Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership Theses and Dissertations

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    The Development of an Instrument to Differentiate Among Public School Teachers on the Basis of Attitudes Toward Professionalism
    (1978) Uhlan, Eugene Arthur; Goldman, Harvey; Administration, Supervision and Curriculum; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument which would measure the level of professionalism attained by public school teachers. The development of such an instrument is based upon the assumption that there are degrees of professionalism rather than a simple dichotomy between the professional and the nonprofessional. Procedures: A review of the literature revealed that the characteristics of a profession are of two basic types. First are those characteristics which are part of the structure of the occupation including such things as formal education and entrance requirements, the formation of a professional organization and the adopting of a code of ethics. The second type is attitudinal. These attributes of professionalism reflect the way in which the practitioners view their work. If the occupation has met the structural prerequisites of a profession, the approach taken in practice determines the level of professionalism reached. In order to determine the extent to which the approach taken by public school teachers toward their work approximates the professional model, the researcher developed an initial pool of 104 items for a Teacher Attitude Scale based upon the following six attitudinal attributes of a profession: 1. The use of the professional organization as a major reference. 2 . Involvement of the individual in the professional culture. 3. A belief in service to the public . 4 . A belief in the right to self -regulation. 5. A sense of calling to the field. 6. A belief in autonomy. The initial pool of items was submitted to three professionally trained teachers who were provided full definitions of each attribute above and were asked to match each item with the attribute it was intended to measure. The work of this group indicated that the six attributes should be collapsed into three. Thus, use of the professional organization as a major reference and involvement in the professional culture were combine . A belief in service to the public and a sense of calling to the field were combined and autonomy was combined with a belief in the right to self-regulation. A second panel examined the items for clarity and unnecessary duplication. This process resulted in the selection of sixty (60) items, twenty designed to measure each of the three combined attributes. The sixty item Teacher Attitude Scale was then sent to a total of 500 randomly selected teachers in eight different county school systems in Maryland. The statistical analysis was based upon 408 usable responses or just over an eighty percent return. Twenty-two items were selected for use on a field test version of the Teacher Attitude Scale. Responses from 100 randomly selected teachers in Cecil County, Maryland, resulted in the selection of nineteen items for the final instrument. Findings: The research indicates that there are two factors contributing to the professionalism of public school teachers which can be measured through the use of a self-report instrument. These factors relate to the use of the professional organization as a major reference and a belief in commitment to the profession including a sense of calling to the field. Implications: The score a subject obtains on the instrument developed through this study should be considered an attitude score . In general, the interpretation of an attitude score on a summated- rating scale cannot be made independently of the distribution of scores of some defined group. This should present no problem since the purpose of using the instrument is to place the attitude of each subject in relation to the attitudes of other subjects. Scores on summated rating scales can be interpreted in this relative sense . In terms of further research, the purpose will be to compare the mean change in attitude scores as a result of introducing some experimental variable. A study of the teachers exhibiting the more professional attitudes, according to the instrument, may reveal training and/or organizational differences which relate to this professionalism. Administrators and teacher educators could then encourage the use of those training techniques which enhance professionalism.
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    Gender-Equity Components in Preservice Teacher- Education Programs
    (1993) Wilson, Charlotte June Adair; Henkelman, James; Curriculum and Instruction; University of Maryland (College Park, Md); Digital Repository at the University of Maryland
    The purpose of this study was to identify teacher-education institutions that had gender-equity components in their teacher-education programs and through case studies to describe three programs . The information gathered through this study can benefit those who wish to improve the teaching about gender equity in preservice teacher-preparation programs. The main question was how are teacher-education institutions across the country addressing gender equity m their preservice programs in order for their graduates to be able to provide bias-free education for males and females. That question was further divided into 12 subquestions which explored these topics: Which institutions have gender- equity components? In what forms are the components? Which are the top- three institutions based on the questionnaire criteria? How are they alike and different from each other and from the five exemplary models found in the Iiterature search? What competencies do the top- three institutions identify for their graduates? What curriculum and instructional techniques are used in the programs? How could the programs examined be improved? A two-part data gathering strategy was used: first, a questionnaire was designed, sent to 547 institutions accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and analyzed; next, on- site visits were made to the three institutions scoring highest on the survey, and case studies were written on the gender- equity component in their programs. This work includes a review of the literature on gender equity in teacher preparation, identifies five exemplary models for teaching gender equity, analyzes the data collected from 200 teacher- education institutions, presents findings from the survey and from the three case studies, and makes recommendations to equity advocates and researchers about future actions that could improve the teaching of sex equity in preservice teacher-education programs.
