Monthly Archives: April 2012

An investigation of the content validity, stability, and internal consistency of the Spanish version of the Transition Planning Inventory Home Form (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

The Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 reaffirms the important and necessary role that parents have in supporting their child with special needs in the arduous task of transition from school to adult settings. Assessment of parent perception of their childs present level of performance across transition categories is important for establishing strengths, needs, and areas to address during goal setting, IEP development and transition planning. As student populations have become increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse, parents more frequently speak languages other than English. A transition planning assessment, the Transition Planning Inventory TPI) has been produced in a Spanish Home Form. The primary purposes of the study were: a) to compare Spanish and English translations of the TPI Home Form Clark & Patton, 1997); b) to determine an index of temporal stability for the Spanish TPI Home Form and subsequently compare stability coefficients between Spanish and English versions; and c) to determine an index of internal consistency and stability for the Spanish TPI Home Form and then compare reliability coefficients between the Spanish and English versions. Results indicated that: a) the observation and analysis of translations by Spanish/English bilingual persons of the TPI Spanish Home Form yielded a 95% degree of agreement between the Spanish version and its translation to English, and b) the Spanish Home Form of the inventory showed a high degree of temporal stability and internal consistency. These results indicate that Clark and Patton 2000) have successfully produced a translation of the original English Home Form into Spanish. They have developed a transition assessment instrument that this investigation indicates has demonstrated item integrity between the English and Spanish Home Forms. Further, inter-item reliability and stability are recognized within the Spanish version and compare favorably to the English version. Therefore, both versions can be useful tools for assessing parent views of student readiness for moving to adult settings.

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An examination of social presence in an online learning environment (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

The distance Education literature is lacking studies investigating the construct of Social presence, the value placed on it by online learners, and whether its existence in text-based environments is necessary for learning, satisfaction, and contributing to course retention. The purpose of this study was to explore learner perceptions and experiences of the learning process within the Web-based online learning medium in terms of Social presence. More specifically, it examines the relationship among learners perceptions of Social presence in asynchronous online courses and how it relates to satisfaction with learning, whether course activities perceived as having high levels of social presence also have high levels of satisfaction and quality of learning, and whether perceptions of social presence and satisfaction with learning affects their likelihood of enrolling in future online courses. The research design of this study utilized an online survey administered to 280 students enrolled in online courses of nine disciplines; both undergraduate- and graduate-level at a large urban university. Open-ended questions from the online survey were examined as well to help inform and support the findings from the quantitative data. Data were analyzed using correlations, ANOVAs, and hierarchical regression analysis. The findings demonstrated that students perceived social presence was statistically, significantly, and positively related to their overall perceived satisfaction with learning in online courses. Furthermore, students perceived social presence was statistically, significantly, and positively related to their perception of quality of and satisfaction with learning for each of the five course activities examined in this study. The hierarchical regression analysis suggested that perceived social presence contributed substantially more incremental variance to the decision to enroll again in an online course than the satisfaction with learning variable. Overall, the theoretical model including social presence and satisfaction with learning explained 18 percent of the variance in the dependent variable. The potential implications for theory and practice for online course designers and instructors are provided.

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Attitudes and perceptions toward inclusion among secondary special and general education teachers working in north Alabama schools (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

This study was conducted to investigate the attitudes and perceptions of secondary general and special Education teachers toward inclusion of students with disabilities which has been an evolutionary process that can be attributed to landmark legislation, litigation, and policy in the last half of the 20 th century. The SPSS software was used to identify the results from the Opinions Related to Integration (ORI) questionnaire, 129 teachers participated, 66 (51%) were secondary special Education teachers and 63 (49%) were general Education teachers. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the survey responses for the normality of distributions. In addition, an unpaired t-test was used to determine if there were any significant mean differences between secondary special and general educators teaching in an inclusive setting. A statistically significant difference was found in: Benefits of Integration; Perceived Ability to Teach Students with Disabilities; and Special versus Integrated General Education. Inclusion Classroom Management found no statistical difference.

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Diglossia in Cape-Verde: Discourses, class, race and the promise of education (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

As a fundamental component of identity, language plays a key role in the way humans understand themselves and their environments. Language contact through the process of colonization complexifies the role of language as it relates to the relationship between the individual and society. Having endured 500 years of Portuguese colonization, the Republic of Cape-Verde is today experiencing a state of diglossia instituted through language policies that have historically privileged the colonizer language. In an effort to move beyond structural theories of domination, this seven-month ethnographic study utilized discourse analysis as a methodological tool in examining the intersection between language, class and racial identity as it manifested itself both in and out of the educational sphere. The study makes use of focus group interviews, life history interviews, archival research and classroom observations.

