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2016 Dissertations

Assessing Conditions for Professional Development of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teachers for Technology Integration

 

Elaine Bernal

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Farmer, Lesley

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to evaluate a multi-campus program designed to train faculty on how to teach with technology. Despite the positive student learning outcomes in course redesign programs with an aim to support faculty in technology integration, there remains a need to evaluate how technology integration professional development (PD) programs impact faculty instructional practice, and determine the effectiveness of these programs in that effort. 

This study researched the CSU Office of the Chancellor Course Redesign with Technology (CRT) Program, and employed the logic model of program evaluation to document the activities of the PD program, in order to study the impact of the activities on what faculty learned about technology and their application of the program to develop instructional strategies that incorporate technology. Data were collected from the first two academic years of the CRT program (2013-2014 and 2014-2015) and used the Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK), Diffusion of Innovation, Andragogy, and Communities of Practice frameworks to analyze archived Professional Learning Community (PLC) webinars and faculty-produced electronic portfolios. 

The findings reveal that while the PLC webinars focused on simple technology adoption, most course redesigns involved changes in technology and instructional strategies that demonstrated infusive applications of technology, meeting student needs and engaging students, and reflective development of instructional strategies. While PLC webinars focused on the relative advantages of the technologies featured, course redesigns with high levels of TPACK-Practical (TPACK-P) further demonstrated the complexity, compatibility, observability, and the trialability of the technology integrated into the course. Further, while the PLCs mainly demonstrated the andragogical need for relevant information and learners were able to socialize and share their learning experiences, andragogical needs were not specifically addressed, and the motivation, readiness of learners, as well as the timing of the training, were addressed at low frequencies. The findings demonstrate that overall, the collaborative processes engaging faculty was the main aspect of the course redesign program that facilitated technology integration, instructional development, and positive student learning outcomes. 

The significance of this work is that it provides the language, clarity, and structure to develop, design, and evaluate training, as well as create policies, practices, and scholarly contributions that can support other institutions in technology integration into the curriculum.   

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A Case Study of Common Core Implementation in a Linked Learning Environment

 

Erin Biolchino

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

            California is in the midst of significant educational reform initiatives, especially at the secondary level.  The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were adopted in 2010, and these new standards contain significant changes in the areas of math, English, and literacy across all subjects.  Many districts are also implementing new initiatives to engage secondary students and increase their preparedness for life beyond high school.  Linked Learning is one such reform initiative, and at least 29 districts across California are now implementing Linked Learning.  Linked Learning combines rigorous academics with technical knowledge related to an industry sector to engage students in their high school experience while also preparing them for college and career.  Teachers in districts implementing Linked Learning are implementing two major educational reform initiatives—Common Core and Linked Learning—simultaneously.

            This qualitative case study focuses on one high school that is implementing both Common Core and Linked Learning.  Hills High School (HHS) is wall-to-wall Linked Learning high school in the Woodbridge Unified School District (WUSD) that opened in 2011, just as Common Core implementation in WUSD was beginning.  This study examines the intersection of Linked Learning and Common Core by exploring teacher perceptions of the connection between Linked Learning and Common Core, the challenges that teachers faces while implementing both of these reform initiatives, and how the Linked Learning structure of HHS supports teachers.

            This study is based on a conceptual framework that synthesizes three theories: Bolman and Deal’s (2008) structural frame, Fullan’s (2007) change in practice, and Reeves’ (2010) initiative fatigue.  The combination of these three theories explains the context for the experiences of teachers and administrators who planned the structure of and are carrying out the work at HHS.  The many different initiatives that educators face are a result of the structure of their school and district, so teachers are left to balance multiple initiatives while also balancing on the structures built by their school district and school site in an environment of change. 

            Data for this case study included teacher and administrator interviews, teacher observations, and document analysis.  Participants in the study were 10 teachers at HHS and 5 administrators in WUSD.  The teacher participants were from a variety of subject areas and experience levels and taught at HHS for at least one year prior to the 2015-2016 school year.  All teacher participants were interviewed and observed twice in their classrooms.  The administrator participants were site or district level administrators who were involved in the planning of HHS and/or the implementation of Linked Learning and Common Core at HHS; all administrator participants were interviewed.  Documents collected and analyzed for this study include calendar, agendas, and minutes from professional development and Pathway collaboration meetings at HHS.  Analysis of this data yielded significant findings and recommendations relation to implementing Common Core at a Linked Learning school.

            Findings from this study confirmed findings from the literature that in order for teachers to seamlessly integrate Linked Learning and Common Core, the district must provide coherence between these two initiatives for teachers.  Absent this coherence, teachers are unable to articulate a clear connection between Linked Learning and Common Core.  Teachers expressed a significant need for professional development explicitly related to the intersection of Linked Learning and Common Core rather than separate professional developments about these and other topics.  This study also contains recommendations for teacher collaboration, professional development, and the master schedule as related to the implementation of Linked Learning and Common Core.

The need for coherence between multiple simultaneous reform initiatives is a critical finding that will continue to apply to school districts in California that are in the midst of several significant educational changes at one time. 

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Understanding the Experiences of Latino Males in Community College

 

Gabriela Castaneda

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Davis, Shametrice

Abstract

The objective of this study was to explore, identify, and gain an understanding of the experiences and contributing factors that affect Latino male students’ (LMS) attainment of a community college education or transfer to 4-year institutions.  Hidden Hills College (HHC; pseudonym) is a large California community college located in an urban setting in Southern California.  HHC is primarily a commuter campus and a Hispanic serving institution, regionally accredited by Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

This qualitative study included 22 interviews of currently enrolled students at HHC.  The participants, selected based on the sampling criteria, consist of Latino males who had completed at least 24 units and were seeking an AA/AS or transfer to a 4-year institution (CSU, UC, private).  The students were between the ages of 18–24.  Additionally, through the literature review, aspirations, familial support, persistence, and challenges were summarized and analyzed, which provided an opportunity to learn about the different contributing factors that support or hinder the transfer or degree attainment of Latino males.

