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Better Teaching Model? Middle School Science Classroom Using the 4MAT Instructional Strategy vs. Lessons Created Without this Model

Description: The problem investigated was the need for effective and efficient learning for middle school science students to meet expectations set in Goals 2000. The use of the 4MAT Instructional Method was investigated as a possible method for attainment of current science standards. The study included one middle school science instructor's classes with 89 participating students. Measurements were taken and comparisons drawn using three assessment methods to determine if improved academic achievement and attitude scores resulted. Data analysis yielded no significant conclusion in either academic achievement or attitude improvement; however, observations of the researcher indicated potential usefulness of the 4MAT approach. The t-value calculated in the assessment methods was insufficient with a .05 probability of error present in the findings. The limitations of the study skewed the results and outweighed the possible observational insight.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Delaney, Alice
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of a Telementoring Program on Beginning Teacher Self-efficacy.

Description: This study examined whether the telementoring program had a positive impact on beginning teacher self-efficacy. Telementoring is an adaptation of mentoring, using telecommunications technology as the means to establish and maintain mentoring relationships between the participants. The program was intended to create an atmosphere of community; to provide expert training in the profession; to retain good teachers; and to offer support for the new teacher in times of self-doubt. A quasi-experimental design and mixed methods measures were used to determine the effect of a telementoring program on beginning teacher self-efficacy. Participants were members of a district induction/mentoring program. An experimental group of 20 first-year teachers that participated in a supplemental telementoring program were compared to 20 first-year teachers who did not. The Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale was used to collect data on beginning teacher self-efficacy. A pretest was administered prior to the treatment and members completed a post-test at the conclusion of the study. Results were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance. The experimental and control group results from both assessments were measured and compared. No statistically significant differences were found between the experimental group that participated in the telementoring program and those in the control group who did not. Messages posted to a discussion board were analyzed by comparing concerns of beginning teachers in this study to concerns of beginning teachers found in current literature. A compilation of concerns served as a comparison framework. Participants in this study discussed many of the same issues and concerns found in current literature. Although statistically significant results were not found, discussion board postings suggest that telementoring is an effective form of mentoring and provides beginning teachers a forum for collegiality and support, which contributes to self-efficacy.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Muehlberger, Linda S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Using Children's Literature with Adolescents in the English As a Foreign Language Classroom.

Description: This study provides quantitative and qualitative data about the effects of using children's literature with adolescents in a language classroom and the role of children's literature in students' second/foreign language development, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The study presents qualitative data about the role of children's literature in developing more positive attitudes toward reading in the second/foreign language and toward reading in general. With literature being a model of a culture, presenting linguistic benefits for language learners, teaching communication, and being a motivator in language learning, this study presents empirical data that show that inclusion of children's literature in adolescents' second/foreign language classroom promotes appreciation and enjoyment of literature, enhances the development of language skills, stimulates more advanced learning, and promotes students' personal growth.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Belsky, Stella
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

Beliefs of Mathematics Pre-service Teachers About Project-based Learning

Description: This study explored the beliefs of pre-service secondary mathematics teachers about project-based learning (PBL), as they encountered a project-based learning high school where they implemented a project-based unit of instruction. A qualitative study was conducted with one undergraduate cohort in a higher education science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) national initiative that has 40 U.S. replication sites. Using teaching philosophy statements and focus group discussions, the beliefs of STEM pre-service secondary teachers are made visible. The findings from this study reveal a recurring theme: the process of how these pre-service teachers seemed to evolve and mature as teachers, from novice toward becoming an expert, as they asked themselves internal questions that are common to developing teachers. These pre-service STEM teachers experienced 1) internal questions about their own growth as a potential teacher, as evidenced through their verbal and written statements; 2) tension between PBL content and pedagogy; and 3) tension between practice and theory. The findings also infer that there are potential critical variables that may contribute to pre-service teachers’ beliefs. Those variables identified were the following: 1) the sequence of when the project-based instruction (PBI) course was taken; 2) time, as related to when the participant took the PBI course in relationship to the final semester when they were engaged in apprentice teaching; and 3) the field placement location during the apprentice teaching semester.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Watson, Cindy Gay
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Technology Integration Techniques in Elementary Mathematics Methods Courses on Elementary Preservice Teachers' Computer Self-Efficacy, Software Integration Confidence, and Lesson Planning

