The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical content analysis of the African American characters found in Newbery Medal award winning books recognized between the years of 1991 and 2011. The John Newbery Medal is a highly regarded award in the United States for children's literature and esteemed worldwide. Children's and adolescents' books receive this coveted award for the quality of their writing. Though these books are recognized for their quality writing, there is no guideline in the award criteria that evaluated the race and identity of the characters. Hence, there are two overarching research questions that guided this study. The first question asked: To what extent are the African American characters in each award winning book represented? Foci in answering this question were the frequency of African American characters and the development of their ethnic identities. The second question asked: How are the African American characters' intergroup attitudes and interactions represented? Foci in answering this question examined the frequency of intergroup interactions and the characters' attitudes within the context of each book. The theoretical framework that undergirded this study is critical literacy, which encourages adults and youth to examine issues of diversity and social justice through their reading. Eighteen books met the criteria for the study, which provided 98 African American characters for investigation through content analysis. The qualitative methodology used frequency counts, anecdotal notes and questionnaires to analyze the characters. Findings revealed two key themes: the characterization of ethnic identity as a reflection of society and African American characters as models of agency. Further themes became evident in this study as well: the evolution of cultural authenticity, strong African American female characters, importance of the African American family and the acknowledgement of African American involvement in history. These findings are significant because they provided evidence of ...
In a 3-year timeframe, nearly 800 student negligence suits were filed, and most involved some claim of personal injury. Despite heightened public attention of negligence lawsuits against school districts and their employees, an empirical study of court decisions revealed that the volume of litigation against school districts remained steady from 1990 to 2005, the majority of cases were ruled in favor of the school district employees, and government and official immunity were most often the basis for these rulings. Researchers have concluded that immunity laws are strong in the United States, although they vary by state in their application. However, a primary recommendation was that, because of the misconception of a lack of immunity for public school employees, a comprehensive study on governmental and official immunity is needed. This dissertation employed legal research, analysis, and methodology to engage in a comprehensive investigation of teacher immunity in the four southern states of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Of central concern to this dissertation was the Tort Claims Act of 1978 from the State of New Mexico. The Tort Claims Act is the vehicle by which immunity is granted to public school employees. Court findings over the last 35 years point to three primary domains under which cases pertaining to immunity fall: negligence (62.5%), evaluation and supervision (16.7%), and student discipline (8.3%). Immunity appears strong across all three domains; however, only future studies on cases by state will determine whether states in the southwest United States are the norm or an anomaly.
The relationship between the mission of community colleges and the increasing teacher shortage has become more transparent as many community colleges have implemented teacher education programs to address community needs, the shortage of qualified teachers, and the lack of diversity among teachers. As the community college's teacher education role has increased, many community colleges have responded by adding associate of arts degrees and certificate programs specific to teacher education to tackle the shortage of teachers and the lack of diversity among teachers in the nation's classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of one community college's pre-service teacher education program in transferring minority students to a university teacher education program and the likelihood of the students graduating with both bachelor's degrees and teacher certification. This longitudinal ex post facto causal-comparative mixed methods case study involved tracking a cohort of minority students over a 6-year period. Data were gathered from existing teacher education program records for native and transfer students at one community college and two four-year institutions. Unstructured interviews were conducted with administrators over the community college's program. For data analysis, ?2 and Phi Coefficients were conducted to compare the minority students' university transfer and graduation rates to native university students' transfer and graduation rates. Results of the study demonstrated that the minority students were graduating at an observably higher rate than both the native to university students and their respective ethnic peers who began college at two-year colleges at the national level. This study's findings might help community college teacher education programs to increase enrollments of minority students and to address the needs of surrounding communities. The findings contributed to the relatively scarce literature regarding minority teacher preparation in community colleges. The study's findings might also be useful to community colleges looking toward or already ...
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a junior high school leadership program on the academic success and leadership development of its at-risk student participants. A secondary purpose, based on impact, was to evaluate the program as a potential school-based model for adolescent at-risk intervention. The leadership program investigated in this study is unique in three ways. First, the program is in a magnet school and the student population is heterogeneously mixed as to ethnicity and socio-economic status. Second, enrollment is open to all students. Third, its curriculum goals meet research-based criteria for effective intervention practices and leadership development. Academic success indicators associated with at-risk students included achievement, conduct, attendance, and school engagement. Leadership development indicators included leadership practices students had experienced and leadership positions students had held. The design of this post hoc study was the comparison of two groups of high school students who qualified as "at-risk" during their junior high years. Data collection included district or campus reports for cumulative attendance rates, grade point averages, and conduct demerits, as well as student survey responses for school activities, leadership practices experienced, and leadership positions held. Results of multivariate and univariate inferential analyses show the leadership program had a slight positive impact on the achievement and leadership experiences of at-risk student participants. Descriptive data analyses indicated a positive trend toward better conduct from program participants as well. The program did not have a significant impact on attendance, school engagement, and leadership positions students had held. While the program met criteria for effective at-risk intervention as well as exemplary leadership development, results were mixed, so evaluation of the leadership program as a model for at-risk student intervention is inconclusive. Further longitudinal research is recommended with a larger sample, using pretest and posttest measurements, group comparisons, ...
