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Doctoral Dissertations

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Examining Social Capital And Its Role In Special Education Leadership, April K. Rist Mar 2024

Examining Social Capital And Its Role In Special Education Leadership, April K. Rist

Doctoral Dissertations

The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to analyze the relationships that existed between the special education leaders and other members of a district leadership team in order to measure their access to social capital. Quantitative data were collected using surveys of one school district’s leadership team and social network analysis (SNA) was used to visually analyze the connections between members of the team. Qualitative data were subsequently collected via semi-structured interviews of each of the 19 members of the leadership team. What types of ties do the special education administrators have to fellow administrators within district leadership teams? What …


Interrelationship Among Students’ Ict Usage, Attitude, And Academic Performance In Nordic Countries: Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling On Pisa 2018 And Timss 2019, Dukjae Lee Mar 2024

Interrelationship Among Students’ Ict Usage, Attitude, And Academic Performance In Nordic Countries: Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling On Pisa 2018 And Timss 2019, Dukjae Lee

Doctoral Dissertations

The usage of digital devices has been an interest in the field of education as one of the useful instructional methods for students’ better learning. Although the usage seemed to be related to their academic performance (e.g., Pekto et al., 2017; Skryabin et al., 2015), it was still unclear if the usage itself directly affected better academic results. Therefore, this dissertation explored an interrelationship between students’ usage of digital devices and academic performance with a mediation effect of their attitude toward using digital devices. The study analyzed the datasets of five Nordic countries collected from PISA 2018 and TIMSS 2019, …


Impact Of Reasonable Accommodations On Disabled Student–Veteran Higher Educational Achievement, Michael A. Buoniconti Mar 2024

Impact Of Reasonable Accommodations On Disabled Student–Veteran Higher Educational Achievement, Michael A. Buoniconti

Doctoral Dissertations

Objectives: The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate the degree to which reasonable accommodations affected the educational achievement (graduation and GPA) of U.S. Student–Veterans with military service–connected disabilities and (b) to categorize the accommodations according to impact (positive, mixed, none, and negative). Research Design: Archival and survey data were used to investigate whether there was a relationship between U.S. Student-Veteran level of military service–connected disability, Student-Veteran utilization of reasonable accommodations support, and Student-Veteran higher educational achievement. Two variables (a) U.S. Student-Veteran military service–connected disability severity rating (both continuous and categorical) and (b) U.S. Student-Veteran utilization of reasonable accommodations …


Understanding Faculty Use Of Learning Management Systems In U.S. Higher Education, Minghui Tai Nov 2023

Understanding Faculty Use Of Learning Management Systems In U.S. Higher Education, Minghui Tai

Doctoral Dissertations

The purpose of this dissertation is to understand why and how faculty use a learning management system (LMS) and what demographic factors and barriers influence faculty LMS use in U.S. higher education. Nearly 98.1% of higher education institutions in the United States have invested in at least one LMS to facilitate student learning and faculty teaching (LMS Data, 2023). However, there have been a limited number of studies exploring factors that influence U.S. faculty use of LMS. Faculty (n=191) across the United States responded to an online survey answering open-ended, and Likert-scale questions about LMS use, as well …


The Professionalization Of Collegiate Recreation And The Educational Pathways Of Its Practitioners: An Exploratory Study, Jason R. Incorvati Nov 2023

The Professionalization Of Collegiate Recreation And The Educational Pathways Of Its Practitioners: An Exploratory Study, Jason R. Incorvati

Doctoral Dissertations

ABSTRACT THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF COLLEGIATE RECREATION AND THE EDUCATIONAL PATHWAYS OF ITS PRACTITIONERS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY SEPTEMBER 2023 JASON R. INCORVATI, B.A. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST M.E.S.S., UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA Ph.D. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST Directed by: Ezekiel Kimball, Ph.D. The professionalization of collegiate recreation, like many fields, has led to attempts to standardize training, create shared language, come to an agreement amongst practitioners on what essential knowledge the work should be based upon, and have collective understanding as to how new members to the field should be socialized (e.g., Arminio, 2011; Duran & Allen, 2020; Wilensky, 1964). Professional associations …


