Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • The Effects of Self-Monitoring and Performance Feedback on the Treatment Integrity of Behavior Support Plan Implementation

    Author:
    Angela Mouzakitis
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Robin Codding
    Abstract:

    This study evaluated methods to improve and maintain treatment integrity (TI) for behavior support plans (BSP) for children with Autistic Disorder. While performance feedback (PFB) has been identified as the most effective method to support TI, it is time-consuming and expensive. This study examined self-monitoring (SM) as a way to maintain target levels of TI, possibly better than a PFB package that does not include SM. This study also examined generalization effects of training to a BSP for which no training occurred. Finally, this study explored the relationship of TI to student behavior. A four-tiered multiple baseline design with changing conditions was used to evaluate the effectiveness of SM compared to SM and PFB. Eight students with BSPs participated in the study. Teachers were trained with SM and PFB for four of the students' BSPs; the remaining four students were used to assess generalization effects of the training. Results indicate that SM was effective for two teachers to maintain target levels of TI following PFB, and sufficient for one teacher to achieve target levels of TI with no PFB. One teacher in the study required additional PFB to attain target levels of TI. Findings indicate that three of the four teachers generalized BSP implementation without additional training. It was also found that TI and student behavior are highly correlated.

  • Enhancing self-regulated learning on a novel mathematical task through modeling and feedback

    Author:
    Adam Moylan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    The power of feedback has been widely acclaimed in research on learning and motivation. However, in educational practice, feedback has typically been conceptualized as an outcome of learning efforts, and not enough attention has been given to its self-reflective role--as a beginning point in cyclical self-regulatory efforts to understand, motivate, and improve one's efforts to learn. This experimental study investigated the influence of various forms of feedback on college students' strategic efforts to learn to solve complex math problems. Participants were assigned randomly to one of five conditions: 1) control, 2) strategy instruction, 3) strategy instruction plus summative feedback, 4) strategy instruction, summative feedback, and formative feedback, and 5) strategy instruction, summative feedback, formative feedback, and adaptive feedback. Summative feedback indicated whether a solution was correct or incorrect, while formative feedback involved an indication of the sources of errors, and adaptive feedback referred to the student's application of feedback to correct errors plus the experimenter's indication of accuracy on adjustments made by the student. Students attempted to solve multiple examples of a novel mathematic task during an instruction phase, learning phase, and posttest phase. The results showed a positive linear trend between increasing levels of elaborative feedback students received and their performance accuracy. In addition, there was a positive linear trend for increased elaborative feedback and strategy adaptation after making errors. Thus, the optimal level of feedback during learning involved information about the source of errors accompanied by self-reflective practice in making strategic adaptations. Progressively elaborative feedback also had additive effects on the important self-reflection phase processes of self-evaluation and self-satisfaction. As hypothesized, self-efficacy predicted performance accuracy and strategy adaptation, as well as self-evaluation and self-satisfaction. Understanding about contexts that help students' to adaptively use feedback to self-regulate has significant implications for classroom assessment that directly fosters learning.

  • Parental knowledge and beliefs in relation to early child development: Perspectives from Tanzania

    Author:
    Nilofer Naqvi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    The study assessed mothers' knowledge and beliefs about child development and compared these results to their children's performance on a child outcome measure. It was conducted under the auspices of Save the Children, the non-profit agency. Data was gathered in both rural and urban areas of Tanzania, and included typically developing children, and children identified with developmental delays. The study also examined the relationship between the mothers' income and education levels and their knowledge and beliefs in respect to child development, the relationship between parenting style and self-efficacy beliefs, the development of the construct of self-efficacy in the Tanzanian context, and the effects of birth location and maternal age on child developmental outcome. Participants included 103 mothers and their children. Forty-nine resided in the urban location and 54 in the rural location. Parental knowledge and belief were assessed using the Health and Safety, Milestone and Parenting subscales from the Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory (MacPhee, 1981), the Maternal Self-Efficacy Scale (Teti & Gelfand, 1991), the Parenting Tasks Checklist (Sanders & Wooley, 2005), and the Parent Modernity Scale (Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985). Child developmental outcome was assessed using the Battelle Developmental Inventory Screening Test (Newborg, 2005). All measures were translated into Kiswahili and piloted on a small sample. Results indicated that a combined measure of parent beliefs was more reliable than results from the individual measures, however no relationship was found between scores on this combined measure and results on the child outcome measure. Significant differences were found in the scores of all the parent measures between mothers from urban versus rural areas of the country when controlling for other demographic variables. There was also a positive relationship between maternal education and scores on the combined belief measure. Item analyses on the measures highlighted parental beliefs about child-care and child development within the Tanzanian context. Findings from the study demonstrate the lack of intervention services for children with disabilities/developmental delays in rural areas of the country and highlighted the health and policy implications associated with this.

