Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Graduate School of Education Poster Session

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Soiland Recreation Center
Description: Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctoral students will present their research projects in a poster session format. These projects will focus on inquiry into educational issues pertaining to teacher education, special education, counseling and guidance, and educational leadership. All are welcome to attend.

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Elizabeth Adams

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
Redefining Latino Parent Involvement

With Latino students scoring significantly below their White counterparts on national assessments, much research has focused on what factors contribute to Latino student success, such as parental-involvement (Hemphill, Vanneman, & Rahmen, 2011; Jeynes, 2012). However, despite the benefits of being involved in a child’s education, Latino parents are reported as having lower rates of participation than their counterparts (Murakami, Valle, & Méndez-Morse, 2013). The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the experiences of three immigrant Latino parents who are involved in their children’s education at an elementary school in Southern California. I conducted a single one-on-one semi-structured interview with each participant. Transcripts were coded for similarities. Each interview covered the following three major topics: the parent’s educational experience, the parent’s perception of their child’s educational experience, and the parent’s involvement in his/her child’s education.




Student(s):
Shane Armstrong

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Edlyn Vallejo Pena
Helping Twice-Exceptional Students Successfully Transition into Higher Education

There are approximately 300,000 students in the United States who are twice exceptional learners: they are both gifted and have a disability. Little is known about how personal (student) and environmental (institutional) factors interact in the academic and social lives of these students. This study will focus on the unique academic and social supports that lead to a successful career in higher education by examining individual strategies employed by twice-exceptional students. It will also explore the actions that institutions of higher education can take to create environments and support services that assist these students. Using the qualitative method of personal narrative, Schlossberg’s Transition Theory will be used as the lens to better understand what twice-exceptional students believe has been the most helpful in their transition into higher education.




Student(s):
Michael Berns

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Uncommon Factors to the Common Core

Across the country, many high school graduates are unprepared for college and the 21st Century workplace. With no two states able to agree on what standards are truly necessary, the Common Core Curriculum was developed to raise the bar for all students, regardless of where they live. While billions of dollars have already been spent implementing these new standards, success depends almost wholly on an individual teacher’s comfort level to modify existing pedagogy. Historically, one key factor in predicting this innovation is self-efficacy. In this quantitative online survey, high school English teachers reported on various self-efficacy factors and their comfort level with adopting Common Core, specifically as it concerns the increased emphasis on text sourcing. This study will provide researchers, school districts, and department chairs additional information on how to target monies and training to best guarantee the success of this new, national standard.




Student(s):
Jeannine Blankinship

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
A Qualitative Study of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Itinerant Teachers: Caseload Size and Stress

Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) education is a small part of special education and there are few teachers specialized to teach D/HH students. According to the California Department of Education’s recommendation caseload size should not exceed 24 students. Many school districts within California are not following this recommendation and D/HH itinerant teachers have considerably higher caseloads. The purpose of this study was to address caseload size of D/HH itinerant special education teachers as it related to their overall stress levels and effectiveness. In this qualitative case study, the researcher conducted personal interviews with six credentialed D/HH itinerant special education teachers throughout California. Though several factors aside from large caseloads were present, caseload size was the major concern associated with overwhelmed teachers. Though all but one of the teachers were overwhelmed, there were mixed results on whether they viewed themselves as effective as a result of large caseload.




Student(s):
Pearl'yvene Boston

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
The Deaf Experience in Postsecondary Education

An important element of academic success for students with a hearing loss is communicating with teachers and other students. Students and teachers communicating and interacting freely are vital for active learning. Students unable to communicate freely in the classroom are less likely to engage in class activities, which ultimately affects their learning and success (Stinson & Antia,1999). The interactions Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students have with their teachers and peers can have a profound impact on their education and ultimately their career paths. The purpose of this study is to explore the role of post-secondary teachers and the impact they have on DHH students. This study will utilize qualitative, narrative research. The selection of a narrative design validates and emphasizes my goal, which is accurately documenting detailed, personal accounts of student participants’ view of the impact post-secondary educators’ role had on their experiences.




Student(s):
Brian Brister

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Scheu
Edmodo and Personality Traits: Increasing Classroom Participation

The research explored the relationship of the personality trait of introversion and its influence on classroom participation in adolescents. It was created to provide an alternative means to support introverted student participation. The research design was action research with qualitative data. The study consisted of a two week integration of in-class online posts by students through Edmodo’s discussion platform. The six participants completed the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator test and were categorized as extroverted or introverted and interviewed. The male and female participants (ages 14-16) were from a large high school in a southern California coastal city with a majority Hispanic student population. The study indicated that Edmodo’s online discussion provided a safe, stress free environment that increased introverted student participation. The study provides a foundation for future research that may lead to methods for differentiating student engagement based on personality type.