This descriptive multi-case study systematically explored the team teaching relationship between a secondary teacher and a university faculty member. Multiple interviews, classroom observations, and analysis of available data provided insights into the interactions of these particular collegial-teams, drawn together for the purpose of providing rigorous STEM curriculum to high-ability students during a three-week residential program. Data revealed that successful collaboration can be described by the emergent themes of reciprocity, respect, flexibility, and time. It appears that an active interchange, or reciprocity, and mutual respect between partners during curriculum/lesson/unit planning, instructional delivery, and assessment facilitate effective collaborative instruction. Findings further revealed that instructors expressed an overall positive experience with collegial-teaming; one that has been valuable to them as professionals. The university instructors reported acquiring and improving upon their own pedagogical skills, while the high-school instructors reported gains in terms of obtaining in-depth content knowledge. The partnership also assisted in bridging insights between the secondary and college arenas in terms of content and academic expectations at both levels. The overall experience provided professional growth and development that would not have occurred without the unique pairing of a high-school instructor and a university faculty member.
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.
The purpose of this study determined whether use of student random drug testing provided an effective means to reduce drug usage by secondary school students. The participants included 50,214 7th through 12th grade students in 12 selected public schools. All school districts participated in the Texas School Survey of Substance Use in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The six districts in the experimental group used drug testing as a method of reducing drug usage among students. The six districts in the control group did not use drug testing. Although athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities remain the focus of random dug testing, this research focused on an entire school population to determine whether drug testing only a select group of students reduced reported drug usage in the entire school. Two questions guided the research: First, does the use of random drug testing have an impact on student drug usage? Second, does the year of implementation of random drug testing have an impact on students' self-reported drug usage? The findings for each research question were categorized according to nine illegal drugs. The researcher used a one-way repeated measures factorial design. The data were analyzed via the univariate (split-plot) 2 x 4 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with the data from four periodic surveys (1994, 1996, 1998, & 2000) as a within-subject factor and the treatment group (participation in drug testing or control/no drug testing) as a between-subjects factor. The results of the study showed there was no statistically significant difference between the experimental group of school districts that used random drug testing and the control group of school districts that did not use random drug testing. In addition, the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in drug usage between the students in districts who began random drug testing in ...
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine the impact, if any, of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! on adolescent girls in the areas of friendship, school issues, family issues, body image, and assertiveness after participating in the religious-based program for nine monthly modules. Participants completed pretests and posttests in the areas of self-concept and basic Jewish knowledge. Quantitative results demonstrated statistically significant results in the areas of basic knowledge of Jewish female role models, values, and traditions, and statistically significant results in the areas of general, parental/home, and global self-concept. Qualitative results revealed inconsistent results with application of lessons taught, with some effect being acknowledged in the areas of friendship, gossip, bullying, self-defense, and assertiveness.
Language policy reform movements have increased accountability in order for schools to improve student achievement and measure the progress of English language learners. The number of English language learners (ELLs) has grown significantly in the school population, yet the level of academic achievement for this population continues to lag. Language planning and policy provide critical decisions about how to measure what students know in all subjects. In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature approved the assessment of the state curriculum to account for student learning while nationally the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires assessment and accountability to measure what students know. Long term English language learners (LTELs) in high school are of particular concern because they have not been able to meet standards on the state's assessments. These assessments are used for national NCLB accountability under Annual Yearly progress (AYP) indicators, the state's accountability and the Texas graduation criteria. The purpose of this study has been to examine the impact of educational language planning and policy on LTELs who have lived and attended US schools for more than four school years.
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.
The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of teacher professional development on student achievement measured by scores on curriculum-based assessments, CBAs. The participants in the study included 260 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math and science teachers. Teacher participation in professional development courses was collected for curriculum, instruction, differentiation, assessment, technology integration, and continuous improvement credit types. Achievement data for 8,454 students was used: 2,883 in 3rd grade, 2,752 in 4th grade, and 2,819 in 5th grade. The dependent variable of student achievement was dichotomized at the median: half of the student participants scored above the median and half of the students scored at and below the median. A series of logistic regression models were fit to the data that included examining all main effects and interaction terms among all variables to determine the best fitting model. The results of this study indicate that for 4th grade science, teacher professional development participation in curriculum, instruction, and differentiation credit strands increased the chances for students to score above the district median on CBAs. The larger number of professional development hours in a variety of credit strands had a negative impact on student achievement in 4th grade science. In 5th grade science, the students whose teacher spent more hours in professional learning for continuous improvement had an increased likelihood of scoring above the district median on CBAs.