Does eliminating certified school library media specialists make a difference in student reading scores in Minnesota public schools (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

The purpose of this study was to explore the question; does eliminating certified school library media specialists make a difference in student reading scores in Minnesota public schools? This study analyzed quantitative data collected from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments MCA), which recorded public school reading achievement levels. A follow-up portion of the study consisted of interviews with six administrators at schools that were one or more standard deviations above and below the failing mean to explain how they compensated for the loss of the certified library media specialist CLMS). For the purposes of this study, student reading failure rate was defined as the sum of the percentages of students with gaps in knowledge and partial knowledge and skills on the MCA reading exams. The interpretation of the quantitative data suggested that student reading scores did not decline with the removal of the CLMS. Interviews with school administrators identified factors that may contribute to the improvement in student reading achievement. These factors included continuous access to the media center and materials, staffing levels to provide service for students and staff, improved reading programs, and commitment by faculty and staff to ensure students a quality Education. This study only looked at one small segment of an elementary students Education, reading test scores. A CLMS has a greater impact on an elementary school than just the reading area, as revealed the Library Impact Studies. These studies indicated that the CLMS performs a multitude of duties, including: collaborating with teachers; providing leadership and expertise in the acquisition and evaluation of information resources; teaching information literacy skills; and establishing policies and procedures of the library media programs. Additional research needs to be conducted to explore the possible impact the elimination of a CLMS on these other areas of students education.

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Reason, intuition, and engagement: A trilateral model of adaptive career decision-making (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

Vocational theorists have historically emphasized rational processing and unbiased hypothesis testing in career decision-making, advancing a vision of the adaptive decision-maker as scientific, methodical, and unfettered by distortions and emotional distractions. However, in the contemporary world of work, the absence of stable occupations and predictable career paths defies career decision-making models that rely on reason to match individual traits to the requirements of work. Moreover, research issuing from Social and cognitive psychology and the realm of neuroscience reveals that decision-making is not the exclusively rational practice we imagined. To be sure, it is likely more accurate to describe it in dialectical terms, with rational and intuitive processes mutually informing decision-making and, ultimately, career adaptability. A trilateral model of adaptive career decision-making is delineated, reflecting the position that decision-making is not an exclusively rational practice and that reason, intuition, and Engagement behaviors contribute mutually to adaptive career decision-making. The Engagement aspect of the model encompasses behaviors that contribute to the career decision-makers fund of information and experience. Engagement is construed as a method by which the rational and intuitive dialectic might be converted into a dynamic that serves adaptive career decision-making. Theoretically, through Engagement, vocational and self-schemas evolve and vocational judgments and decisions are more informed. Results of this study constitute introductory support for the trilateral model. The operationalization of Engagement in the form of the Occupational Engagement Scale for College Students OES-C) ranks among the studys contributions. A face-valid, 24-item, four-factor instrument, the OES-C correlates positively with rational and intuitive thinking styles, Vocational Identity, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness, and negatively with Neuroticism. As such, it demonstrates convergent validity and discriminant validity and also suggests the validity of the trilateral model as it relates to adaptive career decision-making. The significant contribution of intuition to OES-C scores is particularly noteworthy, lending empirical support to the positions of theorists who have made the case for attending to the intuitive and affective aspects of career decision-making. While the present study in no way settles the matter conclusively, it lends form to the speculation and establishes a framework from which to explore it empirically.

A taxonomy of asynchronous online education: Establishing the phenomenon (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

There exists a history of comparing the teaching and learning outcomes of a traditional face-to-face F2F) classroom with varying forms of Asynchronous Online Education AOE) teaching methods. Much work has been invested in directly comparing these two methodologies using traditional indicators of effectiveness such as major metrics, types of interaction, learning style, and the level to which students perceive effectiveness. There exist a number of phenomena, however, that are unique and essential to AOE that are not necessarily present in F2F Education. The purpose of this study was to develop a taxonomy of AOE that systematically organizes AOE phenomena found in the literature. This taxonomy would be a first attempt to provide a useful tool to facilitate communication about these phenomena, assist instructional designers in creating online educational programs that include these phenomena, provide standardized criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of AOE, and provide a tool for policy and decision-making in higher Education for issues such as curriculum development, evaluation instruments, and instructional innovations.

