• Understanding change for effective school improvement initiatives:critical elements of school reform.

      Schnautz, Dee Ann Piercy
      With the historical political and social changes, which ultimately affect education, it is easy to see why teachers sometimes balk at new initiatives and perceived new best practices. For change to occur it is important to understand how perception of critical elements of change impact student academic growth. It is also important to have a clearer picture of the level of implementation of critical elements of change. It is evident there are statistically significant relationships between successful school change predictors and the criterion variables, belief that the rationale of the change initiative is important, continued support of the change initiative, success of professional development embedded in the change process, and strong lines of communication at all levels. The strongest relationships exist between consistent planning for a district-wide change initiative and the predictor variables: resources are based on the instructional priorities of the initiative, staff strengths are matched with staff responsibilities, resources are used to determine annual priorities for staff learning, teachers work together, sharing what they learn to help others learn more, and free flow of information to staff is evident.
    • Use of Social Media as a School Principal

      McCutcheon, Neal
      The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the use of social media among principals in the state of Indiana. Data from the national 2009 report, A Survey of K-12 Educators on Social Networking and other Content Sharing Tools, were used to compare national results and data collected from Indiana. A survey was also created to analyze the use of social media among principals in the state of Indiana. The survey collected data from principals, indicating age, gender, locality, educational experience, social media use, and social media preferences. Lastly, the data were used to determine if there is a comparison between the state of Indiana results and the 2009 national results. The survey provided data to determine if social media use has increased since the 2009 national report. The research design involved a population of 1,931 Indiana school principals. Use of social media as a school principal was collected in a 16-item survey. Statistical analysis of the data included descriptive analysis for selected items, means, and standard deviations. A one-way ANOVA was used to test all 12 null hypotheses. Significance was identified at the .05 level. In all, 356 Indiana school principals responded to the survey instrument. As a result of the analysis, there were no significant differences among gender, experience, age, enrollment, and locality when using social media for school communication. There was a significant difference in school categories when social media was used for communication. High schools responded in favor over elementary and middle school principals when using social media for school communication. There was a significant difference in women versus men when social media are used for professional development.Women responded in favor over the men for social media use as professional development. There were no significant differences in experience, age, enrollment, school category, or locality when using social media for professional development.
    • Using standardized tests to identify prior knowledge necessary for success in algebra: a predictive analysis

      Jensen, Jennifer J.
      This study sought to determine if there is a relationship between students’ scores on the eighth-grade Indiana State Test of Education Progress Plus (ISTEP+) exam and success on Indiana’s Algebra End-of-Course Assessment (ECA). Additionally, it sought to determine if algebra success could be significantly predicted by the achievement in one or more of the seven individual reporting sub categories on the ISTEP+ exam. The relationship between the score on the language arts portion of the test and success in algebra was also explored. Successful completion of algebra and a minimum score on the Algebra ECA is required for high school graduation in the state of Indiana. It is imperative that students master this difficult subject, and educators need to understand how to help all students achieve this goal. This quantitative study utilized regression analyses to determine if the eighth-grade ISTEP+ exam could predict a significant proportion of the variance in Algebra ECA scores. More specifically, multiple regression analysis was utilized to determine if any one of the seven reporting sub categories was a significant predictor of the variance in the algebra scores. If the specific content of one or more reporting sub categories could be linked to algebra success, educators would know where and how to focus instruction and remediation efforts. Because a review of the literature also revealed a potential link between reading and math scores, a regression analysis was conducted to determine if the eighth-grade ISTEP+ language arts score predicted a significant proportion of the variance in Algebra ECA scores. The study concluded that the language arts score was a significant predictor, although it did not explain much of the variance in Algebra ECA scores. For all three models, the scores of students from two different cohorts from the same school district were utilized in the study. The first cohort consisted of students entering ninth grade in the fall of 2010 and the second consisted of students entering ninth grade in the fall of2011. Each cohort was then divided into an advanced group consisting of students who took both the ISTEP+ and the Algebra ECA in eighth grade and an average group consisting of students who did not take the Algebra ECA until the end of ninth grade. All models in the study proved significant, although there was evidence of multicollinearity and the amount of variance predicted varied greatly.
    • Virtual schools and the affective domain