The major findings showed that in relation to challenges experienced by LMS in the pursuit for an associate’s degree or transfer to a 4-year institution are cultural expectations, parents’ lack of understanding, financial hardship, lack of time, and lack of academic preparation.  The study also revealed that in relation to strategies used by LMS in their efforts to pursue an associate’s degree or transfer to a 4-year institution are aspirations for a better future, family support, motivation, and campus resources.  Recommendation for policy and practice focused on improving and promoting higher education for Latino males, as well as recommendations for further studies are presented.

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An Examination of Spanish Language Use and Attitudes in the Dual Immersion Setting

Paul Ceron

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

The education of English Learners in the United States is an urgent matter that merits the attention and more importantly, action from the educational and academic communities.  A long history of oppression of non-English speaking peoples echo in the consistently low academic achievement results of students identified as English Learners and economically disadvantaged.  The benefits of dual immersion programs in closing the achievement gap and producing students with proficiency in English have been documented and supported through years of research and analyses.  However, political leaders nor the research community have focused sufficient attention on Spanish language outcomes, in regard to language development and academic achievement. 

The intent of this mixed-methods case study was to examine the Spanish language achievement, classroom use, and language attitudes of 4th and 5th grade students and their teachers in a dual immersion setting in a large urban school district in Southern California.  Through classroom observations and participant interviews, qualitative data was analyzed to explore the implementation of dual immersion at three elementary school sites.  Quantitative analysis of Spanish language assessment results in reading and mathematics from four dual immersion elementary sites allowed for the exploration and description of students’ Spanish language achievement within the district.

The findings from this case study included lower Spanish achievement outcomes for Spanish-speaking English Learners and economically disadvantaged students in comparison to English proficient and economically advantaged classmates.  Classroom observations during Spanish instruction and participant interviews revealed significant differences in program implementation and support at each school site.  Alarming achievement outcomes combined with qualitative findings highlight the need for more research on dual immersion programs that focus on Spanish language development and qualitative data collection and analysis.  Study findings and recommendations highlight the need for specialized training for district and school leadership as well as school-wide faculty and staff where dual immersion programs are implemented.

KEY TERMS: English Learners, Dual Immersion, Dual Language, Equity, LatCrit, Coercive Power Relations, Collaborative Power Relations, Learning Environment

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Sustainability in Higher Education through the Perspectives of CSU Campus Presidents

Ellie Christov

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Portnoi, Laura

Abstract

Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) play a central role in global efforts toward environmental sustainability.  With 23 campuses, the California State University (CSU) is the largest higher education system in the world.  The CSU graduates over 100,000 students annually and significantly contributes to developing the workforce of the state and the country, which underlines the vast opportunity for the CSU system to influence culture change toward sustainability within California and beyond.  This qualitative research study focused on CSU campus presidents because previous research has demonstrated the important role IHE leaders play on their campuses by setting a vision, establishing priorities, and allocating funding.  This study aimed to investigate the 23 CSU campus presidents’ perspectives on sustainability in higher education.  The semi-structured interview protocol explored how the presidents understood environmental sustainability, how they viewed the role of IHEs generally and the CSU system in particular in efforts toward sustainability, how they viewed their role as president, and what they perceived as barriers and enhancers to sustainability efforts on campus.

The central findings of the study revealed that CSU campus presidents view the role of both the CSU and all IHEs as becoming leaders in sustainability, serving as role models for environmentally friendly operations, conducting research and innovations, and educating the campus and surrounding communities.  However, the findings revealed that presidents may not perceive climate change and other threats to the environment as urgent, or may not have been educated about the immediate dangers they pose to humanity.  When setting their priorities, the presidents expressed that students are their chief concern and many of the presidents viewed other initiatives with an immediate impact, such as hiring faculty, as more beneficial to the students due to a more immediate impact.  Generally speaking, participants perceived their role as supporting the sustainability effort rather than leading it.  They viewed their role as the person who signs the various commitments for sustainability in higher education, serves as the spokesperson for sustainability, and supports the sustainability champions on campus who do the day-to-day work.  Most of the presidents concurred that these champions are the main reason sustainability moves forward on their campuses, although barriers, particularly lack of funds, often cause delays or stall the efforts.

Based on the findings of this study, I recommend that the system expand the CSU Sustainability policy by including a mandate for each campus to become a signatory to the higher education Climate Commitment and report progress on an annual basis.  The Chancellor’s Office should also develop a class on climate change for campus leaders, including presidents, utilizing the expertise of campus faculty and staff, to expose presidents to the urgent need for sustainability.  This strategy may move sustainability higher on the presidents’ priority lists and may result in campuses allocating more funding to advance the cause.  Hiring practices should also be reviewed to ensure that IHEs hire people who value sustainability.  In addition, sustainability should be integrated throughout the curriculum, which would lead to increasing the number of campus sustainability champions and empowering them to lead change efforts, including forming partnerships to take the classroom into the community where students can help resolve real world problems related to sustainability.  Finally, significant progress within sustainability can be made on each campus with little to no funding required to implement, such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for placing solar panels on campus buildings or parking lots and banning single use plastic bottles and bags on campus.

