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Book
xiii, 190 leaves, bound.
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Book
1 online resource.
This dissertation, a multiple case study of five long-term English learners (LTELs), problematizes the prevalent interpretation that their low standardized reading test scores are evidence of their "limited English proficiency." Rather than relying on this predominant assumption, I spent a year examining five high school LTELs' reading practices in biology and English language arts through ethnographic observations, interviews, think-alouds, and the collection of selected documents. Both my data collection and the subsequent analysis were informed by a conceptualization of reading as a social practice. This perspective recognizes reading, as measured on standardized tests, as a cultural product that reflects particular sociocultural ways of making meaning with texts. The analysis, which relied primarily on iterative coding and analytic memoing, led to a multifaceted representation of the five focal students' reading practices. The findings indicate that the focal students were inexperienced with the kinds of reading tasks that they encountered on standardized assessments of reading. In particular, they were unaccustomed to autonomous and silent reading of disciplinary texts. Moreover, students' beliefs about reading reflected what previous research has described as "more passive" ideas about comprehension. Nevertheless, during think-alouds, students demonstrated the ability to engage in comprehension strategies that are prized by the research literature. In summary, these findings suggest that the interpretive focus on English proficiency obscures the students' English-speaking identities and ignores multiple factors beyond language proficiency that influence the way they construct meaning with texts. Specifically, the results suggest that the five focal students' difficulties with reading are not unique to ELs and highlight the importance of their in-school experiences with reading. The implications of this research are integral to research, policy, and practice that seek to create more appropriate instructional environments for LTELs.
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Book
1 online resource.
Private philanthropic foundations are perennially controversial actors within public policy contexts, and their influence within U.S. education policy has increased over the last several decades, yet their actions in the public sphere have received limited empirical and theoretical attention. This dissertation presents a cross-case comparative analysis of four influential foundations active in the field of K-12 public education. I determine that these foundations have fundamentally different values regarding their roles as policy actors. These contrasting values represent two distinct modes of engagement, which I describe as economic and political approaches. I also find that four distinct organizational norms influence whether foundations predominantly align with an economic or political approach. These norms include the foundations' loci of control, problem orientation, preferred policy actors, and expectations regarding results. I use these empirical findings to explore key questions regarding the influence of foundations as private actors within public education.
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Book
1 online resource.
Historical feature films are regularly nominated for Oscars, grossing billions of dollars in revenue, and are consumed by the public more frequently than history books (Rosenzweig & Thelen, 1998). Film is also popular among history teachers and has become a ubiquitous part of the classroom. Teachers tend to use films to get students excited about a topic or present them with background knowledge (Stoddard & Marcus, 2005). But too often these rich interpretations of the past go unquestioned, unanalyzed, and unconnected to the disciplinary ends of history. This study informs educators' efforts to integrate film into the classroom. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of film on struggling readers' ability to comprehend historical primary sources. In this study, students read two letters written by a black Civil War soldier and responded to questions about each letter to measure their comprehension. Prior to reading each letter, participants were given either a film scene or a textbook equivalent with relevant background information. After reading each letter, participants responded to a series of questions designed to measure their comprehension. This study asked the following questions: 1. Can viewing a film scene help struggling readers to comprehend the literal meaning of the text; and/or make inferences related to and which go beyond the text? 2. How does the content and characteristics of a scene influence struggling readers' comprehension of a related primary source? 3. How do adolescence make sense of historical feature films? What do they understand and misunderstand? What parts of a scene resonate with young people? Participants' responses to the questions were evaluated. No significant differences were found between the film and textbook conditions. However, there were intriguing differences in the patterns of response that give rise to a variety of hypothesis about the influence of film on literacy and historical understanding. Additionally, participant comments revealed patterns of interaction with film that were not anticipated prior to this study. This study offers no conclusive evidence for the benefits of film on reading comprehension. If anything, it provides insight into how film can both help and thwart comprehension. This study offers a framework for teachers and researchers to evaluate the potential negative and positive influence that background information has on comprehension. Finally, this study hopes to lay the foundation for pedagogical practices that support teachers' discerning use of film in the history classroom and beyond.
