Conflicted Objectives: The NCLBA vs. a Flat World

Authors: Clifton Wickstrom, John Bieter, & Diane Boothe
Institutions: Executive Director of Educational Pathways International; Boise State University 

Abstract: The authors examine the competing pressures on the education community posed by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) and its mandates, and the less specific, but visible demands that an increasingly global economy place upon education planners, policy makers and researchers. This conflict is examined from a national, regional and local perspective, with examples and citations from the recent literature and interview quotations from Idaho teachers. The authors also point to some specific issues regarding the research methods mandated by the NCLBA, and the problems these mandates may create in the education policy and research communities.

Reference: Wickstrom, C., Bieter, J., & Boothe, D. (2008). Conflicted objectives: The NCLBA vs. a flat world. The Researcher, 21(2), 1-13.

Connecting Elementary Teachers’ Mathematical Knowledge to Their Instructional Practices

Author: Jonathan L. Brendefur, Boise State University

Abstract: This paper summarizes the results of an investigation of in-service teachers in elementary mathematics education. Of particular interest are the mathematical understandings and instructional practices of 50 teachers with respect to number. Elementary teachers’ mathematical knowledge has been shown to be lacking and, therefore, an impediment to their students’ understanding of mathematics. In this study, I analyzed the growth of elementary teachers’ content and pedagogical content knowledge from three schools engaged in professional development and compared their knowledge to their instructional practices. There was a strong relationship between the gains in content knowledge teachers made over time and their instructional practices.
Keywords: Content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, instructional practices

Reference: Brendenfur, J. L. (2008). Connecting elementary teachers’ mathematical knowledge to their instructional practices. The Researcher, 21(2), X-X.

Local Revenue: Making a Difference in College Readiness

Authors: Christian A. Busnardo & Philip P. Kelly
Institution: Boise State University

Abstract: This research project collects demographic, fiscal, and assessment data from Idaho school districts that have a high school and that report senior ACT scores. Analysis of the data indicates statewide correlations between local economic revenue indicators (local revenue per student, household median income, and percentage of local funding per student) and Idaho high school graduating seniors’ composite ACT scores. This research project indicates: (1) A strong relationship between Idaho school districts’ local revenues and their seniors composite ACT scores; (2) A strong relationship between Idaho high schools amount of local revenue per student and minimal ACT benchmarks not met by graduating seniors; and (3) A strong relationship between local revenues, ACT scores, and the percentage of college prep/advanced placement courses taught in Idaho high schools.

Reference: Busnardo, C. A., & Kelly, P. P. (2008). Local revenue: Making a difference in college readiness. The Researcher, 21(2), X-X.

Measuring Work Conditions for Teachers of American Indian Students

Authors: Joanne L. Erickson, M. Neil Terhune, & William G. Ruff
Institution: Montana State University

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to re-validate the Quality of Teacher Work Life Survey (QTWLS) with a population of 404 teachers in Montana schools with predominant American Indian student enrollments; and to describe the job-related stress and satisfaction of those teachers. Factor analysis showed nine satisfaction and eight stress factors with this population compared to eleven satisfaction and 10 stress factors in Pelsma, Richard, and Harrington’s (1989) original study with primarily Caucasian teachers and students. Knowledge of these results on the QTWLS could lead to interventions that contribute to an improved work life for teachers of American Indian students and increased learning among the students.

Reference: Erickson, J. L., Terhune, M. N., & Ruff, W. G. (2008). Measuring work conditions for teachers of American Indian students. The Researcher, 21(2), X-X.

Transfer of the Method of Loci, Pegword, and Keyword Mnemonics in the Eighth Grade Classroom

Authors: Aaron S. Richmond, Rhoda Cummings, & Michael Klapp
Institutions: Metropolitan State College of Denver; University of Nevada-Reno; Washoe County School District

Abstract: The goal of this study was to understand whether students could transfer use of a mnemonic under both specific and general transfer conditions. One-hundred and eight eighth-grade students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (e.g., method of loci, pegword, keyword, or free study). Over a 2-week period, students learned their assigned mnemonic device, were tested on their ability to transfer their mnemonic under a specific transfer condition (study metal alloy uses) and a general transfer condition (study Revolutionary War battle events). The results of this study indicate that students who used the keyword mnemonic could transfer the use of a mnemonic under specific transfer and general transfer conditions. The results of this study provide evidence to researchers and teachers that by teaching the keyword mnemonic to eighth-grade students may increase their repertoire of memory strategies which in turn enhances academic performance.

Reference: Richmond, A. S., Cummings, R., & Klapp, M. (2008). Transfer of the method of loci, pegword, and keyword mnemonics in the eighth grade classroom. The Researcher, 21(2), X-X.

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