Student(s):
Debra Broberg

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Scheu
MI-Based Teaching Strategies and Writing Improvement for At-Risk High School Students

The study explored the relationship of writing strategies based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and the attitudes of 10th grade at-risk students. It was designed to determine if alternate teaching strategies improved student attitude and motivation toward writing. The research design was a qualitative study with quantitative elements. After each lesson, data were collected through interviews, observation notes, and student feedback. The participants (N=8) were adolescent males and females (ages 15-17) from the researcher’s 10th-grade transitional English class in a suburban high school north of Los Angeles. The study indicated that students’ attitudes and motivation toward writing increased after receiving instruction using alternative strategies, indicating that increased motivation, may lead to improved writing. With the implementation of Common Core State Standards, the study may provide a direction for contributing research intent on exploring methods for closing the gap in college-readiness for RtI students.




Student(s):
Melaninna Brower

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Class Act! Using Drama Instructional Activities to Foster Reading Comprehension

Education is an ever-changing field, and modes of instruction are constantly being modified to meet the needs of all learners. With this is mind; many school-aged children are no longer exposed to arts in the classroom. When implemented in a purposeful way, arts in education can promote new understandings for the varied learning styles in all classrooms. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the effectiveness of drama instructional activities to foster reading comprehension of third-grade students over a two-week timeframe. During the first week, instruction was not modified in any way. Throughout the second week, drama activities were added to the instructional plan to enhance connections with kinesthetic, intrapersonal, spatial, and interpersonal intelligences. At the end of each week, summative assessments were administered to measure and compare students’ comprehension based on their learning experiences. The results of this study will show the impact arts has on education.




Student(s):
Kathryn Buckly

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
The Role of K-12 Educational Leaders and Physical Education Teachers In Battling Childhood Obesity

Roughly 20% of all children ages 6-19 years are obese (CDC, 2014). At this juncture in society, schools have an opportunity to address this pressing issue. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of schools in addressing childhood obesity, and more specifically, the views of educational leaders and physical education teachers on their role in battling this grave health issue. The research questions that drive this study include: 1. What is the role of American K-12 schools in addressing childhood obesity? 2. What are the perceptions of educational leaders and physical education teachers of their roles in reducing childhood obesity? Using qualitative, case study methods, this research centers on the perspectives of public school administrators and physical education teachers. Interview data, collected via one-on-one semi-structured interviews, was voice recorded, transcribed, and coded for general themes and patterns, which outline the role of K-12 educators.




Student(s):
Michelle Davis

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Sheu
Progressive Literacy Instruction

This study examined the outcome of integrating Readers' Workshop into a lower elementary Montessori classroom in order to determine the effectiveness of a progressive literacy instruction. The research design was qualitative with quantitative elements. The study documented attitudes and achievement in reading after participating in Readers' Workshop and Montessori curriculum over a fifteen week period. The participants (N=11) were male and female classmates, ages 5-8, in a Montessori school located in the New York metropolitan area. The study revealed that students made significant progress in reading fluency and comprehension, and expressed positive attitudes toward cooperative learning. This study suggests that, in conjunction with Montessori curriculum, Readers' Workshop learning provided balanced, developmentally appropriate literacy instruction. Together, these curricula motivated and empowered students through independence, social learning, and individualized instruction. This study may guide educators to restructure instruction to individualize learning and more effectively meet the needs of learners.




Student(s):
Jessica Dingman

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez and Dr. Ian Scheu
Effects of Extracurricular Sports on Academic Achievement

Many students are enrolled in extracurricular sports early in life. The quantitative research project was developed to examine the relationship between the participation in extracurricular sports and its influence on the mathematical performance of kindergarten students. The participants (N=22) were kindergarten students from a public elementary school. The design of the study examined scores from a math assessment given to the students who participated in sports and scores of the students who did not participate in a sport. Of the 21 students assessed, only one student was considered below grade level. The data was analyzed through a statistical t-test. Results presented no significant difference between the two groups’ achievement scores. This is not a significant finding due to the small sample size, further research would indicate if the participation in sports was either detrimental or beneficial in consideration to student achievement in math.




Student(s):
Talesia Dobin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Religion in World History Classrooms

History is the study of both culture and the development of human expansion in our world. To create a deeper understanding of mankind’s progress, the study of religion is a significant component. Religion, however, is not widely discussed in the public school classroom due to numerous factors. These factors include the separation of church and state as well as personal belief systems and regulations. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions history teachers possess when addressing religion within their classrooms. This qualitative study, encompassing the experiences of both middle school and high school teachers, examined the advantages and challenges of including global religion in the classroom. Based upon participant perceptions and experiences, two overarching themes were uncovered: 1) religion is crucial to the study and understanding of history, and 2) religion is addressed most effectively in secondary history courses through a neutral and educational standpoint.




Student(s):
Erica Dubois

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
Video Modeling

Classroom structure and routine help establish a successful learning environment. For individuals with the diagnosis of Down syndrome, teaching basic rules within a structured classroom environment can be challenging. Video Modeling uses behavioral intervention to teach students the desirable steps to complete a task or request. The quantitative study sought to determine the effects Video Modeling had on reducing non-compliant behaviors in elementary aged students with Down syndrome. During classroom instruction, the researcher presented a Video Modeling clip three times a day to the students that explained basic transition routines. The research indicated that Video Modeling had a significant positive effect on the students’ ability to follow classroom routine and rules.




Student(s):
Elisa Duffy

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Do Clickers Improve Student Learning in Fourth-Grade Science?