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1 online resource.
This study attempts to place the current standards-based accountability movement in historical perspective by understanding it as the latest attempt in a century of effort to define the appropriate outcomes of public education. Approaching this topic from the vantage point of legal history, I examine three specific cases—compulsory school laws in the 19th century, the creation of the GED in the 1940s, and the minimum-competency testing movement of the 1970s—to develop an argument about the cyclical quality of the development, enforcement, and outcomes of the continual search for workable education standards. Drawing on evidence from a wide variety of sources including archival materials, legal records, and print media, I argue that this cycle is driven by moments of crisis brought about by the uncertainty inherent in mass public education and disagreements about the purpose of schooling. These crises are followed by a search for a new standard that can bring certainty and stability to the task of enforcing minimum standards. The solutions that are forged in these moments—created through legislative action or judicial ruling—achieve the necessary certainty at the price of narrowing the goals of schooling. Each of the minimum standards considered in this study—compulsory schooling laws; the GED; and exit examinations—were a byproduct of the complexity of a mass public education system and the tensions between the public and private value of schooling. Even as public schools produced advantage for individual students, the public at large had to be reassured that schools were also producing at least minimally educated citizens. The standards under examination in this dissertation were each a necessary part of convincing the public that schools were upholding their presumed responsibilities for producing the socially beneficial aspects of schooling. In the late nineteenth century, compulsory schooling laws were an important part of reassuring the public that all children received the benefit of the education system that had been provided at great public expense. After World War II, the GED allowed colleges and employers to have confidence that returning veterans had 'earned' their diplomas through a rigorous examination rather than as a handout for their military service. During the 1970's the implementation of minimum competency testing allayed fears that the quality of schools was slipping and that diplomas were too frequently given for "time served" rather than knowledge learned. The need to develop metrics that could be easily measured and monitored from afar had a significant impact on each of the cases examined in this study: it led judges in the late 19th century to define the purpose of compulsory schooling as requiring a number of days of attendance rather than an amount of learning; it convinced policymakers in the 1940s to accept a GED that measured only the schooling outcomes that were easily captured by a standardized test; and it allowed judges to validate policies that made diplomas contingent on passing "exit exams" on the assumption tests could serve as the sole measure of "minimum competence" and were more reliable than "subjective" teacher grades. In all three instances, the adopted measure did not address subjective skills, like reasoning, synthesizing, formulating conclusions, but rather strictly objective, fact-based knowledge that could be measured and seen through scores on multiple choice tests. Examining this history, then, provides insights into our ongoing effort to shore up confidence in public schooling through the development and enforcement of minimum standards. In fulfilling the effort to establish both an educational standard and a legal standard of enforcement, the legislators and judges had to find a balance between confronting the messy realities of the education process and providing a credible standard that could be reliably enforced. These were the sacrifices required to achieve certain standards. Understanding the trade-offs inherent in these kinds of efforts is crucial, not only to understanding the historical development of public education, but also for understanding the full implications of contemporary policy that seeks to expand greatly the role of standards and tests in American education.
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1 online resource.
This dissertation is concerned with civic development—the process by which young people come to see themselves as part of broader society—among immigrant-origin youth in the United States. The topic is investigated through a series of three related studies. In the first paper, I show how civic motivations and barriers are derived from experiences youth have in their developmental contexts of their schools and communities. Findings point to variation in levels of civic participation and types of motivations within context. These findings have important implications for practice; opportunities can be better structured to facilitate youth civic involvement when adults understand what motivates youth toward civic participation. Findings from the second paper suggested the power of discrimination on civic development. Groups of immigrant-origin youth who perceived the highest levels of discrimination reported the lower endorsement of civic attitudes compared to groups perceiving lower levels of discrimination. At the same time, the groups perceiving the most discrimination reported the highest levels of involvement in certain types of civic activities: change-oriented activities and expressive activities. The pattern of results held true after controlling for demographics such as parental education, gender, school, and ethnicity. This is a provocative finding suggesting that the experience of racial discrimination might be both alienating and also motivating for immigrant-origin youth. The third paper tackled both methodological and conceptual issues in immigrant youth research. Measurement invariance was established for six civic attitude measures indicating that the survey instrument functions similarly for youth from different immigrant status groups. In terms of mean differences on civic attitudes, first generation youth were the most optimistic about the hypothetical functioning of the US government and American ideals; however, non-immigrants felt the most personally attached to the USA. These group differences by generational status remained after accounting for ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Together, the three papers contribute to understanding the specific experiences important in civic development among immigrant-origin youth as well as point to areas where future work is needed.
