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African Refugee Parents' Involvement in Their Children's Schools: Barriers and Recommendations for Improvement

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine involvement of African refugee parents in the education of their elementary school children. The setting of the study was Northern and Southern Texas. African refugee parents and their children's teachers completed written surveys and also participated in interviews. In the study's mixed-method design, quantitative measures provided data about parent involvement at home, parent involvement at school, frequency of parent-teacher contact, quality of parent-teacher relationship, parent endorsement of children's schools, and barriers to parent involvement. Qualitative data from the open-ended questions provided data on barriers and strategies to improve involvement. Sixty-one African refugee parents responded to the survey and also participated in an in-depth face-to-face or telephone interview. Twenty teacher participants responded to an online survey. Quantitative data gathered from the parent and teacher surveys were analyzed using frequency distributions and analyses of variance. Qualitative data were analyzed by summarizing and sorting information into different categories using Weft QDA, an open-source qualitative analysis software. From these data, I identified barriers to African refugee parent involvement in their children's schools, as well as challenges that teachers face as they try to involve African refugee parents. Results of analyses of variance revealed statistically significant differences in parent involvement between African refugee parents with limited English proficiency and those with high English proficiency. A key finding of the research was that, whereas the overall level of parent involvement for African refugee parents was low, a major barrier to involvement was language. Teachers and parents cited enrolment in English as a second language programs as the best strategy to enhance parent involvement of African refugees. Additionally, parents who reported higher education levels were more involved in their children's education both at home and at school. All groups of African refugee parents reported high endorsement of their children's ...
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Date: December 2009
Creator: Githembe, Purity Kanini

Children's Spiritual Development: Analysis of Program Practices and Recommendations for Early Childhood Professionals.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which faith-based preschools promote spiritual development in preschoolers. The participants in the study were faith-based early childhood teachers and administrators from seven states. Early childhood professionals representing 11 Christian faith traditions completed written surveys or online surveys. A total of 201 faith-based educators completed the survey; 20 respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. The concurrent triangulation mixed-method design provided data on 8 program dimensions which support children's spiritual development: prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. I analyzed quantitative data using descriptive and inferential statistics. All items were examined using mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentages. Qualitative data gathered from semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed using NVivo8® qualitative analysis software (QSR International, Inc., Cambridge, MA, http://www.qsrinternational.com). From this data I identified the extent to which faith-based preschool programs support children's spiritual development through the practices of prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. Data analyses revealed statistically significant differences in faith-based teachers' hours of training in children's spiritual development across all program practice dimensions. A key finding of the study was that training in children's spiritual development is important regardless of the education level of the early childhood professional. Qualitative data indicated no standardized spiritual development training in faith-based preschools represented in this study. The mixed-method analysis revealed that the 8 program practice dimensions were not always connected in a framework that supported children's spiritual development. Recommendations for professional practice include a program framework to support children's spiritual development in faith-based preschool programs; training for faith-based early childhood professionals in children's spiritual development; and formulating a definition of children's spiritual development.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Myers, Joyce Eady

The Effectiveness of Business Leadership Practices among Principals on Student Achievement on Public School Campuses in Texas

Description: The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine if business leadership practices by Texas public school principals have an impact on principals' campus student achievement in mathematics and reading, as measured by TAKS scores. The survey instrument was the Leadership Assessment Instrument (LAI), developed by Warren Bennis in 1989. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a sample of 300 public school principals in Texas. Of the 300, 140 principals completed and returned the survey, for a response rate of 47%. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 16.0, was used for the analysis of data, which included descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and regression. In addition, reliability for the LAI was also calculated. The LAI consists of the following five categories of effective business practices: focused drive, emotional intelligence, building trust, conceptual thinking, and systems thinking. No significant relationships were found between principals' use of LAI elements and student achievement in mathematics and reading. However, the lack of significant relationships between the business model as used in public schools and student achievement reveals that current models of principal preparation programs do not result in school leaders who are adequately prepared to increase student achievement. Further research is recommended as public school leaders continue to seek alternative strategies and innovative practices to improve student achievement.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Cooper, Kary M.

Effects of Background Music on Preschoolers' Attention.

