Educational Research: Theory & Practice
Volume 32, Issue 1, 2021
Co-Editors: Bob Ives and Rod E. Case
Lucinda N. Sohn, University of Texas at San Antonio
Carolyn Casale, Adams State University
Abstract: This qualitative study takes place at a regional public university and partner public K- 12 school district in the Southwestern United States. The study asked the research question: How have field experiences, in senior block courses, influenced/shaped students’ perceptions in the semester before student teaching? Reflective data was collected from preservice teachers participating in a field course the semester prior to student teaching. This research is significant to understanding how to prepare preservice teachers. . The findings indicate that field experience is valuable to preservice teacher development, particularly surrounding fostering equitable classrooms.
Reference: Sohn, L. N., & Casale, C. (2021). Preparing for student teaching: Preservice teacher reflections on field experience. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 1-7.
Jacklyn Van Ooyik, University of Denver
Jessica Lerner, University of Denver
Robyn Thomas Pitts, University of Denver
Abstract: Teacher Education Programs (TEPs) face challenges in connecting theory and practice to develop competent preservice teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of preservice teachers within a developing university-school district partnership. We asked the following questions: (1) How do preservice teachers describe challenges and sources of support during a yearlong teaching residency? (2) How do preservice teachers describe their development in various competencies during their residency year? (3) How do preservice teachers perceive the coherence of the university-school district partnership? We collected data through focus groups occurring throughout the year. Our results show the importance of the sources of support from both the mentor teacher and the university supervisor and maintaining relationships between placement schools and the university to increase program coherence. However, a stronger emphasis is needed on assessment and classroom management.
Reference: Van Ooyik, J., Lerner, J., & Pitts R. T. (2021). The development of preservice teaching competencies. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 8-12.
Carolyn Casale, Adams State University
Kieran Nduagbo, Adams State University
Abstract: This qualitative research study seeks to understand the newly developed partnership program between a Teacher Education Department at a public Hispanic Serving Institution and a rural public school district in the same area. It focused mainly on the school district mentor teachers’ experiences and interexchange with preservice teachers from the university. This study explored the following questions; How can we improve preservice teachers mentoring experience? and How do mentor teachers’ benefit from their interexchange with preservice teachers? The findings altered the day-to-day activities to strengthen the partnership design.
Reference: Casale, C. & Nduagbo, K. (2021). Mentor partnerships. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 13-17.
Self-Efficacy’s Influence on a Student’s Self-Assessed Level of Preparation for College Level English
Paris Ryan, San Diego Community College district and Southwestern Community College District
Abstract: This study focused on how self-efficacy and a student’s self-assessed level of preparation for college level English impacted their 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. The research focused on how a student’s self-assessed level of preparation for their first-year college composition course impacted other aspects of self- efficacy and student success such as a student’s self-apprehensiveness and the student’s perception of their prior teacher’s effectiveness. The study utilized a purely quantitative research method to analyze the Research Question. The Research Question was answered with a statistically significant Pearson Correlation Coefficient at the 0.01 level.
Reference: Ryan, P. (2021). Self-efficacy’s influence on a student’s self-assessed level of preparation for college level English. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 18-22.
Undergraduate Student Goal Orientations and the Impact of COVID-19: Student Effort Following the Pandemic Shutdown
Christopher A. Was, Kent State University
Maren Greve, Kent State University
Abstract: In the Spring of 2020, many universities moved all of the courses online due to the Covid- 19 pandemic. The current study was designed to determine if student goal orientations would influence how they responded to the shutdown of their university. Specifically, we were interested in whether the types of academic goals students set might influence the amount of effort they put into their courses following the move to an all online format. We surveyed more than six hundred undergraduates at a large state university regarding their effort and expected grades following the shutdown as well as having them complete a self-report questionnaire designed to measure their goal orientations. Results suggest that students who set task-oriented goals were most resilient to the impact of the pandemic shutdown of the university.
Reference: Was, C. A. & Greve, M. (2021). Undergraduate student goal orientations and the impact of Covid-19: Student effort following the pandemic shutdown. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 23-29.
Deborah McCuin, Mount Marty University
Abstract: The intent of this research project was to address a perceived lack of capacity to address controversial topics or differences of perspective with civil discourse when engaged in learning in an online graduate course. Using carefully designed discussion prompts, students were asked to post, respond and reflect on their own research projects and those of their classmates in small professional learning communities. With the desired skills having been specifically taught in multiple modalities, these written artifacts were graded with posted rubrics and feedback was distributed individually to students. Over the course of three classes taken in three semesters, student scores were tracked and recorded. The preliminary results, as analyzed here, do not show significant growth in depth of analysis or clarity of response. While student overall scores tended to be in the 80-90% range, the feedback distributed to students still reflected the need for specificity, meaningfulness of responses, and analytical depth. The researcher continues to wonder whether this is a reflection of the students’ lack of ability or lack of willingness to say the difficult things necessary to be a critical friend in a professional learning community. The researcher proposes to continue to read and develop additional data collection tools and teaching devices that will provide better opportunity to impact the development of this critical capacity to speak with integrity and honesty in the effort to help colleagues collaborate effectively toward the goal of greater teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes in their own classrooms.
