at the College of Basic Education (CBE) in Kuwait towards cooperative learning as a new teaching and learning strategy. The literature reviewed the historical and practical use, theoretical roots, different models, and outcomes of cooperative learning. In addition, (1) teachers' knowledge and attitudes as factors affecting implementation and (2) preservice teacher preparation and training in the use of cooperative learning were reviewed. An attitude survey and a knowledge test were developed based on Bouas, (1993) survey and test. Additionally, an interview guide and a demographic data survey were all used to collect data. The survey and the test were translated into the Arabic language. Ninety-one responses of participants in two experimental classes and one control class were analyzed. Twenty-one participants were interviewed. A significant difference in knowledge of and attitude towards cooperative learning was found between experimental classes and the control class (p< .05 for both knowledge and attitude). In conclusion, the training workshop affected preservice teachers' knowledge of and attitudes toward the cooperative learning strategy. Therefore, the researcher suggested that cooperative learning should be introduced ...
Teacher Implementation of a Pretreatment Assessment Procedure in a Public Middle School
In an attempt to determine the effectiveness of a pretreatment assessment procedure known as the scatter plot (Touchette, MacDonald, & Langer, 1985), direct observational data was collected by 13 middle school teachers on four "problem" students. After four weeks of data collection, interobserver agreement probes were calculated and a visual analysis of the plotted data was performed to ascertain a possible pattern of problem behavior. Additionally, in an attempt to assess the teachers' perceptions of the scatter plot, the 13 teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire. Although a visual analysis of the plotted data suggested a possible pattern of problem behavior, interobserver agreement probes failed to achieve a desired overall reliability of 90% or higher. Despite a low IOA, results of the questionnaire administered to the 13 teachers generally supported the use of the scatter plot as a means of assessing student behavior. Possible reasons for failing to attain an IOA of 90% or higher include the total number of students in a class, the number of subjects observed per period, the teacher's location in the classroom, and the subjects ability to recognize if the teacher was "looking." Recommendations are provided regarding future research concerning the scatter plot and other more formal approaches to assessing student behavior.
Attitudes Toward Computer Use and Gender Differences Among Kuwaiti Sixth-Grade Students
Because computer use become more and more important in the educational environment, the attitudes of students toward computer may play an important role in their learning success. This study investigated the attitudes toward computers and gender differences of sixth-grade Kuwaiti students and examined the relationships between students’ attitudes toward computers and school, motivation/persistence, study habits, empathy, creative tendencies, and achievement in the Informatics field. The Computer Attitude Questionnaire (CAQ), translated from the English into Arabic Language for this study, was originally developed by Knezek and Miyashita for the Texas Center for Educational Technology (University of North Texas). The CAQ was administered to a random cluster sample of 10 public middle schools: (5 boys’ and 5 girls’ schools), with a total of 562 students, (265 boys and 297 girls), in the State of Kuwait during the academic year 1999-2000. The pilot test was conducted to calculate the reliability with Cronbach’s alpha = .87 for the CAQ Arabic version. This study found positive attitudes toward computer use (mean = 3.31 on 4-point Likert-scale); however, girls had significantly more positive attitudes toward computers (mean = 3.36) than did boys (mean = 3.26). It also found statistically significant correlations between attitudes toward computers and school (r. = .149), motivation/persistence (r. = .459), study habits (r. = .371), empathy (r. = .308), creative tendencies (r. = .530), and achievement in the Informatics field (r. = .201). A statistically significant gender difference was found in the correlations between attitudes toward computers and empathy. Girls had a stronger correlation (r. = .405) than boys (r. = .215). This study also found that students who use computers at home (mean = 3.40) have more positive attitudes toward computers than did students who do not (mean = 3.22). The main conclusion of the current study is that students like ...
From inside the Arab family: What literacy practices occur when raising bilingual and biliterate children?
Living in the United States creates unique challenges in biliteracy and bilingualism for the Arab family. While extant literature provides insight into the literacy interactions and experiences of families from many other cultures now living in the U.S. , there is next to nothing regarding the Arab family literacy experience. Thus, knowledge about the literacy activities Arab families engage in as they gain access to and knowledge of a new culture and language is important. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the literacy practices of the Arab families raising bilingual and biliterate children in the U.S. This study , using methodology based on ethnographic approaches, investigated the literacy events, behaviors and interactions which occurred within one Arab family over a 16-week period. A second group of participants were 5 other Arab families living in the U.S. Data sources included video and audio recordings, field notes, observations, journals, informal interviews, and artifacts of children's literacy. The researcher and the participants engaged as co-participants in the research. Findings showed that driving factors behind home literacy practices were religious beliefs and the imminence of return to the home country. Arab mothers were found to yield a heavy influence on the pursuit of literacy, as well as the consistency of literacy learning events in the home. Findings should contribute to helping parents of children with different cultural backgrounds and languages provide the most effective types of support in the home instruction to develop fluency in both the new and the primary language. Information gathered would also help teachers bring together these children with their peers and the subject matter to create a positive synergy wherein all learners can be successful.
The Developmental Stages of Concern of Teachers Toward the Implementation of the Information Technology Curriculum in Kuwait
Change is best carried out by individual teachers, and, thus, identifying and resolving teachers’ concerns about an innovation is imperative in guiding the change process to a successful point of implementation. The purpose of this study was to identify concerns that teachers experienced when implementing the Information Technology curriculum in all intermediate schools in Kuwait and to examine the relationships among teachers’ reported stages of concern and other factors, such as gender and experience. The stages of concern, one dimension of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), was applied to reveal teachers’ concerns. The Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) and a demographic survey were completed by 248 respondents. The SoCQ measures seven stages of concern that reflect three dimensions: self (awareness, informational, and personal); task (management); and impact (consequence, collaboration, and refocusing Group profile analysis revealed that teachers had four high concerns related to collaboration, personal, refocusing, and informational stages. Teachers also reported low concerns at the management and awareness stages. Both females and males reported collaboration as their greater concern. Teachers with more years of experience reported higher impact concerns. The analysis of individuals’ peak concerns revealed that the majority of the respondents were adopters of the innovation. The analysis of the first highest and second highest concerns among teachers revealed the development of three patterns of concerns: self concerns, mixed concerns, and impact concerns. Results indicated that the majority of teachers were at the mixed-concern level. With more years of experience, teachers’ concerns shifted from self to task and finally to impact concerns. The results of concern analysis are consistent with Fuller’s theory of concern development. MANOVA revealed significant differences in means between females and males at management and refocusing stages. Females had higher concerns about management; males had higher refocusing concern. However, no significant relationship was found between ...
