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Leadership and the Influences of Teacher Absenteeism

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ayala, Lori
Partner: UNT Libraries

Acceptability of Behavioral Interventions for Autism

Description: Caregivers' evaluation of evidence-based behavioral interventions may differ dependent upon the type of language used to describe the intervention. We administered a survey to 24 parents of children with autism to assess social validity measures of behavioral interventions described in one of three communication styles: technical, conversational, and conversational with intended outcome. Participants were presented with a description of two behavior-reduction and two behavior-acquisition interventions. Overall, interventions described in conversational with intended outcome style received the highest social validity ratings, while interventions described in the technical style received the lowest ratings. Moreover, behavior-acquisition interventions were rated significantly higher than behavior-reduction interventions when described in either conversational or conversational with intended outcome style. The current study supports the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's Compliance Code that behavior analysts should inform the client/consumer of the treatment/interventions in an understandable language. Findings are also discussed in terms of verbal communities.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Fatema, Afshaan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Transfer of Learning in a K-8 STEM Academy Project Based Learning (PBL) Environment

Description: The multiple case study investigated levels and types of transfer observed in a K-8 STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) academy in a project-based learning (PBL) environment. The academy was constructed two years prior to the study and conducive to PBL instruction. The students and teachers were in the second year of using PBL in the subject of science at the time of the study. The grade levels observed were second, fourth, and sixth grade and each grade level had three PBL units examined from the beginning to the end of the unit. The nine case studies, from the three different grade levels, were observed to identify Haskell's levels and types of transfer as determined by project requirements, observation of students, completed projects, and student interviews. The findings from this study showed that while projects moved the students beyond knowledge acquisition to application of knowledge in completed projects such as books, films, dances, etc., higher levels of transfer and more types of transfer were not evident. Therefore, based on the results of this study, the evidence of lower levels of transfer suggests that the PBL units, though inventive and potentially valuable to student learning, were not designed for higher levels of transfer.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Fuller, Mary A
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Family Cultural Capital on Reading Motivation and Reading Behavior in Elementary School Students with New Immigrant Background: A Structural Equation Model

Description: This study was designed to investigate the impact of family cultural capital on reading motivation and reading behavior among new immigrant children and non-immigrant children. This research used Chang and Wang's family cultural capital, reading motivation, and reading behavior questionnaire to conduct the survey. The target population of this study was students enrolled in fifth grade and sixth grade in elementary school in the fall of 2017 in Tainan, Taiwan. The sample include 414 students from new immigrant families and 422 students from non-immigrant families; the total number of individuals was 837. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analytical procedures were performed to test the hypothesized relationships. The results indicate that the seven latent variables were related to each other directly or indirectly. The main findings of this study are as follows: 1) family socioeconomic status significantly affects students' acquisition of family cultural capital; 2) family reading habits significantly affect students' reading motivation; 3) intrinsic reading motivation significantly affects students' reading behavior; and 4) external reading motivation shows no direct significant effect on reading time or the number of items read.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Tseng, Hui Te Li
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Grounded Theory of Music Teacher Large Scale Conference Professional Development Implementation

Description: The purpose of this study was to understand the process of music teacher large-scale conference professional development (PD) implementation (i.e., the integration of conference-derived learnings into classroom practice). The context of this investigation was two national music conferences, the Midwest Clinic and the National Association for Music Education National In-Service Conference, and one state music conference, the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention. Using purposive maximum variation sampling, active music teachers (n = 32) who each attended one of these conferences were recruited. Data collection occurred in a series of three participant interview phases, staggered according to which conference participants attended and when each conference was held. Twenty-eight participants were interviewed twice, and four participants were interviewed once, yielding a total of 60 interview transcripts, which were then openly, axially, and selectively coded in accordance to grounded theory method. The principal finding, the cycle of music teacher large scale conference professional development implementation (C-MTPDI), revealed an implementation process in three phases. First, the consideration phase (before/during conference) entailed needs assessment, direct engagement, change articulation, and, for some participants, deterrent factors/contingencies. Second, the realization phase (immediate post-conference) included translation, integration, and recalibration. Third, and finally, the decision phase (3-5 weeks post-conference) included evaluation. The core category, or main theme of the research, was seeking convergence: relevance, practicability, and impact. Contextual conditions included PD worldview and PD policy environment. Avenues for future scholarship include clarifying differences in design and effectiveness among and within music-specific PD models, more fully understanding the status of large-scale conference PD in music education and its effect on practice, and theorizing PD implementation in non-conference contexts. Practical implications include developing new theory-aligned PD policies, putting into place more robust infrastructures of implementation support for large-scale conference attendees, addressing PD funding inequities between teachers in music and non-music disciplines, and ...
Date: August 2018
Creator: West, Justin J
Partner: UNT Libraries

