Recent Submissions

  • Leadership Processes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Leadership Preparation and Training

    Bogans, Adrianne Melva; Michell Glover; Joseph Workman; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2022-05)
    The roles of school leaders have transformed significantly over time, making necessary shifts to place student learning at the core of what principals do. School leadership preparation has also evolved to keep up with the changing responsibilities and challenges that principals encounter. Although effective school leaders are recognized for their character and exemplary practices that contribute to and build collaborative school communities, principals have multiple responsibilities and often experience challenges while leading their schools. The role of the school leader has changed over the course of history. In response to these role shifts, the standards and practices providing the structure for post-secondary preparation and training programs, state certification, and formal evaluation programs have also had to adjust to keep up with societal changes and responsibilities of school leaders. While principals perform their regular responsibilities, with accompanying challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a myriad of new challenges for school leaders around the globe. Although challenges are not new to the principalship, this study seeks to investigate the challenges K-12 school leaders experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, how their leadership preparation and training did or did not prepare them to manage these challenges, and investigate the solutions principals implemented to counter the challenges experienced.
  • BARRIERS TO DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE MUSIC PROGRAMS IN THE RIVER CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM: AN ANALYSIS OF STAFF PERCEPTIONS

    Baxley, Pamela Marie; Owen Fletcher; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-04)
    Participation in healthy music programs has demonstrated positive associations with academic achievement, cognitive abilities, and other socio/affective outcomes. Despite these benefits, music programs often struggle against funding, policy, and high stakes testing and accountability practices - particularly in urban or otherwise diverse populations. The purpose of this case study was to evaluate the health of music programs in the River City School System (RCSS) by studying teachers’ perceptions of limits to their own agency in developing those programs and teachers’ perceptions of barriers to student involvement in music programs. Based on a broad review of literature, researchers studied four hypothesized factors that might act as barriers to teacher agency or student involvement in music programs – culturally responsive pedagogy, scheduling, recruiting, and professional learning & collaboration. This study used a mixed-methods approach employing a survey of all music teachers within the district followed by semistructured interviews for volunteers. Results of the study indicated logistical challenges, relational issues, and philosophical perspectives could act as barriers. From these results and in alignment with extant research, a conceptual map of findings was developed on which to provide recommendations for RCSS and other districts hoping to analyze the health of their own music programs.
  • SUCCEEDING IN INTRODUCTORY STEM COURSES AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES: STEM INSTRUCTORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND BARRIERS TO SUCCESS

    Perkins, Ashlei; Daniela Payne; William Smith; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2022-05)
    Community colleges play a key role in providing non-traditional and underrepresented minority students with access to careers in Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) fields, which are critical for the economic success of the United States. However, national studies reveal that student persistence in STEM majors is alarmingly low, particularly at community colleges. Therefore, it is important to conduct more studies that contribute to the understanding of STEM course success in college. To that end, this study gathered the following data: 1) instructors’ perceptions of essential skills required to succeed in introductory STEM courses at community colleges; 2) instructors’ perceptions of existing skills students have prior to STEM course instruction at community colleges; and 3) instructors’ perceptions of barriers that may prevent community college students from being successful in introductory STEM courses. This pragmatic, qualitative inquiry included interviews with STEM course instructors at a community college and employed a constant, comparative analysis approach. The study also juxtaposed findings against the literature to determine if there was congruence, in terms of critical STEM skills and knowledge for STEM occupations. Findings showed a significant overlap between essential skills required to succeed in STEM courses and important skills for STEM occupations and that essential skill development is critical but lacking. Keywords: STEM skills, essential STEM course skills, STEM persistence in community colleges, barriers to STEM course success
  • Understanding Unilateral Scapular Dyskinesis in Asymptomatic Individuals Established by the Scapular Dyskinesis Test