Connecting And Developing Through Facebook: An Exploration Of Impact On College Women, Christine R. Sharry Nov 2023

Connecting And Developing Through Facebook: An Exploration Of Impact On College Women, Christine R. Sharry

Doctoral Dissertations

Social media continues to change global society, while providing the opportunity to access information, but also build and sustain relationships with others. These online tools have become a part of everyday life (Greenwood et al., 2016) and have an impact on the way people interact, connect, and learn from one another. College students today have been surrounded by social media since elementary school (Alquist, 2017). Therefore, college administrators and faculty need to understand the impact of these online tools on students’ learning and development to ensure their success. All foundational student development theories were created when digital environments were non-existent. …


I’Ve (Urn)Ed This: An Application And Criterion-Based Evaluation Of The Urnings Algorithm, Ted Daisher Nov 2023

I’Ve (Urn)Ed This: An Application And Criterion-Based Evaluation Of The Urnings Algorithm, Ted Daisher

Doctoral Dissertations

There is increased interest in personalized learning and making e-learning environments more adaptable. Some e-learning systems may use an Item Response Theory (IRT)-based assessment system. An important distinction between assessment and learning contexts is that learner proficiency is expected to remain constant across an assessment, while it is expected to change over time in a learning context. Constant learner proficiency during an assessment enables conventional approaches to estimating person and item parameters using IRT. These IRT-based systems could be abandoned for alternative approaches to modeling learners and system learning content, but assessments may provide more functions than adapting learning material …


The Puzzle Of Debutant Ingo Participation In Guatemala’S National Reading Program Leamos Juntos: A Comparative And Multi-Sited Case Study, Jacob A. Carter Nov 2023

The Puzzle Of Debutant Ingo Participation In Guatemala’S National Reading Program Leamos Juntos: A Comparative And Multi-Sited Case Study, Jacob A. Carter

Doctoral Dissertations

The dynamics of nongovernmental organizations (NGO) working in Guatemala can be understood as processual, evolving with and being shaped by social and cultural events in Guatemala and around the world. Central to understanding these dynamics is NGOs’ historical relationship to the State, which has ranged from collaborative to homicidal. However, as the number and activity of NGOs increase globally and in Guatemala, specifically within the education sector, some scholars characterize them less by their opposition to the State and more by their provision of education and myriad affiliations with the State. The purpose of this dissertation is to situate …


Aberrant Response Detection: Incorporating Cumulative Sum Control Chart And Change-Point Analysis, Siyu Wan Nov 2023

Aberrant Response Detection: Incorporating Cumulative Sum Control Chart And Change-Point Analysis, Siyu Wan

Doctoral Dissertations

The detection of aberrant responses in psychological and educational testing is crucial for maintaining the validity and reliability of assessment scores. This dissertation evaluates the performance of a new detection method, known as the bootstrap method, specifically targeting random guessing behaviors. A simulation design is used to compare the bootstrap method with traditional cumulative sum control chart (CUSUM) and change-point analysis (CPA) methods, considering various test lengths and severity rates. The findings indicate that the bootstrap method did not exhibit superior performance in detecting aberrant responses compared to the traditional methods. It demonstrated lower detection power and higher type I …


Harnessing Untapped Potential: A Theory For Engaging Recent Graduates In Alumni Advocacy To Support Institutional Advancement Goals, Erin M. Valencik Nov 2023

Harnessing Untapped Potential: A Theory For Engaging Recent Graduates In Alumni Advocacy To Support Institutional Advancement Goals, Erin M. Valencik

Doctoral Dissertations

At the same time institutions and advancement offices are struggling to effectively engage recent graduates who are essential to the health and longevity of the engagement and philanthropy pipeline, public institutions are attempting to constrain rising college costs that threaten quality and accessibility. A large and ongoing contributing factor to increased college costs is reduced state funding for higher education that remains below historic levels. Given the current environment of declining numbers of new donors, the funding challenges that face higher education, and recent graduate motivations to participate in cause-based philanthropy, political advocacy may be one approach that can effectively …


