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Volume 30, Issue 1, 2019

Co-Editors: Bob Ives, Rod E. Case, and Peter Cobin

ISSN: 2637-8965


Barriers to Authentic Science Inquiry in the Elementary Classroom

Gustave E. Nollmeyer, Eastern Washington University
Judith Morrison, Washington State University Tri-Cities
Kathryn A. Baldwin, Eastern Washington University

Abstract: Meeting the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for three-dimensional learning (NRC, 2014) requires a very intentional approach of authentic scientific inquiry. The experience of science teacher educators as well as evidence in the research literature (i.e. Bybee, 1993; Kulm, 2007; Pratt, 2002) show that historically teachers have faced a number of challenges when attempting to teach inquiry-based science regularly. We wondered if the barriers are the same now in the current NGSS era as in the past or if developments have occurred. Have the higher expectations of the NGSS led to more easily overcoming these barriers or is this still a difficult process? How do elementary teachers, newer to the profession, describe the challenges they face when teaching inquiry-based science lessons? We focused on teachers with less than three years of experience in order to inform our practice of preparing preservice teachers to implement science inquiry teaching. To explore the phenomenon, we employed one focus question to guide the study: What are the barriers early-career elementary educators face when attempting to teach inquiry- based science lessons?

Reference: Nollmeyer, G. E., Morrison, J. & Baldwin, K. A. (2019). Barriers to Authentic Science Inquiry in the Elementary Classroom. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 1-6.


Planning for Increased Differentiation via Focused Teacher Reflections about Desired Constructivist Practices and Current Realities

Amanda Eller, Idaho State University
Walter S. Polka, Niagara University
William Young, Oglala Lakota College

Abstract: There are numerous student-centered educators practicing constructivist approaches and employing differentiation strategies, techniques, and activities in various contemporary teaching- learning settings throughout the United States. However, many of them have not professionally reflected in a focused manner about those practices as being consistent with differentiation and constructivism nor have they reflected about their frequency of use of those activities and techniques. Furthermore, external factors exist that often restrict or significantly impede the application of the best teaching-learning practices for their students. There are national and state standards and accountability issues as well as school district assessments and evaluation expectations that deter teachers from being as student-centered in their teaching-learning settings as they would like. These issues and others have a tendency to pull teachers to a teacher-centered focus in lesson preparation, unit assessments, and student achievement evaluations.

The purpose of this article is to provide a pragmatic tool that enhances teacher reflections about their current state as well as their desired level of various instructional practices with student- centered differentiation instruction. This article provides teacher and instructional supervisors with the specific tools and procedures to help themselves and others become even more constructivist in their teaching and differentiate more of their learning activities for students.

Reference: Eller, A., Polka, W. S. & Young, W. (2019). Planning for Increased Differentiation via Focused Teacher Reflections about Desired Constructivist Practices and Current Realities. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 7-18.


Strategies for Teaching Graduate Statistics Courses: A Qualitative Study

Courtney McKim,  University of Wyoming
Suzanne Young, University of Wyoming
Jennifer Weatherford, University of Wyoming

Abstract: With many fields requiring students to complete some form of statistics prior to graduation the number of students enrolled in these courses is increasing (Hagen, Awosoga, Kellett, & Dei, 2013). In the current landscape of teaching in higher education, more and more courses and programs are offered through distance education. According to Allen and Seaman (2017), in Fall 2016, almost 30% of students in higher education are taking at least one distance course. With this increase in enrollment, including distance education, comes the need to better understand how faculty approach the instruction of statistics. Schlotter (2013) suggested that students should take fewer statistics courses and that as faculty we should move the statistical topics into discipline courses. As faculty if we do not want that then we need to ensure that we are serving our students and the statistical courses we teach are appropriate and useful (Prium, 2015).

In addition to appropriate and useful courses, statistics faculty face many challenges. One of the biggest challenges that professors’ face is the anxiety many students have when they take a statistics course (Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Researchers have found statistical anxiety impacts academic success (Dykeman, 2011). Many faculty try to compensate for this by implementing various instructional strategies.

Instructional strategies are also important in online courses. Kahn, Egbue, Palkie, and Madden (2017) suggest that instructors must do much more than deliver content in ways that are similar to a traditional classroom. These approaches must be carefully considered so that students can be engaged with each other and create a strong classroom learning community from the very beginning of a course. Kahn et al. (2017) suggest that online teaching strategies are applicable across disciplines and if faculty shares their approaches with each other, they can all work together to improve student learning. The literature surrounding instructional strategies, in both face-to- face and online statistics course, is limited.

Reference: McKim, C., Young, S. & Weatherford, J. (2019). Strategies for teaching graduate statistics courses: A qualitative study. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 19-22.


High School Biology Preparation: Do Students feel They Have been Adequately Prepared for Introductory College Biology?

