Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership Theses and Dissertations

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 835
  • Item
    A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Demonstrations, Verbal Statements, and Hands-on Experiences on Correcting a Misconception of First-Graders Regarding Magnets
    (1987) Benbow, Ann E.; Lockard, J. David; Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The purpose of this study was to compare the relative effectiveness of five instructional interventions which were designed to correct a size-related science misconception in a group of first graders. The particular misconception chosen for the study is the belief that larger magnets are always of greater strength than smaller magnets. These interventions consisted of: a. a demonstration lesson, b. a hands-on lesson, c. a verbal statements lesson, d. a demonstration-plus-verbal statements lesson, and e. a hands-on-plus-verbal statements lesson. At the beginning of each magnet lesson, students were first exposed to evidence contradicting the size-related magnet misconception. This was followed by the introduction of cognitive conflict via the use of a small weak rectangular magnet and a larger strong rectangular magnet to pick up paper clips. Finally, students interacted with two (apparently) identical rectangular magnets of clearly differing strengths. The second major component of each intervention was the use of iron filings and a magnet to "show" lines of force. The purpose of this last activity was to give the students some information about magnets that would assist them in accommodating the events witnessed in the first part of the intervention. Subjects were tested three days before the treatment, one day after treatment to determine change of knowledge effect, then six weeks after treatment as a check for knowledge retention. Six subjects were randomly chosen from each treatment group to be interviewed using a format based upon Novak's Interview-about-Instances (1984) prior to the instruction, and on two occasions (one day, and six weeks) after the instruction. It was hypothesized that a demonstration treatment would result in the highest frequency of students who received a score of 100% on four misconception-related items on the post-test. It was also hypothesized that the demonstration treatment would result in the greatest retention. Analysis of both test scores and interview data indicates that, although there is strong support for the corrective properties of a demonstration which directly confronts the misconception that a necessary direct relation ship exists between magnetic strength and magnet size, a demonstration alone is not more effective than all of the remaining treatments in achieving change of knowledge or retention. Therefore, there is a lack of support for both research hypotheses. Both treatments containing demonstrations, however, were more effective in achieving correction of the size-related misconception than the treatments consisting of a hands-on treatment alone and verbal statements alone.
  • Item
    The Effects of Instruction in Sentence Combining and Revision on Ninth and Tenth Graders' Explanatory Writing
    (1989) Horstman, Franklin; Slater, Wayne H.; Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    In this study, I examined the effects of instruction in sentence combining on three measures of student writing : 1.) syntactic fluency; 2.) overall writing quality; and 3.) sentence -combining ability. Sentence combining is a method of writing instruction in which students rewrite a series of sentences into one syntactically more complex sentence. Two teachers instructed experimental group one (37 students) in sentence combining applied to revision. The same two teachers also instructed experimental group two (37 students) in sentence combining alone. A third teacher instructed the control students (38 students) in the standard ninth-grade English curriculum. To examine syntactic fluency, I analyzed students' writing for words per T-unit, clauses per T-unit, and words per clause. To examine overall writing quality, two trained raters assessed students' writing using forced choice holistic scoring. I also assessed students' sentence-combining ability. On syntactic fluency, the control group demonstrated statistically significant gains for mean number of words per clause. On overall writing quality, the control group also demonstrated statistically significant gains. On sentence-combining ability, both experimental group one and experimental group two demonstrated statistically significant gains. While the results do not support the first two research questions, on sentence-combining ability, the results suggest that ninth-grade writers can be taught sentence combining in a four-week, intensive instructional unit. Additionally, results suggest links between rhetorical and psychological theories and writing. However, the limitations of the results also suggest further sentence-combining research.