Description: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effect of computer technology integration techniques on preservice teachers' feelings of computer self-efficacy and feelings of confidence in software integration. It was also the purpose of this study to interpret these preservice teachers' confidence in using computer technology integration techniques in their own planning and instruction during student teaching. The participants in this study were from two intact, non-randomly-formed classrooms. They were 27 preservice teachers enrolled in the College of Education at a university in north central Texas in two sections of a course entitled EDEE 4350, Mathematics in the Elementary School. This study was quasi-experimental, with a nonequivalent pretest-posttest control group design. The independent variable was the type of instruction experienced in an elementary mathematics methods course: novel instruction with specialized computer technology integration techniques versus traditional instruction with no specialized technology integration techniques. The dependant variables were measured using the following instruments: the Demographic Data and Previous Context Use of the Computer Survey which described participants' demographics and their previous usage of the computer; the Self-Efficacy With Computer Technologies Scale; the Preservice Teacher Software Integration Confidence Scale; and the Lesson Plan Infusion/Integration Scale. The results of the data analysis revealed, through the inferential statistics run on the Self-Efficacy with Computer Technology Scale pretest and posttest, that there was no statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Preservice Teachers Software Integration Confidence Scale revealed a statistically significant difference between treatment groups (p < .05). The posttest-only Lesson Plan Technology Infusion/Integration Scale revealed no statistical significance between treatment groups (p < .05). The study provides insight into the benefits of instruction in specific software integration techniques instruction. It suggests that when preservice teachers are given instruction in specific computer software integration techniques, they are more confident in ...
Date: August 2003
Creator: Maninger, Robert M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Alignment of Middle School Core TEKS with Visual Arts TEKS

Description: This descriptive study uses a qualitative, content analysis to examine the middle school visual arts and core Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) to determine the potential common learning activities that can be aligned between the two. By performing an alignment of the potential common learning activities present in the middle school visual art TEKS and the middle school core TEKS, I demonstrate that there is a foundation for curriculum integration in the Texas middle school visual arts classroom.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Hartman, Jennifer
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

A Study of Factors Related to Teacher Retention

Description: Teacher attrition is a problem with a number of implications, not the least of which is the teacher shortage. Almost half of all new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, creating a difficult model where more teachers leave the teaching profession compared to teachers entering the profession. Part of the problem is a result of career progression. However, most of teacher attrition is a result of factors such as inadequate pay, administrative support, workplace conditions, student related issues, and collegiality with peers. Without a thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to teacher attrition it is impossible to create an environment where "No Child is Left Behind". Although teachers do not enter the profession with the notion of getting rich, they do need to make enough money to support themselves and their families. Furthermore, professional status in America is closely tied to socioeconomic status. Therefore, while salary may be the largest component of teacher attrition, school and district characteristics, teacher qualifications, and demographics also affect a teacher's decision to leave the profession.
Date: December 2003
Creator: McKee, Kerry Lyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Factors related to technology implementation of K-12 principals and teachers.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between principals' leadership styles and principals'/teachers' implementation of technology. The Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (LEAD) Self was used to identify the primary and secondary leadership styles of principals. The Level of Technology Implementation (LoTi) Questionnaire was used to identify the level of technology implementation (LoTi), personal computer use (PCU) and current instructional practice (CIP) scores for both teachers and principals. Data collected from 390 K-12 teachers and 22 principals of three large suburban districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was included in data analysis. The findings suggest that differing leadership styles do play a role in the LoTi, PCU, and CIP scores among teachers. Based on descriptive statistics it was determined that teachers with "participating" principals had higher mean LoTi and PCU scores than those with "telling" and "selling" principals. The difference in the mean PCU scores was statistically significant (p<.05) for teachers with "selling" and "participating" principals. Results also showed there was a statistical significance (p<.05) in the mean PCU and CIP scores of teachers working for principals with weak and high adaptability. Due to the low number of principals participating in this study, there is a need to conduct the same research using a larger more diverse sample of principals. The majority of principals in this study had either a primary leadership style of "participating" and a secondary leadership style of "selling" or vice versa. A larger population of principals would hopefully allow for the study of additional leadership styles and their effect on teacher use and implementation of technology.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Moses, Rhonda René
Partner: UNT Libraries

The implementation of international education in colleges and universities in the state of Texas: A follow-up study.

