Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • How Much Value is Added by Value Added Models, An Analysis of Teachers' Performance Over Time Using New York State Assessment Data

    Author:
    Mariana Ristea
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    There is a strong movement to evaluate teachers on the basis of students' performance. To compare teachers fairly, as each may have a mixture of students with different abilities in a given subject area, one should account for variables reflective of students' subject knowledge and background when entering a course. Most methods of control consist of highly sophisticated statistical models mostly difficult to explain to educators who are being evaluated using such methods. This research presents two value-added methods that could be replicated by using in-house resources and standardized student assessment data which are either continuous or ordinal. One method is simpler to implement if one's goal is to evaluate teachers' performance based on students' assessments scores reported as ordinal measures. The second method is similar to a more typical value-added approach and uses hierarchical linear structures to determine a classification of teachers' performance based on their students' assessment scores reported as continuous measures. Teachers' "value-added" in a given academic year is typically calculated using students' longitudinal New York State assessment data, reported in both ordinal and continuous forms. Comparison of results obtained from both methods, along with their interpretations, are used to examine trade-offs between accuracy of methods and their ease of use and transparency. The code used is included for practitioners who may wish to replicate this value-added methodology. Suggestions related to educational policy and feasibility of implementation of methods are also discussed.

  • The Relationship between a Sense of School Belonging and Internalizing, Externalizing, and School Problems in Adolescent Immigrants

    Author:
    Corinne Rivera
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    Research suggests that Latino adolescents, both native and foreign born, are at increased risk for the development of school, behavioral, and psychological problems. It also identifies a variety of factors associated with both risk and resilience in this population. There is, however, a scarcity of research that specifically examines risk and resiliency in recent Latino immigrant adolescents who have unique circumstances that may affect their functioning. This study was conducted to address this gap in the research literature by investigating the relationship between a sense of school belonging and internalizing, externalizing, and school problems in adolescent immigrants. Participants included 78 Latino adolescent immigrants between the ages of 11 and 18 who completed a number of instruments to assess their level of connectedness to their schools; internalizing, externalizing, and school problems; and overall psychological adjustment. One teacher for each student also completed a measure of academic effectiveness. Results showed that participants who reported a higher sense of school belonging indicated lower levels of depressive symptoms and higher overall psychological adjustment. Significant relationships between school belonging and anxiety symptoms, school/academic problems, and externalizing behaviors were not found. These findings have implications for school psychologists and other school mental health staff who are in a position to support youngsters in need and to foster a supportive and inclusive school environment for immigrant children.  

  • THE INFLUENCE OF CROSS-LINGUISTIC INPUT AND L2 PROFICIENCY ON L2 READING COMPREHENSION AMONG SPANISH-SPEAKING ADULTS LEARNING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

    Author:
    Astrid Rodriguez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    The present study investigated the effects of cross-linguistic input and second language proficiency on second language reading comprehension among Spanish-speaking adults enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at a community college in New York City. The main research question was whether language-minority adults would comprehend printed text better if they read it in Spanish (L1) followed by English (L2) than if they read the text twice only in English. An experimental study using a 2 (lower L2 proficiency vs. higher L2 proficiency) x 2 (think-aloud vs. no think-aloud) x 2 (Spanish/English vs. English/English) crossed factorial design was conducted. Eighty students were randomly assigned to the Spanish/English or English/English reading conditions within each L2 proficiency level and think-aloud conditions. Reading comprehension was assessed via a verbal recall task, eight open-ended questions, and a 43-item cloze task. The results revealed that students with lower L2 proficiency benefitted substantially from reading the text in both languages as evident by their performance on the recall and Q&A reading comprehension tasks. In contrast, L1 input did not provide an added advantage over reading the text twice in English for students with higher L2 proficiency. A reactive effect to the think-aloud procedure was found for students with lower L2 proficiency on the Q&A and cloze tasks. On the Q&A task, among those who completed the think-aloud procedure, students who read the text in both languages outperformed students who read the text only in English. On the cloze task, students who did not perform the think-aloud procedure outperformed students who did the think-aloud. In addition, it was found that the reading comprehension assessment methods had a differential effect on students' ability to demonstrate the degree to which they comprehended the text. Results showed that performance was lowest on the recall task across all groups. Other findings and implications are discussed.

