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Theses/Dissertations

Master's Theses

Western Michigan University

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Full-Text Articles in Education

The Role Of Arts Education In Closing The Achievement Gap In High Poverty Schools, Deanne Basse Apr 2018

The Role Of Arts Education In Closing The Achievement Gap In High Poverty Schools, Deanne Basse

Master's Theses

This paper will review research that identifies different types of poverty and how brain development may be affected as a result of living in poverty. Although research reflects support and understanding by the American people that arts education is important to the well roundedness of youth and, in fact, correlates with higher standardized test scores, arts programs continue to be cut especially in areas of poverty. There is an achievement gap in educational success when it comes to students that live in poverty and that of students in higher socioeconomic situations. Students of poverty are working with increased internal and ...


Teaching The Soft Skills Through The Arts: A Supplementary Art Curriculum, Brittany Boverhof Apr 2018

Teaching The Soft Skills Through The Arts: A Supplementary Art Curriculum, Brittany Boverhof

Master's Theses

Soft skills are the ability to work with, for, and among other people, yet we can no longer expect students to develop these skills organically. This research builds on the knowledge that if we want the students we are educating to be successful in employing their own soft skills, then they must be taught. This paper defines soft skills, shows their importance, and introduces practices that are proven to build soft skill ability. I have constructed twelve lesson plans that teach the soft skills through experientialism, working in groups, art, critique, classroom management, and problem solving. This supplementary curriculum provides ...


Assessing The Benefits And Risks Of Choice-Based Art Education In The Modern-Day Classroom, Kayla Lindeman Apr 2018

Assessing The Benefits And Risks Of Choice-Based Art Education In The Modern-Day Classroom, Kayla Lindeman

Master's Theses

This thesis explores the benefits and risks of choice-based art education by examining the literature and conducting field research in two third grade art classrooms - one that employs a Teaching for Artistic Behaviors-based (TAB-based, a popular version of choice-based art education) approach to art education and another that adheres to a more discipline-based model. Findings related to student observations, student surveys, and parent survey will be presented within these two unique settings. These findings will be matched against claimed choice-based benefits of: increases in student engagement; instructional and learning shifts; and student engagement in authentic art practices. The findings will ...


Exploring The Relevance Of Art Therapy In Public Education, Brandy A. Jarrell Apr 2018

Exploring The Relevance Of Art Therapy In Public Education, Brandy A. Jarrell

Master's Theses

This thesis will explore art education as a therapeutic tool in a public education system. This topic will serve as a continuation of research that I conducted previously but will bring more focus upon bringing a certified art therapist into public school districts in West Virginia. Data will be collected through student surveys, interviews of professional art therapists, and administrative officials. Data will also be collected through a review of the literature surrounding the benefits of art therapy to children and adolescents. Through these sources I will explore the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of educational professionals, art therapists, administrators and ...


Peer And Self Reflective Evaluations; Benefits And Techniques Used In A Middle School Art Room Setting, Mary Garrod Apr 2018

Peer And Self Reflective Evaluations; Benefits And Techniques Used In A Middle School Art Room Setting, Mary Garrod

Master's Theses

Students’ intentional development as independent learners is increased with the understanding of self efficacy, which contributes to motivation, persistence for learning, and future achievements. However, adolescence is a time when self efficacy and motivation in art often decline. Two effective teaching and learning practices that can aid middle school art educators in the development of adolescent student judgment skills and confidence as independent learners, are self assessment and peer assessment. This paper presents literature on the topics of peer assessment, self assessment, and their link to self efficacy beliefs in adolescents. It then provides applicable, research-based self and peer evaluation ...


A Guide For The Development Of Theoretical Understanding And Practice Of Teaching For Artistic Behavior: A Response For 21st Century Art Education, Lisa Van Plew-Cid Apr 2018

A Guide For The Development Of Theoretical Understanding And Practice Of Teaching For Artistic Behavior: A Response For 21st Century Art Education, Lisa Van Plew-Cid

Master's Theses

Education in the 21st century is restructuring to meet the needs of an increasingly technological society where learning objectives need to focus more on learning abilities rather than knowledge acquisition. Creativity and authentic learning have been identified as new learning objectives for the 21st century. Throughout the history of education, art education has maintained relevance through the integral role it plays in meeting the learning and developmental needs of our students. Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) offers both a philosophy and practice for relevant 21st century art education.

