Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership Theses and Dissertations

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    A Study of International Farm Youth Exchange Delegates Who Visited Latin America
    (1960) Blum, Lee Ann Leet; Wiggin, Gladys A.; Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    A. Statement of Problem The problem of this thesis is to study the nature and prediction of adjustment to foreign culture of 24 American International Farm Youth Exchange delegates. Specifically, this thesis is designed to answer the following questions: 1. What was the nature of adjustment or the 24 subjects as determined through: a. An analysis of a questionnaire administered on return from the foreign visit. b. An analysis of correspondence during the foreign visit. 2. Could the nature or the adjustment have been predicted prior to the foreign visit by materials available in: a. Application form for foreign visits. b. Supplementary biographical data. A secondary purpose of this thesis is to review the literature relating to technical and/or student exchange programs of: 1. Foreign nationals in the United States. 2. Americans in other countries. B. Procedures 1. Selection of the Group from which Population Was Drawn A group of 1010 IFYE delegates who have visited a total of 59 different countries and Puerto Rico was the population from which the sample was drawn. Due to the variety of country cultures represented and the world coverage, it was decided to simplify and centralize the population. The 133 delegates who visited the 18 Latin American countries were selected to represent the group. Latin American countries were selected because of their similar cultural and religious background. Since information on file was to be used in the study, it was essential to select only those del egates with comparable data. Comparable data were available for delegate participants during the years 1955-57. As so limited, the group numbered 64. 2. Criterion for Selecting Population The next step was to determine whe ther the 64 subjects could be categorized at the outset into most and least adjusted to the foreign culture visited, on the basis of material available after return. The answer to question number 19 on the Individual Report Form was selected as the item to be used for categorizing. For categorizing question 19, eight individuals were asked to serve as raters. Four raters had only a slight knowledge of the IFYE program and four raters were past participants in the IFYE program. Each rater was given the group of 64 Individual Report Forms and asked to categorize question 19 in one of three categories. These categories were: (1) Least Adjusted, (2) Medially Adjusted, and (3) Most Adjusted. No criteria were given the rater to influence his placement. The categorizing was used as an attempt to see if a significant pattern could be recognized. For the purpose of this study, it was decided that the following method be used in classifying subjects: a. Each subject must appear in the least adjusted or in the most adjusted category a minimum of four times (which means that at least half of the raters thought that the subject was either least adjusted or most adjusted). b. The subject was not to appear in the least adjusted category if classified in the most adjusted category, and vice versa. c. The subject might appear in the medially adjusted category and still be used for the most or the least adjusted category if qualifications for step (a) listed here were fulfilled. After all raters had completed their categorizing, tabulations were made and it was found that 11 subjects in the least adjusted category and 13 subjects in the most adjusted category could be used in this study. Complete categorizing of the 64 subjects can be found in Appendix A. 3. Procedures for Analysis of Data a. Nature of Adjustment Question number 19 of the Individual Report Form was used to categorize the subjects into groups of most adjusted and least adjusted. The question reads as follows: "Of all things that were new and different to you, which were difficult or disagreeable to adjust to?" The Individual Report Form appears in Appendix B. The 24 subjects' responses to the question appear in Appendix G. Answers were available to all other questions on the report and an analysis will be made in this study of all questions relating to the nature of adjustment. Correspondence received from the delegates while visiting in the foreign country was available in individual files. An analysis of the correspondence indicated that delegates report a variety of news. The nature of news reported is available for study in relationship to the delegates' adjustment in the foreign culture. b. Prediction of Adjustment Adjustment while in the host country is of special interest to the officials of the IFYE program. To be able to predict adjustment of a delegate to his host country before actually participating in the program would be of great value to IFYE. This study is designed to investigate available pre-participation background information on each subject. The available information on file relates to: (1) Delegate Application Form (to be found in Appendix c) and (2) Delegate Biographical Form (to be found in Appendix D). The purposes of this study are to investigate the background information listed above and to test for significant relationship of nature of adjustment in the foreign country.
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    An Investigation of the Effects of Tutoring Preschool Handicapped Children Upon the Self-Concept and Academic Achievement of Fifth and Sixth Grade Elementary School Students
    (1985) Keener, Nancy D.; Heidelbach, Ruth; Curriculum; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of tutoring preschool-age handicapped students upon the self-concept and academic achivement of upper elementary age students. Forty fifth/sixth grad students were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The twenty students in the treatment group served for sixteen weeks as tutors to sixteen preschool handicapped children two to five years of age. This treatment group was divided into two different subtreatment and control groups. This grouping made it possible to study the effect first, of praise upon the tutor's self-concept and/or academic performance and second, the effect of the tutor planning, teaching and evaluating his/her own teaching sessions. The study also examined the effect upon self-concept and academic progress of (1) the number of sessions taught, (2) the initial attitude of the tutor toward his tutee, (3) observable progress made by the tutee, and (4) initial low self-concept and/or low academic performance. The classroom teacher's estimate of the tutor's academic performance and self-concept was compared to the student's estimate of his/her self-concept and his/her academic performance. Gains made following pre and post administrations of The Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale and as reflected by grade point averages provided the basic data for the study. Data was analyzed using a two-tailed t test, Pearson Product Moment Correlations, and multiple linear regression. Results of the analysis indicated that (1) students in the treatment group maintained higher grades than students not involved in tutoring a preschool student, (2) grades of tutors who spent more time with their tutees dropped, (3) lower pre self-concept scores were associated with higher tutor self-concept gain scores, (4) the classroom teacher's prejudgement of the student's self-concept correlated significantly with the tutor's final self-concept score, and (5) a high correlation existed between the teacher's judgement of the tutor's self-concept and his/her judgement of the tutor 's academic ability. Noting the apparent strong influence of the classroom teacher upon a student's concept of himself, we should perhaps closely examine the strong initial correlation between the teacher's view of the child's self-concept and the level of academic performance within which she sees him functioning. Perhaps it would be more reasonable to consider providing students with several components to determine their academic performance. The most influential element with respect to both grades and self-concept appeared to be an attachment factor which occurred as a friendship developed between the tutor and tutee.
