• A Balanced Literacy Initiative for One Suburban School District in the United States

      Donita Shaw; Karen Hurst (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The purpose of this study was to investigate how the teachers employed by this suburban USA school district implemented balanced literacy instruction. The 111 teachers who taught grades K-6 completed surveys and were observed. Quantitative data from the surveys and observations were analyzed through descriptive statistics, nonparametric chi-square tests, and Pearson correlations. One open-ended survey question was analyzed qualitatively. Findings show that the majority of teachers had an acceptable understanding of balanced literacy. There were differences among teachers’ instruction on literacy components and structures across grades. Weak correlations among self-reported and observed practices were found. Implications are discussed as the data are being used for research-informed improvements in the district.
    • A Case-Based Study of Students' Visuohaptic Experiences of Electric Fields around Molecules: Shaping the Development of Virtual Nanoscience Learning Environments

      Gunnar E. Höst; Konrad J. Schönborn; Karljohan E. Lundin Palmerius (Hindawi Limited, 2013-01-01)
      Recent educational research has suggested that immersive multisensory virtual environments offer learners unique and exciting knowledge-building opportunities for the construction of scientific knowledge. This paper delivers a case-based study of students’ immersive interaction with electric fields around molecules in a multisensory visuohaptic virtual environment. The virtual architecture presented here also has conceptual connections to the flourishing quest in contemporary literature for the pressing need to communicate nanoscientific ideas to learners. Five upper secondary school students’ prior conceptual understanding of electric fields and their application of this knowledge to molecular contexts, were probed prior to exposure to the virtual model. Subsequently, four students interacted with the visuohaptic model while performing think-aloud tasks. An inductive and heuristic treatment of videotaped verbal and behavioural data revealed distinct interrelationships between students’ interactive strategies implemented when executing tasks in the virtual system and the nature of their conceptual knowledge deployed. The obtained qualitative case study evidence could serve as an empirical basis for informing the rendering and communication of overarching nanoscale ideas. At the time of composing this paper for publication in the current journal, the research findings of this study have been put into motion in informing a broader project goal of developing educational virtual environments for depicting nanophenomena.
    • A Comparison between Young Students with and without Special Needs on Their Understanding of Scientific Concepts

      Steffie Van Der Steen; Henderien Steenbeek; Janna Wielinski; Paul Van Geert (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2012-01-01)
      This paper examines whether young special needs (SN) students with emotional/behavioral difficulties (age 3–5, n=14) reach lower understanding levels than regular students (age 3–5, n=17) while working on two scientific tasks under a condition of scaffolding (e.g., follow-up questions depending on students' levels of understanding). Understanding was measured microgenetically, per utterance, using a scale related to Skill Theory. Monte Carlo analyses showed that SN students gave more wrong and (the lowest) Level 1 (single sensorimotor set) answers than regular students and fewer answers on (higher) Level 3 (sensorimotor system). However, no difference was found in their mean understanding level and mean number of answers. Both groups also had a comparable number of answers on the highest levels (Levels 4 and 5; single representation and representational mapping). These results do not point to substantial differences in scientific understanding between SN and regular students, as earlier studies using standardized tests have pointed out, and highlight the important role of scaffolding students' understanding. Standardized tests do not seem to indicate the bandwidth of possible scores students show or give an indication of their optimal scores, whereas a gap exists between student's task performance under conditions of individual performance and performance under a condition of support.
    • A Framework for Designing Training Programs to Foster Self-Regulated Learning and Text Analysis Skills

