College of Education Theses and Dissertations

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    Stress Effects and Mindfulness-Based Interventions Among Educators in Elementary School Classrooms
    (2023-05-05) Stallings, Latoya McCaskill; Divoll, Kent; Orange, Amy; Lastrapes, Renee; Ribeiro, Angelica
    In the United States, work-related stress costs companies over $200 billion each year (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2015). Classroom teachers face a variety of challenges in their scope of work. Due to such challenges, teacher turnover and self-reported job dissatisfaction are at an all-time high, according to new research. Studies from the American Federation of Teachers (2017) show that the majority of American teachers feel over-stressed at work, and the number citing poor mental health has jumped alarmingly in recent years. Absenteeism, low job satisfaction and effectiveness, high attrition, and high burnout are all consequences of high teacher job stress (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007). In fact, research by Pennsylvania State University (2016) suggests resultant costs in human resources and health care spending for teachers could amount to billions of dollars each year. In a recent study by the American Federation of Teachers 52% of teachers agreed that they do not feel the same enthusiasm as when they started teaching (AFT, 2017), and 46% report high daily stress during the school year (Gallup, 2014). This percentage is tied with nurses for the highest rate among all other occupational groups. Teachers also report instances of experiencing poor physical health aside from their mental health status. In addition, reports of bullying by superiors, colleagues, parents, and even students are evident at rates far higher than any other profession. To add to these health concerns, the vast majority of teachers indicate that they are sleep-deprived (Gallup, 2014). Policy-based interventions have been implemented in many schools as an attempt to address job-related stress, however, these interventions have been minimally evaluated by research (McIntyre et al., 2017). Additional information is needed regarding occupational stress among teachers. The purpose of this mixed-methods study is to explore existing research regarding the consequential effects of teacher stress in the workplace, identify teacher perceptions of occupational stress, and address the effectiveness of strategies and policy-based interventions, which may contribute to decreased resultant costs of work-related stress, such as turnover rates, negative social conditions, and culture/climate of school campuses. This study is premised on the assumption that enhancing the positive attributes and strengths of educators can have a positive impact not only on their performance and commitment but also on the performance of their students. 
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    From Their Perspective: A Qualitative Study Examining Black Boys' Relationship with Reading in Grades 3-5
    (2023-05-05) Harrison, Alexandria; Grace, Jennifer; Peters, Michelle; Pule, Heather; Raymond, Roberta
    The purpose of this study was to examine the reading experiences of Black boys in grades three through five, gain insight into what they felt contributed to their reading success, explore the relationships that influenced their reading lives, the challenges they faced, and their perspectives of the relationship they had with their reading teacher. A purposeful sample of 3rd-5th grade students who identified as Black boys from an elementary school located within a large suburban school district in the Southeast region of Texas were chosen to participate in interviews. This study used the grounded theory analysis approach (Saldana, 2016). An analysis of the interviews revealed that the Black boys had mostly positive experiences within their reading classrooms. The participants in this study mostly felt that they had positive relationships with their reading teachers. They found that support from their teachers, parents, and school administrators contributed to their reading achievement, while comprehension and unknown advanced vocabulary hindered them from feeling successful in reading.