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1 online resource.
This dissertation proceeds as three separate but related papers. Each works to investigate the importance of the many steps required to enroll in college such as taking the right courses in high school, taking the SAT or ACT, and ultimately completing college applications. The first paper looks descriptively at how students move through the steps to four-year college enrollment. Few studies have examined the steps to college enrollment between college aspiration and college enrollment and how these steps might present a barrier to four-year college enrollment. This study used data from the Education Longitudinal Study: 2002 and employed a multivariate random effects logistic framework to examine the completion of nine steps to enrollment based on student background characteristics and the completion of prior steps. Racial and family income gaps in step completion can be mostly accounted for by differences in academic preparation. Accounting for social and cultural capital reduced, but did not eliminate, remaining gaps. Finally, completion of early steps strongly predicts completion of later steps, though this momentum appeared much stronger for White students than Black or Hispanic ones. The findings suggest college coaching programs should target students early in their high school careers and work to foster college aspirations and provide information about steps to college enrollment. The second paper considers the college enrollment effects of state-required SAT and ACT testing. Since 2001 Colorado, Illinois, and Maine have all enacted policies that require high school juniors to take college entrance exams—the SAT or the ACT. One goal of these policies was to increase college enrollment based on the belief that requiring students to take these exams would make students more likely to consider college as a viable option. Relying on quasi-experimental methods and synthetic control comparison groups, this article presents the effects of this state-mandated college entrance-exam testing. Based on both state- and individual-level analyses I find evidence that entrance exam policies were associated with increases in overall college enrollment in Illinois and that such policies re-sorted students in all three states between different types of institutions. In particular, Colorado saw an increase in enrollment at private four-year institutions, while Illinois and Maine both saw a decrease in enrollment at pubic two-year institutions. Increases in enrollment at schools that require entrance exams for admissions support the hypothesis that lack of exam scores can present barriers to college entry. The third paper investigates the effect of using the Common Application, a standardized college application form that makes it easier for students to apply to multiple colleges, on students' enrollment decisions. There is little research on how students' college decisions may be influenced by minor facets of the college admission process such as the relative difficulty of completing college applications. I demonstrate that these theoretically minor concerns are, in fact, quite important to the college enrollment process by studying students' use of the Common Application to apply to college. I take advantage of the change in colleges that accept the Common Application between the cohorts of students in the nationally representative NELS and ELS data sets and use an instrumental variables approach to explore the causal effect of the Common Application on students' college enrollment choices and persistence. In theory, the ease of applying to multiple schools through the use of the Common Application has the potential to affect both whether and where students choose to apply to college and, subsequently, the quality of the student-college match. I find evidence that the Common Application does alter students' enrollment choices and has no effect on their likelihood of staying enrolled in college. Thus, despite the enormity of the college decision, small alterations to steps in the college enrollment process can affect high school students' behavior.
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Book
1 online resource.