    Ramiscal, Lawrence; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-05)
    Background: Scapular dyskinesis (SDK) is a controversial phenomenon that is thought to be an impaired movement with altered scapular muscle activity requiring intervention. Clinicians of all levels identify SDK via the Yes/No method of the Scapular Dyskinesis Test (Y/N SDT). Purpose & Methods: To date, the YN/SDT has neither been established as reliable nor valid against the electromyography (EMG) when used in healthy individuals. Also, researchers have not examined scapular muscle activity in asymptomatic individuals with SDK. Experiment 1 determined the reliability of the Y/N SDT in individuals with asymptomatic SDK between student and expert physical therapists via an intra- and inter-rater reliability design. Experiment 2 determined the construct validity of the Y/N SDT in symmetrical and asymmetrical asymptomatic individuals using EMG as the reference standard utilizing known-groups validity design. Experiment 3 characterized the scapular muscle activities of asymptomatic unilateral SDK established by the Y/N SDT through repeated measures design. Results: Experiment 1: The Y/N SDT was reliable when used by either students or experts. Students' reliability averaged 20 percentage points less than experts. Experiment 2: The overall accuracy in identifying shoulder asymmetries in asymptomatic individuals against the EMG reference was poor. Sensitivity and specificity were 56% and 36%, respectively; positive and negative predictive values were 68% and 25%; positive and negative likelihood ratios were 0.87 and 1.22. Experiment 3: There was no difference in EMG activities between subjects based on the Y/N SDT. Overall, high muscle variability was observed during the experiments. Conclusion: The Y/N SDT did not appear to have clinical value, therefore, may not be useful in screening SDK in healthy individuals. Hand-dominance may be considered for shoulder rehab wherein the dominant shoulder might respond with endurance exercises while nondominant may benefit from strength training with priority to the serratus anterior muscle. It appears that scapular muscles are likely not synergists as the study failed to find temporal relationships among the muscle activities. Overall, SDK may not be a movement impairment. It may simply be a normal variability that may be ignored or could possibly be a helpful adaptation to achieve shoulder function that should be encouraged. In light of the results of the study, traditional biomechanical theories in understanding SDK did not appear helpful. Exploration of other models like motor control theories in understanding unfamiliar human movements may be considered.
  • Identifying Challenges and Solutions to Mentoring Teachers in a Rural School District

    Marshall, Carlos Jimmie; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-05)
    The purpose of this study was to identify perceived challenges that mentor and mentee teachers face within the teacher induction program in the rural school district of Greenway County. The different perceptions of mentor and mentee teachers will provide rich insight regarding the challenges teachers face within these programs. The challenges presented by the mentor and mentee teachers will help to identify areas within the induction program that require additional assistance or possible reform. This study is intended to propose possible solutions suggested by the mentors to address the challenges identified. This qualitative research study utilized various methods of data collection to investigate the lived experience of mentor and mentee teachers in the induction program. Data was collected from mentors using an online questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, and reflective journals, while a focus group interview was utilized to collect data from mentees. The survey questionnaire helped to provide context to the lived experience as a mentor teacher in the induction program within Greenway County. Semi-structured interviews with the mentor teachers allowed for the emergence of possible solutions to best address identified challenges resulting in the overall effectiveness of the induction program. Audio reflection journals were collected after mentor-mentee meetings to gather a deeper understanding of mentor-mentee interaction, while also deepening the understanding of challenges that arose during the induction program. Finally, data was collected from mentee teachers through a focus group interview to gain their first-hand experience of the induction program and their mentor’s role within the program. Keywords: Mentoring, mentors, mentees, induction programs, challenges
  • Identifying Challenges and Solutions to Mentoring in a Rural School District

    Boyington, Justin Keith; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of mentors and mentees in the induction program in the rural county of Greenway county school district. Mentors and mentees were able to share their experiences in the induction program through interviews, questionnaires, and an audio reflective journal. Mentors specifically identified their role as a mentor within the induction program and how it contributed to new teacher efficacy in the classroom. Additionally, mentors and mentees were able to share challenges in the induction program such as excessive workload and mismatching between mentors and mentees. Finally, mentors had the opportunity to identify possible solutions to help address these challenges and create a more effective induction program for years to come. The findings of this study provided insight on strategies to improve induction programs including providing virtual supplements for mentors and mentees and involving mentors in decision making within the induction program.
  • Identifying Challenges and Solutions to Mentoring Teachers in a Rural School District

    RALSTON, KRISTINA MIZE; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-05)
    Approximately 50% of new teachers leave the profession of education within their first five years (Burton & Johnson, 2010; McCoy, 2019; Ingersoll & Smith, 2004; Steinke & Putnam, 2011). With such a mass exodus of teachers, schools should develop programs to promote new teacher retention (Callahan, 2016; Kent et al., 2012). Induction programs offer new teachers support by providing them with a mentor teacher to support new teachers' needs (Ingersoll & Smith, 2004). However, to offer such beneficial programs to new teachers, schools must attract experienced teachers to fulfill a mentor's role. The research team investigated a rural county’s induction program to evaluate the challenges mentor teachers face. Mentor teachers offered their suggestions as possible solutions for the improvement of the induction program. These proposed solutions could be used to improve the quality of induction programs which may promote teacher retention.
  • A Mixed-Methods Study on the Experiences and Beliefs of Teachers in Professional Development for the Implementation of Visible Learning

