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Strategic Design: An Action Research Study on Community Relations in a Texas School District

Description: School leaders often contemplate implementing measures that will increase community and parent involvement in schools. There is a shortage of research that concisely takes school leadership through a process that details how to integrate parent and community input in a school transformation initiative and careful analysis of student outcomes. Within this study, I provide an in-depth look at one school district’s efforts to engage its community through strategic planning and mission and vision redesign. This process includes community involvement at every phase. For the purpose of this study, community refers to both community members who do not have children in the school system and parents of current students. In this study, I outline the inception of the transformation effort, the ongoing efforts to include community input in decision-making and campus implementation, and finally a review of the overarching impact on leadership, staff, students and community. Data collection analyzed in this study include assessment data, survey data, discipline data and walk through data collected by the school district.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Jund, Nicole Cathryn
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of the Leadership Competency Frameworks of Nontraditional Principal Preparation Programs

Description: This study explored the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs to determine how they aligned to research-based best practices for school leaders. The research questions that guided this work were: To what degree are the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities addressed in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs? How do the leaders of the nontraditional principal preparation programs view the degree to which their competencies include the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities? A multi-case study analysis was conducted that compared the competency frameworks of four nontraditional principal preparation programs. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), New Leaders, New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA), and Teaching Trust were the nontraditional programs selected for this study. Leaders from the four organizations were interviewed. The findings from the research illustrated that a majority of the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities were included in the competency frameworks of nontraditional principal preparation programs. The study revealed that four of the McREL 21 were not included in any of the competency frameworks. Another finding was the lack of focus on talent management and personal dispositions in the McREL 21 Leadership Responsibilities. Nontraditional principal preparation programs are a growing avenue for principal preparation, as such their use of research on principal success was promising
Date: May 2016
Creator: Horton, Tonya Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Determinants of Principal Pay in the State of Texas

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine district, campus, and community determinants of principal’s salaries using a spatial econometric framework. Among the district variables business tax (p = 0.001), property tax (p < .01), and the Herfindahl Index (measure of competition) were statistically significant indicators of principal salaries. The results suggest that more affluent districts tend to pay principals higher salaries, which was expected. Regarding campus characteristics, the percent of economically disadvantaged was not a statistically sound indicator (p = 0.468), but campus enrollment was significant (p = <.01). Interestingly as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students increased, the principal salary decreased. In contrast, as student enrollment increases the salary of principals increases, suggesting that principals of larger campuses earn higher salaries. Interestingly, student achievement was not a statistically significant predictor of principals’ salary given that pay for performance in Texas is at the forefront of political debate. Among the variables examined at the community level, only the percentage of homes owner occupied (p = 0.002) was found to be a statistically significant indicator of principal salary (p = .002). The lack of evidence on reforms, such as determinants of principal salary, points to data and research deficiencies to be addressed in order to learn more about their effects and make sound public policies. The paper utilized a spatial regression approach to examine the determinants of principal salary using data from the local, state, and national data sources. Principal salaries are viewed from several lenses in this study by considering effective outcomes of pay defined by actual salaries and market considerations for pay as defined by community, organizational, and human capital variables. Literature from the private sector as well as from the public school setting was used as a theoretical underpinning for the hypotheses set forth in this study. ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Asbury, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effectiveness of a Professional Learning Community on Student Achievement in Elementary Reading and Mathematics in a Large Urban School District

Description: The study was to determine the impact of a Professional Learning Community on student achievement as measured by the state's criterion referenced reading and mathematics achievement tests. Data for this study were extracted from the school district's student database. Two cohorts of 90 students each were randomly selected from a population of approximately 600 students in 3 schools that participated in a Professional Learning Community (treatment) and 3 schools that did not (control). Professional Learning Communities known as PLCs, can serve as a major theoretical framework to promote the improvement of classroom teachers' instructional practice, teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Reading and mathemtics mean scale scores were extracted at three time points (year 1, year 2, and year 3) across three grades (grade 3, grade 4 and grade 5). Test for equality of variance found that no statistically significant difference existed between the mean scale scores of the two cohorts at the beginning of the study. The findings revealed that both cohorts trend toward increased academic achievement from year to year individually; however, when compared to each other, no statistically significant difference existed. Further research is indicated to examine each PLC for implementation, support and leadership as they relate to the PLC and a focus on instruction and learning.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Landry, Jacqueline Hayles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Understanding Principal Perceptions of Stress and Burnout: A Qualitative Case Study in North Texas School Districts

