Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT THROUGH WRITTEN FEEDBACK: EXAMINING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK BELIEFS AND PRACTICES, AND THE EFFECT OF MODELS ON WRITTEN FEEDBACK

    Author:
    Caterina Almendral
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    The current study explored three main aspects relating to the use of written feedback as a formative assessment tool: the types (form or content) of written feedback provided by elementary school teachers and the levels (task, process-Self-Regulation) at which those types of feedback are provided; whether elementary school teacher beliefs about written feedback principles and their own written feedback practice correspond to the actual written feedback they provide; and whether exposure to a model of written feedback influences teacher written feedback practice. Data were collected from 188 elementary school teachers spirally assigned to five groups (four treatment, one control). Treatment groups were exposed to different written feedback models and subsequently all teachers were asked to provide written feedback on a fifth grade student's social studies writing sample. All teachers responded to a demographic survey as well as a questionnaire containing a series of questions related to their beliefs about written feedback and their written feedback practice. Findings showed that elementary school teachers provided form type comments almost ten times more frequently than content type comments. Teachers' beliefs regarding feedback practices did not match the actual feedback provided on the Written Task. Specifically, teachers believed that they provide content written feedback more frequently than was reflected in their actual feedback. There was no statistically significant relationship between teacher beliefs about process-SR related feedback principles and the actual number of process-SR level comments teachers gave on the Written Task. Exposure to written feedback models influenced the levels of written feedback participants delivered. Group 1 (form and task) provided significantly more task level feedback than Group 2 (form and process-SR) or the control group. Further, trend level differences were found between Group 2 and Group 1, with Group 2 providing more process-SR comments than Group 1. No differences were found by written feedback type or between Group 3 (content and task) and Group 4 (content and process-SR). Study findings suggest that teachers would benefit from support geared towards enhancing their written feedback practice to provide more content comments at the process-SR level. Practical and classroom applications are discussed.

  • Using Institutional Data to Identify Students at Risk for Leaving Community College: An Event History Approach

    Author:
    Paul Bachler
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    Community colleges have been criticized for having lower graduation rates than four year colleges, but few studies have looked at non-graduation transfer, in which a student leaves the community college for a four-year college without taking an associate degree. The current study utilizes institutional data and a discrete-time event history model to predict non-transfer attrition in community colleges. The data utilized include five years of institutional data from 21,724 first-time freshmen from the six community colleges of the City University of New York. The study includes students who resided in New York City and its two adjacent suburban counties and who matriculated in the fall of the 2004 and 2005 academic years. Multinomial logistic regression was employed in an event history model of student absence and transfer; models were developed for both the first and second spells. Data on students who transferred were obtained from the National Student Loan Clearinghouse (NSLC). Continuation or type of leaving following each semester constituted the dependent variable. Many of the risk factors for leaving were related to academic performance. Students who were writing proficient and who had higher GPAs and more credit completion were more likely to remain enrolled or to transfer; students who failed were more likely to leave. Notably, course withdrawal was a greater risk factor for leaving than course failure. Financial aid in the form of grants and loans was associated with a decreased risk for attrition, and weekly travel was associated with an increased risk for leaving as well as an increased risk for transfer. Smaller class size and time spent on campus and especially in class was associated with lower risks for attrition. Three models were employed, two of these modeled transfer as separate form of leaving; one included transfer together with graduation and continuation as a successful semester outcome. Parameters obtained from the 2004 cohort were applied to the 2005 cohort to assess each model's predictive validity in a naïve dataset. The most successful model for the first spell correctly identified 34.6 percent of the leavers in the semester in which they left, with a 35 percent false positive rate. The most successful model for the second spell identified 49.6 percent of leavers with a 30.8 percent false positive rate. If a false positive rate of 50 percent is allowed, about 60 percent of leavers in the first spell and about 80 percent of the leavers in second spell can be detected. Remedial study does not present a risk, but the data suggest that remedial education may be using too much of a student's grant money. It is suggested that additional study may be needed to determine how to effectively remediate students in math and writing, and that a model for course withdrawal and failure using interim grades be developed. Since withdrawal and failure present acute risks, it is suggested that a student's fitness and prerequisite skills for courses be assessed prior to course enrollment. Since many of the risk factors are interrelated, it is suggested that a structural model may be needed to assess each predictor's relevance.