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    Examining Principal Perceptions of Self-efficacy and Emergent Bilingual Student’s Achievement in K-12 Public Schools
    (2023-04-28) Jimenez, Janie; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Farrell, Tina; Giacona, Wanna
    The purpose of this qualitative inquiry study examined principal perceptions of self-efficacy and EB’s student achievement. This study collected interview data from a purposeful sample of six elementary, six middle school, and six high school principals from the Region 4 Education Service Center, Harris County area, in the state of Texas utilizing an interview protocol. An inductive coding process was implemented to discover emergent themes that arose from semi-structured interviews. The findings are based on principal perceptions regarding the impact of their self-efficacy on EB student achievement, facilitation of EB student learning, shared vision for EB students, and motivating teachers with EB students. The data analysis revealed 10 themes and 13 subthemes, which were deeply rooted within the vast literature on principal leadership constructs. The findings illustrated the expansive skills and competencies necessary for principals to lead teacher teams and focus on student achievement. Considering principal perceptions regarding the impact of their self-efficacy on EB student achievement, 100% (n = 18) agreed principal’s confidence influences EB achievement. The data revealed that the principal’s leadership can either improve or decrease student achievement based on the decisions that are made. When examining the perceptions of principals concerning the impact of their self-efficacy in the facilitation of EB student learning, four emerging themes developed. These themes are: (a) Ensuring Teacher Quality (b) Promoting High-Quality Instruction (c) Understanding the Unique Needs of EB Students (d) Navigating Accountability. Based on the summary of findings, implications are warranted for principals, district leaders, teacher preparation programs, and state leaders. It is recommended principals build collaborative teams with different experts to help set goals and participate in the planning sessions to support students. District leaders could benefit from the findings by ensuring staffing support is available at each campus since EB enrollment numbers are increasing, and districts need to consider varying levels of staffing support for campuses with different English proficiency levels such as new arrivals or long-term EBs. Also, district leaders could benefit from the findings by providing and designing professional development opportunities that target the needs of EL students in instructional leadership and coaching.
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    Perception and Practices of Parents and Teachers on Educating African American Students During a Global Pandemic or Times of School Closures
    (2023-05-05) Taylor, Alicia; Divoll, Kent; Huss-Keeler, Rebecca; Graves, Shanna; Brown, Amber
    The purpose of this qualitative study is to analyze the perspectives of parents and teachers regarding the barriers and successors of educating African American students through a global pandemic, or unexpected school closure. The study researched successful practices and impediments African American students experience and suggested future practices school districts may implement to bridge the achievement gap of African American students during a global pandemic, natural disaster, or other times of school closures. The theoretical framework in this study is centered on the educational philosophy of the Social Learning Theory developed in 1963 and later detailed in 1977 by Albert Bandura (Nabavi, 2012). The research questions that guided the study were, a) What are parents' perceptions about how their child performed academically during virtual instruction compared to face-to-face instruction? b) What are parents' perceptions about how their child has been impacted socially- emotionally during virtual instruction compared to face-to-face instruction? c) What are teachers' perceptions about how African American students performed academically pre-pandemic compared to post-pandemic? d) What are teachers’ perceptions of the successful practices school districts may implement to bridge the achievement gap of African American students? A purposeful sample of the groups of participants parents and teachers were interviewed to build an empirical understanding of the significant impact of school closures and virtual learning on African American students' achievement. The study found when analyzing the experiences of the parents and teachers who worked with AA students pre, during, and post pandemic students were impacted more socially- emotionally during virtual learning than they were academically. Parents reported noticing of more temperamentally changes impacting AA students because of the isolation from peers’ which research from the Social Learning Theory suggest is critical to development of children. According to the teacher’s perspectives pre-pandemic AA student’s academic performance in general was aligned to current literature that suggest on average academic students perform subordinate to other races. However, what the study found was that post-pandemic AA students were behind academically but not substantially more than any other race. All races showed deficits in learning loss when returning to school post-pandemic.
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    Examining the Relationship between Principal Leadership Styles and the Impact on Teacher Burnout
    (2023-05-05) De La Rosa, Diana Marie; Divoll, Kent; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; Castro, Evelyn
    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between principal leadership styles and teacher burnout. The study included a review of data collected using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5X) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-ES) from a purposeful sample of teachers from one large urban Title I high school in a southeast Texas school district. A purposeful sample of nine teachers were interviewed for the purpose of providing a more in-depth understanding of their perceptions of the principal's leadership style and their experiences with burnout. Quantitative data were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, and Pearson's product moment correlations (r), while qualitative data were analyzed using an inductive coding process. Quantitative data analyzed the five transformational leadership attributes and the three factors of burnout. Quantitative analysis revealed that there were no statistically significant correlations to the principal's transformational qualities and teacher burnout factors of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The qualitative analysis revealed that teachers perceived the principal as highly transformational, supporting the quantitative data, while the burnout experiences were significant for emotional exhaustion among the participants indicating that teachers are overextended in their job responsibilities. The qualitative responses of the participants further revealed that school leaders and districts need formal professional development plans to help teachers build capacity as well as to manage stress and burnout.
