Human Development & Quantitative Methodology Theses and Dissertations

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    The Effects of Variation in the Amount of Play Materials on the Play Behavior of the Preschool Child
    (1978) Rechsteiner, Ann E.; Leeper, Sarah L.; Human Development & Quantitative Methodology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Major questions have arisen concerning the function of play in the development of the young child. Changing attitudes towards the significance of play reflect changing social patterns. The present study was concerned with the effect that a removal of a specified amount of play material had on the play behavior of young children. Ten intact groups of children from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area ranging in age from three to five years old were studied by this researcher. A time sampling technique using a modified version of DUSOPAC was used to measure the play behavior of the groups. The data collected by the observers were compiled and analysed using a one way ANOVA for a repeated measure design for each of the eleven variables (Disruptive, Unoccupied, Solitary, Onlooker, Parallel, Associative, Cooperative, Not Play, Child-Child, Child-Adult, Child-Self.) The findings indicated that a significant relationship (at the .05 significance level) existed between the amount of social play observed and the amount of play equipment that was available to the young child. Less social play was observed when the material was removed on the first treatment day than when the material was present. No significant relationships were observed between the amount of equipment available and the amount of non-social play, the amount of child-child interaction, the amount of child-self interaction, or the amount of child-adult interaction that occurred. Investigation of the mean score values revealed trends for both interaction patterns and play behavior. Females were found to display more child-self interaction behavior and males more child-child interaction behavior. Also, for all days of observation, regardless of treatment, the most frequently occurring interaction behavior was child-child followed by child-self. The least frequently occurring interaction behavior was child-adult. For play behavior for all days of observation, regardless of treatment, males displayed more disruptive, unoccupied, associative, cooperative, parallel and social play behavior than did females. Females were found to display more solitary, onlooker, not-play and non-social play behavior than were males. These findings were not in agreement with Langlois, Gottfried and Seay (1973), and Sitzky, Haywood and Isett (1970 ). The results of this study seem to indicate that there is a need for more research to 1) update earlier studies; 2) study the role of play in the development of social interactions; 3) investigate saturation levels of equipment as they relate to a child's play; 4) to explore in more detail environmental influences on play behavior.
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    Integrating Cognitive and Perceptual Processes in Mental Arithmetic
    (2023) Medrano, Josh Rainier Lucas; Prather, Richard W; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Decades of research have established the importance of working memory in arithmetic computation (DeStefano & LeFevre, 2004). More recently, research has also shown that a formally irrelevant perceptual cue—spacing—can influence problem-solving (Landy & Goldstone, 2007). In a multi-operand problem, individuals solve less accurately and more slowly when the spacing between operands and operators is inconsistent with the order of operations (e.g., 2 x 3+4) compared to when spacing is consistent (e.g., 2x3 + 4). While this effect of physical spacing is widely demonstrated, it is unknown whether this perceptual cue also influences working memory. To examine this, I used a dual-task paradigm, wherein participants (N = 115 adults, mean = 32.41 years, median = 27.22, standard deviation = 15.56) evaluated an expression while completing either a visuospatial (dot pattern) or phonological (letter span) memory task. There were three conditions. The arithmetic stimuli differed between conditions: In the no-spacing (NS) condition, spacing was neutral for all arithmetic expressions; in the spacing-varying (SV) condition, spacing was neutral, consistent, or inconsistent; in the spacing-varying with parenthesis condition (SVP), spacing varied and there were parentheses around multiplied operands (e.g., (2 x 3)+4). The configuration of the working memory tasks was the same for all conditions. Analyses of variance tests (ANOVAs) of arithmetic and recall performance were conducted with spacing, working memory load (low and high) and type (visuospatial and phonological) as independent variables. Results showed that first, working memory load and type, as well as spacing, influenced arithmetic and recall performance, consistent with previous work and partially supporting our hypotheses. Second, compared to the SV condition, inconsistent spacing yielded higher arithmetic accuracy and spacing did not affect or interact with working memory in the SVP condition. Third, exploratory analyses showed that participants’ performance was influenced by math anxiety, age, and math education. Participants who had lower levels of math anxiety, were younger, and had taken three or more math classes after high school had, descriptively, higher arithmetic and recall accuracy. Overall, these results have theoretical implications particularly for mathematical cognition research, as well as practical implications, such as in the design of instructional materials.
