• Designing Research-Based Professional Development for Elementary School Science and Mathematics

      Brian L. Gerber; Edmund A. Marek; Ellice P. Martin (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      A partnership including 11 school districts, a university, service agency, and private nonprofit education organization formed a collaborative partnership to improve teaching and learning in elementary school science and mathematics. The partnership designed research-based professional development for 150 teachers of grades 3–5. The professional development resulted in statistically significant increases for those elementary school teachers on math and science competency tests over a two-year period. The professional development was the vehicle for providing teachers with professional development so that they could (a) increase their content background in science and mathematics and (b) apply newly learned inquiry practices in their math and science instruction.
    • Teacher Efficacy as a Multigroup Model Using Latent Class Analysis

      Colleen Eddy; DONALD EASTON-BROOKS (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      Research measuring teacher efficacy suggests that participants are representative of one-efficacy group. Of the few studies, which measures efficacy as a multidimensional occurrence, teachers are presented as having either low or high efficacy. These studies often use mean or median splits to determine low and high efficacy groups. What is of concern is whether there is a significant probability that those in the low and high groups are actually representative of the data Further, a question exists of whether teacher efficacy is statistically representative of one-efficacy group or representative of more than two efficacy groups. Using Latent Class Analysis (LCA), this study found that mathematics efficacy groups of preservice teachers vary based on where they were in their academic program.
    • The Multifaceted Use of a Written Artifact in Student Supervision

      Gunilla Jansson (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      This article explores the use of a written artifact, an assessment form encompassing a checklist with health care terms, in supervised nurse student-patient interactions during assessment interviews in a Swedish hospital ward. The students were doing their clinical practice and were in their first year of a three-year nursing degree. Even though the students are not in charge of the situation, they are expected to perform a professional task for which they lack adequate skills. As demonstrated, the use of the assessment form provided a useful way for the participants to manage specific tasks in an apprenticeship context, such as regulating affect display, demonstrating uptake of the patient's concerns and staging the interview as an exercise. For this article, three excerpts have been selected from history-taking sequences, when the patient's previous illness history is created. The analysis illustrates the affordances provided by the assessment form to handle perspective shifts, when the patient departs from a general pattern of unelaborated answers and offers a window into his/her concerns. Importantly, however, the students' feedback talk with the nurse preceptor offers evidence that the artifact also constrains their forms of action in the practice of gathering assessment data. The article argues for ward-level practices that socialize students into reflective ways of using the artifact.
    • Critical Concerns for Oral Communication Education in Alabama and Beyond

      Richard Emanuel (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      An examination of oral communication education in Alabama (USA) identified four critical concerns. (1) Today's college students are not getting adequate oral communication education. (2) Oral communication education is being relegated to a “module” in another discipline-specific course. (3) When an oral communication course is included in the general education curriculum, that course tends to be narrow rather than broad in scope. (4) An increasing number of college faculty who teach oral communication courses do not have a graduate degree in the discipline. These concerns may be indicative of similar issues affecting oral communication education throughout the United States and beyond. Solutions to each concern are offered, and suggestions are provided about how decision-making bodies like state departments of education, regional accrediting agencies, the National Communication Association, and the like can address these concerns. This paper first examines the essential role of oral communication before identifying four critical concerns and offering suggested solutions for oral communication education in Alabama. These concerns may be indicative of similar issues affecting oral communication regionally, nationally, and even internationally. If so, then the suggested solutions offered herein may provide direction. If not, then being proactive rather than reactive may prevent some or all of these concerns from becoming reality.
    • Are School Factors Important for Measuring Teacher Effectiveness? A Multilevel Technique to Predict Student Gains through a Value-Added Approach

      Bidya Raj Subedi; Bonnie Swan; Michael C. Hynes (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      This paper investigated the effect of teacher quality, represented by teacher level characteristics, on mathematics gain scores employing a three-level hierarchical linear model (HLM) through value-added model (VAM) approach. The analysis investigated significant predictors at student, teacher, and school levels for predicting students' gain scores and also estimated d-type effect sizes at teacher and school levels. We found the significant effects of teacher's mathematics content certification, teacher experience, and the interaction effects of mathematics content certification with student level predictors. Although school poverty significantly predicted students' gain scores, the school level effect was relatively small.
    • The Affective Dimensions of Mathematical Difficulties in Schoolchildren