Teaching writing in the African American classroom: A sociolinguistic approach (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

This study evaluates the outcomes of a ten-week elementary language arts curriculum designed to improve the writing achievement and experiences of children who speak African American Vernacular English AAVE). The curriculum integrated sociolinguistic research with contemporary language arts pedagogy, using multicultural childrens literature to teach about regional and Social language variation, and incorporating dialect-based grammar instruction contrastive analysis) into the writing process. Six upper-elementary teachers in an urban school district in Ohio participated in a workshop on sociolinguistic diversity and subsequently implemented the curriculum with 76 students. Student outcomes were compared with two groups of students in the same school district: three classes 41 students) that participated in a partial intervention and four classes 58 students) that received no intervention. Multiples types of quantitative and qualitative data were collected in order to evaluate the effects of the Sociolinguistic Approach intervention model. The results of the study suggest that learning about sociolinguistic variation can make a positive difference for teachers and for learners. Based on an analysis of language attitude surveys, interviews with teachers and students, classroom observations, and analyses of pre- and post-intervention writing samples, the study concludes that participation in the intervention was associated with several positive outcomes: a) Teachers who participated in sociolinguistic training reported significantly more positive attitudes toward their students language. b) Children participated actively in dialect awareness lessons and demonstrated age-appropriate understandings of language variation themes. c) Children who were taught in a learning environment where sociolinguistic diversity was actively affirmed reported greater writing self-efficacy than peers. d) Children who were taught grammar using contrastive analysis as an editing technique demonstrated greater skill in Standard English than peers. e) Children who were given the opportunity to use AAVE in creative writing used a variety of vernacular resources to create effective texts. f) Children who participated in a writing process curriculum that incorporated direct instruction on language variation demonstrated growth in several traits of effective writing, including content quality, organization, authors voice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

Determining differences in the preferred undergraduate accounting curriculum among students, practitioners and educators (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

Scope of study. This dissertation detailed research on the disagreement between accounting educators and accounting practitioners on how best to institute changes in accounting Education in order to better prepare students for professional positions in todays complex, global market-place. The dilemma for accounting educators and accounting practitioners was how to create an effective undergraduate accounting program when there was no clear opinion of what was needed and how to deliver the needed information. This dissertation consisted of a questionnaire transmitted to four categories of accounting participants: a) recent graduates, b) public accountants, c) Management accountants and d) educators. This research study, through a survey utilizing the Likert-scale, obtained the preferred accounting undergraduate curriculum from accounting educators public accountants, Management accountants and recent graduates. The variables studied were a) accounting courses required and electives for an accounting degree, b) accounting topics accounting students should understand, c) accounting topics that should be developed more thoroughly, d) time devoted to developing each of 25 designated skills in an undergraduate program and e) ranking the most effective teaching methods of accounting. As surveys were forwarded to 3,255 individuals, the response rate of 495 15% response rate) was sufficient to project the survey results to a larger population. Findings and conclusions. The study found that educators, graduates, public accountants and Management accountants agreed on seven of the nine required courses: Accounting Principles; Managerial Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, Intermediate Accounting I, Intermediate Accounting II, Auditing and Advanced Accounting. The only elective course selected by all four categories of respondents was Ethical Responsibilities of Accountants. The categories of respondents agreed that academic institutions should offer a program whereby students could obtain the equivalent of 150 semester hours to sit for the CPA exam. The categories of respondents agreed that seven of 44 undergraduate topics required more than an introductory level knowledge: generally accepted auditing standards, internal control, accounting ethics, preparation and presentation of financial statements, including footnotes, disclosure standards, revenue recognition and expense recognition. The categories of respondents agreed that only three of 25 skills required more than a medium level of classroom time: problem solving in diverse and unstructured situations, written communications and analytical. Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Discourse competence as a reading skill: The role of coherence in second language discourse comprehension (Education Papers posted on April 30th, 2012 )

Discourse comprehension is by and large neglected among the language skills taught in college curricula and its function during reading many times ignored when we explore students way to find meaning in texts. This topic goes hand in hand with questions surrounding second language course content where we largely concentrate on communicative and linguistic skills and often limit extended text work and literature to a minimum. This circumstance leaves students by and large unprepared for reading at a higher level and their capacity to establish coherence in more advanced contexts is often underdeveloped when they leave the initial stage of language acquisition. This project explores the role of discourse in the reading process and describes the most elaborate approaches available in the field. I pursue the understanding that reading is an interactive process involving surface language as well as world knowledge and cognitive memory capacity. The attempt to establish a model for coherent discourse comprehension constitutes the methodological part of the project. The model is based on the Construction Integration Model as it was established by Walter Kintsch in first language discourse processing. The model is based on the idea that readers sort and suppress text elements continuously involving surface level language as well as knowledge of the world. The stronger the competence to evaluate text content, the stronger their competence will be in forming a coherent body of meaning throughout a text. Second language students will naturally be limited in their effort to sort and suppress text content and are therefore relying on strategies offered to them during the acquisition process. Methodologically, the project aims at expanding strategies used in second language reading comprehension which can enhance students ability to establish discourse during the reading process.