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    Construct measurement error in latent social network relationship: An item response theory based latent space model
    (2023) Ding, Yishan; Sweet, Tracy; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Research on measurement error in social network analysis has primarily focused on proxy measurement error, which refers to inadequate or inaccurate observations of proxy measurements of social relationships. However, construct measurement error, a key concern in modern psychometric studies, has received less attention in social network studies. Construct measurement error is particularly relevant for social network relationships that are difficult or impossible to observe explicitly, such as friendships, which are better conceptualized as latent constructs. Historically, researchers have long advocated to use multi-item scales for social relationships to address construct measurement error (Marsden, 1990). However, there is a lack of methods tailored for multivariate social network analysis using multi-item measurements. Commonly, when data on social network ties is collected from multiple items, prevalent strategies involve either choosing a representative item or analyzing each item as a distinct network. To accommodate construct measurement error in social network analysis, this study proposes a new model, termed as IRT-LSM, that integrates an item response theory (IRT) model into a latent space model (LSM). The proposed method leverages the IRT model to take advantage of a multi-item scale to enhance the measurement of latent social relationships, providing a more comprehensive understanding of social relationships compared to relying on a single item. To evaluate the efficacy of this novel approach, the dissertation comprises three simulation studies: One assessing model feasibility and the impact of construct measurement error, a second exploring various misspecification models, and a third investigating the effects of item parameter distributions. Additionally, an empirical data analysis demonstrates the practical application of the IRT-LSM in real-world settings. The results underscore the effectiveness of the IRT-LSM in addressing construct measurement error. The model consistently yields unbiased estimates and demonstrates robustness against various factors influencing its performance across the simulated conditions. Notably, the IRT-LSM outperforms naive approaches that neglect construct measurement error, leading to divergent conclusions in the empirical data analyses.
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    (2023) Feng, Yi; Hancock, Gregory R; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Variability is often of key interest in various research and applied settings. Important research questions about intraindividual variability (e.g., consistency across repeated measurements) or intragroup variability (e.g., cohesiveness among members within a team) are piquing the interest of researchers from a variety of disciplines. To address the research needs in modeling random variability as the key construct, Feng and Hancock (2020, 2022) proposed a multilevel SEM-based modeling approach where variability can be modeled as a random variable. This modeling framework is a highly flexible analytical tool that can model variability in observed measures or latent constructs, variability as the predictor or the outcome, as well as the between-subject comparison of variability across observed groups. A huge challenge still remains, however, when it comes to modeling the unobserved heterogeneity in random variability. Given that no existing research addresses the methodological considerations of uncovering the unobserved sub-populations that differ in intraindividual variability or intragroup variability, or sub-populations that differ in the various processes and mechanisms involving intraindividual variability or intragroup variability, the current dissertation study aims to fill this gap in literature. In the current study, a finite-mixture MSEM for modeling unobserved heterogeneity in random variability (MMSEM-RV) is introduced. Bayesian estimation via MCMC is proposed for model estimation. The performance of MMSEM-RV with Bayesian estimation is systematically evaluated in a simulation study across varying conditions. An illustrative example with empirical PISA data is also provided to demonstrate the practical application of MMSEM-RV.
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    Characterizing the Adventitious Model Error as a Random Effect in Item-Response-Theory Models
    (2023) Xu, Shuangshuang; Liu, Yang; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    When drawing conclusions from statistical inferences, researchers are usually concerned about two types of errors: sampling error and model error. The sampling error is caused by the discrepancy between the observed sample and the population from which the sample is drawn from (i.e., operational population). The model error refers to the discrepancy between the fitted model and the data-generating mechanism. Most item response theory (IRT) models assume that models are correctly specified in the population of interest; as a result, only sampling errors are characterized, not model errors. The model error can be treated either as fixed or random. The proposed framework in this study treats the model error as a random effect (i.e., an adventitious error) and provides an alternative explanation for the model errors in IRT models that originate from unknown sources. A random, ideally small amount of discrepancy between the operational population and the fitted model is characterized using a Dirichlet-Multinomial framework. A concentration/dispersion parameter is used in the Dirichlet-Multinomial framework to measure the amount of adventitious error between the operational population probability and the fitted model. In general, the study aims to: 1) build a Dirichlet-Multinomial framework for IRT models, 2) establish asymptotic results for estimating model parameters when the operational population probability is assumed known or unknown, 3) conduct numerical studies to investigate parameter recovery and the relationship between the concentration/dispersion parameter in the proposed framework and the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA), 4) correct bias in parameter estimates of the Dirichlet-Multinomial framework using asymptotic approximation methods, and 5) quantify the amount of model error in the framework and decide whether the model should be retained or rejected.