  • The Effects of Ethnic Matching on Abusive/Neglectful Minority Clients' Counseling Satisfaction, Engagement, Pre-mature Termination, and Outcome

    Author:
    Arlene Barrow
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Shick Tryon
    Abstract:

    This dissertation explored the relationship of ethnic matching between abusive and/or neglectful ethnic minority parents and minority counselors. Specifically, it examined these clients' satisfaction with and engagement in counseling as well as type of termination (unilateral or continuing) and outcome (client adjustment, meeting of agency goals, and re-abuse). This study also looked at the relationships of ethnic identity and acculturation discrepancies of clients who abused their children and their counselors, who were either ethnically matched or not matched, to client satisfaction, client engagement, client termination type, and client outcome. This dissertation sought to answer the following questions: (a) Are child-abusing clients who are ethnically matched with their counselors more satisfied with the intake counseling session than those who are not ethnically matched? (b) Are child-abusing clients who are ethnically matched with counselors more likely to become engaged in counseling than their non-matched counterparts? (c) Are child-abusing clients who are ethnically matched with their counselors less likely to terminate early than those who are not ethnically matched? ( d) Do child-abusing clients who are ethnically matched with their counselors have better outcomes than those who are not ethnically matched? (e) How do client-counselor differences in ethnic identity and acculturation relate to client satisfaction, engagement, termination, and outcome? I confirmed that abusive/neglectful clients who were ethnically matched with their counselors were significantly less likely to terminate prematurely after engagement than ethnically unmatched clients. Ethnic matching was not related to engagement, client satisfaction, or counseling outcome. Overall, results of this study suggested that ethnic matching per se may have little to do with client satisfaction, engagement, and outcome. Results also suggested that in contrast to ethnic matching, client-counselor ethnic identity discrepancy is important in client engagement, early-termination, and counseling outcome regardless of whether or not clients are ethnically matched. Although acculturation discrepancy was related to re-abuse, it had little relationship with the other variables in this study.

  • Effects of Group Parent-Training with Online Parent-Teacher Communication on the Homework Performance of Elementary School Students

    Author:
    Richard Beck
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Homework Improvement Program, a 5-week group-formatted parent training program, in enhancing the homework performance of children experiencing homework difficulties. The study was conducted in an elementary school with a sample consisting of the parents of seven students (N=7) in grades 5 and 6 who were experiencing significant homework difficulties. In accordance with the Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC) model which emphasizes the importance of home-school communication, online Electronic Daily Report Card (EDRC) software was developed as a component of the program through which parents were provided a direct avenue of communication with their child's teacher. The EDRC attempted to address limitations of previously developed home-school communication methods, while maximizing efficiency, and minimizing teacher obligation. It was also designed to be user-friendly for parents. The EDRC informed parents of their child's homework assignments, instructions, and teacher expectations on a daily basis. It also served as a data collection tool through which parents could be provided with regular feedback regarding their child's progress through the program. Results indicated that the intervention was effective in improving homework completion rates for 100% of study participants. A PND analysis revealed the intervention to be Highly Effective in improving rates of homework completion for 57.14% of the participants (4), and Moderately Effective for the remaining 42.86% of participants (3). All students showed improvements in rates of homework completion, with gains maintained at a four-week follow-up. A PAND analysis of homework completion data revealed a large effect size (Phi=.90, 95%CI), with 95.08% of data non-overlapping with baseline rates. Parent ratings of problematic homework behaviors as reported on the Homework Problems Checklist (HPC) reflected a decrease in problematic homework behaviors from baseline to intervention completion, with improvements maintained at follow-up. Responses to treatment satisfaction questionnaires indicated that participants reported a very high level of satisfaction with all aspects of the program. These results suggest that by offering an interactive and collaborative school-based intervention that directly involves parents, positive behavior change can be accomplished that extends into both the home and school settings.

  • DOES A COURSE IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AFFECT TEACHERS' SELF-PERCEIVED EFFICACY IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT?

    Author:
    Michael Benhar
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The literature on teacher burnout clearly indicates that classroom management problems are primary causes contributing to teachers leaving the field. Efficacy beliefs influence the individual's cognition and affect to mobilize the necessary psychological resources to accomplish a specific task. Lower perceived self-efficacy in classroom management directly impacts personal accomplishment. While much research has examined teacher efficacy in general, little research has looked at classroom management in particular. This study sought to contribute to the teacher efficacy in classroom management literature by investigating if a course in classroom management increased teacher efficacy in classroom management as contrasted with a comparative graduate course in the exceptional child. The investigator administered at pre and posttest the Teacher Efficacy in Classroom Management and Discipline Scale (SEBM) and used the71 graduate students' course grades along with behavior vignettes as a means to externally validate their self-perceived teacher efficacy beliefs. The current study also investigated the effect of mediating variables, such as gender, age, ethnicity, the number of years teaching, child or childless, socio-economic status, undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages on teacher efficacy in classroom management. The results indicated that students in the classroom management course were significantly better at identifying target behaviors and interventions for the behavior vignettes than were students in the exceptional child course. In addition, teaching experience for classroom management students related positively to classroom management self-efficacy scores at posttest, but not at pretest, and none of the other mediating variables related to self-efficacy scores. Participants in the classroom management course did not statistically differ in gains on classroom management self-efficacy scores as compared with participants in the exceptional child course. Moreover, there was no significant relationship between course grades and posttest self-efficacy scores for both classes. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school psychologists, study limitations, and suggestions for future research.