  • Knowledge and Use of Vowel Letter-Sound Relations by Beginners to Read and Spell Words

    Author:
    Simone Nunes de Carvalho
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    The objective of this study was to explore beginners' knowledge of short vowel letter-sounds and its relationship to children's word reading and spelling abilities. Twenty-four five and six-year-old children completed several tasks assessing knowledge of vowel letter-sound and sound-letter associations, word and pseudoword reading, and spelling. Performance on the vowel tasks was used to separate children into high and low vowel knowledge groups. All children learned to read two sets of simplified spelling words to criterion: one set with vowels, and the other set without. It was expected that children with high vowel knowledge would learn words containing vowels faster and with more ease than words without vowels, whereas children with less vowel knowledge would learn words without vowel letters with more ease. Findings suggested that order of acquisition of short vowels reflects not only teaching, but also the distinctiveness of articulatory features among the vowels. Children's mistakes in short vowel sound production showed usage of a letter name strategy. Short vowel knowledge was significantly correlated with reading and spelling performance. Children with high short vowel letter-sound knowledge learned significantly more words and in fewer trials than children possessing low short vowel letter-sound knowledge. Contrary to our expectations, however, vowel letters in the target words did not affect learning. Individual analysis of children's performance revealed that children who reached criterion in the learning task in fewer than ten trials had achieved mastery or near mastery to at least three vowel letter-sounds. Findings are discussed in terms of the role of automatization of letter-sound knowledge in word recognition theories, and the role of decoding in helping children acquire more vowel knowledge. Acquisition of the idea of a vowel system to represent letters and sounds may be particularly helpful in enhancing word learning and spelling.

  • A SPELLING PRONUNICATION STRATEGY HELPS COLLEGE STUDENTS REMEMBER HOW TO SPELL DIFFICULT WORDS

    Author:
    Turkan Ocal
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    Drake and Ehri (1984) showed that children could utilize a spelling pronunciation strategy in order to remember spellings of words. One purpose of the current study was to determine whether college students could also benefit from a spelling pronunciation strategy in remembering spellings of 20 commonly misspelled words. The second aim of the study was to examine the contribution of decoding skill, exposure to print and vocabulary knowledge in explaining variance in general spelling ability of college students. Based on Share's (1995) self-teaching hypothesis, each of these predictors was expected to explain unique variance in the ability to remember the spellings of words. College students (N= 42) who were native speakers of English were recruited from an urban college. The mean age of participants was 22.5 (SD =7.87). There were 31 females and 11 males. The majority, 13 of them, were freshman who had not decided on their majors. An experimental design with pretest and posttest was adopted in order to measure the effects of a spelling pronunciation strategy. Half of the participants were trained to learn spellings of words by applying a spelling pronunciation strategy whereas the other half practiced reading the words. Results of immediate and delayed posttests showed a significant main effect of treatment. Participants who were trained by a spelling pronunciation strategy produced significantly more correct words, letters, silent letters, letters that represent schwa vowels, and double letters than the participants who practiced reading words (p <.001). Although there were no significant differences between the groups on the number of correctly spelled words on pretest, on posttest the participants who were trained by a spelling pronunciation strategy on average spelled 5.3 more words correctly than the participants who practiced reading words. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that decoding and exposure to print explained significant variance in spelling ability if entered into the regression before vocabulary knowledge. However, when vocabulary was entered first, exposure to print and decoding did not explain significant additional variance in the model. One reason is that vocabulary shared substantial variance with decoding and exposure to print. When hierarchical regression analyses were conducted with vocabulary knowledge as the predicted variable and decoding and exposure to print as the predictors, results showed that both decoding and exposure to print explained significant unique variance not explained by the other predictor. Together they explained 37% of the variance in vocabulary knowledge. In turn the three predictors explained 42% of the variance in spelling ability. These findings carry implications for spelling instruction. Students of every age can benefit by being taught how to create spellings pronunciations of complex words in order to remember how to spell the words. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