Description: This qualitative case study examined principals' perceptions regarding stress and burnout, investigated perspectives regarding ways to alleviate chronic stress, and analyzed the extent to which future role expectations are related to chronic stress and feelings of burnout. Perceptions of eight elementary principals in large, suburban school districts who experienced similar professional preparation prior to receiving their first principalship were analyzed. Participants, identified through criterion sampling, completed a demographic survey and then participated in a one-on-one interview with the researcher. Once data were collected, interviews were transcribed and analyzed to determine categories and themes. Findings revealed that participants struggle with significant stress in six specified domains: school type, students, parents and community, staff, district personnel, and other. Half of participants perceive that their stress will rise during the next five to ten years. Thirty-eight percent predicted that job stress will decline in the coming years, though they do not believe that identified stress factors will decrease. Instead, they believe that factors such as experience will help them to deal more effectively with the same challenges. Furthermore, 63% of participants do not plan to remain in their current principalship until retirement. All participants reported current personal stress-management strategies that fall into the categories of work-home balance or healthy habits. In campus-specific strategies, 63% focused on staff morale-building opportunities. Finally, 38% of participants did not feel that their district provides strategies that assist in the management of principalship stress.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Lovell, Joy E
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Instructional Coaching in a Small District: A Mixed Methods Study of Teachers' Concerns

Description: This study utilized a convergent parallel mixed methods design to study teachers' concerns during implementation of instructional coaching for math in a rural PK-12 district in north Texas over a three-year time period. Five campuses were included in the study: one high school (grades 9-12), one middle school (grades 6-8), and three elementary campuses (pre-kindergarten through grade 5). In a school district of 3,400 students and 241 teachers, fifty-two math teachers were surveyed and interviewed for their perceptions and concerns during implementation of instructional math coaching in order to assist central office administration in knowing how to support teachers through the change process. Data included the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) at three points during the study period analyzed through nonparametric statistical analysis. No statistically significant differences were found to exist between campuses. However, a statistically significant difference was found when campuses were grouped by elementary and secondary campuses. Open-Ended Statements of Concern and focus group interview data by campus served as qualitative data to triangulate concerns and to measure situational evidence of rurality influence on teachers' concerns. Convergence of qualitative and quantitative findings indicate concerns clustered in unconcerned, informational, and personal stages. Evidence of rural contextual influences point to limited resources and dense staff relationships in rural schools. This data aids the district under study in supporting teachers through the process of change as an instructional coaching program for math is implemented systemically.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Mayfield, Melissa J
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Longitudinal Impact of Technology Immersion Through a One-to-One Mobile Technology Program on Reading and Math Performance in a Rural Title I Public School District

Description: In conjunction with the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot program (TIP), the State of Texas implemented a four-year annual evaluation called the Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (eTxTiP). It focused on the technology immersion experience through one-to-one mobile technology of sixth grade students in 22 selected middle schools. Initial findings suggested academic growth, especially in math, increased rigor of student work, greater teacher collaboration, a more positive school environment, and transformation of instructional practices. This study focused on one of the original schools selected to participate in the TIP program, exploring the impact over time of one-to-one mobile technology on one group of students over an 8-year period beginning with their third grade year. The selected school’s demographic makeup reflected a large number of schools within the state, including its size, rural location and economically disadvantaged student population. Based on an interrupted time series design, state assessment data was analyzed using a piecewise growth model. The study revealed no statistically significant academic growth in reading and math performance among the participants.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ice, Laura R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-efficacy, Academic Engagement, and Student-teacher Relationships for Ninth-grade African American Male Students’ Algebra I Achievement: a Structural Equation Model

