Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • 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.

  • Ideology and Decision Making in School-Based Counseling

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

    The present study built on the design and results from the pilot study in an attempt to explore the relationship between psychologists' personal ideologies and the decisions they make in school-based counseling. Of particular interest was whether higher levels of self-reported ideology were related to support of relevant school policies. Participants included 166 psychologists who responded to an online survey that included questions related to personal and professional ideologies, attitudes toward school policies, training and preparedness in four areas of interest, and hypothetical scenarios. Consistency among responses in areas including theoretical orientation, political party, and training and preparedness in ethics and multicultural issues limited the analyses that could be performed to compare different populations. Correlation data indicated that there was no relationship between those who reported to be religious and those who reported that they were not religious, though slight differences were noted qualitatively. There was also no difference between responses of individuals who had not taken a class but felt prepared as compared with responses of the rest of the population. Correlation data also indicated some associations between the school policies related to liberal/conservative political views and the vignette designed toward that ideology.

  • The Effect of Using Art Activities in Home Literacy Bags

    Author:
    Heather brookman kadish
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    The present study examined the impact of including art activities in family literacy materials on parents' beliefs about reading and their self-efficacy beliefs about their ability to teach reading to their young children. The study took place over five weeks in a private day school in New York City with middle to upper-class population. The 70 student participants (i.e., across kindergarten through second grade) were randomly assigned to either treatment (i.e., literacy bags with art experience) or control (i.e., no art), with assignment done separately for males and females. Multi-item measures were used that assessed demographics, home literacy environment, family involvement in school, children's interest in literacy, and parental efficacy and reading beliefs. Though not statistically significant, parents' self-efficacy scores in the experimental group improved and their enjoyment scores increased over time while the parents' scores in the control group fluctuated randomly across the four weeks with marginally significant differences between the two groups found during the last week. A modest statistically significant correlation was found between parents' self-efficacy and parental involvement. The students in the experimental group reported that they enjoyed the artwork. The current study suggested that offering a broader range of literacy activities can enhance and increase the impact of parent involvement initiatives in children's literacy learning. The findings suggest a relationship between parental self-efficacy and parental involvement, and that art activities affect both of these factors. Results raised the possibility that there is value in exploring ways to extend the benefit of art activities. Limitations of the study included the variable aspects of self-reporting for data collection, potential incongruence between books used and students' particular interests and skills, limited and homogenous population sample, and limited family background information. Future research should further explore the effect of incorporating art on parents' self-efficacy and reading beliefs.

  • Case Residuals in Structural Equation Modeling

    Author:
    John Cardinale
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    John Cardinale
    Abstract:

    From the beginning, lead methodologists in psychometrics and quantitative psychology have been well aware of the problems of fitting structural and confirmatory factor models. The question we approach in our research is how to best detect this misfit and how to identify specific sources of misfit by scrutinizing the data at the case level. Since Anscombe's seminal 1973 paper, detecting problems at the case level in ordinary least-squares regression has become the norm in statistical modeling. In contrast, the usual practice in fitting structural and confirmatory factor models has been to only examine misfit at the variable and sufficient statistic level. This practice ignores a small body of literature that has arisen since the early 1990s about diagnostics of case level and case by variable level misfit. An important paper by Bollen and Arminger (1991) and a follow-up paper by Raykov and Penev (1999), have developed theory behind Individual Case Residuals (ICRs). These papers help lay the ground work for more detailed case and case by variable level diagnostics, without discarding traditional variable oriented procedures. Our goal is to demonstrate uses of multivariate techniques, such as robust Mahalanobis distances, biplots and cluster analysis to analyze the multivariate dataset of ICRs and thereby detect sources of data problems with respect to a target model. We hope to encourage researchers to make better use of case level diagnostics among the various classes of latent variable models, especially with the advent of multivariate tools in packages such as R and SAS.

  • Case Residuals in Structural Equation Modeling

    Author:
    John Cardinale
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    John Cardinale
    Abstract:

    From the beginning, lead methodologists in psychometrics and quantitative psychology have been well aware of the problems of fitting structural and confirmatory factor models. The question we approach in our research is how to best detect this misfit and how to identify specific sources of misfit by scrutinizing the data at the case level. Since Anscombe's seminal 1973 paper, detecting problems at the case level in ordinary least-squares regression has become the norm in statistical modeling. In contrast, the usual practice in fitting structural and confirmatory factor models has been to only examine misfit at the variable and sufficient statistic level. This practice ignores a small body of literature that has arisen since the early 1990s about diagnostics of case level and case by variable level misfit. An important paper by Bollen and Arminger (1991) and a follow-up paper by Raykov and Penev (1999), have developed theory behind Individual Case Residuals (ICRs). These papers help lay the ground work for more detailed case and case by variable level diagnostics, without discarding traditional variable oriented procedures. Our goal is to demonstrate uses of multivariate techniques, such as robust Mahalanobis distances, biplots and cluster analysis to analyze the multivariate dataset of ICRs and thereby detect sources of data problems with respect to a target model. We hope to encourage researchers to make better use of case level diagnostics among the various classes of latent variable models, especially with the advent of multivariate tools in packages such as R and SAS.

