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An Analysis of the Emotional Intelligence and Personality of Principals Leading Professional Learning Communities

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a principal's emotional intelligence and personality and his or her ability to implement and develop professional learning communities within the school. The Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA) was administered to principals and teachers in 13 schools in Texas ranging from elementary to high school. Based on the strength of the PLCA scores, two elementary schools were selected to participate in case study research. The principals of these two campuses were administered an emotional intelligence instrument (MSCEIT), a personality instrument (DiSC), and were interviewed along with three of their teachers. The findings indicate that both of these principals scored high in the Influential and Conscientiousness subscales and low in the Dominance subscale. The principals also possessed either near-average or above-average emotional intelligence with both principals scoring particularly strong in the Strategic subscale.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Jackson, Christopher

Educating Young Children with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms in Thailand

Description: This study investigated what constitutes a teaching curriculum for students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand. The researcher employed 3 qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews, document analysis of curricula and lesson plans, and nonparticipant observations. Six schools were selected as the sites. Participants for interview included 6 principals and 24 teachers. The researcher observed one inclusive classroom for each of the 6 selected schools. The study concentrated on 3 questions: (a) What contributes to appropriate instructional curricula to promote teaching of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (b) What teaching strategies improve the achievement and learning skills of students with autism in inclusive classrooms in Thailand? (c) What are the problems of curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classroom in Thailand? Key findings for the research questions were as follows: Common features of effective curricula for teaching students with autism in inclusive classrooms include opportunities, health care, specialized curriculum, students' individual needs and abilities, guidelines of teaching, teacher training and supervision, transition plan, parent involvement, tools/classroom environment, and students' class assignments. The teaching strategies include varying the teaching format (large group, small group, and one-on-one), teaching functional communication (giving direction, close-ended questions or open-ended questions), reinforce communication, using demonstration, modeling, and shaping to teach skills, expecting to gather the child's attention, demonstrating nonverbal communication (use gestures with speech), using appropriate language for the child (short sentence structure), providing visual materials (books, computers, or real objects), starting with small intervals of time and reinforcing, using other children as peer models for helping, working to maintain eye contact, asking the child to say the word, pointing to objects with hands and with gestures, including regular exercise (active movement activity), providing time to be alone, and using math activity (to include counting one-to-one, odd and even, and patterns). Moreover, ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Onbun-uea, Angkhana

From Block to Traditional Schedule: The Impact on Academic Achievement, Attendance Rates, and Dropout Rates

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of school schedule on student achievement and attendance of ninth and tenth grade students in metropolitan area Texas high schools (n = 22) and campus dropout rates. High schools that were analyzed in this study made a transition from A/B block scheduling in the 2003-04 school year to a traditional school schedule in the 2004-05 school year. Academic achievement, attendance rates and dropout rates were gathered through the archived files of the Texas Agency through the Academic Indicator of Excellence System (AEIS). Academic achievement was measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics standardized tests. This study compared the mean scores of ninth grader student achievement, attendance, and dropout rates from the 2003-04 school year to the mean scores of the tenth graders from the same schools from the 2004-05 school year, after the schools converted from an A/B block schedule to a traditional class schedule. Each independent variable was divided into four subgroups; campus mean results, minority student results, limited English proficient (LEP) student results, and low-socioeconomic student results. Students under the A/B block scored significantly higher in reading achievement than when they were instructed the following year under a traditional schedule. Paired sample t-tests were conducted to analyze the data for each subgroup, and showed there was a statistically significance in reading / language arts student achievement scores for all subgroups. Statistical significance was determined with a ninety five percent confidence level (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis revealed varied results in mean scores for math academic achievement and attendance rates, but no statistical significant difference. Comparison of data showed a slight increase in mean scores for dropout rates in traditional schedule, however the results were not significant.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Schott, Patrick W.