    Cunningham, Benton Willis; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation
    School improvement ultimately rests in the hands of teachers, and the balance of teaching and evaluation of learning is the method for sustained success. In his 2009 book, Visible Learning (VL), John Hattie acknowledges this statement and contends that the majority of teachers know what works due to reflexive teaching praxis. Many schools across the nation are implementing the VL framework through professional development (PD). This study will focus on the implementation of the VL framework through PD in the high-performing Southeastern school district of Suburban County. A mixed-methods inquiry was conducted to learn more about teachers’ perceptions of VL PD efficacy and preferences for future PD. Qualitative results showed teacher competency improved after VL PD but knowledge of VL remained incomplete. Quantitative results were not statistically significant but the use of the Teacher Mindframes Survey (Murphy, 2020) demonstrated internal reliability for this new instrument. Overall, findings suggested future VL PD should focus on generating greater teacher buy-in. One way to do this is by integrating VL PD with Adult Learning Theory (ALT) models and practices, as VL implementation can be enhanced through the addition of academic coaches and the incorporation of ALT practices. The researchers concluded additional studies are needed to determine best practices for implementing VL in schools. Keywords: Visible Learning, Adult Learning Theory, and professional development
  • EXPLORING THE PREVALENCE, UNDERSTANDING, AND USE OF GROWTH MINDSET BY GATEWAY COURSE FACULTY TRANSITIONING TO ONLINE INSTRUCTION AMID THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

    Silva, Maria Jeane; Rebekah Ralph; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2021-04)
    This study explored the prevalence, understanding, and use of growth mindset in gateway courses amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Using an explanatory sequential mixed-method approach, the study was guided by three research questions: 1. What is the relationship between faculty mindset and faculty perception of student mindset in gateway courses? 2. How do gateway course faculty describe concepts of growth mindset? 3. How was growth mindset translated into gateway courses through instructional approaches and faculty-student interactions in online environments amid the COVID-19 outbreak? The findings of this study revealed that gateway course faculty held a growth mindset belief about themselves and their students. Yet, half of the participants were unfamiliar with the concept of growth mindset and how it impacted teaching practices. In the classroom, based on the course document analysis, 83.3% (5 out of 6) of faculty sent mixed mindset messages to students. Moreover, this study revealed that gateway course faculty perceived several barriers, including current understanding, current structures, and current mentality, to implementing growth mindset strategies in courses. Implications of the current prevalence, understanding, and use of growth mindset are discussed. Next steps, including the development of supports to address current barriers and other equity issues that create a challenge for growth mindset implementation, are described. Keywords: growth mindset, fixed mindset, academic mindset, retention, online instruction, faculty perceptions, college teaching, gateway courses
  • The Influence of Instructional Rounds on Teacher Metacognition in a Middle School Context: A Mixed Methods Study

    Townsend, Holly; Bill Hamilton; Baria Jennings; Katherine Scoggins; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    This study investigated, quantified, and observed metacognitive transformation in middle school ELA and math teachers through the implementation of instructional rounds as a change agent in comparison to the traditional, one-stop workshop format of professional development. A mixed method design was utilized that addressed two research questions: How is teacher metacognition impacted through professional development, and what is the difference in teacher metacognition scores after receiving traditional professional development versus instructional rounds? The results of the study suggested that teacher metacognition is positively impacted by instructional rounds and there were positive attitudes towards instructional rounds as an alternative to traditional professional development. Additionally, the qualitative data indicated that instructional rounds did have a positive impact on instructional practices and supported a progressive maturation of teacher metacognition that could be ultimately transferred to the learner. First, the results elucidated that normal teaching practice is inherently metacognitive and embodies the metacognitive knowledge tenets: person, task, and strategy. Next, teacher collaboration supports the perpetuation of a metacognitive experience, which innately lends itself to reflection. Thirdly, teacher reflection fosters metacognitive goals, thereby resulting in regulation of actions or strategies. Finally, teacher action derived from goal setting is, by definition, metacognitive action. In summary, instructional rounds appeared to be an effective form of professional development that increased and matured teacher metacognition.
  • AN EXPLORATION OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES ON PARTICIPATING IN A PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR SUPPORT PROGRAM