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    (2023) Houser, Ari; Harring, Jeffrey R; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Over the past several decades, several highly generalized models have been developed which can reduce, through parameter constraints, to a variety of classical models. One such framework, the Autoregressive Latent Trajectory (ALT) model, is a combination of two classical approaches to longitudinal modeling: the autoregressive or simplex family, in which trait scores at one occasion are regressed on scores at a previous occasion, and latent trajectory or growth curve models, in which individual trajectories are specified by a set of latent factors (typically a slope and an intercept) whose values vary across the population.The Latent Variable-Autoregressive Latent Trajectory (LV-ALT) model has been recently proposed as an extension of the ALT model in which the traits of interest are latent constructs measured by one or more indicator variables. The LV-ALT is presented as a framework by which one may compare the fit of a chosen model to alternative possibilities or use to empirically guide the selection of a model in the absence of theory, prior research, or standard practice. To date, however, there has not been any robust analysis of the efficacy or usefulness of the LV-ALT model for this purpose. This study uses a Monte Carlo simulation study to evaluate the efficacy of the basic formulation of the LV-ALT model (univariate latent growth process, single indicator variable) to identify the true model, model family, and key characteristics of the model under manipulated conditions of true model parameters, sample size, measurement reliability, and missing data. The performance of the LV-ALT model for model selection is mixed. Under most manipulated conditions, the best-fitting of nine candidate models was different than the generating model, and the cost of model misspecification for parameter recovery included significant increases in bias and loss of precision in parameter estimation. As a general rule, the LV-ALT should not be relied upon to empirically select a specific model, or to choose between several theoretical plausible models in the autoregressive or latent growth families. Larger sample size, greater measurement reliability, larger parameter magnitude, and a constant autoregressive parameter are associated with greater likelihood of correct model selection.  
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    (2023) Tian, Chen; Liu, Yang; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The Q-diffusion model is a cognitive process model that considers decision making as an unobservable information accumulation process. Both item and person parameters decide the trace line of the cognitive process, which further decides observed response and response time. Because the likelihood function for the Q-diffusion model is intractable, standard parameter estimation techniques such as the maximum likelihood estimation is difficult to apply. This project applies Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) to estimate parameters of the Q-diffusion model. Different from standard Markov chain Monte Carlo samplers that require pointwise evaluation of the likelihood function, ABC builds upon a program for data generation and a metric on the data space to gauge the similarity between imputed and observed data. This project aims to compare the performance of two criteria for gauging the similarity or distance. The limited-information criterion measures the distance in suitable summary statistics (i.e., variances, covariances, and means) between imputed and observed data. The enhanced limited information criterion additionally considers the dependencies among persons’ responses and response times. Bias, rooted mean squared error, and coverage of credible intervals were reported. Results show that when using posterior median as the point estimate, by jointly considering a person’s responses and response time, the enhanced criterion yielded less biased estimation on population scale of person power and slightly better item parameters. This SMC-ABC algorithm informs researchers about key data features that should be captured when determining the stopping rule for the algorithm.
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    Reframing Children's Judgments of Consensus Reliability as a Process of Information Aggregation
    (2023) Levush, Karen Carmel; Butler, Lucas P; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Consensus is a compelling cue to the truth value of a given claim, but certain consensus patterns provide stronger evidence than others. This dissertation examines the developmental trajectory of children’s reasoning about the epistemic value of diverse perspectives for consensus’ reliability. One-hundred forty-four children between the ages of 7 and 9, as well as 48 adults, were introduced to a novel planet and alien groups that live there. Tasked with learning the “right things” about why various natural phenomena occur on this planet, participants were asked which one of two consensus groups, each of whom collectively thought something different, was the “better” group to ask. Participants rated their relative preference for one consensus group over another using a 6-point scale and were asked to explain their reasoning. These findings provide initial evidence that qualitative changes in children’s ability to consider how dependencies can lead to redundant information parallel the developmental shift in children’s appreciation for interpretive diversity in middle childhood.
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    Mother-child and father-child "serve and return" interactions at 9 months: Associations with children's language skills at 18, 24, and 30 months
    (2023) Chen, Yu; Cabrera, Natasha J; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Infants learn language through the back-and-forth interactions with their parents where they “serve” by vocalizing, gesturing, or looking and parents “return” in a temporally and semantically contingent way. My dissertation focuses on these “serve and return” (SR) interactions between 9-month-old infants and their mothers and fathers (n = 296 parents and 148 infants) from ethnically and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds by examining the variability in SR interactions explained by maternal and paternal psychological distress, the association between SR interactions and children’s language skills at 18, 24, and 30 months, and the moderation effect of maternal and paternal SR interactions on language outcomes. Psychological distress was indicated by parent-reported depressive symptoms, parenting stress, and role overload, and SR interactions were transcribed and coded from video-taped parent-child toy play activities during home visits. I report three major findings. First, neither maternal nor paternal psychological distress was significantly associated with and SR interactions at 9 months, controlling for demographic factors. Second, fathers who responded to their child’s serves more promptly and mothers who provided more semantically relevant responses had children with higher receptive and expressive language skills, respectively, at 18 and 30 months. Third, fathers’ semantically relevant responses were negatively associated with children’s receptive language skills at 24 months; however, this main effect was moderated by mothers’ semantically relevant responses. Understanding how mothers and fathers engage in temporally and semantically contingent social interactions with their children during the first year, especially among families from diverse backgrounds, would enable programs and policies to more effectively promote early language development and reduce gaps in school readiness.