Reference: McCuin, D. (2021). Online discussion threads: An exercise in civil discourse. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 30-42.
“Mutually Beneficial”: Developing a Clinically-Based Teacher Education Partnership with K-12 and University Partners
Makenzie K. Selland, Utah Valley University
Abstract: This paper analyzes the collaborative efforts of one school of Education and leaders from three of its local school districts to design a shared clinically-based teacher education experience. Intentionally foregoing any initial planning, leaders from each sphere spent a year meeting monthly to design each aspect of the program through shared decision-making. Using a sociocultural approach together with Cultural-Historical Activity theory, I share an initial analysis describing features of how the group worked to define effective teaching, set goals, design a program, create assessment tools and, ultimately, enact their desire to create a mutually beneficial program, one that would strengthen both K-12 and university learning goals through input, influence, and action from each other.
Reference: Selland, M. K. (2021). “Mutually beneficial”: Developing a clinically-based teacher education partnership with K-12 and university partners. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 43-47.
An Examination of the Correlation Between a Teacher Candidate’s Disposition Assessment from the College Supervisor and the Cooperating Teacher During Student Teaching
Darolyn Seay, Peru State College
Abstract: The research focused on clarifying the responsibility of the institutions preparing teacher candidates. The purpose was to develop candidates who possess dispositions so that they will be successful in the classroom The study focused on examining candidates’ dispositions as assessed by their college supervisor as compared to the assessment by their cooperating teaching in the student teaching setting. The participants were all students admitted into the school of education who also completed their program of study in a small college in southeastern Nebraska. The candidate disposition assessment survey assessed student dispositions that were aligned to meet Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards. An analysis of variance was calculated on the survey results for teacher education candidates over the last four semesters (18-19 and 19-20 school year). Three of the four semesters found no statistical difference in the two assessments for teacher education candidates. One of the four semesters showed significant difference between the College Supervisor and Cooperating Teacher. Further research was recommended to: add the teacher education candidate self-assessment to the data; implement other strategies/opportunities to assess teacher education candidates’ dispositions; develop training for assessing teacher education candidates for all assessors; and provide opportunities for candidates’ to reflect on their disposition assessments to identify areas that may need to be strengthened.
Reference: Seay, D. (2021). An examination of the correlation between a teacher candidate’s disposition assessment from the college supervisor and the cooperating teacher during student teaching. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 48-53.
Engaging Students in STEM Careers Through the Mars Rover Challenge: Bridging Barriers through Multimodal Informal Learning
Jenn Gallup, Idaho State University
David Coffland, Idaho State University
Kyle Schultz, Idaho State University
Abstract: This paper presents a framework for implementing informal learning events through a multi-modal event. A specific example is provided using the Mars LEGO Robotics challenge during the global pandemic Novel-coronavirus-19 (COVID). Students in grades 4-6 typically develop Lego Mars Rovers and compete in a face-to-face large competition in three primary regions across the state of Idaho. Competitions typically include n= 200-300 children and n =100- 200 adults. This year the competition will be held using multimedia posters and competition notebooks that accompany a virtual presentation and competition over an Internet-based platform. A mixed methods design is described as a methodology to collect data using a case study design and pretest/posttest survey. The paper concludes with implications and recommendations.
Reference: Gallup, J., Coffland, D. & Schultz, K. (2021). Engaging students in stem careers through the mars rover challenge: Bridging barriers through multimodal informal learning. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 54-61.
Leslie T. Grant, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Monica S. Yoo, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Lisa Fetman, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Veronica Garza, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Abstract: Increasing numbers of learners of English in mainstream classrooms have precipitated the need to better prepare teachers to instruct in culturally and linguistically responsive ways. This study shares survey results that demonstrate how a graduate program consisting of intentionally designed coursework and coaching led participating educators to report (1) feeling better prepared to work with English Learners in their classrooms; (2) increased knowledge of English Learners, including better understanding of language acquisition; and (3) increased knowledge of best practices for working with English Learners in classrooms.
Reference: Grant, L. T., Yoo, M. S., Fetman, L. & Garza, V. (2021). In-service teachers’ perceptions of their preparation to work with learners of English. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 62-71.
The Pathological Freshman Year: Assessing Correlations Between Cortisol and Symptoms of Depression in Idaho Resident Freshmen
Rachel Hulse, Idaho State University
Emily Baergen, Idaho State University
Abstract: College freshmen experience unique stressors when transitioning from high school to college. In Idaho, the freshman attrition rate is higher than the national average, which may be partially explained by the higher prevalence of depression in this region. The current study investigated the potential of cortisol, a stress hormone, to be a biomarker for depression to help identify those freshmen with depression that may be at a higher risk of dropping out. In a group of 45 college freshmen, no correlations were observed between serum cortisol and depression severity as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9). However, those with a self- reported history of depression scored significantly higher on the PHQ-9, confirming the reliability and validity of the PHQ-9 in a college student population.