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The Road to Resiliency: An Investigation into the Factors that Contribute to the Resiliency of Latino Teenage Parents

Erin Danks

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

In 2013, there were approximately 273,000 babies born to teenage mothers between the ages of 15-19 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). The Latino teenage parent population has the highest percentages of births nationally, statewide, and within Los Angeles county borders. Teenage parents are often dismissed, overlooked, and provided little to no support or resources. There has been a great deal of research conducted on teenage pregnancy and prevention programs that have primarily focused on abstinence, birth control, and Planned Parenthood programs (Bell, 2007). However, there is still a gap in how society provides meaningful and supportive programs to assist teenage parents.

This qualitative study used an interview design methodology to explore the experiences of Latino teenage parents. It is founded on the combination of the Shame Resiliency Theory (SRT) and William Bridges’ Transition Model; they serve as lenses to examine the experiences of Latino teenage parents and their potential for resiliency.

The findings in this study confirm that Latino teenage parents navigate through three stages of development. The sixteen participants in this study reported experiencing stages such as anticipation, adjustment, and planning their future. Throughout the study, many of the teenage parents experienced anxiety, and shame, on the one hand as well as an increased sense of belonging, and changes in their relationships.

Recommendations focus on creating elements that will develop resilient characteristics and qualities in teenage parents and develop relationships with those who have a connection with their educational achievements. A safe and secure environment is likely to invite teenage parents to make connections with those who genuinely are interested in assisting them to succeed.

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Teacher Preparation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Instruction

Kirstie DeBiase

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain a better understanding of how induction programs might effectively support STEM K-8 teacher preparation.  American schools are not producing competent STEM graduates prepared to meet employment demands. Over the next decade, STEM employment opportunities are expected to increase twice as fast as all other occupations combined (Olson & Riordan, 2012).  To meet the economic needs, the STEM pipeline must be expanded to educate and produce additional STEM graduates. The meeting of this objective begins with having the teachers working in American classrooms fully prepared and trained in STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy.  Research shows that the interest in STEM subjects starts in elementary school and therefore, the preparation of elementary teachers to be proficient in teaching STEM to their students is vital. However, most induction programs do not focus on preparing their teachers in STEM.

This study researched the Alternative Induction Pathway (AIP) program, which had STEM preparation as one of its core outcomes, in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).  It investigated the program’s effectiveness in preparing K-8 teachers with STEM content knowledge, curriculum, pedagogical instruction preparation, and the program elements that contributed the most to their experience in the program and overall STEM preparation as a result.  This study was carried out over the course of approximately six months.  Data included focused interviews with participants as well as analysis of existing documents in order to triangulate perspectives from multiple sources.

The AIP program had varied levels of effectiveness in STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy preparation.  Relationships between the induction mentor, the administration, and the participating teacher, when strong and positive, were powerful contributions to the success of the acquisition and integration of the STEM content, curriculum, and pedagogy. The most effective components of the AIP program were the monthly support groups, the curricular resources, and the professional development nights facilitating the teaching and learning process for the participating teacher in STEM integration. The results of this training included examples of well-planned and executed STEM lessons with creative risk-taking, and enhanced confidence for teachers and administrators alike. At the same time, the AIP program had struggles in achieving the desired outcomes of STEM integration due to lack of preliminary training for program administrators in STEM integration, varied needs between the MS and SS credential teachers, and state standard requirements that spoke to science and mathematics, but not engineering or technology. 

The main recommendation for policy from the results of this study is that STEM should be woven into preservice and continue through induction and professional development to become one of the main tenants of curriculum development and standards of effective teaching.  This policy would affect colleges of education and district induction programs, requiring that STEM courses be added or embedded into the credential pathways. However, this approach would ensure that STEM integration is supported academically as an important and valued aspect of the teacher’s entrance to their career and that pre-service teachers are ready to take advantage of induction offerings on STEM integration in the induction phase and throughout their careers in continuing professional development. The study also provides practice and research recommendations in regard to possible roles and supports for mentor teachers, including their relationships with resident teachers, as well as suggestions for and to maximize the benefits for effective teaching and learning during the induction process.

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Wounded Veterans: Reintegration through Adventure-Based Experience; A Narrative Inquiry

David Donaldson

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Since September 11th, 2001, United States servicemen and women, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are returning home having suffered and survived catastrophic and disabling physical, neurological, psychological, and moral injuries. By every measure, the casualty statistics are staggering.  Perhaps even more alarming is the reality that we have yet to see the full extent of the psychological and neurological injury related complications that will emerge in the months and years to come. (Williamson & Mulhall, 2009).  War exacts a heavy burden not only on the service member, but their families as well.  Divorce affects female troops three times that of their male counterparts (Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008: Williamson & Mulhall, 2009).  During post deployment health screenings, 12% of troops report substance abuse problems while only 0.2% are referred for further evaluation and treatment (Williamson & Mulhall, 2009).  On any given night in America, about 154,000 veterans are homeless.   Nearly half of those homeless have a mental health diagnosis and more than 70% struggle with substance abuse.  Unfortunately, and too often, the burdens these servicemen and women carry become too heavy as suicide becomes an exercised option.  Between 2004 and 2008, the rate at which active duty army soldiers took their own lives doubled (Bossarte & Kemp, 2012).

The evidence strongly suggests that significant numbers of recent veterans are not successfully reintegrating back into society by virtue of high incidence rates of suicide, substance abuse, family problems, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration (Bossarte & Kemp, 2012; Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008; Williamson, & Mulhall, 2009).  Unfortunately, that reintegration journey is seldom supported by the Department of Defense or Veteran’s Administration in any consistent meaningful manner beyond the date that the veteran is discharged from active duty.

