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Determination of the Optimal Number of Strata for Bias Reduction in Propensity Score Matching.

Description: Previous research implementing stratification on the propensity score has generally relied on using five strata, based on prior theoretical groundwork and minimal empirical evidence as to the suitability of quintiles to adequately reduce bias in all cases and across all sample sizes. This study investigates bias reduction across varying number of strata and sample sizes via a large-scale simulation to determine the adequacy of quintiles for bias reduction under all conditions. Sample sizes ranged from 100 to 50,000 and strata from 3 to 20. Both the percentage of bias reduction and the standardized selection bias were examined. The results show that while the particular covariates in the simulation met certain criteria with five strata that greater bias reduction could be achieved by increasing the number of strata, especially with larger sample sizes. Simulation code written in R is included.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Akers, Allen
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Structural and Psychometric Evaluation of a Situational Judgment Test: The Workplace Skills Survey

Description: Some basic but desirable employability skills are antecedents of job performance. The Workplace Skills Survey (WSS) is a 48-item situational judgment test (SJT) used to assess non-technical workplace skills for both entry-level and experienced workers. Unfortunately, the psychometric evidence for use of its scores is far from adequate. The purpose of current study was two-fold: (a) to examine the proposed structure of WSS scores using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and (b) to explore the WSS item functioning and performance using item response theory (IRT). A sample of 1,018 Jamaican unattached youth completed the WSS instrument as part of a longitudinal study on the efficacy of a youth development program in Jamaica. Three CFA models were tested for the construct validity of WSS scores. Parameter estimations of item difficulty, item discrimination, and examinee’s proficiency estimations were obtained with item response theory (IRT) and plotted in item characteristics curves (ICCs) and item information curves (IICs). Results showed that the WSS performed quite well as a whole and provided precise measurement especially for respondents at latent trait levels of -0.5 and +1.5. However, some modifications of some items were recommended. CFA analyses showed supportive evidence of the one-factor construct model, while the six-factor model and higher-order model were not achieved. Several directions for future research are suggested.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Wei, Min
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Roles Elementary School Counselors Perform in the Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Description: This nation-wide study investigated elementary school counselors (ESC) self-reported: (a) professional background and training; (b) general knowledge of autism spectrum disorders (ASD); (c) attitudes towards ASD; and (d) roles performed with students identified with ASD. Also investigated was the predictive relationships between professional background, training, knowledge, and attitudes on roles (counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination) performed with students identified with ASD. Descriptive statistics were utilized to address professional background, training, knowledge, attitude and characteristics of ESC participants. These variables were also examined in relationship to the four role types. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to test for significant relationships. A series of four multiple regression analyses predicting each of the total roles scores for counseling, consultation, curriculum, and coordination were also conducted. Results of the study suggest (a) ESC have limited training experiences of ASD, leading to self-education about this population of students, (b) ESC possess general knowledge about ASD, (c) overall, ESC have positive attitudes towards ASD, and (d) ESC perform all conceptualized roles in the education of students with ASD. Regression models revealed eight predictors found to influence roles: total knowledge, attitudes, geographic setting, U.S. region, years practiced, conference training, self-education, and ASD caseload. Significantly associated with performing roles across all four domains was the number of students with ASD on ESC caseload.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Miller, Trube Cassandra
Partner: UNT Libraries

Parent Involvement and Science Achievement: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis

Description: This study examined science achievement growth across elementary and middle school and parent school involvement using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Class of 1998 – 1999 (ECLS-K). The ECLS-K is a nationally representative kindergarten cohort of students from public and private schools who attended full-day or half-day kindergarten class in 1998 – 1999. The present study’s sample (N = 8,070) was based on students that had a sampling weight available from the public-use data file. Students were assessed in science achievement at third, fifth, and eighth grades and parents of the students were surveyed at the same time points. Analyses using latent growth curve modeling with time invariant and varying covariates in an SEM framework revealed a positive relationship between science achievement and parent involvement at eighth grade. Furthermore, there were gender and racial/ethnic differences in parents’ school involvement as a predictor of science achievement. Findings indicated that students with lower initial science achievement scores had a faster rate of growth across time. The achievement gap between low and high achievers in earth, space and life sciences lessened from elementary to middle school. Parents’ involvement with school usually tapers off after elementary school, but due to parent school involvement being a significant predictor of eighth grade science achievement, later school involvement may need to be supported and better implemented in secondary schooling.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Johnson, Ursula Yvette
Partner: UNT Libraries