      Daniela Wagner; Sandra Dörrenbächer; Franziska Perels (Hindawi Limited, 2014-01-01)
      The study’s aim was to develop an intervention program and to evaluate its contribution to students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) and text analysis skills. In a student-focused training approach, the students themselves acquired the training strategies, whereas in the teacher-focused training, the teachers were enabled to explicitly impart these strategies to their students. In order to investigate the effectiveness of the intervention in terms of transfer benefits on SRL and text analysis skills, 274 lower secondary students were examined in a pretest-training-posttest design. Based on two different training approaches, a distinction was made between four groups: student training (singleST), teacher training (singleTT), combination of student and teacher training (ComT), and control group (CG). Substantially more transfer was revealed in all training conditions as compared to the control group. Specifically, the singleST group showed the highest learning gains for all variables. Conversely, a combination of both approaches (ComT) did not result in synergetic effects, but rather in reciprocal interferences.
    • A Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Project to Satisfy ABET Student Outcomes

      Kala Meah; Donald Hake; Stephen Drew Wilkerson (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      This paper presents a multidisciplinary open-ended capstone design project where students designed, built, and test drove a Formula Society of Automatic Engineers (FSAE) electric vehicle. The capstone team included students from computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs. Each student worked in on a subteam, namely, mechanical design, drivetrain, supervisory control and data acquisition, and battery management system. A thorough description of each subsystem is provided herein. Software architecture, system integration, and field test results are also reviewed. Team organization, faculty and industry involvement, and assessment of student outcomes are provided. This paper details the approach of building a bridge between academia and engineering practices. This paper also documents a process where undergraduate students research and master multiple technology areas and then apply them to the project’s focus. ABET student outcomes 1–7 were used to design and assess the course. Peer-to-peer rating and ranking are presented as an assessment tool for the multidisciplinary nature of the project.
    • A Retrospective Study of Treatment Complexity and Efficiency in a Brazilian Undergraduate Comprehensive Dental Care Program

      Sandra Cristina Guimarães Bahia Reis; Laura Barbosa Santos; Cláudio Rodrigues Leles (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      The aim of the study was to explore treatment efficiency in an undergraduate comprehensive dental care program (CDCP). The study sample consisted of the records of 652 patients from the CDCP of the School of Dentistry, Federal University of Goias, Brazil, who were treated in the period from 2004 through 2009. A total of 45 clinical procedures performed by the students was listed and a panel of 19 judges, graded the perceived complexity of each procedure on a 11-point scale using an adaptation of the Thurstone method. Spearman's correlation, one-way Anova, Kaplan-Meier, and Cox regression were used to build a predictive model for time-to-event data—completion of treatment (CT). Treatment time for CT was correlated with complexity scores (=0.60; <0.001). The average estimated median months for CT was 23.0 (95%CI = 19.6–26.3) and was significantly different (<0.001) among complexity levels (low 13.0, intermediary 19.0, high 47.0). When low complexity was the reference category, estimated changes in risk for incomplete treatment were greater for intermediary (HR=0.54; 95%CI = 0.40–0.75) and high complexity cases (HR=0.32; 95%CI = 0.23–0.45). The results indicated that treatment complexity has a large influence on undergraduate CDCP efficiency and should be considered when planning organizational strategies for the clinical environment.
    • A Review of the Relationship between Parental Involvement and Secondary School Students' Academic Achievement

      Valerie J. Shute; Eric G. Hansen; Jody S. Underwood; Rim Razzouk (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      This paper reviews the research literature on the relationship between parental involvement (PI) and academic achievement, with special focus on the secondary school (middle and high school) level. The results first present how individual PI variables correlate with academic achievement and then move to more complex analyses of multiple variables on the general construct described in the literature. Several PI variables with correlations to academic achievement show promise: (a) communication between children and parents about school activities and plans, (b) parents holding high expectations/aspirations for their children's schooling, and (c) parents employing an authoritative parenting style. We end the results section by discussing the findings in light of the limitations of nonexperimental research and the different effects of children's versus parents' perspectives on academic achievement.
    • A Structural Equation Modeling on Factors of How Experienced Teachers Affect the Students’ Science and Mathematics Achievements