      Morena Lebens; Martin Graff; Peter Mayer (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      Mathematical difficulties (MDs) are frequently characterised by cognitive deficits such as ineffective problem solving strategies and a lack of computational fluency. The established literature indicates that mathematical achievement is not only a function of cognitive factors but it also points to the importance of affective factors for the development of mathematical achievement. In the light of this evidence, the exploration of children's affective responses towards mathematics becomes a central issue. Whereas previous studies tended to research affective motivational constructs such as self-efficacy in isolation from other related constructs, the literature suffers from a shortage of research on the relationship between different affective motivational variables and their impact on mathematical achievement in different age and achievement bands. The present paper aims to address this aim by employing a newly developed instrument to measure affective motivational variables. Overall, the present findings support the assumption that children of average ability are less influenced by affective factors than children with mathematical difficulties.
    • The Relationship between Scholarships and Student Success: An Art and Design Case Study

      Natasha M. Ganem; Michelle Manasse (Hindawi Limited, 2011-01-01)
      The majority of studies investigating financial predictors of student success in higher education focus on liberal art schools and have investigated a limited number of conditioning variables in analyses. This study adds to the literature by exploring financial predictors of student success through a unique sample of students from an art and design college and by considering a number of variable interactions. Institutional scholarships emerged as the strongest predictor of student persistence, progression, and timely graduation in all models explored. Standardized test scores interacted with scholarship dollars in unique ways. Findings suggest that high test scorers may be at risk in an art and design institution and that scholarship dollars may mitigate this risk.
    • Metacognitive Strategies and Test Performance: An Experience Sampling Analysis of Students' Learning Behavior

      Ulrike E. Nett; Thomas Goetz; Nathan C. Hall; Anne C. Frenzel (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The aim of the present study was to explore students’ learning-related cognitions prior to an in-class achievement test, with a focus on metacognitive strategy use. A sample of 70 students in grade 11 (58.6% female, Mage=17.09 years) completed a series of structured, state-based measures over a two-week period via the experience sampling method until the day before a class test. Results illustrated students’ self-regulatory ability to preserve their motivational and cognitive resources, with test-related cognitions evidenced significantly more often in learning-related as opposed leisure settings. Metacognitive strategy use was also found to significantly increase as the test date approached underscoring the goal-oriented nature of situated learning behaviors. Higher intercepts and increases in frequency of test-related cognitions over time positively corresponded to test performance. Of the three metacognitive strategies assessed, monitoring was found to positively correspond with test performance. Implications for future practice as well as implications for future research employing the experience sampling method are discussed.
    • SVONAR: A New Quantitative Method for Studying Learner Satisfaction

      Peter Kokol; Slavko Cvetek; Marko Kokol; Petra Kokol; Matej Urbas (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      We investigated students’ feelings and well-being during the lesson. We were working on a problem of how to adjust teaching in the secondary school and achieve that students will feel as good as possible and better follow the instruction. A hypothesis was set that, by measuring the desired length of lesson and factors which influence lesson length, we can measure and influence student satisfaction. Based on this hypothesis we investigated the factors which have influence on lesson length in a particular subject. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire. The subjects were students of II. gimnazija (secondary grammar school). The responses were analysed to obtain correlations between the factors (average grade in a subject, boredness and likableness of the teacher, length and level of boreness of lesson content, fear of the teacher) and lesson length. Results suggest that, by modifying these factors we could change students’ opinions, that is, increase their willingness to attend classes. The set hypothesis was confirmed and it was shown that by using simple diagrammatic models built on the basis of linear regression we can identify and study the influence of these factors on lesson length.
    • Personal Epistemology of University Students: Individual Profiles