A Feasibility Study Investigating The Implementation Of Social-Emotional Learning Programming In A Clinical Day Treatment Program, Laura M. Findlay Nov 2023

A Feasibility Study Investigating The Implementation Of Social-Emotional Learning Programming In A Clinical Day Treatment Program, Laura M. Findlay

Doctoral Dissertations

Students with emotional-behavioral disorders are particularly vulnerable to adverse mental health consequences as they often experience less school success than any other group of students, with or without disability (Beaudoin et al., 2008; Wagner et al., 2005). Existing research indicates that students who participated in social-emotional learning programs, such as Second Step, demonstrated significant improvement with social and emotional skills, behavior, and academic performance, than students who did not (Durlak et al., 2011). However, less is known about the science related to systems-level implementation to support applied practices (Fixsen et al., 2005), and little is known about implementing SEL programs …


Cultural Humility In Education: A Qualitative Case Study Of Teacher Practice And Development Of Concrete Skills In The Upward Bound Program, Onasheho Valerie Toweh Nov 2023

Cultural Humility In Education: A Qualitative Case Study Of Teacher Practice And Development Of Concrete Skills In The Upward Bound Program, Onasheho Valerie Toweh

Doctoral Dissertations

CULTURAL HUMILITY IN EDUCATION: A QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY OF TEACHER PRACTICE AND DEVELOPMENT OF CONCRETE SKILLS IN THE UPWARD BOUND PROGRAM Even though it has been several decades since the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, ruled against racial segregation in schools (Yell, 2019), students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds continue to experience systemic barriers that adversely impact student outcomes across their academic, behavioral, and postsecondary attainment (Musu-Gillette et al., 2016). Using a qualitative methodology case study approach, this study examined teaching practices within the Upward Bound (UB) Program using a case study approach across three …


The Evaluation Of "The Wrong Answer Project" As Validity Evidence For The Social Consequences Of Testing, Darius D. Taylor Aug 2023

The Evaluation Of "The Wrong Answer Project" As Validity Evidence For The Social Consequences Of Testing, Darius D. Taylor

Doctoral Dissertations

The use of educational tests for making high stakes decisions has had societal consequences for decades. Parents, teachers, and administrators have been willing to pay off, lie, cheat, and steal so that their children, students, and they themselves would not fall prey to the negative consequences of subpar performance on educational assessments. Respected psychometric scholars have supported Samuel Messick’s claim over the years, but their advocacy has caught minimal traction. I founded an initiative in 2019 – The Wrong Answer Project – that shows promise as a vehicle for collecting validity evidence based on the social consequences of testing and …


An Analysis Of Puerto Rican Testimonios Of Oppression And Resistance In Postsecondary Education, Juan M. Ruiz-Hau Aug 2023

An Analysis Of Puerto Rican Testimonios Of Oppression And Resistance In Postsecondary Education, Juan M. Ruiz-Hau

Doctoral Dissertations

College enrollment rates for Puerto Ricans in the United States and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have been steadily increasing over the last twenty years; however, enrollment rates for 18- to 24-year-old Latinos remain low compared to whites of the same age groups. The rationale for this gap often portrays Latinos as deficient, using terms such as “academic underachievement” and “at-risk.” This framing—centered on the individual—shifts the focus away from systemic barriers, such as limited financial resources for Latinos, culturally relevant pedagogy, intergenerational transfer of disadvantage, and systemic racism, among other factors explored this this study. This study contributes …


The Impact Of Special Education Status And Text-To-Speech On Test-Taker Engagement, Maura O'Riordan Aug 2023

The Impact Of Special Education Status And Text-To-Speech On Test-Taker Engagement, Maura O'Riordan

