EL Theses and Dissertations

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    The systemic academic pandemic: How do black families experience engagement after race and covid-19 collide in schools?
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Huff, Tamara L.; Sherwood, Kristin
    The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of Black families engaging with predominantly White public schools in Kansas. The intent was to understand how their family history and values impacted their engagement experiences before, during, and after the pandemic and to explore their desires for future engagement with their children’s schools. A traditional, qualitative study was used to explore the engagement of Black families in the educational journey of their students. Critical Race Theory provided a multifaceted viewpoint of the counter-narratives provided by Black parents and guardians in relation to school engagement. Application of the five tenets of CRT revealed permanence of racism to be the most prevalent influence on family engagement. Results also indicated that experience of racism and the remote learning did not deter or lessen the families’ determination to be actively involved in their children’s education. This study drew exclusively from Black women who served are parents and guardians of upper elementary students in the Midwest. Suggestions for improvement for family engagement were provided by participants. Implications for future practice and policy include creating a uniform definition for family engagement and inclusion of family engagement in teacher preparation programs. Implications for future research could include focus on fathers and additional input from secondary student’s families and other geographical locations in the United States.
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    Where is my seat at the table: Student perceptions of behavioral intervention plan development
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Lopez, Jessica D.; Sherif, Victoria
    This dissertation examines how middle school students with significant problem behaviors due to a disability such as, serious emotional disturbance (SED) or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), perceive and experience the individualized educational plans (IEP) and behavioral intervention plan (BIP) process in which interventions are designed to decrease the student's problem behaviors. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) states that students with disabilities should be included in the IEP process whenever it is appropriate, and students are mandated to be invited to their meetings by their 14th birthday. However, current practice and research recognize that students with disabilities are often excluded from the IEP and BIP process. Through the lens of Critical Disability Theory, the dominate paradigm’s perception of ‘ableism’ would mean that students are viewed as incapable of contributing to their IEP or BIP. In this qualitative case study data were collected though document analysis of IEP and BIP documents, along with semi-structured individual interviews with six student participants. Incorporating evidence from the document analysis and individual interviews, this study concluded that participating students did not perceive themselves as members of the IEP team, however, expressed strong interest in being a part of the process. Participants concluded that inviting them to discuss IEP and BIP topics during a non-preferred class or having preferred staff lead the conversions instead of the assigned classroom teachers would foster more inclusive participation. The students also shared extensive insight into their own behaviors, strengths, and limitations. All the students knew that they needed to develop their behavioral responses when they were upset or agitated, but the students were also aware of their academic strengths, like reading fluency or math computations. The findings indicate a need for policy and practice change which encourages more inclusion in the IEP and BIP process.
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    Graduate students’ evaluation of the Wichita State University’s educational psychology program
    (Wichita State University, 2023-05) Woods, Nichole; Herron, Jason P.
    This study is a program inclusive evaluation of graduate students’ perspectives on the Wichita State University’s Educational Psychology Graduate Program’s process of implementation of learning theories in teaching instruction. The study evaluated the analogous variations in pedagogical practices of theory implementations by educators and perceived quality of the program including attributes of comprehension, appliance of academic materials, professionalism of instructors, and program efficiency. A quantitative approach was incorporate in the methodology while collecting descriptive data. The analyses of central tendency and frequencies were conducted for the Student-Based Program Evaluation Scale indicated a highlevel of frequent agreement for attributes of each learning theory, and an inclusive significance in perceived program quality. Unsuitably, the Educator Perspective of Pedagogical Practices Questionnaire produced ineffectual results due to the insignificant quantity of educator reports. Although the questionnaire results are insignificant to validate the educators’ perceptions as a population, the participant’s responses to the questions in each category aligned with the attributes of the behaviorism and connectivism learning theories, in addition to, the correspondence of attributes in each learning theory presented.
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    A narrative inquiry of rural, low-income, single mothers’ aspirations for their children
    (Wichita State University, 2010-05) Wyrick, Johnny J.; Patterson, Jean A.
    This narrative inquiry focused on what four low-SES single mothers had to say about their aspirations for and support systems they have for their children. Discussions with the mothers involved a mix of topics. The four stories are unique in their own way yet similar themes emerged relating to the experiences they face being a single mother with children enrolled in and attending school in grades K-6. The theoretical perspective of social capital and the narrative inquiry approach to research provide the foundation for this study. Individual narratives of the four low-SES single mothers’ are shared. The mothers’ provided insightful and critical assessments of their experiences being a single mother of school age children in a society that tends to look at them in a different view.
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    Boys’ achievement gap and the ethic of care: a participatory action research study
    (Wichita State University, 2012-05) Siemens, Douglas T.; Bakken, Linda
    Achievement of boys in school is falling behind girls nationally and internationally. Fewer boys are enrolling in honors and advanced placement classes and fewer of them are going on to college. In fact when compared to girls, boys earn lower grades, are suspended and expelled more often, and more of them drop out. Research is inconclusive on attempts to correct the problem through the use of single-sex schools or recruitment of more male teachers. This participatory action research project created an opportunity for pre-k--12 collaboration to study the phenomenon of boys’ underachievement to consider how Noddings (1984) care theory and relationships might be used to close the gap. Six themes came from the research: differences between boys and girls, care through responsive teaching, care through building relationships, power of parents, stress and pressure in education, and taking action and trust. Each of the first five themes was seen by teachers to positively or negatively influence the degree to which boys succeed in school. Teachers understand the need to take time to be seen as a person and to also take time to learn something about the student. Teachers understand the need to build and maintain relationships over time. Teachers’ understanding of how they care for boys shapes their role as a teacher as they focus on building relationships in which the teacher is present or in the moment with the student and maintains high standards for academics and conduct. The sixth theme taking action and trust revealed a challenge within the district involving trust and the nature of participatory action research.
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