Education reforms across the country rely on school teams to bring innovative practices to life. In the last decade, these efforts have evolved against a data-rich backdrop, where data fuel decisions about achievement, instruction, and assessment. Many schools focus reform initiatives on data inquiry cycles that expect teacher and administrator teams to examine student work and design, implement, and assess interventions to improve achievement. As collaborative inquiry ascends in prominence as a school "reform engine, " so does the ongoing concern over identifying factors that can support teams' development of networked communities of practice and spread of evidence-based practices and beliefs. This work is extremely challenging and typically requires expert assistance. One crucial and under-explored influence for collaborative inquiry is the strategic role that trained outside facilitators can play in helping teams to grow evidence-based work at their sites. The dissertation explores what links exist between inquiry teams' professional relationships, with one another, trainers, and administrators, and their depth of inquiry implementation. In order to understand changes in teams' structure, practices, beliefs, and inquiry spread, data were collected in middle and high schools over three years, as part of a larger study in a large urban district in the northeastern United States. The schools were participating in a Data and Leadership Program (DLP), as part of a district-wide collaborative inquiry initiative. Data include repeated focus groups, observations, and semi-structured interviews from 12 representative focal schools, and annual teacher surveys from 77 schools, gathered between 2008 and 2010 from teachers, administrators, and DLP support staff. The study focuses on three large case study high schools within the sample, as previous research suggests that comprehensive high schools provide the most challenging and fertile settings to explore the relative success or failure of inquiry reform. Findings suggest that a strategic facilitator-principal collaboration around inquiry goals, outcomes, and vision is a key driver of inquiry teams' success. Teacher teams are more likely to adopt inquiry practices and beliefs, and develop a network of practice around these, when: 1) teams are heterogeneous with respect to subjects taught and experience, rotate responsibilities among members, and have common planning time dedicated to inquiry; 2) an expert outside inquiry facilitator spends at least two days a week on site and pushes teams to be granular with learning targets and target student groups; 3) the principal distributes leadership and actively supports, legitimizes, and prioritizes inquiry as a vehicle for school change with staff; and 4) assigned individuals or cross-functional data teams support data analysis and dissemination of findings to school staff. With a growing number of districts relying on inquiry-based decision making and instruction, and teams as the projected vehicle to enact this work, this research can help decision makers at different levels guide school improvement efforts.
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1 online resource.
This case study of a small high school demonstrates the effects of principal leadership dispositions and activities on relational trust within a school community and especially between the principal and school faculty. Through an analysis of evidence from site observations and interviews of classroom teachers and site administrators over three school years, the author concludes that the school-based outcomes of data-driven instructional leadership correlate with extant levels of relational trust among faculty, and correlate with the principal's approach to collecting and employing data during the process of school reform. Teacher reports of instructional reform activities as well as student standardized test outcomes and teacher retention data all support the conclusion that teachers are more engaged in professional improvement, work longer days and weeks voluntarily, and adopt a "whatever it takes attitude" towards school reform when led by a principal who builds relational trust by collecting and using data to support teacher professional development, communicate respect for teachers and augment teacher voice and inclusion in site-based decision-making.
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Book
1 online resource.
Emerging adulthood often includes a number of important transitions, moving out of the parental home, and transitioning from life as a student to work. Much research on this period of life focuses on work development; however, the present studies instead focus on self-development more broadly. In order to understand such development, these studies are integrated with a course on life design. Three methodologies are brought to bear, a survey study drawing on measures of well being and goals examining participants and non-participants, an interview study focusing on emerging adults conceptions of morality, and an observational and repeated interview study examining course activities and course participants experiences of and reflections on those activities. These studies demonstrate the relevance of the course to increases in life meaningfulness, personal growth, life decision-making, and moral formation. They also serve to demonstrate new models of goal development and moral development. These findings are then interepreted as they illuminate meaning and emerging adult development.
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1 online resource.
