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Author: Lyle Barber
In 1975, Congress passed the original Education for All Handicapped Children Act. It was renewed in 1990, 1997, and 2004. During the first revision, the name was changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. This Act requires school districts that receive federal funding to provide a free appropriate public education, a term that originates in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Section 504 of this Act places specific requirements on access to education. The idea is that all persons are entitled to equal access to appropriate education.
The appropriateness of individual educational programs is subjective by nature. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a difference existed in student performance between the Missouri public school districts that employed a certificated, special education administrator and the districts that did not employ a certificated, special education administrator. A difference in performance would indicate that students were receiving a less appropriate education than in districts that did employ a certificated, special education administrator. Conversely, if the hypothesis were true that no difference existed between districts that employed a certificated, special education administrator and districts that did not employ such an administrator, the implications would be that districts should avoid this expenditure. The absence of differences in performance could also have implications for the effectiveness of preservice training for special education administrators. The researcher conducted an independent samples t-test of Missouri public school districts that employed a certificated, special education administrator and Missouri public school districts that did not employ a certificated, special education administrator. The researcher sought to compare the differences between achievement levels and post-secondary activities of students with disabilities. The researcher compared the differences between the Missouri Assessment Program scores and the results of a post-secondary survey of student activities for Missouri public school districts that employed a certificated, special education director and districts that did not employ such an administrator. This study is significant to the body of education professional knowledge because the differences, or lack thereof, could guide Missouri school districts in how the districts choose to staff administrative positions. Additionally, the results of this study could have implications in determining whether districts provide educational opportunities that are deemed as appropriate education in the context of satisfying free appropriate public education. The educational governance should consider the results of this study when making policy, for it applies to the requirements for special education administration.
The findings of the research revealed that district s that did not employ a certificated Special Education Administrator performed comparable to districts that did employ a certificated Special Education Director. These findings reviled that districts that did not employ a certificated Special Education Administrator have not failed to provide FAPE solely based on access to a certificated Special Education Administrator.
Author: Thomas O’Connor
Education preparation programs have studied the impact of authentic experience using student teaching and even a year-long internship model. Unfortunately, teachers are still leaving the profession within the first five years at an alarming rate. Classroom management and efficacy development are key factors in the retention of new teachers. Other types of authentic classroom experiences have yet to be studied leading to an unknown about the impacts it could potentially have. One type of authentic experience is having undergraduates substitute teach. In this quantitative study, the researcher analyzed the difference substitute teaching experience made for first-year teachers in classroom management efficacy. The researcher sought to understand if this type of experience helped develop classroom management efficacy. The research analyzed if there was any difference in classroom management efficacy based on the amount of experience substitute teaching. The researcher also analyzed if there was a difference in classroom management efficacy based on any training the substitutes had during the experience. Additionally, the researcher used two open-ended questions in order to gather more insight into the difference substitute teaching experience made as well as the impact of Covid-19 on the development of classroom management efficacy. Findings indicated the amount of substitute teaching experience did make a difference in participant’s classroom management efficacy development. Also, the trainings provided to undergraduate substitute teachers made little difference in the classroom management efficacy of participants.
Author: Andrea E. Fraser
This study was based on the idea that a collaborative, interactive system of evaluation would provide an opportunity for growth in the craft of teaching, resulting in a more effective teacher, which in turn might result in an increase in academic achievement. The independent variable was Missouri school districts that had implemented the Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) evaluation process and those that had not, while the dependent variable was the sum of third- to fifth-grade student percentages scoring in proficient and advanced in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. In order to compare differences, ex post facto Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) data were analyzed over a 4-year period of time. The research question that guided this study was: What is the difference between student achievement in ELA and math in Grades 3-5 as measured by the MAP between districts that used the NEE evaluation process and those that did not for the years of 2016-2019 as measured by the percentage of students achieving proficient and advanced? The data analyzed in this study were gathered from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (MODESE) open access database. The use of the MODESE database as an instrument to analyze data was thorough as every public school student in Missouri was required to complete the MAP, according to grade-level requirements.
Author: Mitchell, Traci D.
The purpose of this basic narrative qualitative study was to explore the experiences of first- and second-year teachers and mentors regarding professional learning and new teacher mentoring programs from three highly effective schools in the state of Missouri through personal interviews and related documents. The three highly effective schools were U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School Award winners. The central qualitative question driving the research was this: What are the experiences of first- and second-year teachers and mentors regarding new teacher mentoring programs in the state of Missouri? This study aimed to explore the gap in research regarding new teacher mentoring experiences and related professional learning in Missouri school districts. Exploring teacher experiences regarding effective mentoring programs established the importance of maintaining a culture of continuous professional learning to develop and increase teacher quality (Darling-Hammond et al., 2017; Donohoo, 2017; Hattie, 2012). This study established school district leaders must be purposeful and intentional in their mentoring programs when providing new teachers time for collaboration, relationships, instructional practices around data, support and encouragement, feedback, and reflection time, along with establishing strong building leadership.
Author: Kim D. Spence
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the phenomenon incurred when a school district in southwest Missouri offered ninth grade Algebra 1 course content using two different instructional approaches – a traditional approach using worked examples delivered primarily through direct instruction and a problem-based approach delivered using varied instructional strategies and collaborative teaming. What made the school district particularly interesting was the incorporation of student choice into the equation. During enrollment, students in the school were provided a choice between a traditional approach to Algebra 1 which focused on routine tasks and algorithms or a problem-based approach which used a variety of instructional strategies and collaborative teaming. Overall, participants seemed to support the new changes and believed addressing equity issues and Algebra 1 retention rates was more about supporting student learning styles rather than believing some students are just incapable of learning mathematics. The study found multiple instances where offering students a choice in how they learned Algebra 1 course content transitioned to more equitable approaches. Using Linton’s (2011) Equity Framework as the theory base for the study, the researcher was able to identify improved opportunities for relationship building, instances of access to more rigorous Algebra 1 content, and increased opportunities to offer content relevant to students’ lives. Perceptions of the participants proved invaluable to exploring this phenomenon and offered a unique perspective describing the course choice offering for students. This research offers schools researching improved equity related to Algebra 1 instruction an approach rarely considered.
Author: Hsu, Diana
Brain-Based Learning is one of the many strategies which educators utilize when teaching. Prior research conducted over Brain-based Learning has demonstrated a difference between how students learn based on the gender of the student. Additionally, prior studies have been performed over perceptions of Brain-Based Learning. However, the researcher was unable to find studies conducted which delve into the perceptions of third-grade educators utilizing Brain-Based Learning in the classroom to determine how the educator’s gender or whether the school is Title I or non-Title I funded affect perceptions. Through the use of a state-wide survey, this study investigated the perceptions of Missouri third-grade educators regarding Brain-Based Learning. The purpose of this quantitative research was focused on third-grade educator’s perceptions of Brain-Based Learning and how gender and Title I funding influenced perceptions by utilizing the Brain-Based Learning Survey Questionnaire (BBLSQ). Findings indicated there is an effect with third-grade educator’s gender, based upon female educator’s higher perceptions of Brain-Based Learning. The goal of this study was to help educators in the field of education gain an understanding of how the brain functions and the differences between the male and female brain. The study was conducted to help administration provide opportunities for teachers to participate in Brain-Based Learning, but also actively motivate students to take ownership in their own learning as well.