Search Results

Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students

Description: Today's global culture makes communication through writing in a foreign language a most desirable tool to expand personal and professional relations. However, teaching writing is a complex, time-consuming endeavor in any language. Foreign language teachers at every level struggle to fit writing into an already full curriculum and need the most effective methods and tools with which to teach. Technology may provide a viable scaffold to support writing instruction for teachers and students. The purpose of this research was to determine any benefits of weekly/structured, in-class, computer-assisted grammar drill and practice on the composition quality and quantity of intermediate university Spanish learners. A related purpose was to determine whether students who participated in such practice would access a computer-based writing assistant differently during writing than students without the treatment. The research design was a nonequivalent groups pretest-posttest design. Fifty-two subjects' compositions were graded with both holistic and analytic criteria to analyze composition quality and quantity, and statistical analyses assessed interactions of treatment and effects. The computer-based Atajo writing assistant, which could be accessed during composition, had a logging feature which provided unobtrusive observation of specific databases accessed by each student. There were no statistically significant differences found between the two groups in overall composition scores or in subscale scores. Improvements across time were observed in composition performance for both the experimental and control groups. The implementation of computer-based grammar and vocabulary practice did show a small to moderate positive effect; that is to say, students who received weekly, structured computer grammar and vocabulary practice had higher scores for composition quality and quantity on the posttest measure and accessed the databases less than the control group. The consistent positive trends in the composition data results intimate that over a more extended period of time, computer-based grammar instruction might enhance the quality ...
Date: December 2004
Creator: Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta
Partner: UNT Libraries

Home-based family literacy practices of an Hispanic family: A case study of activities, functions, and the interface with school-based literacy expectations.

Description: This study examined the home-based family literacy practices of one Hispanic family, especially focusing on the parents' memories of home-based and school-based literacy activities, current home-based literacy activities and functions, and the interface of home-based family literacy practices and school-based literacy expectations. Ethnographic data offered insight into the understanding that literacy acquisition begins in the home and is dependent and reflective of literacy experiences that are sociocultural based. These home-based family literacy activities and functions are broad in scope and are valuable forms of literacy. However, these activities of marginalized families are often regarded as unimportant and/or unrelated to school-based literacy expectations, and therefore inferior. In response to this perceived mismatch between home-based family literacy activities and school-based literacy expectations, educators approached families from a deficit perspective. This deficit assumption created a sense of devalue on the part of the parents, who assisted their children by culturally and socially relevant means. To meet the school-based literacy expectations familial relationships were jeopardized as the pressure, frustration, and guilt from educators can result in emotional and physical abuse from mother to her children.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Page, Jim Larkin
Partner: UNT Libraries

Assessing Linguistic, Mathematical, and Visual Factors Related to Student Performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, Eighth Grade Mathematics Test.

Description: The No Child Left Behind Act and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Principles and Standards both had a significant impact on the format and content of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) math test. Content analysis of the 2004 TAKS eighth grade math test identified the prevalence of linguistic complexity, mathematical rigor, and visual presentation factors and explored their relationship to student success on individual test items. Variables to be studied were identified through a review of literature in the area of reading comprehension of math word problems. Sixteen variables of linguistic complexity that have been significantly correlated with student math test performance were selected. Four variables of visual presentation were identified and ten variables of mathematical rigor. An additional five variables of mathematical rigor emerged from preliminary study of the 2003 TAKS math test. Of the 35 individual variables, only four reached a significant level of correlation with the percent of students correctly answering a given test item. The number of digits presented in the problem statement and number of known quantities both exhibited a significant positive correlation with the dependent variable. The number of times a student had to perform a multiplication operation had a significant negative correlation with the percent of correct responses, as did the total number of operations required. Stepwise regression of these four variables revealed total number of operations and known quantities to be the best combination of predictors of correct responses. When grouped in categories by problem type and compared, items involving mathematical reasoning but no mathematical operations had a significantly higher percentage of correct responses than those requiring at least one operation. Further categorization revealed problems involving applications only (without computation) associated with the highest levels of correct responses, followed by those involving only computation. Items requiring both applications ...
Date: August 2005
Creator: Norgaard, Holly Luttrell
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

From inside the Arab family: What literacy practices occur when raising bilingual and biliterate children?

