CAS Theses and Dissertations

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    Beyond the letter grade: Examining levels of academic self-efficacy among first year in-state and out-of-state college students
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Dorion, Brandon; Herron, Jason P.
    The purpose of this quantitative study was to help inform a gap in literature regarding comparisons of Academic Self-Efficacy (ASE) among in-state and out-of-state First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students at Wichita State University (WSU). A quantitative analysis among 174 in-state (N = 137) and out-of-state (N = 37) FTIC students were used to compare overall reported levels of ASE between each group and which academic tasks resulted in the strongest and weakest levels of ASE. Findings suggested no statistically significant difference in levels of ASE between in-state and out-of-state students at WSU. Furthermore, results found in-state and out-of-state student groups reported similarly among academic tasks which elicited the strongest and weakest rated responses of ASE. The academic tasks eliciting the strongest ASE for both FTIC groups pertained to meeting deadlines for individual and group projects and assignments. The tasks eliciting the weakest ASE for both FTIC groups pertained to speaking up when they do not understand lectures or need help, and asking questions during lectures. The study’s findings support the importance and impact of ASE during the first year of college. Moreover, these findings may help guide instructor and institutional practices in the development and support of ASE in a student’s first year of college. Future implications are outlined and discussed.
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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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    Unwilling or unaware: Exploring black division II football athletes’ awareness and perceptions of mental health services available at a university
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Iwuagwu, Nnadozie A.; Sherwood, Kristin
    Competition in winter sports came to a screeching halt during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown in 2020. Arenas that were once packed with cheering fans were replaced with empty seats and silence, as the battle between student athletes and mental health (MH) grew louder. During this period the number of athletes reporting MH concerns along with the expression of willingness to utilize MH services increased. The purpose of this basic qualitative inquiry was to explore Black, male, football athletes’ perceptions and awareness of MH services available at a less resourced university. As documented in the literature review, research has been conducted on related topics, particularly at the Division I level (Bird et al., 2020). Researchers have recognized an unmet need for analysis of various sub-populations represented within student athletes throughout all NCAA Divisions (e.g.., Division I, II, III) (Wilkerson et al., 2020). Literature surrounding MH and student athletes lacks subjective investigation of the barriers between Black, male, football athletes and MH services utilization in less resourced regions, divisions, and intuitions. Why Black, male, football athletes are included in the student populations underutilizing MH services at the Division II level remains without a clear understanding. Fulfilling this gap in knowledge would draw the literature closer to understanding the best ways to implement MH resources to serve marginalized student athletes effectively.
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    There is wealth in the village: Exploring early literacy and the cultural wealth capital of black parents with children entering kindergarten
    (Wichita State University, 2023-12) Barnes, Prisca Nicole; Patterson, Jean A.
    For over 30 years, national task forces, commissions, and initiatives have emphasized the importance of children's early years to ensure they are ready for kindergarten. To address this problem, Goal 1 of the Educate America Act of 1993 stated that "by the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn" (Early Childhood Education). Black children are a group not achieving the "ready to learn" goal at a disproportionate rate and enter school on average nearly seven months behind in reading by the time they enter kindergarten compared to their White peers (Friedman-Krauss and Barnett, 2020). Much is to be discovered about how and why Black parents prepare their children to enter kindergarten and the impact their preparation has on later literacy achievement. This study, grounded in Dr. Tara J. Yosso's (2005) Cultural Wealth Model, represents a framework to understand how students of color access and experience the school environment from a strengths-based perspective. In this study, the narrative inquiry approach is employed to elicit the stories that depict the perceptions of Black parents who have children entering kindergarten. Data collection included individual conversational interviews with Black mothers with children 4-5 years old. This study provides a deeper understanding and awareness of how Black parents, including mothers, perceive their value in their child’s readiness and what role reading plays in the home of their emerging kindergartener. The research goes beyond the deficit view to illuminate strategies and solutions to move Black children from failure to success.
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