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Student to Teacher Racial/Ethnic Ratios as Contributors to Regional Achievement Gaps, 1999-2008

Description: With the advent of No Child Left Behind legislation in 2002 and its mandates for annual yearly progress for all students, many districts and schools in Texas have had difficulty elevating African American and Hispanic students’ scores. The current study examined these students’ achievement on the annual Texas high-stakes measure as a function of a numerical construct that aligns the race/ethnicity of students when the teacher race is White. Earlier studies have shown that racial/ethnic compatibility between students and teachers improves student achievement in the primary grades. The study, which was set in 10 north Texas school districts and 30 high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, examined African American and Hispanic students’ achievement on the Texas state assessments in reading and mathematics over a 10-year period. District performance data came from 4,664,192 African American, Hispanic, and White students and 222, 834 White teachers. Campus level data encompassed 188,839 10th graders, 93,573 eighth graders, and 40,083 fourth graders, and 20,471 White teachers. Analysis revealed that, as the ratios of African American and Hispanic students to White teachers increased, the percentages of these two student groups passing the Texas assessments decreased. These patterns differed for White students whose passing percentages increased as these students’ numbers increased relative to White teachers in all settings except in elementary schools. These preliminary findings suggested that racial alignment at the high school and middle school levels might elevate African American and Hispanic achievement. Implications may lead to shifting focus on teacher quality and class size as the primary determinants of student achievement. Findings need validation with further study using larger data sets and sequential grade levels. If validated through further studies involving larger samples, contiguous grade levels, and more sophisticated statistical analysis, this study’s findings may have implications for teacher education curriculum, recruitment of minority ...
Date: December 2011
Creator: Hays, James M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of a Brain Improvement Program on Students' Reading Achievement

Description: How to close the reading achievement gap among K-12 students is an ongoing emphasis for educators in the 21st century. The purpose of the study was to determine if using kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program improved the reading achievement of Grade 3 Hispanic and African American students. Students from four elementary schools participated in the study. The students in the control and experimental groups completed a 2004 release TAKS third grade reading assessment for the pretest and posttest. Students in the experimental group completed five selected kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program five minutes at the beginning of each Monday through Friday school day. The intervention lasted 30 days and a total of 150 minutes. Data were analyzed using a 2 x 2 mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance. Findings revealed that performing the five kinesthetic movements from the Brain Gym® program did not increase students' reading achievement scores. Only the variable of time between pretest and posttest affected students' reading scores. The results from this study did not support the findings of other studies of the effectiveness of kinesthetic movements.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Sánchez, Edelmira
Partner: UNT Libraries

Student Facilitation and Predictors of Engagement in Peer-Led Literature Circle Discussions

Description: The purpose of this research was to examine the relation between students' personality traits and the extent of their engagement and facilitation in peer-led literature circle discussions. The research was guided by two questions. To what extent do reading ability, gender, and personality traits predict the quality of verbal engagement in literature circles? and How do highly engaged participants facilitate discussion in the circles? The researcher video-taped 17 fourth-grade students' literature circle discussions for a total of 136.7 minutes collected on two separate occasions across two weeks. To answer the first question student contributions in discussions were quantified into a measure of quality of verbal engagement score (cf. Costa & Kallick, 2000). This quality of verbal engagement score served as the dependent variable in a multiple regression. The seven independent variables were (1) extroversion, (2) agreeableness, (3) conscientiousness, (4) emotional stability, (5) openness, (6) reading ability, and (7) gender. The quantitative analysis in this study revealed that emotional stability was the only significant variable that predicted higher quality of verbal engagement. A post hoc analysis that included group size as an additional variable revealed that groups composed of three members correlated with higher overall quality of verbal engagement. The second question was answered through a qualitative analysis of the following: exploratory talk, elaborative feedback, topic management, confessionals, and accountability. Results of this analysis suggest that highly engaged students frequently enhance the group discussions through facilitation. This study extended the extant research by investigating individual factors that may influence the quality of literature circle discussions as well as suggested a framework for understanding facilitation in peer-led literature circle discussions. Further research is needed to determine the influence of group size and personality on varying grade levels.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Young, Chase
Partner: UNT Libraries

Early Literacy of Young Children in New Immigrant and Native Families in Taiwan: Educational and Socio-political Implications

Description: Because of shifting demographics, the Taiwanese government opened the country to immigrants from Southeast Asia. Foreign-born brides of Taiwanese men have contributed significantly to this trend of new immigration, inspiring fears that their children, inadequately prepared for the literacy requirements of early education, might negatively impact the educational system and society. to better understand the socio-political implications of this cultural shift, the researcher gathered data from one hundred and twenty immigrant and native families with first graders in six major cities in Taiwan. Purposes of this research are to: (a) investigate to what extent, if any parenting style is impacted by differences in immigration status between native Taiwanese and Southeast Asian immigrant mothers, (b) examine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles relate to children’s early literacy, and (c) determine to what extent, if any maternal parenting styles along with the children’s and familial characteristics associate with children’s early literacy. the study found that (a) immigrant mothers are statistically lower on authoritative and higher on permissive parenting style than native mothers; (b) immigrant mothers’ participation in integration programs does not relate to maternal parenting styles or children’s literacy performances; (c) children from immigrant families are significantly lower than their peers from native families on receptive vocabulary and phonological awareness; (d) children from higher income families perform better on receptive vocabulary than their lower income peers; (e) children whose mothers are senior high school graduates achieve significantly better on literacy skills than others. Furthermore, children of mothers with higher education perform better on receptive vocabulary than those whose mothers have lower education levels; (f) there was little relationship between children’s literacy development and the three maternal parenting styles; (g) age and gender are the most significant predictors of children’s literacy development. the limited influence of parenting styles on childhood literacy ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Wang, Hui-Fen
Partner: UNT Libraries