Analysis of Factors for Successful State-Level Support of Low-Performing Schools

Description: This study provides a qualitative look at Texas' Professional Service Providers' (PSPs) strategies for supporting low-performing schools. Four PSPs were selected for participation based on the number of schools they helped exit the Texas Title I School Improvement Program from 2007-2012. Data collected and analyzed included provider and principal interviews, providers' progress reports documenting services, and principals' evaluations of provider services. Results indicated key support strategies in two of four cases were supporting and mentoring/coaching while communicating and building trust were important in the other two cases. Communicating, reviewing information, and planning were important across all cases. The quality indicators aligning with the PSPs' strategies were fit, comprehensiveness, and coherence. They were also the most common across all cases. Finally, analysis of the evaluation of provider services revealed PSP-1 with the highest ratings, followed by PSP-2, PSP-3, and PSP-4 respectively. The findings suggest, first, that PSP support has a dual nature. Contextual support was provided based on the campus leaderships' skills and requests. PSPs also ensured coherence among the strategies of all stakeholders. Secondly, a hierarchy of quality service indicators aligned to the PSPs' strategies: fit, comprehensiveness, and coherence. Finally relationships are vital to a successful provider-campus relationship. The findings have implications for PSP selection, professional development, and evaluation.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Ewing, Angela R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Student and Counselor Perceptions of a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program's Effectiveness

Description: Research reveals that disciplinary alternative education programs (DAEPs) are growing at an alarming rate. What are schools doing to ensure success for those students who are placed in a DAEP? In this descriptive qualitative research study, I examined how DAEPs can operate at a more effective level in order to provide a restorative environment, resulting in a decreased recidivism rate for troubled youth. In order to achieve this overall objective, the following research questions framed this study RQ1: What are the qualities in a disciplinary alternative education program setting that lead to either success or failure of a DAEP program? RQ2: Why do students continue to commit offenses which lead to multiple assignments in a disciplinary alternative education program? RQ3: How does a disciplinary alternative education program provide a restorative environment for troubled youth in order to decrease recidivism? RQ4: What resources are available to reduce the amount of repeat student assignments to DAEP? Participants were 12 North Texas secondary school students with multiple assignments to DAEPs and 12 North Texas secondary counselors who provide emotional and behavioral supports to these students. The findings indicate there is a high need for the implementation of transitional supports, a high need for consistent and targeted counselor support and resources, a high need to change student behavior, a high need to build positive relationships, and a high need to address the environmental (social) factors that influence behavior.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Dunworth, Rodney Dean
Partner: UNT Libraries

Empowering U.S. Marshallese Students to Engagement and Active Participation in Learning

