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Impact of Core Knowledge Curriculum on Reading Achievement

Description: 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.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Brading, Aungelique R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of the Benefits of the Student Success Initiative in the 3rd and 5th Grades in a District in Texas.

Description: The state of Texas passed the Student Success Initiative (SSI) in 1999 which requires all 3rd graders to pass the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to be promoted to the 4th grade, and for 5th graders to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 6th grade. Beginning in spring 2008, 8th graders will also need to pass the reading and math portions of the TAKS test to be promoted to the 9th grade. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic performance of 3rd and 5th grade students who did not meet the passing standard on the TAKS test and were retained during the 2005-2006 school year. The population of this study included 33 3rd graders and 49 5th graders who were retained during the 2005-2006 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. There was also a second population of 49 5th graders who were retained in 3rd grade during the 2003-2004 school year due to not meeting the promotion requirements of the SSI. These students were enrolled in the 5th grade for the first time during the 2005-2006 school year. Their TAKS scores were examined to see whether students were still benefiting from the year of retention in 3rd grade. Results for all populations were broken down by ethnicity and program codes. The results of the study showed a statistically significant gain in 3rd grade reading and 5th grade math scores. The 5th grade reading scores did have a statistically significant improvement even though the reading mean score was still below the minimum passing score even after a year of retention. A cross tabulation done on students who had been retained in 3rd grade due to SSI ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Neblett, Pamela S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Kolot's Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! on Adolescent Girls

Description: 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.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Wolbe, Susan C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The influence of the Inquiry Institute on elementary teachers' perceptions of inquiry learning in the science classroom.

Description: Despite the positive outcomes for inquiry-based science education and recommendations from national and state standards, many teachers continue to rely upon more traditional methods of instruction This causal-comparative study was designed to determine the effects of the Inquiry Institute, a professional development program that is intended to strengthen science teachers' pedagogical knowledge and provide practice with inquiry methods based from a constructivist approach. This study will provide a understanding of a cause and effect relationship within three levels of the independent variable-length of participation in the Inquiry Institute (zero, three, or six days)-to determine whether or not the three groups differ on the dependent variables-beliefs, implementation, and barriers. Quantitative data were collected with the Science Inquiry Survey, a researcher-developed instrument designed to also ascertain qualitative information with the use of open-ended survey items. One-way ANOVAs were applied to the data to test for a significant difference in the means of the three groups. The findings of this study indicate that lengthier professional development in the Inquiry Institute holds the most benefits for the participants.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Williams-Rossi, Dara
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ninth grade student success: An analysis of a credit recovery program.

Description: The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which a credit recovery program improved the academic success for high school freshmen. For the purpose of this study, academic success was defined as whether or not the student advanced from 9th to 10th grade. A total of 255 students from two junior high schools and one comprehensive high school were included in the study. Independent variables included program, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, TAKS Reading/Language Arts results, and TAKS Mathematics results. A review of related literature provided background information regarding the issues surrounding high school freshmen, dropouts, grade retention, and effective intervention programs. This quantitative study utilized descriptive statistics and logistic regression to analyze the relationship between the independent variables and student success as measured by whether or not the student advanced from ninth to tenth grade. In addition, the study examined the odds of success if participating in the credit recovery program. Sources of data included Incomplete and Failure Listing, Ninth Grade Advisor Listing, Tenth Grade Advisory Listing, and the Student Roster-Fall Collection. The Ninth Grade Success Initiative Program Evaluation for Cycles 6, 7, and 9 provided the individual student results of participation in the program. Levels of significance were set at the .05 level. The findings of this study indicated that no statistically significant relationship existed between participation in the credit recovery program, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, TAKS Reading/Language Arts results, TAKS Mathematics results, and advancing from 9th to 10th grade. It was concluded that further study would be needed to determine the most effective means for providing academic assistance to ninth grade students.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Christian, Fredelyn Walters
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examining the effects of scheduled course time on mathematics achievement in high school students.