  • Item
    Learning Newton's Second Law Using a Microcomputer Based Laboratory Curriculum
    (1995) Morse, Robert Alan; Layman, John W.; Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    This study investigated the effect of theory-based Microcomputer Based Laboratory instruction on high school students' understanding of Newton's second law in a high school physics course taught by the teacher-researcher. The study focused on 1) the effect of the theory-based MBL instructional design on student understanding of Newton's second law, 2) on the changes in conceptual understanding that occurred, and 3) on the effect of student learning beliefs on conceptual change. Data sources included pretest and posttest measures of conceptual understanding, audiotape debriefings of students during a seven day unit, and pretest and posttest measures of students' motivational and self-regulated learning beliefs. The design of the instructional unit was based on prior research and theory. It is important to specify the characteristics as well as the content of the knowledge we would like students to construct. Desirable characteristics of physics knowledge are that it be accurate, extendable, integrated with other knowledge, recognized as knowledge, related to experience and experiment, strategic, and available in multiple representations including verbal, graphical, algebraic, pictorial, and story representations. Proponents argue that appropriately designed Microcomputer Based Laboratory instruction can promote construction of such knowledge. The theory-based instructional unit employed real-time computer graphing of force and motion variables in a novel "iconographic" experiment which enabled students to determine the relationship between force and motion variables by simple recognition. The study found that the nature of students' conceptual change was consistent with the mechanisms postulated for MBL instruction, that the short chain of reasoning in the iconographic force and motion experiment allowed students to readily identify and focus on the goals of the experiment rather than be distracted by a profusion of sub-goals, that this instruction is more effective than some traditional instruction and as effective as some other theory-based instruction in Newton's second law, based on Force Concept Inventory (Hestenes, Wells, & Swackhamer, 1992) and Force and Motion Concept test (Thornton, 1992a) scores. The study failed to achieve the goal of relating motivational, cognitive and performance measures using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990).
  • Item
    (1995) Neagoy, Monica M. M.; Fey, James T.; Curriculum and Instruction; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    "Pedagogical Content Knowledge" (PCK) consists of topic-level knowledge of learners, of learning, and of the most useful forms of representation of ideas, the most powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, and demonstrations --in a word, the ways of representing and formulating the subject that makes it comprehensible to others" (Shulman, 1986). Recursion is a process that permeates many aspects of the real world-both natural and man-made. In discrete mathernatics, recursion is a powerful idea, a problem solving strategy that enables us to describe or predict future results as a function of past results. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of high school teachers' PCK of recursion prior to, and as a result of, their participation in a carefully designed summer institute that focused on the important emerging concept of discrete dynamical systems. The study also explored how teachers plan to use this knowledge in teaching recursion. The framework for studying teachers' PCK was one inspired by Shulman's model ( 1987), but modified in its connectedness among components and its dynamics of change. The in-service program that served this study was the 1991 Summer Institute in Mathematics Modeling with Discrete Mathematics, (SIMM) offered at Georgetown University and partially funded by NSF. Forty high school math teachers from Washington metropolitan area schools, who attended the SIMM were the subjects of this research. The instruments that helped assess the nature and growth of teachers' PCK as a result of the SIMM intervention were: A personal data questionnaire, a pretest, and a post-test; follow-up, one-on-one interviews were conducted with a random sample of nine teachers. The test results and interview transcripts were analyzed in terms of teachers' subject matter and pedagogical knowledge (knowledge of teaching and learning) of recursion: For that purpose, this study developed an original model of six categories of knowledge for each domain. Overall, teachers' PCK of recursion, as exhibited by their performance on the totality of the test items, grew as a result of the in-service intervention. The only category in which teachers' knowledge showed no growth was Student Errors.
  • Item
    No Loans, No Problems? Exploring the Post-College Career Choices of No-Loan Program Students at an Elite University
    (2023) LaFave, Allison; Galindo, Claudia; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines the post-college career choices of no-loan program alumni at Harvard College. Using a conceptual framework informed by elements of social cognitive career theory (Lent et al., 1994) and Perna’s (2006) model of college choice, it identifies what careers alumni chose after college and how and why they chose them. I approached this single case study from a constructivist perspective, collecting data from diverse sources (i.e., documents and artifacts, informational interviews, a brief screening survey). These data were used to answer two key research questions: 1) What are the post-college career trajectories of no-loan program students at elite colleges and universities? and 2) How do the college experiences of no-loan program students at elite colleges and universities influence their post-college career choices? My data revealed that the professional paths of Harvard Financial Aid Initiative alumni fit into six distinct career archetypes: High-Impact (38%), Hybrid - Pay and Impact (29%), Passion Pursuers (13%), High-Paying (8%), Switchers - Pay to Impact (8%), and Switchers - Impact to Pay (4%). The vast majority of HFAI alumni (75%) have pursued careers that make a positive social impact, often in well-compensated positions (e.g., medicine). Major college influences on their post-college career choices include the following: undergraduate employment experiences, academic performance (both positive and negative), interactions with faculty and administrators (both positive and negative), undergraduate social networks, extracurricular activities, a lack of undergraduate debt, and the signaling effects of their undergraduate degree.