Description: Living in the United States creates unique challenges in biliteracy and bilingualism for the Arab family. While extant literature provides insight into the literacy interactions and experiences of families from many other cultures now living in the U.S. , there is next to nothing regarding the Arab family literacy experience. Thus, knowledge about the literacy activities Arab families engage in as they gain access to and knowledge of a new culture and language is important. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the literacy practices of the Arab families raising bilingual and biliterate children in the U.S. This study , using methodology based on ethnographic approaches, investigated the literacy events, behaviors and interactions which occurred within one Arab family over a 16-week period. A second group of participants were 5 other Arab families living in the U.S. Data sources included video and audio recordings, field notes, observations, journals, informal interviews, and artifacts of children's literacy. The researcher and the participants engaged as co-participants in the research. Findings showed that driving factors behind home literacy practices were religious beliefs and the imminence of return to the home country. Arab mothers were found to yield a heavy influence on the pursuit of literacy, as well as the consistency of literacy learning events in the home. Findings should contribute to helping parents of children with different cultural backgrounds and languages provide the most effective types of support in the home instruction to develop fluency in both the new and the primary language. Information gathered would also help teachers bring together these children with their peers and the subject matter to create a positive synergy wherein all learners can be successful.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Alshaboul, Yousef Mohammad
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring Thai EFL University Students' Awareness of Their Knowledge, Use, and Control of Strategies in Reading and Writing

Description: The purpose of this research was to conduct case studies to explore and describe Thai university students' awareness and application of cognitive and metacognitive strategies when reading and writing in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL). Four participants, including two high and two low English language proficiency learners, were selected from 14 students enrolled in a five-week course called English for Social Sciences offered at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005. The major sources of data for the analyses included the transcripts of the participants' pair discussions, think-aloud protocols, interviews, and daily journal entries. In addition, field work observations, reading and writing strategy checklists, participants' written work, and the comparison of the pretest and posttest results were also instrumental to the analyses. The interpretive approach of content analysis was employed for these four case studies. Findings were initially derived from the single-case analyses, and then from cross-case analyses. Major findings revealed that strategic knowledge enhanced these English-as-a-foreign- language (EFL) learners' proficiency in English reading and writing. However, applying elaborative strategies for higher-level reading was challenging for most of the participants. Two crucial factors that impeded their development were the learners' uncertain procedural and conditional knowledge of strategy uses and their limited English language proficiency due to limited exposure to the second language (L2). The teacher's explanations and modeling of strategies, the participants' opportunities to discuss strategy use with peers, and extensive practice positively enhanced their development. Additionally, the learners' schema and knowledge of text structures played significant roles in their development of the two skills. These English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners also developed metacognitive awareness and strategy applications, but not to the level that always enhanced effective regulation and control of their reading and writing behaviors. Combining reading and writing in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) instruction promoted the learners' awareness of the relationships of certain strategies for ...
Date: December 2006
Creator: Tapinta, Pataraporn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Authors, Protagonists, and Moral Decision Making in Contemporary Young Adult Realistic Fiction: a Content Analysis