Personnel Preparation in Special Education: An Exploration of Autism Spectrum Disorders Programmatic Changes in Institutions of Higher Education Teacher Training Programs

Description: Programmatic change related to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) training in special education teacher education programs across the U.S. and institutional variables that influenced change were examined. Variables included institutions’ current coverage of autism content in coursework and institution enrollment. One faculty member from each identified institution was invited to participate in the study. Data were collected from 136 special education faculty using an exploratory survey instrument, the National Survey on ASD Preparation in Undergraduate Special Education Teacher Training Programs (NSAP). This study was designed around themes which emerged from empirical and pragmatic research findings conceptualizing prevalent issues in personnel preparation for ASD including critical knowledge and skills needed by teachers to effectively serve students with ASD. Results indicated a significant number of programmatic changes (66%) remain to be implemented in undergraduate special education programs at institutions participating in the study.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Lett-Stallworth, Tawana
Partner: UNT Libraries

Preservice Special Education Teachers' Sense of Preparedness to Instruct English Learners with Disabilities

Description: This study examines the sense of preparedness of preservice special education teachers (PSETs) to instruct English language learners. Pre- and post-survey measures were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank tests for a group of PSETs as they engaged in their second semester of student teaching experience. To explore emerging themes, a post-qualitative analysis was performed using focus groups. Quantitative results revealed no statistical difference except for the Self-Efficacy subscale. Focus group data showed increased confidence levels resulting from the student teaching experience. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare pre-survey results between PSETs who had and PSETs who had not taken advanced coursework or participated in student teaching. With the exception of the subscale, Attitude Towards ELs in the Classroom, results revealed no statistical difference between the two groups. At the same time, qualitative, open-response questions revealed PSETs who had participated in advanced coursework and student teaching seemed to have a deeper understanding of ELs' instructional and linguistic needs. Contributions to the literature are presented which may help in designing teacher preparation programs to increase PSETs' sense of preparedness to better serve ELs with disabilities.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Montalvo, Ricardo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Creative Self-Efficacy and Personality: From Imagination to Creativity

Description: Imagination and creative self-efficacy are important components of the creative process and outcomes but are rarely investigated together. To explore the relationship between personality factors, imaginative thinking, and creative self-efficacy, survey responses were gathered from university students in a southwestern region in the United States (n = 1,731). Personality was measured using the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), imagination was measured using the Imaginative Capability Scale (ICS), and creative self-efficacy was measured using items based on reliability in previous studies. Participants were asked to complete the three surveys along with demographic information through an online format. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted first to confirm measurements used. After fit indices confirmed measurement models used, subsequent analyses were conducted using structural equation modeling (SEM). The model of best fit supported creative self-efficacy as a strong predictor of all three factors of imagination. Additionally, the model indicated a strong relationship between conscientiousness and conceiving imagination as well as other notable relationships with personality factors.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Blackmon, Kristen N
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reliability Generalization: a Systematic Review and Evaluation of Meta-analytic Methodology and Reporting Practice