Today’s students are accustomed to using technology in every aspect of life, requiring educators to keep the students interested by integrating technology within the lessons. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the use of clickers and fourth-grade achievement in science at a suburban elementary school in California. The quantitative research used a quasi-experimental design, consisting of two groups of students (n=53). One group utilized clickers during instruction; the other did not. Both classes completed a pretest, participated in a four-week unit, and took a post test. The study indicated that significant learning gains were made in both classrooms, regardless of clicker use. This research suggests that clickers may be an effective method of increasing student achievement when combined with solid instructional pedagogy. The study contributes to the literature by exploring the effect of clickers on student learning in an elementary classroom.




Student(s):
Andres Duran

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Janice Tucker
The Journey to Becoming Educational Leaders: A Qualitative Study about Former Migrant Students

Against all odds, Migrant Educational Leaders are the exception to the norm. Their resiliency earned them positions as educational leaders by persevering through obstacles and adversity. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the factors that former migrant students encountered which allowed them to succeed in completing higher education, ultimately becoming leaders in education. This study was conducted using a phenomenological approach in which directors, administrators, counselors and teachers were recruited using a purposeful sampling method. The results of the interviews found that there was not a single factor which allowed former migrant students to succeed, but rather a combination of support systems which included family, counselors, teachers, clubs, sororities, and friends, all of which played significant but differing roles as they transcended through their educational trajectory. These findings suggest that educational leaders must address their services at the appropriate time when servicing migrant students and families.




Student(s):
Briseida Favela
and Dr. Maura Martindale

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Implementation of CCSS: The Use of Academic Spoken English Vocabulary by Teachers of the Deaf

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were recently established by the US Department of Education (2010), creating uniform educational standards for all US public school students (Common Core State Standard Initiative, 2012a). One aspect of the new standards is that students will understand and use academic language and vocabulary within academic content areas (Kendall, 2011). Current research on the understanding and use of English vocabulary for students who are deaf and hard of hearing consistently indicates that this population knows and reads fewer words than their typically hearing peers (Ormel, Gijsel, Hermans, Bosman, Knoors & Verhoeven, 2010). How much academic vocabulary are teachers of the deaf currently using during instruction of informational text? This quantitative study investigated the use of academic vocabulary by teachers of the deaf in sessions with elementary-age students with hearing loss, before and after a professional development program designed for them.




Student(s):
Jamie Garelik

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
A Positive Classroom Climate Will Help Alleviate Bullying in the Classroom

Bullying is a concern that affects teachers and students. As such, it’s essential for educators to create a positive classroom climate. Specifically, the research question is: How does a teacher’s perception of bullying influence her ability to foster a positive classroom climate? The purpose of this study was to uncover strategies from one exemplary teacher who fosters student confidence. Rather than ignore incidents of bullying, a teacher must use a variety of tools to prevent the problem. Findings from this qualitative case study indicate strategies were developed and implemented to establish a positive atmosphere. By observing and interviewing one exemplary third-grade teacher, I was able to generate a more complete picture of how a positive classroom can positively influence a child’s self-esteem. The data presented information that expressed the need to create an inviting classroom where students can flourish and become self-confident members of society.




Student(s):
Jane Hankins

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Touch Ability: Accessible Toys, Games, and Puzzles for People who are Deaf-blind

This exploratory qualitative study will look at how a group of people with combined vision and hearing loss evaluate a series of toys, games, and puzzles that have been designed specifically for children and adults who are deaf-blind. Deaf-blindness is a low-incidence disability which is often underserved. Objects utilized by people who are only deaf or only blind are frequently inadequate for those with dual sensory impairments. These items were created, based upon the unique abilities and needs of this population, to positively impact their education, communication, and socialization. The participants in the study will be adults who are deaf-blind attending the International Deaf-Blind Expo in Las Vegas in the summer of 2014. Through semi-structured interviews, they will evaluate these toys, games, and puzzles based on accessibility, educational value, enjoyment, and the ability to promote social interaction, and discuss their own experiences with both inclusion and isolation.




Student(s):
Timothy Harrison

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Edlyn Pena
Persistence through a Promise

Title – Exploring the Effects Financial and Institutional Aid has on Low-Income Latinos Participating in the Ventura College Promise Program Purpose - In what ways does participation in the Ventura College Promise program support the enrollment and persistence of low-income Latino community college students? Methods - Research Design: Qualitative Case Study Epistemological Assumptions: Constructivist Paradigm Selection of Case: VC Promise program Participant: 10 Low-income Latinos Data Collection: Interviews; Focus Group Session; Institutional Documents; Archival Records Analysis: Miles & Huberman Interactive Model Results - VCP encouraged participation in higher education by reducing the financial barrier, it enhanced affective attributes that contribute to student success, and it facilitated students’ achievement of their academic goal to persist. Implications: Policy - State funding to support programs. Practice – A Promise program for Ventura County to all colleges in the county. Future Research: Qualitative study on all ethnic and socioeconomic groups Quantitative study on institutional scholarship programs across California or the US.