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate if there is a difference in the way male and female authors of contemporary realistic fiction for young adults portray decision making by their male or female protagonists. Questions asked in the study were: (1) Do female writers of contemporary young adult realistic fiction employ an ethic of justice or an ethic of care for male protagonists involved in moral decision making? (2) Do female writers of contemporary young adult realistic fiction employ an ethic of justice or an ethic of care for female protagonists involved in moral decision making? (3) Do male writers of contemporary young adult realistic fiction employ an ethic of justice or an ethic of care for male protagonists involved in moral decision making? and (4) Do male writers of contemporary young adult realistic fiction employ an ethic of justice or an ethic of care for female protagonists involved in moral decision making? Content analysis was used as the method of collecting data. The sample consisted of 194 novels written from 1989 to 1998, 53 of which contained a moral dilemma. A discussion of the novels included examples of moral dilemmas, alternative solutions, dilemma resolutions, and resolutions based upon care or justice. Analysis of the data revealed: (1) Female writers employ an ethic of care and an ethic of justice for male protagonists involved in moral decision making. (2) Female writers prefer an ethic of care for female protagonists involved in moral decision making. (3) Male writers prefer an ethic of justice for male protagonists involved in moral decision making. (4) Male writers prefer an ethic of justice for female protagonists involved in moral decision making.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Ford, Peggy Kathleen Ollar
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Content Analysis of Reading Software Commercially Available for Pre-K to 3rd Grade Children.

Description: The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the content and characteristics of the currently available commercial reading software for Pre-K through third grade children. The design of the study was a content analysis. Based on the evaluation rubric established by the researcher, ten commercial reading software were selected to be analyzed. By reviewing and transcribing, the data were obtained, and then coded, categorized, and interpreted. The findings from the analysis revealed that all reading software programs offered exercised for practicing basic phonics skills; the alphabetic principle, letter-sound association, word knowledge, sentence building, and reading comprehension. Depending on the software developers, phonics-based practice was presented in two ways; separate skill-based practice emphasis and storybook-reading emphasis. All software programs utilized drill-and-practice, direct instruction and mastery learning methods and utilized gaming strategies to motivate and engage the learners. Multimedia technology was used to make the software more appealing. All reading software programs were developed on the perspectives that view learning to read as the continuum of a child's oral language development and background experience about words. It is recommended that parents and teachers review and select the software based on reliable information sources, use the software as supplementary practice based on the learning objectives identified and individual student needs.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Nakjan, Sutat
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of Written Composition Assessment Using Standard Format Versus Alternate Format Among College-Bound Students with Learning Disabilities and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy of using a computer word processing program in the assessment of written expression with college-bound individuals who had been diagnosed with a learning disability (LD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Fifty-six (35 eleventh and 21 twelfth) graders, attending a private college-preparatory school for students with LD and/or ADHD, were administered the Spontaneous Writing composite of the Test of Written Expression - Third Edition (TOWL-3). The TOWL-3 has equivalent forms, Form A and Form B. One form was administered in accordance with the test manual, using paper and pencil (standard format). The other form (i.e., alternate format) was administered with word processing access. Paired samples tests (repeated measure) and bivariate correlation designs were computed to explore the relationships between measures. Results of the study revealed significant increases (p<.01) in the subtest and composite scores when participants were administered the test in the alternate format. Other components of the research study did not reveal strong meaningful relationships when cognitive ability, graphomotor speed, and keyboarding rate were compared with the standard and/or alternative formats of the writing composite. A high rate of comorbity was exhibited with the majority of participants (75%) having two or more LD and/or ADHD diagnoses. On an informal questionnaire, the participants endorsed a strong preference for the use of word processors in the majority of their written academic tasks. The study concludes that for students who are accustomed to producing written work on a word processor, restriction from this writing tool can adversely affect the results of their product, leaving a false impression, underestimating their writing skills, ability, creativity, and subject knowledge. In addition, having access to a word processor during high stakes testing is paramount. Inaccurate results can affect future opportunities, such as admission to postsecondary educational settings. In ...
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Morris, Mary Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Beating the High Stakes Testing Game: A Three-Year Study of Improvement Rates on the TAKS Social Studies Exit Exam.