      Minna Kaartinen-Koutaniemi; Sari Lindblom-Ylänne (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The aims of this study were to examine and compare the consistency of personal epistemology profiles among university students representing three academic disciplines. Student interview data (N = 87) were analyzed in order to reveal students' conceptions of knowledge, thinking, and reasoning. The individual answers were examined and rated on a scale from absolutist to evaluativist thinking. On the basis of the student answers, three personal epistemology profiles were identified from the data: (i) absolutist profiles; (ii) relativistic profiles; and (iii) evaluativist profiles consisting of the subgroups entitled “limited” and “sophisticated.” The categorization of personal epistemology profiles was compared with background variables such as age, major subject, and study phase. The results indicated that the personal epistemology profiles varied significantly among students on the basis of the background variables. Explanations for the consistent and inconsistent personal epistemology profiles are discussed in more detail.
    • Teacher Support as a Moderator of Behavioral Outcomes for Youth Exposed to Stressful Life Events

      Rebekah S. Huber; Sarah K. Sifers; Daniel Houlihan; Rachel Youngblom (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The present study examined the relationship between teacher support, life stress, and behavioral outcomes in 103 youth. Participants completed questionnaires regarding life events, social support, personality, and behavior. Moderated regression analyses were conducted using youth perceptions of teacher support and negative life events to predict externalizing and internalizing problems. Results revealed a significant interaction between teacher support and life stress, indicating teacher support successfully moderated the effect of stress on externalizing problems. Main effects for life stress were consistent with previous literature suggesting that higher amounts of stress predict greater externalizing and internalizing problems. Implications for teacher support are discussed.
    • How Teachers Understand and Use Power in Alternative Assessment

      Kelvin H. K. Tan (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      “Alternative assessment” is an increasingly common and popular discourse in education. The potential benefit of alternative assessment practices is premised on significant changes in assessment practices. However, assessment practices embody power relations between institutions, teachers and students, and these power relationships determine the possibility and the extent of actual changes in assessment practices. Labelling a practice as “alternative assessment does not guarantee meaningful departure from existing practice. Recent research has warned that assessment practices in education cannot be presumed to empower students in ways that enhance their learning. This is partly due to a tendency to speak of power in assessment in undefined terms. Hence, it would be useful to identify the types of power present in assessment practices and the contexts which give rise to them. This paper seeks to examine power in the context of different ways that alternative assessment is practiced and understood by teachers. Research on teachers’ conceptions of alternative assessment is presented, and each of the conceptions is then analysed for insights into teachers’ meanings and practices of power. In particular, instances of sovereign, epistemological and disciplinary power in alternative assessment are identified to illuminate new ways of understanding and using alternative assessment.
    • The Study of Teacher Efficacy in Hong Kong Sub-Degree Sector

      Wai-Hung Lam (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      Introduction. Sub-degree sector is rising in Hong Kong. The number of enrolled students was over 50000 in 2011. Students’ characteristics and teachers’ roles in the sub-degree sector are different from other sectors. It was important to investigate the factors related with teacher efficacy of sub-degree teachers. Method. Sixty sub-degree teachers were surveyed, and 58 of them were valid (33 males and 25 females). The questionnaire contained three teacher efficacy scales: Teacher Efficacy Scale (TES) (short form), Bandura’s Instrument Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES), and Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSoES) and an instrument of self-rating’s levels of concerns. Results. The teacher efficacy scales were found to be reliable in the sub-degree sector. The levels of education and educational trainings were not found to be related with any teacher efficacy scales. Level of concerns of teacher efficacy was found to be significant related with TSES’ efficacy to influence parental involvement and ToSES’s instruction strategies. Conclusion. This study found that educational trainings and levels of educations were not related with teacher efficacy and could persuade institutes not to view educational backgrounds as the most influencing factor in employment selections and design better staff developments instead of only sponsoring teachers to pursue further studies.
    • Writing about the Personal Utility of Learning Contents in a Learning Journal Improves Learning Motivation and Comprehension

      Kristin Schmidt; Julia Maier; Matthias Nückles (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      Reflecting on the personal utility and value of learning contents is important for motivation building and engagement in high quality learning processes. We investigated the effects of a personal-utility prompt in journal writing on students’ learning motivation and comprehension in biology education. 40 students of a German secondary school took part in a quasi-experimental field study. The students kept a weekly learning journal over six weeks. For writing their journal entries, the students received a brief instruction that either did or did not include a personal-utility prompt. Results showed that the personal-utility prompt successfully supported the students in reflecting about the personal utility of the learning contents. Consequently, students in the personal-utility prompt condition reported higher degrees of learning motivation and achieved better comprehension scores as compared to students who had no personal-utility prompt available. Evidently, using journal writing to reflect upon the utility and value of learning contents is a beneficial method to support students’ learning motivation and comprehension in secondary science education.
    • Online Measurement Perspectives for Students’ Strategy Use: Tool Use within a Content Management System