Research has shown that African American males are performing poorly in American public schools and are disciplined at a higher rate than other ethnic and gender groups. Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) has a long history of success with individual students and more recently in school-wide settings. School-wide PBIS offers schools the ability to tailor their rules, rewards, and consequences to the specific needs and culture of a school. This descriptive and quantitative study sought to determine if implementation with fidelity of SWPBIS positively correlated to reduced disciplinary measures. The object of this study was to determine in what ways disciplinary rates for African American males differ in American public schools that identify as using SWPBIS with fidelity as compared to American public schools that do not implement SWPBIS with fidelity. Disciplinary rates examined included ISS, OSS single incident, and OSS multiple incidents. Descriptive findings indicated that schools that implement SWPBIS show a lower rate of ISS and OSS incidents for African American males. The quantitative findings did not yield a statistically significance between schools with fidelity of implementation of SWPBIS and schools without fidelity of implementation of SWPBIS.
In order for America to retain its superior position in a global economy it is imperative that all students receive educational opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Currently, African-American economically disadvantaged students in the United States perform lower on standardized tests than their grade and age-level peers. Educators must find ways to improve the performance of students in this group in order to maximize future opportunities. Through a mixed-methodology approach, the current study finds three school factors that may positively impact the performance of African-American economically disadvantaged students: high expectations, student-teacher relationships and teacher effectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative analysis provides perspectives from principals primarily from a large urban school district on the impact of these factors on student performance.
The purpose of this mixed-method study was to explore the instructional changes in first grade classrooms and reading progress of first grade students in relation to implementation of standards-based report cards (SBRC). The goal of this study, conducted in a suburban Texas school district, was to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference in reading progress between students enrolled in first grade classrooms in which traditional report cards were used in comparison to comparable classrooms in which SBRCs were used. Additionally, the instructional practices of teachers were examined to determine the types of changes that took place as the district moved from traditional report cards to SBRCs. A total of 709 students and 15 teachers were involved in the study. The study revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between the reading growth of students assessed in SBRC classrooms and those assessed with traditional report cards. There were, however, significant differences in instructional practices employed by teachers in SBRC classrooms. These changes in practice included instructing with a greater degree of focus on specific objectives to be taught, more closely following the district’s scope and sequence, greater communication regarding the grading criteria and methods used for reporting progress, use of the most recent achievement data when determining grades (in comparison to averaging of grades during a reporting period), and a greater awareness of students’ specific abilities.
A pre–post case study was conducted to examine how target revenue funding from Texas House Bill 1 (2006) has impacted the school districts within the Texas Education Service Center Region X area. Forced by the courts, the Texas Legislature was required to fix the Texas school finance system because of a de facto statewide property tax it had created by capping school district’s maintenance & operations tax rate at $1.50. Texas Governor Rick Perry used this opportunity to reduce school district M&O taxes by one-third. The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1 (2006), the Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act, in response to the courts and to address a continuous decline in state funding support for public education. The Public School Finance and Property Tax Relief Act reduced local school districts’ property tax rates and revenue with the assurance that these funds would be exchanged for state aid. Local school property taxes were reduced over two years, 2006–2007 and 2007-2008, by 33%. In order for the State of Texas to meet the state aid funding guarantee from House Bill 1 (2006), each school district was frozen to its 2005–2006 revenue per weighted student, which was called a district’s revenue target. This study examined the impact target revenue has had on these school districts by analyzing and comparing revenues and expenditures prior to and following the law’s implementation. Specifically, changes in per-student revenue, per-student expenditures, and district fund balances were assessed.
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.
This study investigated the effects of teacher background variables on fourth grade reading achievement data collected from the 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) using a causal-comparative research design. Teacher quality variables related to teacher credentials, instructional methods, training, and support were selected from the NAEP background questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to examine teacher background information and fourth grade reading NAEP scaled scores using measures of central tendency, independent t-tests, analysis of variance, and Tukey’s HSD post hoc analysis. Findings suggest that certain teacher quality variables positively impact fourth grade reading achievement. Significant differences existed among fourth grade reading scaled scores for the following variables: teaching credentials [region (p < .05), traditional preparation route (p < .001), highest degree earned(p < .05), years of experience (p < .001)]; instructional methods [reading aloud by students (p < .01), questioning character motives (p < .01), student selection of reading materials (p < .001), explaining/supporting text (p < .05), identifying main theme (p < .001), time spent on reading (p < .001), primary language arts integration (p < .05)]; teacher support [instructional grade level support/technical assistance by reading specialist (p < .05) and mentoring (p < .05)]. This study expands the current literature on teacher quality by exploring the effects of teacher variables on reading achievement.
The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the common planning time for a team of middle school teachers by comparing the standardized test scores of middle school students selected from two school districts located in North Texas. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) 2 * 4 design was utilized to measure the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) math and reading scale score for 7th grade students from the test administered in spring 2005. The data for this study were compared by the variables of school, gender, and ethnicity. The measuring tool utilized in this study determined the ratio of the amount of variance of the scores for individuals of between-groups as opposed to the amount of variance of within-groups, indicating if there were a statistically significant difference on the scores in any one particular variable compared to the variances of scores for the other variables in this study. The statistical results indicated that there were no statistical significant differences in the scores of students attending a middle school where the teachers received a common planning time. However, there was a noted difference in the percentage ratings on the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report published by TEA for the African American students who attended the school with the common planning time. These students had higher scores on the TAKS reading test. The TAKS math scores did not indicate any notable differences.
