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Volume 27, Issue 2, Fall 2015

Conference Proceedings Issue (Part 2 of 2)

Editor: Shanon S. Taylor, University of Nevada-Reno


Improving Achievement in Schools Through an Examination of School Types

Loverta Erickson, Theresa L. Murray, Christa Seger, & Ivan Small
Montana State University

Abstract: This is one study done by a small group of researchers to compare measurements of Collective Efficacy (CE) across three different educational systems in three separate states. Using data collected from an approved CE survey tool this study advances current knowledge using statistical analysis. The CE surveys were completed at a public school in Colorado; a public school in Montana; a parochial school in Montana; and two Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools in the Western Great Plains. Data was collected from certified and non-certified teachers to answer research questions that compared the differences in mean collective efficacy from the different school system types. The study also analyzed school type (Native American vs. Non- Native American populations) collective efficacy comparisons.

Reference: Erickson, L., Murray, T. L., Seger, C. M., & Small, I. (2015). Improving achievement in schools through an examination of school types. The Researcher, 27(2), 1-6.


Assessing K-5 Elementary Teachers Understanding and Readiness to Teach the New Framework for Science Education

Gustave E. Nollmeyer & Art Bangert
Eastern Washington University & Montana State University

Abstract: With the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), science education has been ushered into a new era. However, it is currently unclear how prepared elementary educators are for the NGSS framework. This study sought to establish measures for assessing inservice educators’ self-reported understanding of the new framework and readiness to implement the ideas in their science instruction. Designing and validating an instrument to assess these constructs followed procedures established in the literature including item development based on literature, an expert review, a pilot study, and finally a validation study. The results of the study are two valid and reliable instruments that could be used in similar contexts to measure elementary educators’ understanding of or readiness to implement the new framework for science education. The unique factor structure of the two scales suggests important differences between understanding and readiness. These differences should inform professional development efforts.

Reference: Nollmeyer, G. E., & Bangert, A. (2015). Assessing K-5 elementary teachers understanding and readiness to teach the new framework for science education. The Researcher, 27(2), 7-13.


Leadership Traits of Successful Women University Presidents

Tania Carlson Reis, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the leadership traits of successful women university presidents. Through interviews conducted with 4 women who lead research intensive universities, this narrative study identified several themes related to leadership success. The findings inform leadership learning for all women working in education.

Reference: Reis Carlson, T. (2015). Leadership traits of successful women university presidents. The Researcher, 27(2), 14-19.


Prospective Secondary Mathematics Teachers’ Thinking in Arguing: Applying Toulmin’s Scheme to Four Cases

Lisa Rice, Arkansas State University

Abstract: This study examined four prospective mathematics teachers thinking while creating and analyzing mathematical arguments. The data was examined through Toulmin’s (1958) argumentation scheme to understand how participants created their arguments. Findings suggest several areas in which they could strengthen their arguments.

Reference: Rice, L. (2015). Prospective secondary mathematics teachers’ thinking in arguing: Applying Toulmin’s scheme to four cases. The Researcher, 27(2), 20-24.


Graduate Student Perceptions of Educational Debt

Jennifer S. Weatherford & Courtney H. McKim,  University of Wyoming

Abstract: Graduate students (n = 52) were asked about their perceptions of student loan debt in an online survey. Results indicated a significant correlation between worrying about debt and soliciting advice. These findings point to the importance of providing guidance for students considering loans.

Reference: Weatherford, J. S., & McKim, C. H. (2015). Graduate student perceptions of educational debt. The Researcher, 27(2), 25-33.


Student Constructed Visuals to Enhance Learning

Lindsay Laaman & Jeffrey Jay,  Northern State University

Abstract: This paper describes a study involving drawings and diagrams and their relatedness to higher achievement scores within a college level course for prospective teachers. A comparison of exam scores between two groups showed that course participants who constructed drawings and/or diagrams scored higher than participants who constructed definition pages.

Reference: Laaman, L., & Jay, J. (2015). Student constructed visuals to enhance learning. The Researcher, 27(2), 34-37.


Clone, Critic, or Peer: Mentoring, Developmental Positioning and Potential

Linsey Downs & Sweeney Windchief, Montana State University

Abstract: This manuscript includes an investigation of graduate student mentoring for the purpose of facilitating successful mentoring relationships. The authors review the literature, and use student development theory to operationalize terms. Alternative mentoring models are suggested in meeting student needs at different developmental stages and considering the intersections of their identity.

Reference: Downs, L., & Windchief, S. (2015). Clone, critic, or peer: Mentoring, developmental positioning and potential. The Researcher, 27(2), 38-44.


Best Practices for Building a Critical Reflective Curriculum to Foster Metacognitive Growth in the Higher Education Classroom

Amy Ratto-Parks, University of Montana

Abstract: Educators in higher education recognize the importance of metacognitive skills, but they are unclear about how to teach in a way that supports metacognitive development. The following article offers some basic principles of best practices to help teachers integrate critical reflection into an existing content-based course.

Reference: Ratto-Parks, A. (2015). Best practices for building a critical reflective curriculum to foster metacognitive growth in the higher education classroom. The Researcher, 27(2), 45-48.


Increasing Prospective Teachers’ and Elementary Students’ STEM Knowledge through an Enrichment Robotics Program

Elaine Tuft, Utah Valley University

Abstract: A partnership between a school of education, a school district, and a robotics learning company are formed to provide enrichment robotics classes for elementary students with the intent of improving attitudes toward and knowledge of STEM subjects of both elementary students and preservice elementary school teachers.

Reference: Tuft, E. (2015). Increasing prospective teachers’ and elementary students’ STEM knowledge through and enrichment robotics program. The Researcher, 27(2), 49-53.


Student-Selected Performance Rubrics: An Option for Increased Academic Rigor

Gregory C. Zost & Loretta A. Zost, Peru State College

Abstract: This study examined whether undergraduate and graduate education students would self-select to meet the requirements of a more strenuous rubric when no additional incentives were offered. The use of multiple rubrics was considered in order to meet the needs of learners with a broad spectrum of abilities, to made the course more academically challenging for those with advanced skills, and to provide motivated students something to strive for beyond the basic course requirements. Keywords: Rubric, rigor, motivation

Reference: Zost, G. C., & Zost, L. A. (2015). Student-selected performance rubrics: An option for increased academic rigor. The Researcher, 27(2), 54-60.


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