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    A qualitative case study examining the factors that contribute to the retention of experienced special education teachers in Texas public schools
    (2023-05-05) Newsom, Jeanne Lynn; Beavers, Elizabeth; Seevers, Randy; Peters, Michelle; Cooper, Jane
    The special education teacher shortage in the U.S. continues to grow and the implication of this shortage is multifaceted. First and foremost, students that are eligible for special education may not be receiving the educational supports and services that they deserve and legally require. Additionally, this shortage may cause great financial burdens on school districts that are continually having to hire and train new special education teachers. There also may be negative financial obligations when districts are sued because there are inadequate or uncertified teachers supporting these students. There are many studies that have inquired why teachers leave the field of education, however, there are minimal that have explored special education teachers specifically, and according to Billingsley and Bettini (2019) current studies of special education teachers that leave or remain are largely quantitative. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of special education teachers that have remained in the field. The research questions revolved around intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors regarding why they have remained. Using both in person and a video conference platform, five participants were interviewed with an open-ended interview protocol. The researcher then analyzed the interview transcripts which revealed two intrinsic (work itself and achievement) and three extrinsic (supervisor/leadership quality, working conditions, and coworker relations) emergent themes. Overall, the findings of this qualitative study revealed interventions for education leaders and authors/instructors of educator preparation programming to assist in reducing the special education teacher shortage.
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    Self-Efficacy and Resilience: Latinas in STEM Majors
    (2023-04-21) Ramos, Maria Lourdes; Richardson, Timothy; Lastrapes, Renee; Raymond, Roberta; Matthew, Kathryn
    Despite various initiatives to enhance diversity in STEM disciplines, women and minorities remain underrepresented (Gonzalez et al., 2021, Chapter 5). Higher education institutions can help enhance gender and racial equity in STEM disciplines in the U.S. (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine, 2011). This study’s purpose was to investigate self-efficacy and resilience based on traditional (25 and less) and non-traditional (26 and higher) age ranges and ancestral regions. In this mixed-methods study, 36 STEM major Latinas from a mid-sized comprehensive university in South Texas answered a survey, and ten Latina STEM-major students participated in semi-structured individual interviews. The Generalized Self-Efficacy and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scales were administered to participants. According to the findings of this study, there is a statistically significant relationship between self-efficacy and resilience based on age range. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between self-efficacy and resilience and ancestral region.
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    The Effects of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports on Middle School Student Achievement and Middle School Student Outcomes
    (2023-04-25) Brooks, Torrance A; Beavers, Elizabeth; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; Seevers, Randy
    The purpose of this mixed method study was to examine whether or not Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) influence middle school academic student achievement and middle school disruptive behaviors. The population of this study was a participating school district located in eastern Harris County outside of Houston, Texas. The sample consisted of seventh and eighth grade teachers from four different middle schools that used PBIS or did not use PBIS that had STAAR scores assigned to their name. A total of 103 middle school teachers met the criteria. Individual teacher STAAR scores and individual student PEIMS data for office referrals were collected by the researcher for the middle school teachers within the participating school district. Independent t-tests and a Mann-Whitney U test were used to analyze the quantitative data, while an inductive and deductive coding process was used to analyze and transcribe the collected qualitative data for ten participating teachers. The quantitative findings indicated that there was a statistically significant mean difference in student achievement between classroom teachers that implemented a PBIS model compared to classroom teacher that did not, but there was not a statistically significant mean difference in disruptive behaviors for classroom teachers who used PBIS compared to classroom teachers who did not. The qualitative data revealed five emerging themes: building positive relationships, improved student achievement, changing negative behaviors associated with the benefits of PBIS that address challenging behaviors, increased instructional time, and decreased office referrals. Based on the qualitative findings, middle school teachers trust that PBIS is effective in increasing student achievement and decreases challenging behaviors of middle school students. The research concludes with implications and recommendations for future research based on the findings.