The impact of the core knowledge curriculum at the junior high level as it relates to performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the comprehensive school reform model core knowledge on the reading achievement of eighth grade students located in a suburban north Texas school district. The data compared the mean scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills of students attending the experimental core knowledge school with the control school that did not use the core knowledge curriculum. Students from both schools were compared for student achievement gains overall as well as several other categories. The study also used a qualitative survey that asked key faculty members at both schools questions regarding levels of curriculum implementation, staff knowledge of curriculum, etc. The data showed no significant differences between student achievement scores at the experimental school compared with students at the control school. However, the study found that the type of standardized test seems to have an impact on whether students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement than students in a traditional curriculum. Students in a core knowledge curriculum show higher achievement on norm-referenced standardized tests when compared with students not attending a core knowledge school. When taking a criterion-referenced test such as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, there is no difference in reading achievement between the two groups.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Givens, Toby D.

Incarcerated mothers in Cuenca, Ecuador: Perceptions of their environment and the impact it has on the lives of their young children and their education.

Description: The number of children whose mothers are incarcerated is increasing around the world. Educators of young children are faced with new challenges in their classrooms as they work with these children during their formative years for social-emotional development. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interview the mothers, in order to gain their perspective on how they feel their incarceration has affected their relationship with their children; how they believed it would affect their children in the future, and to investigate the perceptions of early childhood teachers who worked with children of incarcerated mothers. Using interviews, observations, journal, and field notes the researcher collected information from 3 incarcerated mothers, 3 of their children, and the 2 teachers who worked with these children. Overall findings were that the mother-child relationships are of extreme importance to the mothers. They have high hopes for a better life for their child, which includes concerns about their education. Mothers had fears that their incarceration would repeat itself in their children and desired for things to be different in their children's futures. They reported their incarceration affecting their children in negative ways. Their children had difficulty depicting their mothers in their drawings. Lastly, the teachers highly encouraged parental involvement, even though the mother was incarcerated. They expressed the importance of the mother-child relationship impacting the child's ability to learn, and teachers believed special training and preparation are necessary for working with these children.
Date: May 2008
Creator: McBride, Rachel L.

Parental Perception of Satisfaction and Understanding of Special Education Services

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the satisfaction and understanding of parents of young children with disabilities in North Texas in regard to the special education services they receive through their local education authority. A mixed non-experimental research design utilizing the survey method was used to obtain the data collected from a sample of 230 parents with children with disabilities from preschool to elementary ages. Factorial analysis techniques were first used to assess the validity of the 14 quantitative items by splitting the sample into 2 equivalent groups: the development group and the validation group. Exploratory factor analysis extracted 2 factors after eliminating 4 items: satisfaction and understanding. This 2-factor structure was confirmed in the validation group. The final 10-item survey demonstrated satisfactory reliability and validity. Overall, parents were very satisfied with the special education services and reported a good understanding of those services. Two x two (number of children x years of services) ANOVAs were used to examine the differences on parental satisfaction and understanding. No statistically significant differences were found except that parents with 2 or 3 children were more satisfied than the counterparts with only 1 child in the special education program. This difference was practically meaningful. Data provided by 4 open-ended questions revealed that parent training and communication were the most popular strategies mentioned as methods to increase parental understanding of the special education process. The best sources of receiving special education information were ARD committees and teachers/diagnosticians. Excessive and wordy paperwork was the least helpful source of information regarding receiving special education. Postal-mail and the ARD meetings with diagnosticians were the best methods of acquiring special education information. Findings from this study, especially on the open-ended questions, suggested the special education program and services can be improved to better serve the parents and ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Livingstone, Elisabeth

Supplementing Annual School District Budgets: Partnerships, Fundraisers, Foundations, and Local Support Venues