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    The Relationships Between Job Burnout, Job Stress, and Job Satisfaction Among Schoolteachers
    (1985) Newburg-Rinn, Sharon; Hardy, Robert; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Purpose Questions have been raised concerning the separateness of the three concepts, job burnout, job stress, and job satisfaction. It is best to avoid coining new terms such as "burnout" if they are unnecessary. Further, understanding the relationships between these concepts may help prevent confusion in future studies involving these concepts. The purpose of the study was to increase the understanding of all three of the concepts by understanding their relationships to one another. Specifically, are job burnout, job stress, and job satisfaction best viewed as three separate concepts? If not, further questions arise. Is job burnout the same thing as job satisfaction? Could job stress also be placed under the job satisfaction rubric? Finally, are job burnout and job stress part of the same phenomenon? Procedures and Conclusions Surveys were sent to 1512 teachers who were randomly selected from all the members of the Maryland State Teachers Association. Of these, 741 (49%) responded. Eliminating unusable responses brought the final total to 701 teachers. Two measures of each concept were utilized, one a multiple item test and the other a single global question answered on a five point scale. The multiple item instruments were: 1) for job satisfaction, Smith, Kendal, and Hukin's (1969) Job Descriptive Index, Work Scale; 2) for burnout, Maslach and Jackson's (1979a) Maslach Burnout Inventory, Emotional Exhaustion Scale; and 3) for stress, Cichon and Koff's (1980) Teaching ~~ents Stress Inventory. For the three concepts, the global questions were similar in structure to this example: "In general, how stressful do you find being a teacher?" 1 Not Stressful 2 Just a Little stressful 3 Somewhat Stressful 4 Quite Stressful 5 Extremely Stressful These data were analyzed by way of a multitrait-multimethod matrix (Campbell and Fiske, 1959) and a factor analysis. These approaches allowed an assessment of the pattern of the relationships between these concepts. It was concluded that the preponderance of the evidence implied that job burnout, job stress, and job satisfaction are best considered separate concepts. In addition, it was found that there was a poor correlation between a global measure of stress and the Teaching Events Stress Inventory. The study tends to suggest that the TESI be reexamined before being used again in this fashion for possible changes which would allow a higher correlation between it and a global measure of job stress.
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    Adult Children of Alcoholics as Public High School Teachers: Comparable Risks for Occupational Burnout
    (1989) Hofford, Craig William; Gold, Robert S.; Health Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Clinicians working with Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACAs) have suggested these individuals are at higher risk for occupational burnout than those who did not grow up in alcoholic environments (NACAs). However, little empirical data exist to support such claims. This study compared the scores of ACAs and NACAs on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). The ACAs' scores were further tested to explore any relationship that might exist between MBI scores and birth order or treatment received for co-dependency. The population tested was a convenient, non-random sample of uburban, public high school teachers. High school professionals (N= 409) responded to a study instrument that included the Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (C.A.S.T.) and the MBI. Eighty-three respondents were determined to be ACAs by their scores on the C.A.S.T. A statistically significant number (N= 23) of those ACAs did not indicate that they grew up in an alcoholic home on the accompanying demographic sheet. Discriminant analysis (ACAs and NACAs) produced a significant canonical correlation of .7957 (p < .001). Significant variables included parental alcoholism, parental drug dependency, Personal Accomplishment, years in teaching, Depersonalization, parental stroke, age. burnout (intensity), and parental handicap. Teacher burnout rates were lower than reported in previous tudies. ACA teachers had statistically significant, higher mean scores for intensity of Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment (p < .05). Tests of the means failed to identify any other differences in the groups with regard to the incidence of burnout. No statistically significant differences were found between the means of comparison groups of ACA teachers defined by birth order or treatment. Results suggest that ACA teachers perceive the intensity of Depersonalization more strongly than NACA teachers. Their higher sense of Personal Accomplishment may, in fact, enhance the intensity of that feeling of Depersonalization since getting along with people is highly valued in the teaching profession. There appears to be no relationship between the measures of burnout in ACA teachers and the variables of birth order and treatment. Any conclusions drawn from this study, however, must be tempered by the fact that a post hoc power analysis indicated very low power for the hypothetical comparisons conducted in this study.
