Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Use of Teacher Rating Scales of Socialization to Discriminate Disability Categories in Preschoolers With Disabilities in Inclusion Placements

    Author:
    Rebecca Kaplan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study examined how teacher rated social competence and adaptive social performance in preschoolers with disabilities enrolled in integrated educational classes differs depending on the child's disability. After obtaining informed consent, mainstream classroom teachers completed a social competence (SSRS-T) and a social adaptive behavior rating scale (Vineland-II) for 76 preschoolers with disabilities in integrated classroom settings. Disability type was identified based on archival review. Results were analyzed controlling for age, SES, and ethnicity, to determine how the number and type of disabilities that a child had related to his or her social competence and social adaptation. The results of the analyses conducted revealed that the children with externalizing behavior problems had significantly more difficulty with their social competence and adaptation than children with other types of disabilities. In addition, children with motor problems also had significantly more difficulty with socialization, however these results did not reach the threshold for statistical significance once controlling for demographic variables. Finally, when the social skills and social adaptation scores were compared to one another, they were found to be related indicating that once the children acquired the social skills they also used them so that the social skills performance deficits were not found exclusive of social skills acquisition problems. This relationship was not however, differentially influenced by the type of disability that a child had so that children with all disability types were identified as utilizing their acquired social skills in accordance with their level of social adaptation regardless of the type of disability exhibited. Implications of these results are discussed and interpreted and recommendations for future study to understand the role of intervention, type of therapeutic services, classroom placement, age of intervention, socioeconomic status and other related factors are made. The practical implications of these results indicate that teacher rating scales of socialization should play an important role in the initial assessment and ongoing evaluation of preschoolers with disabilities. Individual item analysis should be conducted in conjunction with aggregate social assessment in order to provide relevant and specific feedback about the individualized social skills characteristics and needs of each child and how these needs change with intervention. In addition, children with behavioral and motor problems should be given appropriate support to promote effective social performance in their mainstream classroom placement.

  • The Effects of Oral and Written Performance Feedback on Treatment Integrity and Teacher Self Efficacy

    Author:
    Dahlia Kaufman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This study compared the impacts of oral performance feedback (OPFB) and written performance feedback (WPFB) on levels of teachers' treatment integrity for a classroom student behavioral intervention. The relationship of student outcome data to teachers' treatment integrity data was also explored in the study. A second purpose of this study explored the association between teacher self efficacy, PFB, and treatment integrity. It was hypothesized that treatment integrity would increase and remain stable with both OPFB and WPFB. A multiple baseline design across four dyads with changing conditions was used to evaluate the effects of WPFB and OPFB on treatment integrity. Visual analysis of data indicated that while WPFB improved teachers' treatment integrity levels over baseline levels, OPFB was the more effective intervention. The student interventions were found to be effective: All four students exhibited reductions in problem behavior by the Follow-Up observation. Teachers' self efficacy beliefs did not change throughout the course of the study as a result of receiving training in the intervention, with improved treatment integrity, or with delivery of performance feedback.

  • Use of an Interdependent Group Contingency to Improve Homework Completion, Homework Accuracy, and Achievement of High School Students with Disabilities

    Author:
    Maria Kennedy
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    Homework is a frequently utilized teaching strategy in elementary and secondary classrooms. The completion of homework has been shown to have a strong positive effect on students' academic achievement across content and ability levels. Moreover, research suggests a stronger positive relationship between homework and achievement at the upper grade levels. Numerous interventions, both at home and at school, have been employed to increase students' level of homework completion and/or accuracy. The present investigation employed a single-subject reversal design to examine the effectiveness of an interdependent group contingency, with randomized components, on the homework completion, homework accuracy, and the academic achievement of a special education class of high school students. Results demonstrated that the intervention improved homework completion performance of these students, but with inconsistent gains in accuracy. However, academic improvements were made for the majority of students when the intervention was employed and there was a significant effect of the treatment from the baseline to the intervention phases. The teacher found the intervention to be acceptable for use in the classroom and valuable in changing homework behavior. Lastly, data from a student satisfaction survey found that students liked the intervention itself and felt it helped them to complete their homework.

  • DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION OF THE MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL-BASED CONSULTATION COMPETENCY SCALE

    Author:
    Jennifer Kong
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Emilia Lopez
    Abstract:

    As the school population is becoming increasingly diverse, it is essential that school psychologists integrate multicultural approaches and acquire competencies to work with students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds. Systematically identifying and validating competencies that are relevant to multicultural consultation can encourage and guide consultants to effectively apply multicultural approaches in their training and practice. The purposes of the present study were to develop and validate the Multicultural School-Based Consultation Competency Scale (MSCCS) using an online survey methodology. The scale is intended to measure the self-perceived multicultural consultation competencies of practicing school psychologists and graduate students. In the present study, preliminary psychometric information on the scale was gathered by asking 328 participants (i.e., school psychologists, professors, graduate students) to rate the importance of competency items on the MSCCS when delivering consultation services to racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse populations. In addition, the Multicultural Social Desirability Index (MCSD; Sodowsky, 1998) and the Biographical Questionnaire were administered for the purpose of gathering validity evidence. The results of this study provided some validity evidence for the MSCCS. For example, the sum score on the MSCCS did not correlate with the sum score on the MCSD providing evidence for divergent validity. Also, the participants with more multicultural training, as measured by the number of courses and workshops attended, rated higher on the MSCCS and provided some evidence towards criterion validity. However, the confirmatory factor analysis did not support the hypothesis that there are three underlying factors (i.e., Knowledge, Skills, Awareness) that measure the multicultural consultation competency; rather, the analysis supported a single factor solution for the MSCCS. These findings are important steps in empirically identifying and validating multicultural consultation competencies. Much more research is needed to gather further reliability and validity evidence for the scale. However, the results lend promise for the usefulness of the MSCCS as a multipurpose tool for practitioners, trainers, and researchers in the consultation field.

  • Analyzing Data from Single Case Design Studies: A Demonstration and Comparison of Methods

    Author:
    Eden Kyse
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    Data from single case and small-N interrupted time series (ITS) design studies offer rich information, not available from group comparison designs, about the effects of an intervention on individuals. Several methods for analyzing and synthesizing these kinds of data have been proposed to date, though many are limited or flawed. A more sophisticated statistical method, using multilevel modeling techniques, overcomes many of the limitations of the earlier approaches. This claim is supported by a comparative discussion and demonstration of several methods with two reversal design data sets. Procedures and estimates are explained, interpreted, and compared. Potential solutions for accommodating technical complexities of the data are discussed.

  • The Acquisition of Conventional Spelling Patterns by Pre-Conventional Spellers: A Developmental Analysis

    Author:
    Mark Lauterbach
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    This study involves a comparison of the experiences that enable young children who are still in the phase of "inventing" spelling to acquire conventional spelling patterns. A micro-genetic methodology was employed to analyze students' acquisition of specific spelling patterns over a 3-week, 6-session training period in order to identify factors that affected the rate of acquisition. Kindergarten and first grade students underwent a series of seven literacy pretests and were given exposure to nine words that contained difficult spelling patterns. Three of the words contained spelling patterns where the underlying phonology makes it challenging to identify the correct grapheme, three contained targeted spelling patterns where the orthographic patterns have no phonological trace and the final three words were non-words with either uncommon or illegal English spelling patterns. One group of students was taught to read the words containing the targeted spelling patterns on flash cards. A second group was taught to segment the same words by moving letters into Elkonin boxes. A third group of students, the minimal treatment control, group was asked to practice inventing spellings of these same words. Spelling tests were administered at the beginning and end of each training session and used to model growth curves of the acquisition of the conventional spelling patterns Results indicated that students trained in segmentation and word reading outperformed those in the minimal treatment control but were not statistically different. When analyzed by the three different types of spelling patterns, students who received the segmentation training did better learning the phonological spelling patterns, those who practiced reading the words on flashcards did better learning the non-word spelling patterns, and both groups performed similarly on the orthographic spelling patterns. Literacy skills also differentially predicted by spelling pattern--phonological skills best predicted learning phonological spelling patterns, word reading best predicted learning orthographic words and vocabulary knowledge had a negative effect on learning non-words. Word reading was found to be the best predictor of overall growth over the training period.