Description: The purpose of the current study was to discern the effects of three latent constructs – self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships on Algebra I achievement among ninth-grade African American male students. A nationally representative sample from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS09) was used in the study. Study participants were 697 African American males enrolled in ninth grade in the fall of 2009 across the United States. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analytical procedures were performed to test the hypothesized relationships of Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) theoretical assumptions. The results indicate that the three latent variables directly or indirectly were related to Algebra I achievement among ninth grade African American male students. Moreover, the results revealed that self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships constructs had direct significant impact on Algebra I academic performance; nonetheless, the relationships were not strong. These two latent variables had small effect sizes of 5% and 1%, respectively. Combined, self-efficacy, academic engagement, and student-teacher relationships explained only 8% of the variance in the Algebra I achievement among African American males across the United States (R2=.08). The magnitude effect of these factors on Algebra I achievement was minimal. Overall, these findings suggest that the self-efficacy and student-teacher relationships latent variables had a negligible effect as predictors of Algebra I academic success among ninth grade African American male students. A summary of the results are presented and future research is recommended.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Onsongo, Evans N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Instructional Delivery Method in an Elective Business Class Impact Student Achievement with Respect to Gender, Race and Socio-economic Status in a Selected Texas Public School District?

Description: The problem that guided this study was a socio-constructivist view of education via online learning. Based in the extant literature, a deficiency existed that directly correlated online learning closing the academic achievement gap between student populations. In other words, schools invested in technology; however, few empirical data sets existed that established a connection between technology integration and the academic achievement of different student groups. The purpose of this pooled regression analysis study was to determine whether the method of class instruction effected academic achievement gaps between three subpopulations based on gender, race, and SES. Specifically, this study examined whether gender, race, and SES could predict semester grades within and across traditional, blended, and online course instructional methods. The dependent variable for this study was student success in the form of an end-of-unit test grade designed to evaluate student understanding of the curriculum. The independent variables included student gender, ethnicity, and SES. Quantitative data were collected through an analysis of Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and student end-of-unit exam grades. The research suggests one combined interaction, [gender x race] in the traditional learning environment, is statistically significant while several independent interactions are significant. Those independent interactions are TAKS scores, gender, and Socio-economic status. According to the trends in this research, no significant differences exists in academic achievement between African American males and White males enrolled in traditional, blended or online classes. This non-significance is important. As suggested, when all other external factors, in this research, are held constant and the academic playing field is level, male students perform equally within the classroom, also, because no significant differences exists in academic achievement, the quality of instruction from well-trained, highly qualified educators can be an integral factor in closing the achievement gap between African American, low-SES male students.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Eldridge D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

School and Community Partnerships: Effect on At-risk Elementary Student Populations

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the current practices of school and community partnerships in five North Texas elementary schools. In addition, the study focused on the influence community partnerships have on at-risk students based on at-risk indicators data. The literature revealed that when schools, parents, and families work together, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enrolled in coursework beyond high school. The target population included approximately 350 administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals from five North Texas elementary schools. Also included were the respective partners from each of the five elementary schools. This research included online survey instrument and data were gathered and analyzed through a combination of statistical procedures and descriptive and inferential statistics. The results may provide other schools with a profile of school and community partnerships that can be implemented as a method to help their at-risk student populations. Findings included a descriptive analysis of factors that contributed to the success of community engagement efforts as well as those factors that limited those efforts. A secondary purpose of this study was of continuous improvement in developing these approaches through a goal-setting approach. Schools included in the study provided a next steps plan by describing their major goal(s) for improving existing school and community partnerships over the next 3 years.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Tucker, Linda Cavazos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Organizational Behavior: Perceptions Analysis of Micro and Macro Organizational Behavior in an Organizational Setting

Description: Understanding organizational behavior (OB) has profoundly influenced organizational performance and how people behave in organizations. Researchers have suggested various micro and macro organizational behaviors to be the impetus for high-performing organizations. Through a policy capturing approach this study builds on these findings by specifically examining the perceptions of micro and macro organizational behaviors in an organizational setting. The participants (n =181) completed a Micro and Macro Organizational Behavior Perceptions Questionnaire. Results showed perception differences exist between subordinates and supervisors. Additionally, participants perceived job satisfaction to be the most important micro organizational behavior, whereas organizational design was perceived to be the most important macro organizational behavior. However when comparing hierarchal positions in the organization, supervisors weighted leadership as the most important and subordinates weighted job satisfaction as the most important organizational behavior. While these findings only scratch the surface as to how organizational behavior is perceived, the implications challenge leaders to close the OB perception gap. Correspondingly, organizational behavior thinking may result in improving individual and organizational performance.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Delich, Joshua T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Culturally Proficient Leadership: Teacher Perceptions of Elementary School Principals in Urban, Title I Schools