    Ocak, Lauren A. W.; Joe Lott; Jeana Aycock; Natalie Cason; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    Children who lack prosocial skills and exhibit social-emotional deficiencies tend to have more behavior problems in school. Chronic behavior problems negatively affect students’ academics, attendance, and ability to develop relationships. Aggression, bullying, and mental health problems have also been linked to social-emotional deficiencies. Children’s prosocial skills and emotional intelligence correlate to children’s social-emotional competence. The researchers investigated students’ perspectives of their experiences with and their perception of the impact a prosocial behavior intervention, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 2012), had on their behavior through focus groups and field observations. Participants were consenting and assenting second through fifth-grade students who were identified through the behavior RTI process in Rural County. Researchers also analyzed quantitative, descriptive data from a Skillstreaming Student Checklist, to investigate how students self-rated their own prosocial skills. The researchers found that the participants were able to identify prosocial skills but did not always choose to apply the prosocial skills they learned to social situations with teachers and peers. All participants communicated positive feelings towards the intervention and liked having the opportunity to escape and process their emotions. Many felt it provided them with tools they could recall and apply to their school settings. Students emphasized the importance of relationships in relation to their behavior, and students interpreted their relationships based on attributes of fairness and care. In discussion of findings, research supported the importance of relationship between teachers and students and supported the finding that students often know prosocial skills and expectations in the school setting but choose their behavior based on the relationship between the student and the teacher. Keywords: prosocial intervention, elementary students, behavioral challenge, school discipline, prosocial skills, emotional intelligence, social-emotional competence, social-emotional learning, RTI, PBIS, Skillstreaming, student perspectives
  • A HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TO EXPLORING THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF PARTICIPANTS IN GEORGIA’S P-20 COLLABORATIVES

    Gamble, Phyllis J.; Carol Maple; Felina McCoy; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    This research effort used a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to investigate 1) What are the lived experiences of participants in Georgia’s P-20 Collaboratives? and 2) How are regional P-20 Collaboratives using mutual resources and continuous professional development to meet the needs of all stakeholders? Data provided by representatives from school systems (P-12s), colleges and universities (IHEs), Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs), and State Education Agencies (SEAs) via a qualitative questionnaire, online discussion boards, contextual documents, and convening observations were analyzed to explore the perceived benefits and challenges of participation in Georgia’s P-20 Collaboratives and to examine the effectiveness of the regional Collaboratives in meeting the mission statement. Three emergent themes derived from the data were: 1) Mutually beneficial outcomes are derived from networking and sharing resources, but are hindered by low and inconsistent attendance by participants, 2) Diverse perspectives needed for effective reciprocal learning are limited by issues with focus, commitment, regular communication, and consistent participation by the right stakeholders, and 3) The majority of the respondents (68%) perceived that the regional collaboratives were effective in meeting the mission. However (14%) suggested improvements and (14%) felt that the mission statement lacked clarity. Keywords: P-20 collaboratives, collaboration, hermeneutic phenomenology, teacher preparation, regional partnerships, professional development, teacher quality
  • Leveraging Medical Simulation to Teach Interprofessional Education: A Pilot Study

    Etheridge, Rebecca Johnson; Kathleen Hernlen; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2019-05)
    Interprofessional education (IPE) is a term used to describe an educational technique that involves two or more learners from various professions learning from each other and with each other to increase collaboration among the learners and improve health care for their patients. Medical simulation can be described as any type of aid that can simulate a technique that is used in a clinical setting. The goal of this pilot study was to develop, implement, and evaluate an IPE medical simulation faculty training program that employed an IPE teaching method using the example of medical simulation which was lacking on the health sciences campus. A mixed methods study was developed to explore whether medical simulation could be used as a delivery method for an effective IPE faculty training program, and the extent to which IPE knowledge and perceptions changed as a result. A pre- and post-survey was given to faculty participants to evaluate their knowledge and perceptions of IPE. Following the training, faculty participants participated in a focus group. Data analysis included coding of focus groups responses and consolidating the codes into themes, and statistical analysis of the pre- and post-survey data. The findings of the pilot study included a statistically significant increase in knowledge and perceptions of IPE by the participating faculty which was corroborated by the focus group responses.
  • STRONGER TOGETHER: A CASE-STUDY ANALYSIS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A SCHOOL-BASED MENTORING PROGRAM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