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    Examining the Relationship between Principal Cultural Proficiency and Leadership Behaviors
    (2023-03-29) Cardona, Rogelio A; Miller, Queinnise; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Verow, Shawn
    The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to examine the relationship between principal cultural proficiency and leadership behaviors through a culturally responsive leadership framework. A total of 166 school principals from a service region of Southeastern Texas were solicited and completed the Educator Cultural Proficiency Insight Tool (ECPIT) and the Successful School Leadership Survey (SSLS). The research questions focused on four factors of cultural proficiency: (a) cultural awareness and diversity, (b) attitudes, beliefs, and expectations of student learning, (c) ownership and responsibility, and (d) recognition of racism predicting each of the four domains of leadership behaviors: (a) setting directions, (b) developing people, (c) redesigning the organization, and (d) improving the instructional program. The researcher used multiple linear regression, frequencies, and percentages to analyze the data collected and the findings revealed that there is a significant relationship between cultural proficiency and the four leadership behaviors examined. The study's results align with previous research that has demonstrated the importance of principals having a clear vision for a school, being child-focused, and having high expectations for students. Additionally, the research found a connection between empathy for diverse students and listening to all voices. The study also revealed that principals who recognized the presence of racism in their schools were more likely to engage in organizational redesign efforts. Finally, the research suggested that principals who took ownership and responsibility for student learning outcomes were more effective at improving the instructional program. The study highlights the importance of cultural proficiency as a predictor of effective leadership behaviors and needed support for schools to foster a culture that celebrates a student-centered focus in learning. The findings provide insights into the importance of principals' attitudes, beliefs, and expectations of student learning, their ownership and responsibility, and their recognition of racism in fostering a school culture that supports reaching a common goal, and building capacity in staff, managing changes in the organization, and improving instruction. The study provides implications and recommendations for future research in the field of culturally responsive leadership.
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    Teacher’s Perception of Humor as a Facilitator of Student Engagement
    (2023-03-20) Geumei, Dina; Brown, Amber; Peters, Michelle; Williams-Duncan, Omah; Preeti, Jain
    Classroom engagement is an excellent indicator of students' learning, grades, achievement, test scores, retention, and graduation. However, classroom engagement is heavily dependent on teacher-student interactions. Teachers' role in engaging students in the lesson learned is critical. Using a free and convenient tool, such as teachers' humor, can ensure student engagement in the learning process (Nienaber et al., 2019). The purpose of this study is to determine how schoolteachers perceive humor as a facilitator for student engagement at the classroom level. This study used a sequential mixed methods design to gain insights regarding the teachers' perceptions of the role of humor as a catalyst for student engagement. Survey and interview data were collected from a purposeful sample of K-12 grade teachers in seven private schools in Greater Houston, Texas. The study used an electronic questionnaire from 102 teachers working in grades K-12 and 14 follow-up semi-structured interviews to gather data on teachers' perceptions of positive humor as a facilitator for student engagement. The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson's product-moment correlations, one-way ANOVA test, and independent samples t-test. The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic inductive coding. Results from the quantitative analysis showed no significance. In contrast, the results of the qualitative analysis strongly supported the use of positive humor as a powerful tool for student engagement if utilized appropriately.
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    Teacher Perceptions of Preparedness to Establish the Learning Environment
    (2023-03-06) Parks, Precious Willis; Beavers, Elizabeth; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; Miller, Queinnise
    Novice teachers are leaving the classroom within five years. Educator preparation programs are preparing teachers, but improvement is needed to meet the culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms of today. Transitioning from pre-service to in-service teacher can feel insurmountable while establishing the classroom environment, managing student behavior, and preserving well-being. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine novice teachers’ perceptions of their educator preparation program’s effectiveness to prepare them to establish the learning environment. Overall, traditional certified teachers exhibit a higher sense of preparedness than alternative certified teachers due to instructional design incorporating deliberate practice in the field. Certification route influences the pre-service teacher’s preparedness to establish the learning environment. Race and ethnicity does influence preparedness to manage student behavior for both certification routes. In addition, there is a relationship between race and ethnicity and meeting behavioral needs of students with disabilities for the traditional and alternative certified teacher. Qualitive results indicated that the first-year is challenging and filled with harsh realities despite preparation route. Respondents also identified their misunderstanding with establishing a safe and accessible classroom. The most valuable experiences to aid in establishing the learning environment was student teaching, internships, and any time observing and practicing in the field. Teachers of color expressed inequitable practices but were motivated to teach because of special connections with students. Based on the results of this study, policy makers should uniform the student teaching schedule requiring high impact experiences across all four domains in traditional programs and increase the field-based hours for alternative programs. EPPs must alter instructional design to close the gap in understanding of a safe and accessible classroom. District administrators must enact new teacher academies and mentoring across a three-year span. Campus administrators should implement a scaffolded approach to support novice teacher efficacy, practice, and well-being.  