Student(s):
Deanna Heikkinen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education

American higher education is often criticized for providing a low-quality education to students (J. Minners, 2012; J. Marcus, 2013). It is the absence of intellectual diversity that leads to a lack of critical thinking skills, as students are taught not to question ideas, and in many cases, to accept that there is no such thing as objective knowledge (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2006). The purpose of my study was to understand professors’ perceptions of intellectual diversity in public, four-year colleges and universities. With this in mind, I conducted a qualitative case study research design that consisted of three in-depth interviews with full-time professors. Themes ranged from political bias to curricular and extra curricular issues on campuses and will provide insight to promote best practices regarding intellectual diversity for institutions of higher education.




Student(s):
Rana Hijaz

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Bullying in Schools, Teachers Perceptions and Responses

According to Mishna, Scarcello, Pepler & Wiener (2005), "Teachers can have a large impact on the daily lives of their students. Their impact includes recognizing and responding to bullying incidents and implementing intervention programs" (p.721). Bullying is a serious matter that continues to transpire in schools. It affects students academically and emotionally. Teachers play an immense role in the lives of their students. As such, it’s imperative to understand how educators perceive and respond to bullying situations that occur in class. My research question is, how do elementary teachers’ perceptions of bullying influence their recognition and response to incidents of bullying in the classroom? This study used a quantitative approach in the form of an online survey and included educators in grades 3-5. The results of this study will indicate if a teacher's perception of bullying plays a role in recognizing and responding to incidents of bullying in the classroom.




Student(s):
Jayme Johnson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
Technology Related Professional Development Models in Independent School Settings

Lawless and Pellegrino (2007) believed that the “real” digital divide, not addressed in current literature, is students having access to teachers who are skilled at integrating technology into curriculum in meaningful ways. In order to produce skilled teachers, we must not only provide technology related professional development, but be able to look critically at these programs, including the type of professional development and methods used for its analysis and evaluation. This study examined models of technology related professional development offered in one K-6 independent school and evaluated their effect of on teacher perception of efficacy in creating and delivering technology infused curriculum. Using a qualitative, case study research design, the goal of this study was to inform independent schools as to how various models of professional development are perceived by faculty members so that new, more effective, or alternative models of technology related professional development may be implemented.




Student(s):
Kathryn Johnson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
The Effect of Classical Music on Academic Performance in a Middle School Social Science Class.

The purpose of this study was to investigate one method of improving student academic performance in a middle school social science class with the application of classical music during testing. The research design was a quantitative study that consisted of seventy-two participants (N=72). Two classes of 36 comprised the control and experimental groups. The experimental group was exposed to classical music during testing; the control group was not. The numerical data was analyzed with a t-test. The results indicated that classical music played during testing did not have a statistically significant impact on academic performance. An unexpected observation was that the experimental group was far more relaxed during testing. The impact of a more relaxed student population could be beneficial in improving student academic performance and warrants further research.




Student(s):
Jody Kirby

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Self-Determinism in IEP Goal Setting for Learners with Disabilities

The purpose of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is to give learners goals with which to further their growth inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. IDEA (2004) mandates that learners with disabilities participate in IEP meetings when appropriate. This study looked at learners’ (K-5) levels of self- determinism in regards to the goals listed in their Individualized Education Plan. It looked at what impact Voice and Choice made in how learners participated in those goals and the effect this had on their ability to determine new academic goals for themselves. There is a lack of literature on Voice and Choice and the impact this may have on furthering self-determinism in IEP goal setting. The purpose of this study was to determine if learners were able and interested in participating in their own goals and objectives as written in their IEPs.




Student(s):
Wendy Koi

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominquez
Examine Teacher Characteristics: Improving Student Engagement in Secondary Math Classrooms

The purpose of the qualitative action research study was to investigate the relationship between engagement levels and achievement gaps with 10th and 11th grade Algebra 1.5 students. The study also sought to determine the effect teacher characteristics had on the relationship between students’ perception of the teacher and student achievement. The study consisted of multi-level survey questions and participant interviews. It was determined that the ideal teacher characteristics were interpersonal qualities and communication skills; however, teacher fashion styles were the least important. It was also determined that the participants were highly engaged when the teacher spent individual time to help and tutor students.




Student(s):
Krysten Kruse

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Motivating Middle School Students with Disabilities to Read

Reading is one of the most essential elements of education. However, as students enter into Middle School they show a decline in their motivation to read. This is especially true for students with learning disabilities. The purpose of this study was to examine how effective proven reading motivation strategies for students without disabilities were for students with disabilities. The participants were given a 27 question pre-test to assess their current level of reading motivation. Then they were given an intervention that included pro-social interactions, reading choice, and computer-based mediation. After the intervention, a post-test was given to reassess for reading motivation. The scores from the tests were compared to determine if the strategies used were effective in increasing the motivation to read among middle school students with disabilities.