Description: This study examined elementary teachers’ perceptions of their principal’s level of cultural proficiency. Practices for Developing a Culturally Competent School Environment, a survey Camille Smith and adapted by Dr. Mack T. Hines, was completed from a sample size of 119 teachers. The survey contained 35 items, including six constructs: valuing diversity, assessing the culture, managing the dynamics of difference, institutionalizing cultural knowledge and resources, adapting to diversity and inclusiveness. Teachers rated their principal using a Likert scale which consisted of 1 = never uses, 2 = rarely uses, 3 = sometimes uses, 4 = frequently uses, and 5 = always uses. Teachers of various races, ages and years with their principal participated in this study. The study reveals that these variables do not make a statistically significant difference in the teachers’ perception of how proficient they are in valuing diversity, a assessing his/her own culture and institutionalizing cultural knowledge. This quantitative study reveals the variances of statistical significance of teacher demographics: age, gender, years served under current principal and accountability rating of the school. Cultural proficiency is important to the development and maintenance of the necessary relationships among students, teachers, principals and the school community.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hendrix, Royond P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

District Support: Strategies for Building Capacity in Elementary Principals in a Rapid Growth District

Description: The purpose of this descriptive case study was to examine the role of the central office staff and the strategies used to support capacity building in elementary principals in a rapid growth district. By synthesizing research and models from education reform scholars, the conceptual framework of professional capital, intrinsic motivation, the educational change process, and professional learning communities was generated to advance the understanding of utilizing PLCs as a foundation for central office to initiate and sustain continuous improvement in a rapid growth district. The Professional Learning Community Assessment - District Support developed by Olivier, Huffman, and Cowan was administered to 126 participants within the curriculum and instruction department and three elementary schools to collect data to analyze the five dimensions of PLCs within the school district. Eleven interviews were conducted with members of the curriculum and instruction department and elementary principals. According to the eleven interviewees, and PLCA-DS, six themes emerged to support the role of capacity building in elementary principals using the PLC model as a framework. The PLC infrastructure, supportive central office, collaborative culture, continuous improvement, differentiated opportunities to learn, and data use were the six themes generated by the participants to support continuous improvement in elementary principals. Each of the five PLC dimensions were visible throughout the themes as the findings illustrated six key practices currently in motion within the rapid growth school district used to build capacity in elementary principals.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Jamar, Jacye
Partner: UNT Libraries

Adequacy and Equity: How the Texas Supreme Court's Perceptions Have Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Description: The purpose of this study identifies state court cases involving public school finance specifically related to adequacy and equity in funding. Results address how state court cases have challenged the constitutionality of school finance in the United States, including Texas, over the last 50 years. The study further shows how the decisions from previous cases have influenced the Supreme Court of Texas decision in the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness litigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Ford, Daniel William
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship between the Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam and Student Achievement in College Level Math 1710-Calculus I

Description: The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the relationship between the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam and student achievement in college level Math 1710-Calculus I. The review of literature shows that this possible relationship is based on Alexander Astin's longitudinal input-environment-outcome (I-E-O) model. The I-E-O model was used to analyze the relationship between the input and outcome of the two variables. In addition, this quantitative study determined the relationship between a score of 3 or lower on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam and student achievement in college level Math 1710-Calculus I. The sample population of this study contained 91 students from various high schools in Texas. Spearman's rank correlation revealed there was a statistically significant relationship between Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam scores and final grades in Math 1710-Calculus I.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Bethley, Troy Y
Partner: UNT Libraries

Becoming Successful in Education: Beating the Odds, Despite a Background Entrenched in Poverty

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of three relationships on academic achievement in mathematics in students of poverty. The three factors that were examined included: teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer- student relationships. The driving question for the research was as follows: Do external factors such as teacher-student relationships, parent-student relationships and peer-student relationships lead to academic success for students of poverty? The study employed a non-experimental, quantitative approach and utilized longitudinal data from a national database High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS) used a sample of 944 public and private high schools across the USA. A total 0f 28,240 were represented in the survey. Of these 28,240 students, 2641 were used in this study as identified by parental income below the poverty threshold. The outcome of the study indicated that there was little or no correlation between the three relationships and mathematics achievement (academic success). Correlations between the dependent variable (math achievement) and the independent variables even though some were statistically significant their weights had no concrete significance. The study recommends that several initiatives can be instated in schools to support and enhance academic achievement in students of poverty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Thompson, Pauline A
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of Litigation against Kansas Educators and School Districts under the Kansas Tort Claims Act