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    The Effect of Logo (Turtle Graphics) on the Problem Solving Strategies Used by Fourth Grade Children
    (1984) Bamberger, Honi Joyce; Johnson, Martin L.; Curriculum and Instruction; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The major purpose of this study was to determine the effect of learning the programming language Logo on the problem solving strategies used by fourth grade children while they solved mathematical word problems without a computer. A secondary purpose was to investigate whether children who had learned to program with Logo would regard mathematics more favorably as measured by a mathematics attitude survey. This eleven-week study was designed to teach Terrapin Logo (Turtle Graphics) to 15 out of a total of 30 fourth grade children. The study compared the audiotaped and written responses to a four-question problem solving posttest to determine which strategies were used by each group and whether the Logo group applied the strategies that they had been taught during their programming experience when solving non-computer problems. The Logo curriculum, written by the investigator, focused on teaching children the basic commands of the language while stressing the need to plan a procedure before beginning it, breaking a large idea into more manageable parts, guessing and then checking work and finally checking over the finished product. Some group instruction occurred, but individual or paired instruction was emphasized. Guided discovery ensured that strategies were being used and commands correctly applied. The statistical analysis consisted of computing means and standard deviations on individuals' attitude responses and a t-test was performed on these means. Chi-square critical values were computed for the process coding sequence, as well as t values. The following results were obtained from the study: 1. On the attitude measure significant differences were found only between the experimental and control groups on their general attidude toward school. 2. Statistically significant differences occurred on several posttest problems using the strategies of checking and looking back, as well as making an error and then immediately correcting it. The investigator concluded that the strategies of checking and looking back over one's work and correcting an error were transferred by the experimental group when solving noncomputer word problems. Several important factors may have contributed to the lack of significant differences elsewhere. Among them are 1) short duration of the study, 2) confusion over application of computer strategies to mathematical problems, 3) limitations of process coding sequence, and 4) population size.
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    An Investigation of Young Children's Dyadic Social Problem-Solving Strategies Using Convergent and Divergent Computer Software Formats
    (1989) Wilson, Josephine Coleman; Fein, Greta G.; Curriculum and Instruction; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    This study compared the social problem-solving strategies of 24 peer dyads using convergent and divergent computer software formats. Randomly paired same-sex, same-age preschool and kindergarten dyads were videotaped on two separate days using either a convergent or a divergent computer software format. Measures of computer time, social interactions, cooperation strategies, conflict resolution strategies, and the flexible use of these strategies were computed for each computer software format. A series of multivariate analyses of variance with repeated measures on software conditions were performed to examine the contributions of age, software, and their interaction to these measures. Dyads in the divergent condition laughed more and divided responsibility for the task less than did children in the convergent condition. Analyses revealed a significant multivariate software effect for cooperation strategies. Significant multivariate age x software interaction also appeared for cooperation strategies and flexibility. Older children in the convergent condition helped more and showed more flexibility than did younger children; but in the divergent condition, the direction of these differences were reversed. These findings suggest that even in children as young as 4-years-old cooperative strategies are adapted to the problem at hand. Social interactions are differentiated and used selectively for divergent and convergent situations. The implications of these results for early childhood educators and researchers interested in optimizing software use for young children are discussed.
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    An Analysis of Perceptions of Teachers and Administrators Toward Various Incentive Programs
    (1989) Ether, Maureen T.; Dudley, James; Education Policy, Planning and Administration; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Many individuals and national reports on education support the view that current teacher rewards and benefits are not supportive enough of our efforts to attract and retain high quality teachers in the profession. The purpose of this study was to review the various alternative incentive programs applicable to the teaching profession and, through the use of a survey instrument, gather information regarding the attitudes and perceptions of teachers and administrators in the rural/suburban county being studied. The findings have implications for the design and implementation of an incentive program in many school systems. Specifically, this study sought answers to four questions, based upon the following respondent characteristics: a. teacher or administrator; b. male or female; c. age group; d. elementary, middle or high school assignment; and e. years of teaching experience. The questions were: 1. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of merit pay based upon the respondent characteristics? 2. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of career ladders based upon the respondent characteristics? 3. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of mentor teaching based upon the respondent characteristics? 4. Are there statistically significant mean differences in perceptions held on the issue of changes in the work environment based upon the respondent characteristics? The perceptions of the teachers and administrators who were the subjects of this study were gathered through the use of a modified 1986 Louis Harris survey, "Restructuring the Profession." The survey instruments were distributed to 1,100 teachers and administrators of a single large suburban/rural school system. The statistical analysis indicated that perceptions of respondents clearly were more favorable toward the incentive area changes in the work environment than they were toward the other three incentives--career ladders, mentor teaching and merit pay. Additionally, although respondent perceptions were highly unfavorable to these three incentives, statistically significant differences in perceptions were found among some respondent group characteristics. In 3 of the 4 incentive areas--career ladders, merit pay and mentor teaching-- administrators had statistically significantly more favorable responses than teachers. The findings also indicate that males had statistically significantly more favorable responses than females in 2 of the 4 incentive areas--career ladders and merit pay. The only incentive area that resulted in highly favorable perceptions from all the respondents was changes in the work environment. From these highly favorable responses, a statistically significant difference was found based on gender. Females' perceptions toward changes in the work environment were significantly higher than those of males.