This narrative inquiry explored the community reintegration experiences of ill, injured, and disabled U.S. servicemen and women that served in the global war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001.  More specifically, the service-member’s experiences and perspectives around engagement in adventure-based activities, the supportive communities that manifest around those activities, and the role or value of that experience in the reintegration process. Through narrative inquiry, this study gives voice and adds deep contour and rare perspective to this typically isolated, humbly silent, and understudied population informing greater understanding of the warfighter experience and the elements of their journeys that support successful rehabilitation and reintegration.

            The findings of this study suggest that adventure-based activity and the communities that manifest around those activities played a vital role in the successful rehabilitation and reintegration journey of each of the research participants. Through surfing, rock climbing, and mountaineering, each was able to satisfy needs at all levels of Maslow’s hierarchy facilitating the ability to redefine their sense of identity, reestablish a sense of purpose, and reconnect and reintegrate into a welcoming and supportive community apart from the military. 

            Findings from this study also inform policy, practice, and future research that can positively influence and improve the experience of current and future casualties of war.  Honoring a commitment made by President Lincoln over 152 years ago and in keeping with the VA’s mission, the federal government must fund future research that has the capacity to influence expansion of the VA’s current narrow scope of practice.  It must also vet and fund community-based programs that demonstrate the ability to positively influence the rehabilitation and reintegration journey.  The findings of this study also inform practice in both the community and VA.  Educators, clinicians, program providers, volunteers, and donors serving this population now have a more complete image of the veterans’ experience and the immense value of their contribution to the journey.  Future research that includes a multicultural voice, the voice of women, inclusion of other adventure-based activities, and a variety of methodological approaches is imperative if the research community is to play a role in positively influencing the rehabilitation and reintegration journey of veterans that are ill, injured, and disabled.

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Exit from Special Education: Part of the Continuum or Just a Pipe Dream? A Study on the Characteristics of Students Who Exit Special Education

Arvin Garcia

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hansuvadha, Nat

Abstract

Many students remain eligible for special education for the duration of their educational history, and fewer of them ever exit special education. These services endure for many students with limited procedures and opportunities to reintegrate and exit. In fact, they remain eligible even when data reveals their needs can be best met in the general education setting (Powell-Smith & Stewart, 1998). Consequently, research reveals that only as few as 2-6% of students in special education actually ever exit (Lytle & Penn, 1986). In the special education pipeline, factors for the disproportionate rates of students of color identified into special education have been widely researched. However, the factors that may be attributed to these students of color staying in special education indefinitely are unclear. As a result, there exists a gap in the research in regard to the disproportionality of exit for students of color. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine whether disproportionality exists in the number of students that exit from special education. Furthermore, this dissertation will explore the intersections of race and dis/ability through the Dis/ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) Theoretical Framework.

                  A TK-12 large urban school district in the County of Los Angeles provided the secondary data set for this study. The data set included all students within the district, those eligible for special education services and those who exited from the years 2011-2016. The secondary data set allowed the researcher to explore the specific characteristics of students who are in special education and those who exit. Frequency data was explored and student demographic information was compiled to reveal characteristics of students that have exited compared to the total special education population. This data was utilized to hypothesize whether disproportionality exists in the number of students that exit special education. Furthermore, this dissertation explored the relationship among variables. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was utilized to determine whether a statistically significant effect of ethnicity exists on duration of time in special education, when controlling for disability at the time of exit and socio-economic status (measured by lunch eligibility).

 

Results from the secondary data set analysis revealed disproportionality in the number of African American students that exit compared to other ethnic groups. Results from the ANCOVA revealed that the difference in the mean duration of days in special education for Caucasian students was lower than that for Latino and African American students. When controlling for Disability Class and SES, Caucasian students who exit special education appear to exit sooner than African American and Latino students who exit. Therefore, this study revealed that there was a significant effect of ethnicity on the duration of time in special education when controlling for Disability Type and SES (Lunch Eligibility). The findings of this dissertation may lead educational leaders to develop policies and procedures for increasing the numbers of student who exit from special education, particularly for students of color. Furthermore, this dissertation sheds light on the importance of the relationship that exists between race and dis/ability.

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Latina/o English Language Learner Student Experiences and Opportunities in Linked Learning Environments

Yvette Habrun

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Stallones, Jared & Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Latinos continue to be the most numerous subgroup of the population in the state of California, and the population of Latinos is predicted to increase significantly by the year 2020. Educators are challenged to foster academic and educational environments to support all students in a diverse student body. English language learners have had an extensive history of economic disparity and poor school performance, therefore as the state’s numbers of English language learners steadily increase, teachers and staff need additional support and best practices to prepare students for success in K-12 and beyond.  It is imperative to analyze the effects of small learning communities, specifically Linked Learning in high schools, and how they promote successful outcomes for Latina/o students. 

This qualitative study examined the experiences of English language learner Latina/o students in a Linked Learning pathway program located in a large urban school district in Southern California.  Through classroom observations using a modified Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), participant interviews, document collection, and data were analyzed in exploring a high school Linked Learning pathway program in supporting the educational needs of 12th grade Latina/o English language learner students.  The findings from this case study indicated Latina/o English language learners felt supported despite barriers experienced with English comprehension early on in high school.  Effective classroom instruction practices were also evidenced by the SIOP protocol, with six elements hypothesized to be characteristics of the Linked Learning model: Meaningful activities through integrating lesson concepts with language practice opportunities, concepts linked to students’ background experiences, comprehensible input, questions and tasks promoting higher order thinking skills, frequent student interaction, discussion and group work, and applying content with hands-on materials.  Students and staff members echoed the sentiment of a familial environment between staff and students, and students felt their participation in Linked Learning had assisted them in being prepared for postsecondary options for college and career opportunities.  Although there are efforts to provide equitable outcomes for all English language learners, beginning and intermediate level students who have not mastered the English language were not eligible to participate in Linked Learning or other college-bound academies offered.  Staff members noted there is still work to be done, and have acknowledged there are continued efforts in supporting and meeting the academic needs of all populations of students including English language learners. 