The Implementation of Transition from Spanish Reading to English Reading Programs in Bilingual Classrooms
The purpose of this study was to describe the actual implementation of the transition process as observed in bilingual classrooms, and in particular, to examine the critical components (policy, curricular, and instructional characteristics) of the Spanish-to-English reading transition policies implemented in bilingual education programs in elementary schools in the Denton Independent School District in Texas. Four research questions drove this study. To investigate these questions, a multidimensional, descriptive research design was employed. The researcher used questionnaires, interviews, and field observations. The 11 educators, 6 bilingual teachers, 2 school-site principals, 2 school-site coordinators, and 1 district bilingual coordinator, were asked several types of questions (open response and closed response) using different types of instruments (questionnaires and interviews). Also, the six bilingual teachers were observed using two types of instruments (field notes and video tapes).
African-American Parents' Nutritional Habits: Implications for the Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity.
This research study addressed the nutritional beliefs and habits of African-American parents of children aged 3 to 6 years old. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were employed. Quantitative data was collected via the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire as well as a demographic questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected from oral interviews conducted by the researcher. Seventy-five parents or guardians participated in the study. Findings for the research questions revealed the participants' beliefs about nutrition directly correlated with food they provided for their children and most believed nutrition rather than genetics played a role in their child(ren)'s weight. Furthermore, parents from lower income families consumed more home cooked meals per week and those with higher incomes did not consume more fast food per week. Food intake restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of restriction and control in feeding was similar among all participants, regardless of education or income level. Suggestions for future research were included.
Teacher change: The effect of a professional development intervention on middle school mainstream teachers of English language learners.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a professional development intervention conducted with mainstream middle school teachers of English language learners (ELLs) in a North Texas school district. Teacher change was examined in the context of this intervention. Three groups of teachers participated in this study. Group 1 (n= 4) consisted of teachers returning to the intervention for a second year. Group 2 (n= 12) consisted of teachers new to the intervention. Group 3 (n = 16) served as the control group and consisted of teachers who were not part of the intervention. Mixed methods were utilized, including a self-assessment questionnaire, an observation tool, and data from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Statistically significant differences were found between teachers in Group 1 and teachers in Group 2 in the perception of self-efficacy. Statistically significant differences were also found for Group 1 and Group 2 teachers between the beginning and the end of the year. Group 3 teachers experienced a decrease in their perception of self-efficacy between the beginning and the end of the year. A statistically significant difference in the use of interaction was found across time for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2. The interaction of ELLs decreased between the beginning and the end of the year for teachers in Group 3. The use of modifications increased significantly for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2 and remained stable for teachers in Group 3 between the beginning and the end of the year. In the area of high expectations, no statistically significant difference was found between intervention teachers and the control group across time. An analysis of data for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test revealed a statistically significant difference in the percentage of All Students Commended ...
A Comparative Analysis of State Funds on Student Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Elementary Schools in Independent School Districts and Charter Schools in the State of Texas
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the instructional outcomes in the independent school districts and charter schools in relation to the expenditure of public funds for instruction and total operating expenditures from the general fund. The study considered Texas elementary charter schools and independent school districts, whose school populations were identified as having greater than or equal to 50% of economically disadvantaged students, according to the Texas Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). The study made use of multiple regression and was an ex post facto cross-sectional analysis utilizing production function theory. The study’s outcomes reported the difference in student achievement between elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools were small to negligible for math and reading achievement. The study also reported, there is no statistically significant difference in per pupil expenditure of public funds between elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools. Furthermore, there is no statistically significant relationship between student achievement and per pupil expenditure of public funds on elementary schools in independent public school districts and charter schools.
Teacher Decision-Making: Cultural Mediation in Two High School English Language Arts Classrooms
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.
The Nature of the Impact of a Reading Tutoring Program on Participating Students in the Classroom: A Qualitative Study
The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to explore the nature of the impact that a tutoring program, which featured preservice teachers as tutors, had on participating fifth grade at-risk students’ literacy behaviors in the classroom.The researcher served in the role of passive participant observer during the scheduled language arts period three days per week in the participating students’ classroom for a period of twenty-three weeks. Field notes were made in the classroom and coded, and audio tapes were recorded and transcribed of the tutoring sessions. Formal and informal interviews with the teacher, tutors, and participating students were conducted, transcribed, and coded. Lesson plans and reflections developed and written by the tutors were gathered and coded. Observations indicated that there were four types of reading required on a daily basis in the classroom. Assigned readings made by the teacher included narrative and expository texts. Pleasure readings were materials chosen by the students, but at certain times were teacher initiated and at other times, student initiated. The four types of reading found in the classroom were mirrored by the tutoring sessions. Students observed in the classroom could be divided into two types and four categories. Those with positive attitudes were called eager readers. Eager readers were made up of good readers and struggling readers, who lacked some of the reading skills possessed by good readers. Reluctant readers were the second type and had either ambiguous or explicitly negative attitudes toward reading. The type of reader, together with the type of reading required, determined the success of the tutoring sessions. The results of the data analysis show that student motivation toward reading was a key factor in determining the success of the tutoring program. Two of the three student participants in the study reported learning skills in the tutoring program that ...