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    Exploring Novice Principal Perception of Whether Alignment exist Between Their Principal Development Program and Their Evaluation Rubric
    (2023-02-10) Alex, Rachel; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; Young, Atina
    This qualitative study explored whether novice principals believed their principal development program had adequately prepared them for high-performance ratings on the principal evaluation rubric. Over the past two decades, legislation has stressed that student achievement is an essential component of leadership effectiveness (Pannell & McBrayer, 2022). However, defining and clarifying the principal’s impact on campus performance continues to remain challenging (Hutton, 2019). Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of novice principals from 10 school districts in a Southeast Region of Texas. Typically, principal supervisors are responsible for the novice principals' evaluation and growth. Interview responses indicated that most principal supervisors performed these tasks in isolation. Participants agreed that their principal development program did not adequately prepare them for the principal role. The findings of this study and the parallels to the literature review indicate the significance of developing Principal Development Programs (PDPs) aligned with the evaluation criteria in their rubrics. When developing high-performing principals, the educational community might benefit from exploring the curriculum design for PDPs in school districts and educator preparation programs. Novice principals did not perceive that their PDPs prepared them for a high-performance rating based on their principal evaluation rubrics. Participants’ responses indicated their PDPs had limited overall value due to lack of comprehensive content to adequately prepare them for the principal role. The results from interview responses concluded that the role of the principal supervisor on the novice principal was more impactful on their development. A consensus surfaced in the interview responses when participants attributed their success to the support they received from their principal supervisor. Participants believed that mentoring and coaching had the most significant influence on their development. In addition, principal supervisors who understood how to perform their roles were equipped to align support and training opportunities geared to enhance principal performance. Therefore, school districts must develop principal supervisors who are knowledgeable about the principal role and capable of creating and modifying PDPs in ways that will produce high-performing principals.
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    Technology Leadership and Teachers' Perceptions of the Principal Technology Leadership Role
    (2023-01-02) Garza, Veronica Jean; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Martinez, Norma; Mcintosh Cooper, Jane
    The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine principal’s technology leadership and teachers’ perceptions of the principal’s technology leadership role in a school setting. A purposeful sample of 123 principals and 126 teachers located throughout Region IV were solicited to completed modified versions of the Principal Technology Leadership Assessment (PTLA), and semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten principals and teachers to learn more about the perceptions of both groups regarding the principal’s technology leadership role. Descriptive statistics and t-tests were used to analyze the quantitative data, while an inductive coding process was used to analyze the transcribed interviews. The quantitative findings revealed that there are significant differences between what principals are doing and what teachers believe they should be doing as technology leaders, with the greatest differences among the Leadership & Vision and Support, Management, and Operations sub-scale activities. The interview data revealed four emerging themes: resources, support, technology self-efficacy, and challenges. Based on the qualitative findings, principals need to ensure they provide resources and evaluate their effectiveness, and teachers need to feel supported by principals and provided with opportunities to collaborate. Additionally, technology self-efficacy improves with regular use of technology, and challenges that must be addressed include a lack of/an overabundance of resources, buy-in, and communication. The researcher concludes the study with implications and recommendations for future research based on these findings.