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.
This study sought to answer if the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program had a positive academic impact on Hispanic English language learners (ELL). HIPPY is a free, 2-year, home-based early intervention program for 4-and 5-year-old children. The program is intended to provide educational enrichment to at-risk children from poor and immigrant families, increase school readiness, and foster parent involvement in their children's education. A quasi-experimental design and quantitative measures were used to measure the academic success of Hispanic ELL students in reading, mathematics, and language arts. The sample included an experimental group and a purposeful control group. Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and participated in the HIPPY 4 and 5 programs were compared to Hispanic students who attended an early childhood school as 4 year olds and did not participate in HIPPY. Results from the Texas-mandated criterion referenced Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Test and the TerraNova® and TerraNova SUPERA® norm referenced tests were used in this study. Results from the TAKS Reading and TAKS Mathematics Grade 3 and the TerraNova reading, language, mathematics, and total composite scores were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. The treatment group and control group results from both assessments were measured and compared. A statistically significant difference was found in 5 out of the 6 null hypotheses tested. The treatment group statistically significantly outperformed the control group in the TAKS Reading and the TerraNova and TerraNova SUPERA reading, language, mathematics, and total composite assessments. This study substantiates that the HIPPY program works and can have a positive impact on a child's school readiness. Additionally, a significant range of sustainability was also established since the results were measured from assessments administered in the third grade and 5 years after the treatment group ...
This study is a follow-up to a study completed by Dr. Thomas Barker in 1994 entitled The Status of the Implementation of International Education in Texas Four-year Colleges and Universities: A Comprehensive Study. A survey of 35 Texas universities and 6 out-of-state benchmark universities revealed information regarding the international programs at these universities in four areas. The four areas surveyed include: (a) administrative, (b) instructional, (c) international student support services, and (d) outreach. A summary of the survey results includes 34 tables detailing the university responses for the 2004 survey compared with the responses obtained from the original, Barker (1994). The results from the 2004 participating benchmark institutions were also reviewed. Texas universities continue to work toward the internationalization of the curriculum with increased numbers supporting an international focus in their mission statements and staffing patterns. Benchmark institutions continue to lead Texas institutions in a majority of areas surveyed. Funding for international education continues to be an issue for both the benchmark and Texas institutions. Changes in attitudes and immigration policies continue to affect the implementation of international programs on the university level. While universities continue to provide support to community and businesses in the area of international education, the extent of this support has decreased in the ten years since the Barker (1994) survey.
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).
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.
This study addressed the current status of early childhood curriculum design and implementation in the Texas Education Service Centers Seven and Eight. No Previous research about the characteristics of the preschool programs had been completed in those areas. This research established if preschool programs were receiving priority status in East Texas. The results yielded evidence regarding the characteristics of administrators, teachers, curriculum implementation, plus parent and community involvement. The information also provided insight regarding short-term and longitudinal effects on children who have attended preschool programs. Data were collected from a search of educational literature, regional service preschool directors, administrators, and teachers. The procedure used in designing the survey and interview documents was Michael Scriven's goal-free strategy. The main sources for the questions were the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Head Start. The study first directs attention to the common characteristics of national programs/standards, then discusses the level of implementation in local rural prekindergartens. The fifteen open-ended interviews yielded concise information relevant to the population of students served and administrative beliefs on current practices. Surveys were sent to a total of all preschool administrators in the Education Service Center Regions of Seven and Eight. A 51 percent response rate was received. The results of the analysis demonstrated the direction current administrators hope early childhood will take in the areas of 1) developmentally-centered curriculum, 2) parental and community input, and 3) professional development. The administrators' commitments and focal points were correlated with the national standards. Recommendations are made that should result in an overall increase of successful prekindergarten and high school graduates.
This study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design to study teachers' concerns during implementation of instructional coaching for math in a rural PK-12 district in north Texas over a three-year time period. Five campuses were included in the study: one high school (grades 9-12), one middle school (grades 6-8), and three elementary campuses (pre-kindergarten through grade 5). In a school district of 3,400 students and 241 teachers, fifty-two math teachers were surveyed and interviewed for their perceptions and concerns during implementation of instructional math coaching in order to assist central office administration in knowing how to support teachers through the change process. Data included the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) at three points during the study period analyzed through nonparametric statistical analysis. No statistically significant differences were found to exist between campuses. However, a statistically significant difference was found when campuses were grouped by elementary and secondary campuses. Open-Ended Statements of Concern and focus group interview data by campus served as qualitative data to triangulate concerns and to measure situational evidence of rurality influence on teachers' concerns. Convergence of qualitative and quantitative findings indicate concerns clustered in unconcerned, informational, and personal stages. Evidence of rural contextual influences point to limited resources and dense staff relationships in rural schools. This data aids the district under study in supporting teachers through the process of change as an instructional coaching program for math is implemented systemically.