Examining the Nature of Interactions which Facilitate Learning and Impact Reading Achievement During a Reading Apprenticeship: A Case Study of At-risk Adolescent Readers
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the interactions that take place during a reading apprenticeship which facilitate the learning of reading strategies by adolescent students who are at the middle school level and are still at-risk for reading failure and to investigate how a reading apprenticeship affects reading achievement in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and the self-perception of the reader. The case study was descriptive and interpretive in nature, and examined two students, each of whom was part of a one-to-one reading apprenticeship. The researcher served as participant observer in both cases and was the teacher in each of the one-to-one reading apprenticeships. The primary data set was qualitative in nature, and elements of quantitative data were also considered. Sessions included pretesting and posttesting using the Classroom Assessment of Reading Processes (Swearingen & Allen, 1997), reading from narrative or expository books, working with words, writing, and dialoguing about the reading. Reading strategies were directly taught, modeled, and reinforced by the teacher/researcher with the goal of the students internalizing the strategies and improving their reading in the areas of fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension, as well as improving their attitudes toward reading and their self-perception about their reading ability. This study described a reading apprenticeship which positively impacted reading achievement for two students in the areas of fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development, as well as influencing their motivation for reading and their self-perceptions as readers. The environment of the reading apprenticeship, the dialogue that occurred throughout the reading apprenticeship, and strategy instruction, modeling, and reinforcement were found to be factors and interactions which facilitated learning during this intervention.
The Disney Influence on Kindergarten Girls' Body Image
Media is now a part of the early childhood world. In many countries, including industrialized and developing countries, children spend more time consuming various kinds of media. The impact of media on children's perception of their body images has been and continues to be a concern of parents and early childhood professionals. This research examined the influence of Disney movies on Thai kindergarten girls' body images and self-esteem. Thai kindergarten girls completed three measures of body self-image: the Body Figure Preference Scale, the Body Esteem Scale, and the Self-Esteem Scale. The girl participants were randomly assigned to two groups: focused on a female theme (FFT) and focused on a non-human theme (FNT). The experimental group viewed "female" Disney movie themes, while the control group viewed "animal" Disney movie themes. Girls in the experimental group expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after watching Disney movies, which was an expected finding. Results from the present study suggest that girls in both groups become concerned about their body esteem after video exposure. However, there was no significant difference in self-esteem between girls in FFT and FNT. In summary, the findings of this study support the belief that Disney movies influence young girls' perceptions of their body image, and they have an awareness of their body size. It can be concluded that Disney movies have an influence on Thai girls' body image dissatisfaction and body esteem. The results also indicated that Thai girls are not totally aware of the influence of Disney media on their self-esteem. Understanding how Disney movies, in particular, and other media, in general, influence young children, especially girls, can encourage parents and educators to identify risk factors associated with children's body image dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
Determinants of Principal Pay in the State of Texas
The purpose of the study was to examine district, campus, and community determinants of principal’s salaries using a spatial econometric framework. Among the district variables business tax (p = 0.001), property tax (p < .01), and the Herfindahl Index (measure of competition) were statistically significant indicators of principal salaries. The results suggest that more affluent districts tend to pay principals higher salaries, which was expected. Regarding campus characteristics, the percent of economically disadvantaged was not a statistically sound indicator (p = 0.468), but campus enrollment was significant (p = <.01). Interestingly as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students increased, the principal salary decreased. In contrast, as student enrollment increases the salary of principals increases, suggesting that principals of larger campuses earn higher salaries. Interestingly, student achievement was not a statistically significant predictor of principals’ salary given that pay for performance in Texas is at the forefront of political debate. Among the variables examined at the community level, only the percentage of homes owner occupied (p = 0.002) was found to be a statistically significant indicator of principal salary (p = .002). The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The paper utilized a spatial regression approach to examine the determinants of principal salary using data from the local, state, and national data sources. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational, and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. ...
The relationship between models of student laptop computer use and teacher instructional behavior
This study investigated the relationship between four models of student laptop computer use and three components of teacher instructional behavior: planning, implementation of instruction, and evaluation of instruction. The four models of use: full access, dispersed, class set, and mixed, represented the numerous ways teachers in public and private schools and school districts nationwide implemented student use of laptop computers. Teacher planning behavior was investigated with regard to time, frequency, complexity, difficulty, the need for revision, and use of technological resources and materials. Implementation of instruction was examined with regard to student grouping, instructional strategies, instructional content/subject matter, teacher and student roles, assignments and learning tasks, and instructional activities. The evaluation of instruction component was examined with regard to assessment tasks, grading, and assessment of homework. Using a researcher-designed questionnaire, data was gathered in a single-stage cross-sectional survey from 356 teachers working in 74 public and private schools nationwide. Results indicated models of student laptop computer use had differential effects on teacher instructional behaviors. On average, teachers found planning to be more arduous, but more collegial, especially in the mixed model. The full access and mixed models were more likely to advance a constructivist approach to teacher instructional behaviors with regard to implementation and evaluation of instruction. Results from this study had implications for future research. The effects of student laptop computer use on the full access and mixed models of use should be given further study with regard to the implementation and evaluation of instruction.
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.
Leadership and the Influences of Teacher Absenteeism
This study explored campus principals' leadership behaviors and leadership styles to determine possible influences of leadership on teacher absences. The study was viewed through the framework of Bass and Avolio's (1985) transformational and transactional leadership styles. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Self-Report (MLQ-SR) was used to identify principals' perceptions of their leadership styles. Absence data were also collected and analyzed for the school years (2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015). Data were triangulated using one-on-one interviews with selected principals and teacher focus group discussions. The findings from this study verified that leadership style (described in terms of leadership behaviors) influenced teacher absenteeism indirectly through the culture and climate of the campus. Future research is recommended to discover whether incentive programs decrease teacher absenteeism and how leaders can influence their organizations through their behaviors.