Description: School finance is the topic of numerous research studies; printed in newspapers and magazines, heard on the radio and television, and frequently spoken among educators throughout the nation. Anyone dealing with education is searching for methods of obtaining additional funds for projects and supplies; and even adding money directly to school districts' budgets. To better understand the importance of searching for additional funds to supplement the annual school districts' budgets, this study examines four sources for obtaining financial assistance: partnerships, fundraising, foundations, and local source venues. Participants include 10 school districts in the state of Texas having only a single high school campus; five Chapter 41 school districts and five Chapter 42 school districts. Two school districts are selected from each classification level: A, AA, AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA. One Chapter 41 (wealthy) district will be compared with one Chapter 42 (poor) school district within the same classification level. The five selected Chapter 41 school districts are above the equalized wealth limit of $305,000 per weighted average daily attendance. Data gathering procedures utilize a purposive case study by interviewing administrators in each of the school districts; studying Texas Education Agency's School Report Card, each school district's Actual Financial Data Report; sending a survey to a district administrator within each school district; gathering data from the directors of partners-in-education or adopt-a-school programs; reviewing financial records from booster clubs and education foundations; and studying financial audits for each of the school districts. This study looks at the dependency on outside financial assistance to further educational endeavors, whether they are for enrichment purposes or for extended educational pursuits. The study examines how each school district utilizes some combination of supplements to obtain additional funds for their annual budgets, whether the district is classified as Chapter 41 or 42. Using the actual financial data ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Culbertson, Betty Kathryn

Teenager's doing history out-of-school: An intrinsic case study of situated learning in history.

Description: This intrinsic case study documents a community-based history expedition implemented as a project-based, voluntary, out-of-school history activity. The expedition's development was informed by the National Education Association's concept of the intensive study of history, its structure by the history seminary, and its spirit by Webb's account of seminar as history expedition. Specific study objectives included documentation of the planning, implementation, operation, and outcomes of the expedition, as well as the viability of the history expedition as a vehicle for engaging teenagers in the practice of history. Finally, the study examined whether a history expedition might serve as a curriculum of identity. Constructivist philosophy and situated learning theory grounded the analysis and interpretation of the study. Undertaken in North Central Texas, the study followed the experiences of six teenagers engaged as historians who were given one year to research and write a historical monograph. The monograph concerned the last horse cavalry regiment deployed overseas as a mounted combat unit by the U.S. Army during World War II. The study yielded qualitative data in the form of researcher observations, participant interviews, artifacts of participant writing, and participant speeches. In addition, the study includes evaluations of the historical monograph by subject matter experts. The data indicate that participants and audience describe the history expedition as a highly motivational experience which empowered participants to think critically, write historically, and create an original product valuable to the regiment's veterans, the veterans' families, the State of Texas, and military historians. The study supports the contention of the National Education Association that the intensive study of history can be beneficial both to expedition participants and to their community. The assertion that engaging teenagers as researchers within a discipline serves as a curriculum of identity was supported in the study as well. The study underscored the importance of ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Johnston, Glenn T.

Children of Teenage Mothers: School Readiness Outcomes and Predictors of School Success.

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Brown, Amber L.

The Effects of Academic Interventions on the Development of Reading Academic Competence in Fourth Grade Students.

Description: This dissertation examined the effects of academic interventions on the development of reading academic competence in fourth grade students who performed at or below grade level as determined by TAKS reading scale scores. Fifty students in fifth grade were chosen to participate in the study from five elementary schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Only 46 students completed the study. The study was conducted with a control (n = 23) and treatment group (n = 23). The fourth grade students were administered pretests and posttests using the ACES and the fourth grade TAKS reading test. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design to answer the research questions. The final data results did not indicate that the implementation of interventions significantly increased TAKS reading scores at the p > .05 level. In addition, there were no significant increases at the p > .05 level between the ACES pretests and posttests. Although there were no significant gains on the TAKS or ACES, there are implications the interventions had a positive effect on teacher perceptions of their students' academic competence and some growth was evident for the treatment groups on both TAKS and ACE.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Hernandez-Gutierrez, Josie

The Effects of Individualized Test Coaching on Teacher Certification Test Scores.