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent secondary assistant principals in large Texas high schools demonstrate behaviors consistent with what the literature describes as instructional leadership. Three hundred seventy principals and assistant principals of large Texas high schools participated in this study. The Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (Hallinger, 1987) was used to quantify instructional leadership in 10 different job functions. The study found that (a) assistant principals perceive themselves as exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (b) principals perceive their assistant principals exhibiting instructional leadership behaviors at a high frequency, (c) the perceptions of the principals and assistant principals were similar, and (d) principals and assistant principals reported more engagement in instructional leadership responsibilities and felt more pressured over the last five years under the new accountability and rating requirements of No Child Left Behind and the state assessments. These findings suggested that the administrative roles and responsibilities in high schools should be restructured to allow assistant principals to focus on instructional leadership.
The purpose of this study was to describe the intentions of the designers of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) in Texas and the perceptions of teachers regarding its implementation. Information for the study was gathered in two phases using two methodologies. The first was a semi-structured interview with four expert informants instrumental in the design and implementation of the PDAS at the state level. The second component of the study was conducted with teachers using a 37-item Likert survey. The population for this phase of the study was 150 elementary and 150 secondary teachers chosen randomly from three school districts in North Central Texas. The districts were selected to represent a variety of sizes in regard to student population and represent diverse student population characteristics and socioeconomic levels. Data from the semi-structured interviews and the returned surveys were analyzed to determine the designers' intentions and areas of emphasis and to describe the alignment the teachers' perceptions and the designers' intentions. Quantitative data gathered from the surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as a correlation and function analysis and analysis based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient. The analysis of data revealed the following: 1. Teachers perceived that the implementation of the PDAS has a high level of effect in the areas of learner-centered instruction; classroom management; support for all students; the professional growth of teachers; communication; learning application; and, TAAS improvement. 2. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by years of experience. 3. Teachers' perceptions were not affected by their field of instruction. One implication of this study is that the final design represents the intentions of designers, although the area of student achievement is not weighted as heavily in teachers' evaluations as was originally intended. Furthermore, education leaders in Texas may conclude that teachers perceive a high ...
The purpose of this study was to determine if, after one year of operation, the UNT/Dallas Public Schools Leadership Development Program was progressing in accordance with the goals set out for the program. Questionnaires administered to 26 interns and 10 mentor principals and follow-up focus group interview sessions provided answers to the study's five research questions that explored the following: selection process; how interns' involvement in campus-based decision-making had changed; how mentor principals' perceptions toward interns had changed; and how administrative interns' perceptions of themselves and educational administration had changed. Findings from this study revealed the selection process provided the Dallas Public Schools an opportunity to select teacher-leaders from the district and to include a representative number of minority and women candidates for participation in the program. An area of weakness was seven interns with low GRE scores were admitted through an appeals process at the university. Another weakness revealed the majority of interns had been assigned more duties and responsibilities at the schools, but only 4 of 26 interns were being allowed to participate in any campus-based decision-making processes that could have an impact on school improvements. The study found the role of the mentor principal to be the most important factor in determining the satisfaction and success of the interns in the program. The embedded internship proved to be a disadvantage for the interns and principals, as the majority reported not having enough time to spend on administrative activities. Interns reported growth in personal and professional maturity and gained knowledge about the world of educational leadership. All 26 interns expressed the desire to become administrators in Dallas Public Schools upon completion of the program. Further research should include comparison studies between graduates of restructured programs and graduates of traditional programs to determine if there is a difference in ...
The purposes of this study were to apply a model of achievement-related behaviors to a sample of eighth-grade girls and to ascertain whether this theoretical model continued to describe girls' internal beliefs regarding mathematics.
The internationalization of distance learning in special education is at a pivotal point in expansion. Even with concerted efforts through traditional means to increase the supply of special educators, shortages persist; therefore, teacher preparation programs are turning to online education. This dissertation study was a formative program evaluation of a bilingual, two-course sequence within a web-based special education master's program offered at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, Texas, and at the Universidad Casa Grande (UCG) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The research design was based on the unfolding model of program evaluation, and it included mixed-methods of data collection. The model focused attention on (1) scientific evidence, (2) cost-benefit differential, (3) underlying values, and, (4) unintended consequences. Data came from archived documents as well as six semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and survey data from 23 student participants. The findings for the general-orientation course, Special Education Programs and Practices, revealed mixed results concerning multicultural awareness on the part of student participants. However, it seemed to have influenced their lesson design and made a difference in other areas. Some multicultural awareness concepts frequented the discussion board. The specialized course, Assistive Technology, which had more frequent communication between UNT and UCG on the discussion board, suggested larger increases in students' multicultural awareness. With respect to both courses, the stakeholders recommended that the structure be strengthened for non-bilingual instructors and students to be able to communicate more freely. Translation issues were a top priority in both courses. The study has implications for other international distance education programs.
This initial investigation into the special program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, the International Newcomer Academy (INA), examines and describes the nature of this new school in comparison with the nature of the Language Centers functioning in host schools as schools within schools. This study was prompted by the need to document perceptions, behaviors, and practices of all principal players, which might result in program improvement to benefit students. The primary goal for establishing this new school was to focus primarily on beginner limited English proficient (LEP) students so that the language centers would be relieved, and so do a better job of teaching intermediate and advanced LEP students.