A Tale of Two Cities: Exploring the Dual Language Program Implementation and Biliteracy Trajectories at Two Schools
With the increase in emergent bilinguals and higher standards for all, the challenge for educational stakeholders is to fully utilize dual language programs as a prominent means toward meeting and surpassing rigorous state and national standards. Part of maximizing dual language programs’ impact, and the purpose of this study, was to provide detailed analyses of program models and student biliteracy development. Thus, the research questions sought to explore the level of understanding and implementation of dual language programs in general and the biliteracy component in particular at each campus, before documenting the second through fifth grade English and Spanish reading biliteracy trajectories of students at each school. Both campuses experienced more challenges in the implementation of the program structure, staff quality, and professional development rather than in curriculum and instruction. Furthermore, although both campuses’ students experienced positive trajectories towards biliteracy by the end of fifth grade, each campus was characterized by different rates and correlation between English and Spanish reading growth in each grade. Finally, the researcher conducted a split plot MANOVA to examine how much variance in the biliteracy trajectories was explained by school attendance, gender, initial English oral language and initial Spanish oral language; only school of attendance and initial English oral language levels explained the variance in biliteracy trajectories for students at these campuses.
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 ...
Early Literacy: An Examination of the Principal Behaviors That Impact Reading Achievement
Literacy is fundamental to formal education, learning, and training for future career related skills. It provides not only the means of acquisition of information and skills during schooling, but it is a vital predictor of a person's general level of education in school as well as successful completion of schooling. Literacy skills serve as the major foundational skill for all school-based learning and without it, chances for academic and occupational success are limited. Despite the efforts of teachers, a significant portion of students continue to fail to achieve success in early literacy in school, with severe consequences for their subsequent educational progress, career opportunities and life chances. The extent of this problem varies throughout school systems. All of our children are affected by their reading ability, and as educators it is critical to provide for all students the most effective literacy programs and strategies which are research based, data-driven and successfully replicated. Because of the psychological, social and economic consequences of reading failure, it is critical to review the research to determine the risk factors that may predispose youngsters to reading failure, and the instructional practices that can be applied to ameliorate reading deficits at the earliest possible time. The failure to achieve in literacy is a fact, which continues to carry dire social and economic consequences for the children, as well as for this society. Furthermore, there is a substantial body of research indicating that schools have a narrow window of opportunity to make a difference. Students who fail to make progress in literacy during the first two years of school rarely catch up with their peers and are at-risk of becoming low achievers who are alienated from school and who dropout of education at the earliest opportunity. On the other hand, impressive empirical evidence is now available to ...
Networking of North and West Texas Superintendents
This study examined the professional networking of North and West Texas public school superintendents. It looked at how these superintendents professionally network, use professional organizations in networking, and how they extend opportunities beyond the organizations to gain knowledge and information about their demanding and stressful responsibilities. Lastly, it looked at superintendents in the field on whom others rely for knowledge and understanding. Surveys were mailed out to 443 North and West Texas public schools. Only the superintendents from those districts were asked to complete the survey. This limitation was desired to restrict the population to only the superintendents of schools, thus focusing the study on the professional networking of only superintendents. Three hundred sixty (360) superintendents responded to the survey, a return rate of 81.3%. This research concluded that superintendents professionally network by communicating through monthly meetings, organizational conferences or meetings, or email. Their networks are facilitated through communication, contacts, location, longevity, and organizational associations. These organizations provide the superintendent's primary network contact. The number of contacts in a network is usually a small group of 5 to 9 professionals who are known from longevity in the profession, prior educational positions, similar district size, being located in or near a city, and other geographic neighbors.
Impact of Teacher and Student Ethnicity on Student Assessment
The purpose of the study was to answer the questions: Do students show greater academic success in English language arts/reading as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethinicity? Do students show greater academic success in math as measured by the TAKS exam scores in secondary education when their teachers are the same ethnicity? Minority students' success on the TAKS test was compared to the assessment scores of White students from the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-13 school year in thre suburban school districts. This topic has been a subject of discussion since the late 10970s when Cardenas and Cardenas (1977) studeied the achievement among minority students and their White peers. The conversation continued through authors such as Takei and Shouse (2008), Hays (2011), Ladson-Billings (2006), Dee (2003,2005), and Brown (2006). To answer these reserach questions, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted on the data collected. Although the study verified the achievement gap between minority students and White students, the study indicated no consistent pattern corroborating that minority students were more successful when taught by teachers of the same ethnicity. In many cases, students learned better with teachers of a different ethnicity. Black students were successful with Hispanic or White teachers, Hispanic students were successful with Black or White teachers, and White students were successful with Black or Hispanic students. The TAKS assessment scores were the only data used to support this analysis.
Perceptions of the Changing Roles of Central Instructional Support Staff as Site-Based Decision Making is Implemented in One School District: A Descriptive Study
The purpose of this study was to analyze ways in which the roles of instructional support staff as perceived by principals and instructional support staff members in a large, suburban school district have been affected by the implementation of site-based decision making (SBDM). Research questions focused on changes which have occurred in the roles of instructional support staff and in the services provided to schools by support staff since the implementation of SBDM, the roles which support staff members believe they have in SBDM, the perceptions of principals regarding the roles of instructional support staff in SBDM, and a comparison of the views of instructional support staff and principals regarding the district's implementation of SBDM.