  • THE ROLE OF GOAL SETTING AND AUTOMATICITY IN NOVICE ATHLETES' DEVELOPMENT AND PERFORMANCE OF A TENNIS SKILL: A COACHING INTERVENTION

    Author:
    Saul Petersen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    This dissertation tested the varying branches of research that have explored the issue of automaticity and its relation to goals in sports. One view shows support for a process avoidance perspective on athletic skill development. Another contends that skill development is enhanced when deliberate attention is paid to the execution of a skill's sub-processes. A third social-cognitive view is represented in the current dissertation. This view is reflected in self-regulation theory and suggests that, while both views are valid, the learner must be capable of shifting adaptively from processes to outcomes following extended practice for optimal skill development to occur. Extended attention to processes and attributing errors to strategy are both proposed to represent expert self-regulatory practice methods. Forty novice participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: a) Extended Process, b) Intermediate Process, c) Self-Shifting, or, d) Outcome Goal. Each group received identical demonstrations of a beginner forehand tennis stroke, followed by sixty attempts at the stroke. The Extended Process Group attended to process goals for forty of sixty attempts then shifted to outcome goals for the final twenty attempts. The Intermediate Process Group attended to processes for twenty attempts then shifted to outcome goals for the remaining forty attempts. The Outcome Goal Group attended to outcomes throughout the sixty attempts. A Self-Shifting Group determined for itself when to shift from processes to outcomes. Results generally supported hypotheses, with the Extended Process Group outperforming other groups on measures of forehand skill and accuracy, in particular following the final phase of practice.

  • REEXAMINING LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY: WHAT ADULT BILINGUALS CAN TEACH US ABOUT CULTURE, LANGUAGE, AND COGNITION

    Author:
    Natalya Petroff
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Bruce Homer
    Abstract:

    Extending Whorf's popular notion of linguistic relativity (LR) to bilingual contexts, one would argue that a speaker's first language (L1) influences her thinking and behavior under second language (L2) conditions. According to one interpretation of LR, inter-language relativity, L1 instills in its speakers habitual ways of thinking and thus influences their perception and categorization in L2 contexts. Under intra-speaker relativity, bilinguals follow either L1 or L2 patterns of performance, depending on L2 proficiency. Finally, according to usage-based accounts of language, there is no qualitative difference between mono- and bilingual speakers, and a bilingual's performance under L2 conditions is best viewed in terms of their ongoing engagement with L2. To investigate how much each interpretation contributes to our understanding of cognition, language, and culture, two studies were conducted with a sample of 45 adult Russian-English bilinguals. Each study was based on a popular research paradigm and tested all three interpretations of LR for their explanatory value. Study one utilized a one-word association task conducted in both languages, a common way to examine the conceptual organization of the bilingual lexicon. Study two utilized a different kind of association task to investigate influences of L1 (grammatical gender) under L2 conditions. In both studies, there was no evidence in support of either inter-language or intra-speaker relativity. There was evidence in support of usage-based accounts of language: bilinguals' use of informal English appeared to moderate their performance under L2 conditions.

  • Teaching Reading: The Contribution of Multisensory Training to the Knowledge and Thinking of First-Grade Teachers

    Author:
    Constance Petropoulos
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    Studies by Moats (1995), Mather, Bos, and Babur (2001), and McCutchen, et al (2002) have begun to identify the relationship between teachers' linguistic knowledge and what is known, scientifically, about how literacy is acquired by learners. Findings from these studies support the idea that linguistic knowledge--particularly knowledge of English phonology and orthography--is important for teachers of reading and can improve student outcomes in the early elementary grades. Moats (1995) and Mather et al (2001) found that teacher participants in their studies did not have the levels of linguistic knowledge that would enable expert teaching of reading. The present study takes the research on teachers' linguistic knowledge as its thematic source and examines how linguistic knowledge enhances teachers' thinking about early literacy. Three groups of first-grade teachers participated in the present study. The first two groups were recruited from organizations that offer training in multisensory methods of teaching reading such as the Orton-Gillingham, Spalding, or Wilson methods. Multisensory (MS) methods of reading instruction involve teaching students to use more than one sense to internalize the relationships between phonemes and the letters that represent them in print. Training courses for teachers generally involve a thorough analysis of English orthography as well as practice and feedback in use of the teaching methods. This study compared three groups of teachers: teachers who had received recent multisensory training (n=8), teachers who had received multisensory training more than one year ago (n=8), and teachers who had not been trained in multisensory methods (n=8). Participants responded to surveys that measured their level of linguistic knowledge, familiarity with popular children's literature, and their theoretical orientation toward the teaching of reading. They also watched two segments of a video, each featuring a child reading aloud with a teacher. For each segment, teachers responded to six prompts that were designed to tap their on-task thinking about beginning reading acquisition and instruction. While the three groups of teachers in this study did not differ significantly in their measured levels of linguistic knowledge, they did differ in the ways in which they responded to the video and prompts. Multisensory trained teachers made more specific comments about the readers in the video and suggested more teaching strategies in their responses to the prompts. Multisensory trained teachers also showed higher levels of approval for basic skills practices, and used specific information about the readers in the video to formulate teaching strategies. Implications for future research on the teaching of reading are discussed.