Through research and deep reflection on my ten year practice as an ...


Visual Literacy: Integrating Social Justice Art Education Into The Middle School Curriculum, Anna Kazmarski Dec 2017

Visual Literacy: Integrating Social Justice Art Education Into The Middle School Curriculum, Anna Kazmarski

Master's Theses

The purpose of this paper is to explore how social justice art education and visual literacy can facilitate growth and compassion for the diverse other in society. Social justice art encourages exploration of art-making in a variety of settings in order to dispel anxiety or misunderstandings about those affected by injustice. An investigation of original lesson plans designed to meet national core art standards will be introduced to elaborate on how social issues can be incorporated into a comprehensive art education curriculum based on critical and analytical inquiry at the middle school level.


Evaluating The Affective Impact Of A Place-Based Learning Course Project In The Geosciences, Nathan Charlton Dec 2017

Evaluating The Affective Impact Of A Place-Based Learning Course Project In The Geosciences, Nathan Charlton

Master's Theses

Coping with issues such as climate change and depletion of natural resources demands a scientifically literate public. For many students, the only exposure to earth science comes in a college-level general education geoscience course. One way to engender positive attitudes toward and interest in earth science among these students (the future public) is to connect learning to actual places to which students have a personal attachment.

This study seeks to evaluate the impact of a place-based learning project (MyPlace) currently in use in an introductory geosciences general education course at Western Michigan University. Students in the MyPlace project select a ...


An Ethnohistorical Study Of The Dowagiac Chieftains, Kathryn A. Bishop Dec 2017

An Ethnohistorical Study Of The Dowagiac Chieftains, Kathryn A. Bishop

Master's Theses

This research uses ethnohistorical methods to examine the use of imagery appropriated from American Indian cultures by the Dowagiac Union Schools. High School yearbooks from 1899- 2014, along with other artifacts, were identified as sources of information to describe students’ experiences. Applying Brayboy’s (2005) Tribal Critical Race Theory, an off-shoot of Critical Race Theory, combined with the research of historical and theoretical scholars like Davis (2002), Pewewardy (2001), and Deloria, King, and Springwood (2001), a case is made for the removal of American Indian mascots used by educational institutions, including the Dowagiac Chieftains. Though over 1,750 occasions of ...


Best Practices For Differentiated Learning Among Third Through Fifth Grade Ell Students, Tara J. Macias Aug 2017

Best Practices For Differentiated Learning Among Third Through Fifth Grade Ell Students, Tara J. Macias

Master's Theses

With the increase of second language English learners in U.S. kindergarten through twelfth grade schools and the continued achievement gap between these students and English speaking students, educators and administrators need to develop, implement and support best practices for differentiation among English Language Learners. ELL students are often categorized as special education students while their only barrier to learning is language acquisition. On the other hand, ELL students may have additional learning difficulties that are not identified because there is an assumption that language acquisition is the single challenge to their learning. Educators often engage in whole group instruction ...


The Quick Analysis For Principals In The Alignment Of Administrative Plans Within The School Improvement Framework At The Middle School Level, James Vanden Heuvel Jun 2017

The Quick Analysis For Principals In The Alignment Of Administrative Plans Within The School Improvement Framework At The Middle School Level, James Vanden Heuvel

Master's Theses

High performing schools require administrators to align the continuous improvement efforts with the professional development activities while evaluating teaching and learning for fidelity. The administrative plans of school improvement, professional development, and teacher evaluation systems systemically aligned begin with an administrator who can see the important interaction of these three plans. The increased pressure for improved achievement from stakeholders, coupled with competing demands on time for the school administrator, leads towards a need for efficient tools for improvement. School administrators are creating administrative plans that are in isolation or disconnected from each other which leads to a lack of cohesion ...


The Impact Of Heart Rate Monitor Use On Student Intensity In Elementary Physical Education, Gerrit J. Van Klaveren Jun 2017

The Impact Of Heart Rate Monitor Use On Student Intensity In Elementary Physical Education, Gerrit J. Van Klaveren

Master's Theses

Heart rate monitors (HRM) were used with 80 fifth grade students during an eight-day basketball unit in one elementary school located in Otsego County, Michigan to see if the implementation had any effect on increasing the intensity of the participating students. Specifically, the HRM measured the amount of time the students were engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). It was hypothesized that with the use of HRM, students would increase their MVPA and maintain that time in MVPA by the eighth day. The eight days were split into four levels where students were introduced to a new feature ...