The Effects of the Texas Reading First Response to Intervention Program on Student Achievement and Campus Special Education Rates
The purpose of this study was to examine special education populations, special education reading achievement, and regular education reading achievement in relation to the implementation of the Reading First three-tiered model as a response to Intervention platform. The population for this study focused on rural schools with Grades K-3 in attendance. Schools participated in the reading first grant period of the 2003-2009 school years. Forty-seven Texas Reading First schools were compared to 47 campuses having similar populations, socioeconomic makeups, and grade structures. This study utilized quantitative research measures to evaluate the level of special education populations on Reading First campuses using a response to intervention model. Quantitative measures were also used to evaluate those same campuses achievement rates of both special education and regular education students on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading tests. The study's outcome data showed little to no statistic significance for the three research questions. However, the inferential statistics showed a decrease in the special education population of the Reading First schools. Inferential statistics also indicated both the special education and the regular education students showed growth on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading tests. The use of a response to intervention program can be effective in the reduction of special education students identified on school campuses. Response to intervention programs can boost achievement levels of students receiving special education services. Students not enrolled in special education can benefit from effective response to intervention services.
Critical Literacy Practices, Social Action Projects, and the Reader Who Struggles in School
This study, conducted at an urban public school, explored the engagements of five, fourth grade, African American students who struggled with reading in school as they participated in critical literacy practices and social action projects with the assumption that critical analysis of written texts and concrete social actions were necessary for student empowerment. Using Discourse Analysis within a microethnographic framework, participants’ responses were analyzed. Early in the study, participants were hesitant to join in critical conversations about race. Over time, as participants deepened their critical literacy engagements, they divulged lived racism both in their private and public worlds. Specifically, the participants described the tensions and transgressions they experienced as minorities from civil rights curriculum, teachers and other students. The findings revealed instead of text based analyses, critical literacy practices transformed into the participants’ critical analysis of racism they experienced in their various worlds (home, school, and the larger, outside world) through language (not text). Similarly, the pre-conceived idea of social action projects changed from the creation of concrete products or actions into discussions in which mainstream discourse was interrupted. Tacit and overt understandings about race, identity and power suggested that the participants assumed multiple and contradictory identities (such as “victim of racism” and “racially prejudiced”) that both empowered and oppressed others in the social action group. Implications for critical literacy practices include that empowering and liberating pedagogy through ‘risky conversations’ is difficult, transitory and radical within the context of school.
A Case Study of 1:1 Technology Policies in Four Texas High Schools and Their Relationship to Practice
With increasing emphasis on technology in schools, the importance of technology policies is great. This study investigated policies for four 1:1 secondary schools in Texas (schools with a ratio of one computing device per student), particularly with respect to the relationship of those policies to practice. The purpose of the study was to determine the current status of the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) essential conditions as reflected in policy and the relationship of those conditions to practice as measured through levels of technology usage and teaching innovation. Schools were selected through purposive, criterion sampling. Open-ended interviews were conducted with twelve participants (principals, technology directors, and superintendents). Policies were rated by campus principals and the researcher using a rubric based on the NETS essential conditions. Finally, surveys of proficiency and readiness measures were collected from 156 teachers using the School Technology and Readiness (STaR) instrument and the Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTI) instrument. Interviews were transcribed and coded using structural and frequency coding. Policies were analyzed using magnitude coding and policy ratings. A qualitative analysis determined patterns between policy and practice. Quantitative data collected from surveys were measured against policy ratings and magnitude coding using bivariate correlation methods in SPSS. Quantitative analysis revealed two statistically significant relationships between policy and reported levels of practice in the classroom. Qualitative elements of the study from interviews and policy ratings revealed six findings that may explain a lack of correlation between policy and practice: a lack of ability for leadership to identify 1:1 program policy; lack among school leaders of perceived relationship between policy and practice; a belief among leaders that they are communicating policy to stakeholders even though they demonstrated difficulty in articulating policy; an inability to identify specific research-based theoretical foundations in policy; a lack of meaningful measurement of practices; and ...
The Effect of Increased Collaboration Among the Library Media Specialist and School Personnel on Perceptions of the Roles and Responsibilities of the Library Media Specialist
This study measured and explored changes in perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the library media specialist when the level of collaboration increased. Seven library media specialists targeted four members of their educational communities with whom to increase collaborative activities. Before and after the collaboration began, the library media specialists, the teachers with whom they chose to collaborate, other members from the same educational community, and a control group that did not participate in increased collaboration were given a roles and responsibilities rank-order form. This form was used to measure changes in perceptions regarding the importance of the three roles and selected responsibilities related to the three roles before and after the collaborative experience. The library media specialists and the targeted teachers also kept reflection logs to record factors that enhanced collaboration, factors that inhibited collaboration, and any changes in their teaching style as a result of the collaborative experience. Results indicate that the participating library media specialists themselves experienced the most change. Role identification remains a problem as library media specialists seek to become teaching partners with classroom teachers yet still must keep the library media center aligned with school and district goals and move toward making it an information center that provides information resources for all members of the educational community in an effective, efficient and timely manner. Major enhancers to increased collaboration included flexible scheduling of the library, sharing ideas and resources, partnership in teaching, and student achievement. Major inhibitors included time, wanting to keep things the way they were, and lack of resources. Changes in teaching practice included working with another professional instead of in isolation, integrating many resources into the lesson to provide for the learning needs of all students, the incorporation of technology into the lesson, and an awareness of the roles of ...
The Effects of Using Children's Literature with Adolescents in the English As a Foreign Language Classroom.
This study provides quantitative and qualitative data about the effects of using children's literature with adolescents in a language classroom and the role of children's literature in students' second/foreign language development, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The study presents qualitative data about the role of children's literature in developing more positive attitudes toward reading in the second/foreign language and toward reading in general. With literature being a model of a culture, presenting linguistic benefits for language learners, teaching communication, and being a motivator in language learning, this study presents empirical data that show that inclusion of children's literature in adolescents' second/foreign language classroom promotes appreciation and enjoyment of literature, enhances the development of language skills, stimulates more advanced learning, and promotes students' personal growth.
Teachers' Use of Children's Literature, Mathematics Manipulatives, and Scaffolding to Improve Preschool Mathematics Achievement: Does It Work?