Description: Reliability generalization (RG) is a method for meta-analysis of reliability coefficients to estimate average score reliability across studies, determine variation in reliability, and identify study-level moderator variables influencing score reliability. A total of 107 peer-reviewed RG studies published from 1998 to 2013 were systematically reviewed to characterize the meta-analytic methods employed and to evaluate quality of reporting practice against standards for transparency in meta-analysis reporting. Most commonly, RG studies meta-analyzed alpha coefficients, which were synthesized using an unweighted, fixed-effects model applied to untransformed coefficients. Moderator analyses most frequently included multiple regression and bivariate correlations employing a fixed-effects model on untransformed, unweighted coefficients. Based on a unit-weighted scoring system, mean reporting quality for RG studies was statistically less than that for a comparison study of 198 meta-analyses in the organizational sciences across 42 indicators; however, means were not statistically significantly different between the two studies when evaluating reporting quality on 18 indicators deemed essential to ethical reporting practice in meta-analyses. Since its inception a wide variety of statistical methods have been applied to RG, and meta-analysis of reliability coefficients has extended to fields outside of psychological measurement, such as medicine and business. A set of guidelines for conducting and reporting RG studies is provided.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Holland, David F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Construct Validation of the Social-Emotional Character Development Scale in Belize: Measurement Invariance Through Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling

Description: Social-emotional learning (SEL) measures assessing social-emotional learning and character development across a broad array of constructs have been developed but lack construct validity. Determining the efficacy of educational interventions requires structurally valid measures which are generalizable across settings, gender, and time. Utilizing recent factor analytic methods, the present study extends validity literature for SEL measures by investigating the structural validity and generalizability of the Social-Emotional and Character Development Scale (SECDS) with a large sample of children from schools in Belize (n = 1877, ages 8 to13). The SECDS exhibited structural and generalizability evidence of construct validity when examined under exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM). While a higher order confirmatory factor structure with six secondary factors provided acceptable fit, the ESEM six-factor structure provided both substantive and methodological advantages. The ESEM structural model situates the SECDS into the larger body of SEL literature while also exhibiting generalizability evidence over both gender and time.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Hinerman, Krystal M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Hierarchical Regression Analysis of the Relationship Between Blog Reading, Online Political Activity, and Voting During the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Description: The advent of the Internet has increased access to information and impacted many aspects of life, including politics. The present study utilized Pew Internet & American Life survey data from the November 2008 presidential election time period to investigate the degree to which political blog reading predicted online political discussion, online political participation, whether or not a person voted, and voting choice, over and above the predication that could be explained by demographic measures of age, education level, gender, income, marital status, race/ethnicity, and region. Ordinary least squares hierarchical regression revealed that political blog reading was positively and statistically significantly related to online political discussion and online political participation. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of a political blog reader voting were 1.98 the odds of a nonreader voting, but vote choice was not predicted by reading political blogs. These results are interpreted within the uses and gratifications framework and the understanding that blogs add an interpersonal communication aspect to a mass medium. As more people use blogs and the nature of the blog-reading audience shifts, continuing to track and describe the blog audience with valid measures will be important for researchers and practitioners alike. Subsequent potential effects of political blog reading on engagement, discussion, and participation will be important to understand as these effects could impact the political landscape of this country and, therefore, the world.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Lewis, Mitzi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Criterion Validity of Common Career Interest Inventories: Relative Efficacy with High School Seniors

Description: Professional school counselors frequently use career interest inventories as part of a comprehensive guidance program to help students create a post-secondary school plan. The present study evaluates the validity of three commonly used interest inventories, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Self-Directed Search, and Strong Interest Inventory on field of study choice for graduating high school seniors (N = 616) from a large, suburban high school in Texas. Students identified their intended postsecondary field of study category, were randomly assigned using stratification to three groups, and each group completed a different inventory. Group membership was evaluated to establish covariate balance on a wide variety of indicators. Data from each group was evaluated to determine the extent to which the inventory predicted the chosen field of study, as well as Other and Undeclared categories using logistic regression models. None of the inventory models suggest that the inventory accurately predicts Other or Undeclared outcomes. For students selecting intended postsecondary fields of study, the Self Directed Search predicts such outcomes better than other measures. Professional school and career counselors should consider the SDS in addition to narrative counseling strategies to add greater precision with career decision making among clients and students.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Martin, Summer M.G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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