NNU Graduate Education Dissertations

This collection contains the dissertations completed in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree or the Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership degree at Northwest Nazarene University

2019

Becoming a new superintendent of schools: examining the tyro transition

Rupak Manoj Gandhi
Becoming a new superintendent of schools: examining the tyro transition
The role of a school Superintendent is constantly changing and now encompasses more roles and responsibilities than it did before. The average tenure of superintendents in American K-12 public school systems is around 3 years, with the number being even lower for superintendents serving in large urban school districts. While states continue to revamp superintendent preparation programs, many of the skills and traits needed to successfully address the transition to a superintendency still remain unaddressed.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015229

Going global: a phenomenological case study of self-efficacy in an international school's professional learning communities

Darik Williams
Going global: a phenomenological case study of self-efficacy in an international school's professional learning communities
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have emerged as critical collaborative teacher networks embodying DuFour’s (2004) “big ideas” of having a focus on the results of students, involve collaboration and reflection on teacher practices, and consider the impact on student learning.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015233

The impact of Bloomz app on parent-teacher interaction in middle schools serving low-socioeconomic, rural communities

F. Javier Castaneda
The impact of Bloomz app on parent-teacher interaction in middle schools serving low-socioeconomic, rural communities
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine middle school parent–teacher communication through the Bloomz app as a means to increase student achievement and parent involvement in a low-socioeconomic, rural setting. Analysis of data gathered during parent focus groups and teacher interviews, as well as communication counts and student grades, indicated Bloomz’s use was connected with increased communication but not increased student achievement in some settings.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015235

No bells: closing the achievement gap with personalized competency-based learning in a small rural high poverty school district

Jeff Dillon
No bells: closing the achievement gap with personalized competency-based learning in a small rural high poverty school district
Poverty has been identified as a barrier for at-risk student achievement across America. Can personalized competence-based learning provide at-risk students the skills and knowledge needed to close the achievement gap on the state assessment in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) for students after a two-year treatment? The research study conducted was a quantitative, quasi-experimental study of a rural school district’s 100% Free/Reduced Lunch student population.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015237

Teacher stress in rural schools: a phenomenological study on stress and its effect on teacher-perceived physical and mental well-being

Patrick Wade Randall
Teacher stress in rural schools: a phenomenological study on stress and its effect on teacher-perceived physical and mental well
This dissertation is an empirical phenomenological model that uses teachers’ experiences to obtain comprehensive descriptions to create themes. These themes provide the basis for a reflective analysis to depict a portrait of elementary teachers’ experiences dealing with stressors and their perceived effect on mental and physical health. A majority of the research on teacher stress focuses on urban schools; few studies have reported the causes of stress among those instructing in rural areas.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015239

To choose or not to choose...is it really a question? A mixed methods study exploring student choice, assessment, and technology use of the elementary 21st century learner

Amy C. Ackley
To choose or not to choose...is it really a question? A mixed methods study exploring student choice, assessment, and technology
The ever-changing workplace of current society calls for instructional shifts to the predominately traditional educational system in existence today. In order to successfully navigate a globalized culture, the instructional makeup and educational structure must include knowledge of core subjects, student-centered learning environments, as well as literacy and mastery of recognized 21st century competencies.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015230

Utilizing participatory action research to implement evidence-based social skills interventions for elementary students with high functioning autism in inclusive classroom settings

Tracey Silveira-Zaldivar
Utilizing participatory action research to implement evidence-based social skills interventions
More students with High Functioning Autism (HFA) are in inclusive settings than ever before, however, the physical combination of students with HFA and their typical peers alone is insufficient to address the social deficits of students with HFA. Students with HFA in inclusive settings require evidence-based practices (EBPs) for social skills to be as successful as possible in mainstream settings and life in general, but these EBPs are seldom being implemented in school settings.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015241

2018

Academic librarians' teacher identity development through the scholarship of teaching and learning: a mixed methods study