  • Item
    Implementation Issues Impeding Evidence-based Instruction for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in One Public School System
    (2023) Stephanson, Janet; McLaughlin, Margaret J.; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    For over 50 years, providing relevant and individualized instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SSCD) has challenged school systems because of the heterogeneity of the population and the complicated nature of their learning characteristics, warranting the implementation of specific instruction using targeted, evidence-based instruction, not common practice in most school settings. The intention of this mixed-method Participatory Action Research (PAR) study is to investigate the barriers to providing evidence-based practices in District A while creating a framework of the PD required to increase teacher capacity to deliver the instruction. An Innovation Configuration Matrix (IC Matrix) created by Browder et al. (2014) will be used as the foundation for the study, as it details the evidence-based practices (EBPs) for students with severe disabilities by detailing what instruction is needed, how the instruction should be provided, and what supports are needed for the instruction to occur. The PAR process will occur through the administration and evaluation of a survey for all teachers of SSCD, followed by three convenings of a group of nine District A teachers of SSCD who will use the information of the survey, the IC Matrix, and federal and state guidance to create a PD Framework detailing the learning needs for all teachers of SSCD in District A.
  • Item
    (1989) McCallum, Peter Littleton; Hebeler, Jean R.; Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
  • Item
    An Exploratory Case Study of the Formal and Informal Discipline Policies Used in Selected Elementary School Classrooms
    (1999) Taylor-Cox, Jennifer; Andrews, J. Edward; Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The broad aim of this study was to examine the dynamics of classroom discipline policy through the use of the micropolitical model of interaction. While this study explored classroom di scipline policies utilizing the micropolitical perspective, it was classroom discipline that was the center of interest in this research. The template that framed and guided the exploration of classroom discipline included enactment, conveyance, realization, and evaluation as the particular phases of policy development. A distinctive feature of this study was the focus on the explicit, stated policies and the more subtle but equally important "dominant patterns of practice" in the classroom. This exploratory case study of the formal and informal discipline policies used in selected elementary school classrooms was a qualitative research endeavor. The data sources included in-depth guided interviews and semi-structured classroom observations, supplemented by informal interviews and pertinent printed material. The methods of data analysis involved categorizing, distilling themes, and arraying chains of evidence. The findings of this case study involved the ways in which teachers and students assert power and control; conflicts are manifest; compromises are used; protection is fundamental; and the classroom context affects, hinders, and constructs social order in the classroom. The views, behaviors, and verbal exchanges of the teachers and students concerning discipline were paramount to the analyses of the discipline policies used in the selected elementary school classrooms. The conclusions of this case study were that the micropolitical model of interaction is a productive, yet unrefined conceptual framework for the study of classroom discipline; discipline policies are teacher-centered, noise-related, and community-focused; the dominant mechanisms for teacher-based control are rewards and punishments; the dominant outcome of conflict and assertions of power is the brokering of policies; compromises are used to reduce conflicts and produce student compliance; intentions and realities pose a paradox; and the influence from parents is an important factor.
  • Item
    Plans, Targets, and Trends in Ethiopian Education
    (1970) Bjerkan, Ole-Christian; van Zwoll, James A.; Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The purpose of this study was to trace the progressive recognition of educational needs as expressed in targets and objectives in educational and development plans in Ethiopia from 1944 to 1968, and to discover the relationship between the needs and the actual attainment of the goals and targets. A study was also made of the contribution of the non-government schools to the fulfillment of presentday educational needs. By reviewing the literature pertaining to the development of the educational system in Ethiopia, some of the forces which have and are influencing educational policies and plans were discussed. An analysis of the educational and development p lans revealed clues to the progressive identification of educational needs as expressed in the different plans. After crystallizing the educational needs as expressed in educational objectives and targets, an attempt was made to find to what extent these needs have been fulfilled. The needs in Ethiopia were found to be similar to those in many of the African nations in spite of a different cultural background and political history of the country. The differences in problems were rather in degree than in kind. The educational plans for Ethiopia have, with the exception of the Addis Ababa Plan of 1961, been made without any relation or comparison with other African nations. In most cases the targets and goals of the local plans were surpassed, but when related to educational "desired averages" for the African countries taking part in the Addis Ababa conference, the educational development in Ethiopia proved to be seriously lagging. compared with the "desired averages" of the Addis Ababa Plan, of an age-group population enrollment of 100 per cent for the first level, 23 per cent for the second level and 2 per cent for the third level to be reached within the year 1982, a projected enrollment in keeping with the historical trend for the last ten years in Ethiopia indicates that these targets would not be reached within the target date.
