Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • The Impact of Serial Migration on the Psychological Adjustment and Academic Performance of West Indian Immigrant Children

    Author:
    Oshika Howell-Whittaker
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    For many years, serial migration, a pattern in which parents migrate first and send for their children at a later date, has become a common way of life for many West Indian immigrant families. This study examined the impact of serial migration on the psychological adjustment and academic achievement of West Indian children. Fifty-two parents of children (aged 7-18) who migrated within the past 10 years participated in the study. Twenty-one of the participants were parents from families who migrated with their children, while 31 were parents from families that migrated before, and were later reunited with their children in the United States. Participants completed three questionnaires comprised of: (1) The Child Behavior Checklist, (2) The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale and (3) a family demographic questionnaire. Each participant was compensated 20 dollars for completing the questionnaires. The results of the study showed that when compared to children who migrate with their families, children who migrate after their parents experience significantly more externalizing behavior difficulties. However, they did not exhibit more internalizing problems, nor were their grades affected. Among the sample of serially migrated families, the study found that it is the mother who typically migrates first leaving the children, and this results in the child demonstrating significantly more externalizing behavior problems after reunion. In addition, the results revealed that children who are reunited into a family with new members also exhibit more externalizing behavior problems than their counterparts. Other findings indicate that parents who are younger and less educated engage in serial migration, while parents who are more educated and older engage in family migration. In terms of family functioning for the sample of participants, the results showed that good family communication significantly reduces the risk of externalizing behavior problems in children following migration.

  • Familial Factors Associated with Symptoms of Depression in Preschool Children

    Author:
    Malka Ismach
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not preschoolers can be identified as at risk for depression, if there was agreement between parents and teachers regarding the symptoms that children display and to identify the familial factors that impact the development of depression in preschool children. Recent evidence suggests that preschoolers have symptoms indicating possible feelings of depression. In order to help these preschoolers, it is important to ascertain the factors associated with the development of depressive symptoms. The research consistently shows that parenting styles, discipline practices, and family functioning impact depression in school age children and adolescents. This study examined the relationship between these factors and depressive symptomatology in preschoolers. Low levels of flexibility and high levels of rigidity in the home were found to have a significant relationship with preschoolers who show signs of depression. Additionally, when all the familial factors were plotted on an ROC curve, they demonstrated the ability to make good predictions about preschoolers who may be at risk for depression. Educational implications of the study as well as limitations are discussed.

  • PARENTS' MOTIVATIONS FOR INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION

    Author:
    Deborah Jaspen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This study sought to examine parents' motivations for involvement in the education of their 5th through 12th grade children. Using an online version of a questionnaire developed by Hoover-Dempsey, Sandler, and their colleagues (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005; Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler, & Hoover-Dempsey, 2005), this study explored how well Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's revised model of motivations for parent involvement (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005) predicted parents' reports of their home-based and school-based involvement. Predictor variables included parents' perceived role construction for involvement; self-efficacy for helping their children succeed in school; perceptions of general school invitations, specific teacher invitations, and specific child invitations to involvement; and perceptions of personal skills and knowledge and personal time and energy for involvement. Participants included 207 parents of 5th through 12th graders. Regression analysis confirmed that Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's model (1995, 1997, 2005) significantly predicted parents' reports of both home-based and school-based involvement. Role construction and child invitations to involvement were significant predictors of parents' reports of both types of involvement. In addition, parents' perceptions of personal skills and knowledge for involvement significantly predicted reports of home-based involvement, and parents' perceptions of specific teacher invitations to involvement as well as personal time and energy for involvement significantly predicted parents' reports of school-based involvement. There was a trend toward lower levels of reported home-based and school-based involvement for parents of older students. Parents of older students also reported fewer perceived invitations from teachers to involvement, fewer perceived invitations from children to involvement, and lower perceptions of personal skills and knowledge for involvement. This study confirms the utility of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's model of motivations for parent involvement (1995, 1997, 2005) for predicting the involvement practices of parents of 5th through 12th graders.

  • A COMPARISON OF GENERAL AND SPECIAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN TRANSITION: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL SUPPORT ON STUDENT OUTCOMES

    Author:
    Mira Jensen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This dissertation study examined the differences between students in general education and in special education in their perceptions of the types of support they need from different sources during the transitions at the beginning and end of high school. Specifically, this study examined the role of social support in students' behavioral and academic functioning and their postsecondary-school aspirations. General and special education students in 9th and 12th grades (N = 89) completed (1) the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki, Demaray, & Elliott, 2004), (2) the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004) and (3) a brief questionnaire on students' goals and aspirations after high school. Participants' test scores on regularly administered standardized achievement tests measured academic functioning. Overall, there was little variation among participants regarding their perceptions of social support, academic achievement or behavioral adjustment, and post-secondary goals and aspirations, regardless of their age, gender, or educational placement. Social support predicted one aspect of students' behavioral well-being (i.e., personal adjustment). The lack of significant findings may reflect study limitations, particularly sample limitations. Overall, the study's participants attend a school where most of the student body was performing well academically and exhibited behaviors (i.e., attendance) that are important for school success. The study's limitations, suggestions for future research, and implications for school psychologists are discussed.

  • SPECIFICATION OF THE ERROR COVARIANCE STRUCTURE FOR LINEAR MIXED EFFECTS MODELS WITH AUTOREGRESSIVE CHARACTERISTICS: A SIMULATION STUDY

    Author:
    Jimmy Jung
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    This study examines the effects of specifying different error covariance structures on linear mixed models with autoregressive characteristics. Computer simulations were used to generate data varying magnitudes of autocorrelations, sample size, and series lengths. The data were fitted with error covariance structure specifications of compound symmetry, identity, autoregressive lag-1, Toeplitz, and unstructured. The effectiveness of using information criteria to correctly identify the error covariance structures was investigated and the impact of error covariance structure specification on estimates of fixed effects and tests of fixed effects were examined. In addition, a statistical power analysis of detecting the AR(1) autocorrelation parameter was conducted. Results provide recommendations on which information criteria to used for data with autoregressive characteristics, demonstrate how misspecifying the error covariance structure impact tests of fixed effects, and the data conditions necessary to accurately detect the AR(1) autocorrelation parameter.

  • 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.

  • 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.