    Mays, Andrew Stewart; Jeff Crouch; Tamara Moody; Tiffany Young-Norris; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2019-05)
    Mentoring has been shown to have a positive impact on student outcomes such as attendance, behavior, and overall connectedness to school. Through strengthening relationships with a non-familial adult, mentoring has also been shown to have a positive impact on student interactions with other adults within the school environment. However, there are many logistical considerations that can adversely impact the implementation of a school-based mentoring program. This study began as a mixed methods study intended to examine the impact of a community-based mentoring program on student discipline referrals and absences. During the course of the study, the scope and methods shifted to become a qualitative study that focused on the implementation of an after-school mentoring program for middle school students. The authors employed a case-study methodology using a variety of data collection methods including interviews with mentors and administrators, a focus group with the mentees, and repeated observations of the mentoring sessions. Thematic content analysis revealed six themes: goals, experiences, perceptions, relationships, challenges to implementation, and sustainability and improvement. Findings suggest that the faculty and staff had a high level of confidence in their leadership which was likely to positively impact the mentoring program, as they were more likely to trust his decisions and work diligently to ensure that his goals for the program were met. Should a mentoring program be implemented, our findings indicated that time and prioritization are imperative to its success.
  • GET THEM HERE: KEEP THEM HERE: A STUDY OF THE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF BLACK STUDENTS AT GREENWOOD UNIVERSITY

    Green, Garrett; Jocelyn Fisher; Jamel Hodges; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 2019-05)
    Greenwood University, a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), has had difficulty recruiting Black students and retaining them throughout their undergraduate careers to graduation. Research shows the significant link between students’ perceptions of belonging and satisfaction at a university and their retention at that university. Race on a college campus is complex and requires intentional efforts to understand within the framework of higher education. The aim of this study is to determine specific causes that explain why Black students are not being recruited and retained at the same rate as their non-Black peers at Greenwood University. In doing so, the authors employed a mixed methods approach in which they conducted interviews from Black second and third year students, as well as faculty and staff, to explain the responses gathered from a recent Campus Climate Survey. A focus group of students also highlighted factors that impact the recruitment and retention of Black students. Among the responses received, factors such as support, connection, and representation among Black faculty and staff were shown to have a strong impact on Black students’ feelings of belonging, thus in many cases, their retention at Greenwood University. Based on the findings, it is recommended that universities prioritize intentional incentives to provide specialized support services and “spaces” for its students and to grow the numbers of faculty and staff who represent all of their institution’s student body. Keywords: enrollment, recruitment, retention, Black students, faculty, staff, Predominantly White Institution (PWI), Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Higher Education, Administrators
  • Examining and Fostering Effective Reading Comprehension Instructional Practices in Smalltowne

    Zills, Jennifer Amy; Kimberly F. Henson; Natalie L. Lemacks; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
    Abstract This mixed-methods study examined reading instructional practices at Smalltowne Elementary, as almost 30% of their third grade students were not scoring proficient in the area of English Language Arts (ELA) on the state assessment. Smalltowne is a rural elementary school located in a southeast Georgia town with a population of just under 10,000. A total of 18 female participants included both second grade (n = 9) and third grade (n = 9) teachers. Participants completed an online survey of the Literacy Orientation Survey (LOS) containing 30 Likert type items to determine their teaching orientations as either traditional, constructivist, or eclectic. Researchers interviewed 14 participants and spent a total of 50.25 hours observing instructional practices in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary instruction, phonics, fluency, and literacy through technology. The teachers’ survey results were compared to the observed practice to determine alignment. Nine teachers identified as eclectic, eight identified as traditional and only one teacher identified as constructivist. Observed literacy practices matched self-selected LOS scores for 11 out of the 14 teachers. Observations were conducted to determine if research-based instructional strategies were being used in the classroom, including comprehension strategies, vocabulary strategies, fluency practices, and literacy through technology. Instructional concerns were noted with higher usage of teacher-directed practice and lack of authentic use of technology for literacy to incorporate more student-centered practice. After the analysis of data, a responsive product in the form of professional development was created by researchers with input from district school leaders to expand teachers’ use of higher level questioning and technology within the classroom. Keywords: teacher orientations, reading comprehension, instructional practices
  • Investigating Student and Faculty Perspectives Related to Predictors of Success: BSN Curriculum and NCLEX-RN Outcomes