Description: This study was designed to determine the effects of two different schedule types on mathematics achievement in public high school students. The instruments used included the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, given annually to all students in grades 3 through 11, the Texas Algebra I end-of-course examination, given as a district option to Algebra I students, and student final course grades as determined by classroom teachers. The study compared students' performance in these three areas during the 2004-2005 academic year in one suburban school district in North Texas. The study considers the type of schedule, either traditional or 8-block, between students in teachers' classes who teach the same course on both schedules concurrently. This study also investigates a qualitative aspect by including a short opinion survey of teachers' perceptions regarding student academic performance, teacher satisfaction and retention, and the ability to accomplish curricular goals. Findings from this research suggest course schedule does not have significant effects on student academic performance as measured using analyses of covariance comparisons with a 0.05 alpha-level, leading to the conclusion that a particular course schedule does not adversely impact student performance on academic measures. However, in some comparisons conducted within the course of the research, statistically significant results emerged. Qualitative data generated from a survey of teacher perceptions regarding the benefits of the two scheduling types, traditional 50-minute verses alternating day 8-block, suggested teachers preferred a traditional schedule over that of a block schedule design. Most teachers who responded to the survey instrument expressed the perception that traditional daily meeting classes allowed their students to be more successful. Additional research into the effects of scheduling types on students academic performance are suggested and would include examining larger population samples, a narrower study of specific courses within the field of mathematics, or an expansion of ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Mallory, Kelli D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The impact of selected school factors on the test performance of African-American economically disadvantaged elementary students.

Description: 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.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Griffin, Wynette O.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mentoring the first-year superintendent in Texas public schools.

Description: This study determined what mentoring experiences first-year superintendents have had and what they need from a mentoring relationship. Structured interviews and field notes were used in this qualitative study focused on Texas first-year superintendents' perceived needs from mentors. Three patterns of mentoring relationships were found: 1) no mentor in the first year, 2) mentor-protégé relationship - those who developed mentoring relationships early in a career with a more senior person in the same school system, and 3) mentoring relationships of convenience - young relationships which developed outside the same system. Skills and knowledge areas novice superintendents identified as critical for mentor assistance were school finance, development of effective relationships with groups that have expectations of the superintendent while also improving student achievement, and working within the politics of the position. Mentor characteristics novice superintendents considered necessary for a positive effect on job success include: trustworthiness, confidentiality, empathy, encouraging, active listening, and integrity. An attitude in which the mentor problem solved with the protégé, and did not give an immediate solution was displayed. Mentors actively and frequently initiated contact. Ideas were freely exchanged, giving the protégé undivided attention while not making the protégé feel inferior. The effects that previous mentoring experiences had on novice superintendents influenced whether they chose to mentor another person. Most reported seeking or engaged in a new mentoring relationship. Differences in areas where help was needed among first-year superintendents associated with district size were reported. Assistance in finance was needed regardless of district size, gender, or ethnicity. Superintendents in small districts reported needing assistance in specific skill and knowledge areas. Those in larger districts reported mentor assistance in problem-solving processes to accomplish a task. Differences in needs of first-year superintendents based on gender or ethnicity were identified but generalizations could not be made due to small numbers. ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: McNulty, Rock Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries

Technology-enhanced Classroom Environments and English Language Acquisition Among Native Spanish-speaking, English Language Learners in the Preschool and Elementary Classroom

Description: This qualitative study addressed the question: What are the perceptions of preschool and elementary bilingual and ESL teachers on how technology-enhanced classroom environments support native Spanish-speaking English language learners in the acquisition of English as a second language? With the support of six school districts representing three different regions and 15 schools in Texas, this research investigated technology-enhanced learning environments and the influence of emerging technologies on language acquisition by focusing on classroom interactions and learner engagement in preschool and elementary settings. Forty-six teachers completed the self-identified online questionnaire and from that initial group of participants, 10 were chosen for the face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A two-cycle progressive refinement coding technique was used for the analysis of the teacher interviews. In Vivo coding was selected for the first-cycle coding methodology to study teacher perspectives using their direct language. For the second-cycle methodology, focus coding was chosen as a continuation of the analytical process examining the developing patterns resulting in the initial codes being grouped to form salient categories. This process of reanalyzing and reorganizing coded data led to the creation of four emergent themes and in the views of the teachers interviewed describes how emerging technologies influences English language acquisition. The four emergent themes identified were “engaging students for learning,” collaborating with others,” “developing and clarifying concepts,” and “creating authentic work.”
Date: August 2013
Creator: Miller, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mainstream Success Following Placement in a Modified Type II Setting