Description: The U.S. Marshallese population is one of the fastest growing Pacific Islander populations in the United States. The purpose of this study was to identify how U.S. Marshallese students could be empowered and engaged in their learning through clearly identified indicators that educators could apply within their classrooms and schools. The indicators have been established on a historical, cultural, and linked perceptions of student learning as identified by U.S. Marshallese students and teachers. Pacific Islanders consisted of a variety of populations with varying cultures and ethnic diversity. This study has been conducted using a postpositivism worldview, Marshallese migration is not a limited phenomenon of displacement, but a migratory change that must be embraced by communities and educators. Educators must understand how to empower and engage U.S. Marshallese students in their learning. This study was designed utilizing an interpretative descriptive naturalistic ethnography qualitative research design with middle school students and teachers to gather qualitative data from U.S. Marshallese students that will lead to a contextual understanding of empowering and engaging U.S. Marshallese students in their learning. The findings of this qualitative research study can be applied by educators to empower and engage U.S. Marshallese students in their learning on a daily basis in schools and classrooms. Culture understanding, positive relationship building, and the design of culturally connected intrinsically student motivated learning activities is the foundation and critical component of empowering and engaging U.S. Marshallese students in school and classrooms for improved student learning.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Robinson, Sam J
Partner: UNT Libraries

Artistic Decision Making and Implications for Engaging Theatrically Gifted and Talented Students in Non-Arts Classes

Description: This cognitive ethnographic study explored the mental processes that professional actors used when making artistic choices while engaged in creative practices to begin a conversation about how the theatrically gifted and talented population is viewed, researched, and educated in non-arts subjects. Professional actors at two sites were observed, videotaped, and interviewed over several rehearsals during play production. The major thematic findings indicated that artistic decision making results from actors engaging in a cyclical process of private work, affective validation, and collaboration. Implications for teaching theatrically gifted students call for classroom environments and processes that echo theatrical rehearsal structures, while engaging the imagination through personal connection and discovery.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Willerson, Amy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Study Abroad and Student-Athlete Choice

Description: The focus of this case study was a study abroad program for student-athletes at a high academically achieving, small liberal arts college in the mid-west region of the United States. The program is designed to maintain a culture of internationalism and multiculturalism by exposing as many student-athletes as possible to study abroad. I reviewed literature to extract an appropriate theoretical framework along with variables that aligned with the purpose of the study; structural and organizational characteristics of the institution, student's background and pre-college traits, interaction with agents of socialization and institutional environment, and quality of effort. I used the semi-structured interview process to interview 9 senior student-athletes (3 female, 6 male; 7 White, 1 African American/White, 1 Chilean/White) who participated in study abroad during the 2015-2016 academic school year at the researched institution and to interview 5 administrators who facilitate the athletic department at the institution. I found that certain critical elements emerged as necessary to create and maintain a study abroad program geared specifically to the needs of the student-athlete population. I also found strong implications for adaptable elements that could generate opportunities for student-athletes to study abroad at a higher rate. These elements serve as a recommended framework and set of initial guidelines for student-athletes and athletic departments nationwide.
Date: May 2017
Creator: O'Neil, Chaunte' LaJoyce
Partner: UNT Libraries

Increasing Problem Solving in a Special Education Class by Teaching Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS)

Description: Although there is extensive research demonstrating the benefits of teaching problem solving repertoires to typically developing individuals, there is little research on the effectiveness of these kinds of procedures with individuals with special needs. In this study, a group of special education students in a public school were taught problem solving skills using a curriculum called Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS), which was developed by Robbins (2014). TAPS teaches students five problem solving skills and five active listening skills. This study utilized a multiple baseline design to examine whether training in TAPS would change the way that students solve problems and increase their accuracy when solving problems. In addition, a reversal design was used for each participant, consisting of the presence and the removal of the active listener during different stages of the study. After TAPS training and guided practice sessions, all students demonstrated new problem solving repertoires and their accuracy improved. For some students, having an audience (an active listener) was necessary to maintain their behavior. Further research is needed to determine how to teach students to be their own active listener.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Will, Sean
Partner: UNT Libraries

School System Improvement through Building Leadership, Adult Learning, and Capacity: A Consideration of Instructional Rounds as a Systemic Improvement Practice