Mara Neitzel, Sound Dakota State University
Katherine Bertolini, Sound Dakota State University

Abstract: High schools in South Dakota can drastically differ in size, facilities, and funding. However, each high school is required to meet the same state standards. This study focuses on high school biology courses, which have standards designed to “ensure graduates of South Dakota’s public schools have the knowledge, skills, and competencies essential to be college, career, and life ready” (South Dakota Department of Education, 2018). Analyzing the effects of high school biology preparation on postsecondary success is important because success in high school STEM courses is directly related to success in college science courses (Hinojosa et al., 2016). The goals of this study are to determine whether or not high school students in South Dakota feel they have been adequately prepared for introductory college biology courses and why they feel prepared or not.

Reference: Neitzel, M., & Bertolini, K. (2019). High School Biology Preparation: Do Students Feel They Have Been Adequately Prepared for Introductory College Biology? Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 23-27.


The Impact of a Student’s Self-Efficacy and Self-Apprehensiveness in an Introductory College Composition Course

Paris Ryan San Diego, Southwestern, and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Districts

Abstract: This study focused on how self-efficacy and self-apprehensiveness affected student perception and success in a first-year composition course at a community college. The purpose of this study was to uncover the factors that led to successful writers with a focus on self-efficacy and collegiate writing, namely introductory college composition.

Reference: Ryan, P. (2019). The Impact of a Student’s Self-Efficacy and Self-Apprehensiveness in an Introductory College Composition Course. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 28-33.


Overcoming Disproportionality, One Teacher at a Time

Ken Bleak, University Nevada, Reno
Lindsey Hogue, WUniversity Nevada, Reno
Tammy Abernathy, University Nevada, Reno
Eleni Oikonomidoy, EUniversity Nevada, Reno

Abstract: This presentation seeks to explore the various complexities of racial and ethnic disproportionality in special education. We discuss the many competing and often contradictory findings in the current literature (Dever et al.,2016; Morgan et al., 2015; Sullivan, 2011; Voulgarides & Thorius, 2017). We briefly discuss the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and follow the impact of IDEA and other legislation on racial and ethnic disproportionality in special education. We present literature which indicates that legislation has caused or encouraged manipulation by state education agencies (SEAs) in their development of risk ratios which determine “significant disproportionality” (Bollmer, Bethel, Garrison-Mogren, & Brauen, 2007) Finally, we discuss how equity in terms of socioeconomic status and gender are all but ignored when addressing disproportionality in special education (Voulgarides & Thorius, 2017).

Reference: Bleak, K., Hogue, L., Abernathy, T. & Oikonomidoy, E. (2019). Overcoming Disproportionality, One Teacher at a Time. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 34-37.


Seeking to Achieve Inclusiveness and Equity in an Afterschool Activity Program

Kyle Ryan, Peru State College
Sheri Grotrian, Peru State College
Kaylee Gill, Peru State College
Spencer Kerwin, Peru State College
Noah Temme, Peru State College
Destiny Worthey, Peru State College

Abstract: Students who serve in long-term service-learning experiences have a robust amount of information to share. It is these individuals’ personal stories where we might find answers to achieve equity in the educational arena. Through a combination of the qualitative methodologies— autoethnography and portraiture—the authors of this study sought to examine the shared experiences of undergraduate students who served for several months in an afterschool program. The use of autoethnography is an attempt to obtain a rich description of the participant’s lives by asking them to “reflexively explore their personal experiences and their interactions with others as a way of achieving wider cultural, political or social understanding” (Pace, 2012, pg. 2). Additionally, the use of portraiture seeks to “capture the richness, complexity, and dimensionality of human experience in social and cultural context” (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997, pg. 3).

Reference: Ryan, K., Grotrian, S., Gill, K., Kerwin, S., Temme, N. & Worthey, D. (2019). Seeking to Achieve Inclusiveness and Equity in an Afterschool Activity Program. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 38-41.


Insight into Recruitment and Retention Efforts in Business Education

Sheri Grotrian, Peru State College
Lisa Parriott, Peru State College
Judy Grotrian, Peru State College
Rachael Cole, Peru State College
Lindsay Harlow, Peru State College

Abstract: This paper provides insight into an established successful means in which prospective students are brought to campus and retained. Survey research has been conducted to confirm original anecdotal evidence that suggested a high school business contest hosted at the College is one successful method. Results indicate these type of events enhance positive relationships between colleges and high school instructors/students, leading to enriched student recruitment and retention.

Reference: Grotrian, S., Parriott, L., Grotrian, J., Cole, R. & Harlow, L. (2019). Insight into Recruitment and Retention Efforts in Business Education. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 42- 45.


Faculty Preparation to Work with College Students with Mental Health Issues

Lynda R. Wiest, University of Nevada, Reno
Anna C. Treacy, University of Nevada, Reno

Abstract: In this paper, we provide general information about college student mental health, including common mental health issues, contributing factors, and barriers to help-seeking. We then suggest research-based practices college campuses at large, and specifically higher education faculty, may take to address student mental health concerns.