      Serhat KOCAKAYA; Ferit Kocakaya (Hindawi Limited, 2014-01-01)
      The main purpose of this study was to propose a model for how elementary school students’ science and mathematics achievements in their schools and in Level Determination Exam (SBS) depend on the number of teachers and expert teachers in their schools. The sample of the study was 5672 elementary students for the purpose of the study, the number of teachers and expert teachers who worked in sample schools has been defined as independent variables, and students’ science and mathematics achievements in their schools and in SBS exam have been defined as dependent variables. The data obtained from school administrations were analyzed using structural equation modeling to analyze relations among students’ science and mathematics grades in their schools and science and mathematics achievements in SBS exam and the number of teachers and expert teachers in their school. As a result of the analysis, it has been observed that established model has acceptable fit indices and an increasing number of teachers and expert teachers have positive effects on students' science and mathematics achievements.
    • A Study on the Relationship between English Reading Comprehension and English Vocabulary Knowledge

      Yu-han Ma; Wen-ying Lin (Hindawi Limited, 2015-01-01)
      The present study aimed to investigate the overall and relative contribution of four subcomponents of vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension. The four vocabulary subcomponents were vocabulary size, word association knowledge, collocation knowledge, and morphological knowledge. The participants were 124 college students from a university in Taipei, Taiwan. Six instruments were employed: (1) a reading comprehension test, (2) a vocabulary size test, (3) a test on word association knowledge and collocation knowledge, (4) a test of morphological knowledge, (5) motivation attitude scale, and (6) a self-efficacy scale. The results can be summarized as follows. First, after the effects of motivation and self-efficacy have been controlled, the four vocabulary subcomponents altogether contributed significantly (20%) to reading comprehension performance. Moreover, depth of vocabulary knowledge (including word association knowledge, collocation knowledge, and morphological knowledge) provided an additional explained variance (6%) in reading comprehension performance over and above vocabulary size. Finally, among the three subcomponents of depth of vocabulary knowledge, collocation knowledge explained the most proportion of variance (5.6%) in contributing to performance on reading comprehension. Based on these findings, some implications and suggestions for future research were provided.
    • A Survey on the Permanence of Finnish Students’ Arithmetical Skills and the Role of Motivation

      Timo Tossavainen; Pertti Väisänen; Jorma K. Merikoski; Tuija Lukin; Hannele Suomalainen (Hindawi Limited, 2015-01-01)
      This study concerns the permanence of the basic arithmetical skills of Finnish students by investigating how a group (N=463) of the eighth and eleventh year students and the university students of humanities perform in problems that are slightly modified versions of certain PISA 2003 mathematics test items. The investigation also aimed at finding out what the impact of motivation-related constructs, for example, students’ achievement goal orientations, is and what their perceived competence beliefs and task value on their performance in mathematics are. According to our findings, the younger students’ arithmetical skills have declined through the course of ten years but the older students’ skills have become generic to a greater extent. Further, three motivational clusters could be identified accounting for 7.5 per cent of students’ performance in the given assignments. These results are compatible with the outcomes of the recent assessments of the Finnish students’ mathematical skills and support the previous research on the benefits of learning orientation combined with the high expectation of success and the valuing of mathematics learning.
    • Academic and Career Aspiration and Destinations: A Hong Kong Perspective on Adolescent Transition

      Kwok-Tung Tsui; Chi-Kin John Lee; King-Fai Sammy Hui; Wai-Sun Derek Chun; Nim-Chi Kim Chan (Hindawi Limited, 2019-01-01)
      Understanding the academic and career aspirations of adolescents and their destinations could inform policy makers and educators about how best to provide support at society and school levels to facilitate adolescents transitioning from school to further education and work. The current qualitative study investigates seven senior secondary students from three schools with varying intakes of student ability under the “Secondary School Places Allocation System” in Hong Kong. By employing a Systems Theory Framework, the study looked into the academic and career aspirations of these students and tracked their destinations immediately after secondary school graduation. Findings show that the academic and career aspirations of adolescents and their destinations are shaped by prevailing preferences for attaining higher qualifications, preferably a bachelor’s degree, parental and others’ influences, and outcomes of public examination results. The implications of enhancing support for the societal, school, and career- and life-planning education of individuals are discussed.
    • Academic Burnout and Academic Achievement among Secondary School Students in Kenya