Description: This dissertation examines the significance of the Kansas Tort Claims Act of 1979 on state of Kansas court decisions in litigation against Kansas school districts and their employees. Through providing a historical perspective of the adoption and abolishment of the doctrine of sovereign immunity in the United States, which subsequently led to the enactment of the Federal Tort Claims Act, and ultimately led to the Kansas Tort Claims Act, the researcher analyzes pertinent case law and scholarly commentary pertaining to school negligence litigation. The goal of the analysis is to answer the following research question: How have Kansas state courts interpreted the Kansas Tort Claims Act in litigation against state school districts and their employees? Although the KTCA provides citizens with a vehicle for redress against governmental entities by virtue of tort claims, the KTCA also provides immunities from liability for governmental entities and their employees under exceptions to the KTCA. Most notably, the discretionary function exception and the recreational use exception are two exceptions to liability applied in a significant number of tort cases against Kansas school districts and employees. The case law analysis provides explanations for the types of actions of negligence that Kansas courts have qualified for school district or school employee liability, and, when permitted, negligent actions that qualified for immunity under a KTCA exception to liability.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Perry, Shaun Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Bring Your Own Device Initiatives Related to Instructional Planning and Classroom Environment in Two Texas High Schools

Description: This study was an examination of 20 North Texas high school teachers' perceptions about the effects of bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives on instructional planning and classroom environment. The BYOD initiative at two high school campuses was studied through a qualitative approach, i.e. a collective case study. Data were collected through interviews, classroom observations, and reviews of participants' lesson planning documents. The findings indicated teachers had to plan for inequitable technology access, technology support, effective classroom management, and relevant content to support student learning effectively. Teachers participated in professional development focused on planning for student devices, effective use of instructional technology, and classroom management during this type of instruction. Results revealed that, during instruction that included students' devices, teachers believed student engagement and content retention were greater. Observation data also indicated that students were more engaged in the instruction. The interviews and classroom observations indicated that students assumed a more active role in their learning during these lessons, and teachers facilitated and provided more support as needed. Effective planning and classroom management were identified as key components in the success of this type of initiative. Overall, the study supports the necessity for relevant professional development for teachers and campus administrators to ensure the success of BYOD initiatives. Similarly, these two groups should work together to develop the campus framework to support BYOD technology in the classroom.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Miller, Shawn J
Partner: UNT Libraries

School District Actions that Support the Development of Professional Learning Communities in High Schools

Description: A gap exists in education research in the area of district support for campus-based professional learning communities (PLCs). The current study was an examination of practitioner perceptions of district structures and practices that support the development and sustainability of PLCs in public high schools. I examined the perceptions of 341 teachers, campus administrators, and district administrators in a suburban North Texas public school district with three comprehensive high schools. Using a sequential mixed-method design, quantitative data from an electronic survey and qualitative data from face-to-face interviews were collected and analyzed. The findings revealed a generally positive view of central office support among the participants, including consistent ratings from each high school, each campus-level position, each content area, and each level of experience in the district. There was some misalignment of perceptions between campus-level and district-level staff. The study also uncovered a set of best and worst district practices, the six PLC strengtheners and six PLC inhibitors, which were synthesized into a set of recommendations and guidelines for district support for high school PLCs. From participant feedback, I concluded district support is needed and desired by high school practitioners and there are specific district practices and structures that are most effective. While the study results provide a practical set of recommendations for school districts for supporting high school PLC efforts, expanded research is necessary to confirm transferability to school districts of diverse sizes, locations, and demographics.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Axelson, Gregory Carl
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teacher Perceptions of Pay-for-Performance: An Investigation of Four Middle School Pay-for-Performance Programs in a Large Urban School District