      Tucker, Kimberly J.
      The intent of this qualitative study was to explore the following research questions: Does online instruction differ from traditional classroom instruction in regard to the development of affective learning? What emphasis is placed on developing a ffective skills in the traditional versus the virtual classroom? What instructional techniques are common or different toward developing affective learning in comparison of the traditional and virtual classroom? What specific types of lessons, activities , and assessments do teachers in each format use to ensure affective learning? What perceptions do teachers in the traditional and virtual classroom have with regard to affective learning and the implications with present and future learning in the affect ive domain through online instruction? Purposeful sampling was utilized to select five traditional classroom teachers and five virtual classroom teachers from Illinois. The state of Illinois was selected because in addition to academic learning standards , the Illinois Department of Education provides specific standards for social and emotional learning (SELS) in all grades. Three themes identified within the data include d : acknowledg ment and valu e of the impact of teacher immediacy on student learning, c ommitment to providing affective learning opportunities within the curriculum, and teacher perceptions about affective learning in online education. The responses showed that teachers in both settings acknowledged that affective learning was highly valued in their instructional program s . Interview analysis showed that teachers in the traditional and virtual settings were aware of the importance of providing affective support and developing affective skills in the classroom. Interview analysis show ed that there were many similarities between traditional and virtual curriculum in the development of instructional methodology to develop affective learning . The perspectives about online v er s us traditional education were sharply divided along the lines of teac her experience within the virtual platform. Traditional teachers did not believe that the virtual teacher or the virtual classroom could provide the necessary supports to build affective learning. Virtual teachers were much more amenable to online learni ng. Their perceptions were based on their described successes in the virtual classroom. They reflected on their efforts to build in affective supports and to implement instructional methodology which they believed were successful in developing their stud ents in terms of the academic and affective domains. Overall, the study showed that virtual schools and virtual teachers do place significant emphasis on affective learning and that their overall pedagogy is similar to that of traditional classrooms and t raditional teachers. Virtual schools have the capacity to impact student affective learning. Research into the impact that virtual schools have on K - 12 students and the affective domain will provide parents with the information needed to place their chil d ren in the best - suited learning environment. It will also provide educators with the data to inform and reform instruction to better meet the needs of all K - 12 learners.
    • What Educational Initiatives contribute to higher than expected achievement in Student performance for Public Schools in the State of Indiana?

      Keeley, Thomas Allen
      The purpose of this study was to determine whether the areas of teaching methods, teacher-student relationships, school structure, school-community partnerships or school leadership were significantly embedded in practice and acted as a change agent among school systems that achieve higher than expected results on their state standardized testing while controlling for their socio-economic status. Another area of insight gained from the comparison of the specific practices at the building level that were found in high-achieving schools and may not be present in schools identified as low-achieving. Individual characteristics of students impact the learning environment for all children. Educators can make informed decisions by examining what teaching methods, a school‟s structure, teacher-student relationships, school to community partnerships, and what school leadership aspects are common among schools identified as high-achieving. If the identification within these five areas showed a significant relationship for improved student performance for high-achieving schools, the classroom teacher and building administration may use the results as a guide for student improvement. The study used a 50-question survey divided into five constructs. The data showed significant differences in implementation between the high-achieving and low-achieving schools in four of the five constructs. The four constructs that were significantly higher in level of implementation as compared to low-achieving schools were teaching methods, teacher-student relationships, school-community partnerships and school leadership. Of the four constructs showing significance, teacher-student relationships showed the highest amount of variance for high-achieving schools as compared to low-achieving schools. School structure did not show statistically significant differences in variance for high-achieving schools. Interesting findings of differences between high-achieving schools and low-achieving schools were noted in the instructional methods construct for ensuring proficiency in reading and math, frequently assessing reading levels for all students, linking instruction to learning benchmarks, and implementing flexible skill grouping. Differences were also noted for high-achieving schools for facilitating two-way home/school communication, creating partnerships with parents and families and offering career exploration as part of the curriculum.
    • What Effective Principals Do to Improve Instruction and Increase Student Achievement