Student(s):
Stephanie Lauer

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Bridging the Gap from Middle School to High School: Tools and Strategies for a Successful Transition

Students are met with many challenges as they make the move from middle school to high school. To effectively navigate this difficult transition, students need to implement a variety of skills and strategies. The purpose of this research was to focus on a particular transitional program that concentrates on a clearly stated curriculum and presents students with opportunities to develop strategies that will guide them to a successful school experience. The design of this qualitative study used a purposeful convenience sampling method of formative assessment. The instrument used in this research included an open-ended questionnaire given to teachers who were then asked to identify areas within the program that they felt had the greatest impact on student achievement. By presenting students with opportunities to develop strategies that they can use on a daily basis, an effective ninth-grade transition program may help these young learners make this difficult move successfully.




Student(s):
Julieth Leon

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Perception of Educators in Home-Based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Early Intervention Programs

Early intervention programs are designed to be administered in home settings. Instruction to the families in natural settings is specific to the education of infants and toddlers with disabilities in order to fulfill IDEA Part C (2004). Educators in early intervention programs need to be prepared and have expertise working with families, external factors, and families’ needs. This mixed-methods study gathered information on educators’ perceptions. A survey was distributed to educators in early intervention programs who are currently teaching families of infants and toddlers with hearing loss. It included background experiences prior to entering the field, university pre-service preparation in early intervention, and additional professional development. Quantitative data showed information regarding the adequacy of university pre-service preparation. Qualitative data revealed themes on background experiences, professional development and families’ external factors.




Student(s):
Jessica Lopez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
Toddlers with Hearing Loss & Center-Based Services

The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of center-based services for toddlers with hearing loss by measuring expressive language of the children. The qualitative study was designed to calculate each child’s expressive language through a Mean Length of Utterance. The participants of the study were toddlers ages 18-36 months and their parents who received center-based services in an urban setting. The study included parent interviews to identify factors that may affect the child’s language acquisition as a result of center-based services. It was expected that toddler participants would demonstrate language growth. It was also expected that parent interviews would suggest reduced opportunities to target language development in the child’s natural environment due to the unique challenges of living in an urban setting. Overall, it was expected that center-based services would provide toddlers with an increased opportunity to expand their expressive language and overall development.




Student(s):
Michelle Lopez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Utilizing “Applied Behavior Analysis” Techniques for a Student with Intellectual Disability

The issue of disruptive behavior displayed by students with intellectual disabilities is a problematic concern for special education teachers. The quantitative, single subject case study examined how “Applied Behavior Analysis” (ABA) techniques helped to improve time on task for direct instruction. The wealth of previous ABA research has been focused on participants on the Autism Spectrum. However, students with intellectual disabilities, who are identified with low cognition according to psychological assessments, have not been sufficiently studied. This research used a measurement, treatment, measurement design to analyze one student’s disruptive behavior prior to ABA intervention, and post ABA intervention. The behaviors were shown to decrease post intervention.




Student(s):
Kylie Lukes

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Scheu
Cooperative Learning in a Middle School Mathematics Classroom & its Affects on Academic Achievement

The proposed study seeks to explore the effects that cooperative learning in a mathematics classroom has on the mindset and level of learning of students. The purpose of this study is to determine if students will develop a higher understanding of math concepts through cooperative learning activities. The research design is both quantitative and qualitative. The design of the study will consist of one seventh grade class who will participate in these activities. The participants (N=36) are adolescent males and females (ages 11-13) from a suburban public middle school. It is expected that students will be more engaged and interested in the lesson, which will improve their ideas towards math. It is also expected that students will reach a higher level of understanding of the material.




Student(s):
Vi Ly

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
Lived Experiences of Immigrant College Presidents

The purpose of this narrative study is to explore the lived experiences and motivations that propelled six American immigrants to become president of American higher education institutions. This study focused particularly on non-native English speaking immigrants to examine if accent or lack of native fluency posed a challenge to their journey and leadership. The research relies on in-depth interviews with six participants about their childhood and education experiences in their home country, their immigrant experience in the U.S., and their career pathways toward the college presidency. The stories they told were restoried into a chronological sequence emphasizing place and time. Seven themes emerged from the narratives including two that deal with the participants’ motivations for success. A major finding that may impact presidential hiring policy and presidential search practice is that five out six participants are leading community colleges. Only one participant is heading a four-year public institution.




Student(s):
Kathryn McGee

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Scheu
The Effects of Explicit Writing Instruction on Students with Learning Disabilities

The proposed study seeks to explore the effectiveness of evidence based writing instruction for students with learning disabilities. The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of writing intervention and explicit evidence based instruction on the expressive writing skills of students with learning disabilities. This study includes six adolescent students enrolled in an 11th grade specialized academic instruction English class in Southern California who will receive writing intervention following the SRSD model for a two-week period. Quantitative data will be gathered through pre and post literary analyses essays. Rubric scores will be interpreted using descriptive statistics to determine if the intervention improved the overall writing skills of the students. The anticipated outcome of the study is evidence based writing intervention following the SRSD model will improve the writing quality of students with learning disabilities. The finding will not be statistically significant due to the small sample size.




Student(s):
Susana Medina

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Parental Involvement: Successful Stories of English Language Learners

How does parental involvement make a difference in the academic life of second language learners? In this qualitative study the researcher interviewed the parents of three English Language Learners [ELLs] who are enrolled in a public school receiving English Language Development Services [ELDS], and who are currently assisting catechism classes at a local parish. The interviews provided vital information that revealed how parental involvement at home (e.g. parents inquiring about daily homework and school work) and actively participating in school activities (e.g. parent conferences, open house, etc.) encouraged second language learners to strive to learn English as second language and whose academic goals extend beyond the barriers of acquiring a second language.