  • The Effects of Cardiovascular Exercise on College Students' Learning, Recall, and Comprehension

    Author:
    Andrea Salis
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    Research on physical activity and cognition is based on the existing theoretical and empirical evidence which indicates that engaging in cardiovascular exercise improves cognitive capabilities, by increasing neural functioning which improves learning (cognitive development). The question this research sought to answer was to determine whether or not (a) increased amounts of exercise improves cognitive recall and comprehension and (b) there is a difference in cognitive recall and comprehension abilities when engaging in exercise occurs before a learning activity as compared to after a learning activity. This experimental pretest-posttest study examined whether or not a cardiovascular exercise intervention improved community college students' recall and comprehension of recently learned information. The cardiovascular exercise intervention included two levels: moderate and light exercise. In one sequence the rehearsal of information (i.e., learning) took place before the students' engaged in exercise and in an alternate sequence, after the students have engaged in exercise. The results of the study demonstrated that performing a moderate amount of exercise before or after rehearsing for a comprehension test significantly improved test results. The moderate exercise group also scored higher on the recall posttest than the no exercise group, yet this difference was not found to be significant. Performing a light amount of exercise demonstrated improvement in comparison to not performing any exercise. Yet, this difference was not found to be significant. Overall, the results of the research demonstrated a significant positive linear trend between increased levels of physical activity and comprehension.

  • Comparing and Combining Accommodation and Remediation Interventions to Improve the Written Language Performance of Children with Asperger's Syndrome

    Author:
    Ariane Schneider
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    This study examined the relative effectiveness of two writing accommodations (word processing and speech recognition technology) as compared with handwriting alone on improving the writing fluency of four boys with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). This study also examined whether the pairing of the most effective writing accommodation with a widely used and empirically supported writing intervention (SRSD; Self-Regulated Strategy Development) would further improve fluency as well as accuracy and story quality. A multiple phase alternating treatments design with a final treatment phase was used to first compare the two accommodations with handwriting (first phase) and then the most effective accommodation with SRSD (second phase). Four variables were used to assess writing skills, two measuring fluency (total words written and number of words in a complete sentence), one measuring accuracy (percentage of correct word sequences), and one measuring story quality and completeness (number of story parts). It was hypothesized that the use of the speech recognition accommodation would result in the most fluently written stories but that the addition of the SRSD intervention would further improve fluency but also improve writing accuracy and story quality. In addition, these gains would generalize to the participants' creative writing assignments. Outcomes indicated that the speech recognition accommodation improved writing fluency and writing quality far better than the word processing and handwriting accommodation. Speech recognition alone also improved writing accuracy for two of the participants who struggled with spelling. Results further suggested that word processing, although frequently recommended for this population, was not an effective accommodation for these participants. SRSD with handwriting did not improve fluency for these participants, though the intervention did improve story quality. It was the combination of the SRSD intervention with speech recognition that resulted in lengthier, most fluent, and highest quality written work when compared to SRSD with handwriting, speech recognition alone, and handwriting alone. Although SRSD with speech recognition had very little impact on improving writing accuracy, it was more helpful for the participants who struggled with spelling As hypothesized, writing improvements were generalized to participants' creative writing homework assignments.