The purpose of this study was to examine concepts of "inclusion" held by policy drivers (PD), policy makers (PM) and policy implementers (PI) from various national organizations, state agencies and school districts. Interviews were conducted with 14 informants, and responses recorded, transcribed and clustered according to patterns of language. Documents provided by informants were reviewed. A Likert-type questionnaire was developed, grounded in patterns of language used in interviews and documents. Descriptive and inferential statistics identified variance between and within groups. Of 430 questionnaires sent, 266 were returned. Factor analysis of 29 items yielded 5 factors (definition of inclusion, training and support, receptivity, benefits/barriers, and prerequisites). One way analysis of variance, tests for homogeneity and multiple range tests were performed. Patterns of understanding of inclusion were clarified, and interpretations and conclusions were drawn. Significant variance was found among PD, PM, and PI on 3 of 5 factors (benefits/barriers, prerequisites, receptivity) with the greatest variance being between PD and PI. The most significant variance among 8 school districts occurred with factor 1 (benefits/barriers of inclusion). Informants' degree of support for inclusion was frequently not reflective of the organizations they represented. All groups associated inclusion with attitudes and beliefs, rather than with actions or programs. By describing patterns of definitions and critical attributes of inclusion, the development and implementation of educational policy relating to students with disabilities may be facilitated. Observed variations in how inclusion is philosophically and operationally defined may play a critical role in the implementation of inclusionary practices. The language used by informants reflects barriers to successful implementation of inclusion, as well as possible solutions. Variance between policy drivers, policy makers and policy implementers, as well as between individuals and their respective organizations may have implications for the evolution and development of educational policy.
The purpose of this study was to explore the practices of formal and informal teacher technologists in two school settings: an elite private, high school academy and an urban poor, middle school academy. This investigation included clarifying the role of the formal and informal teacher technologist and investigating the need for both formal and informal teacher technologists. This study also explored the technological differences between the public academy middle school and the private academy high school. Two formal and eight informal teacher technologists were interviewed face-to-face three times, each using the transcendental phenomenology research design. Each teacher technologist was also observed at least once in classroom and teacher training sessions. The results of this study revealed (1) the role of the teacher technologist was a fast technology problem solver; and (2) although students and teachers used technology, the schools lagged in adequate technology and/or teacher training; (3) the teacher technologists used the Internet to build and evaluate curriculum; (4) most students used tool software centered around project-based activities; (5) teacher technologists trained other teachers to be collaborative risk-takers in using technology; (6) teacher technologists shared what they learn with students and other teachers; and (7) students could be student-learners or student-teachers and teachers could be teacher-learners. Four conclusions were reached: technology and constructivist teaching are compatible; technology is a tool; new approaches to professional development are needed; and hardware and software should be standardized for maximum use. Additionally, both schools in this study were evolving the role of the formal teacher technologist. It was recommended that (1) the schools employ at least one fulltime formal teacher technologist whose main role is to assist teachers in technology classroom incorporation, (2) the schools form teams of informal teacher technologists, (3) and the public middle school academy purchase one laptop for each student ...
The purpose of this study was to determine what relationships exist between the age, rank, and gender of university faculty in teacher education and their technological pedagogical content knowledge. The survey instrument used was the Survey of Teacher Educators’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) which is an adaptation of the Survey of Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology developed by Schmidt. A total of 347 public Texas university teacher education faculty members participated in the study. Multiple regressions were utilized and the effect size was considered to determine the strength of the relationship between the variables. A statistical significance was found relating to the age, rank, and gender of the university teacher educator faculty member and their technological knowledge (TK). Based on the information provided for the b weights, age was found to be the best predictor of their technological knowledge (TK). The discriminant analysis identified what relationship exists between the ages of university teacher education faculty technology knowledge. The results of the discriminant analysis indicate the range 20-30 and 60+ contribute equally to teacher educators’ technological knowledge. Although no statistically significant results were determined with respect to the correlations between gender, age, and rank and technological content knowledge, technological pedagogical knowledge, and technological pedagogical content knowledge, the descriptive data does suggest that some insight maybe gained from further analysis.