Description: 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, ...
Date: May 2005
Creator: Reeder, Richard C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of the Perception of the Degree of Compliance of Selected Texas Public High Schools with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Description: In recent years, few laws have had greater impact on public education than Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As a result of this legislation, participation levels of female athletes have risen dramatically. Conducted in the Texas Education Agency's Region XI, this study sought to ascertain the perceptions of high school principals, the lead coaches of male athletes, and the lead coaches of female athletes with regard to their schools' compliance with the components of Title IX. The study centered on the results of a survey instrument that included twenty Likert-scale questions as well as several demographic questions. The research questions sought to determine: (1) respondents' overall perception of compliance; (2) any differences in perceptions of compliance based upon the role of the individual; (3) any differences in perceptions based upon the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch; (4) any differences based upon the state classification of the schools; (5) any differences based upon the gender of respondents; (6) whether complaints filed via OCR result in a perception of increased compliance; and (7) the program component areas in which respondents view their schools to be most compliant. Descriptive and causal-comparative methods were used to analyze the data. The results revealed that school leaders in north central Texas public high schools perceived a high degree of compliance of their schools with the requirements of Title IX regardless of their role. A descriptive analysis of the responses based upon respondent role yielded slight differences between coaches of males and females. An ANOVA of responses considering the variables of free and reduced lunch as well as state classification did not yield a statistical significance in terms of perceptions of compliance. Although the mean scores of female respondents were slightly lower than males, the research did not yield statistically ...
Date: December 2005
Creator: Hollingsworth, Jerry Don
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Examination of the Relationship Between Teacher Efficacy and Teachers' Perceptions of Their Principals' Leadership Behaviors

Description: Over the years there has been significant discussion of the connection between principal's leadership qualities and teacher efficacy. Students come to the classroom from stable, traditional, supportive home environments as well as from unstable, broken, and homeless situations. Teachers are asked to teach a classroom full of students with a wide range of learning abilities as well as a varied range of learning disabilities. The confidence to do this for the measure of a teacher's career takes a strong sense of efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' sense of efficacy and teachers' perceptions of their principals' leadership qualities that enhance and/or diminish the teachers' sense of efficacy. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study the effects of leadership qualities on teacher efficacy. Quantitative data was acquired utilizing the teacher sense of efficacy scale and the principal leadership questionnaire. Qualitative data was gathered through a focus group meeting of teachers with measurably strong efficacy to identify principal practices that affect teachers' efficacy. The study's outcomes reported that total respondent data indicates a generally positive relationship between these two variables. Subgroup analysis revealed varying results with diminishing relationships measured from elementary to secondary teachers. Qualitative information gathered from teachers with strong efficacy reported strategies that foster teacher efficacy, make teachers feel good about teaching and inhibit the development of teacher efficacy. The study recommends that principals and school administrators be especially knowledgeable of the six components of transformational leadership as well as the three aspects of teacher efficacy examined in this study. Being mindful of how daily leadership decisions not only fit within the transformational leadership constructs, but more importantly, how they affect good classroom teaching practices, should help principals plan and initiate strategies and programs that create a campus atmosphere ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Ryan, Harry D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship Among Effective School Correlates, School and District Practices, and Exemplary Student Performance in Texas