Engagement Of Early College Students In The Graphic Design Classroom, Kelly Ann Vander Kley Apr 2017

Engagement Of Early College Students In The Graphic Design Classroom, Kelly Ann Vander Kley

Master's Theses

This thesis creates recommendations for methods to increase classroom engagement, specifically in classrooms consisting of art/design students within a dual enrollment setting. The recommendations follow the investigation of literature and the examination of studies related to engagement features of young college students who are studying graphic design. This thesis examines factors that potentially reduce classroom connectivity, and looks deeper into how those factors play a role in the engagement levels of students. I begin with a focus on overall classroom engagement followed by a closer look at engagement of early college students in the graphic design classroom. After an ...


Home Literacy Practices: A Focus On Dominican Families, Susan E. Pendleton Apr 2017

Home Literacy Practices: A Focus On Dominican Families, Susan E. Pendleton

Master's Theses

The majority of the current research regarding the home literacies that families employ to help their children become literate are explored through North American family structures. For this reason, there is a lack of knowledge about what Dominican families, a subgroup within the Latino culture, do at home to assist their children in their literacy acquisition in the Dominican Republic. This qualitative research study provides insight as to what literacy practices take place within the Dominican household. I gathered pertinent information from 10 Dominican participants using a semi-structured interview so literacy practices could be revealed. Findings from this research indicate ...


Killing Me Softly: The Missed Education Of African American Females, Margaret Daphne Cattenhead Apr 2017

Killing Me Softly: The Missed Education Of African American Females, Margaret Daphne Cattenhead

Master's Theses

Using a literature review and personal experience, this paper aims to examine the paradoxes and barriers of African American girls in education. The educational system has left black females without support to ensure consistent results across a variety of settings and environments. There are a variety of voices on what barriers African American girls face and how those barriers influence their educational progress. Despite some progress, many African American girls are at risk for suspension, expulsion, and grade retention. They are at risk to be pressured into dominant culture norms for behavior, to be regarded as subordinate, to be negatively ...


Middle Level Multicultural/Social Justice Art Education Curriculum, Meghan E. G. Andrews Apr 2017

Middle Level Multicultural/Social Justice Art Education Curriculum, Meghan E. G. Andrews

Master's Theses

The way in which children are taught matters a great deal and influences not only their worldview, but also how they view themselves with that world. Through my experiences as an art teacher, I have witnessed a growing need for teaching students in a way that focuses on multicultural and social justices issues in order to help students gain a more well-rounded world view. The art classroom has to power to serve as a safe and effective place to explore these issues. Determining why there is a growing need for a multicultural and social justice oriented art curriculum was important ...


Networking And Connecting Creative Minds: Understanding Social Media’S Role In Today’S Visual Arts Instruction, Tonya Rose Kirby Dec 2016

Networking And Connecting Creative Minds: Understanding Social Media’S Role In Today’S Visual Arts Instruction, Tonya Rose Kirby

Master's Theses

This study explores the use of social media in K-12 visual arts programs, focusing on why and how art educators choose to implement social media in their instructional practice. This study discusses benefits and disadvantages of social media as a pedagogical and creative tool in art education through analysis of the survey responses of 50 in-service teachers. Finally, specific social media platforms are recommended, with in-class examples provided for art teachers interested in using social media in their program.


The Impact Of A Student Device Technology Integration Professional Development Program On K-6 Performance Data, Peter Grostic Dec 2016

The Impact Of A Student Device Technology Integration Professional Development Program On K-6 Performance Data, Peter Grostic

Master's Theses

When schools choose to secure devices for their students to integrate into class, they are engaging in a student device technology integration initiative. Results of such initiatives so far have been inconsistent (Bebell & Kay, 2010, Gulek & Demirtas, 2005). These inconsistencies may be, in part, due to poor professional development and/or incomplete data collection. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of a professional development program for teachers on the effectiveness of a student device technology integration initiative. “Effectiveness” will be defined by standardized test data as well as student attendance data and student behavior referral data ...