 

Findings and recommendations indicate the need for refining district policy on supporting English learners, and updating resources for school staff.  There is a need for specialized training and professional development for staff and counselors in meeting the needs of all English learners district wide.  The findings from this study have the potential to impact educational leaders in best supporting and providing equity and access for all English language learners.

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The Perception of Campus Climate and Academic Experience of Undocumented Students in a Four-Year Public University

Rosa Heckenberg

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Huber, Lyndsay Perez

Abstract

This qualitative interview study explored the campus climate and experiences of 25 undocumented students at a public 4-year university. In addition, the study explored how campus climate shaped how the undocumented students utilized their Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) while in college. Three themes define the findings based on interviews with undocumented students: (1) undocumented students’ experience of a welcoming campus climate, (2) perception of an unwelcoming campus climate, and (3) how campus climate shaped undocumented students’ forms of community cultural wealth in college. For each of the themes, several subthemes helped to describe the findings. 

Data analysis showed that participants who received academic support from faculty and staff in some departments and programs and from the leaders of the university experienced a welcoming climate and felt that they mattered to the campus and that the institution cared about their academic success. Participants noted the symbolization of the Dream Center at the university and the capture and understanding of how they utilized the six capitals described in the CCW conceptual frame by Tara Yosso.

These findings will help to expose challenges and struggles that undocumented students experience while trying to obtain a college degree. It is recommended that future research seek knowledge on how to alleviate the struggles that undocumented students experience in college in order to serve them more effectively. It is recommended that such research include undocumented student subgroups other than Latinos to identify the needs of this unique population of students. Furthermore, it is necessary that institutions of higher education increase professional development for educators to address the educational needs of undocumented students. Educators will be able to develop best practices that will benefit the academic success of undocumented students.

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The Effects of Professional Learning Communities on Middle School Math Teachers in Developing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments for Common Core

Jessika Kim

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

The world of education in the K-12 setting is constantly changing.  The most recent shift in educational reform is the Common Core State Standards.  These new standards require students to think critically and demonstrate higher depths of knowledge.  And so, teachers are faced with the large task of realigning curriculum, instruction, and assessments to meet the new demands of Common Core.  Unfortunately, with new standards and new expectations for assessments, teachers may feel overwhelmed and overextended.  Professional Learning Communities (PLC) offer a structure in which educators are able to collaborate with content and grade level teachers.  The six guiding principles outlined by DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker (2008) require PLC teams to state a shared vision, maintain a collaborative culture, collective inquiry, action orientation, commitment to continuous improvement, and result orientation.  When PLC structures are implemented with authenticity, individual members are better equipped to withstand the unpredictable changes in education.

            This qualitative case study sought to better understand the manner in which PLC structures supported the development of curriculum, instruction, and assessments for 7th and 8th grade Common Core math.  Through semi-structured interviews during the beginning and end of the first semester, multiple observations of PLC meetings, and document analysis, this study determined the following findings.  First, this case study found that curriculum development for the Common Core Standards was supported as individual members built capacity amongst each other to redevelop new district mandated textbooks.  Second, instruction strategies for the new standards was maintained as PLC members demonstrated high levels of trust amongst each other in an effort to share individual shortcomings and challenges.  Third, assessment development required teachers to reflect on both curriculum and instruction in an effort to promote student achievement.  Finally, an unexpected finding of shared decision making was determined through participant interviews.  Participants longed for greater autonomy within their PLC structures, and hoped to have greater input in the larger overarching decisions made school wide. 

            The implications of this study encourage educators in various school settings – urban, suburban, rural – to continuously improve year after year through Professional Learning Communities.  Regardless of new reforms in education, PLC structures provide a stable environment for educators to professionally learn in their site communities.  The recommendations for this qualitative case study include suggestions for policy, practice, and future research.  For policy, district members and officials would be well advised to provide additional professional development days for all certificated staff on how to authentically implement PLC structures at school sites.  For practice, the major themes of capacity building, trust, reflection, and shared decision making can guide PLC teams as they practice true collaboration through PLC structures.  Once PLC structures are authentically implemented, curriculum development can begin, instructional strategies can be shared and improved, and assessments can be effectively aligned to new standards.  For future research, it is recommended that the scope of study be expanded to include the K-12 grades as well as extend the study for multiple years.  As educators and school sites continue to make greater meaning of the Common Core State Standards, the impact of PLC structures in relation to student achievement will improve.  Therefore, additional research on the effectiveness of PLC structures in relation to curriculum, instruction, and assessments will be richer as Common Core continues to be implemented. 

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Leadership Development Institute: A California Community College Multi-College District Case Study

Bianca Leon

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

As the California Community College and its place in society has evolved, so too have the needs and expectations of its leadership.  Leadership has been and continues to be central in keeping community colleges informed about community needs and changing populations.  Despite the advancement of the community college system and its objective to provide opportunities to non-traditional students, it now faces a challenge affecting its leadership. Community colleges became the employer of many members of the Baby Boomer generation. Many of whom progressed through the ranks becoming community college staff, faculty and administrators and who are now approaching retirement age (Bornheimer, 2010).  In 2009, a CCC survey indicated that more than one-third of its employees were 56 or older, while 19% were 60 or older (Jaschick, 2012). Thirty one percent of full-time employees shared that they planned to retire by 2017 and 39 percent planned to retire by 2020. 