  • Item
    (1978) Main, Robert Gail; Berman, Louise M.; Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Problem: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the use of learning objectives with an audiovisual presentation on the intended (objective relevant) and incidental (non-objective relevant) learning outcomes. This study was conducted to provide evidence regarding the facilitative effects of using learning objectives as an organizer with a fixed-pace, fixed-format, non-print medium. The investigation was based on one phase of David P. Ausubel's theory of meaningful verbal learning: the advance organizer, Ausubel hypothesized that organizers facilitate learning when presented to students in advance of a learning passage. In this investigation, the organizer consisted of the learning objectives for the students, and the curriculum material was an audiovisual slide-tape presentation. The organizer was presented prior to the presentation, following the presentation, and interspersed within the presentation immediately preceding the objective relevant content. Procedure : An experiment was conducted to determine the effect and interaction of five independent variables with an audiovisual slidetape program: presence of learning objectives, location of learning objectives, type of knowledge, sex of learner, and retention of learning. A factorial design replicated for retention of learning was selected for the analysis. Student learning of intended knowledge and incidental knowledge, as measured by paper and pencil tests, were the dependent variables. A commercially produced educational slide-tape presentation concerning advances in communication technology was used as the stimulus. The participants were 108 college students enrolled in an introductory mass communications course at a California State University. Students in the class were stratified by sex and randomly assigned to four groups. Each experimental group viewed the slide-tape presentation either without learning objectives (control group), with learning objectives grouped at the beginning of the presentation (advance organizers), grouped at the end of the presentation (post organizers), or located throughout the presentation immediately preceding the relevant content (adjunct organizers ). Viewing and listening factors were carefully controlled for each of the four groups. Students completed an immediate posttest measuring intended and incidental knowledge as well as their feelings toward the subject and the manner of presentation. They were tested again two weeks later for intended and incidental knowledge only. The data were subjected to analysis of variance and other selected statistical procedures for testing differences between the experimental groups. Results : Although all three treatment groups had higher intended learning scores, only the performance of the group receiving the learning objectives before the slide-tape presentation achieved significance at the .05 level. The comparison of the immediate and delayed posttest analyses indicated that the relative effects of the experimental treatment did not change over time for the intended learning. No significant differences were found between experimental groups in the learning outcomes of incidental knowledge. No interactions were found between treatment and the grade point average or sex of the student. Significant differences did occur in the participants' evaluation of the slide-tape presentation. While there was no significant difference between the treatment groups and the control group, the group receiving the learning objectives before the presentation gave a significantly higher evaluation rating to the slide-tape program than did the group where the learning objectives were interspersed during the presentation. Conclusions: As a result of this experiment, the author concluded that the use of learning objectives facilitated the learning of objective relevant knowledge from a slide-tape presentation when the learning objectives were presented at the beginning of the program. Learning objectives used in this manner as "advance organizers" do not inhibit the acquisition of incidental (non-objective relevant) information contained in the instructional program. Furthermore, the use of learning objectives with a slide-tape instructional program does not detract from the students' evaluation of the program. Recommendation : Learning objectives can be developed by instructors for the audiovisual materials they use. The insertion of the learning objectives prior to the presentation of the audiovisual program can be accomplished rather easily. If the primary concern of the user of audiovisual materials is to increase intended learning, the insertion of learning objectives prior to the presentation is recommended.