  • Health Habits, Wellness, and Behavior of Male Student Athletes Participating in High School Sports

    Author:
    Michelle Lividini
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    Muscle Dysmorphia (MD) is a pathological preoccupation with muscularity, more common in men than in women. MD is estimated to affect several hundreds of thousands of individuals. There has been little research related to MD in the male adolescent population and the prevalence is unknown. The mean age of onset of MD is estimated to be 19 years, and sports participation increases the risk for developing MD as well as other psychological difficulties. The pilot study revealed a potential relationship between MD symptoms and athletic and academic performance, low levels of self-esteem, high levels of perfectionist qualities, and use of performance-enhancing drugs. This study was conducted to substantiate previous findings and to understand MD symptomatology among male adolescent student athletes and its relation to athletic and academic performance as well as media influence, low levels of self-esteem, high levels of perfectionist qualities, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Participants included 67 male student athletes ages 14 through 18 who completed a four-page questionnaire. Results showed that MD symptomatology is prevalent among male high school athletes and is positively correlated with perfectionism and media influence. Current findings indicate the need for school programs and treatments to address MD symptoms. Further, the results offer important implications for school psychologists to make meaningful contributions in the school system through professional development to staff, counseling for students, and collaboration with parents.

  • Validating Use of a Symptom Assessment Scale in Palliative Care Using an Argument-Based Approach

    Author:
    Elayne Livote
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Jay Verkuilen
    Abstract:

    Validation of patient-reported outcomes (PRO) scales has not kept up with contemporary views on validity and validation. For example, validity is not considered to be a binary state and it is the proposed use or interpretation of scale scores that is validated, not the scale itself. In this dissertation, I attempted to validate the use of a symptom assessment scale in a Veterans Affairs (VA)-based palliative care program to measure program outcomes using an argument-based approach to validity. In the first step of this approach, I developed the interpretive argument which specifies the claims and assumptions that are inherent in the proposed use. I then conducted three investigations to generate supporting evidence for the claims. The first was a basic psychometric analysis, the second was an assessment of measurement invariance, and the third was an examination of item directionality. In the validity evaluation, I assessed the plausibility of the claims incorporating the results of the investigations. I found that a bifactor model provided good fit to the data and concluded that while the psychometric properties of the scale were fairly well maintained in this new use, the degree of missing data may be biasing outcomes and also prohibits use of the scale to measure outcomes. I also concluded that it may be more appropriate to treat some of the items of the scale as formative and this new formulation may help promote complete administration of the scale.

  • The Effects of Deployment on a Child's Academic and Behavioral Functioning

    Author:
    Alice Loo
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Mary Kopala
    Abstract:

    Potential disruption of family life due to a military deployment is a significant concern of U.S. armed forces, as well as to service members. In addition to the effects of parental absence, periods immediately surrounding the military family member's deployment and return may have deleterious effects on children. This study proposed a 7-phase definition of the cycle of deployment, and suggested that strain on the family due to the cycle could be grouped into four levels. A sample of 201 families with fathers in the Navy and children ages 5 to 12 supplied information on deployment, family functioning (FACES IV), family stress levels (Perceived Stress Scale), family coping skills (F-COPES), and child behaviors (Devereux scales). Current and prior reading and math grades and teachers' ratings of the child were also obtained. Greater deployment strain and poorer family functioning were associated with poorer child behavioral and academic performance and greater family stress. Predictors interacted such that child problems occurred primarily when deployment strain was combined with poor family functioning or coping skills. The negative effects were substantial in real-world terms; up to 1/3 SD on the Devereux-Parent or a difference in reading grades of B+ to B-. It was demonstrated that the deleterious effects of deployment were mainly due to increased family stress, and not simply parental absence. Reading grades were much more sensitive to stressors than math grades. Age and gender of the child had minimal effects. Results suggested that deployment strain can have serious adverse consequences for children, but that healthy family functioning and/or coping skills largely mitigate these effects.

  • Do Coping Behaviors Moderate the Adjustment of Elementary School Children who are Victimized by Relational Aggression?

    Author:
    Erica Maniago
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study explored whether coping strategies had an impact on the adjustment of third through fifth grade students (N = 88) who experienced conflict with their peers. The victimized students' level of adjustment and strategies used to cope with bullying, were additionally investigated. Self-report data was gathered on the students' victimization experiences, coping strategies and level of school and peer adjustment. A measure of school and peer adjustment was also obtained by the participants' teachers, as a means of validating the student reports. Victims of peer aggression were anticipated to exhibit poorer adjustment due to their tendency to rely on more maladaptive ways of coping and less often on adaptive ways of coping. Statistical support was found for several direct relationships, but not for any of the mediated effects. Specifically, both overt and relational victimization were related to lower rates of peer adjustment. Coping was also found to have a direct impact on adjustment. The use of avoidant coping was associated with lower rates of school and peer adjustment and the use of approach coping was associated with higher rates of school and peer adjustment.