Description: While student populations are growing, the gatekeeping devices of teacher certification examinations prevent many who want and are trained to teach from entering the profession. If failing these exams predicted failure to teach well, blocking students who do not pass certification exams from entering the profession might be a well-reasoned policy. However, many studies indicate that there is little correlation between certification test scores and quality of teaching. The present study investigated the effectiveness of a program to improve the scores of Texas elementary preservice teachers on a required certification exam. The program consisted of one-on-one coaching of preservice teachers upon the completion of coursework and prior to their taking the state's certification exam. Subjects' scores on a representative form of the certification test were used as pre-treatment measures. The content of the treatment program was individualized for each subject and determined by the specific items missed by each subject on the representative form. The post-treatment measure was the subject's score on the certification exam. Scores on the representative form and on the certification examination were compared to determine if there were significant differences between scores of preservice teachers who had been coached and those who were not coached. Since subjects voluntarily enrolled in the treatment, initial differences between coached and uncoached groups were controlled through analysis of covariance and pairwise matching. Descriptive statistics, t-tests for dependent samples, repeated measures analysis of variance, and univariate analyses of variance and covariance all indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the scores on the certification test of coached and uncoached students. Coached students showed greater improvement in scores than uncoached, with Hispanic subjects showing greater improvement than Caucasian subjects. Analyses that examined the differences between the coached and uncoached subjects on the domain and competency scores that make up the raw ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Hall, Kathryn Cowart

The Effects of the Recapture Provision of Senate Bill 7 of 1993 Upon the Quality of Schools: an Analysis of Perceptions of Administrators in Both Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 Schools.

Description: The purpose of this 4-case study was to determine the significance of the effects of the recapture legislation in Texas upon the quality of schools as perceived by administrators in participating school districts, including those surrendering funds (Chapter 41) and those receiving funds (Chapter 42). The recapture provision requires districts above a designated level of property wealth to surrender excess funds to be appropriated to districts with property wealth below a designated level. The study solicited administrators’ perceptions in both district types as to whether the changes in funding have significantly affected the quality of their schools. Using University Scholastic League classifications as a guideline for size, 2 Chapter 41 districts, and 2 Chapter 42 districts, 1 small and 1 large of each type, were selected to participate. Variables included 5 indicators of schools quality that are repeatedly mentioned in literature concerning effective schools: curriculum, climate, leadership, facilities, and safety and security. A review of literature included the historical development of public school finance systems as well as studies of the effects of efforts to equalize funding upon both the financial health and academic performance of schools. A weak link or no link between funding systems and student performance or financial health was indicated. This study supported these conclusions with both Chapter 42 districts; however, there was a discrepancy between the perceptions of administrators in the two Chapter 41 districts, indicating a need for further study. The unique aspects of this study are that it solicited directly the perceptions of acting administrators and that it included administrators in districts receiving funds to determine how those funds are being used and whether they have a significant effect upon school quality.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Warren, Susanne Steele

Funds Budgeted for Educational Programs in Texas Schools during a Period of Changing Enrollment

Description: This study analyzes budgets of Texas school districts experiencing declining enrollments, as opposed to districts with increasing or steady enrollments. This study identifies how schools are expending funds to meet those needs while dealing with enrollment changes. A total of 924 school districts are studied. The changes in average daily attendance from 1993-1994 to 2003-2004 are used to categorize each district as having increasing, stable, or decreasing enrollments. The total dollar amount expended is compared to the total number of students in each district to determine the amount expended per student. The amounts expended for special education career and technology education, bilingual education, and compensatory education are compared to the number of students being served by those programs to determine a dollar amount that can also be compared from the 1993-1994 and 2003-2004 school years. The per-student expenditures for each educational program are compared to the overall per-student expenditures in each enrollment category (increasing, stable, decreasing). The study reveals no clear pattern of change in the comparison of overall spending to individual program spending as district enrollments fluctuated.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Perry, Russ F.

Parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs in Taiwan.

