Rhonda Gregory Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Rhonda Gregory

for the degree of Doctor of Education

April 24, 2018 at 3:45 pm  / online

Major Advisor: Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, EdD


ABSTRACT: Distance education quality assurance is a concern throughout the literature. Standards such as the Quality Matters (QM) Higher Education Rubric, 5th edition, are meant to support course design quality assurance. Professional development is associated with quality assurance initiatives, including the goal to transform faculty’s instructional practices. Some community college faculty members who create online and hybrid courses participate in the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) training to learn how to apply the QM rubric. While the literature provides many in-house training program evaluations, there is a research gap about community college faculty experiences in APPQMR and what influence it may have on their perceptions of QM and their course design skills. A description of how social influences and facilitating conditions may influence long-term QM adoption and use is also lacking. Higher education administrators need to better understand these factors because faculty buy-in and support of the quality assurance process is critical to the success of such initiatives. This study used an explanatory sequential mixed methodology to examine the influence of the APPQMR workshop. The results of a causal-comparative research design revealed no significant difference in faculty perceptions of the QM rubric between groups who had and had not completed the training. However, results of a basic qualitative design demonstrated the possible practical influence of training on faculty skills and perceptions. The QM rubric is rigorous; learning to apply it requires rigorous effort. Faculty need time and institutional support to experience the potential benefits of transformational learning in QM training. Keywords: adult learning theory, community of inquiry (CoI), distance education, faculty development, instructional design, online education, quality assurance, Quality Matters™, transformative learning theory

Raquell Barton Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Raquell Barton

for the degree of Doctor of Education

April 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm  / 405 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Clif Mims, PhD

The Effect of Pleasure Reading On Ninth and Tenth Grade Students Reading Motivation in an English Language Arts Classroom

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this quasi-experimental, pre-posttest nonequivalent control group study was to compare two types of reading instruction (English Language Arts vs. English Language Arts with pleasure reading) on 9th and 10th-grade students’ reading motivation. Much of the research on reading motivation is focused on elementary and middle school students, even though the decrease in reading motivation is detrimental at the high school level. Therefore, this study was guided by research questions that examined if there were differences in ninth- and tenth-grade high school students’ 1) reading motivation, 2) self-concept as a reader, and/or 3) value of reading after participating in traditional English Language Arts instruction as compared to the intervention of English Language Arts instruction with pleasure reading. In this four-week study involving 216 students, the control group (N = 94) received traditional English Language Arts instruction while the experimental group (N = 122) received the same instruction enhanced with ten minutes of daily classroom pleasure or choice reading. Pre- and post survey data were collected with the Adolescent Motivation to Read Profile (AMRP) to gauge self-reported attitudes toward reading before and after four weeks of study implementation. A two-way mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to compare the AMRP mean scores of the two groups to determine if there were statistically significant changes over time to students reading motivation, self-concept as a reader, and/or value of reading. Results revealed that students’ in the experimental group did show a significant increase in reading motivation; however, overall, students’ self-concept as a reader and value of reading showed only a slight, non-significant increase. Thus, daily involvement in pleasure reading appears to be beneficial in increasing the reading motivation of high school students, but different types of interventions are needed to increase students’ self-concept as a reader or value of reading. Future research can examine the implementation of various interventions to determine ways to further enhance various aspects of reading motivation for high school students.

Josie Currie Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Josie Currie

for the degree of Doctor of Education

April 5, 2018 at 11:30 am  / 123 Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Reginald Green, EdD

The Relationship between Perceived Implementation of Green’s Four-Dimensional Model of Educational Leadership and Students’ Proficiency in Basic Skills

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to investigate relationships between elementary-level educators’ perceptions of their school’s implementation of Green’s four-dimensional model of educational leadership and the percentage of students proficient in Language Arts and in Mathematics, averaged over three years. Represented by responses to twenty items selected from the 2013 state-wide administration of the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning survey in Tennessee (TELL Tennessee), school-level means at 1187 elementary schools were obtained for each of four five-item scales that were intended to measure each dimension of Green’s model. Along with a grand mean computed across all twenty items and denoting a school’s overall implementation of the model, all of these data were merged with student achievement outcomes archived by the Tennessee Department of Education and with information related to student and faculty demographic characteristics and employed as control variables. Consistent with previous research, student demographic characteristics proved to be the most important factors in explaining variation in student proficiency. The impact of these factors notwithstanding, higher perceived scores on Green’s four-dimensional model of educational leadership nevertheless proved to be associated with higher percentages of proficient students at statistically significant levels, irrespective of subject matter. At the same time and consistent with the school effectiveness literature, it should be mentioned that the inclusion of the Leadership Dimensions scores tended to explain a systematically higher proportion of variance with respect to Mathematics outcomes than Language Arts outcomes.

Bobby White Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of

Bobby White

for the degree of Doctor of Education

April 2, 2018 at 8:30 am  / Ball Hall

Major Advisor: Beverly Cross, PhD


ABSTRACT: Abstract Charter schools have become a mainstay in the American Education system. Low academic performance, school safety concerns and an overall decrease in positive perception of many traditional public schools around the country have led to an atmosphere of acceptance as part of the solution to what ails public education. The growth of this movement has led to a body of research around charter school impact. Much of the charter school growth has been driven by policies created over the past 20 years. One major unintended outcome of the movement has been the increase in school segregation. One researcher admonishes that government should not exacerbate the problem of segregation by ignoring the unintended consequences of its policies. The purpose of this study is to examine how charter schools further segregation. In an era where a quality education is of the utmost importance for low-income students of color, coupled with the idea that racial diversity serves as an aspect of educational quality, we must look at policies that are counter-intuitive. This study adds to the body of research that informs the education profession about ways legislation has furthered segregation. This study contributed to the literature by illuminating the segregation that is perpetuated by the federal policies NCLB and RTTT. In essence this study examined how the lack of intentionality to diversity in the policies have led to increasing and creating an ever growing number of segregated charter schools in America.