Grow your own (GYO) leadership development programs may be the best option for community colleges seeking to develop potential internal leaders (Boggs, 2003).  Rowan (2012) believes that community colleges need to consider potential leaders within their own campuses and to reflect on how they can support internal leadership development.  The processes to implement a successful GYO program are unclear, and little is known about what aspects of a program would be successful in preparing future leaders with the competencies that are necessary to lead CCCs. 

The purpose of this study is to examine a community college district’s GYO leadership program, the Multi Campus Leadership Development Institute (MCLDI).  The MCLDI was developed in-house, for a multi-colleg community college district and offered to interested employees at all position levels. The intent is to provide them with the opportunity to develop and enhance their leadership skills and abilities.  While most leadership development literature has focused on the presidential role or other senior level positions, the aim of MCLDI is to support leadership development in general; not solely for senior level management, but for mid-level management and faculty and staff positions as well.

A qualitative case study approach was utilized to investigate MCLDI and its development, implementation, and the benefits and challenges experienced by the coordinators and participants. This study gathered the perspectives of all those involved, from the leaders who created the program and their experience in doing so, to the program participants and graduates.  Providing the different perspectives allows for other campuses to draw from the benefits and challenges that are shared in creating their own program or for comparison to programs that already exist. Three themes were identified from analyzing across data sources.  Building organizational capacity, developing human capital, and program structure emerged throughout the data collected from interviews, observations, and document analysis and were reflected in the findings for each of the research questions.

The implications of this study suggest to leaders at CCCs what can be done to implement an efficient and effective GYO program.  Recommendations for policy, practice and future research are presented. CCC campuses would be well advised to adopt policies that reinforce the prioritization of evaluating and identifying their particular internal needs.  It is recommended that designated staff be hired to manage and coordinate the GYO program efficiently and to make the program available to all college stakeholders. Future research, should focus on the comparison between multiple CCC GYOs. This would allow for dialogue regarding how coordination and implementation takes place at different districts and could provide campuses across the state with examples of programs they may consider.

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The Effects of Experiential Learning Methods on Building Elementary Teachers' Mathematics Content Knowledge and Self-Efficacy

Lynda McCoy

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

 

The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the effects of using experiential learning methods to increase the mathematics content knowledge for teaching and self-efficacy of in-service elementary teachers. The study was conducted with 27 elementary teachers who took a continuing education course entitled “Common Core Mathematics for Elementary Teachers” offered through their school district. Data were collected from the participants from a demographic survey, pre- and post-tests of mathematics content knowledge for teaching, pre- and post-tests of self-efficacy, and from teacher’s weekly and end-of course reflections. The data were analyzed quantitatively using paired samples t-tests. Qualitative data were collected from the participants’ weekly reflections and were “quantized,” ranked using a 5-point rubric, and analyzed using descriptive statistics. End-of-course reflections were reviewed using constant comparison analysis.  The quantitative results indicated that experiential learning methods were effective in increasing the participants’ mathematical content knowledge for teaching.  The results also indicated that mathematics content instruction using experiential learning methods also produced increases in both components of the Self Efficacy Theory – personal self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. Participants’ weekly reflections were not statistically different from one week to the next.  The qualitative data were analyzed using constant comparison analysis and three themes emerged:  Knowledge gained, internalization of concepts; and, transformation of knowledge.   The qualitative data were triangulated with the quantitative results; thus, strengthening the conclusions. The results of the mixed methods study indicated that the participants’ mathematics content knowledge for teaching and teachers’ self-efficacy increased with mathematics content and pedagogy instruction using experiential learning methods.

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The Guilt of Success: Looking at Latino First Generation College Students and the Guilt They Face from Leaving Their Home and Community to Pursue College

Rosean Moreno

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

This study examined the role of guilt among Latino first generation college students and their educational journey as they leave their family and community to pursue higher education.  For first generation college students, going to college is breaking away from the norm of not going to college, which for many family members who have no college experience, they cannot understand the reason why their loved one is separating themselves from their close nit family and community.  This notion of leaving their family and community behind can elicit feelings of guilt for not being physically available due to distance or the demands of being a college student.  This study looked at the lived experience of six participants and their feelings of guilt.  The conceptual framework used was a combination of Critical Race Theory and Survivor Guilt to fully understand the stories of the six participants.  This qualitative study used was narrative design to fully understand the lived experiences. 

            The findings revealed that guilt was caused when the participants put their needs before the needs of their family and attended college.  Another significant finding was that for the females in the study, they all stated that guilt was brought on due to the physical distance between them and their families.  As for the males who left home to go to college, they felt financially guilty for either causing financial problems at home or not being able to support their family with the bills.  This study is intended to bring forth the guilt that Latino first generation college students face from leaving home and how colleges should be aware.  This study also address recommendations for policy and practice that can better support Latino first generation college students and their families at home and in a college setting. 

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Expectation towards High School Completion and Sense of Belonging among Hispanic Students

Isabel Nunez

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

In 2012, Hispanic students dropped out of high school at a national rate of 13%, surpassing African Americans and Whites (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2012).  Without a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate, Hispanic students who dropout will most likely experience less opportunity for improving their quality of life.  The purpose of this quantitative study was to gain insight into psychological factors that may influence and predict high school completion of Hispanic students.  The theoretical framework that provided the lens for this study was a sense of belonging based on Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs. 