Description: Western educational policies and practices have impacted Taiwanese early childhood programs. The concept of developmentally appropriate practice has become part of the educational program for young children in Taiwan. This research study was completed to: (a) describe Taiwanese parents' beliefs about developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) in early childhood programs; (b) examine group differences between fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP; (c) investigate group differences between parents of different socioeconomic statuses beliefs about DAP; (d) explore group differences between parents' beliefs about DAP when their children attend different types of schools (public and private); and (e) identify salient factors related to the variability of developmentally appropriate beliefs of Taiwanese parents. Three hundred seventy-nine matched Taiwanese parent pairs (mothers and fathers) participated in this survey research study. All parents had at least one child between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Four hundred forty-eight children attended public schools, and 415 attended private schools. The Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire was modified and used to collect data in this study. Findings showed: (a) fathers' and mothers' beliefs about DAP are significantly correlated; (b) fathers' and mothers' socioeconomic statuses are significantly correlated with their developmentally inappropriate practice beliefs; and (c) parents' socioeconomic status was a significant predictor of their DAP belief scores and family, culture, and inclusion belief scores. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Teacher Beliefs Questionnaire with Taiwanese parents. Including parent's age, child's gender, child's birth order, residential region, and number of children as variables in future research studies may explain variations in parents' DAP beliefs. Employing qualitative methods, such as classroom observations, case studies, and interviews may be used to verify these findings. The Taiwanese Ministries of Education and Interior may find this study's results useful in creating policies and best practices related to the education ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Yen, Yaotsung

Perceptions of agency: Beliefs of four adolescent girls in high school as revealed through literature discussions.

Description: Published research suggests that cultural practices and institutional structures influence adolescent girls' engagement and achievement in school. This study was an attempt to further investigate that claim by describing the perceptions of agency held by four adolescent girls in high school. Members of the same English class, the girls volunteered to participate in three lunchtime meetings to discuss Evelyn Coleman's (2001) Born In Sin. Analysis of classroom observations, transcripts of audio recordings of the book discussions, and individual interviews yielded a more precise definition of agency than those used in previous research, including a view of agency as dialogic. In addition, four major themes describe these girls' agentic moves: (1) a temporal orientation, which connects the past, present, and future; (2) responsibility for positive and negative events; (3) strategic decision making; (4) negotiating with people in power. Implications of this study inform both teaching decisions and future research related to adolescent girls.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Curtis, Joan Scott

The relationship of teacher efficacy to teacher concerns and job-embedded professional development.

Description: As educators search for ways of improving student achievement, it is imperative that focus be placed on teacher learning and development. Currently, the trend in public schools throughout the country is to look directly at students and the deficits they bring to the learning environment when responding to those who find fault with the educational system. The current study directed attention to teachers' beliefs about their ability to affect change in student learning. The study centered on seven research questions that sought to determine: (1) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' sense of efficacy; (2) the effect of job-embedded staff development on teachers' stages of concern; (3) the relationship between teacher efficacy and stages of concern; (4) the status of teachers' level of use of an innovation; and (5) the dominance of teacher concerns prior to and after involvement in job-embedded professional development. Through a mixed methodology approach, quantitative and qualitative analyses provided perspectives from 30 teachers in a suburban North Texas school district on the impact of job-embedded professional development on teacher efficacy, stages of concern, and resulting levels of use of an educational innovation. Quantitative results of two surveys: the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) and the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1979) revealed a strong focus on stage 0, awareness, concerns and no statistically significant gain in teacher efficacy as teachers engaged in job-embedded professional learning. Qualitative data were gathered through Levels of Use Focused Interviews (Loucks, Newlove, & Hall, 1975) and revealed more teacher involvement with the innovation than quantitative data suggested. Further investigation into the inconsistencies between dominance of teacher concerns and perceptions of levels of use is warranted.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Doughney, John F.

Searching for hidden treasure: The identification of under-represented gifted and talented students.