  • Does Temperament Relate to Sensory Processing Styles in 3 -to 5-year Old Preschoolers with Disabilities

    Author:
    Jeanne Cavanaugh-Todd
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between temperament, as assessed on the TABC-R Teacher Form (Martin and Bridger, 1999), and sensory processing, as assessed on the Sensory Profile Caregiver Questionnaire (Dunn,1999). In examining the literature, these constructs appear complementary in theory and purpose. While temperament and sensory processing both explain behavior, the former defines how a child reacts and the latter explains why. It has been suggested that similarities exist between the theories of temperament and sensory processing, but few studies have examined this relationship. There is some evidence that a difficult temperament relates to increased sensory processing dysfunction, however, temperament is more complex than a continuum of easy to difficult. Increased knowledge of this relationship would benefit school psychologists when addressing challenging behaviors and creating individualized interventions. The study included 57 children between the ages of 3 and 5 currently receiving preschool special education services. Relationships amongst sensory processing styles and temperament types were investigated. With a few exceptions, correlations were not significant at the customary p < .05 level. Consequently, my hypotheses were not supported by the data. Post hoc analyses, however, revealed a few significant results. These results suggest that a child's adaptive behavior is correlated with sensory processing dysfunction and temperament, and that a low threshold to sensory stimuli is related to temperaments with a stronger inhibited trait. Correlation analyses revealed that delayed development of adaptive skills significantly related to the low threshold sensory processing patterns of Sensitivity and Avoiding. It approached significance with the high threshold patterns of Registration and Seeking. A significant relationship between a low adaptive behavior composite score and the Typical temperament was discovered. The relationship between the adaptive score and the Inhibited and Reticent temperaments also approached significance. After controlling for the Adaptive score, due to its effect on the variables of interest, partial correlations revealed a significant relationship between Sensory Sensitivity and the Inhibited temperament. In addition, Sensory Sensitivity and Sensory Avoiding correlated with the Inhibition dimension. Implications and limitations of results are discussed.

  • Working Alliance with Adolescents who Receive Mandated School-based Counseling Services

    Author:
    Amanda Cenerelli
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Shick Tryon
    Abstract:

    Working alliance is widely recognized as one of the most important factors in understanding therapeutic outcomes. However, there is a lack of published research on the relationship between alliance and treatment outcome in the school setting. In particular, there is no empirical evidence of this relationship with mandated counseling in the schools. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between working alliance and treatment outcome in mandated school-based counseling with adolescents. It also examined the relationship between adolescent development and working alliance, as well as other process variables that predict a strong working alliance in this type of counseling environment. This information is intended to provide a first step toward more effective, empirically-based counseling in the schools. Participants were recruited from both public non-public schools in suburban and urban regions of New York. Student participants ranged in age from 12 - 20 and represented grades 6 through 12; approximately 62% of the student participants came from public school settings, while 38% came from non-public settings. The majority of the participating counselors (73%) identified as cognitive-behavioral in theoretical orientation; and the majority were female (82%). Adolescent participants were asked to complete several questionnaires regarding their demographic features (Demographic Questionnaire), level of autonomy (Adolescent Autonomy Questionnaire), therapeutic alliance with their counselor (Working Alliance Inventory - Short Form), and a Current Versus Ideal Counseling Questionnaire. Counselors were asked to complete a demographic questionnaire, as well as an outcome measure (Counseling Outcome Measure) for each student. Results indicate that working alliance is significantly related to counseling outcome/progress in the mandated school-based setting. Regression analyses suggest that client-rated working alliance can be predicted by examining adolescents' level of cognitive autonomy, the consistency between their current and ideal counseling scenario (i.e., expectations of counseling), their number of years in school counseling, and the counselor's level of experience. Additionally, student's number of sessions with the current counselor and the student's ratings of working alliance can be used together to predict counseling progress or outcome, as rated by the counselor.