Reference: Wiest, L. R. & Treacy, A. C. (2019). Faculty Preparation to Work with College Students with Mental Health Issues. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 46-50.


Comparing Case Studies: Examining Stigma Within the Family of a Child with Mental Illness

Shanon S. Taylor, University of Nevada, Reno
Ann Bingham, University of Nevada, Reno
Sara A. Vega, University of Nevada, Reno

Abstract: We will discuss how we found evidence of courtesy stigma in a early case study and through those parental interviews, determined that siblings have an important story of their own to share. The issues surrounding courtesy stigma are that the family members of the child with an E/BD feel diminished and de-valued by the very professionals that should be providing services and support to them.

Reference: Taylor, S. S., Bingham, A. & Vega, S. A. (2019). Comparing Case Studies: Examining Stigma Within the Family of a Child with Mental Illness. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 51-56.


Teaching Cross-culturally in China: An Initial Look at Western Faculty Members’ Lived Experiences

Xin Bu, University of Montana
Patty Kero, University of Montana

Abstract: This qualitative, phenomenological study presented Western faculty members’ lived experiences educating students at International Branch Campuses (IBCs) in China. Chinese IBCs struggled to retain Western faculty. Little is known about their lived experiences. Based on data collected and analyzed, this study suggested the participants’ lived experiences are valuable but frustrating.

Reference: Bu, X. & Kero, P. (2019). Teaching Cross-culturally in China: Western Faculty Members’ Lived Experiences. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 57-61.


The Pathway to Achieving Classroom Equity: Computational and Critical Thinking through Storytelling and 3D Models

Barbara do Amaral, Montana State University
Sweeney Windchief, Montana State University

Abstract: Alignment with the Montana Indian Education for All (IEFA) Act, tenets of Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) (Brayboy, 2006) and the 7 Essential Understandings, results in the effective integration of Computer Science and Storytelling into the classroom. Teacher disposition and pedagogies that reflect current education transformation trends are also discussed.

Reference: do Amaral, B. & Windchief, S. (2019). The Pathway to Achieving Classroom Equity: Computational and Critical Thinking through Storytelling and 3D Models. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 62-66.


Interplay of Germane Load and Motivation During Math Problem Solving Using Worked Examples

Udita Gupta, University of Utah

Abstract: Out of all the measures of cognitive load, germane load is crucial in determining one’s motivation towards learning. The dynamics between the two becomes even more important when individuals are required to grasp understanding of complex content such as the one presented by math. Current stud explores the relationship between the three facets of cognitive load-intrinsic, extraneous and germane along with surveying if there exists any correlation between germane cognitive load and motivation. Results indicated that germane cognitive load was positively correlated with intrinsic cognitive load and negatively correlated with extraneous load. Another interesting finding was positive correlation between germane cognitive load and interest sub- dimension of motivation.

Reference: Gupta, U. (2019). Interplay of Germane Load and Motivation During Math Problem Solving using Worked Examples. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 67-71.


Increasing Research Opportunities for Females in the Undergraduate Kinesiology Curriculum

S. Stevelinck, Peru State College
J. Zurek, Peru State College
B. Kuhlmann, Peru State College
K. Ryan, Peru State College

Abstract: This paper focused on the shared experience of female undergraduate Kinesiology majors as they navigate the research process. Students enrolled in the class Undergraduate Research Opportunities are tasked with seeking IRB approval, collecting data, completing statistical analysis, and presenting results.

Reference: Stevelinck, S., Zurek, J., Kuhlmann, B. & Ryan K. (2019). Increasing Research Opportunities for Females in the Undergraduate Kinesiology Curriculum. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 72-75.


Community Involvement, Mentors, Cultural Relevance, and Discourse Will Build Equity in Mathematics Classrooms

J. Rodin, Oglala Lakota College

Abstract: Evidence shows that marginalized students reach higher levels of success and empowerment in mathematics courses when role models from their own cultural communities participate in the classroom experience. Discourse, respect, and collaboration are highly valued in Lakota culture, so it is natural to include these protocols in the normative culture of the learning environment. Relevance is always crucial in mathematics education, especially when the standardized text books and curricula often omit specific examples of the mathematics of indigenous people, or ethnomathematics in real life. We instructors need to find ways to make mathematics come alive for our students, so they can see that the world of mathematics is vibrant, accessible to everyone, and always developing in new and exciting ways. Mathematical thinking is something that all of us humans do! Exploring that fact with our students leads to improved mathematics learning, depth of knowledge, empowerment, and satisfaction for all involved.

Reference: Rodin, J. (2019). Community Involvement, Mentors, Cultural Relevance, and Discourse Will Build Equity in Mathematics Classrooms. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 30(1), 76-79.


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