Description: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) annually rates campuses and districts on how well they meet standards of student performance. Since the high standard is so difficult for campuses and districts to reach, educators continually seek ways to improve student performance. The effective schools process is research-based and has stood the test of time. Descriptive statistics were used in this study to identify practices within the effective schools correlates that exemplary campuses implement. Campuses with long-term exemplary ratings were identified using the TEA data base. Campus site-based teams were surveyed using the More Effective Schools Staff Survey. Data was collected on elementary and secondary campuses with homogenous, diverse, economically advantaged, and economically disadvantaged student populations. District instructional leaders for those campuses completed a District Instructional Leader Survey to determine what practices districts implement to support their exemplary campuses. Findings from this quantitative study revealed what effective schools practices were highly evident on these exemplary campuses, regardless of diversity, economic status, district size, community type, property wealth, or location within the state. Findings also revealed that district leaders provide direction and support in the areas of (a) professional development; (b) beliefs, mission, and goals; (c) curriculum; (d) instruction; (e) assessment; and (f) site-based decision making. The research data imply that campus or district administrators can improve the performance of their students if the identified practices are implemented.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Callender, Betty Darlene Miles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Placement in the prekindergarten bilingual and English as a second language programs as a predictor of reading achievement of 3rd grade students.

Description: At the beginning of the 21st century, few challenges for educators compared to that of meeting the academic needs of the growing number of limited English proficient (LEP) students. Divergent views on whether those needs were best met through instruction in the student's first language and English, known as bilingual education, or instruction solely in English, compounded the challenge and led to varied language support programs. The present study looked at the prekindergarten (preK) language support program as a predictor of 3rd grade reading achievement of students with the intention of helping educators understand how best to serve LEP students. The study included an analysis of 3rd grade reading achievement for four groups of students with a primary home language of Spanish who attended bilingual or ESL prekindergarten. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) followed by descriptive discriminant analysis (DDA) was used to analyze scores from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) reading test and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading test. No statistically significant difference in 3rd grade reading achievement was found among the four groups at the .05 level. There was, however, a small-to-medium effect size. The MANOVA indicated that the group to which the students belonged accounted for 5.5% of the variance in their scores. The DDA revealed the ITBS explained most of the difference in the group performance. The findings suggest that ESL instruction is a viable option to bilingual instruction for LEP preK students.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Vannoy, Martha
Partner: UNT Libraries

School Governance and Student Achievement: Revealing Factors Beyond the McCarty-Ramsey Model

Description: The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate the specific superintendent leadership type and underlying factors that support significant student achievement gains in communities where misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model exists. Utilizing a mixedmethod research strategy, contributing school districts were identified through a survey developed by McCarty and Ramsey. This survey indicated that districts could show positive student achievement gains while exhibiting misalignment among these factors. While all four types of superintendent leadership style were revealed in the survey, a prevalent superintendent leadership types was associated with the misaligned districts showing significant academic growth. This study indicated the professional advisor or the professional advisor/decision maker superintendent had the greatest achievement results in misaligned districts. The second investigation phase involved school districts that met two criteria: misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model, and three years of significant student achievement gains, as measured by the California Academic Performance Indicator. Interviews were conducted with identified school board presidents and superintendents to reveal practices or initiatives promoting these results. The interview protocol consisted of a series of open-ended questions regarding effective leadership and programs. The second finding revealed the effective superintendent focuses efforts on five specific district leadership actions identified by researchers such as Waters and Marzano. More specifically, this study revealed two practices were present in top performing school districts. First, a narrow focus on non-negotiable instructional practices across the district, and frequent monitoring by the superintendent, site and district leadership teams including follow - up debriefings regarding implementation of district expectations. These findings have significance in districts dealing with challenges among the community power structures, board types or superintendent leadership. This research shows that regardless of the political challenges, budgetary issues, or relationship chaos that might exist in the district and community, the professional advisor superintendent who has established clear district ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Kemp, Stella Maria
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State accountability ratings as related to district size and diversity.

Description: All Texas school districts were examined to determine the relationship of district size and diversity to the accountability ratings of selected Texas school districts and the implications of including all data in the accountability rating system. Eight large districts and 12 small districts were matched demographically utilizing data from the 2003-2004 school year. Information from the Texas Education Agency was accessed over 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The ratings were found to be lowered from Recognized to Academically Acceptable with the inclusion of these groups 6 out of 20 times. These findings indicate that the Texas accountability system, in its current structure, excludes certain students based upon race and economic status and is not in compliance with what the law intended. This study should be replicated on a larger scale to assess its validity for a larger sample of small districts. Equity among states should be examined to provide information for a nationwide accountability system.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Starrett, Teresa M.
Partner: UNT Libraries