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    (1993) Luebering, Anne; Tyler, Bonnie; Department of Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    Perceived parental self- efficacy has been assumed to contribute positively toward maternal behavior among mothers of infants, but previous research has been inconclusive with regard to the link between self efficacy and behavior. Examination of Bandura's self efficacy theory points to the need to assess perceived parental self-efficacy in conjunction with other parenting cognitions before judgment can be made about its significance for good parenting. In particular, childrearing beliefs were thought to be essential to mothers ' ideas about what kinds of skills are necessary to be a good parent, and therefore to their evaluations of their parenting a b ilities. In the present study, two measu res of perceived parental self-efficacy were obtained from ll3 first-time mothers of 6 to l2-month - old infants, one measure tapping specific domains and tasks of parenting infants, and the other tappi ng a more general sense of how one was functioning as a parent . The relationship between these measures and childrearing beliefs, knowledge of infant development, experience with infants, SES, maternal age, and ethnicity were assessed. The demographic variables and knowledge were unrelate d to e ither measure of self- efficacy. Ex perience with infants was moderately correlated with the task- based measure of self- efficacy, but weakly r elated to the general measure. Childrearing beliefs showed low but significant correlations with both self efficacy measures. Investigation of the subscales of the child rearing beli efs measure indicated that the dimension of enjoyment/aggravation regarding the parental role was most closely related to mothers ' feelings of self-efficacy. Subscales measuring encou ragement of autonomy, strictness, beliefs about spoiling , and beliefs in infants' need for warmth and affection were not related to either measure of perceived parental self- efficacy. The results of this study indicate that caution should be taken in r e asoning that perceived parental self- efficacy is associated with appropriate parenting skills and behaviors , since high self-efficacy can occur in conjunction with undesirable childrearing beliefs, and such beliefs may not be associated with positive maternal behavior.
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    (2023) Barkin, Raychel; Ramani, Geetha; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Early academic scores are strong and robust predictors of children’s later school and career performance (Duncan et al., 2007; Rose, 2006). However, the USA ranks well below other countries on math scores (27th out of 34; OECD, 2013), and have been marked as particularly inadequate at “mathematics tasks with higher cognitive demand(s)”. Thus, it is important to focus on the mechanisms which may contribute to differences in early mathematics problem solving and find tools that are uniquely suited to addressing this issue. One advantageous strategy young children use during math problem solving are hand gestures. Gestures are one of several overtly observable strategies in math contexts(e.g., counting on fingers vs. counting out loud without gestures), but have been specifically recognized as useful given their ability to reduce the user's working memory load during math contexts (Goldin-Meadow & Wagner, 2005). As children get older, the type and frequency of strategies used are reported to shift from basic to more advanced and efficient (Siegler, 1987). This pattern is often seen as younger children using more overtly observable strategies (e.g., finger counting), whereas older children rely on more implicit strategies (e.g., memory retrieval of math facts, Geary et al., 1991). However, less is known about how differences in children’s concurrent domain-general abilities (e.g., working memory, inhibitory control) and domain-specific knowledge (e.g., math specific) contribute to strategic use of gesture during arithmetic problem solving. This line of research is vital given that gestures may be especially advantageous based on their capacity to bolster mental resources needed for problem solving. Using the Gestures in Math Environments model (GME model; Gordon & Ramani, 2021) as a framework, the current study provides a comprehensive assessment of the factors underlying children’s domain-general and specific abilities, and provides evidence as to their relation to children’s use of gesture as a strategy during arithmetic problem solving. Furthermore, it tests a newly proposed adaptation to the GME model where inhibitory control plays a moderating role on the relation between children’s working memory and use of gesture. One-hundred-thirty-seven 4- to 7-year-old children and their parents participated in this study. All children completed two sessions; an autonomous online-game based assessment and a video recorded zoom session regulated by a trained research assistant. At each session, children completed measures of inhibitory control, early mathematical knowledge, and working memory. Their gesture use was video recorded during one measure where children partake in arithmetic problem solving. Parents completed a standardized measure assessing their child’s inhibitory control and working memory abilities. Using structural equation modeling, the relations between all measures and a consideration of how each corresponded to a set of comprehensible latent factors (one factor each for inhibitory control, working memory, and math) were examined. Further examination of how each factor related to children’s use of gesture was investigated. In line with the original GME model, working memory ability was a unique predictor of children’s use of gesture above and beyond impacts of age, math knowledge, inhibitory control, and gender. While there is not any evidence from the current study to support the proposed moderation between inhibitory control and working memory on gesture use, a modification to the GME model with the addition of gender is subsequently recommended.