  • Relationship of Students' Spelling Gains to Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Practice

    Author:
    Alison Puliatte
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    Abstract Relationship of Students' Spelling Gains to Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Practice by Alison Puliatte Advisor: Professor Linnea C. Ehri This study examined the impact of classroom teachers' linguistic knowledge and spelling instructional practices on Grade 2 and 3 students' spelling gains over the course of one school year. The purpose of this study was to identify teacher level variables that impact student spelling gains. This study employed a correlational research design aimed at finding relationships between two independent variables and one dependent variable. The two independent variables were teacher instructional practices and teacher linguistic knowledge. Teacher level variables were identified through two measures, an Instructional Practices Questionnaire and a Linguistic Knowledge Survey. The dependent variable was the student spelling gain score which was measured by calculating gains made from a beginning of the year spelling pretest to an end of the year spelling posttest. Gains were measured in terms of the number of words spelled correctly. In addition, relationships between teacher knowledge and practices were examined. The participants included 32 classroom teachers (16 Grade 2 and 16 Grade 3), and 636 students (331 Grade 2 and 305 Grade 3). Correlational analyses revealed a significant positive relationship between teacher total knowledge and classroom practices. In addition, significant and positive relationships were found between student gain scores and teacher phoneme knowledge, time spent in weekly spelling instruction, and teaching of spelling strategies. These results were found on a subsample of students who scored less than 20 words correct on the pretest for Grade 2. HLM analyses revealed similar significant findings with the Grade 2 data. Correlational analyses revealed a significant relationship between gain scores and teacher phoneme knowledge for Grade 3 students. In addition, teachers did not perform well on measures of phoneme knowledge. Results of this study show a relationship between teacher knowledge and practice and student spelling gains. There is a need for additional research to demonstrate a causal relationship between teacher variables and student gains.

  • Too Few Symptoms to Diagnose? A Managed Care Ethical Dilemma

    Author:
    Amy Racanello
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    Managed care rations health care to populations by using gate keeping methods to counterbalance cost. Subsequently, managed care dictates treatment decisions made by practitioners. Managed care has been implicated in damaging relationships within the clinical practice of psychology that unethical and fraudulent practitioner behaviors, and undesirable the client-practitioner relationships. The present study built on the design and results from the pilot study. It was an attempt to explore the relationship between managed care and psychologists' &rsquo: unethical behaviors, and understand the characteristics, specifically empathy and narcissism, of psychologists who behave unethically when assigning diagnosis required by managed care companies. Of particular interest to this research was an examination of individuals who report incongruous personal ethical personal standards and behaviors. The pilot study revealed a sample of the participants who reported that they acted ethically and abided by professional ethical standards all of the time. These same individuals also reported that they would incorrectly diagnose a client who did not meet diagnostic requirements to receive payment for services through managed care. Participants included 101 mental health practitioners. Data were collected with an online survey, that included measures of personal characteristics, professional ethics, empathy (Spreng et al., 2009), narcissism (Corry et al., 2008), motivated reasoning, and diagnostic decisions. Correlational analyses indicated that personal and professional characteristics are positively related to practitioners reporting that there are reasons to assign unmerited diagnoses to clients. Conjoint analysis, using logistic regression, indicated that practitioners who reported that there are reasons to assign unmerited diagnoses to clients and unwavering adherence to the APA ethics code most frequently assigned unmerited diagnoses to fictional clients. A sub-group of the participants from the current work again reported that they acted ethically and abided by professional ethical standards all of the time but demonstrated unethical behavior. This finding and practitioner individual differences related to diagnostic behavior are both topics for fruitful future research.