      Turner, Elizabeth Anne
      The purposes of this mixed method study were to (a) Examine the relationships among principal effectiveness, principal instructional leadership, and student achievement; (b) examine the differences among principal effectiveness, principal instructional leadership and student achievement; and (c) investigate what effective principals do to improve instruction and increase student achievement within their schools. All 585 pre-K through grade 5 elementary public schools in Indiana were included in the original sample. Phase 1 was quantitative using the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS, Hallinger, 1983) to examine the perceptions of the principal’s instructional leadership, the Principal Leadership Inventory (PLI; Downey, 1999) to measure principal effectiveness, and the Indiana standardized test (ISTEP) to look at student achievement. Statistical analysis of the data for the 232 schools that returned all of the instruments included descriptive statistics regarding the mean, standard deviation, frequency, and standard error. A Pearson product moment correlation, one-way independent measured ANOVA, one-way between subjects ANOVA, and standard multiple regression were used to test the study questions at a .05 level of significance. Findings indicated a teacher’s perception of the principal’s overall leadership ability makes no difference in student achievement data, but the teacher’s perception of the principal’s instructional leadership abilities does positively predict student achievement on standardized mathematics and English/language arts tests. Phase 2 was qualitative, identifying five more effective principals’ schools whose standardized test scores were above predicted and above state average and three less effective principals’ schools whose standardized test scores were below their predicted performance level as well as below the state average for site visits. The quantitative data in this study laid the foundation for the qualitative portion of this study informing the on-site, semi-structured principal interviews and separate teacher focus groups that explored what effective principals do to improve instruction and increase student achievement. Principals and teachers were asked the same open-ended, semi-structured interview questions. Keeping the focus group and interviewing questions in mind, themes for more and less effective principals could be grouped into four categories: (a) principal leadership characteristics, (b) instructional expectations, (c) procedures for change, and (d) measures of student achievement.
    • What Highly Effective Leaders Do During Difficult Times

      Raisor, Michael Louis
      The purpose of this study was to determine what the most highly effective leaders do during difficult times to be successful. The backdrop of the study was the 2009 $300 million cuts to the Indiana K-12 education budget, a uniform crisis that affected all 293 public school districts at the same time. The subjects in this study were those identified as the most highly effective public school superintendents in the state of Indiana. Education authorities across the state were polled and provided recommendations. The results were tabulated and five superintendents distinguished themselves as outliers among their peers. On-site structured interviews were conducted with each of the superintendents. The initial generalized summary findings were then given back to the superintendents for their review and member data checking. The superintendents confirmed the summary findings as accurate representations of their individual philosophy and behaviors. The five outlier superintendents all shared the same basic philosophies and behaviors in relation to leadership during difficult times. The first most telling finding was in regards to crisis leadership. The research found that highly effective leaders do not have a different style of leadership during difficult times. Highly effective leadership behaviors and actions are universal regardless of the circumstance. Highly effective leaders share core philosophies when faced with a difficult time, however once again, these are their philosophies at all times. They believe that within any crisis lies opportunity. They believe that difficult times define leaders and their organization. They believe in finding the best people for the job, communicating their vision, giving autonomy, and then getting out of the way. They believe in the value of networking, collaborating, and the input of their community, including criticism. They believe in leading by example and from the front. They realize that people are looking to them for guidance, leadership, and direction. Highly effective leaders also share universal leadership behaviors. They are constantly planning and preparing for the future. They have a defined process of how they lead and do business and they do not deviate from it. They have a laser-like focus on their organization‟s core business and do not deviate from it. They build trusting relationships with their staff and community. They get out in front of situations by being highly visible and communicating clearly. They are positive and poised. They share accolades and own mistakes. They do not attack problems as a whole, but instead break them down into smaller manageable pieces. They ask a lot of questions and take the time necessary to make a good decision, and then take decisive action.
    • What Indiana School Board Members Look for when Hiring a Superintendent

      Orr, Leonard
      The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether there are any differences in what school board members look for in the areas of personal characteristics and professional skills when hiring a superintendent. A sample population of school board members who were serving at a school that had an opening for a superintendent during the 2007–2008 school year was used. A survey with 24 questions was e-mailed to school board members. Results from this group indicated that there were no major differences between large school corporations and small school corporations when it came to personal characteristics and professional skills for a superintendent. Likewise there was no large spread between means among rural school corporations and urban/suburban school board members or between school board members who had served on the board four or less years compared to those who served on the board for 5 to 16 years or over 16 years.The results indicated that the school board members had high expectations in every category they were questioned about. The premise was that superintendents should be generalist rather than specialist and that they should be well versed in all areas of superintendency.
    • You’re Supposed to Care: Faculty Motivations to Incorporate Service Learning into Community College Classrooms

      Katowitz, Carol A.
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the motivations that cause some faculty in community colleges to embrace and actively pursue service learning pedagogy in their classrooms. It also identified the catalysts that move faculty to action in implementing this approach to instruction. The qualitative phenomenological case study approach was used to hear the stories of eight faculty members representing different areas of discipline in eight different campus locations in a Midwestern statewide community college system. Four primary themes and two sub-themes were identified through this study. The primary themes were (a) pedagogical connections to previous school experiences and personal and family values, (b) passion and commitment each faculty member had for this approach to instruction, (c) persistence of the faculty participants to use this approach despite the many barriers they faced, and (d) pleasure these faculty members get from watching their students perform in a service learning setting. The identified sub-themes were (a) bottom-up approach to instruction and (b) ability to take risks with instruction.