  • Item
    History of Public Education in Baltimore from 1860-1890
    (1943) Krausse, Harry W.; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Several studies of public education have been made in Maryland and Baltimore; among them being "History of Education in Maryland," "Secondary Education in Maryland before 1800," "Public Educational Work in Baltimore," "Baltimore, 1870 to 1900: Studies in Social History." However, there is no detailed account of the development of the Baltimore City school system covering the period of the Civil War and the years following this war. During this time significant educational hlstory was made as events of great educational importance took place, which events were to affect the future of the Baltimore public schools as well as the future of children attending these schools.
  • Item
    Competent readers' online multimodal reading strategies use
    (2023) Ahn, Hyoju; Afflerbach, Peter; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    As literacy and reading evolve, it is important to identify and describe the strategies and skills used in constructing meaning. This study examines online multimodal reading (OMR) strategies: those used in constructing meaning from multimodal information sources (e.g., images, audio, written words) on the Internet. Participants read online multimodal texts from a laptop screen and provided verbal reports of their reading processes as they read multimodal texts on the Internet to learn a scientific topic. I collected and analyzed think-aloud data, using verbal protocol analysis. I cataloged and described their multimodal reading comprehension strategies. The verbal report data were complemented with retrospective interviews focused on participants’ accounts of how they read, reader-computer interaction captured in the screen-recording video, and written pre- and post-reading knowledge reports focused on what is learned from OMR. OMR strategies they used were coded and categorized to provide insights into the nature of the competent readers’ strategic online multimodal reading. I used the integrated data to create a taxonomy of OMR reading strategies as a key outcome of this study. The results of this study may inform theoretical models of online multimodal reading, as well as instruction intended to foster student learning.
  • Item
    Learning Together: The Lived Experience of Bridging in Scholars Studio
    (2023) Nardi, Lisa; Hultgren, Francine H; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This hermeneutic phenomenological investigation tends to the connections made in Scholars Studio—an interdisciplinary learning community for first-year students at a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU). In this study, I ask, What is the lived experience of bridging in Scholars Studio? I conceptualize bridging as a pedagogical orientation characterized by making connections across disciplines, between theory and praxis, across time and distance, and with one another. Bridging creates dynamic spaces that resist binary relationships, thus creating the potential for transformation. This study is grounded in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Mariana Ortega, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Edward Casey, and David Michael Levin, and follows the methodological structure set forth by Max van Manen. This research captures conversations that bridge the experience of twelve participants—including faculty, students, and staff—who partook in a learning community focused on Black men in education. Through these conversations, the participants affirm the importance of curricula grounded in African American and African history and culture. As participants cross the metaphorical bridge, they consider the “edges” they encounter that are both full of risk and possibility. These edges push them outside of their comfort zones in search of wholeness and create potential sites for improvisation. I end by opening new possibilities for Scholars Studio, including grounding the work in African principles and considering future directions.
  • Item
    (2023) Crenshaw, Kenyatta Lynn; Elby, Andrew; Croninger, Robert; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This case study explores ways that socio-cultural and environmental factors influence the technological experiences of marginalized, underrepresented youth at an urban summer learning program, which supports Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and environmental sustainability education. The study specifically explores the socio-cultural and environmental aspects of students’ experience with digital literacy/ information communication technology (computer based and mobile technologies), and the pedagogical practices applied by educators (teachers, family members, and peers) that influence the students’ experiences with digital learning over the period of eight weeks. The principal focus is on eight middle school students ranging from nine to twelve years of age who reside in an urban environment with their parents/caregivers. In efforts to better understand the experiences of the students, the focus is shared (but not centered) on the parents/caregivers, educators, and volunteer community members who contribute to the students’ perception and use of technology. A major finding of the study is that community-embedded resources, what have been referred to in the literature as funds of knowledge or community cultural wealth, can play a positive role in shaping students’ experiences with technology, especially when students, parents, and educators use those resources to create culturally relevant learning experiences that contribute to building technocapital. In general, the findings address beliefs and contextual ecological factors that contribute to the appearance and activation of social and cultural capital in the technological practices of marginalized youth. The accounts of youth and parent perspectives uniquely display the ways the funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth act as social and cultural capital. The participant stories present how the networks of the participants’ parents and community contribute to social connectivity and the awareness of civic participation in both the exosystem and mesosystem of their lives. Overall, the findings present an evidence-based contribution to further support the need to understand and advocate for funding and the development of policy to address: 1) racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in education; 2) the positive processes by which cultural resources in the communities of marginalized youth are converted into social and educational advantages; and 3) increasing knowledge and utility of the various forms of capital embedded in moderate-to-low income, non-majority communities that play a positive role in youths’ motivation to utilize ICT and develop digital literacy skills that increase productivity and achievement. Keywords: underrepresented youth, supplemental learning program, information communication technology, digital learning, social capital, cultural capital, funds of knowledge, community cultural wealth.