Description: The Texas high school class of 2005 faced a defining test that had no precedent in Texas and little nationally. Social studies testing is a relatively new addition to the world of high stakes testing currently impacting United States high schools. Although other diploma dependent areas of mandated testing have some testing history and, therefore, related paradigms for curriculum and instructional assistance, the area of social studies largely lacks that perspective. Texas Education agency provided specific school grant monies and training for the purpose of preparation for the social studies exams. This quasi-experimental study examines the scores to learn whether or not any statistically significant differences in social studies scores would exist between the schools that participated in the TEKS/Tools Training Program and the schools that did not participate in the TEKS/Tools Training Program. The two primary at-risk groups in Texas, Hispanic and low SES, were analyzed for statistically significant differences in scores. Independent t tests and ANCOVA were used to analyze the score differences between program schools and non-program schools. Results relate to individual school staffing and implementation. The at-risk groups remained flat in score gains whether they were part of the program schools or not. Results relate to differences in learning and teaching for at risk groups. A separate trend analysis was used on the program target school which was the only school with three years of scores to determine improvement from grade 9 to 10 to 11 on the social studies TAKS test scores. Results from the repeated measures analysis indicated a statistically significant linear trend in the program target school's TAKS social studies mean gain scores across the 9th, 10th, and 11th grade levels.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Evans, Barbara Anne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Beliefs About Language Learning Strategy Use in an EFL Context: A Comparison Study of Monolingual Korean and Bilingual Korean-Chinese University Students.

Description: This study compared strategy use and beliefs about language learning, and the relationship between beliefs and use reported by 428 monolingual Korean and 420 bilingual Korean-Chinese university students. This study also examined the influence of background variables (e.g., gender, self-rated English proficiency, and academic major) on learners' beliefs and strategy use. Data was collected using three questionnaires, the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL), the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI), and the Individual Background Questionnaire (IBQ). Data were analyzed using descriptive analyses, principal-component analyses, factor analyses, Pearson r correlation analyses, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and the Scheffé post-hoc test. Monolinguals reported using compensation strategies most, followed by cognitive, metacognitive, memory, social/practical practice, and affective strategies. Bilinguals preferred to use cognitive strategies most, followed by metacognitive and affective, compensation, memory, social, and independent practice strategies. Students from both groups reported low use of social and memory strategies. Despite a less favorable formal English education environment in the Korean-Chinese community and fewer English learning experiences, bilingual Korean-Chinese reported higher use of learning strategies, which indicates bilinguals' superior language learning abilities. Students from both groups had strong instrumental motivation for learning English. Bilinguals held stronger beliefs about the importance of formal learning and felt less fear of speaking English with native English speakers. Significant correlations between strategy and belief variables indicated differences in the impact of beliefs on strategy use for both groups. The result of the MANOVA revealed that bilingual humanities or engineering majors used more strategies and held stronger beliefs about formal learning. Proficiency level was positively correlated with strategy use for both groups. No gender effect on strategy use and beliefs was found. The assumption that differences in the learning experiences of the participants from two distinct geographical and socio-educational learning settings would influence the findings of this ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Hong, Kyungsim
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Investigation of Personal Investment Levels Among Nonmusic Major Piano Students Using Portfolio Assessment

Description: The purpose of this study was to compare personal investment levels among nonmusic major piano students in the contexts of portfolio and teacher-directed assessment. Three problems were addressed: 1) identifying students' perceptions of direction, persistence, continuing motivation, intensity, and performance in the context of teacher-directed goal setting, choice of instructional activities, and evaluation of performance; 2) identifying students' perceptions of the five personal investment behaviors in the context of portfolio assessment; and 3) comparing student perceptions as identified in problems one and two.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Heisler, Paul K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Video-Based versus Live Presentation Staff Development on Teachers' Cognitive Learning and Attitudes