Doctoral Dissertations

If a student is not engaged during a test, their test score will not be an accurate representation of what they are capable of. This is a concern because of the possible negative impact on the validity of test score interpretations and decisions being made based on such test scores that are not in the best interest of the student. If this is negatively impacting an entire subgroup of students, such as special education students, differentially, there may be larger-scale impact. To date, limited research has examined the relationship between test-taker engagement and special education status. The purpose of this …


Scaffolding Narrative Writing In A Fourth-Grade Classroom Through Accela’S Expanded Teaching And Learning Cycle: A Case Study, Juan P. Jimenez Aug 2023

Scaffolding Narrative Writing In A Fourth-Grade Classroom Through Accela’S Expanded Teaching And Learning Cycle: A Case Study, Juan P. Jimenez

Doctoral Dissertations

The socio-political context of education reform of the last two decades in the United States (e.g., No Child Left Behind Act, Race to the Top, anti-bilingual education laws in several states, The Common Core State Standards, and the Every Student Succeeds Act) has limited the capacity of urban public schools to address the academic literacy needs of the increasingly growing population of emerging bilinguals in this country; which as of fall of 2019 represented 10.4 % (5.1 million students) (NCES, 2022). This problem has been exacerbated when large numbers of emerging bilinguals have been placed in mainstream classrooms with inadequately …


Ensuring Culturally Inclusive Online Learning For International Students: A Delphi Study To Identify Requisite Instructor Competencies, Kristen Lina Heaster-Ekholm Aug 2023

Ensuring Culturally Inclusive Online Learning For International Students: A Delphi Study To Identify Requisite Instructor Competencies, Kristen Lina Heaster-Ekholm

Doctoral Dissertations

The dramatic expansion of online learning in U.S. higher education has been accompanied by a notable shift in the demographics of students enrolled in these courses. International students are among those participating in online courses in growing numbers, infusing the virtual space with greater cultural diversity. Many instructors are unprepared for this change. Culture plays an influential role in how we learn, yet instructors rarely consider it in the design and facilitation of their online courses. This can have a negative impact on learners and often affects international students in disproportionate ways. The purpose of this study was to identify …


For The Love Of Teaching: Pre-Service Teachers’ Experience Of Moral Education, Anne Marie Foley Ruiz Aug 2023

For The Love Of Teaching: Pre-Service Teachers’ Experience Of Moral Education, Anne Marie Foley Ruiz

Doctoral Dissertations

Moral aspects of teaching arise each and every day, yet we lack information about how prepared teachers feel about this critical aspect of teaching. This multi-case study explores perceptions of five pre-service teachers in an elementary teacher education program in Western Massachusetts. A series of interviews explore their histories prior to the program and their experiences in the program as related to the pre-service teachers’ orientations to the moral work of teaching. Research questions address the awareness and self-efficacy of student teachers in implementing the moral aspects of teaching. Using Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006), this study explores beliefs …


Youth Producing Voice: A Video-Cued Ethnography Of A Media Education Classroom, Isabel C. Castellanos Aug 2023

Youth Producing Voice: A Video-Cued Ethnography Of A Media Education Classroom, Isabel C. Castellanos

Doctoral Dissertations

From mini screens on our cell phones to large flat screens hanging in institutional hallways, visual digital media are part of our everyday lives. This is especially true for youth, who in their leisure time increasingly spend time watching and making video content. Yet there are few opportunities for youth in either their community or school settings to access formal instruction in digital media literacy, including video production. In this dissertation, I examine the possibilities and challenges for doing youth media inside schools. What do youth allow themselves to say when doing media production in school and how do they …


Accreditation Of Teaching And Research Universities In Afghanistan: A Policy Implementation Analysis, Sayed Javid Mussawy Apr 2023

Accreditation Of Teaching And Research Universities In Afghanistan: A Policy Implementation Analysis, Sayed Javid Mussawy