The purpose of this study was to examine the conceptual understandings of 55 elementary preservice teachers for the concept of buoyancy. This study used Ausubel’s Assimilation Theory (Ausubel, 1963) as a framework for a 15-week intervention that used pre/post concept maps (Cmaps), pre/post face-to-face semi-structured interviews, and drawings as evidences for change of formation of cognitive structures. Using a convergent parallel design and mixed methods approach, preservice teachers’ conceptions were analyzed using these evidences. Results of the study show that preservice teachers held both scientific conceptions and misconceptions about buoyancy as a force before and after an instructional intervention. Of importance were the existence of robust misconceptions about buoyancy that included inaccurate scientific knowledge about the foundational concepts of gravity, weight, mass, and density. The largest gains in scientific knowledge included the concepts of gravity, surface area, opposing forces, and the buoyant force. These concepts were consistently supported with evidence from post-concept maps, post, semi-structured interviews, and drawings. However, high frequencies of misconceptions were associated with these same aforementioned concepts as well as additional misconceptions about buoyancy-related concepts (i.e., weight, density, displacement, and sinking/floating). A paired t test showed a statistically significant difference (t = -3.504, p = .001) in the total number of scientifically correct concepts for the pre-concept maps (M = 0.51, SD = .879) and post-concept maps (M = 1.25, SD = 1.542). The Cohen’s d effect size was small, .47. Even through gains for the pre/post concept maps were noted, a qualitative analysis of the results indicated that not only were there serious gaps in the participant’s scientific understanding of buoyancy, after the instructional intervention an increased number of misconceptions were presented alongside the newly learned concepts. A paired t test examining misconceptions showed that there was a statistically significant difference (t = -3.160, p = ...
The purpose of this study was to (1) gather information regarding knowledge of TAAS and perceptions (attitudes) about TAAS (excluding the current battery of End of Course Tests) from teachers and administrators; (2) relate teacher and administrator knowledge and perceptions of the test to student test performance as reported in the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) Reports. Answers to the following questions were sought: 1. To what extent do teachers and administrators possess different levels of knowledge regarding TAAS, and different attitudes toward TAAS about its purpose and usefulness? 2. Are differences in teacher and administrator knowledge of TAAS related to student performance? 3. Are differences in teacher and administrator attitude toward TAAS related to student performance? Information was collected, by means of a twenty-six-item survey measuring teacher and administrator knowledge and attitude toward TAAS. The selected schools were chosen from schools rated as either exemplary or low performing by the state accountability system. The data were examined using Descriptive Statistics (Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). ANOVA was performed to determine if a significant variance existed between the responses of teachers and administrators and also between exemplary and lowperforming schools. Exemplary and low performing schools were chosen to determine if there were differences in teacher and administrator responses from these two groups. The results of this study attempt to show what, if any differences there are in attitudes toward and knowledge about TAAS based on responses from teachers and administrators from both exemplary and low performing schools. Based on the analysis of the data, there is no evidence from this study that indicates that there are significant differences in knowledge between teachers and administrators regarding TAAS. There is evidence that administrators possess a more positive attitude toward TAAS than do teachers. There is no evidence ...
The purpose of the study was to determine the effect on student performance and attitude toward high school Latin by Latin I students when provided with vocabulary instruction through chunking and imagery.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the readiness, planning, training and implementation stages of staff development in the implementation of the Accelerated Schools Program in a suburban elementary school. The research questions focused on how the school became interested in the accelerated program; the steps that were taken to make the school ready to accept the program; the training made available to the staff, parents and students; how teacher approval and acceptance were achieved; and how the implementation was initiated and to what degree.
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.
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.
The purpose of this study was to review and explore the concept of lease purchase financing for the construction of new facilities in Texas. It sought to determine the impact of lease purchase financing and the characteristics of those districts that have utilized lease purchase financing for the purpose of new school construction. A two pronged approach was used for the study, both quantitative and qualitative. The study examined all school districts that utilized lease purchasing and examined various traits of the districts. Data was acquired from the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Bond Review Board. The qualitative portion of the study included interviews with superintendents of nine different Texas school districts that have utilized lease purchase financing. The study concluded that lease purchase districts were generally small school districts that were property poor and have high property tax rates. The study also concluded that the major reason for districts to use lease purchase financing was to avoid having to hold an election in order to gain approval for the sale of traditional general obligation bonds. Another factor identified was the availability of state funds through the state Instructional Facility Allotment. The study also concluded that while districts sought to provide better programs for their students through better facilities, that students actually suffer due to instructional funds being used for the payment of long term debt.
This dissertation examines the impact of the 1992 Georgia Tort Claims Act on educators in court decisions involving liability cases against Georgia school districts and/ or their respective employees. By examining pertinent court cases in which Georgia educators were, for the first time, subjected to potential litigation, the researcher outlines circumstances in which educators can and should be held liable for their actions. Additionally, the researcher analyzes the Tort Claims Acts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi as well. This analysis allows the researcher to contrast the types of litigious actions that educators in each of these states are held liable. Findings include the types of actions in which educators in each of the respective states are subject to liability. Case study analysis of randomly selected court cases involving tort liability, provides the infrastructure for in-depth research allowing the following questions to be addressed: (1) How have Georgia courts interpreted the Georgia Tort Claims Act in litigation against school personnel and school districts? (2) How do tort liability rulings, involving school personnel or districts, in other states within the United States compare with similar cases filed in Georgia since 1992? The Georgia Tort Claim Act of 1992 propelled an array of circumstances in which educational entities would be held liable for their actions. This research clearly explains the types of actions in which educators in the state of Georgia are subject to suit and to what degree they are subsequently held liable. Case study research also uncovered specific areas in which Georgia educators can be held liable. Specific research involving actions deemed either ministerial or discretionary are detailed specifically through case analysis. Additionally, the degree to which liability insurance provides protection for educational entities or their respective employees is also addressed in this research in order that state-by-state comparisons can be ...