  • DOES A COURSE IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AFFECT TEACHERS' SELF-PERCEIVED EFFICACY IN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT?

    Author:
    Michael Benhar
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The literature on teacher burnout clearly indicates that classroom management problems are primary causes contributing to teachers leaving the field. Efficacy beliefs influence the individual's cognition and affect to mobilize the necessary psychological resources to accomplish a specific task. Lower perceived self-efficacy in classroom management directly impacts personal accomplishment. While much research has examined teacher efficacy in general, little research has looked at classroom management in particular. This study sought to contribute to the teacher efficacy in classroom management literature by investigating if a course in classroom management increased teacher efficacy in classroom management as contrasted with a comparative graduate course in the exceptional child. The investigator administered at pre and posttest the Teacher Efficacy in Classroom Management and Discipline Scale (SEBM) and used the71 graduate students' course grades along with behavior vignettes as a means to externally validate their self-perceived teacher efficacy beliefs. The current study also investigated the effect of mediating variables, such as gender, age, ethnicity, the number of years teaching, child or childless, socio-economic status, undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages on teacher efficacy in classroom management. The results indicated that students in the classroom management course were significantly better at identifying target behaviors and interventions for the behavior vignettes than were students in the exceptional child course. In addition, teaching experience for classroom management students related positively to classroom management self-efficacy scores at posttest, but not at pretest, and none of the other mediating variables related to self-efficacy scores. Participants in the classroom management course did not statistically differ in gains on classroom management self-efficacy scores as compared with participants in the exceptional child course. Moreover, there was no significant relationship between course grades and posttest self-efficacy scores for both classes. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school psychologists, study limitations, and suggestions for future research.

  • The Effects of Cover, Copy and Compare, Performance Feedback and Rewards on the Mathematical Calculation Skills of Students Identified with Math Difficulty

    Author:
    Geetal Benson
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This study examined the isolated effects of Cover, Copy and Compare (CCC) and the effects of CCC paired with performance feedback (CCC + PF) and rewards (CCC + RW) on the mathematical calculation skills of first grade students identified with math difficulty. Four research questions were addressed in this study. 1. Does Cover, Copy, and Compare increase first grade students' fluency in addition and subtraction calculation skills? 2. Does Cover, Copy and Compare paired with Performance Feedback have a higher rate of increase of first grade students' fluency in addition and subtraction calculation skills when compared to Cover, Copy, and Compare alone? 3. Does Cover-Copy-Compare paired with a Reward have a higher rate of increase of first grade students' fluency in mathematics calculation skills when compared with Cover, Copy, and Compare in isolation or Cover, Copy, and Compare paired with Performance Feedback? 4. Does Cover, Copy, and Compare increase first grade students' fluency in addition and subtraction skills at a higher rate than a control receiving no intervention? Eight first-grade students enrolled in General Education in an elementary school in a low-socioeconomic community within a major city in the Eastern United States were identified with Math Difficulty through a curriculum-based measure (CBM), and were the participants in the study. The students were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: CCC, CCC + PF, CCC + RW and control. An alternating treatment design was used following an assessment of baseline levels that were determined using a CBM probe. The students received the interventions in both addition and subtraction operations over the course of 10 weeks. Rates of digits correct per minute (DCPM) and errors per minute (EPM) were the dependent measures used to indicate gains in calculation skills. Overall, the results of the study indicated that CCC produced significant decreases in EPM when compared with baseline performance and modest gains in DCPM. Adding PF or RW to CCC did not increase the power of the CCC intervention as hypothesized, although it produced faster response times in some students. The study replicated previous research by demonstrating the CCC is a sound method for improving academic skills.