Doctoral Dissertations

The quest for quality has encouraged many countries to establish quality assurance and accreditation models to sustain and improve quality. While some established their own procedures, a great majority of the countries including those in the developing world have adopted quality assurance policies developed in the Global North to respond to internationalization and to participate in the knowledge economy. However, most universities in developing countries lack adequate infrastructure to implement accreditation standards. Thus, investigating the implementation of accreditation policies in developing nations provides new insight into the opportunities and challenges posed by internationalization of quality assurance and accreditation. This study …


Conceptualizing Social Mathematical Empowerment: What Is The Curricular Connection?, Alicia C. Gonzales Apr 2023

Conceptualizing Social Mathematical Empowerment: What Is The Curricular Connection?, Alicia C. Gonzales

Doctoral Dissertations

As a result of everchanging goals and visions for mathematics education in the United States, this study builds on an initial theoretical framework of empowerment and further conceptualizes one domain, namely Social Mathematical Empowerment [SME]. I used concept analysis to define processes and outcomes more precisely and identified SME as a multi-layered, dialectic construct. This approach results in two components of action and awareness with various instructional and theoretical approaches. I then applied that conceptualization and created an analytical tool to examine mathematics teaching materials to engage learners in SME. This study adds to the existing knowledge base by providing …


An Experiential Approach To Test Design And Validation, Sergio Andres Araneda Galarce Apr 2023

An Experiential Approach To Test Design And Validation, Sergio Andres Araneda Galarce

Doctoral Dissertations

In this Dissertation, I will present the theoretical basis and two proof-of-concept studies of something I will call an “Experiential” approach to Test Design and Validation. This approach finds its origins in Game design, where the effort goes around the experience elicited by a device (a game). The idea of the experiential approach is to apply the mindset of game design into test design. First, I present a literature review of conceptual frameworks referring to “Experience” and a novel conceptual framework for the context of Educational Testing. Then, I do a literature review of scientific epistemologies and feminist epistemologies in …


Validating Middle School Principals' Opinions About The Impact Of Investments, David Adler Apr 2023

Validating Middle School Principals' Opinions About The Impact Of Investments, David Adler

Doctoral Dissertations

Accountability for American public education systems, which spend more than $750 billion annually as of 2019, has been a topic of longstanding controversy. The test-based accountability movement has led to conditions that penalize schools that educate traditionally underserved students (low socioeconomic status, English language learners and students with disabilities are examined in this paper). Further, leaders of these schools lack evidence-based guidance to help make high-impact improvements, as schools serving high proportions of these students are rarely cited as exemplars of high-quality education. In three phases, this study demonstrates the feasibility of using a demographically normed, test-based status metric to …


Stakeholder Perspectives Of School Discipline: A Social Ecological Exploration, Megan D. Grant Feb 2023

Stakeholder Perspectives Of School Discipline: A Social Ecological Exploration, Megan D. Grant

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation involved a mixed method study on discipline practices in a single urban school district. This was a novel investigation that engaged stakeholders (administrators, teachers, school professionals, and students) to view, analyze, and interpret discipline data from their district and to explore the underlying causes of discipline outcomes. I found disproportionate discipline of students of color and disproportionate discipline for minor offenses. Stakeholders views resulted in a model in which social ecological systems drove the discipline system and undergirded the disparate and discriminatory practices. Interpretations of the findings are discussed.


Learning By Doing: Preparing Student Activists For Democratic Engagement, Marjorie G. Valdivia Oct 2022

Learning By Doing: Preparing Student Activists For Democratic Engagement, Marjorie G. Valdivia

Doctoral Dissertations

This study explores how college students' experiences with co-curricular social justice advocacy activities supports capacity-building for progressive, democratic, civic engagement. Given the increasing and widening of economic inequality in the U.S. (Hernandez Kent & Ricketts, 2020), exploring how co-curricular experiences in higher education settings can support students to gain capacities for progressive, democratic, civic engagement. While there is a significant amount of scholarship on how diversity education and service-learning contribute to college students' civic engagement, the literature on student involvement in campus activism on progressive, democratic, civic engagement is sparse (Kezar & Maxey, 2014) Using a mixed methods approach, this …