Preparing For 1:1 Technology: Impact On Collaboration, Instruction, And Student Learning, Pamela R. Schwallier Aug 2016

Preparing For 1:1 Technology: Impact On Collaboration, Instruction, And Student Learning, Pamela R. Schwallier

Master's Theses

The purpose of this action research project was to examine how the preparation of a 1:1 technology initiative, through professional development and early access to devices, in secondary (6-12) schools affected personal computing skills of teachers as well as collaboration, instruction, and student learning. This study takes place at West Ottawa Public Schools where district educators received personal Chromebooks and had ongoing professional development throughout the 2015-2016 school year to prepare specifically for the successful adoption of the 1:1 technology model in the 2017-2018 school year. The district is able to provide personal Chromebooks for all students entering ...


The Effects Of A Peer Feedback Treatment Package On Math Performance In Students With Moderate Cognitive Impairments, Allaina Sheltrown Aug 2016

The Effects Of A Peer Feedback Treatment Package On Math Performance In Students With Moderate Cognitive Impairments, Allaina Sheltrown

Master's Theses

Despite the increased demand for data collection in the special education settings, an agreed upon method for collecting data has yet to be identified. Two procedures that have demonstrated robust outcomes for collecting academic data for individual students are self-management and peer feedback. Self-management involves the student collecting measures on his or her own behavior(s). Peer feedback includes a student serving as a tutor and presenting academic materials and feedback to a tutee. Past research has yet to combine the two methods and include the methods to track and monitor Individual Education Program (IEP) goals. The current study aims ...


Understanding College Students’ Exam Process In A General Chemistry Course, Angela Willson Jun 2016

Understanding College Students’ Exam Process In A General Chemistry Course, Angela Willson

Master's Theses

The main way most college chemistry courses assess what a student has learned is through a summative exam. After introductory science courses, such as general chemistry, many students cite poor teaching and disappointing grades in these courses as a reason for dropping out of STEM programs. There has been a lack of qualitative research on students’ experiences of the complete process of taking an exam from start to finish, or the exam process, which includes preparing for an exam, taking an exam, receiving feedback, and responding to feedback after the exam has been graded.

My goal in this exploratory study ...


Factors Lnfluencing Weight Gain And Perceived Barriers Of Exercise In First Semester College Students, Noah C. Neuenfeldt Apr 2016

Factors Lnfluencing Weight Gain And Perceived Barriers Of Exercise In First Semester College Students, Noah C. Neuenfeldt

Master's Theses

College students believe that university weight management interventions impact their health habits. This suggests that universities can play a large role in encouraging students to be active. The purpose of this study was to investigate this claim and to acquire a better understanding of weight change in first year college students in the first semester. We specifically sought to identify the variables that influence weight gain, as well as determine the awareness and usage of resources available to the students. A survey was given to first year students addressing the variables of interest including change in weight and Body Mass ...


The Value Of The Arts In Education, Thorin Teague Apr 2016

The Value Of The Arts In Education, Thorin Teague

Master's Theses

Art is a subject that has no substitute, as the learning and production of art satisfies a uniquely human need to communicate and connect with other human beings. The marriage of art and society can (and should) be thought of as culture. This author intends to assert that the arts have a critical place in education and indeed human society itself, bringing ancillary benefits to bear on the subject without relying on them as the primary justification for the retention and even expansion of arts programs; education (which could in turn be thought of the dissemination of cultural knowledge) of ...


Strengthening Tier 1 Elementary Reading Within A Multi-Tiered System Of Support, Carla N. Osborn Apr 2016

Strengthening Tier 1 Elementary Reading Within A Multi-Tiered System Of Support, Carla N. Osborn

Master's Theses

Training teachers about the foundational reading skills is an important step in creating students who are proficient readers. However, training is not enough. Teachers need support through instructional coaching. Even with coaching support, sustainability of these practices will be a challenge if systems are not in place throughout the district to support ongoing implementation. By combining the processes of creating a Multi-Tiered System of Support, reading training, and instructional coaching, sustainability of practices can be possible. Research does not currently exist as to whether the combination of these efforts has increased student achievement in reading at the elementary level. This ...