  • A Comparison of Vocabulary Learning From Joint Reading of Narrative and Informational Books With Dual Language Learner Children

    Author:
    Deborah Bergman Deitcher
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    Abstract A Comparison of Vocabulary Learning From Joint Reading of Narrative and Informational Books With Dual Language Learner Children By: Deborah Bergman Deitcher Advisor: Professor Helen L. Johnson This study examined joint reading of narrative and informational texts in the home setting, between parents and their English-Hebrew dual language learning preschool children. Parent-child dyads were video-recorded while reading two sets of books; each set contained one narrative and one informational text on the same theme. Children's target word learning of 48 target words (12 words per book) of varying difficulty levels was measured from pretest to posttest. Results showed that children learned target words at both the receptive and expressive levels, with scores nearly tripling from pretest to posttest at the expressive level. Child's age, prior vocabulary knowledge, and target word difficulty level were significantly predictive of children's receptive word learning. Age, number of years the child was in Israel, prior vocabulary knowledge, and target word difficulty level were significantly predictive of children's expressive word learning. Contrary to expectation, book genre was not significantly predictive of word learning. However, parent book reading style differed by genre, with more overall talk, and nearly twice the number of the following elements occurring during readings of informational texts: references to vocabulary words, questions, text-to-text and text-to-reader references, restatements, and elaborations. Educational implications are discussed.

  • An Examination of the Goodness of Fit Model: How is the Relationship Between Child Temperament and Behavior Expressed in Different Types of Classroom Environments?

    Author:
    Sasha Blackwell
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The present study examined how the relationship between child temperament and behavior is expressed in different types of classroom environments in prekindergarten settings. Other goals of the study were to further operationalize the goodness of fit model in school settings and to evaluate possible interactions of process variables indicative of classroom quality with child temperament to see if these interactions predicted child behavior and social skills. Participants included 130 students and their teachers (N = 11) in three prekindergarten settings. Child temperament was measured using the Total Temperament score from the Teacher and Caregiver Temperament Inventory for Children (TACTIC; Billman & McDevitt, 1998). Classroom quality and environment characteristics were measured using the Program Structure scale of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales-Revised (ECERS-R; Harms et al., 2005) and the Sensitivity subscale score from the Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS; Arnett, 1989). Outcomes in behavioral and social domains were measured using the Externalizing Behavior Problems and Social Skills subscales on the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales- Second Edition (PKBS-2; Merrell, 2002). Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that child temperament alone was the sole predictor of child externalizing behavior, while child temperament, disability status, and school program structure predicted child social skills. Overall, the study indicated that the goodness of fit model when operationalized in terms of the transactional relationship between temperament and environmental demand factors of characteristics of the classroom setting (as informed by the classroom quality literature) has predictive value and describes child behavioral and social outcomes in prekindergarten settings.

  • Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Effects of Letter Manipulation and Articulation Training on Learning to Read and Spell

    Author:
    Nancy Boyer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    This study investigated the effect of two types of phonemic awareness instruction on learning to read and spell words. English speaking preschoolers were taught to segment words into phonemes using either letters or letters combined with articulation pictures. Participants possessed letter name knowledge but were nonreaders prior to training. Triplets were formed based on similar scores on the segmentation, word reading and vocabulary pretests and members were randomly assigned to three conditions: letter manipulation only (LO), letter manipulation plus articulation (LPA), and no treatment control conditions. LO children were taught letter-sound correspondences and use of letters to spell phonemes in words. LPA children received LO training and in addition the use of articulatory pictures to spell phonemes. Control children remained in their classrooms. Posttests were administered one and seven days after training ended. The three groups were compared in their ability to segment words into phonemes, to learn to read a set of words over trials, to decode nonwords, to invent word spellings and to repeat nonwords. Binomial logistic regressions and ANCOVAs were computed to assess the effects of training. Results demonstrated that trained children outperformed controls in phoneme segmentation, spelling, word learning, nonword decoding and nonword repetition. LPA children outperformed LO children in spelling on the one-day posttest but not on the seven-day posttest. LPA children outperformed LO children in phoneme segmentation and word learning at both tests points and in nonword decoding on the one-day posttest. Trained children demonstrated equivalent performance on the one-day nonword repetition posttest The results help to clarify the phonemic processes that underlie and support reading words from memory, as portrayed in Ehri's (1995) theory of sight word learning. The favored explanation for the effect of articulatory training on word learning is that it enhanced the identities of phonemes within phonological representations and this allowed phonemes to become more securely attached to letters as connections were formed during word learning. Superior performance of treatment groups over controls in repeating nonwords suggests that learning to represent phonemes with letters improves phonological short-term memory.