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) provided the secondary data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09).  Through the statistical method of correlational analysis the secondary data assisted in the following hypotheses: a) sense of belonging correlates with academic expectations to finish high school; b) school engagement correlates with academic expectations to finish high school; c) gender and socio-economic status correlates with academic expectation to finish high school; and d) parent expectations will correlate with academic expectation to finish high school.

Results from the multiple regression revealed that socio-economic status, sense of belonging, school engagement, parent expectations, and gender significantly predicts academic expectations of Hispanic high school students.  These findings can potentially assist the field of education in providing data that will help solve issues of students of color and begin to close the achievement gap.  Furthermore, this research study will provide the K-12 educational community knowledge and a deeper understanding of the relationship between a sense of belonging and Hispanic students completing high school.  This study will add to the existing data on the validity of the importance a sense of belonging has on students’ academic outcome. 

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The Impact of Mentoring and Co-Teaching on the Motivation of Experienced Teachers

Bradley Olin

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

When researchers and policy makers look toward teacher issues, the focus is typically on novice teachers who are at considerable risk of leaving the profession prematurely. Without dismissing the importance of these teachers, a crucial population of educators is often overlooked: the experienced teacher. These teachers face many of the same challenges as beginning teachers, and must do so over a long and relatively flat career trajectory. As the state of California looks to recruit a new generation of teachers to meet the demands of a growing population, it would be wise to also look for ways to keep experienced teachers engaged, fresh, and motivated. Research has shown that mentoring and other professional development opportunities can help as a means of giving back to the teaching profession. Thus, policymakers and education leaders have an opportunity to utilize existing teacher training program infrastructure to address multiple challenges with singular programmatic solutions.

The purpose of this cross-sectional survey study was to examine the impact of mentoring and co-teaching within a specialized induction program on the motivation of experienced teachers who served as mentors to beginning teachers while also gaining a glimpse of their interest in participating in a program of this nature. A conceptual framework blending mentoring program assessment and motivation theories guided the development of a survey instrument designed to measure experienced teacher motivation as it relates to their perceptions of the quality of programmatic elements of the induction program. The sample population included 199 mentor-teachers within a large urban California school district, from whom 56 valid responses were recorded.

The AIP Induction Mentor survey measured experienced teachers’ self-reported perceptions of program qualities, motivation levels on three subscales, and reasons for participation in the program. The final sample included 56 experienced teachers who participated in the AIP program as induction mentors during the years of 2009-2013. Frequency distributions, means comparisons, correlations, and multiple regression analyses were used to answer the research questions.

Findings suggest that perceived program quality had a significant impact on experienced teacher (induction mentor) motivation. Experienced teachers were also more inclined to participate in the AIP program based on intrinsic factors such as a desire to contribute to the profession or learn new skills and content than they were by extrinsic factors such as additional monetary compensation or classroom support. Findings also enhance understanding of components that may increase the motivation of experienced California teachers. These results drive recommendations for policy, practice, and future research. Chief among these recommendations is the development of more robust professional development for experienced teachers, perhaps integrated with existing induction programs like BTSA, as well as application of these findings toward other teacher training programs that involve pairing novice and experienced teachers to achieve mutual benefits.

key words: mentor, co-teaching, teacher training, ambition, motivation, induction, education, professional development, veteran teacher, job satisfaction

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Teacher Perceptions of How The California's Transitional Kindergarten Program Under SB1381 Prepares Students for Improved Learning Outcomes in Kindergarten

Michelle Parra

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. It follows requirements of SB1381 in providing a modified kindergarten curriculum that is both age and developmentally appropriate. The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 changed the required entry age for admittance to kindergarten and first grade and developed a transitional kindergarten program to implement throughout districts. The criterion to enter a TK program is that students must turn five between the months of September 2 and December 2. The TK program is designed to place emphasis on developing cognitive, social-emotional, and physical skills.  Transitional Kindergarten implements the same core curriculum and materials as the kindergarten program, with curricular modifications and developmentally appropriate practices that will allow TK students to ultimately meet the Kindergarten Common Core and State Content Standards at the end of the their two-year program. This study aimed to explore teachers’ perceptions about the extent to which the new TK program contributes to students’ social, emotional, and cognitive development to ultimately yield better learning outcomes for students once they enter kindergarten. Further, this qualitative study aimed to give a voice to TK and kindergarten teachers who are at the heart of the TK program implementation. It explores not only how the implementation of the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 affects teachers professionally but also how it affects the learning outcomes of students under their tutelage.

The findings of this study revealed teacher’s beliefs that the TK students needed extra time to develop cognitive, social-emotional, and physical skills necessary improved learning outcomes in kindergarten. Teachers viewed the TK program as developmentally appropriate to meet the needs of all students.  However, they believed the TK curriculum did not integrate the developmental domains into teaching and learning of subject matter. In fact, the participants held diverse perspectives of the TK curriculum on preparing students for Kindergarten. Although teachers held various perspectives on TK curriculum, they expressed strong unifying views on the passion for practice and the importance of their instructional practices. 

 

               Overall, these findings suggest that the TK program values children’s development, the curriculum, and the teaching. The TK program is beneficial to the learning community and prepares students for positive learning outcomes in Kindergarten. Similarly, the TK program is an act of compliance with diverse implementation strategies, which promotes the intellectual and personal growth of all learners.