Description: Background music is often used in preschool classrooms with the belief that music makes children smarter and increases attention. The purpose of this study was to determine if background music increased children's focused attention during play activities. Focused attention occurs when children maintain attention to a task regardless of distractions. This quasiexperimental study investigated background music and play in a laboratory setting. I videotaped individual children during play with math manipulatives in a pretest-posttest research design with background music used as the treatment. Forty-three 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds played for 15 minutes. The first 5 minutes of play had no music (pretest), the second 5-minute play episode had background music (treatment), and the final 5-minute play episode had no background music (posttest). Data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Findings revealed that the subjects paid less attention to the play task with background music than they did during the pretest, with no music. Another key finding was that children with more musical experiences at home, as reported by the Child's Home Musical Experience Survey (CHIMES), exhibited longer periods of focused attention with background music. This study confirmed previous research that 3-year-old children have shorter focused attention than 4- and 5-year-old children with and without background music. These findings have implications for teachers and parents that background music, instead of increasing attention in children, might indeed decrease children's focused attention during play activities.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Dartt, Kevin Maurine

The Five Dimensions of Professional Learning Communities in Improving Exemplary Texas Elementary Schools: A Descriptive Study

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Blacklock, Phillip Jeffrey

Identity Issues in Asian-American Children's and Adolescent Literature (1999-2007)

Description: Published research suggests that literature should transmit ethnic and societal values as well as reassure one's own confidence and self-respect. This study provides a model for examining Asian-American children's and adolescent literature critically from the perspective of identity issues. It examines fifteen award-winning Asian-American children's and adolescent titles written by writers of that culture and published in the United States from 1999 to 2007, with a focus on Chinese (Taiwanese) American, Korean American, and Japanese American books. As published studies indicate, self, social, and ethnic identities are significantly intertwined. Hence, a content analysis was conducted based on these three major groups of categories. The findings of the study demonstrate that even though the selected books cover all three aspects of the identity issues to a certain degree, a considerably greater number of depictions of ethnic identities are made over those of internal identities and social identities. Moreover, less than half of the main characters assume an active role in improving the difficult situation. Two major voids regarding the presentation of social identities are successful social integration and positive social interactions. Recommendations for teaching, writing, illustrating, publishing, and future research are suggested, including publishing more Asian-American books which present an optimistic outlook on life, active conflict-resolving behaviors, and a balance of gender among individuals with whom the main character interacts.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Liu, Yi-chen

The perception of English language arts teachers about instructional changes following the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.

Description: Accountability in education has been expanding for the past twenty years. As standards for curricular areas continued to develop, educational shareholders desired a way to measure student achievement contextualized by the established standards. Since 1964, policies expanded federal involvement with education, and with the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, high-stakes testing became a significant part of public education. In Texas, testing transitioned in 2003 to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (TAKS) test, an assessment that determines grade advancement for students, ratings for school districts, and additional compensation for some teachers. Along with the increasing expectations for student achievement, the need for effective instruction also increases. This dissertation studies how English language arts (ELA) teachers in four North Texas suburban high schools perceive instructional change following the implementation of TAKS. One hundred twenty-one teachers (n=121) were surveyed using an instrument broken into seven categories: student-centered instruction, student interest, instructional communication, time, classroom environment, teacher knowledge, and assessment. Participants were separated into two groups, teachers with one to six years of experience with a district or seven or more years with a district. Using a rating scale for each statement on the survey instrument, participants indicated the direction and magnitude of change or indicated no change occurred. When comparing an overall average frequency percentage for each possible rating for each category, the two highest percentages for both surveyed groups indicated no instructional change since the implementation of TAKS. However, when considering specific statements about professional growth and instructor knowledge, both groups were likely to rate a change as positive. Whereas, if the statement suggested instructional areas constricted by time, participants for both groups were likely to rate a change as negative. Additionally, an ANOVA indicated no significant difference between either of the participating groups.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Horn, Brian K.