Description: In this study, I explored the different perceptions of teachers in a large urban school district in Texas towards a pay-for-performance program used on their respective campuses between 2011-2016. In total, 97 teachers from four different middle school campuses participated in this study. A descriptive analyst was conducted on teacher responses to an online survey to answer the research questions examined in this study: 1) What are teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance program's impact on teacher motivation?, 2) What are teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance program's impact on teacher retention?, and 3) What are the differences among teachers' perceptions of the pay-for-performance programs on the participating campuses? The results indicate 48.3% and 53.4% of the participants perceive pay-for-performance programs as having a positive impact on teacher motivation and teacher retention, respectively. Additionally, the results demonstrate 47.5% of participating teachers responded positively towards the pay-for-performance program on their respective campuses. This study has implications for policymakers and school district leaders who may consider implementing teacher pay-for-performance programs. Future research studies might explore school districts of different sizes throughout Texas and across the United States to gain a broader prospective of pay-for-performance programs.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Whitaker, Norbert L
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship between Teacher Attrition and Student Achievement in Reading among Middle School Students

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a significant relationship existed between teacher attrition and student success in middle school reading by conducting a quantitative analysis. Additionally, the inclusion of school demographic characteristics were included in the model to consider previous findings referencing the challenges schools face in attracting and retaining teachers in low performing urban schools with high populations of economically disadvantaged and minority students. In this analysis, the relationship between teacher attrition and student achievement in middle school as measured by the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for reading among middle school students in Grades 6, 7, and 8, as reported on the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), were examined. The regression models used to analyze the three research questions addressed in the study include an examination of teacher attrition on campus pass rates, and grade level pass rates for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades as measured by the STAAR Reading assessment. The data utilized in this study were collected from seven North Texas middle schools in a fast growth school district together with their comparable campuses as identified by the Texas Education Agency for the school years 2013-2014 through 2015-2016. The results of the analysis indicate teacher attrition accounts for a significant variance in STAAR Reading pass rates among middle school students. Additionally, the school demographic characteristics defined as percentage economically disadvantaged, percentage English language learners, mobility rates, and percentage white students account for 83.4% of the variance in the average campus pass rates for STAAR Reading when combined.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Perkins, Gwendolyn Moseley
Partner: UNT Libraries

Predictors of Postsecondary Success: An Analysis of First Year College Remediation

Description: This study was a quantitative multiple regression investigation into the relationships between campus factors of high school students graduating in 2013 who immediately enrolled in first-year college freshman level remedial coursework at a large, Central Texas two-year postsecondary institution. The goal of this study was to determine which high school campus-level factors predicted enrollment into college remedial education coursework. The dependent variable was a continuous variable representing the percentage of students from Texas public high school campuses enrolled into at least one student credit hour of remedial education during their first semester as a first-year college student. Eight high school campus-level independent variables were included in the regression model at the campus-level: at risk percentage, economically disadvantaged percentage, limited English proficient percentage, advanced course/dual-enrollment percentage, college ready math percentage, college ready English percentage, ACT average, and SAT average. Pearson correlations and linear regression results were examined and interpreted to determine the level of relationship between the eight selected variables and first-year college student remedial coursework. The multiple regression model successfully explained 26.3% (F(8,286) = 12.74. p < 0.05, r2 = 0.263) of the variance between first-year college students enrolled into remedial coursework at a large, Central Texas two-year postsecondary institution and the campus-level variables from high schools from which they graduated and indicated campus-level economic disadvantaged percentage and campus-level SAT average to be statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Baker, Emmett Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Professional Learning Communities: A Comparative Case Study of Shared Personal Practice

Description: Effective instructional practice has a significant impact on student learning. Shared personal practice within a professional learning team (PLT) is one of the key elements in consistently improved instructional practice. However, this PLT characteristic is often the least evident and the hardest to absorb into PLT culture. This study examined the relational characteristics, facilitating factors, or barriers to shared personal practice within a PLT. Two PLTs in core subject areas across two Texas high school campuses were included in this comparative case study. Data from document analysis, PLC observations, focus group interviews, and in-depth individual interviews were examined thematically to answer the research questions guiding this study. The results of this study revealed that building strong relationships and an emphasis on collective creativity were strong predictors of sharing personal practice. Collective clarity on PLT practices and the purpose of sharing personal practice increased the success and occurrence of sharing personal practice. The results also revealed that the copious tasks of teaching and negative perceptions of being observed by colleagues hindered consistent sharing of personal practice. This study describes the current context of shared personal practice as a foundation for future studies to examine how practice can be transformed.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Curtis, Anna E
Partner: UNT Libraries