Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Detection of Unmotivated Test Takers through an Analysis of Response Patterns: Beyond Person-fit Statistics

    Author:
    Tara Twiste
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    The identification of patterned responding in unmotivated test takers was investigated through the formation of a novel method. The proposed method relied on marginal proportions of answer choice options as well as the transitional proportions between responses on item pairs. A chi square analysis was used to determine the degree of significance of each participant's patterned responding. The method was compared to the existing person-fit statistic lz (Drasgow, Levine & McLaughlin, 1987). Three publically available data sets - including a political science survey, an elementary school arithmetic scale and a general college course final exam - were used to test the occurrence of patterned responding and the ability of the proposed method to identify such unmotivated behavior.

  • Predicting Success in Teacher Education CertificationTesting: The Role of Academic Help-Seeking

    Author:
    Marie White
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    Abstract PREDICTING SUCCESS IN TEACHER CERTIFICATION TESTING: THE ROLE OF ACADEMIC HELP-SEEKING by Marie C. White Advisor: Dr. Barry Zimmerman This study was designed to identify the help-seeking behaviors of preservice teachers who are at risk for failure of state certification examinations through use of a scale adapted to the arena of teacher education. In the past, self-report measures of help-seeking behavior patterns were not designed to be used in teacher education. The participants were 50 preservice teachers drawn from a small private college in lower Manhattan of New York City. The college maintains an open enrollment policy, giving students from minority populations an opportunity to enter higher education. Many of these students were underprepared for college level work and had to take remedial liberal arts courses before they could enroll in education courses. The student body is predominantly minority group members who have mainly attended New York City Public Schools. The students who participated in the study were second semester freshmen, and first and second semester sophomores. The help-seeking scale (White,2007) in the present research was adapted to provide a reliable and valid measure of students' use of this important self-regulatory strategy. This Preservice Teacher Help-Seeking Scales (PTHSS) was administered to preservice teachers who were preparing for the first of three state certification exams. In addition to reliability assessments, the validity of the scales was measured using three other instruments: (1) Instructor Help-Seeking Scale (IHSS), an adapted version of the help-seeking scales that is completed by participants' instructors (2) an observational measure of help-seeking behavior in teacher education classroom contexts (DOHS), and (3) scores on the New York State teacher certification exam entitled the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST). None of these indices of validity were included in prior research by Pajares and his colleagues. These results indicated the student questionnaire (PTHSS) demonstrated high levels of reliability and concurrent validity with an Instructor (IHSS) and an in-class observational measure (DOHS) of help-seeking. It also provided significant predictive validity in terms of scores on the LAST. Finally, the PTHSS also displayed construct validity in conjunction with the Instructor (IHSS). These results provide support for use of the scales by teacher educators to evaluate aspiring teachers' potential to pass the teacher certification exams. Once students with low PTHSS scores are identified, and their PTHSS profiles can be used to guide specialized training in help-seeking (Young, 2004).

  • Assessment Practices of School Psychologists

    Author:
    Sarah Whitney
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    The present study examined the factors related to school psychologists' use of projective tests and what trade-offs practitioners were willing to make between psychometric properties, convenience, and clinical judgment in their choices of hypothetical social-emotional tests. Further, the study explored the variables of professional identity, cognitive dissonance, extraversion, and self-efficacy as they related to practitioners' reported use of projective tests and to their preferences between hypothetical choices. Participants included 116 presenters at the 2010 Annual Convention of the National Association of School Psychologists. Data were collected with an online questionnaire that included measures of cognitive dissonance (Elliott & Devine, 1994; Matz, Hofstedt, & Wood, 2008), extraversion (John & Srivistava, 1999; Matz et al., 2008), and self-efficacy (Chen, Gully, & Eden, 2001; Huber, 2006). Correlational analyses indicated that the explanatory variables sometimes related to practitioners' use of projective tests. Conjoint analysis, using logistic regressions, indicated that when faced with hypothetical test choices, respondents generally showed a preference for the test with the best psychometric properties, most convenience, and least required clinical judgment. In general, most respondents indicated a preference for hypothetical tests that have robust psychometric properties, but they also reported using actual projective tests in practice. The constructs of professional identity, cognitive dissonance, self-efficacy, and extraversion, and the relationships among those variables and between those and the usage of projective tests provided some explanation for this phenomenon.

  • Measuring self-regulation in a computer-based open online inquiry learning environment using Google.