The relationship between computer-assisted instruction and alternative programs to enhance fifth-grade mathematics success on the annual Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between using computer-assisted instruction (CAI) and success on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) mathematics exam with fifth-grade students in Texas compared to the effect of alternative improvement approaches used by a control group. Research explored the use of SuccessMaker® CAI educational software (Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ, www.pearsoned.com) in public elementary schools in Texas. Successmaker® CAI was not a good predictor of passing percentage on the mathematics TAKS. Multiple regression analysis utilized in this quasi-experimental design study predicted a negative and not statistically significant change in the percentage of students passing the mathematics TAKS exam (B = -.448, p > .05). SuccessMaker® use exhibited a very small effect size (r = -.04) and accounted for less than 1% of the change in passing percentage (r2 = .0016). Multiple regression model predicted a negative and statistically significant effect upon mathematics passing percentage by economic disadvantage percentage (B = -.211, p < .01). The 95% confidence interval for B ranged from -.365 to -.057. The large effect size correlation coefficient (r = -.51) accounted for 26% of the variance in the mathematics TAKS passing percentage (r2 = .26).
Date: December 2009
Creator: Tucker, Tommy Howard

Teacher change: The effect of a professional development intervention on middle school mainstream teachers of English language learners.

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Anderson, Elsa Maria

African-American Parents' Nutritional Habits: Implications for the Prevention of Early Childhood Obesity.

Description: 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.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Anderson, Andraya D.

Correlates of Texas Standard AP Charter Campuses and How They Compare with Standard AP Traditional Public Campuses

Description: The research sought to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of Texas standard AP open-enrollment charter school campuses and to discover independent variables that may be utilized to predict effective charter school campuses. The literature review was designed to enhance the current understanding of charter schools and therefore facilitate a more effective evaluation of them. A basic knowledge and understanding of the origins, characteristics and purposes of charters allow for a more objective analysis. The literature review covered the history of charters including their founders, characteristics, and growth patterns. The data items used in the analyses were downloaded from the 2007-2008 Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS), which contains a variety of data from all Texas public schools. Multiple statistical analyses were utilized including chi-square, ANOVA, multiple regression and discriminate analysis. In order to evaluate Texas standard AP open enrollment charter campuses, their accountability ratings were compared with those of standard AP traditional public school campuses. The research evaluated twelve independent variables for charter schools to determine their relationship to accountability ratings, thereby providing charter operators indicators or predictors of accountability ratings to facilitate better academic quality. By analyzing the same variables for traditional public schools as charter schools, a baseline model was developed to compare the similarities and differences with the results of the charter school analyses.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Gomez, Jason Diego

The Effects of Professional Learning Communities on Student Achievement

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) report, identify questions and statements that correlate to the dimensions of professional learning communities (PLCs), and determine the effect PLCs have on student achievement based on the ECLS-K data. In addition, the rationale for doing this research was to measure growth in student achievement over time. A multilevel growth model was used for this research. Univariate analysis was conducted in order to reveal frequencies and percentages associated with teacher responses. Bivariate analysis was applied in order to determine the inter-correlations between the fourteen variables. Once the inter-correlations were determined from the bivariate analysis, principal component analysis was applied in order to reveal the theoretical relationship between the variables. Through the use of principal components a set of correlated variables is transformed into a set of structure coefficient: support and collaborative. Finally, a multilevel growth model was used in order to determine the effect that each variable within the support and collaborative structure coefficients had on student achievement over time. This study revealed a number of variables within the ECLS-K report that correspond to the dimensions of PLCs have a statistically significant effect on student achievement in math and reading over time. This study demonstrated that support and collaborative variables within PLCs have a positive effect on both math and reading IRT achievement from 3rd grade to 5th grade.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Burdett, John M.

Making Sense of Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Teacher Reflection about Practice

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of reflection and document how a holistic approach to teacher reflection contributes to teachers' understanding of, and improvement in their pedagogical practice. The investigation asked how classroom observations, when followed by a reflective dialogue, impact pedagogical practice. The particular focus included how teachers make sense of observational data during a post-observation, reflective dialogue; how teachers reflect on classroom observational data; and how the holistic reflection experience impacts teachers' pedagogical practice. Three research questions guided this study. How do teachers make sense of observational data during a post observation reflective dialogue? How do teachers reflect on classroom observational data? How might the holistic reflection experience impact teachers' pedagogical practice? Findings from this study provide implications for incorporating the practice of teacher reflection and reflective dialogue as professional development and for educational research.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Norris, Karen S.

Math literacy: The relationship of algebra, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and AVID enrollment with high school math course completion and college readiness.