Student(s):
Betrina Moore-Southall

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
The Experience of African-American Students in Elite, Predominately White Independent Schools

Ethnic diversity in independent schools is a relatively new concept. Historically, independent schools have served an affluent, white population (Brosnan, 2011). As an alternative to public schools, independent schools provide a network of educated, wealthy proprietors with premiere access to select opportunities. Due to a limited number enrolled in such schools, the experience of African Americans offers a distinct voice. The purpose of this research is to explore the experience of African Americans in predominately white independent schools (PWIS) and discover what role the PWIS plays in student success academically, psychologically, and socially. This qualitative case study is rooted in the experiences of three African American students who have graduated from an independent school and are in college. The findings from this study will ultimately serve to equip PWIS with tools to best serve their population.




Student(s):
Salvador Narez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Perceptions of Retired Teachers on Ability Grouping

In secondary education, students are often placed in classrooms based upon their abilities. This, in turn, leads to ability grouping. The purpose of this study was to analyze the perceptions of retired teachers about the methods used in the placement and tracking of students. This qualitative study was conducted through a series of interviews with retired teachers from both public and private schools to gather significant insight and understanding about the various factors that contribute to ability grouping and its impact on student achievement. The results of this study can be used to provide officials with additional data that may support a more student-centered approach to classroom placement decisions that are designed to foster academic success for all learners.




Student(s):
Brooke Peterson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
The Effects of Block Scheduling on Passing Rates for Remedial Students

The study explored the effectiveness of remedial block scheduling on passing rates for state standardized tests. It was developed to determine if increasing the time spent in class led to a significant increase in overall passing rates on the Texas End-of-Course (EOC) Writing II exam for remedial students. The research design was quantitative. The design of the study included one group of participants who were all enrolled in a remedial block class after having failed the EOC exam at least one time. The participants (N=76) were all sophomores or juniors from a Mexico-Texas border town high school. The study indicated that enrollment in a remedial block class had a positive effect on overall scaled scores, an increase in multiple-choice scores, and an increase in total points scored on the written composition. This study suggests that remedial block scheduling may be an effective response-to-intervention strategy.




Student(s):
Karina Romero

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
English Learners and Teacher Connectedness

As the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in California’s public schools continues to rise, education officials strive to seek answers as to how to close the achievement gap between ELLs and their English-speaking peers in core subjects. One area to consider is the emotional and social connection that ELLs feel toward their educators and how that connection impacts their academic success. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between secondary English Language Learner’s feelings of teacher connectedness and their grades in English. This study was conducted using a survey design, quantitative in nature. Approximately 30 secondary ELLs enrolled in a general English class completed the survey, reporting their feelings of teacher connectedness with their English teacher and sharing their semester grades in English.




Student(s):
Tiffany Sahli

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
Transition into the Workforce: Social Skills & Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Since 1911, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has increased. However, determining appropriate educational strategies for individuals diagnosed with ASD has improved over time. Although a plethora of studies regarding children with ASD are available, few address the disorder as it relates to adults, even fewer with regard to transition into adulthood.
The proposed study explores the development of social skills and its impact on individuals with ASD when transitioning into the workforce. The purpose of the study is to determine whether individuals with ASD benefit from structured social skills interventions when transitioning into the workforce. Through a set of interviews, a small population with ASD details their experiences with social skills courses. Each participant also provides personal insight on whether or not these structured interventions lead to successful transition into the workforce.




Student(s):
Kathleen Scott

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
The Impact of English Accelerated Instruction on Student Achievement in the Community College

The majority of California community college students are required to take remedial courses. Additionally, only 30% of community college students complete a degree, certificate or transfer within 6 years. To improve completion rates, colleges must help students reach college-level proficiency more quickly. Many colleges have implemented accelerated instruction in response to this need. While some quantitative research has been conducted in this area, little qualitative research has been done. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of students enrolled in accelerated basic skills English courses where the curriculum had been redesigned in conjunction with the California Acceleration Project (CAP). Data included classroom observations, focus groups, and journal entries. Findings indicated that students were successful with a high-level, relevant curriculum in which reading and writing were integrated and where significant amounts of instructor support were provided.




Student(s):
Roxanne Sharkey

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
The Effects of a Mnemonic Device in Classroom Instruction with Elementary School Students

The Effects of a Mnemonic Device in Classroom Instruction with Elementary School Students with a Hearing Loss

Mnemonic devices and their effects on recall have widely been researched in classroom settings. Studies have shown improvement of academics with the support of mnemonics. However, there is a lack of research with mnemonic devices in a special education setting. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a mnemonic device affects eight and nine year old students' academic recall and who use listening and spoken language. Using a one group pretest and posttest quantitative research design, this study investigated the effect of an image mnemonic device on students' academic recall. A researcher-created treatment plan was provided to the students and data was collected from the pretest, informal assessments, and posttest. The data was analyzed to determine if an increase in means occurred between the pre and post tests.