  • Item
    (2023) Saltmarsh, Jason; Scribner, Campbell F; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This study aims to clarify the kinds of information and assistance parents seek and NGO advisors, or “Navigators,” provide in relationships designed to offer school selection support to low-income families in large urban districts. I seek to understand whether NGOs may be able to offer an important bridge between two kinds of social capital: the informal forms of trust and legitimacy that families rely on and the skills, knowledge, and networks necessary to access higher-quality schools in choice policy contexts. This analysis used an exploratory case study, including 13 in-depth interviews with Navigators and parents and informal conversations with others who are familiar with the NGO. This particular NGO operates in New Orleans, LA and primarily serves Black and Latinx and low-income families who, studies report, may face additional time, labor, and resource-related barriers in navigating PK-12 school decisions compared to their White and middle-class counterparts. These data were complemented by documentary analysis, including internal reports, IRS filings, and employee blog and social media posts. Study findings provide empirical insights about the perceptions and agency of Navigators and this NGO’s unique insider-outsider status. Analysis indicates that effective Navigators “see” schools differently than most parents and district personnel – namely through a lens that combines professional and personal experience, school inspections, organizational network ties, and cultural similarities with the families they serve. As an “ally and advocate” for families, Navigators attempt to share their judgment about schools, personalize information, and provide 1:1 assistance in ways that offset parents’ time constraints. Due to limited access to parent perspectives, these findings may lack analytic generalizability. Accordingly, researchers are invited to examine these propositions further. Still, this study holds implications for future research on the value of personalized information, the development of NGO school choice counseling, and the potential outcomes of NGO navigator services on school access and student performance. Overall, this dissertation deepens our understanding of the judgment and interpersonal qualities of NGO Navigators as agents of school selection assistance and explains the benefits and shortcomings of NGO information support in choice policy contexts.
  • Item
    The Impact of Leadership Practices on Teacher Retention in Maryland Public Charter and Contract Schools
    (2023) Carnaghan, Heather Elizabeth; Imig, David; Eubanks, Segun; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Teacher turnover imposes a significant negative impact on the education system as a whole, much to the detriment of student achievement. The Learning Policy Institute (2021) suggests this problem was exacerbated in all school settings by the global Covid-19 pandemic in which growing disparities between children and uncertainty about the future of public education has made the teacher’s role “more untenable than ever before”. Charter and contract schools face heightened challenges in regard to this phenomenon in retaining teachers, producing a high need for leadership practices that positively curb attrition. School leadership has the potential to implement change in response to environmental changes and work conditions, thus it is a critical catalyst for retention change. An extensive review of related research revealed that leadership practices can have a significant impact on populations that Ingersoll (2004) popularized as “movers, leavers, and stayers”, though little research existed specific to Maryland’s public charter and contract schools. The purpose of this study was to determine the leadership practices that Maryland public school teachers and leaders believe positively impact retention of teachers in the state. A survey was completed by 151 educators in which participants ranked the leadership practices they believed had the most positive impact on teacher retention at their schools. Categorical and ordinal responses were analyzed and a t-test was applied to determine significance of the differences between teacher and leader responses. Two focus groups were held to better understand the context of the survey findings. Sessions were transcribed and coded via open/emergent, axial, and selective coding. Two leadership practices were ranked in the top three by the vast majority of almost every generalized group and specialized subgroup: “Nurturing a Positive School Culture'' and “Cultivating Trusting Relationships”. No other practices came close to this level of selection by participants. While teachers and leaders agreed on the two foundational practices that increase retention, there was variance in the contextual answers given by each group regarding why that practice was necessary and how to implement it well. The literature, the teachers, and the leaders all pointed to charter and contract schools being “different”- different workloads, different visions, different challenges. Yet, this study finds that, despite differences in policy and demographics, public charter and contract schools share an essential commonality with traditional public schools; they retain teachers by cultivating trusting relationships and nurturing positive school environments.