Description: The questions guiding this research seek to discover the factors that affect high school math course completion and college readiness in a Texas suburban public school district. The first research question examines the relationship between 8th grade completion of Algebra I and high school mathematics course taking patterns and college readiness. The second question evaluates the relationship between race, gender, socioeconomic status and enrollment in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to college math readiness and high school mathematics course completion. Participants included 841 high school graduates of the class of 2006; 76% of the graduates were White, 15% Hispanic and 7% African American. Twenty-three percent of students were economically disadvantaged and 46% of students completed Algebra I in 8th grade. Chi-square, Cramer's V, and multiple regression were conducted to evaluate possible relationships between variables. The Chi-square and Cramer's V showed statistically significant (p<.05) relationships between 8th grade algebra completion and both college readiness and high school math course completion. A significant statistical relationship was also found between college readiness and each of the independent variables, ethnicity, economic status, completion of 8th grade algebra and enrollment in AVID. The number of math courses completed in high school was statistically related to ethnicity and economic status.. The findings of this study indicate that early access to Algebra I can positively affect the number of high school math courses a student completes and the likelihood that the student will be college ready after high school graduation.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Edge, Donna L.

The Parent Participation Discourse of a Community School: Diverse Ideas and Perceptions about Educational Partnership at an Inner City Community School

Description: Despite the widespread recommendation that schools "collaborate" with parents, little is found in the literature to elaborate on what this term or the common synonym "partnership" means, and further, how schools can invite diverse parental contributions to the table of educational discourse. The current study looks to contribute to the literature by analyzing the parent participation discourse in one community elementary school, utilizing critical discourse analysis and ethnographic observations. The findings reveal both school and parents' conceptions of the parents' partnership role as ancillary to that of the school's and the subsequent lack of true collaboration so advocated by the literature. Implications arise from this analysis which calls into question the examples of "collaboration" found in the literature, given the lack of theorizing regarding what collaboration inside of parent participation means. Contributions may shed light on the unintentional inequality of diverse parents in an effort toward true collaboration utilizing both the European American, middle class contributions of the educational institution alongside those of non-mainstream parents in creating an authentic educational atmosphere for diverse students.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Coe, Alice Elizabeth

Analysis of Qualified Immunity for Texas Public School Professional Employees as Interpreted by the Texas Courts

Description: This dissertation analyzed Texas appellate court decisions relating to whether educators' actions were incident to or within the scope of duties and involved the exercise of judgment or discretion in cases involving defamation, motor vehicle exceptions, and excessive force in discipline exceptions. The questions addressed were: (1) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators for defamation? (2) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators for injury to students when plaintiffs have sued Texas educator under the motor vehicle exception to the educator immunity law? (3) How have the Texas appellate courts interpreted Texas Education Code Section 22.051 in litigation against teachers and school administrators under the excessive force in discipline exception to the educator immunity law? This dissertation utilized legal research as its methodology. Chapter 3 examines literature with regard to qualified immunity for Texas public school professional employees and discusses the limitations placed upon qualified immunity. Chapter 4 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving alleged defamation of students or others by teachers and school administrators. Chapter 5 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving the alleged negligent use of motor vehicles by professional public school employees. Chapter 6 is a comprehensive study of the cases decided by Texas courts involving the alleged use of excessive force in disciplining students. Chapter 7 discusses the findings of the analysis of cases as well as the implied limitations regarding qualified immunity of teachers and school administrators.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Carman, John Nathaniel

Development of a proposed toddler caregiver training program for South Korea.

Description: Based on the survey results of 150 South Korea toddler caregivers about training needs, I developed a relationship-based approach for a toddler caregiver training program. The training program was modified using suggestions provided by 6 South Korean professors, who were asked to review the program. Survey findings revealed that: (a) All participants (toddler caregivers) perceived that it is necessary for caregivers to attend training. However, most (72.2%) found that it was difficult to attend training programs more than 1 time per year because it was hard to find a substitute teacher (64%). Participants desired to attend training programs on toddler care because of the lack of in-service education (26%), curriculum (24%), and training programs (15.3%); (b) Caregivers who had the third-degree caregiver certification preferred to learn parent education more than child development. However, caregivers who had a higher degree of caregiver certification preferred to learn child development more than parent education; and (c) Caregivers who had more than 5 years of teaching experience preferred to learn about the teacher's role more than caregivers who had fewer than 4 years of teaching experience. Future studies need to evaluate the effect of this relationship-based training program for toddler caregivers in relation to improvement in the quality of child care and interaction between caregivers and toddlers. A large-scale study would increase the generalizability of research findings. A larger sample size from different cities in South Korea and random sampling would generate more reliable findings.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Kim, So-Yeon