    Author:
    Christoph Winkler
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    This dissertation investigated the impact of expert-modeling of a self-regulatory strategy in an open online inquiry learning environment (Google) on forty (n = 40) community college students' performance on an online inquiry task, the role of key self-regulatory measures, and calibration (accuracy of performance judgment) during the online inquiry phases searching/evaluating, and synthesizing. Theory-driven data for the study was gathered by employing both microanalytic and trace data methods. The results generally supported the hypotheses and showed that expert-modeling of a self-regulatory strategy helped students to improve performance during the online inquiry phases searching/evaluating and synthesis. In addition, the study showed that the key self-regulatory measures planning, self-efficacy, and attribution were predictive of students' writing scores. A comparison of mean-bias scores as a measure of calibration universally showed that student overestimated their performance at key points during their online inquiry (presentation of task, search completion, essay completion). Self-regulatory strategy instruction, however, helped students in the Expert-Modeling group to significantly better calibrate their performance after the presentation of the task and completion of the essay. The study further showed that students in the Expert-Modeling group entered qualitatively higher search terms and selected qualitatively higher websites for their inquiry. An exploratory analysis of the students' search patterns (self-efficacy and self-evaluation for websites selected for inquiry) showed lower mean variances for students who received the self-regulatory strategy training during phases searching/evaluating, which is indicative of a more consistent and successful search pattern during their online inquiry.

  • THE APPLICATION OF LATENT CLASS ANALYSIS AND LATENT TRANSITION ANALYSIS TO LARGE SCALE DISASTER DATA: MODELING PTSD IN A POPULATION OF DISASTER WORKERS

    Author:
    Katarzyna Wyka
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Jay Verkuilen
    Abstract:

    Sophisticated statistical methodologies are needed in order to analyze large, population-based datasets, such as screening projects, following disasters. Currently, the most common methodology applied to disaster research uses marginal or population-averaged models. However, mixture models with latent variables have versatile applications that may provide additional insight into the psychiatric outcomes following disasters and capture population heterogeneity that is usually overlooked. Thus, this dissertation conducts a novel application of these methodologies to a longitudinal database following a disaster. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, the Weill Cornell Screening Project conducted annual psychological screenings with over 3,000 non-rescue, World Trade Center (WTC) disaster workers from 2002-2008. This dissertation applies two types of categorical mixture models to this dataset: latent class analysis (LCA) and its longitudinal extension, latent transition analysis (LTA). Both models are particularly well suited for the analysis of psychiatric screening data, because they allow individuals to be grouped into classes based on their symptomatology. Furthermore, these methods permit the course of symptoms to be examined over time by modeling individuals' developmental trajectories. The goal of this dissertation was to assess the utility and feasibility of applying LCA and LTA in large scale disaster research, specifically within a study of the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress symptoms in WTC disaster workers. The LCA model successfully captured the heterogeneity of posttraumatic stress symptoms in this population. Additionally, the LTA model yielded unique information regarding patterns of symptom changes over time. The multiple-group analysis provided information about racial and ethnic differences in PTSD presentation and longitudinal course. The application of LCA and LTA methodologies in this dissertation yielded practical findings in the field of psychiatric and disaster research. These findings have the potential to inform criteria selection for diagnostic manuals and offer insight into the mechanisms involved in the maintenance and remission of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Challenges associated with the analysis of complex longitudinal data from large screening databases and future directions are discussed.

  • Examining Contributing Factors of Effective General Education Teachers of Inclusion Students

    Author:
    Tammy Zielinski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    This study used student evaluation data as a way to measure teacher effectiveness in inclusive settings. Student evaluations of teacher effectiveness have traditionally been used at the college-level. This study used student input regarding teacher effectiveness at the high school level. The sample included 58 special education students with mild educational disabilities and 31 general education teachers from a medium-sized public high school in rural New Hampshire. Students filled out a survey of teacher effectiveness as measured by organization, learning, enthusiasm, and instructional strategies. Teachers filled out a survey that contains items relating to their attitude, efficacy, school climate, and instructional practices. Statistical analyses were used to find relationships between the data collected from the student survey and teacher survey. This study supported the use of student evaluations of teacher effectiveness at the high school level. It was found that teacher effectiveness must be used as a multi-dimensional construct. Teacher gender as well as years of graduate studies, both contribute to enhancing overall teacher effectiveness.