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    Bayesian Analysis of a Nonlinear Dynamic Latent Class Structural Equation Model: A Simulation Study
    (2023) Zou, Jinwang; Harring, Jeffrey R.; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the past several decades, the so-called ambulatory assessment (AA) of in- tensive longitudinal data (ILD) has gained a substantial amount of attention. Recent advancements in data collection technologies such as smart phones and pedometers have catalysed the creation of richer and denser data sets. Such data sets enable the investigation of momentary dynamic processes underlying the data, but at the same time also pose more challenges in choosing appropriate modeling techniques to an- swer increasingly more complex research questions. Traditional modeling techniques such as structural equation models, latent class analysis, and time series analysis can each be applied to understand the dynamic relations from a particular perspective, but not comprehensively. Recently, Kelava and Brandt (2019) proposed a general nonlinear dynamic latent class structural equation model framework which can be used to examine the intraindividual processes of observed or latent variables using the ILD data set. This general framework allows the decomposition of the process data into individual- and time-specific components so that unobserved heterogeneity of intraindividual processes can be modeled via a latent Markov process which can be predicted by individual- and time-specific variables as random effects. Despite the theoretical advancements in modeling ILD data, little is known about the statistical properties of this general framework. The purpose of this study is to fill this gap by running an extensive Monte Carlo simulation study to investigate the simulation outcomes using various evaluation metrics under a series of conditions using representative submodels from the general framework. Recommendations are given according to the simulation results and findings from the simulation study can serve as useful guidance for both applied and methodological researchers alike.
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    (2023) Sims, Riley N.; Killen, Melanie; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    From an early age, children prefer fair and just treatment of others. Young children often reason about the importance of establishing equality between individuals and groups, with concerns for equity emerging by middle childhood. At the same time, children expect that individuals who counter gender stereotypic norms will face exclusion from the peer group, and give preferential treatment towards gender ingroup members over gender outgroup members in resource allocation tasks. Denying individuals from friendships, resources, or opportunities based on gender stereotypic expectations constitutes unfair treatment. Intergroup contact has been shown to reduce children’s prejudicial attitudes, but less research has investigated how intergroup contact with counter-stereotypic peers shapes children’s friendship preferences. Furthermore, research indicates that children rectify inequalities for historically marginalized racial/ethnic groups. Women have historically been marginalized and excluded within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Though some research has investigated the extent to which children rectify inequalities between racial groups, less research has focused on how children rectify inequalities between gender groups in stereotypic contexts, such as those involving science inequalities. The present dissertation contains three empirical papers that explore how gender stereotypic expectations shape children’s friendship preferences and distributive justice beliefs. Empirical Paper 1 explored how children’s own reported gender stereotypes and playmate experiences relate to their desires to play with peers who hold counter-stereotypic toy preferences. Empirical Paper 2 assessed children’s evaluations, resource allocation decisions, and reasoning in contexts involving inequalities of science supplies between groups of boys and girls. Empirical Paper 3 extended work from Empirical Paper 2 to investigate how children and young adults consider merit and gender group membership in science inequality contexts. Together, this body of work suggests that intergroup contact with counter-stereotypic peers can dampen the influence of gender stereotypes in shaping children’s friendship preferences, and that children and young adults maintain subtle pro-boy biases in their evaluations and decision-making regarding access to science resources between gender groups. Documenting the contextual factors that encourage children to resist gender stereotypic expectations and promote more equitable attitudes as it relates to rights to resources and opportunities can inform future research aimed at promoting inclusive orientations in childhood.
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    The roles of group biases and mental state understanding in children's intergroup interactions
    (2023) Glidden, Jacquelyn; Killen, Melanie; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Balancing concerns for fairness with group dynamics, including preferences for one’s ingroup and attitudes about peers viewed as members of the outgroup, emerges early in childhood. While children understand fairness and act on their judgments about it, they also display preferences for others who are similar to themselves. Further, their mental state knowledge, that is, beliefs about others’ beliefs, desires, and intentions, is related to their ability to give priority to fairness considerations. The present dissertation includes a collection of three papers which explore the influence of children’s ingroup biases and mental state understanding skills on their intergroup moral decisions. Empirical Paper 1 documents circumstances in which intergroup factors are associated with increased group biases. Specifically, hearing an outgroup member claim that someone has performed a moral transgression was associated with children displaying heightened ingroup biases. Next, Empirical Paper 2 explores whether mental state understanding might serve as a mediator between children’s ingroup biases and their moral decisions. Children’s mental state understanding skills did in fact mediate the relationship between ingroup bias and children’s ability to attribute intentions and decisions to exclude peers. Finally, Empirical Paper 3 addresses the role of mental state understanding skills in children’s judgments of gender inequalities and their attributions of emotions to individuals who are harmed by or benefitted by gender inequality. Children’s advanced mental state understanding skills were associated with them judging gender inequality more negatively and recognizing that benefitting from gender inequality is not necessarily a positive experience. Together, these three empirical papers provide evidence that children are balancing concerns for groups and their ability to understand others’ mental states when making intergroup moral evaluations. This collection has implications for future research aimed at improving children’s intergroup interactions and reducing intergroup biases.