The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of an intervention involving teachers' use of children's literature, related storybook manipulatives, and a scaffolding (LMS) approach to learning would improve preschool children's mathematics test scores. Additionally, the LMS approach was examined to determine whether teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness in mathematics instruction changed from the beginning to the end of the study. The subjects of the study included 60 preschool-aged children and six teachers from two child care centers. The preschool teachers participated in either a control or experimental condition (the LMS approach) in their daily mathematics instruction with their preschool children. The researcher tested the children using the Test of Early Mathematics Ability and an abbreviated version of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. The study was based on two main research questions. The first question asked if there was a difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding intervention group and children in the control group after assuring equivalency of the two groups. The second question addressed if preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. The answer to the first research question was that there was no statistically significant difference in the Test of Early Mathematics Ability total posttest scores between children in the literature-manipulatives-scaffolding group and children in the control group. However, the answer to the second question was that preschool teachers believed they were more effective in their mathematics instruction after implementing the LMS approach with young children. Recommendations for future research on early childhood mathematics include the investigation of preschool children's ability, achievement, and interest in mathematics; teachers' use of mathematics scaffolding techniques; and longitudinal mathematics interventions beginning during the preschool years.
Sheltered Instruction: A Case Study of Three High School English Teachers' Experiences with the SIOP Model
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 ...
Strategic Planning : A Process for Restructuring the Public Schools and Improving Community Support
The problem of this study was to determine the change in public support which would occur due to a public school district's going through a strategic planning process and then the implementation of specific action plans. The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that the public support necessary to assure adequate funding for the district's programs could be gained by involving the community in a broad-based planning effort and by demonstrating a concerted effort to implement the actions required by the plan.
The Federal Constitution and Race-Based Admissions Policies in Public Charter Schools
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.
The Five Dimensions of Professional Learning Communities in Improving Exemplary Texas Elementary Schools: A Descriptive Study
This descriptive study investigated the development of the 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model in 5 economically disadvantaged and diverse Texas elementary schools, which demonstrated improvement in student achievement on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) over a 5-year period. Each of the schools were given the highest performance rating of Exemplary during the 2008 school year according to criteria developed by the Texas accountability system and had changed from an Acceptable rating in 2004. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of the development of the 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model in improving exemplary Texas elementary schools and to identify and compare the possible commonalities and differences existing between the schools on the 5 dimensions of professional learning communities. The 5 dimensions of the professional learning community model investigated in this study include: 1) shared and supportive leadership, 2) shared values and vision, 3) collective learning and the application of learning, 4) shared personal practice and 5) supportive conditions (collegial relationships and structures). The method used in this study was a mixed method approach that employed a questionnaire, individual principal and teacher interviews and school performance documents to collect data. The questionnaire data was analyzed through descriptive and analytical statistics while the interviews were investigated by identifying and documenting emergent patterns and themes. The findings from this study suggest that sustainable professional learning communities are evident in the high performing schools selected for this study. The study implies the culture of these schools is supported by relationships fostered by trust and mutual respect and their success is attributed to the collaborative, collegial and collective learning of the staff. Staff members from these schools are focused on student learning while campus leadership, grade level and vertical teams provide the structures ...
The Efficacy of the Chickasaw Nation Early Care and Education Programs
The purposes of this research were to explore the effectiveness of the Chickasaw Nation early care and education program in promoting school readiness while infusing tribally relevant values in children from birth through age five; engaging parents in all aspects of their children’s learning; and supporting children and families through the transitioning to kindergarten. The study used qualitative methods to examine the experiences and perceptions of ten parents, ten teachers, and five administrators within Chickasaw Nation’s early care and education system regarding the four basic areas of school readiness, parent engagement, transition, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Four primary themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews: 1) socialization, school readiness, and transition, 2) learning, curriculum, and assessment, 3) the role of parents, and 4) cultural integrity. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed based on four research questions. Findings indicated parents, teachers, and administrators were satisfied that the program was successful with assisting children in making progress toward achieving developmental and school readiness goals and that the children were physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively prepared to enter kindergarten. The program provided activities to encourage and promote parental involvement; however, parents did not indicate active involvement or participation in the activities. There was little evidence to support culturally relevant pedagogy alignment with curriculum and practices. Implications for additional research focusing on American Indian children in preschool programs and the importance of instilling pride and culture are recommended.
A Comparative Analysis of College Academic Achievement between Graduates of Public and Private High Schools: a Study of the Freshman GPA
This study reviewed the literature on the struggle for equal educational opportunity of the 1960s and 1970s, the reform movement of the 1990s, the public/private school debate of the 1980s and 1990s, the issue of school choice in the 1990s, and a brief history of private schools. The literature revealed that since the Supreme court's ruling, in 1954, on the unconstitutionality of separate-but-equal public schools and decisions on the separation of church and state, during the 1960s and 1970s, the number of and enrollment in private and parochial schools have grown steadily. This study was conducted on a sample of 14,242 students attending 17 colleges (15 private colleges and 2 public universities) to determine if there was a difference in their academic performance (GPA) at the end of their freshman year. The independent variables of the study were the size of the student's secondary school graduating class, the religious affiliation of the secondary school, the gender enrollment pattern of the secondary school, and the residential pattern of the secondary school. In addition, using the student's SAT score, an analysis was conducted to determine whether or not the student's first-year college GPA exceeded their GPA predicted by the SAT.
A Spatial Econometric Study Examining the Determinants of Principal Salaries
The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The purpose of the study was to examine district and community determinants of principals’ salaries using a spatial econometric framework. The findings have implications for education policy development related to pay for contribution, rather than pay based on tenure, experience, or district wealth. The quantitative study used a spatial regression approach to model school, district, and community factors as determinants of Texas high school principal’s salary. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. The findings provide empirical insights regarding how principal salaries are determined. The study found a statistically significant spatial autocorrelation relationship at p<.05 confirming geographic locations is a robust influence on principal salaries. After controlling for the spatial autocorrelation the study also found experience, gender, district wealth, and campus size significantly influence principal salaries. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between principal salary and student achievement. .