This study aims to make visible the practices of a group of teachers who are part of a community shift in Hawai'i, described here as the "Hawaiian Indigenous Movement for Education and Native Intelligence" (HIMENI). Revitalization of indigenous knowledge systems and practices has grown over the past thirty years in Hawai'i. The aims and outcomes that HIMENI teachers pursue are rooted in Hawaiian worldviews, and are aligned with Hawaiian cultural values; in some cases they differ greatly from the aims of conventional schooling. Study participants were enrolled in an inservice teacher education program and came from diverse schools across the state. During the five-year span of the ethnographic study, eight themes emerged, revealing a values-based conceptual framework that was coherently guiding HIMENI teachers across various learning contexts to strengthen the alignment between their principles and teaching practices. As they led their students through encounters with locally- and globally-valued knowledge, the eight themes helped them navigate change and build new teaching knowledge generatively—through embodied, contextualized knowledge that flowed in conversation with theory to shape practice. The HIMENI teachers' practices and pedagogies show clearly what "generative praxis" can look like, and what it can accomplish; a pedagogical model for generative praxis is proposed. HIMENI teachers cultivate generative praxis through their professional work, and also nurture its growth among their K-12 students. Analysis of the conceptual framework illuminates parallels between locally-recognized concepts and broadly-recognized constructs from the learning sciences that inform teacher practice, such as ecological models of context, embodied cognition, communities of practice, adaptive expertise and design thinking. Generative praxis is also aligned with enduring learning theories such those proposed by Vygotsky, Dewey, Bruner etc. Taken as a whole, the set of practices and processes used by this group of HIMENI teachers may be seen as an instantiation of "generative praxis"—an orientation to knowledge that powerfully promotes context-adaptive, dynamic knowledge development for teachers and learners alike. Standing alongside "content knowledge" and "pedagogical content knowledge"—two widely-recognized categories of knowledge for teaching—generative praxis gives us a new term to describe a third essential knowledge base for teaching: contextualized, iterative knowing-in-action. The teaching profession must acknowledge and cultivate generative praxis (by any name) if teacher educators and teachers are to successfully navigate the rapidly diversifying languages, cultures, knowledge(s) and routes of access to knowledge that are part of US contexts for learning in the 21st century.
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Book
1 online resource.
Higher education is increasingly desired by families because it is seen as an important mechanism of social mobility that allows students to achieve better living standards. However, access to higher education appears consistently correlated with student socioeconomic status (SES). It seems that low-income students face higher barriers in their access to higher education. The lack of prior opportunity to study a curricular program that provides both the quality and content required to proceed to higher education is suggested as the most important barrier. It is worrisome, then, that some low-income, high-performing students who expect to continue to higher education choose programs with lower-level content or quality. This situation is common in educational systems that are stratified into vocational and academic education at the secondary school level (VESL and AESL, respectively). VESL is a curricular program designed to prepare students for work, whereas AESL is designed to prepare students for tertiary education. Given that the rates of return to higher education are usually high and that at the same time the probability of entering higher education is lower for VESL students, it is important to analyze why some high-performing, low-SES students enroll in VESL and what effects result from these decisions. If students' schooling decisions are predicted by cultural factors and if a large gap exists in students' test scores depending on those decisions, a system of stratification could result that reproduces itself over time. This dissertation utilizes the case of Chile to explore the relationship between VESL and the reproduction of inequality. Chile is a highly stratified country, with about 46 percent enrollment in VESL, and where about 70 percent of eight graders expect to go to higher education. This dissertation answers the following questions: 1) Do AESL students academically outperform comparable VESL students at the end of secondary education? 2) Does VESL enrollment correlate with the persistence and performance of students in vocational education at the tertiary level (VETL)? 3) What are the factors related to high-performing, low-income students' choices to attend either VESL or AESL? This study approaches a causal analysis combining propensity score matching and diverse robustness check strategies. It also uses a rich panel of censal data that follows students from eighth grade 2004 to higher education in 2011. In addition, it takes advantage of an ad hoc survey conducted in 2011 by the author. The findings suggest that VESL contributes to the reproduction of inequality for low-SES, high-performance students in Chile; moreover, results suggest that in a highly stratified country without policies that help students to make decisions, choice could also contribute to the reproduction of inequality. Firstly, SES, cultural values, the pressure of the environment, parents' expectations, and self-perception are correlated with enrollment in VESL. In addition, the educational system and public policies do not help students in making good school-career choices. The problem is that these decisions have important implications for performance on the higher education entrance tests and for obtaining funding for higher education. In the basic fields, math and language, the average estimated gap between comparable VESL and AESL students is equivalent to 0.28SD and 0.19SD, respectively. The results also show that high-performance, low-SES VESL students are less likely to go to a bachelor degree program than a comparable student from AESL. In contrast, they are more likely to enter a VETL program. Results also show that VESL students who remain in the same field of study at VETL have higher persistence than students from VESL who change their field of study. However, they tend to have a lower persistence than students from AESL. Hence, due to the important differences in the rates of return, VESL could be distracting and preventing some low-SES, high-performance students from obtaining better incomes, better employability, and better social status, ultimately reducing their social mobility. The corollary from this study is that choice could help to the reproduction of inequality in highly stratified countries. This situation could be reinforced if there are no formal policies to help the choice of the students and their families. Even when this corollary comes from the analysis done in a particular educational level, the extension to decisions done at different points in the educational trajectory is direct.