Reference: Hulse, R. & Baergen, E. (2021). The pathological freshman year: Assessing correlations between cortisol and symptoms of depression in Idaho resident freshmen. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 72-79.
Fearless? Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions of School Shootings: A Case Study of Education Students at a Small, Private Liberal Arts College
Jose Ivan Martinez Molinero, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Abstract: As the proliferation of school shootings in the United States is amplified, notably absent in the discussions and research related to addressing this phenomenon are the voices of pre- service teachers on the cusp of entering the profession. This case study explored the perceptions of pre-service teachers at a small, private liberal arts college. The findings show that the pre- service teachers minimalize the risks with becoming a teacher as it relates to gun violence. In terms of possible solutions, they expressed a need for mental health programs for students and had mixed sentiments about the idea of being armed in the classroom.
Reference: Martinez Molinero, J. I. (2021). Fearless? Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of school shootings: A case study of education students at a small, private liberal arts college. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 80-84.
Ann Van Wig, Idaho State University
Donita Torres, Idaho State University
Abstract: Sixteen non-native English speakers enrolled at a university were queried regarding their perceptions on the influence of language in academic setting. Using survey research that included Likert-type and open-ended questions data were analyzed using descriptive, inferential, and qualitative methods. Results indicated trends in college preparedness, language confidence, and experiences in language support at the collegiate level. This data allows colleges and university instructors, administration, and students the opportunity to start the conversation around providing equity in education for linguistically diverse student populations.
Reference: Van Wig, A. & Torres, D. (2021). I didn’t know what to expect: Non-native English students’ experiences in higher education. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 85-89.
Emma Mecham, Utah State University, Canyons School District
Eric J. Newell, Utah State University, Canyons School District
Laura J. Reina, Utah State University, Canyons School District
Courtney Stewart, Utah State University, Canyons School District
Abstract: Teachers navigated a vast set of challenges during the 2019-20 school year when a pandemic shut down school and changed the face of classrooms. The challenges that emerged during this time were heaped upon the already full plates of the novice teachers featured in this study who were just gaining confidence in the classroom. This article highlights the six themes that emerged from interviews done in spring of 2020 as part of a larger longitudinal study following teacher education graduates. This snapshot of the data provides inside into the effect of the early stages of the pandemic on these teachers classrooms, perspectives, roles, and impact on their students.
Reference: Mecham, E., Newell, E. J., Reina, L. J. & Stewart, C. (2021). Navigating pandemic schooling for novice teachers. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 90-96.
Linda F. Quinn, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Lois Paretti, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Abstract: This is the tale of 74 teacher education candidates whose final student teaching field experiences were abruptly interrupted due to school and university closures. Ways they continued their student teaching amidst switching to online instruction are presented. University support for teacher candidates and classroom teachers is documented. Innovative use of technology to reach K-12 students and to reflect on practices are outlined. An emerging protocol for activities is described as Consistency, Access, Supervision and Evaluation (CASE) to provide a framework for future non-emergency online practicum.
Reference: Quinn, L. F. & Paretti, L. (2021). Before teaching content, we must connect. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 97-101.
Franziska Peterson, University of Maine
Abstract: The purpose of this pilot study was to engage pre-service elementary teachers in a semester-long project to deepen their quantitative reasoning skills when working with real-world data. Over three semesters, all pre-service elementary teachers enrolled in mathematics content courses focusing on K-8 mathematics topics had to collect, analyze, visualize, and interpret data. The data collected for this pilot study included all presentation slides, fieldnotes from observing their presentations, and the final papers. The analysis was two-fold: (1) Function language analysis, and (2) a grounded theory-inspired open coding. Results indicate that verb choice seems to make a difference in the tone and confidence of the written language and increased ownership seems to lead to stronger reasoning. The open coding and constant comparison of the data as an aggregate led to four potential challenges: (1) Avoidance of quantities, (2) only offering qualitative accounts, (3) graph choice purely based on preference, and (4) a lack of quantitative language.
Reference: Peterson, F. (2021). Working with real-world data: A pilot study of pre-service elementary teachers. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 102-108.
LeAnn G. Putney, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Suzanne H. Jones, Utah State University
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore different interpretations made through the dialogic interplay of a classroom ethnographic researcher (contextual researcher) and a research analyst (peripheral researcher) as we collaborated on interpretations of data from an elementary school classroom. Using sociolinguistic discourse technique, we examined two events involving guest teachers, the first of which was a frame clash that illustrated an outsider view of a classroom culture. In contrast, the second event provided more of an insider understanding of the classroom culture. This resulting contrastive analysis stemmed from the dialogic interpretation of both researchers and combining of theoretical perspectives. The interplay of perspectives between the researchers revealed a higher level of analysis and interpretation that led to a more robust synthesis and a more complex explanation of the findings.
Reference: Putney, L. G. & Jones, S. H. (2021). Great minds think alike, or do they? Juxtaposing contextual and peripheral perspectives on data. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 32(1), 109-114.
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