Description: 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.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Hodges, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

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

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a professional development intervention conducted with mainstream middle school teachers of English language learners (ELLs) in a North Texas school district. Teacher change was examined in the context of this intervention. Three groups of teachers participated in this study. Group 1 (n= 4) consisted of teachers returning to the intervention for a second year. Group 2 (n= 12) consisted of teachers new to the intervention. Group 3 (n = 16) served as the control group and consisted of teachers who were not part of the intervention. Mixed methods were utilized, including a self-assessment questionnaire, an observation tool, and data from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Statistically significant differences were found between teachers in Group 1 and teachers in Group 2 in the perception of self-efficacy. Statistically significant differences were also found for Group 1 and Group 2 teachers between the beginning and the end of the year. Group 3 teachers experienced a decrease in their perception of self-efficacy between the beginning and the end of the year. A statistically significant difference in the use of interaction was found across time for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2. The interaction of ELLs decreased between the beginning and the end of the year for teachers in Group 3. The use of modifications increased significantly for teachers in Group 1 and Group 2 and remained stable for teachers in Group 3 between the beginning and the end of the year. In the area of high expectations, no statistically significant difference was found between intervention teachers and the control group across time. An analysis of data for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test revealed a statistically significant difference in the percentage of All Students Commended ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Anderson, Elsa Maria
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of the Self-Efficacy Scores of Preservice Teachers Based on Initial College Experience

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine if any statistically significant difference exists between the self-efficacy scores of student teachers who began their college experience at the community college level and student teachers who began their education at the university level. The study was used to determine whether or not the type of initial college experience impacted the first two years of college study, in relation to the development of a sense of self-efficacy at the end of the program of study. Self-efficacy data were gathered from beginning student teachers at two comparative institutions. The participants were enrolled in the colleges of education at two large metropolitan universities. One university was located in southern Texas and the other was located in north central Texas. The Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale was the instrument used, as well as a researcher-made questionnaire that collected demographic data. In addition to pattern of education, other independent variables included age, gender, ethnicity, certification level sought by the participant, and the number of contact hours spent by the participant in early field experiences in K-12 classrooms. A multiple regression analysis indicated no statistically significant difference in the composite score of the Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale, a measure of self-efficacy. The TSES also loads on three factors: Instructional Strategies, Classroom Management, and Student Engagement. Multiple regression analyses of the individual factor scores indicated no statistically significant predictive ability for self-efficacy on any of the subscales across initial college experience. Multiple regression analyses as well as MANOVAs were conducted to determine if the demographic variables of gender, age, ethnicity, G.P.A, certification level, and contact hours impacted TSES scores. The dependent variable was the general self-efficacy scores and the individual factor scores (i.e., Student Engagement, Instructional Strategies and Classroom Management) of student teachers as measured by the ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Ritchie, Kelly Renea
Partner: UNT Libraries

Funding and Effectiveness of Staff Development Programs in Three North Texas School Districts

Description: This dissertation study focused on three aspects of staff development in North Texas: 1) funding sources, 2) types of professional learning programs, and 3) teachers' views of the effectiveness of the funded programs. Qualitative data came from interviews with nine district administrators concerning funding sources and how those resources enhanced teacher skills. Quantitative data came from 1,277 responses from teachers regarding their background and perceptions about staff development. Data from interviews with district administrators were diagrammed to depict elements of funding staff development and to reveal how resources were used to plan, implement, and evaluate staff learning. An analysis of interview data revealed that availability of grants, property tax rates, and student enrollment affected how districts funded staff development. Administrators reported that districts funded professional learning that was planned according to academic initiatives, met the needs of adult learners, and adapted to the changing needs of school communities. Both administrators and practitioners reported that time was a lacking resource critical to developing staff knowledge. Practitioners reported that sufficient opportunity to collaborate with colleagues about learning initiatives was more valuable than teaching materials. Teacher questionnaires were analyzed for possible relationships between participant variables and responses concerning knowledge about funding constraints and professional development experiences. Data revealed that practitioner experience and graduate degrees were not related to teachers' use of knowledge about financial constraints to more efficiently implement learning from staff development. Participants did not perceive professional learning differently than peers. Most teachers connected professional learning with improved teaching practices but a small percent attributed student achievement to their professional learning. The majority of teachers considered collaborative learning settings to elicit more personal professional growth than other formats. The findings of the teacher questionnaire suggest that teaching practices could be impacted if participants gained more knowledge about district financial constraints when developing ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Ivey, Shannon Kay
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

Unintended Outcomes: The Effects of an Entity's Educator Preparation Accreditation on Access to Certification for Individuals of Color