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Book
32 leaves.
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Book
1 online resource.
The reproduction of inequality across generations, despite the best efforts of schools, and the corresponding achievement gaps by socioeconomic status (SES), are important topics in the field of education. This dissertation identifies a previously unstudied mechanism for the reproduction of inequality along socioeconomic lines: SES friendship segregation in schools. If high-SES students do not form friendships with less well-off students, then the social capital imparted by friends that influences academic outcomes will accrue only to high-SES students, giving them an additional advantage. While numerous qualitative studies point to the importance of the SES of friends, no empirical research has provided a thorough analysis of the level of SES friendship segregation in the United States. I uncover the causes and consequences of SES friendship segregation in three papers. The first paper describes the level of SES friendship segregation in a nationally representative sample of schools. I find that friendships are less segregated than expected, and that race is a more salient factor for friendship formation than SES. The socioeconomic composition of a school is strongly correlated with the number of cross-SES friends students form. If there is no SES diversity in a school, it is not possible for students to form diverse friendships. Other factors also limit opportunities for cross-SES interactions, such as residential segregation, segregation into different courses, and differential participation in extra-curricular activities. After the tendencies for students to reciprocate friendships and form friends of friends are modeled, and additional student characteristics are controlled for, there is no statistically significant relationship between student SES and friendship formation in many schools. Opportunities for interaction explain much of the patterns of friendship segregation, rather than preferences. In addition, I find that there are some more segregated communities within each school, close friendships are slightly more segregated, and there are no differences by gender or across grade levels. In my second paper, I look at whether the socioeconomic composition of a student's friendships in high school is related to his or her educational attainment. I find that the SES of a student's friends significantly predicts a student's educational attainment. In particular, students who have friends whose parents went to college are more likely to also make the transition to college. There are no differences by gender and both low and high-SES students are helped by high-SES friends. This paper shows that the socioeconomic composition of friendships matters and that students transmit social and cultural capital through friendships. In my third paper, I look at whether school characteristics explain variation in friendship segregation between schools. I find that high-SES friendship segregation is mostly predicted by the share of high-SES students in the school and that schools with course tracking also have more isolated high-SES students after controlling for the composition of the school. The preference for same-SES friends is also related to the diversity of the school: students in more diverse schools are characterized by greater preferences for cross-SES friends, though this decreases for the most diverse schools. Because higher SES friends are associated with higher educational attainment, I also investigate whether or not schools with greater friendship segregation have larger achievement gaps. I find that schools with greater friendship segregation do have larger achievement gaps, even after controlling for other school characteristics.
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Book
1 online resource.
Both individuals and society benefit from postsecondary education; however, numerous obstacles hinder students from enrolling and succeeding in college. This dissertation consists of three papers and each addresses one of three different obstacles to obtaining bachelor's degree: financial, academic, and informational. The first paper discusses the financial barrier and examines whether low income students are responsive to a financial incentive to pursue a STEM major. Using regression discontinuity and a statewide longitudinal student dataset, I exploit two discontinuities in the eligibility requirements of the national SMART Grant. The results suggest that financial incentives late in the college career are not enough of a motivation for students to study a STEM field. The second paper addresses the academic barrier and presents a theoretical framework and empirical evidence related to how students use college credit earned in high school. Specifically, it uses the nationally representative Beginning Postsecondary Survey to examine the relationship between earning college credit through Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams and postsecondary outcomes. Results indicate that that earning AP credits are positively related to graduating early, double majoring, and majoring in a STEM field. The third paper presents an experimental analysis of a college access program to determine whether a high school senior's amount of interaction with a near-peer college adviser affects the students college preparation and enrollment. The treatment group received on average approximately three more meetings with the adviser, but these do not result in observable increases in college enrollment.
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1 online resource.