Growing in Favor with God: Young Children's Spiritual Development and Implications for Christian Education

Description: Experts do not agree on the definition of spiritual development although positive spiritual development benefits society in many ways. Without agreement on the definition of spiritual development and a common understanding of spiritual development, parents, teachers, and pastors who are entrusted with the task of fostering positive spiritual development in Christian settings face the challenges of determining what spiritual development is (definition), the desired goals (culmination) of spiritual development, and the most effective ways to meet those goals (context and content). The purpose of this study was to use data, from the social sciences and Christian points of view, to inform Christian education programs and arrive at recommendations for fostering young children's spiritual development. Data sources include textual literature from the social science and Christian points of view. In addition, the researcher gathered interview data from twenty children's pastors. Research results included: 1. It is possible that spirituality is associated with sensory awareness. 2. Examining spirituality as sensory awareness may lead to focusing on innate qualities of spiritual capacity with a more focused inclusion of children with special needs in faith-based programs, a God-given conscience, and consideration that children may be born with spiritual gifts to express their spiritual nature. 3. Congregations/parishes under utilize intergenerational activities, time for quiet and reflection, and opportunities to talk to children about spiritual matters.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Thomson, Donna R.

Leadership and sustainable change: The relationship between leadership practices of principals and reculturing schools as professional learning communities.

Description: This study examined the relationships between leadership practices of principals and strength of schools as sustainable professional learning communities. Strength of schools as professional learning communities was measured using the Professional Learning Communities Assessment; leadership practices were measured using the Leadership Practices Inventory both Self and Observer protocols. Findings indicated that neither principal's self-perceptions of their leadership practices nor teachers' assessments of their principals' leadership practices were related to strength of schools as professional learning communities. Findings did indicate ten specific leadership behaviors of principals that appear to be more highly related to strength of schools as learning communities. Further analysis which focused on the two strongest learning community schools and the two weakest learning community schools indicated that three specific leadership behaviors within Kouzes and Posner's practices of modeling the way and enabling others to act appear to be the most strongly related to reculturing schools as sustainable professional learning communities. Principals who set a personal example of what they expect of others are most likely to lead schools that function as strong learning communities. Additionally, principals who build consensus around a common set of values are also most likely to lead strong learning communities. Finally, principals who develop cooperative relationship with co-workers are most likely to lead schools that function as strong learning communities.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Hill, Shannon D.

Meeting the challenges of diversity: Beliefs of Taiwanese preservice early childhood teachers.

Description: This study examines 797 Taiwanese pre-service early childhood teachers' diversity beliefs using the Personal and Professional Beliefs about Diversity Scales (PPBD). The purposes of this study are to: (a) validate the diversity belief's instrument, (b) investigate the relationship between diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts, (c) examine the group differences in diversity beliefs between pre-service teachers based on their demographic background, school characteristics, and cross-cultural experiences, (d) explore the influential determinants of diversity beliefs in the personal and professional contexts, and (f) identify the types of training early childhood pre-service teachers need regarding multicultural education in early childhood. The results indicate that (a) the professional context of PPBD is not robust to use in population outside the U.S. and needed to modify by adding more items based on current diversity literature and the cultural context in Taiwan, (b) school characteristics are the major contributors that foster pre-service teachers' diversity beliefs in both contexts, (c) school location is the most influential factor for the dependent variable of personal beliefs while experience of studying in another city and students' major become the salient factors for the professional beliefs about diversity, (d) the type of educational philosophy is contributing factor of predicting diversity beliefs in both personal and professional contexts. It echoes the multicultural education approaches advocated by Sleeter and Grant (2003), which say that the most important component of multicultural education involves an entire school and touches all areas including students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
Date: May 2009
Creator: He, Su-Chuan

The Relationship Between TeacherInsight ™ Scores and Professional Development and Appraisal System Domain Scores

Description: Many school districts and alternative certification programs use standardized interviews such as the TeacherInsight developed by the Gallup Organization. The TeacherInsight is a Web-based interview consisting of multiple choice and Likert-style items that produces a score between 0 and 100. The Gallup Organization claims that it helps hire the best teachers. The study analyzed the relationships between the TeacherInsight scores and the eight Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) domain scores for 527 teachers. The TeacherInsight scores produced a statistically significant correlation with only one of the eight PDAS domain scores. However, even that correlation (r = 0.14) was weak. All eight PDAS domain scores were only able to account for an additional 1.9% of the variance of TeacherInsight scores, above and beyond what was explained by the teachers' age, gender, years of experience, and highest degree earned. Another finding was that 47.4% of the teachers hired had TeacherInsight scores below the district recommended cutoff score of 67. The findings do not support the ability of the TeacherInsight to identify more effective teachers, based on Professional Development Appraisal System scores. The findings also cast doubt on the extent of consideration that principals in this district give the TeacherInsight scores during the selection process. Recommendations for future studies are provided.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Novotny, Michael T.