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Principal Perceptions of the Role of High School Counselors in Urban Schools

Veronica Perez

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

This qualitative interview study examined the perceptions administrators and counselors have regarding the role of the counselor and the quality of the relationship between counselor and administrator. Specifically, this study looked at working relationships and the impact these have on administrators, counselors, teachers, students, and parents. LMX served as the theoretical framework that guided this study (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). Understanding the subordinates (counselors) role and perceptions can then be used to measure how well principals, or supervisors, maintain and foster working relationships.

Twenty-three interviews were conducted with ten administrators and thirteen counselors. Ten of them were males and 13 were females. The research questions for this study were: (1) How do high school counselors perceive their role? (2) How do high school administrators perceive the role of the counselor? (3) What is the quality of the relationships between counselors and administrators? Multiple studies showed that an effective principal-counselor relationship can raise students’ achievement levels (Zalaquett & Chatters, 2012: Finkelstein, 2009). Yet, it is important to evaluate how principals view the role of the counselor and how principals use counselors at their schools. “Developing and defining appropriate roles for school counselors continue to be a source of concern for the counseling profession” (Kirchner & Setchfield, 2005).

Results of this qualitative study were catalogued by themes, revealing perceptions of the administrator/counselor role and their working relationship.  The voices of participants were heard as their direct quotes illustrate their lived experiences.

The role of counselor is ambiguous and not well defined. In addition, counselors cite case overload, quasi-administrative duties, testing and lack of administrative support as impediments to providing additional academic, personal, and social support. These elements affect the impact and quality of the school counseling program.

Successful counseling programs stem from administrators who are aware and knowledgeable about the role counselor’s play. Counselors depend on the support and understanding of the principal in their commitment to support them campus-wide, which, in turn, increases student outcomes.  

            Implications from this study along with recommendations for policy and practice are offered within this study to further explore this phenomenon and highlight the need to improve and develop healthy working relationships between administrators and counselors.

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Effective Principal Methods: Case Study Administrative Credentialing Program

Erica Thomas

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Educational leadership preparation programs are fundamental in developing confident educational leaders with the capacity to lead schools with effective sound decision-making practices.  In order to effectively balance the demands of educational leadership, principal leaders must be developed through effective models of preparation programs that are grounded in a societal vision of leading and learning for schools in the twenty-first century.  Critical to this discourse is curricula delivered through dynamic instructional pedagogy that frames evidence-based best practices to link leadership development with student achievement and extraordinary teaching.  Principal preparation programs have the initial responsibility to prepare future school leaders for the various duties and responsibilities they will face, primarily impacting student academic achievement. 

The primary purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions of educational leaders who completed the Preliminary Administrative Credential Program in the Educational Leadership Department at California University Long Beach (CSULB), and uncover the impact specific program components had on their leadership capacity and ability to be instructional leaders.   The intent of this study is to reveal the experiences of those who have completed the program, by reflecting on their program leadership development and its application to their current practice as school site leaders.  These stakeholders include student alumni who completed their Preliminary Administrative Credential at CSULB and are now serving as school leaders.  Additionally, faculty who teach in the program, were asked to share their perceptions of the program, specifically around curriculum and development, and leadership capacity of graduates.  This study will attempt to inform State, Universities and districts, of the components of leadership preparation that are most useful to practitioners in the field.

The findings from this case study included a descriptive picture of Alumni perceptions and learning experiences in the Preliminary Administrative Credential Program at CSULB.  Alumni identified key components of the program that were integral in their educational leadership development, and instructional leadership capacity.  Qualitative interviews of Alumni and Faculty combined with document analysis of program curriculum and assignments highlight the need for continued research on quality fieldwork internship, and barriers to effective instructional supervision.

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Transitions to Manhood: African American Male College Students Journey

Brian Thomas

California State University, Long Beach 2016

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Disproportionate achievement rates for African American college students are a national concern.  For example The Schott 50 Report on Public Education and Black Males (2015)recently reported that African-American graduation rates are at 59 percent nationally.  That is compared to 65 percent of Latino males and 80 percent of White males. 

The implications of this disparity foretell continued social and economic disadvantages for the African American community.  Moreover, the trend of lower success rates for African American college students has prompted researchers to learn more about the contributing factors that play a part in understanding this disparity in achievement. 

Notable scholars including Astin, Pascarelli, Terenzini and others have pioneered studies in psychosocial issues including self-concepts related to college students’ experience and achievement factors (Astin, 1984, 1991, 1993a; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Terenzini, Pascarella, & Blimling, 1996)however, little research has emphasized the unique experience of African American college students.  Therefore, the purpose of this research study was to examine data from the 2011 CIRP National College Senior Survey to understand better and draw inferences from the relationships between specific self-concept related factors of African American college students after four-years of college and their degree aspirations.

The conceptual framework for this study was based upon Harper’s Anti-Deficit Model (Harper, 2012)which suggests researchers should seek to understand the disparity of success rates of African American students from the viewpoint of those attributes, characteristics or assets that contribute to academic their success versus what students may lack.  The study also drew upon the Holistic Identity Model (HIM) (Winkle-Wagner & Locks, 2014), which was built upon the premise that students experience multiple identities simultaneously during their college years and that those identities play a significant role in the manner by which students elect to approach, engage in and aspire to higher education. Together these models provided a guide and a lens by which this study was conducted and through which the result were understoood.

Findings from this quantitative study included the statistical significance and extent of the relationship of academic self-concept, habits of mind, leadership self-concept, social agency, social self-concept, and spiritual self-concept and degree aspirations.  Gender-based differences that were statistically significant were reported.  Results of the predictability of those self-concept-related factors regarding degree aspirations were also included.  The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for policy, practice, and further research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

last updated — Aug 31, 2017