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of staff development on the nomination and identification of culturally diverse and/or economically disadvantaged students for gifted programs. Teachers kindergarten through fifth grade from ten districts (N = 100) received 30 hours of staff development in gifted education. The experimental group (n = 50) received a specialized version of the training. The control group (n = 50) received the standard training provided by the Education Service Center. Teachers in the experimental group completed three Stages of Concern questionnaires at the beginning and end of the training and in the fall. Two Levels of Use interviews were also conducted, one in the fall and one in the spring. Innovation configurations were developed utilizing interview results. A repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted to determine differences in concerns of teachers over time. The results revealed growth, however, not of a significant level. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to determine differences in levels of use of the instructional strategies presented in the training. Again, results revealed growth in classroom application of strategies; however, the amount of growth was not significant. A paired-samples t-test was conducted on the components of the innovation configurations. Differentiated instruction was not significantly different, however, grouping strategies and student products showed significant growth in classroom application. Student nomination and identification data were analyzed across six ethnicities: White not economically disadvantaged, White economically disadvantaged, Hispanic not economically disadvantaged, Hispanic economically disadvantaged, African American not economically disadvantaged, and African American economically disadvantaged. Chi-square analyses determined statistical significance in nominations of Hispanic economically disadvantaged and African American not economically disadvantaged. Significant differences in placement of students occurred in White economically disadvantaged and Hispanic economically disadvantaged groups. No Hispanic not economically disadvantaged students met placement criteria.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Tucker, Tammy Newman

Success Factors among Early College Entrants

Description: This study explored how various intrapersonal, familial, and life-goal characteristics related to the academic and personal success of first semester early college entrants attending the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) at the University of North Texas. The study sought to identify which intrapersonal factors and external factors affected grades, behavioral markers, and life satisfaction during the students' first semester at TAMS. Baseline data from TAMS entrance material such as standardized achievement test scores, previous grade point averages (GPA's), advanced courses taken, and other academic activities and awards were collected. Data were also collected from the students prior to their entry to the start of TAMS related to family cohesiveness, motivation, and career goals. Data from parents were gathered prior to the start of TAMS regarding parenting styles, demographics, parents' educational levels, careers, and income levels, as well as the child's homework, extracurricular activities, and other time demands. First semester grades, a measure of life satisfaction since the program began, and behavior reports from staff members were used as outcome/success indicators. These additional data were used to examine the relationship between success and familial/interpersonal/life goal factors.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Hoggan, Barbara

The Effects of Pre-Kindergarten on Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Students Taking the Third Grade TAKS Reading Test

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to provide research and data examining the impact of pre-kindergarten on Spanish-speaking ESL students on the third grade TAKS Reading test scores. The two questions that guided this study are: (1) As measured by the third grade TAKS reading test, what is the relationship between those limited english proficient (LEP) Spanish-speaking children who attended a pre-kindergarten program and those who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program? and (2) As measured by the third grade TAKS Reading test, how do the test scores of those LEP Spanish-speaking third graders who attended the district's pre-k program in 2000-2001 and testing in 2005, differ from those who attended the district's pre-k program in 2001-2002 and testing in 2006? The research study used a quantitative methodology designed as causal-comparative analysis. Independent t-tests were used to determine if there were any significant differences in test scores of third graders between the two groups of students. Although the results of the statistical analysis revealed some isolated statistically significant differences between those Spanish-speaking bilingual students who attended pre-kindergarten and those who did not, the data showed no real differences in the test scores of those students.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Ringhauser, John T.

The impact of leadership capacity and style on professional learning communities in schools.

Description: Leadership capacity may be enhanced when school staff members work together as a professional learning community (PLC). Leadership style may impact how well a school staff work as a professional learning community. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between principal leadership style and the level of PLC on 18 campuses across the US that were working on becoming PLCs. Staff members answered questions from two surveys which measured the level of leadership capacity, leadership style of the principal, and level of professional learning community within the schools. Questions regarding leadership capacity and leadership style were taken from the Leadership Capacity School Survey. Questions designed to measure the level of PLC on a campus were taken from the Professional Learning Community Assessment. The product-moment correlation coefficient or Pearson r was calculated between the answers from the questions from both surveys. The results indicated that when a capacity building principal is working with staff members to create a PLC, a higher level of PLC development is evidenced. When principals used collaboration with their staff, their schools operated at a lower level as a PLC. These results encourage principals to consider building capacity among their staff members if they want to create professional learning communities on their campus.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Scoggins, Kimberly Travis

A Phenomenological Inquiry of Media Literacy of Middle School Students Enrolled in a North Texas Middle School.

