Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Teacher and School Variables that Impact Special Education Preschool Teacher-Family Involvement Behaviors

    Author:
    Louise Marchini
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    The present study examined taecher attitudes, teacher preparation/training, teacher experience, and school support and their relationship to reported family involvement behaviors, using the Epstein framework as a six part definition for family involvement. Participants included 283 teachers in 20 different special education preschool programs within the New York City area. Four measures were used, the FITS-P that measures reported teacher attitudes, the FITPQ that measures reported teacher family involvement behaviors, a questionnaire that measures reported teacher experience and teacher preparation/training, and the Program Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Guide (Section 3) that measures reported school support for family involvement. A multilevel survey data set was collected from multiple teachers within multiple schools. Correlational analyses were conducted to assess the direction and strength of variable relationships among three predictors: years of teaching experience, teacher preparation/training, and teacher attitudes. The data were also analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). This was conducted in order to determine if teacher attitudes, teacher preparation/training, years of teaching experience impact teacher family involvement behavior differently across schools. Further, it was investigated whether degree of school support contributes to this difference across schools.In general, the hypotheses in this study were supported by the results and provide preschool educators with valuable information to help develop strategies, identify facilitators and obstacles, and improve the working partnership between schools and families, with a goal of increasing family involvement. One of the clearest findings was that teacher attitude was predictive of reported teacher family involvement behaviors. Teachers who exhibited more positive family involvement attitudes actually reported using more family involvement practices in their classrooms. A second finding was that only one of the three types of teacher preparation/training, in-service training, was predictive of reported teacher family involvement behaviors. Also, teachers who had taken a course primarily focused on family involvement in their pre-service training had more positive reported attitudes towards family involvement. Teachers who reported not attending a course dedicated to family involvement but rather had family involvement integrated or embedded throughout a number of courses reported fewer or less frequent family involvement behaviors. Teacher experience was negatively related to teacher attitude towards family involvement; however, it was not deemed a predictor of teacher family involvement behaviors. In this study, the degree of school support as measured by the SED/VESID was positively correlated and significantly predictive of reported teacher family involvement behaviors. In this study, principals who reported to offer more administrative support for family involvement in their schools did have teachers who reportedly offered more positive attitudes and applied more family involvement practices in their classrooms. Implications of these findings are discussed.

  • The Relationship between Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation in Children

    Author:
    Elizabeth McLaughlin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    Emotional competence is a core component of school success for all children, and the ability to regulate one's emotions is an important skill in developing emotional competence. Dispositional mindfulness may be an underlying cognitive orientation that allows children to be successful at regulating their emotions, because it involves both attention and cognitive components that influence how individuals perceive and react to their emotions. Mindfulness has been shown to have a robust relationship with emotional functioning in adults and is being incorporated into many treatment approaches for a variety of physical and psychological difficulties. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and emotion regulation in children in grades 5-7. Ninety-one students completed self-reports of dispositional mindfulness and emotion regulation and completed a performance assessment of emotional awareness. In addition, one parent for each child completed a parent report of the child's emotion regulation. Path analysis demonstrated that dispositional mindfulness predicted emotion regulation, both through the child's self-report and the parent's assessment of the child's emotion regulation abilities. Emotion regulation as assessed by the parent report also predicted a child's level of emotional awareness and sophistication of emotional understanding. Identifying the factors that help children become successful regulators of their emotions may inform the ways in which school psychologists and teachers support the emotional development of the students they serve.

  • Training Students' Self-regulation of Motoric Flexibility: The Effects of Modeling and Self-evaluation

    Author:
    Gloria Mcnamara
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this research was to determine if technique modeling and self-evaluation had an impact on college students' self-regulation of motoric flexibility, measured through physiological assessments and surveys of stretching practices, flexibility outcome expectations, self-efficacy, and knowledge. In order to measure the impact of the treatments, students were randomly assigned to three conditions: 1) control lecture condition, in which flexibility fitness was taught using a scripted lecture format; 2) technique modeling condition, in which flexibility fitness was taught using the same script in addition to the researcher modeling proper stretching technique; and 3) technique modeling and self-evaluation condition, in which flexibility fitness was taught using the same script and technique modeling in addition to students being taught to measure their own motoric flexibility and to record their progress. It was hypothesized that the three treatment conditions would produce the following linear trend: condition 3 > condition 2 > condition 1 on the outcome measures. The results of this research study did demonstrate that flexibility training had a significant positive linear effect on college students' right upper body motoric flexibility, stretching practices, outcome expectations, self-efficacy and flexibility procedural knowledge.

  • The Effects of Group Coaching on the Homework Completion of Secondary Students with Homework Problems

    Author:
    Donald Merriman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    Homework is a staple in American education that accounts for a large percentage of the total time American students spend on academic task. Research on the effectiveness of homework provides ample evidence that homework has a positive effect on learning and academic performance, particularly for middle and high school students. Unfortunately, the rate of consistent homework completion, for students with and without disabilities, is dismally low. The current body of research on homework interventions suggests that self-management interventions may be the best type of intervention to help all students with homework difficulties. This study utilized a between groups design to examine the differential effectiveness of coaching, a self-management intervention, as compared with the local treatment-as-usual (homework center) on improving the homework completion of 50 middle school students (grades 6 to 8) with and without disabilities who were having substantial difficulty with homework. This study also examined the feasibility of implementing coaching in a group, rather than an individual format, as well as the impact of increased homework completion on academic performance. One parent and one teacher rating scale, as well as actual homework completion rates, were used to measure homework performance. A variety of methods were used to analyze the data, including descriptive analyses, MANOVA, and ANOVA. Results indicated that both group coaching and homework center (treatment-as-usual) were effective in significantly decreasing homework problems; with no clear indication that one intervention was, overall, superior to the other. Each intervention was differentially effective as a function of disability status. For the non-disabled students, the rate of change or improvement was faster for the coaching intervention than for the homework center condition. For the disabled students, the rate of change or improvement was faster for the homework center condition. Despite significant reductions in homework problems, academic performance, as measured by GPA, did not change significantly.

  • The Role of Self-Theories of Intelligence and Self-Efficacy in Adaptive Help-Seeking by College Students

    Author:
    Mildred Mihlon
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    In this study the role of self-theories of intelligence and self-efficacy on adaptive help-seeking behavior was examined. One-hundred, first-year college students were asked to complete a highly difficult vocabulary task that would ensure universal failure. Performance attributions were assessed in order to determine the students' view of intelligence as either fixed or malleable. To obtain a measure for self-efficacy, a subsequent task was administered whereas participants were asked to indicate their confidence for the use of help-seeking to improve learning. During this task students were permitted to seek help in the form of a hint or direct answer. The students' bids for help were later coded as either maladaptive or adaptive forms of help. A final vocabulary posttest was administered immediately following to assess learning. Results from a multivariate analysis of variance yielded a main effect for self-theory of intelligence on all predicted variables. Post hoc tests revealed significant differences between the groups such that the students who attributed their performance to ability pursued less adaptive forms of help, did worse on the posttest, and had lower self-efficacy posttest ratings than those students who attributed performance to effort. Since no main effects were observed for self-efficacy, a bias score was calculated for each participant to control for calibration errors and used as a covariate in a subsequent analysis of covariance. With the inclusion of the covariate, bias score, significant effects for all predicted variables were obtained. Students in low self-efficacy group as compared to the high self-efficacy group pursued less adaptive forms of help, did worse on the posttest, and had lower self-efficacy posttest ratings. Overall findings from this study showed that view of intelligence directly impacts help-seeking behavior, which indirectly affects learning and performance.

  • 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.

  • 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.