How Adult Readers Navigate Through Expository Text in a Hypermedia Environment to Construct Meaning
Research methods from both the qualitative and quantitative paradigms were used to answer the question concerning how adult readers navigate through informational text embedded in a hypermedia environment to construct meaning.
Well-Being and Academic Success in Gifted College Students: Early-College Entrants and Honors College Students
As a society, we seek to have our young people, including the gifted, be healthy and happy, and go to good schools with good teachers. Framed by Sayler's theoretical model of giftedness and thriving, this study examined psychological constructs (i.e. general self-efficacy, theories of intelligence, hope, gratitude, religiosity, disposition, and resiliency) to determine their mediating effect on personal well-being and academic success in gifted college students. The 213 subjects for this study included gifted college students from two distinct programs at the University of North Texas. One hundred twenty-two participants were students from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). TAMS is an early-college entrance program allowing gifted students to enter college after their sophomore year of high school. Ninety-one participants attended the UNT Honors College. Honors College students are gifted students who enter college after high school graduation. Latent transition, latent class, general linear model repeated measures, and regression analyses were used in the examination of the data. Results of the study revealed that positive disposition and hope-agency were significantly related to the development of personal well-being for gifted students during their first year of college. The ability to identify pathways to goals and the self-theory of intelligence as a fixed trait were significantly related to academic success during the first year at college. Knowledge of psychological constructs that are facilitative of the positive personal well-being and academic achievement helps parents, teachers, administrators, and counselors prepare gifted students for success in college.
Texas Principals’ Data Use: Its Relationship to Leadership Style and Student Achievement
This study applies an empirical research method determine whether Texas public school principals’ leadership styles, coupled with their use of real time data in a data warehouse, influenced their leadership ability as measured by student achievement. In today’s world of data rich environments that require campuses and districts to make data-driven decisions, principals find themselves having to organize and categorize data to help their school boards, campuses, and citizenry make informed decisions. Most school principals in Texas have access to data in multiple forms including national and state resources and a multitude of other data reports. A random sample of principals was selected to take the Multi Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ5x) and the Principals Data Use Survey. The MLQ5x measured principals’ leadership styles as transformational, transactional, or passive avoidant. The Principals Data Use Survey measured how principals use data to inform campus decisions on student achievement, shaping the vision of the campus, and designing professional development. Data obtained from the survey were correlated to determine the relationship between principals’ use of data warehouses and their leadership styles on student achievement as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. The results yielded significant relationships between student achievement, principals’ leadership styles, and the principals’ data use with a data warehouse. Student achievement scores were highly correlated with the campuses that participated in the study and provided limited differences between those with data warehouses and those without data warehouses.
The Role of the Principal in Implementing Change in the Professional Development School
This qualitative research study investigated the role of the principal in implementing change in the professional development school (PDS). The study involved 7 elementary schools and 4 school-university collaboratives in the Texas network of 17 Centers for Professional Development and Technology (CPDTs). The research questions focused on the role, leadership, and management concerns of the PDS principal.
Impact of Core Knowledge Curriculum on Reading Achievement
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of Core Knowledge curriculum, a Comprehensive School Reform model, on the reading achievement of elementary students located in a north Texas suburban school district. A repeated measures, matched-comparison design was employed using longitudinal data over a three year period. Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted to determine if there were any significant differences in student achievement scores as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. The experimental and control school were examined for student achievement gains overall, for advantaged versus disadvantaged students and for achievement gap differences. Although the results of the statistical analyses indicated that there were no significant differences in the reading TAKS scores of students participating in the study, experimental school students consistently had higher mean scores when compared to the control school in all areas. The evaluation of the achievement gap revealed that although the Core Knowledge school did not close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, the disadvantaged students' scores rose in proportion to the advantaged students, thus preventing an increase in the achievement gap between students.
Early College High School: Hispanic Students’ Perceptions and Experiences From a Texas Campus
Early college high school (ECHS) is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to earn college credits while in high school. ECHS was developed with the intention of attracting students to pursue a 4-year college degree, especially students who might not attend college without intervention. The program targets students from low-income families, students who have low academic achievement, and students from minority groups including Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and opinions of Hispanic students about their experiences in an ECHS, and to better understand how their ECHS experiences affected motivation to engage in academics. The expectancy theory and college-going culture provided the theoretical framework for this case study. Semi-structured interviews captured the experiences of the participants. The study focused on 10 Hispanic students, 5 seniors and 5 juniors, enrolled at an ECHS located on a community college campus in Texas. The study found that students with higher motivation to work at high school and college courses had several reasons for choosing to attend ECHS. The reasons included a chance to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree simultaneously, free college tuition, and an accelerated program to get through college. The students also identified rewarding outcomes for completing college. Those outcomes included satisfying career, personal satisfaction, ability to provide for their family and making their family proud as the first high school graduate and college attendee. One student had a lower motivation to work at high school and college work. He chose to attend ECHS to seek more freedom than a traditional high school. He was not certain about graduating from high school and doubtful about college graduation. This study contributes to the ECHS literature by providing details on students’ experiences at an ECHS. Using the qualitative ...
The Use of Nonfiction/Informational Trade Books in an Elementary Classroom
The purpose of the study was to describe the use of nonfiction/informational trade books within a literature-based elementary classroom by students and the teacher. Using a qualitative ethnographic approach, the researcher became a participant observer in a third grade classroom during a two and one-half week thematic unit about the westward movement. Data were collected from field notes, audiotapes of class discussions and informal interviews, documents of students' work, photographs, daily observer comment summaries, and memos. These data were coded, analyzed for recurring patterns, and grouped together, resulting in grounded theory.