Description: This dissertation investigated the media literacy experiences of middle school students enrolled in a Texas school. The literature review suggested that middle school students may be overlooked as a distinct population in media literacy research. The primary guiding questions for this inquiry were (1) How is media literacy exhibited by middle school students within a formal school context? (2) How does an elective film and media class impact middle school students' media literacy? And (3) How do middle grade students' responses to media correspond with theoretical models for media literacy? The phenomenological research methodology included a reflective analysis of students' textual responses to non-print media clips (N=24) and a reflective analysis of follow-up personal interviews with a smaller group of middle school participants (n=5). A questionnaire completed by participants provided descriptive statistics about the sample group. Additionally, theoretical models of media literacy were used to evaluate participants' media responses in relation to theoretical constructs for media literacy. The findings resulted in 11 emergent themes which can be used to further discourse about media literacy and its role in middle school curriculum. The dissertation includes implications for educators based upon the emergent themes, as well as recommendations for further research.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Payne, Sara M.

The Predictive Value of Educational Productivity Input Variables on the Academic Success of Moderate to Large Texas High Schools.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive value of selected input variables on the accountability rating of Texas high schools with student populations greater than or equal to 900. Specifically, this study analyzed the effect of student, staff and fiscal input variables in determining the odds of a high school in this study receiving a Low Performing, an Academically Acceptable, or a Recognized rating in the Texas public education accountability system - a system which is based in student performance on state standardized testing. Identifying a set of variables that helps predict campus accountability ratings provides campus administrators and teachers with information to improve student performance on standardized testing. Using statistical methods to determine the odds of campus ratings based on selected input variables, this study revealed that successful student remediation in mathematics is the most consistent, positive indicator of campus accountability rating out of 60 student, staff and fiscal inputs analyzed. However, the most telling aspect of this study is that inputs such as, teacher experience, teacher campus tenure, teacher degree level, student SAT performance, Advanced Placement testing performance and the percentage of low socioeconomic students were not statistically significant. The wider implications of these findings warrant further research into why these variables seem to have no affect on campus accountability rating.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Waldrip, Michael R.

Principals' Leadership Beliefs: Are Personal and Environmental Influences Related to Self-Efficacy?

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between principal self-efficacy and personal characteristics, school conditions, and professional preparation among a selected group of Texas, public school principals. The survey instrument included the Principal Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) developed by Tschannen-Moran & Garies in 2004, and other items. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a random sample of 965 Texas, public school principals. From that population, 289 principals completed the survey for a response rate of 30%. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the analyses which included descriptive statistics, correlations, and analysis of variance. Additionally, factor analysis and reliability were calculated for the PSES. The factor structure and reliability found in this study closely mirrored the results of earlier investigations, providing further support for the reliability and validity of the PSES. Out of 12 variables examined in relation to principal self-efficacy, a statistically significant relationship was found for gender, years of teaching experience, level, SES, parental involvement, and student discipline. However, all six of the statistically significant variables had a small effect size indicating limited practical significance. The results of this study support the need for continued research of principal self-efficacy beliefs. Principal self-efficacy research may help explain the relationships between effective principals and effective schools.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Nye, Gary D.

The role of federal district courts on desegregation: A logistic regression analysis of the factors that influence prodesegregation outcomes.

Description: In this study I analyzed the 1089 desegregation outcomes in federal district courts that occurred between 1994 and 2004 in order to identify a) the legal and non-legal factors in the litigation process that predict pro-desegregation outcomes and b) the judicial patterns that impact the future of desegregation policy. Twenty-one legal and non-legal variables were analyzed via logistic regression analysis to identify factors that predict pro-desegregation outcomes. Only three predictor variables were statistically significant: Government Litigants; Region 3 (West) and Region 4 (Northeast.) Descriptive analyses of the data identified two trends in the pattern of litigation: The percentage of defendant wins increased after 1991 at a lesser rate than has been previously reported. I conclude that based on the results of both the quantitative and qualitative analyses the federal district courts are not a barrier to desegregation and can still be a part of a comprehensive desegregation strategy.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Lane, Ginny G.