For more than a decade, state and federal accountability policies have operated on the assumption that the school organization may improve continuously over a period of time, whether by adopting the behaviors of effective schools or by implementing Comprehensive School Reform. This dissertation takes a critical look at the problem of school improvement by documenting what happened at a California K-8 school from its origins in 1992 through 2008. The featured case was established as a developmental, multiage program and for ten years participated as a leadership site in the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC). Drawing on institutional and organizational theory, this study uses a longitudinal, process-sequencing approach to document what happened inside the school. Multiple instances of principal turnover, episodes of major teacher turnover and policy changes affected the school's identity, organizational boundaries, curriculum and instruction and routines and relationships. Over time the school was isomorphic with its environment, changing in response to changes in district, state and federal regulatory policies, with certain events having path-dependent consequences for the school's trajectory. Under state and federal accountability policies individual schools are held responsible for improvement; this case illustrates how these same policies shifted significant decisions and authority over curriculum and instruction to the district and state levels. School principals were instrumental in establishing a tone of trust by making and breaking decision-making agreements and structures, but these structures were increasingly symbolic in nature. This case thus suggests limits to ideals such as school leadership, data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement, and raises questions about the notion of school capacity. Given continuous churn in policies and people comprising a school, the concept of school improvement deserves revaluation. Additionally, the study contributes to theory about schools as loosely-coupled systems, suggesting that tighter administrative control over schools does not necessarily make the system more tightly coupled. Finally, I argue that school improvement has become institutionalized across the field, but churn in the policies and people that comprise a school may make the school organization a meaningless unit of change.
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Book
x, 209 leaves, bound.
SAL3 (off-campus storage), Special Collections
Book
1 online resource.
This dissertation investigates a project in which high school students research a significant and sensitive event in the history of their community and then create a series of articles about it for a community history website. The dissertation argues for the educational benefits associated with students producing work of public value. This concept is situated, first, with respect to previous project- and product-oriented curricular theories and, second, through the development of the local high school program within which this work was conducted. The dissertation then narrates the process by which students created these entries and reports on the various forms of educational value it created, as perceived by the students themselves and members of the public. The researcher worked as a participant-observer, guiding the students throughout the two-month long project while collecting field notes and artifacts. He interviewed the 19 participating students at the beginning and end of the project and then interviewed 4 historians and 7 other members of the public as they examined the students' finished work. All groups saw significant value in the project, both in the development of students' historical understanding and in the creation of a publicly accessible historical resource for the community and beyond.
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1 online resource.
This dissertation consists of three-related research papers that investigate the relations between core features of non-parental childcare settings —quality, quantity, and type—and children's school readiness. My first paper is a descriptive study of the role that childcare quality might play in narrowing school readiness gaps. Drawing on data from the ECLS--B longitudinal study, I estimate gaps between low--SES and high--SES children on early academic and socio-behavioral outcomes, measured at preschool age and kindergarten entry. I decompose SES gaps to estimate how much the disparity in the quality of childcare environments contribute to SES gradients in child outcomes. Then, I identify predictors of participation in higher-quality childcare services at preschool age. My second dissertation paper explores the impact of the timing (duration) and sequence of exposure to different childcare arrangements on child outcomes. Based on ECLS--B data and a novel strategy to account for dynamic selection bias—an extension of the Inverse Probability of Treatment Weights (IPTW), I estimate the differential effect of the age of entry into center-based care and the effect of the cumulative exposure of attending one type of care at the age of 2 and switching to another type at the age of 4 on child outcomes. Next, I examine the extent to which both effects vary by family income and race. Finally, my third dissertation paper evaluates afterschool center-based care programs in kindergarten as a means of supporting children's development during the transition to formal schooling. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study--Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS--K) and matching estimators, I examine families' propensity to use afterschool center-based care as well as the causal impact of attending such programs on a child's academic and socio-behavioral outcomes, measured at the end of the kindergarten year. To evaluate the potential of afterschool center-based care programs to reduce the school readiness gap, I explore heterogeneous effects by family income and race.
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Book
xvi, 251 leaves bound.
SAL3 (off-campus storage), Special Collections