      Griet Lust; Jan Elen; Geraldine Clarebout (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The current study investigates whether students’ tool use in a Content Management Systems (CMSs) for example, blackboard, WebCT, relates to students’ strategy use within a CMS-supported course. In this way, the study strives to explain the tool use differences, and furthermore, it strives to find (online) behavioral indications for students’ strategy use. Data were collected within a first-year undergraduate course “Learning & Instruction”. Students (n=182) reported their strategy use as measured through the Inventory of Learning Styles (Vermunt, 1998). Students’ tool use within the CMS was logged. K-means cluster analyses revealed four clusters that were characterized by different strategies and accompanying tool use. Specifically, two clusters revealed a tool use pattern that was in line with the behavioral profile of students’-reported strategy use. Interestingly, two clusters revealed a tool use pattern that was in contrast to the reported strategy use. These results raise questions with respect to students’ tool perceptions and students’ calibration capacities.
    • Examining Relationships between Academic and Social Achievement Goals and Routes to Happiness

      Christopher O. Walker; Tina D. Winn; Rachel M. Lutjens (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationships among social and academic achievement goals and the route to happiness selected by a sample of college students. According to Waterman (1993) there are two distinct routes to happiness: eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment. Hedonic enjoyment has been defined as the pursuit of proximal goals and immediate pleasure, while eudaimonia is best defined as the long-term commitment to pursue “self-realization” (Waterman, 1993). A sample of 132 college students completed a research packet containing an informed consent, demographics form, and three questionnaires. The results suggested that one’s route to happiness was related to the academic and social achievement goal orientation of the participants. A call is made for additional research to examine the interrelations among variables traditionally considered in cognitive-motivational research and variables considered to be a part of the positive psychology movement (e.g., happiness).
    • How to Support Children with Mathematical Learning Disabilities Learning to Play an Instrument?

      Annemie Desoete (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      In this study, children with a mathematical learning disability (=14) and age-matched peers without learning disabilities (=14) as well as their parents and teachers were interviewed on how they experienced playing an instrument (guitar, drum, flute, violin, trombone, horn, and piano) and on what helped them using a qualitative interactive interview with a flexible agenda to discover the interviewee’s own framework of meanings. Thematic analyses mentioned intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy as important. Some children with MLD were found to have a real musical talent and a very good musical ear and memory for sounds. However, all children with MLD seemed more dependent on the aid of parents, sibling, peers, and teachers. They had to study harder and needed more time to study, more practice, and a more structured approach.
    • Reviewing Teacher Evaluation of Rewards and Punishments: The Overview of Chinese Teacher Evaluation Research

      Wang Jiayi; Cheng Ling (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The authors chose the teacher evaluation pieces literature of Chinese academic studies as the research object, analyzed the domestic dynamic and the views of some experts in this field, and summarized and compiled the research approaches and research methods of the UK and USA. The study found that whether at China or abroad, the study route is basically along the reward and punishment evaluation, from developmental evaluation to the performance evaluation, and compared to the foreign study, the Chinese studies, whether in theory or in practice, are relatively backward. Combined with the domestic situation, this study proposes a number of constructive suggestions.
    • The Effect of an Educational Computer Game for the Achievement of Factual and Simple Conceptual Knowledge Acquisition

      Luis C. Almeida (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      This paper presents findings of a quantitative investigation of how games affect achievement of an educational objective based on the foundations of information processing. The results suggest that games can be used to assist achievement of classroom content. The results of this experimental quantitative study pointed to the overwhelming evidence that games outperformed the control group (nongames) in the achievement of factual knowledge in a group of freshman education students at a medium-size university.
    • The Moral Core of Teaching

      Kirsi Tirri; Elizabeth Campbell; Liam Gearon; Terence J. Lovat (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)