Anna Flynt Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Anna Flynt

for the degree of Doctor of Education

February 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm  / Virtual Defense

Major Advisor: Clif Mims, PhD

Tennessee ESL Teachers’ Self-Efficacy: A Predictive Correlational Study

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this quantitative, predictive correlational study was to examine variables that are correlated with Tennessee K-12 English as a second language teachers’ self-efficacy. With the changes stipulated by the Every Student Succeeds Act recently approved by the Tennessee Department of Education, there is a need to examine possible factors associated with ESL teachers’ self-efficacy because teacher self-efficacy has been linked to teacher effectiveness and, in turn, student learning. Using social cognitive theory as a framework, predictor variables were identified and included route to licensure, practicum hours, presence of mentor, years of teaching experience prior to ESL, years of experience of ESL teaching, and number of ESL teachers at participants’ schools. A self-report survey including the validated Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale was sent to the participants using the Tennessee Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages membership listserv. The data collected from the convenience sample was analyzed using standard multiple regression. The six predictor variables were found not to be predictive of Tennessee ESL teachers’ self-efficacy and the overall standard multiple regression indicated negligible predictive value. The conclusion drawn from this study is that Tennessee, and perhaps other ESL teachers in the United States, are a unique population of teachers who have other factors specific to their field of teaching that can be predictive of their self-efficacy. Among the possibilities for future research, the author especially recommends the investigation of American ESL teachers’ self-efficacy through qualitative methods so data can be collected to identify possible self-efficacy factors directly from the population.

Eric Suedmeyer Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Eric Suedmeyer

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

February 19, 2018 at 10:30 am in 103 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Douglas Strohmer, PhD

Development of the Career Resilience Scale for Adults with Disabilities

ABSTRACT: Adults with disabilities face multiple internal, social, and systemic barriers that hamper efforts to attain and maintain meaningful employment. In order to achieve success in vocational pursuits, individuals with disabilities must demonstrate perseverance in the face of probable adversity; this construct is career resilience. Unfortunately, no scale has been developed to measure a person’s career resilience that is specifically tailored to assess one’s ability to rebound from career stressors related to one’s disability. The purpose of this study is to develop an instrument to measure the career resilience of adults with disabilities. After creating the Career Resilience for Adults with Disabilities Scale (CRADS) the author used two samples of 169 and 129 adults with disabilities to examine its psychometric characteristics and finalize the scale’s structure and content. Results indicated the CRADS is a reliable measure with a three-subscale factor structure. Differences in CRADS scores were found between adults with disabilities who were currently employed and those unemployed and not actively looking for work.

Amy Hall Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Amy Hall

for the degree of Doctor of Education

February 22, 2018 at 10:30 am in 320 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, EdD

Effect of a case-based online discussion forum on resident professionalism knowledge and skills

ABSTRACT: Teaching professionalism in graduate medical education is required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Program directors face several challenges in developing and implementing methods to effectively teach professionalism. However, the benefits of implementing an effective method can lead to improved resident performance and knowledge, patient care outcomes, and teamwork interactions. A research proposal was developed to investigate the effects of a professionalism traditional lecture versus a professionalism traditional lecture and a case-based online discussion forum on residents’ professionalism skills as measured by the Professionalism Mini-Evaluation Exercise (P-MEX) and professionalism knowledge as measured by a posttest, while controlling for postgraduate year level and program. Residents from ACGME accredited Diagnostic Radiology and Family Medicine residency programs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center served as participants in a posttest only control group experiment. Participants will be randomly assigned to a control (e.g. traditional lecture) and experimental group (e.g. traditional lecture and a case-based, online discussion forum). After the lecture, the experimental group will participate in a four-week case-based, online discussion forum. Weekly discussions will be centered around case-based scenarios that highlight unprofessional behavior and encourage reflective discourse amongst the participants. Afterwards, professionalism skills will be assessed via the P-MEX and knowledge base will be assessed via a posttest. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was identified to determine the level of difference between the control and experimental groups’ professionalism skills and knowledge assessment results. The results for both the P-MEX and the posttest were not normally distributed as assessed by the Shapiro Wilks test. Since the ANOVA is robust when minor deviations to the normality assumption, it was used to assess the results along with the Kruskal-Wallis H Test acting in a supporting role. Both statistical tests revealed no statistically significant differences between the control and experimental groups P-MEX and posttest scores. The results indicate that the case-based online discussion forum had little to no effect on residents’ professionalism knowledge or skill levels.

Sandra Smith Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Sandra Smith

for the degree of Doctor of Education

February 14, 2018 at 10:00 am in Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Reginald Green, EdD

An Analysis of the Relationship between Teacher Perception of Community Support and Involvement at Their School and Student Rates of Attendance, Graduation, and Academic Proficiency

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between educators’ perceptions of the quality of community support and involvement at their high schools and five longitudinally measured indices of school effectiveness. Given a sample of 248 Tennessee high schools, secondary data derived from the “Community Support and Involvement” subsection of the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Questionnaire Survey administered in 2013 were merged with concurrent student attendance, student graduation, and student achievement outcomes archived and made publicly available on the Tennessee Department of Education website. After controlling for the impact of student and faculty demographic variables, hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated the perceived influence of parent and community support and involvement to be both systematically statistically significant and uniformly positive with respect to the study’s five outcomes of interest, all of which were averaged over three years. More specifically, perceived levels of community support and involvement were observed to explain some 3.5% of the variance in schools’ attendance rate ( = 0.22, t = 3.65, p < 001) and about 1.8% of the variance in schools’ graduation rate (b = 0.15, t = 2.78, p = 006). As regards student achievement, perceived levels of community support and involvement were observed to explain 2.0% of the variance in schools’ ACT Composite scores (b = 0.16, t = 4.67, p < .001); 5.2% of the variance in schools’ percentage of students proficient in Algebra I (b = 0.21, t = 3.62, p < .001); and 1.5% of the variance in English II (b = 0.14, t = 4.19, p < .000).