Description: The problem of the study was determining the supportive conditions related to instructional rounds (rounds) to understand better what conditions may allow for sustained systemic improvement over time. Three Texas school districts were studied to understand the perceptions of district leaders, principals, teacher leaders, and teachers with regard to the sustainability of instructional rounds as a systemic improvement practice, the supportive conditions necessary for sustainability, the salient characteristics that differentiated rounds from other improvement practices, and the potential of rounds to build organizational capacity. Observation of network rounds visits and document analysis was conducted to determine alignment of perception with observation and documents. Findings include perceptions, themes, and critical factors for the sustainability of rounds as an effective systemic improvement practice. Supportive conditions emerged as the most significant perception expressed by the participants. Implications for action for school districts beginning or continuing implementation of instructional rounds are suggested based upon findings from participant perceptions and observation of networks. Suggestions for future research are shared. With supportive conditions in place, instructional rounds has the potential to serve as an effective systemic improvement practice.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Warnock, Teresa Georgeanne
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Legal Analysis of Litigation against Louisiana Educators and School Districts, Before and After the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act

Description: This dissertation analyzed court decisions in injuries on school grounds cases under the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act. The question addressed was: How have the Louisiana courts interpreted the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act in litigation against Louisiana school districts and their employees? The intent of this study was to show how Louisiana's legal system has evolved, and how that evolution affected tort cases involving school boards and school board employees. Doctrinal legal research was the methodology used to answer the research question. To limit the number of cases analyzed, this study only focused on tort claims involving injury on school property. In order to gain a broad perspective, tort claims cases filed prior to the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, cases filed after the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, and cases filed after the 1995 Louisiana Liability Limits Amendment, and the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act of 1996 were analyzed. By analyzing the tort claims brought against Louisiana school districts and employees during the various time-periods, it was clear to see how the case rulings reflected the frequent changes of the Louisiana Constitution and its' laws. In the end, the state continued to control who could sue them and how much they would pay in damages.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Price, Charie Wesley
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship among Select School Variables and 8th Grade African American Male Academic Achievement

Description: This study was designed to investigate the correlational relationship between four school elements listed on the Texas Academic Progress Report (TAPR) and the academic achievement of 8th grade African American male students. Data for this study was provided from the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Office for Public Information Requests. The study included four independent variables: percent of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, average years of teachers' experience, attendance rate and average class size in mathematics. The dependent variable was the 8th grade African American males' performance on the mathematics STAAR exam. The study examined scores from the mathematics STAAR exam for the years 2012-2014. The sample population included 1,540 schools and 47,169 individual test results. The results of the correlational analysis indicate that none of the independent variables were correlated to each other, but each of the independent variables had a statistically significant correlation with the dependent variable at the p < .05 level. The study also sought to explore the variance in academic achievement that could be explained by the four independent variables when used as a model. The results of the simple multiple regression suggest that not only were the results statistically significant at the p < .01 level, but the model explained 32.4% of the variance in 8th grade African American males' performance on the STAAR mathematics exam in the years 2012-2014.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Bowser Jr., Jimmy Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Supportive Systems for Building Capacity of the Elementary Instructional Coach

Description: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the systems in place to build the capacity of elementary instructional coaches in a fast-growth district. Through syntheses of research from educational scholars, the conceptual framework was developed with a focus on building capacity of instructional coaches in an ever-changing environment of fast-growth through the lens of professional learning communities, human and social capital, and support from district and campus administration. This study assessed the perceptions of six instructional coaches, six principals, and six district leaders from Rose ISD regarding the school district's support for building the capacity of instructional coaches within the elementary instructional coaching program. The three-part data collection process included document analysis, in-depth interviews, and focus group interviews to support triangulation of data. Through the a priori coding process, the following four themes emerged that highlight key components needed to support district leaders in establishing systems to build the capacity of instructional coaches in an ever-changing environment caused by fast growth: structured time for professional learning, program clarity, collaborative support systems, and implementation of a professional learning community framework. This study revealed a specific need to further understand systems for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional coaching program in an ever-changing environment of a fast-growth district.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Fiori, Christy
Partner: UNT Libraries