  • Item
    (2023) Chung, Eun Ae; Lin, Jing; Klees, Steven; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the quest to understand what human flourishing is, while ancient philosophers have all pointed to virtues as a vital component, today, they have been notably left out of the conversation. The purpose of this study is to explore the possible ways the virtues of Justice, Humanity and Transcendence could be potentially understood through the analysis of individuals’ values. The variations of these understandings are examined by country and world regions. Furthermore, to provide more context, the study seeks to determine the relationships between these virtues and individual sociodemographic factors, such as sex, education level and socioeconomic status, as well as country level factors, such as GDP per capita, the average years of schooling at the country level, and gender inequality. Finally, the study also examines the relationship between the virtues and subjective well-being (happiness and life satisfaction), which is claimed to be an important component of human flourishing. In doing so, the overarching goal of this research is to contribute to the growing dialogue on human flourishing and make a case for how human flourishing could be understood in various ways, depending on individual values and context. This exploratory quantitative research study highlights patterns and trends of values in relation to the three virtues as well as exceptions. Furthermore, the findings of the study show the importance of acknowledging differing definitions of human flourishing as well as including context and environment of individuals when discussing an important topic as human flourishing.
  • Item
    Classroom Language Policy and the Role of Assessment
    (2023) Feagin, Karen; Peercy, Megan Madigan; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Students designated as English learners (ELs) make up a substantial and growing portion of the K–12 population in the U.S., so all teachers should expect, at some point, to be teachers of language learners and will need to address the complexities of managing a multilingual classroom. This management is considered classroom-level educational language policy and is an area of importance for understanding and improving the educational experiences of EL-designated students.This qualitative study used nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) to examine the nature of and influences on classroom-level language policymaking at two small Maryland public high schools which exclusively serve EL-designated students. Maryland lacks explicit state-level language policy, thus creating a potentially neutral policy environment for the education of EL-designated students. Data sources included in-depth interviews with two principals and five teachers from the two high schools; documents from twenty years of meetings of the State Board of Education; and other state-level and federal policy documents. Data were analyzed using thematic data analysis. Findings showed that educators managed language in the school and classroom through instructional practices that positioned English as the default language of academics and as the predominant, if not sole, language goal. Language management was mediated by educators’ language ideologies and preparation in TESOL. Through the lens of their assessment literacy, teachers weighed the burden of testing against the benefits of the data obtained through testing and either implemented instructional practices that fully embraced the test and its associated policies or practices that minimally complied with the policies. Principals used their understanding of policies to navigate unavoidable constraints and create space for success. Finally, state-level policy was significantly influenced by federal policy, in particular, No Child Left Behind, and its legacy continues in Maryland education policy today. This study highlights the need for pre-service education and in-service professional development to clarify educators’ roles as language policy agents. Implications for teacher education also include a call for expanding offerings in asset-based language education and assessment literacy. Policy implications include recommendations for the State of Maryland to enact proposed policies from the English Learners Workgroup and to revise regulations that govern high-stakes testing for high school students.