This dissertation analyzes court cases involving tort claims filed against Mississippi public schools and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. The question addressed was: How have the Mississippi courts interpreted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act in litigation against Mississippi school districts and their employees? The intent of this dissertation is to add to the understanding of the legal concept of sovereign immunity as it has been applied to public schools and their employees. This study's focus centers on litigation in the state of Mississippi involving school districts. Chapter 2 provides a historical summary of sovereign immunity (also known as governmental immunity) in the United States and the state of Mississippi up to the enactment of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act as well as an overview of general legal concepts involved in tort claims. Chapter 3 explains the research design and methodology used. This dissertation relied on legal principles of research and document analysis used in the legal profession. Chapter 4 consists of a thorough analysis of published case law brought before the Mississippi courts pertaining to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act and public school systems and their employees. Finally, chapter 5 describes the key findings of the analysis of case law involving Mississippi school districts and their employees under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act.
This dissertation analyzed public court decisions in cases against Oklahoma school districts and their employees involving sovereign immunity claims filed under Oklahoma's Governmental Tort Claims Act. The questions addressed were: (1) How have the Oklahoma courts interpreted the Governmental Tort Claims Act, (Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 151 et seq.) in litigation against school districts and their employees? (2) What are the limits of immunity protection for Oklahoma school districts and their employees? (3) How has the statute of limitations in Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 156 and Okla. Stat. tit. 51 § 157 been applied to Oklahoma educators in tort litigation? This dissertation utilized legal research as the methodology to answer the research questions. Chapter II provides a review of existing literature regarding sovereign immunity in the United States. Chapter III is a comprehensive study of Oklahoma sovereign immunity cases filed against Oklahoma school districts and educators under the Governmental Tort Claims Act with regard to negligence, corporal punishment and the statute of limitations. Chapter IV discusses the findings of the analysis of cases in Oklahoma and the amount of protection afforded to Oklahoma school districts and educators.
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 ...
In conjunction with the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot program (TIP), the State of Texas implemented a four-year annual evaluation called the Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (eTxTiP). It focused on the technology immersion experience through one-to-one mobile technology of sixth grade students in 22 selected middle schools. Initial findings suggested academic growth, especially in math, increased rigor of student work, greater teacher collaboration, a more positive school environment, and transformation of instructional practices. This study focused on one of the original schools selected to participate in the TIP program, exploring the impact over time of one-to-one mobile technology on one group of students over an 8-year period beginning with their third grade year. The selected school’s demographic makeup reflected a large number of schools within the state, including its size, rural location and economically disadvantaged student population. Based on an interrupted time series design, state assessment data was analyzed using a piecewise growth model. The study revealed no statistically significant academic growth in reading and math performance among the participants.
The topic of alternative schools is widely available in the literature; however, once a student has been labeled a "troublemaker" and has been placed in a District Alternative Education Program (DAEP), a Type II setting, there is limited information about the overall success of students upon their return to the mainstream. This study compared the success of students formerly placed in a modified disciplinary Type II setting, once they have returned to the mainstream, with their success prior to disciplinary placement. The purpose of the study was to examine if disciplinary measures that remove students from the mainstream environment negatively impact the variables that measure school success, despite legislative mandates such as No Child Left Behind, which advocates success for every student. The population for this study was 86 7th- through 11th-grade students assigned to a DAEP in Texas during the spring of 2003. A comparison of pre- and post-placement dependent variables measuring school success-attendance, passing core courses, behavioral achievement, standardized test score achievement, recidivism, and dropout rates-comprised this study. The independent variables-gender, ethnicity, grade level, socioeconomic status, and disciplinary offense-were used to compare and analyze each dependent variable. The dependent variables of attendance, passing core courses, and behavior demonstrated a decline in the measurement of school success across time. The only dependent variable that demonstrated improvement between the pre- and post-placement periods was achievement on standardized test scores. From the number of students who withdrew from the mainstream during the post-placement semesters, large recidivism and dropout rates were determined, which reflected the large percentage of students who were not successful in the district's mainstream. The comparisons of dependent variables by independent variables resulted in significance only in the analyses of attendance by grade level. This interaction was determined to be significant since p < .05. During both post-placement semesters, ...
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.
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.
This mixed-methods study examined the extent to which teacher performance and student performance measures correlated, and to understand which specific practices of mathematics teachers in Grades 3-5 related to student performance. Research was conducted at five elementary schools in a large, urban north Texas school district. Data sources included component scores and recorded evidence from observation rubrics, interviews with campus administrators, and value-added modeling (VAM) student growth scores. Findings indicated a modest relationship between teacher performance levels and student performance levels. Lack of access to individual teacher VAM data, per district policy, might have impacted the strength of the relationship. Interviews with administrators and an examination of the evidence cited in the observation rubrics identified specific practices associated with highly rated mathematics teaching. Differences in administrators’ experience levels with both mathematics instruction and the observation instrument might have influenced rubric scores and the level of specificity shown in evidence statements.
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