      Syprine Oyoo; Peter Mwaura; Theresia Kinai; Josephine Mutua (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      The study examined the relationship between academic burnout and academic achievement among secondary school students in the Kenyan context. Data were collected from 714 form 4 students (equivalent to 12th graders) drawn from 31 public secondary schools. The Maslach Burnout Inventory Student Survey was used. Academic achievement was measured using students’ grades in end of term examinations. The results of the Pearson product moment correlation of coefficient revealed a significant inverse relationship between academic burnout and academic achievement (r (712) = −0.24, p<0.01). Furthermore, regression analysis revealed that academic efficacy significantly predicted academic achievement (β = 0.18, p<0.01). A key implication of the findings is that examination-oriented approach to learning be reduced to ease the pressure exerted on learners for good academic grades.
    • Academic Integrity in Higher Education of Ukraine: Current State and Call for Action

      Vadym Luniachek; Alla Brovdii; Oleksandr Kulakovskyi; Tetyana Varenko (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      The research aims to define the scope and challenges of intellectual property rights protection in higher schools of Ukraine and offer recommendations to address those for higher education officials and university leaders. The findings of the research rely on the results of an anonymous expert survey conducted among non-law students of two institutions of higher education using a specially designed questionnaire. They reveal a significantly low level of students’ awareness and knowledge of intellectual property rights, academic integrity, and protection thereof, which undermines the internal education quality. At the same time, there exists a high demand for receiving the relevant knowledge within the university programmes the students are enrolled in. It, therefore, seems expedient to design and include “Intellectual Property and Academic Integrity” as a subject in the curricula of higher educational institutions of Ukraine to be taught at the first year of training, and develop a special course in the fundamentals of intellectual property and academic writing to build the students’ relevant competences. Similarly, it is essential that the teaching staff should be trained accordingly and have the relevant powers and tools to impart and enforce academic integrity rights protection.
    • Academic or Functional Life Skills? Using Behaviors Associated with Happiness to Guide Instruction for Students with Profound/Multiple Disabilities

      Jonna L. Bobzien (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2014-01-01)
      The field of special education has begun to concentrate its efforts on developing objectives and procedural strategies that promote a positive quality of life for students with profound multiple disabilities, while determining which educational strategies are the most appropriate. A multielement design was used to compare the effects of two educational conditions, academic skills instruction and functional life skills instruction, on the quality of life indicators of four students with profound multiple disabilities. Results indicated that all four students demonstrated a greater number of behaviors associated with happiness while receiving academic skills instruction. Implications for current educational practices are addressed and directions for future research are discussed.
    • Action Research in Action: From University to School Classrooms

      Maja Miskovic; Efrat Sara Efron; Ruth Ravid (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      This multiyear mixed-method study was conducted to understand (a) the perceptions of the preservice and in-service teachers regarding the significance of action research in their teaching career and (b) how teachers draw on skills developed in the research courses as they initiate a reflective inquiry and conduct research in their own classrooms. Based on 176 surveys, we conclude that research plays an important role in the teachers’ professional life and that teachers desire (a) to have more time to do research, and (b) collaboration with and assistance from colleagues and administrators. Ethnographic data from three participants revealed that each understood research differently, which affected what was unfolding in the classrooms. Implications for teacher research are discussed.
    • Adult Literacy and Skill Acquisition Programmes as Correlates of Women Empowerment and Self-Reliance in The Gambia