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    Syntactic Fluency and Cohesive Ties in College Freshmen Writing
    (1986) Onyeberechi, Sydney E.; Roderick, Jessie A.; Curriculum and Instruction; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate certain predetermined types of syntactic constructions and cohesive ties college freshmen exploit in a persuasive writing task. To accomplish this purpose, two sets of papers rated high and low, respectively, in holistic scoring, was compared in terms of types and frequencies of certain syntactic constructions and cohesive ties per 100 T-units. The study was conducted at a large urban university in the District of Columbia in September, 1985. Writing samples were generated by freshmen students enrolled in twelve sections of English III. The writing task was administered by classroom teachers. To insure anonymity, each original writing sample was photocopied and coded to conceal the writer's name, section and teacher's name. The photocopied writing samples were scored by three experienced teachers of college freshman composition who were currently doctoral candidates in English Education at the University of Maryland. The scoring was done on a 1-8 scale (8 being the highest score). This scale was established by the Educational Testing Service in 1975. The ratings were based on a three-level "Criteria for Holistic Rating of a Persuasive Writing Task" (high: 7-8; middle: 5-6; low: 1-4) the investigator adapted from Cooper's Holistic Evaluation of Writing (1977). Further analysis of these essays included a frequency count of T-units and types and frequencies of certain syntactic constructions and cohesive ties in ten essays (five rated high and five rated low) per 100 T-units. Then a comparative description of the two sets of papers was done. The findings indicate that the college freshmen engaged in this study used at least four types of syntactic constructions and at least five types of cohesive ties in varying degrees of proficiency. The set of five papers rated high used almost twice as many syntactic constructions and cohesive ties as did the set of five rated low. Further research should focus on: 1) how, what, and when good and poor writers make decisions about syntactic constructions and cohesive ties they use in their writing task, and 2) the relationship between these two indexes of good writing and different types of persuasive topics.
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    The Ability of Maryland English Teachers to Rate Holistically The Quality of Student Explanatory Writing
    (1988) Peiffer, Ronald Aaron; Jantz, Richard K.; Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of Maryland English teachers in using the Maryland Writing Test scoring criteria to place modified holistic ratings on student explanatory writing . The performance of eight expert raters, who had previously demonstrated 80% rating accuracy in training, was compared with the performance of six novice raters, who had not been required to demonstrate accuracy in their training. Accuracy was determined by analyzing error frequency and patterns in error size and direction. Scores were further analyzed to determine writing features, both internal and external to the Maryland Writing Test scoring criteria, that served as predictors of scores assigned by the two groups of raters. Findings indicate that novice and expert raters were approximately 60% accurate in score assignments, with no significant difference in the accuracy level of the two groups. While scores assigned by both groups correlated highly, the size of their errors correlated moderately. Novice rater errors were more often one or more score points below the certified scores that compositions should have received while expert rater errors were equally distributed between overassessments and underassessments of writing quality. The results of stepwise regressions showed certified scores as well as scores assigned by the two groups of raters to be predicted by the number of words in the composition and by the frequency of syntax errors. While 39% of the variance in certified scores was explained by the number of words, around 50% of the variances in novice and expert scores were explained by the same feature. Likewise, syntax error frequencies were slightly stronger predictors of rater scores than of certified scores, contributing 11 % and 17% respectively to the variance in expert and novice rater scores. Of five features associated with the scoring guide, content was the strongest predictor of certified scores, explaining 99.4% of the variance in scores. However, organization was the strongest predictor of rater scores, explaining around 80% of the variance in scores.
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    The Effects of Training and Practice in the Use of a Self-Monitoring Technique to Enhance the Reading Comprehension of Intermediate-Grade Students
    (1982) Porter, Sarah Manvel; Davey, Beth; Secondary Education; University of Maryland (College Park, Md); Digital Repository at the University of Maryland
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of training and practice in using a self-monitoring technique to enhance the comprehension of intermediate-grade poor comprehenders. Subjects were 129 sixth grade low-average comprehenders from three middle schools, who scored from stanine three to stanine six on the reading comprehension subtest of the California Achievement Test. Subjects' treatment was based on the school they attended. Three comparable middle schools were randomly elected and assigned one of the following treatments: (1) training with practice, (2) training, or (3) neither training nor practice. Training in rating and hypothesis formation was conducted by the investigator over a three- day period. Materials used in training ranged from sentences to passages three to four paragraphs in length. Students were taught to rate pass ages on a 1-2-3 rating scale and to use hypothesis formation to enhance comprehension. Following training, the training with practice group used rating and hypothesis formation for three weeks during their regular reading lessons, under the guidance of the classroom reading teacher. After training and practice, all three groups were tested in two sessions. Three measures were used to test for differences among groups. These were a "global" comprehension test, a rating-with-response test requiring a match between perceived knowledge and demonstrated knowledge, and a test requiring the detection of embedded errors. Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of covariance. Scores were adjusted using a covariate of reading ability. No significant differences were found among groups. Implications for research and instruction included: training studies such as this may be most effective if done over an extended period of time in an ecologically valid setting; further study is needed to determine whether the Rating-with-Response and Embedded Error measures employed here give useful information about comprehension processing.