    Callan, Richard S.; Sharon M. Cosper; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
    The literature reports higher patient satisfaction when care is delivered from baccalaureate-prepared nurses (BSN); however, there is a significant shortage of BSN prepared nurses in the country (Schmidt & MacWilliams, 2015; Roa, Shipman, Hooten, & Carter, 2011). For institutions across the nation, there is a lack of understanding as to why certain students struggle academically throughout the program and on the board certification exam. In order to facilitate training, graduation, and success with NCLEX-RN outcomes for these critical healthcare providers, consideration for why students struggle with curriculum and passing the board certification examination is needed. This study utilized a concurrent embedded mixed methods design to gain a greater understanding as to what factors may be contributing to student difficulty. Participants included graduates (n = 75) and faculty (n = 25) within the College of Nursing in a university located in the southeast region of the United States. Data were collected through review of student records, survey responses, focus group participation, and use of the EQ-i 2.0 for descriptive purposes. Results indicate that the BSN GPA, HESI examination scores, and Adult Health II course grades were found to predict performance on the NCLEX-RN. The qualitative findings illuminate categories of external and interpersonal factors contributing to students’ success and first time pass rates on the NCLEX-RN. The themes of Curriculum, Test Methodologies and Preparation, Teaching and Instruction, Balance, Drive, Compassion and Respect, and Critical Thinking were all relevant for consideration to help nursing programs improve the first time pass rates of their graduates on the NCLEX-RN. Further research utilizing methods to understand emotional intelligence and implications for admission as well as successful outcomes on the NCLEX-RN are indicated based on the qualitative findings of this investigation.
  • RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PRACTICES AS PERCEIVED AND UNDERSTOOD BY TEACHERS IN TWO GEORGIA RURAL MIDDLE SCHOOLS

    Holt, Jason; Sandra Leann Boyd; Karyn E. Warren; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
    The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how Restorative Justice was understood and perceived by teachers at two rural middle schools. The state previously mandated a portion of the district’s funding be designated to address disproportionality in discipline across all grade levels to include the middle schools. In Southern County School District, administrators chose to address the problems of disproportionality, zero tolerance, and the school-to-prison pipeline through the use of a Restorative Framework. The goal was to bring awareness to the district leadership of current Restorative Justice understandings and perceptions within the district and add to the academic body of literature. Using a concurrent triangulation mixed methods model, this study answered the overarching research question, How do teachers understand and perceive Restorative Justice practices in two rural Georgia middle schools? Teacher surveys (n = 25) were processed for possible differences and relationships using Mann-Whitney U and Spearman’s Rho analyses. Analyses revealed no significant difference between teachers’ perceptions and understandings separately. There was a significant positive relationship between teachers’ understandings and perceptions. The analysis of the qualitative interviews involving 12 participants uncovered themes from teachers related to Restorative Justice, both positive and negative. Some positive themes were building relationships, student ownership and community, and giving everyone a voice. Some undesirable themes were lack of teacher training, lack of community support, and lack of consequences. Recommendations based on findings were offered through a website built for the school district by the research team.
  • Examining Math Teacher Efficacy: A Rural Georgia Elementary School

    Williams, Angela Michelle; Mary Ann Gray; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
    The current study employed a mixed methods research design to examine differences in math teacher efficacy based on experience, factors influencing math teacher efficacy, and the impact of math teacher efficacy on pedagogical practice. Participants were nine math teachers of grades three through five in a rural Georgia elementary school. Bandura's construct of self-efficacy provided the theoretical framework for this study. Math teacher efficacy was assessed using the Math Teacher Survey, adapted from the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to gather information regarding participants' antecedent and professional experiences with math. Four themes emerged from interviews regarding factors influencing efficacy: (a) precursory experiences, (b) teacher preparation, training, and professional learning, (c) mathematical shifts, and (d) professional experiences. Teacher practices were captured using the Classroom Observation Protocol, adapted from Inside the Classroom Observation and Analytic Protocol, as well as lesson plans and field notes. No significant relationship was found between math teacher efficacy and years of experience or between math teacher efficacy and pedagogical practices. Implications for leaders of training and preparatory programs and staff development as well as others in education settings are explored.

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