Student(s):
Joshua Steiner

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
How do PE Course Options Impact Student Participation?

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect allowing middle school students choice in their Physical Education class had on their class participation. The qualitative research study consisted of different skill level students who engaged in a survey. The participants (N=30) were adolescent males and females (age 12-14) who attended a low-income middle school. It was predicted that students who were not athletic would not participate and would not choose be in an honor Physical Education class. It was also predicted that the students would want to be in a wellness class; however, students who were athletic would choose to enroll in an honor Physical Education class.




Student(s):
Bobby Swain

Faculty Mentor:
Janice Tucker
Gang Presence on Campus as an Indicator of Cohort’s Secondary and Post-Secondary Performance

This study investigated the relationship between gang presence and secondary, post-secondary performance by tracking 16,197 tenth graders for six years. Research questions were: What is the relationship between gang presence on campus and (a) secondary academic achievement, (b) transition to post-secondary education, and (c) post-secondary employment and salary level. Variables denoting gang presence, secondary academic achievement, post-secondary enrollment or employment, along with variables controlling for collinearity, and participant/school interaction were selected from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 data base, for use in statistical analysis. Hierarchal multiple regressions and t-tests were run to determine significance and effect size of the relationship. The strongest significance and effect size was found at the secondary level. Educational leaders should note that participant/school interaction had a strong mitigating effect on personal/school demographics and gang influence, and evidence suggests significance and effect level may reach a tipping point as regards frequency of gang presence.




Student(s):
Shannon Taylor

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
Leading with Purpose: The Relationship between Spiritual Formation and Leadership Development

Religion, faith, spirituality, belief and values; these words are often used synonymously but in definition can have considerably different meanings. In higher education, it is increasingly difficult to delineate these terms and to address their importance for today’s female college student. Because women are entering and graduating from college in record numbers, it is important to study how we are preparing our young women to lead society and to create thriving communities. Utilizing a mixed methods design at a public and a private university, the purpose of this research is to explore the intersection of undergraduate, female spiritual formation and leadership development. Specifically, this research seeks to answer, “In what ways does undergraduate, female spiritual formation influence leadership development?” Spiritual formation is an essential component of the undergraduate, female experience and it is time for colleges and universities to better understand its significance.




Student(s):
Shannon Teague

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
Changes in Attitudes and Perceptions of Physical Education

Past research has found high school students do not enjoy physical activity in physical education classes. This creates a decrease in participation and an increase in negative feelings towards physical education. The psychological aspect of physical education and physical activity has been widely researched. The purpose of this study was to determine if allowing students to voice their opinions about physical education class and give their input on how to make physical activity a more desirable subject had an effect on student motivation. This mixed method study delved into the effects of previous student experiences and how they shaped their attitudes towards physical education. The participants (N=84) were adolescent males and females (ages 14-16). Findings indicated that previous experiences were an important factor in determining a student’s willingness to participate in physical activities.




Student(s):
Tamara Thomsen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
General Education Teachers’ Perceptions of Included Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Approximately 87% of students who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) spend a portion of their day in general education classrooms (Berndsen & Luckner, 2010) with some degree of support from specialized staff in the area of hearing loss. Current literature indicates that general educators’ perceptions of teaching students with special needs depend on many factors. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the perceptions of general education teachers that included students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Data analysis provided a better understanding of the wants and needs of the general education teachers so that D/HH itinerant teachers would be better able to support them. One hundred surveys were returned and the data revealed generally positive perceptions of students with hearing loss, but more targeted and collaborative supports are needed.




Student(s):
Shannon Trefts

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez
Career Aspirations of Transgender College Students at a Four-Year University

This study sought to explain the career aspirations of transgender college students and the barriers perceived to interfere with these objectives. The purpose of the study was to fill a void in the literature surrounding the transgender college student community and their career related experiences. The research design was qualitative in nature utilizing phenomenological methods. Five to seven individuals from one four-year university were the primary participants. Furthermore, psychological phenomenology guided this study as it focused on participant voice rather than researcher interpretation. It is meant to address a gap in the literature and inform administrators, student affairs professionals, faculty members, staff, and students to provide more trans-inclusive college campuses.




Student(s):
Taryn Van Dyke

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Ian Scheu
The Effects of Interactive Whiteboards on Student Achievement

The proposed study aims to discover a potential relationship between technology and student achievement. The purpose of this study is to determine if the use of an interactive whiteboard improves the reading achievement of below grade level kindergarten students. The study follows a non-experimental correlational research design, in which the researcher will collect quantitative data to measure a possible relationship between the interactive whiteboard and student achievement. The design includes assessing a group of students on two reading skills, before and after two reading lessons. One skill will be taught through the use of an interactive whiteboard, while the other skill will be taught without an interactive whiteboard. The participants (N=9) are below grade level kindergarten students from an elementary school in a suburban area in Southern California (ages 5-6). It is expected that the interactive whiteboard will have a positive impact on the students’ reading achievement.