Description: The purpose of this dissertation was twofold. First, the study sought to determine if the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) Reading score predicts success on the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). Second, the study addressed the effect on individuals of color of raising the minimum TASP Reading score entrance requirement for admission to teacher preparation programs. Data were collected from the ExCET Office of a Carnegie I metropolitan university. The defined sample consisted of 961 participants who had a TASP Reading score and had taken an Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, an Elementary Professional Development ExCET or a Secondary Professional ExCET between September 1999 and January 2001. Linear Regression, Box Test, Predictive Discriminate Analysis, and frequency distribution tables were used for analyses. This investigation examined the effects of the independent variable of TASP Reading score on the performance of participants on the dependent variable, the ExCET. Four null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. The TASP Reading score was a statistically significant predictor for success on the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, Elementary Professional Development ExCET, and the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. However, the Predictive Discriminate Analysis indicated that a TASP Reading score of 220 predicted that no candidates would fail the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET, 6 participants would fail the Elementary Professional Development ExCET and 19 participants would fail the Secondary Professional Development ExCET. Five hypotheses addressed the effect of raising the TASP Reading score to 250. Findings of four hypotheses showed that raising this admission standard would impact the number of individuals of color granted admission to the teacher preparation program. These results call for the recommendation that governing agencies address the impact of state teacher education program accreditation that often results in the policy of relying on the TASP Reading score as one of the ...
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Date: August 2001
Creator: Rozell, Diann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examining and Characterizing Changes in First Year High School Chemistry Curricula

Description: Many students currently entering college are able to solve mathematical problems but often do not understand the chemistry concepts underlying their calculations. High school chemistry teachers from Texas and the United States (US) were surveyed as to what topics they teach in their chemistry classes. A subset of Texas teachers was also interviewed about their instruction. The survey indicated that less-experienced Texas teachers are omitting a number of topics from their chemistry instruction, as compared to more experienced teachers. No differences were seen for those topics among US teachers. Chemistry textbooks from 1930 to the current 2002 Texas state adoptions were analyzed for inclusion of these topics. The only textbooks that were missing topics were from the 1930s. All others contained the topics. In general, textbooks have been increasing numbers of questions and problems for each topic, with the number of quantitative problems increasing at a greater rate than qualitative problems. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed that the main reason for omission of topics by less-experienced Texas chemistry teachers is that these topics are not assessed on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills science exam. Omitted topics were both qualitative and quantitative; the common factor is that they are not tested. School administrators reportedly reinforce this practice. Archival data regarding textbook usage by general chemistry students showed that students' course grades are not correlated to the amount of time they spend using their textbook. With topics included in textbooks, and no relationship between textbook usage and student grades, observed changes in chemistry courses must be due to changes in classroom instruction. With new course standards adopted by Texas for chemistry and the development of end-of-course exams, these changes should produce graduates who understand chemistry concepts as well as they solve mathematical chemistry problems. Repeating this study in 5 years ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Holley, Kerry Kathleen McGee
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Descriptive Analysis of the Critical Thinking Model in Texas Elementary Education

Description: Contributions from elementary education to the practice and reality of critical thinking are rare, largely because attempts in basic education to elucidate a concept of critical thinking have a hard time breaking through the elusiveness and indeterminacy that characterize the history and reality of the concept. This situation is due to, and a consequence of, the difficulty of delimiting critical thinking from related fields, such as metacognition, higher-order-thinking, problem solving, informal logic, reasoning skills, and decision making, to name a few. Texas school authorities designed and put into practice a battery of tools to evaluate critical thinking through the assessment programs TAKS and STAAR, without taking a position regarding the indeterminacy problems of the content of critical thinking. The purpose of this study was to reconstruct the pieces of the critical thinking model imparted to Texas elementary school children since 1999 and continues today. The findings indicate that the critical thinking model implemented in Texas elementary schools is a particular version of a skills-only approach of critical thinking that follows the classical logical paradigm, consisting of two sets of complementary skills. This model acquaints students with the components and structure of five types of arguments while it fails to substantiate the logic of argument support that demonstrates how reasons support claims and the strength of support. The application of an adequacy conditions rubric showed the strengths of the model at the argumentation analysis level, yet it showed clear signs of incompleteness and inconsistencies at the argument structure level that distort its purpose and function.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Quijano, Oswaldo Jorge
Partner: UNT Libraries