Design Artifacts As Externalized Mental Models Of Children’S Science Concept Development, Christine Mcgrail Oct 2022

Design Artifacts As Externalized Mental Models Of Children’S Science Concept Development, Christine Mcgrail

Doctoral Dissertations

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) calls for the integration of the practices of science and engineering across all science disciplines beginning in the early elementary grades. Science and engineering education research has determined that engineering design is a productive means for promoting understanding of science concepts. However, design artifacts created during engineering design problem-solving have not received sufficient attention for their potential to embody children’s science understanding. The aim of this study was to examine how conceptual development of the concepts of force and motion was instantiated in design artifacts by early elementary age children engaged in engineering design. …


Enacting A Critical Media Production Pedagogy, James D. Swerzenski Oct 2022

Enacting A Critical Media Production Pedagogy, James D. Swerzenski

Doctoral Dissertations

This project draws upon earlier calls—particularly in the critical pedagogy, critical media literacy, and cultural production fields—to outline a teaching approach that balances technical media production practices and critical media studies. I refer to this synthesis as critical media production pedagogy. This blending of critical analysis and technical skill, I argue, is especially important at the university level where my research is focused, as students in these courses will likely enter industry fields in which they can influence culture on a mass level. Creating opportunities for a media theory/production synthesis enables students to translate critical ideas beyond the academy and …


The Gendered, Racialized, & Dis/Abled Experiences Of Neurodivergent Black Women Graduate Students Across Higher Education, Kat Stephens Oct 2022

The Gendered, Racialized, & Dis/Abled Experiences Of Neurodivergent Black Women Graduate Students Across Higher Education, Kat Stephens

Doctoral Dissertations

Black women graduate students with dis/abilities; those identifying as neurodivergent are scarce in contemporary research. Throughout widespread disability studies, research, and the research on neurodiversity, this lack is consistent regarding minoritized race and gender groupings (Matthews, 2019; Strong et al., 2020). Larger neurodivergent, ADHD, and Autism conversations tend to skew toward White boys and men (Travers, 2018). The convergence of disability (race, gender, and place/space) as another marginalized community and diverse student population, is an additional gap in the literature, despite the benefits of DisCrit (Annamma et al., 2013). Black women graduate students with disabilities, specifically those identifying as neurodivergent …


How Well Does The New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program Work For Black Men? A Mixed Methods Study, Michael A. Dejesus Iii Oct 2022

How Well Does The New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program Work For Black Men? A Mixed Methods Study, Michael A. Dejesus Iii

Doctoral Dissertations

Previous research trended towards a deficit-oriented approach to understanding and explaining Black male underachievement. The past education research has focused on discussing the underachievement of Black males in Higher education. Finding solutions often were prescriptive in “fixing” behaviors in Black males to improve academic achievement. Additionally, there has been a trend towards race-neutrality in education policies, programs, and admissions criteria. And there is a lack of research on whether race-neutrality further exacerbates Black male underachievement by ignoring key race and gender targeted supports services that could improve Black male academic outcomes in higher education. While Black men have historically struggled …


“Sustaining Peace From Campus To Community”, The Role Of Students To Promote Campus-Level Reconciliation: A Case Study Of Maluku, Indonesia, Julia Novrita Sep 2022

“Sustaining Peace From Campus To Community”, The Role Of Students To Promote Campus-Level Reconciliation: A Case Study Of Maluku, Indonesia, Julia Novrita

Doctoral Dissertations

In the context of intractable conflict, a higher education institution, especially a public state university, is not only a learning place for youth aged 18-26 years, but also a symbol of control, power, pride, and identity of dominant regional groups. This condition has made some scholars and practitioners in peacebuilding doubt the capacity of higher education to promote peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of war, arguing that the challenges outweigh the opportunities. Learning from the experience of the alumni of the Non-Violent Study Circles (NVSC) program and their affiliations at the University of Pattimura (UNPATTI), the largest public university …