      Oladotun Opeoluwa Olagbaju (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      Self-reliance and empowerment for women have been at the centre of the agitations for gender balance in Africa. Women are largely marginalised, and obvious gender disparity exists in school enrolment and completion rates in most African countries, particularly in The Gambia. Efforts to address this shortfall led to the adoption of adult literacy and skill acquisition programmes to build the capacity of women and out-of-school adults. Training contents were developed and centres set up across the six educational regions in the country, but most graduates of the programme are neither financially empowered nor self-reliant. Therefore, the study examined the relationship between these capacity-building programmes and women empowerment and self-reliance. The research employed a descriptive design of survey type with 250 participants from two educational regions in The Gambia. Four null hypotheses were raised and data collected through a questionnaire were analysed using t-test, mean, and simple frequency. The result showed that adult literacy and skill acquisition programmes correlate significantly with women empowerment and self-reliance in The Gambia. Recommendations were made on how to improve on the existing training structure.
    • Advanced Placement Scores for Black Male Students from Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachetts, and Texas

      Jeanine L. Wilson; John R. Slate; George W. Moore; Wally Barnes (Hindawi Limited, 2014-01-01)
      Differences in student performance were analyzed for Black males in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Texas on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, Calculus AB, Biology, and United States History examinations from the 2001 through the 2012 exam years. All analyses included in the comparisons of overall examination scores and U.S. History examination scores were statistically significant. Of the 48 individual examination comparisons, 26 yielded evidence of a statistically significant difference among the Black male students from the selected states. Massachusetts was the state with the highest percentages of Black male students who achieved an AP score of 4 or 5. Conversely, Texas was the state with the highest percentages of Black male students who failed to achieve an AP score of 4 or 5. Implications for policy regarding advanced placement testing as an avenue for preparing students for college and recommendations for future research are discussed.
    • Affect and Cognitive Interference: An Examination of Their Effect on Self-Regulated Learning

      Georgia Papantoniou; Despina Moraitou; Maria Kaldrimidou; Katerina Plakitsi; Dimitra Filippidou; Effie Katsadima (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The present study examined the relationships among affect, self-regulated learning (SRL) strategy use, and course attainment in the didactics of mathematics (teaching mathematics) subject matter domain. The sample consisted of 180 undergraduate students attending a didactics of mathematics course (mean age = 21.1 years) at the School of Early Childhood Education. The participants were asked to respond to the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the Cognitive Interference Questionnaire (CIQ). They also completed the Learning Strategies Scales of the MSLQ. Examination grades were used as the measure of course attainment. Pearson correlations and path analysis revealed that negative affect was positively related to cognitive interference, and positive affect influenced positively the use of almost all of the SRL strategies. Elaboration was the only SRL strategy found to predict the didactics of mathematics course attainment. Finally, cognitive interference was found to negatively predict course attainment.
    • Against the Standards: Analyzing Expectations and Discourse of Educators regarding Students with Disabilities in a Kindergarten Classroom

      Fernanda T. Orsati (Hindawi Limited, 2014-01-01)
      This two-year ethnographic case study critically examines the language educators use to describe students with disabilities who are considered to present challenging behaviors in one classroom. Focusing on the language and practices used by one special education teacher and three teaching assistants, this paper explores how educators respond to students’ behaviors by analyzing educators’ utterances and the implication of such use for the education of the students. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper highlights how educators’ language in the classroom reflects a discourse of expectations that is based on various social standards and pressures that educators have to juggle. Educators expressed academic and behavioral standards by comparing students’ performance to the expected norm as well as through comparisons between students. Based on such comparisons, some students were constructed as always lacking and ultimately defined by the adjectives originally used to describe them. Students were perceived to embody defiance or smartness, the characteristics by which they were defined.
    • Age-Related Grade Inflation Expectancies in a University Environment

      Donald A. Loffredo; Rick Harrington (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      Grade inflation is a recognized problem in higher education in the United States. Age, gender, and ethnic differences in discrepancies between student reports of their expected grade in each course and their expectations for general university grading practices were explored in a survey of 166 (mostly female) participants at a small upper-division university. Results revealed that while a small minority of students agreed that grading systems in college should only include A or B grades, a large majority of students expected A or B grades. Thus, student discrepancies between their expectations for grading systems and their expected class grades were in line with expectations that they should receive inflated grades. Results also revealed statistically significant age differences in grade expectation with students older than the age of 55 expecting lower grades relative to their younger counterparts.