Texas Principals’ Perceptions of Professional Development Provided By the Local School District
The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Texas principals as to the degree to which their local school districts are meeting their ongoing professional development need. The study was conducted to analyze and describe the survey and interview responses of Texas principals as to their perceptions of the degree to which their local school districts provide learning experiences aligned with their needs. Texas principals’ perceptions regarding the characteristics of important and meaningful professional learning experiences were explored. The study included an analysis of the extent to which Texas principals perceive that the learning opportunities they are provided adequately meet those needs. Additionally, various factors influencing principals and their perceptions were examined. These factors included type of school, school setting, school system size, characteristics of students, and characteristics of the principals. The perceptions of school district staff development administrators were analyzed regarding topic importance, topic provision by the local district, and the usefulness of those topics. Finally, the perceptions of the principals and the staff development administrators were compared. Thirteen school districts participated in this study. Of the 273 principals surveyed, 155 completed the survey, yielding a return rate of 56.8%. One campus principal from each of the 13 districts was interviewed. Additionally, 13 district staff development administrators were surveyed and interviewed. Data analysis produced several findings. First, as a whole, principals rated the importance of each of the 22 proposed professional development topics at or above the important level. However, the degree to which local school districts provided training on those topics varied according to the size of the district and the setting of the campus. Second, the relationship between the professional development provided and the quality, or usefulness, of that school district’s training was considered strong for several of the 22 topics. Finally, principals and ...
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.
Children of Teenage Mothers: School Readiness Outcomes and Predictors of School Success.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of teenage motherhood on the school readiness, literacy skills, and parental involvement of children participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) early intervention program, as well as make recommendations for optimal outcomes. Study children were participants in HIPPY at five diverse, urban school districts. Using a mixed method design, this study examined the results of quantitative measures of children's school readiness, literacy skills, and parent involvement along with qualitative data collected through mothers' responses to two, open-ended questions related to their satisfaction with HIPPY. According to results of independent samples t-test, mean scores on school readiness and parent involvement measures were not statistically significantly different for the children of teenage mothers and the children of traditional age mothers. However, there were moderate effect sizes for parent involvement and physical development indicating some practical significance. Chi-square results of literacy skills indicated that the children of teenage mothers were almost twice as likely [c2 (1, N = 36) = 4.21, p < .05] to have literacy skills that were "not on grade level" according to scores on the TPRI/Tejas. Descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) indicated that the multivariate relationship of the four parent involvement variables statistically significantly contributed to whether children born to teenage mothers had literacy skills on grade-level, but it was not significant for the children of traditional-age mothers. DDA analysis conducted on the school readiness variables did not yield any significant results. In addition, odds ratios conducted between literacy level and each of the parent involvement and school readiness variables indicated an increased probability of a child's literacy skills being on grade level when scores were high, but these increases were not statistically significant. While there were differences in literacy skills, teen mothers indicated, through their ...
The Representation of Hispanic Females in Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Programs in a Selected North-Central Texas Public High School
Analysis of a particular north-central Texas public high school revealed a strong representation of Hispanic females in advanced academic programs, i.e., AP and GT in proportion to their representation in the overall student population. Research seems to indicate that a progressive approach to academic-potential identification; culturally effective mentoring, traditional Hispanic values, and newly emerging personal and social characteristics all seem to be contributing factors. This study seems to indicate that a new type of Hispanic female is emerging who is more assertive academically, more visible in the classroom, and less marriage-and-family oriented as might be believed by teachers, society, their peers, and perhaps even their parents.
An Exploration of the Relationship Between Principal Leadership Efficacy, Principal Computer Self-Efficacy, and Student Achievement
The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not relationships exist between principals' technology proficiency and student achievement as indicated by 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Secondly, the study examined whether or not relationships exist between principals' leadership self efficacy and student achievement as indicated in the 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) ninth grade reading scaled scores. Lastly, the select principal's personal and school demographic variables (principal gender, total years of experience as a professional, total years as principal at current school, total years of principal experience, highest degree earned, school economic status, school size) were considered within the study. The survey instruments used in this study were the Technology Proficiency Self Assessment Scale (TPSA) developed by Ropp in 2000 and the Principal's Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran and Garies in 2004. A total of 129 Texas principal's participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the school's social economic status only when using both the PSES and the TPSA instruments. The effect sizes reported were all moderate, which acknowledged that relationships did exist between all predictor variables tested. Based on the information provided for B weights, School's SES was found to be the best predictor of reading TAKS achievement, preceded by Principal's Highest Degree Earned and Gender. SPSS 16.0 was used to analyze all data. This study adds to the literature on principals' technology efficacy and principal's self efficacy.
A New Era of Educational Assessment: the Use of Stratified Random Sampling in High Stakes Testing
Although sampling techniques have been used effectively in education research and practice it is not clear how stratified random sampling techniques apply to high-stakes testing in the current educational environment. The present study focused on representative sampling as a possible means for reducing the quantity of state-administered tests in Texas public education. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to determine if stratified random sampling is a viable option for reducing the number of students participating in Texas state assessments, and (2) to determine which sampling rate provides consistent estimates of the actual test results among the population of students. The study examined students’ scaled scores, percent of students passing, and student growth over a three-year period on state-mandated assessments in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. Four sampling rates were considered (10%, 15%, 20%, & 25%) when analyzing student performance across demographic variables, including population estimates by socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency, and placement in special education classes. The data set for this study included five school districts and 68,641 students. Factorial ANOVAs were used initially to examine the effects of sampling rate on bias in reading and mathematics scores and bias in percentage of students passing these tests. Also 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and effect sizes for each model were examined to aid in the interpretation of the results. The results showed main effects for sampling rate and campus as well as a two-way interaction between these variables. The results indicated that a 20% sampling rate would closely approximate the parameter values regarding the mean TAKS reading and mathematics scale scores and the percentage of students passing these assessments. However, as population size decreases, sampling rate may have to be increased. For example, in populations with 30 or fewer students in a subgroup it is recommended that ...