  • Parents' Perceptions of School Psychologists' Use of Social Power and Interpersonal Influence in School Consultation for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Author:
    Seth Sebold
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Ida Jeltova
    Abstract:

    This study explored parents' attitudes towards school psychologists' use of social power and interpersonal influence in the school consultation process for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Previous research has examined school psychologists' perceptions, as well as teachers' perceptions, of social power and interpersonal influence in school consultation, but to date, parents' perceptions in this regard have been given limited attention in the literature. Study questions addressed (a) which social power techniques parents perceived as most effective when used by school psychologists to elicit their compliance, (b) how parents' perceptions of these techniques compared to school psychologists and teachers, whom were both studied previously, (c) whether a soft-harsh, two-factor solution among these power techniques existed among parents, and (d) whether parents' ratings on the soft power techniques predicted ratings of consultant effectiveness and ratings of satisfaction with children's consultation outcome. One-hundred and sixty-nine parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders completed measures of social power (IPI-Form CE; Erchul, Raven, & Whichard, 2001), consultant effectiveness (CEF; Erchul, 1987), and satisfaction with their children's consultation outcome (GAS; Kiresuk, Smith, & Cardillo, 1994). Results indicated that parents, like school psychologists and teachers, generally endorsed soft social power strategies, compared to those that are harsh or coercive, with the exception of impersonal reward power, a traditionally harsh social power strategy. The results of an Exploratory Factor Analysis on the IPI-Form CE did not reveal a clear, soft-harsh, two-factor solution among the social power techniques, as parents' ratings on several of the individual strategies did not completely conform to the expected model structure. In addition, multiple regression models revealed that parents' ratings on positive expert power, one of the five soft power strategies, significantly predicted their ratings of consultant effectiveness, but that no significant relationships existed between parents' ratings on the five soft power strategies and ratings on their satisfaction with their children's consultation outcomes. Implications for school psychologists working with this unique parent population are provided, as well as study strengths, limitations, and suggestions for future research.

  • Do pictures impair sight word learning in beginning readers?

    Author:
    Alicia Senia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    In two experiments, the impact of pictures on learning to read words was examined in kindergartners, first graders, and second graders (N=72). The written words were either simplified spellings (e.g., DLR for dollar) or conventional spellings. The words were learned either with or without pictures of their meaning. In the first experiment, forty kindergarten and first grade students were assigned to groups and were taught to read 10 words. One group was taught to read simplified spellings of the words, half accompanied by pictures, and half without pictures present. The other group was taught the 10 words in their conventional spellings, also with pictures either present or absent. It was hypothesized that kindergartners, presumed to be in the partial alphabetic phase of reading would learn to read simplified spellings of words by sight equally well either with or without pictures, whereas they would learn to read conventional spellings better without pictures present. It was hypothesized that first graders, presumed to be full alphabetic readers, would not be distracted by the pictures in either the simplified or conventional spelling conditions because they would process the conventional spellings automatically. Results indicated that both kindergarteners and first graders were distracted by the presence of pictures when learning sight words, both in the simplified and conventional spelling conditions. Experiment 2 utilized the same design with full alphabetic students in the second grade. In addition, half of the students' attention was directed at the spellings of the words. Results provided mixed support for the hypothesis that the second graders would not be distracted by the pictures in learning to read the words. Pictures did not distract sight word memory when students' attention was directed at letter-sound correspondences in the words during learning. However, second graders were distracted by the presence of pictures when they had learned conventional spellings of words without attending to letter-sound relations in words during word learning.