Description: The problem of this study was the identification of effective and efficient means of providing quality staff development for reading instruction within a school-district setting. The study investigated the comparative effectiveness of two staff development delivery systems measured by 1) a cognitive test of a school district's reading program and 2) an affective measure of teacher attitudes toward staff development. The sample was drawn from the teacher population of a large urban school district. The 46 subjects were elementary school teachers in grades K-5 randomly divided into two groups: Group A (videotape with a trained on-site facilitator) and Group B (face-to-face live presenter). Participants in the study received training using "The Fort Worth Reading Program," a staff development program designed by the researcher. In addition to the presentation of content information, which is the central component, the program features small group discussions, off-line activities, and question and answer periods. Both groups received the same treatment with the following exception. A central component to the Group A training was the presentation of content information in a videotape format. Group B did not view the videotape, but received the same information via live presenter. Two instruments developed by the researcher were used in the study: 1) The Teacher Staff Development Questionnaire, a Likert-type survey to obtain teacher attitudes toward staff development, and 2) The Cognitive Test of Reading Knowledge, an instrument designed to measure cognitive objectives of the district's reading program. A multivariate analysis of covariance revealed no statistically significant differences between the groups. It was concluded that elementary classroom teachers, regardless of their attitudes toward staff development, learn content material equally well with either of the two delivery systems explored in this study. Specific suggestions and recommendations for further studies are addressed and discussed. Examples of the measurement instruments are included.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Cox, Alan R. (Alan Ray)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Public Standards/Personal Standards: A Descriptive Study of Eighth Grade Students' Selection Processes for Writing Samples to Include in an Assessment Portfolio

Description: The purpose of this study was to describe the criteria that students reported using when selecting writing samples for an assessment portfolio. Specifically, the study involved content analysis of student responses to five prompts which asked the students to give selection criteria for writing samples in language arts portfolios prepared for assessment. The population consisted of twelve eighth grade students in three urban middle schools. The students were in classes that were participating in the New Standards Portfolio Assessment Field Trial. In addition to the responses to prompts, students also submitted writing samples to be scored using New Standards rubrics. The writing samples were evaluated to determine if the students successfully selected pieces of their writing to provide evidence of standards attainment. Through the analysis of the student responses to the prompts, two categories of selection criteria were noted. Public standards were the standards that corresponded with the criteria that were presented to the students through their use of New Standards performance standards, portfolio exhibit requirements, and entry slips. Personal standards were criteria that did not correspond to the published criteria presented to the students. Ten sub-categories were identified. These ten sub-categories became the instrument for analysis and tabulation of the students' reported criteria for selecting writing samples for their portfolios. Findings indicated that students were willing to use the public standards and that they used them more frequently than personal standards in justifying selections for the assessment portfolio. However, student identification of appropriate criteria did not guarantee that the writing samples that the student submitted received scores that would indicate standards attainment.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Lewis, Linda Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Significance and Impact of Women on the Rise of the Republican Party in Twentieth Century Texas

Description: During the early twentieth century, the Democratic party dominated the conservative political landscape of Texas. Through the 1920s, members of the Republican party focused on patronage and seemed content to maintain the position of minority party. A growing dissatisfaction with the liberal policies of the New Deal during the 1930s created opportunities for state Republicans to woo dissenting Democrats to their side. With a change of leadership within the state GOP after 1950, the Republicans waged serious campaigns for offices for the first time. Republican men exercised their political yearnings through leadership positions. Women, on the other hand, were shut out of the leadership ranks, and, as a consequence, they chose a traditional female strategy. They organized clubs in order to support the new leadership and rising candidates. Against formidable odds, Republican women acted as foot soldiers and worked diligently to attain their objectives. As early as 1920, Texas Republican women began to organize. In 1938 they joined the newly chartered National Federation of Republican Women. In 1955 Texas women organized the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW). Working through the TFRW, the women became the catalysts that broke the Republican party from its state of inertia, and they significantly contributed to the breakdown of the one-party system in Texas. Willing to do the "shoe leather politicking" necessary for victory, women became invaluable to GOP candidates, who began their campaigns in the clubhouses of Republican women. In 1978, with the election of the first Republican governor in a century, Republicans finally brought competitive politics to Texas. By the 1990s, the GOP became the majority party in the state. Republican women were not only important to the growth of the party, they were the driving force that broke the state from the shackles of one-party rule by winning elections through grassroots ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: Strickland, Kristi Throne
Partner: UNT Libraries