Student(s):
Jennifer Vasquez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Helping Students with Hearing Loss Develop Time Concepts

Understanding the abstract concepts of time can be difficult for students with hearing loss. This difficulty can impact the student’s ability to understand and use verb tenses, understand terms such as “past” and “future,” and grasp historical and geologic concepts. A student without a fundamental understanding of the passage of time may feel frustrated and powerless due to the inability to put events in order or make predictions for future events. This study is designed to field test a curriculum to teach students with challenges the basic concepts of time. Students with hearing loss in the fourth and fifth grade, with a demonstrated lack of awareness of basic time concepts, were chosen to receive four weeks of instruction on a specific list of time concepts, and the results of pre- and post-tests were reviewed to gauge the efficacy of the treatment.




Student(s):
Raven Vilardo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Teacher’s Perceptions of Multigrade Classrooms

The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover the perceptions of teachers in K-5 settings who have taught in multigrade classrooms. There is limited research on special educators’ attitudes and opinions of multigrade classrooms. The years of classroom experience of the participants in this study ranged from 1 to 20 years. Methodology was an open-ended researcher-created questionnaire. Sample questions included how long the educator had been teaching, in what kind of multigrade classroom they taught, what strategies they used in respect to behavior management, and their perceptions of their classroom experiences in regard to support they received and/or felt they needed. The researcher submitted a written list of 10 questions to the participants. Previous research had shown that most teachers had a negative perception of being multigrade educators (Mulryan-Kyne, 2004). The data collected was transcribed and coded to discover themes in the participants’ responses.




Student(s):
Nancy Wada-Mckee

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino
The Invisible Third: Staff Perceptions of Organizational Culture

Understanding campus culture is essential to effectively facilitate the persistence of underrepresented minority students (URMs) (Tierney, 1992, 2008). However, literature has focused primarily on how administrators and faculty perceive and act within the campus culture. There is a dearth of research on front line staff, the invisible third of employees. This study examined the perceptions of front line staff of their organizational culture and how their perceptions affect their ability to support URMs. Case study research was conducted at a midsized public university with a high percentage of URMs. Interviews revealed themes of empathy, integrity and empowerment in their support of students. These attributes, plus their work ethic and astute perceptions of their organizational culture, contributed to networks which help students gain social capital and success (Stanton-Salazar, 1991, 2011). Recommendations include involving staff in an institutional mission of student success, including them in problem solving, and validating their contributions.




Student(s):
Ryan Watson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
The Importance of Individualization: Alternative Education as a path to Academic Success

As the curriculum and overall structure of education changes, there are often instances where students will encounter obstacles to graduation. These barriers can be academic or personal, but they often lead to the realization that an alternative path to graduation may be necessary. As alternative schools become more popular, it becomes important to understand the role of these schools. However, the purpose of these programs is often misunderstood by the general public and the students who attend alternative schools. Therefore, the goal of this study is to provide first-hand accounts of student experiences and their opinions about the alternative school they attend. Drawing from in-depth interviews, this narrative study reveals the importance of alternative schools through the voices of the students who attend them and offers valuable insights for all educational stakeholders.




Student(s):
Jeff Westendorf

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maura Martindale
Enhancing Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Abilities to Participate in Physical Education.

Students who are deaf and hard of hearing and want to join a Physical Education classroom often must confront a variety of challenges. Potential issues facing students with hearing loss are: lack of an adequate physical education curriculum, insufficient professional supports, and communication difficulties with others such as their peers. (Stewart, 1991) The purpose of the study was to investigate parents’ perspectives or concerns regarding K-12 students with hearing loss in the areas of physical education. Semi-structured interview will be conducted, and the data will be transcribed and coded. Each interview included 15 questions and was transcribed to discover themes, trends and relevant data from the interviews.




Student(s):
Dawn Wilson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Carlos Dominguez and Dr. Ian Scheu
Teachers’ Perceptions on Transitioning from CSS to CCSS

The proposed study explores teachers’ perceptions while transitioning from California State Standards to Common Core State Standards. The purpose of this study is to determine how much support teachers were given during the transition and how they felt about making the transition to Common Core State Standards. The research design is action research with qualitative data. The design of the study will consist of interviews with teachers who are currently going through the process of transitioning to Common Core State Standards. The participants (N=5) are female teachers (ages 30 – 60) of varying ethnicities, from school districts in southern California coastal cities. It is expected that teachers had varying experiences with some of the teachers feeling supported by their school districts through professional development, while other teachers did not feel supported.




Student(s):
Alyssa Young

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Maureen Lorimer
The Effects of Arts Integration in the Social Studies Curriculum

As the current educational shift has driven classrooms to become standards heavy and test based, little time has been dedicated to the arts and social studies. However, the need for these subjects to be taught is evident. Through arts integration, students gain cultural awareness and develop a deeper historical understanding of the time-period they are studying. This qualitative research study, designed to monitor the influence of arts integration on student interest and understanding of fifth-grade social studies curriculum, took place in a low-income classroom. While studying the events leading to the American Revolution, I provided instruction and monitored student participation with and without art integration over a one-month period. Drawing from teacher observation notes and student interviews, the collected data were examined to uncover the positive impact of the visual and performing arts on student interest and meaningful understanding of subject matter.




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