  • Item
    In Pursuit of Equity: The Politics of Desegregation in Howard County, Maryland
    (2023) Bill, Kayla Mackenzie; Scribner, Campbell F.; Education Policy, and Leadership; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    School desegregation policies aim to redistribute educational resources and opportunities more equitably, but they have not always done so. Evidence indicates that political factors, including resistance from White parents and legal constraints, have undermined desegregation policies’ potential to fulfill their aims. Yet, a few studies suggest that windows of opportunity to desegregate schools exist. Even so, these studies often focus on how a subset of political factors shape desegregation efforts, and some political factors remain understudied. Furthermore, school desegregation research tends to focus on either the political dynamics of advancing these policies or the effects these policies have on segregation. Thus, the extent to which political factors affect desegregation policies’ potential to reduce segregation and, eventually, to advance educational equity remains an open question. My dissertation addresses these gaps in the literature by using a race-conscious political framework and a qualitative-dominant, convergent parallel mixed methods design to explore the politics and outcomes of the Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) recent effort to desegregate by redistricting, or redrawing school attendance boundary lines. Howard County is an ideal setting to study desegregation because it possesses several favorable conditions for desegregating schools, including racial/ethnic diversity, espoused commitments to educational equity, and a history of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic integration. These favorable conditions allow me to “test” whether desegregation is a feasible policy goal for school districts and to provide policymakers with insights about how to advance desegregation policies in ways that maximize their potential to reduce segregation and promote educational equity. I find that school overcrowding, growing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic segregation, and resource inequities led the HCPSS Superintendent and the Howard County Board of Education to initiate redistricting. The superintendent proposed a redistricting plan that had the potential to reduce segregation in HCPSS. Yet, various political factors—including resistance from wealthy White and Asian parents and limitations from HCPSS’s formal attendance boundary adjustment policy—led the board to enact a redistricting plan that had relatively less potential to reduce segregation and would have increased it at some school levels. Upon implementation, the enacted redistricting plan appeared to reduce segregation in HCPSS, but those reductions likely resulted from enrollment changes in the district. Ultimately, findings suggest that, under favorable political conditions, desegregation policies do have the potential to reduce segregation. However, realizing these policies’ potential will require districts to either a) explicitly prioritize desegregation, rather than allowing policymakers to attempt to balance desegregation with other, often competing policy goals, or b) align desegregation with other policy goals, rather than pitting it against them.
  • Item
    This is the Remix: A Math Teacher's Reflective Journey Through Fine-Tuning Her Culturally Relevant Teaching
    (2023) Ivy, Kelly Kristina; Brantlinger, Andrew M.; Curriculum and Instruction; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    While many educational institutions have updated their strategic plans mandating culturally responsive teaching (CRT) or culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP), mathematics teachers are reluctant to embrace CRT/CRP, approaching the teaching and learning of mathematics from deficit paradigms that reflect the pedagogy of poverty. Culturally responsive mathematics teaching (CRMT) is necessary because it promises to promote meaningfulness for, accessibility to, and high levels of engagement with school mathematics for Black, Latinx, and other historically marginalized students. However, to date, there have been numerous theoretical arguments for, but few empirical examples of CRMT, and, as a result, many mathematics teachers are uncomfortable employing CRMT. This qualitative case study examines how an experienced and highly regarded Black urban middle school mathematics teacher (Ms. Collier) understands the theoretical and empirical literature on CRP and how she changes her teaching during and after implementing a CRP curriculum unit with her Black and Latinx students. In the context of this study, I offer Ms. Collier’s journey of embracing CRMT by “remixing” her mindset as a mathematics teacher by reading and discussing CRP and CRMT literature and then remixing her curriculum and instruction in response to her “remixed” understandings. In sum, using frameworks such as Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching, and Teacher Change Theory, I explored Ms. Collier’s theory-to-practice applications of CRT. The dissertation results are organized into two parts corresponding with different study phases. Part 1 focused on Ms. Collier’s fine-tuned understanding of CRP, and Part 2 focused on Ms. Collier’s perspectives on her experiences implementing CRMT with her Black and Latinx students. Data were collected from four sources: conversations, semi-structured interviews, written reflections, and memos. Key findings indicate that Ms. Collier was, in fact, a Dreamkeeper, understanding Ladson-Billings’ foundational CRP tenets of Academic Achievement, Cultural Competence, and Critical Consciousness. Findings also crystallized two new tenets of CRP I advance that are present but not explicitly named in the literature: Classroom Domain and Teacher Mindset. In addition, salient themes demonstrating each domain of Teacher Change Theory emerged, with Ms. Collier experiencing a meaningful change in perspective: It's about the curriculum AND who the person is. With this study, I challenge the idea of reducing CRP to a set of practices. My stance is that CRP is more so a process of being for the teacher because this body of work studies the more significant issue of mathematics education for Black and Latinx students. As a mathematics teacher who understands the many stereotypes and stigmas that Black and Latinx students face in the learning and doing of mathematics, Ms. Collier expressed a clear awareness of the impact that culturally relevant instructional and relational practices could have on her Black and Latinx students.