  • Analyzing ecological momentary data using growth mixture modeling

    Author:
    Mariya Shiyko
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    Real-time data capture, also known as ecological momentary assessment (EMA), is a unique data collection technique, which records moment-to-moment changes in human behavior as they occur in real time and in naturalistic settings. EMA is typically collected by electronic devices that prompt study participants to report behaviors (e.g., smoking) in real time, thereby minimizing problems associated with retrospective recall and reactivity. EMA has been heralded as a promising research tool in education, psychology, and behavioral medicine. It provides the needed data to examine patterns of behaviors as well as their temporal characteristics. Growth mixture modeling (GMM) is a statistical solution to many challenges associated with analyzing intensive EMA data. GMM estimates individual developmental profiles and classifies them into latent homogenous groups based on similarities in trajectories. This dissertation is a secondary data analysis of daily smoking rate of 74 newly-diagnosed cancer patients, who were enrolled in a randomized smoking cessation clinical trial prior to their cancer-related surgery. Patients' daily smoking rate was recorded over an average period of two weeks, yielding 896 assessments in total. The exploratory data assessment demonstrated substantial differences in patterns of smoking reduction across individuals during the intervention period. The goal of the GMM analysis was threefold: 1) to identify distinct smoking cessation patterns in a sample of patients awaiting a cancer-related surgery, 2) to investigate whether differences in tapering profiles are associated with differential smoking abstinence at surgery, 3) to identify personal and situational characteristics that are associated with each of the smoking cessation approaches. The final model identified three latent developmental classes, which included abrupt, gradual, and slow reducers, varying in their personal characteristics and smoking cessation rates. This model is contrasted with a single-class solution alternative. Challenges of model enumeration and model identification processes are discussed. While growth mixture modeling widens the spectrum of research questions that can be addressed, it also poses technical and conceptual challenges for future research.

  • The Effects of Parenting Style and Psychological Control on Relational Aggression in African American Girls

    Author:
    Yolanda Slade
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Shick Tryon
    Abstract:

    This dissertation explored the relationship of parenting styles and psychological control on relational aggression in African American girls. Specifically, it examined African American girls' perpetration and victimization of relational aggression and the influence of their mother's parenting style on their behavior. This study also investigated if parenting style is predictive of relational aggression and relational victimization. This dissertation sought to answer the following questions: (a) How well do parenting style and psychological control predict relational aggression in African American girls? (b) How well do parenting style and psychological control predict relational victimization in African American girls? (c)Which is the best predictor of relational aggression: psychological control or parenting style? (d)Which is the best predictor of relational victimization: psychological control or parenting style? (e) If the possible effects of parent age and income level are controlled, are parenting style and psychological control be able to predict relational aggression? (f)If we control for the possible effects of mother's age and income level, are parenting style and psychological control still able to predict a significant amount of the variance in the relational victimization score? I confirmed that psychological control was negatively associated with authoritative parenting style. Additionally, girls' perceptions of their mothers' degree of psychological control was not significantly related to either their daughter's use of relational aggression or their relational victimization. In contrast, parenting style was associated with relational aggression. Additionally, after controlling for age and annual household income, psychological control and parenting style did not significantly predict relational aggression. With regard to relational victimization, after controlling for age and annual household income, an authoritarian parenting style significantly predicted relational victimization.

  • The Relationship of Self-Concept and Academic Engagement to Each Other and to School Outcomes of Students with Disabilities

    Author:
    David Steinke
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK Abstract The Relationship of Self-Concept and Academic Engagement to Each Other and to School Outcomes of Students with Disabilities by David P. Steinke, M.Ed. Advisor: Georgiana Shick Tryon, Ph.D. The present study examined the relationship between self-concept, engagement, and school outcomes for students with educational disabilities in grades 10 to 12. Participants included 105 students in grades 10 to 12 in a large suburban high school who were classified as having an educational disability which qualified them for special education services. Self-concept was measured using the Self Description Questionnaire II (SDQ II, Marsh, 1992b). Engagement was measured using the Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES, Martin, 2004). School outcome measures for achievement consisted of PSAT verbal scores and PSAT math scores. Other school outcome variables were the number of student absences, number of student discipline referrals, and number of extracurricular activities in which a student participated. Other student and family information was gathered by means of a Demographic Questionnaire and a student data form that was used to gather information about student classification and class placement. Statistical analyses using Pearson Correlations and Canonical Correlation Analysis indicated that academic self-concept was more related to academic achievement and extracurricular participation than engagement measures. Variables of student discipline and attendance were not significant. Overall, academic self-concept was more important in the relationship with academic outcomes for special education students than academic engagement.