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    Examining the Relationship Between Teachers' Perceptions of School Climate and Student Achievement of Middle School Students
    (2023-05-03) Edwards, Tanya Wiser; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Grace-Samuel, Jennifer; O'Brien, Randal
    ABSTRACT EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHER’S PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL CLIMATE AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT OF MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS Tanya Wiser Edwards University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2023 Dissertation Chair: Antonio Corrales, EdD The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the relationship between teacher’s perceptions of school climate and student achievement of middle school students. Two hundred twenty middle school teachers, from a large urban school district located in the Southwestern region of the US, participated in the New Jersey School Climate Survey. Student achievement was measured using the Reading and Mathematics STAAR test. Data collected from the survey and interviews revealed that administrative support, building relationships, teaching and learning, and school safety are crucial factors that contribute to having a positive school climate. Because states are holding schools accountable for student achievement, and improving school climate, this study could provide significant contributions to school districts, administrators, and to the global discussion on the relationship between school climate and student achievement.
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    Classroom management self-efficacy and burnout of teachers who began their career during the 2020/2021 school year
    (2022-12-07) Defelice, Corey; Divoll, Kent; Peters, Michelle; Raymond, Roberta; Grace, Jennifer
    The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the difference in classroom management self-efficacy (CMSE) of year one taught virtually and year two taught in-person for beginning teachers and if this transition impacted teacher burnout. A purposeful sample of second-year teachers was selected to complete the Efficacy in Classroom Management subscale of the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) and the Work-related Burnout subscale of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI). The survey data were analyzed using a paired t-test and frequencies and percentages while qualitative data were analyzed using an inductive coding process. The quantitative findings indicated that there was a statistically significant mean difference in the CMSE of second-year teachers who taught their first-year virtually and their second year in-person. The findings further indicated that the transition to in-person learning did influence teacher burnout. The quantitative data indicated that elementary and middle school teachers have experienced greater feelings of burnout than high school teachers. The qualitative data supported these findings and identified themes related to the reasons for the significant mean difference in CMSE and the feelings of burnout.
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    The influence of COVID-19 on campus leaders’ attitudes towards an acquired expertise in technology
    (2022-04-11) Veguilla-Martinez, Norma F; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; O'Brien, Randal
    The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the influence of COVID-19 on campus leaders’ attitudes towards acquired experience in technology. The research was completed during 2021 with K-12 campus administrators within the state of Texas. A purposeful sample of 171 K-12 campus administrators within the state of Texas completed the Principal’s Computer Technology Survey (PCTS). Of those, 10 campus leaders participated in the individual interviews. Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests, Wilcoxon signed rank tests, and thematic coding were used to analyze the data collected. Quantitative data demonstrated campus leaders’ integration of technology and attitudes towards technology were significantly influenced by COVID-19. The qualitative analysis provided supporting evidence of the importance for campus leaders’ experience, knowledge and training in supporting instructional technology integration as necessary to increase teacher and student achievement.
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    The relationship between scientific literacy and science self-efficacy of undergraduates enrolled in select Biology classes
    (2021-04-12) Shaukat, Faryal; Williams-Duncan, Omah M; Peters, Michelle L; Divoll, Kent A; Howard, Cindy
    Scientific literacy and science self-efficacy have both been the focus of calls from educators and policymakers emphasizing the need to improve and reinforce them in order to improve science education. This study is aimed at examining the relationship between science self-efficacy and scientific literacy, two critical components of science education, to better understand specific correlations between the two. A correlation research design was employed to examine the relationship between undergraduate student science self-efficacy and scientific literacy. The researcher solicited a purposeful sample of students self-enrolled in various Biology courses from a large suburban public university to complete the SELDS and the TOSLS assessment in one sitting. Data were collected through online administration of the SELDS and TOSLS instruments through Qualtrics. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson’s product-moment correlations, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). An analysis of the results of this study presented a statistically significant relationship between science self-efficacy and scientific literacy as well as between several specific components of science self-efficacy and scientific literacy. Another statistically significant relationship in this study was between self-efficacy for learning and understanding science topics and students'' ability to understand methods of inquiry to develop scientific knowledge. The results of the study can be beneficial to educators working with undergraduate students to help determine or develop their science literacy and science self-efficacy. Furthermore, they can be an important factor in the way that professors curate the learning experience for their students based on their science self-efficacy, self-efficacy to learning, and science literacy. The results of this study can be used to create a study on a larger scale to determine if the outcome was related to the narrow demographics of the participants. It is recommended to conduct this study on a larger scale, expanding to K-12 to develop a better understanding of the dynamics between components of science self-efficacy and scientific literacy.