School Resource Allocation in Texas Public Schools: Study of High-Poverty, High Performing Schools and High-Poverty, Low Performing Schools

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between resource allocation practices in specific categorical functions and student performance in reading and math. This study utilized quantitative research methods to study the effects of spending and performance over four years of analysis. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing information from the Texas Education Agency. The data was collected from 81 campuses and represented over 1,500 students. The study's outcomes reported that little or no correlation could be found between inputs (dollars spent in three categories) and outputs (student results in reading and math). However, subgroup analysis revealed that students from non- low socioeconomic (SES) households started out higher than their low SES counterparts, and low SES students performed worse over time in both reading and math. Math results decreased more dramatically than reading indicating a need for school-level training in data analysis to ensure that limited dollars are spent appropriately. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable in critical data analysis skills. The study further recommends that state policy-makers invest more heavily in early math instruction. In addition, the current study found that student achievement, in low-SES students, especially in mathematics is very alarming. Low SES students are starting out behind the non low-SES counterparts and perform progressively worse over time. State policy makers must address these concerns.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Gibson, Greg

Taiwanese Preschool Teachers' Awareness of Cultural Diversity of New Immigrant Children: Implications for Practice

Description: This study investigated Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity of new immigrant children and how this awareness influences their educational practices. In particular, this study focused on the cultural awareness of preschool teachers who work with young Taiwanese children whose mothers are immigrants from Southeast Asia. This study used quantitative and qualitative methods. One hundred seventy-two Taiwanese preschool teachers from the different geographic areas of Taiwan participated in the study. Data were collected through the use of the Cultural Diversity Awareness Inventory (CDAI) survey and participant interviews. Research results of the study revealed: (a) most Taiwanese preschool teachers had an awareness of cultural diversity, but their perceptions of how to create a multicultural environment need to be improved; (b) Taiwanese preschool teachers' personal experiences with children from different cultures were more associated with their cultural awareness than their ages and educational levels; (c) Geographic location was the factor affecting preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and educational practices. This study is informative to the understanding of Taiwanese preschool teachers' awareness of cultural diversity and the implications of this awareness for classroom practice. In addition, multicultural perspectives of the Taiwan society toward immigrant families and children can benefit from the findings of this study. Future research should include the cultural needs of new immigrant children and the implementation of practices for educating new immigrant children.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Ting, Chia-Wei

Voices of worth- listening to teachers: A phenomenological study of professional development and instructional change.

Description: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe and explain teachers' perceptions about effective professional development as well as to identify the environmental factors that affect the teacher participants' ability to engage in and implement various behaviors and beliefs transferred from the professional development experience. Four teachers were studied in depth for one school year, and data collected included in-depth interviews and classroom observations. Findings indicate three main themes related to the research questions, which sought to understand how teachers perceive and describe their experiences of participating in professional development and the factors that support or constrain their instructional decision-making as it relates to new knowledge and skills acquired through professional development. These themes are that: (a) Effective professional development must have a supportive context and meaningful purpose which: meets the physical and cognitive needs of participants; focuses on improving practice, content knowledge, and pedagogy; provides participants with choice, adequate time and ownership of learning experiences; and includes opportunities for sustained learning and accountability; (b) Learning experiences are greatly affected by interpersonal relationships and opportunities for social learning and should be built upon the principles of: taking risks in the learning environment; sharing beliefs in a community of practice with effective support structures; involving all members, including the leaders, in the community of practice; and including opportunities for dialogue and the sharing of best practices as tools for learning, and (c) Implementation efforts are influenced by multiple sources, including: collegial and administrator support; curriculum and standardized testing; and time. Effective professional development must include attention to assisting teachers in dealing with these influences when they become barriers to implementation efforts.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Roberts, Jennifer A.