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    (2023) Singh, Anisha; Alexander, Patricia; Human Development; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The use of the audio medium (e.g., audiobooks and podcasts) is proliferating in everyday and educational contexts. Yet, research investigating text processing in audio compared to the more commonly used print medium is limited in scope. Specifically, the research so far has majorly focused on younger learners or English language learners, narrative genre texts, operationalized comprehension as a unidimensional construct, and used variable-centered analytical techniques. The current mixed methods study aimed to explore text processing across print and audio by focusing on four interrelated dimensions—learner, text, task, and test. I used finite mixture modeling for the quantitative part of the study to identify meaningful reader and listener profiles. Following the identification and validation of profiles, students from the profiles were interviewed to complement and enhance the understanding of the groups. Specifically, the study aimed to investigate differences across the two mediums vis-à-vis learner characteristics, text and test processing behaviors, and comprehension outcomes. A further goal of the study was to identify meaningful and distinct reader and listener profiles by accounting for affective and behavioral variables, and validating the profiles on cognitive variables. Finally, the study aimed to build qualitatively rich descriptions of the quantitatively unearthed profile groups. To address these aims, undergraduate students (n =130) were recruited from human development courses. They completed measures related to self-efficacy and reported their reading and listening habits. Each participant’s screen was recorded as they processed text in print and audio. Text processing behaviors (e.g., scrolling, increasing playback speed) and off-task behaviors (e.g., eating, fidgeting) were coded. Learner-related, text processing, and task variables were used to find meaningful reader and listener profiles. The profiles were validated using prior topic knowledge and comprehension as covariate and outcome, respectively. Students belonging to each profile were invited for interviews (n = 10). The format was a cued retrospective interview, wherein video clips were used to prompt participants. The interviews were transcribed, segmented into utterances, and coded for learner-related, text-related, task-related, and test-related content. Results from the variable-centered analysis revealed that reading print or listening to audio led to similar performance levels on items targeting recall and inference. However, reading print was associated with higher scores on the item assessing the main idea than listening to audio. Results from the mixture modeling and interviews revealed three reader profiles—Distracted Surfers, Labored Harvesters, and Fluent Surveyors—and three listener profiles—Inconsistently Attentive, Inattentive, and Persistently Attentive. The profiles were found to differ qualitatively on strategies, text processing depth, and attention regulation. This study’s contribution is in expanding the research on comprehension across different mediums both in terms of scope and methodologically. The current investigation demonstrates that learner characteristics and text processing behaviors need to be accounted for when studying comprehension with different mediums. Practically, it has implications for practitioners looking to incorporate audio for content delivery in their courses and for instructional designers developing educational technology tools to optimize learning.
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    (2023) Cassiday, Kristina; Stapleton, Laura M; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Student mobility exists, but it’s not always taken into account in value-added modeling approaches used to determine school accountability rankings. Multiple membership modeling can account for student mobility in a multilevel framework, but it is more computationally demanding and requires specialized knowledge and software packages that may not be available in state and district departments of education. The purpose of this dissertation was to compare how different multilevel value-added modeling approaches perform at various levels of mobility to be able to provide recommendations to state- and district-administrators about the type of models that would be best suited to their data. To accomplish this task, a simulation study was conducted, manipulating the percentage of mobility in the dataset and the similarity of the sender and receiver schools of mobile students. Traditional gains score and covariate adjustment models were run, along with comparable multiple membership models to determine the extent to which school effect estimates and school accountability rankings were affected and to investigate the conditions under which a multiple membership model would produce a meaningful increase in accuracy to justify its computational demand. Additional comparisons were made on measures of relative bias of the fixed effect coefficients, the random effect variance components, and the relative bias of the standard errors of the fixed effects and random effects variance components. The multiple membership models with schools proportionally weighted by time spent were considered better fitting models across all conditions. All multiple membership models were able to better recover the intercept and school-level residual variance better than other models. However, when considering school accountability rankings, the proportion of school quintile shifts was close to equal across the traditional and multiple membership models that were structurally similar to each other. This finding suggests that the use of a multiple membership model is preferable in providing the most accurate parameter and standard error estimates. However, if school accountability rankings are of primary interest, a traditional VAM performs equally as well as a multiple membership model. An empirical data analysis was conducted to demonstrate how to prepare data and properly run these various models and how to interpret the results, along with a discussion of issues to consider when selecting a model. Recommendations are provided on how to select a model, informed by the findings from the simulation portion of the study.
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    (2022) Wang, Weimeng; Harring, Jeffrery R; Liu, Yang; Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Recent advancements in testing differential item functioning (DIF) have greatly relaxed restrictions made by the conventional multiple group item response theory (IRT) model with respect to the number of grouping variables and the assumption of predefined DIF-free anchor items. The application of the L1 penalty in DIF detection has shown promising results in identifying a DIF item without a priori knowledge on anchor items while allowing the simultaneous investigation of multiple grouping variables. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) is added directly to the loss function to encourage variable sparsity such that DIF parameters of anchor items are penalized to be zero. Therefore, no predefined anchor items are needed. However, DIF detection using LASSO requires a non-trivial model selection consistency assumption and is difficult to draw statistical inference. Given the importance of identifying DIF items in test development, this study aims to apply the decorrelated score test to test DIF once the penalized method is used. Unlike the existing regularized DIF method which is unable to test the statistical significance of a DIF item selected by LASSO, the decorrelated score test requires weaker assumptions and is able to provide asymptotically valid inference to test DIF. Additionally, the deccorrelated score function can be used to construct asymptotically unbiased normal and efficient DIF parameter estimates via a one-step correction. The performance of the proposed decorrelated score test and the one-step estimator are evaluated by a Monte Carlo simulation study.