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    The Influence of Early-Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions, Attitudes, and Technology Proficiency on Educational Technology Use in Early-Childhood Classrooms
    (2021-04-14) Plut, Angela P; Willis, Jana M; Peters, Michelle; Orange, Amy; Giles, Michelle
    Early childhood is a critical time to form the foundations required for success in education and life. Additionally, the 21st century has catapulted the world into an age of technology. It is imperative to find balance between the use of traditional teaching methods and ways to implement developmentally appropriate technology in early-childhood classrooms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of early-childhood teachers’ perceptions, attitudes, and technology proficiency on educational technology use in early-childhood classrooms. To help answer the research questions, a random sample of early-childhood educators was selected to answer two established scale surveys on attitude towards technology and technology proficiency. Additionally, interviews were conducted to ascertain how teachers perceive the use of educational technology as a developmentally appropriate practice. A mixed-methods design was employed, and examination of quantitative survey results and qualitative interviews provided insight into teachers’ perceptions, attitudes, and proficiency of technology use in early-childhood classrooms as compared to their age and years of service. Findings indicated early-childhood teachers with more years of service are more likely to feel confident in their proficiency with technology skills, resulting in higher implementation in their early-childhood classrooms. Additionally, early-childhood teachers’ attitudes towards educational technology do not change based on years of service. Furthermore, as an early-childhood teacher’s technology proficiency increases, his or her attitude towards technology also increases. Finally, although answers varied, all participants shared a conviction for doing what is developmentally appropriate for early-childhood students and felt quality instruction should be the most important goal in all early-childhood classrooms. This study revealed the need for teachers to feel competent in their abilities to use educational technology in early-childhood classrooms, despite their years of service.
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    Identifying STEM Awareness of Secondary Art Educators: A Statewide Assessment
    (2020-04-10) Moya, David Anthony; Willis, Jana; Peters, Michelle; Schulsky, Debra; Watson, Sandra
    The advent of STEAM programs could be a product of budget cuts and lower student enrollment within the arts. However, art educators, typically, possess minimal training in STEM related fields. The lack of training is especially true for secondary art educators due to the specificity of their degrees required to teach in their respective institutions. The purpose of this mixed method study aims to measure of the extent of STEM awareness in secondary art educators, In the state of Texas, 211 secondary art educators completed the STEM Awareness and Community Survey. The data collected from the secondary art teachers revealed perception differences in regards to teacher educational background and teacher certification training. Follow up interviews with participants revealed teacher’s perceptions of the benefit of art within STEM in terms of creativity, communication, and visualization of concepts. The data concluded the necessity for educational leadership to implement more STEM related training for their arts faculty in order to ensure meaningful integration of STEAM based curriculum.
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    Bending barriers: African American women in education leadership
    (2022-11-30) Ramirez, Barbara; Corrales, Antonio; Peters, Michelle; Grace, Jennifer; Martin, Akilah
    ABSTRACT BENDING BARRIERS: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP Barbara A. Ramirez University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2022 Dissertation Chair: Antonio Corrales, EdD The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of African American women in institutions of higher education in the state of Texas regarding career progression and potential barriers to leadership. Of specific interest is a more in-depth understanding of perceived barriers along the career pathway and strategies suggested by leaders that have reached or exceed beyond what is considered the pinnacle level of achievement in higher education. Oikelome (2017) recognizes what some consider achieving a level of success in higher education by stating, “The college presidency is a benchmark of status and achievement in the academy” (p. 23). A sample of educators at the level of dean or higher was selected to participate in this study to explore their individual perception of barriers that affect the career pathways of African American women pursuing positions in higher education at executive level. The selected literature corroborates the disparity in African American women at the college and university senior executive level. The literature will highlight various challenges related to race and gender. Lastly, the study will review strategies used to overcome barriers to educational leadership. Further research on this topic should include an examination of the career pathways of African American women in two and four-year institutions.