Assessing High School Science Students’ Abilities To Use Cross Cutting Literacy Skills And Scientific Argumentative Writing Skills In A Mid-Western School District, Ellen M. Karel Aug 2015

Assessing High School Science Students’ Abilities To Use Cross Cutting Literacy Skills And Scientific Argumentative Writing Skills In A Mid-Western School District, Ellen M. Karel

Master's Theses

This study sought to determine to what extent a centrally focused initiative concentrated on how to teach students to not just write, but how to think, read, and speak about real world problems in a persuasive manner based on multiple sets of data related to science concepts, increased scientific argumentative writing proficiencies among high school students. A secondary area this study attempted to explore was the correlation between the implemented processes in the initiative and high school students’ scientific argumentative writing proficiencies. The study was conducted in a mid-western high school, population 1,088, with a select group of students ...


Canning Jars And Patterns Of Canning Behavior: A Study Of Households On The Hector Backbone, New York. 1850-1940, Jayne Ann Michaels Aug 2015

Canning Jars And Patterns Of Canning Behavior: A Study Of Households On The Hector Backbone, New York. 1850-1940, Jayne Ann Michaels

Master's Theses

Typically, late 19th or early 20th century domestic sites contain fragments of a common item: canning jars. Such is the case regarding 21 sites along the Hector Backbone in New York State. These sites, investigated by the Finger Lakes National Forest Farmstead Archaeology Project, produced a rich sample of over 250,000 artifacts and thousands related to canning.

The objective of this thesis is to explore the potential of these common artifacts to yield important information about these Backbone households. Specifically, my questions include: when did these households adopt canning and who were they?

The intentional decision to ...


Taking Art To The Next Level: Integration Of Advanced Placement Studio Art, 2-D Design, Krystal Kingsley May 2015

Taking Art To The Next Level: Integration Of Advanced Placement Studio Art, 2-D Design, Krystal Kingsley

Master's Theses

Teaching High School art has brought me great joy. Along the way I have been challenged with many difficult questions. One that beckoned me to direct and intentional action is “how do I help students take their art work to the next level?” This project is the result of my personal discovery and development of an Advanced Placement Studio Art 2-D Design course. My research of multiple sources led to the development of an Advanced Placement (AP) approved course which includes: a syllabus, multiple breadth lessons, project rubrics, critiques, sketchbook assignments, summer homework, and a guide for helping students develop ...


Ways In Which Community Involvement May Influence Girls’ Education In Senegal, Babou Ndiaye May 2015

Ways In Which Community Involvement May Influence Girls’ Education In Senegal, Babou Ndiaye

Master's Theses

This study attempts to examine through the lens of social feminist theory the ways in which community involvement may influence girls’ education in Senegal. It highlights the extent to which networking, advocacy, and meaningful interactions between community and school may contribute to improving access, learning conditions, and academic achievements for girls. The paper also provides an analysis of the adverse effects of community involvement on girls’ education in Senegal. It underscores the extent to which patriarchy and class interfere to shape community involvement and undermine girls’ education, in terms of both access and quality. The paper further sketches a combination ...


Fostering The Efficacious Adolescent Artist, Regina Beltowski May 2015

Fostering The Efficacious Adolescent Artist, Regina Beltowski

Master's Theses

Low self-esteem and insecurity is common among adolescents. In the secondary-school art room, students often stop engaging in art practice, believing that they lack talent, when the truth is that they lack specific skills. Students who are fortunate to have teachers who help them develop their skills experience a boost in feelings of self-efficacy, and often reengage with art production. This thesis project focuses on strengthening students’ self-efficacy in the visual arts at the secondary level. Clarifying the differences between related terms – self-esteem, self-concept, and perceived control – I focus on self-efficacy as a characteristic that plays a significant role in ...


Putting The Motive Back In Motivation: Exploring The Promise Of Intention And Practical Knowledge In Reengaging The Apathetic Learner, Lisa M. Cronkhite-Marks May 2015

Putting The Motive Back In Motivation: Exploring The Promise Of Intention And Practical Knowledge In Reengaging The Apathetic Learner, Lisa M. Cronkhite-Marks

Master's Theses

This paper explores the conceptions of motivation from the standpoint of two very different types of discourse; the first from important theories of educational psychology such as Weiner’s attribution theory, Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory, and social constructivist theory of motivation, all of which rely on theoretical knowledge to investigate motivation; and the other found in philosophical/analytical discussions of motivation such as in the work of G.E.M. Anscombe, Julia Annas, and Rollo May, all of which make use of practical knowledge in their conceptualization of human motivation. The paper questions whether inquiry into motivation with ...