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    An Examination of the Effects of Three Testing Techniques on Word Accuracy, Comprehension, Rate, and Percentages of Semantic Substitutions in Oral Reading
    (1972) Stafford, Gerald Edward; Sullivan, Dorothy D.; Early Childhood Elementary Education; University of Maryland (College Park, Md); Digital Repository at the University of Maryland
    Authoritative opinion of long standing has recommended that purposes for reading be established prior to reading. In spite of such recommendations, testing procedures for oral reading typically have not involved reading for purposes. Furthermore, research designed to examine the effectiveness of reading for purposes has generally produced divergent findings. Superior reading performance has been observed when purposes for reading were established prior to reading as well as when they were not established prior to reading. Moreover, research designed to examine the effectiveness of purposeful reading has been confined almost exclusively to the area of silent reading. To date not a single investigation has been found which clearly illustrated the effects of purposes for reading on oral reading performance. The present study was designed to investigate the relationships between three testing techniques and performance on four dimensions of oral reading performance. The three testing techniques employed in this study were identified as (1) careful reading, (2) reading for specific purposes, and (3) reading for general purposes. The four dimensions of oral reading performance on which comparisons were made involved oral reading word accuracy, comprehension, rate, and the percentages of semantic substitutions. The four research hypotheses examined in the investigation are stated as follows: 1. There is a difference in oral reading word accuracy under the treatments careful reading, reading for specific purposes, and reading for general purposes for third and sixth graders. 2. There is a difference in oral reading comprehension under the treatments careful reading, reading for specific purposes, and reading for general purposes for third and sixth graders. 3. There is a difference in oral reading rate under the treatments careful reading, reading for specific purposes, and reading for general purposes for third and sixth graders. 4. There is a difference in the percentages of semantic substitutions made under the treatments careful reading, reading for specific purposes and reading for general purposes for third and sixth graders. To obtain data for this study, forty-five third grade and forty-five sixth grade subjects were randomly selected from two elementary schools. The ninety subjects chosen for the study were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Each subject was requested to read orally in the manner dictated by the treatment group to which he had been assigned. The materials from which subjects read were the appropriate passages from Form A of the Gilmore Oral Reading Test (1852). Measurements for oral reading word accuracy, comprehension, rate, and percentages of semantic substitutions were computed for each subject. A 2x3 analysis of variance design was used to test for differential treatment effects. An analysis of the data from the study indicted that none of the research hypotheses was supported at the .05 level of significance. The present study led to recommendations in the areas of theory, diagnosis, teaching, and research. Authoritative opinion has suggested that many of the classification schemes used for analyzing oral reading errors are a theoretical. It is possible that performance differences not evidenced through the classification scheme employed in this study could be found using a classification scheme having a sounder theoretical basis. It was therefore recommended that the effects of the three treatments employed in this study be reexamined using a classification scheme built around a theory of reading. In contrast to investigation in the area of silent reading, the present study did not evidence differences in reading performance under the treatments employed. The failure of oral reading performance to vary in the manner observed for silent reading suggested that the two forms of reading are in some respects dissimilar. It was therefore recommended that that diagnostic procedures include measures of both oral and silent reading . Recent investigation has suggested that children often need greater skill in reading for different purposes. One possible explanation for why differential treatment effects were not obtained in the present study was that subjects did not have skill in reading for different purposes. The recommendation was made, therefore, that classroom teachers place greater. emphasis on teaching children to read for different purposes. The following recommendations were made for the area of research. (1) It was recommended that research be undertaken to develop measures of oral reading comprehension, rate, and percentages of semantic substitutions which have greater test-retest reliability. (2) The sample chosen for this study was restricted to third and sixth graders whose performance on a standardized silent reading test placed them in the second or third quartile of the normative population. A replication of this study using subjects from other grade and performance levels was recommended. (3) It was recommended that investigation be undertaken to further examine the relationships between oral and silent reading. Special consideration should be given to identifying those factors in which a satisfactory generalization from oral reading to silent reading can be made. (4) This study did not evidence differential treatment effects using reading materials and purposes for reading supplied by an examiner. It was recommended that investigation be undertaken to examine the effectiveness of using pupil-selected materials and pupil purposes for reading.