  • Parental Involvement of Chronically Ill Mothers and Its Impact on the Child's Education

    Author:
    Yung-Chi Chen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study examined how maternal chronic illnesses may affect children's academic functioning through parental involvement. Levels of maternal demands of illness were measured in order to see if they affect the levels of parental involvement and children's grades. Four research questions are addressed in this study. Do the maternal demands of illness affect children's educational achievement? Do the maternal demands of illness impact the extent of parental involvement? Does parental involvement of mothers with chronic illness influence their children's academic achievement? Does positive parental involvement mediate or moderate the impact of maternal chronic illness on children's educational performance? One hundred fifty mothers diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Myelodysplasic Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia and with a child in middle school or high school (aged 10-18) participating in this study were recruited from national organizations, clinics, and social support groups serving patients with chronic illnesses. Participants completed a 184-item questionnaire that was composed of measures of 1) parent demographic information, 2) parent medical information, 3) child demographic information, 4) Demands of Illness Inventory (DOII), 5) parental self-efficacy, 6) parental educational aspirations, 7) grade expectations, 8) school contact and participation, 9) Parent Involvement in School Interview, 10) home supervision, and 11) children's educational outcomes. Each participant was compensated ten dollars for completing the questionnaire. Overall, the results suggest that the majority of students of mothers with chronic illness were able to function adequately in terms of academic achievement. However, children's academic functioning may be at risk when their mothers experienced high levels of illness demands as a result of their chronic illness. Children's grades were found negatively related to levels of demands of illness their mothers experienced. This study also revealed that levels of demands of illness imposed on the mothers with chronic illness and disruption in normal family functioning were negatively related to parental self-efficacy in helping their children succeed in education. Moreover, this study found that parental self-efficacy mediated the effects of maternal demands of illness on children's academic achievement. Children of chronically ill mothers with higher academic efficacy tended to do better academically than those of mothers with lower levels of efficacy. Finally, among different forms of parental involvement, parental educational aspirations and grade expectations were positively related to children's educational performance in terms of grades.

  • Parental Involvement of Chronically Ill Mothers and Its Impact on the Child's Education

    Author:
    Yung-Chi Chen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study examined how maternal chronic illnesses may affect children's academic functioning through parental involvement. Levels of maternal demands of illness were measured in order to see if they affect the levels of parental involvement and children's grades. Four research questions are addressed in this study. Do the maternal demands of illness affect children's educational achievement? Do the maternal demands of illness impact the extent of parental involvement? Does parental involvement of mothers with chronic illness influence their children's academic achievement? Does positive parental involvement mediate or moderate the impact of maternal chronic illness on children's educational performance? One hundred fifty mothers diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Myelodysplasic Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia and with a child in middle school or high school (aged 10-18) participating in this study were recruited from national organizations, clinics, and social support groups serving patients with chronic illnesses. Participants completed a 184-item questionnaire that was composed of measures of 1) parent demographic information, 2) parent medical information, 3) child demographic information, 4) Demands of Illness Inventory (DOII), 5) parental self-efficacy, 6) parental educational aspirations, 7) grade expectations, 8) school contact and participation, 9) Parent Involvement in School Interview, 10) home supervision, and 11) children's educational outcomes. Each participant was compensated ten dollars for completing the questionnaire. Overall, the results suggest that the majority of students of mothers with chronic illness were able to function adequately in terms of academic achievement. However, children's academic functioning may be at risk when their mothers experienced high levels of illness demands as a result of their chronic illness. Children's grades were found negatively related to levels of demands of illness their mothers experienced. This study also revealed that levels of demands of illness imposed on the mothers with chronic illness and disruption in normal family functioning were negatively related to parental self-efficacy in helping their children succeed in education. Moreover, this study found that parental self-efficacy mediated the effects of maternal demands of illness on children's academic achievement. Children of chronically ill mothers with higher academic efficacy tended to do better academically than those of mothers with lower levels of efficacy. Finally, among different forms of parental involvement, parental educational aspirations and grade expectations were positively related to children's educational performance in terms of grades.

  • The Effect of Story Contexts on Complex Verb Learning in Third Grade Students

    Author:
    Molly Chilton
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of more and less connected semantic contexts on third graders' learning of complex verb meanings. An experimental design was used. Middle class SES third grade students (N=40) were assigned to one of two conditions to learn complex verbs. Students were matched based on word reading ability (WRMT) and members of pairs were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions. The experimental group (cohesive story context) was presented with four sets of sentences. Each set consisted of a brief synopsis of a story followed by six connected sentences containing target verbs telling the story. The comparison group (unconnected context) was exposed to the same sentences without the synopsis and with different agents presented in a different order to minimize connections between the sentences. Based on connectionist theories, it was hypothesized that students presented with target verbs in a cohesive story context would learn more verb meanings than those assigned to the unconnected context. Students completed word reading and receptive and expressive vocabulary pretests prior to being assigned to a learning condition. Performance during learning as well as on five posttests one day after training were examined in order to assess students' abilities to spell, define, and use target verbs in sentences. The contribution of students' existing vocabulary knowledge and word reading skill to their verb learning was also examined. Students in the cohesive context condition outperformed students in the unconnected condition on most learning and posttest measures. Significant differences between the groups were detected on the more demanding posttest measures (definition production and sentence generation), with students in the connected context condition outperforming those in the unconnected condition. Word reading skills but not vocabulary explained significant unique variance on several measures. Results are discussed in regard to various learning theories, and recommendations are made for vocabulary and general reading instruction.