Lauren Hays
Academic librarians' teacher identity development through the scholarship of teaching and learning: a mixed methods study
This dissertation was an explanatory sequential mixed methods study that sought to understand academic librarians’ involvement and experience in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Specifically, the researcher studied academic librarians’ teacher identity development through SoTL. Quantitative data were collected from a survey sent to the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy listserv.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015249

Dying to be a man: a mixed methods study implementing men's health promotion and the psychology of masculinity in graduate primary care curriculum

Ryan Seth Mallo
Dying to be a man
The health outcomes of men are significantly worse, when compared to their female counterpart, for the top 15 leading causes of death nationwide. At this time, men are not actively engaged in the healthcare system and didactic and clinical education does not adequately prepare providers to care for men or understand the psychology of masculinity. As of 2016 there were no primary care programs or medical schools that incorporated a specific course in men’s health promotion or the psychology of masculinity within their curriculum.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015265

Educator misconduct in Idaho: a quantitative analysis

Lance K. Harrison
Educator misconduct in Idaho
This dissertation utilized a quantitative research design to examine ethical conduct in education, specifically the violation of ethics by Idaho educators from 2007-2017. Educator misconduct appears to be on the rise throughout the nation. Ethical training is critical during an educator’s college preservice years as well as while they are working in the district at the schools. Ethical training improves moral sensitivity and allows teachers and administrators to better navigate ethical dilemmas. The extent to which ethics is taught or practiced in teacher training programs is minimal.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015247

Effects of gender on school board perceptions of superintendents and the superintendent selection process

Laurie Dent
Effects of gender on school board perceptions of superintendents and the superintendent selection process
The objective of this study was to determine if the gender of the superintendent candidate influences the school boards’ choice for school superintendent. The researcher addressed this topic through a mixed method research study. Data was collected from Washington State school board members through an anonymous electronic survey. Using a mixed method approach, school board members from the Washington State who hired a superintendent within the last three years were invited to participate in an electronic survey.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015253

“Not so backwards”: a phenomenological study on the lived experiences of high achieving post-secondary students with dyslexia

Christopher Cipolla
“Not so backwards”: a phenomenological study on the lived experiences of high achieving post-secondary students with dyslexia
Research confirms that dyslexia is the most common form of learning disability that exists in schools today. Continuous dyslexic research has narrowed in on specific characteristics of the disability, yet many dyslexics still struggle academically. The need for additional literature resides within the success stories of dyslexic individuals who have overcome their educational deficits and have persevered in academic arenas.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015243

A quantitative study investigating the critical ninth-grade year and how grit influences student academic success

Guy A. Kovacs
A quantitative study investigating the critical ninth-grade year and how grit influences student academic success
Our school systems are in place to create positive citizens who can contribute to the greater good and to also create a foundation for a life of learning. Schools were originally formed to help our country become stronger in its infancy by generating a population that had common knowledge, baseline skills, especially in literacy, and the ability to be citizens who could move the country forward and keep leaders honest. The same holds true today.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015245

The story of relationship: a narrative inquiry into mentor teacher perceptions of their mentoring experiences with teaching candidates

Serena Hicks
The story of relationship
The relationship between pre-service teachers and their mentor teachers has long been defined by roles that mentor teachers play in the relationship. Research indicates that mentor teachers evolve into a variety of roles, from evaluator to critical friend, but we understand very little about how the relationship develops into these different forms, or how to improve relationship development.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015261

Strategic leadership in technology implementation: a case study on the principal’s role in classroom technology

Gregg Russell
Strategic leadership in technology implementation
There is a high demand to incorporate technology into schools. Technology has infiltrated our society, and principals must learn to leverage technology to enhance learning while preparing students for a digital world. This case study examined principal leadership during a technology implementation in four public schools. The research was designed to investigate which specific actions principals take to promote technology in a school setting. McRel’s change management process was used as a theoretical framework in which to view the leadership of the participants.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015259

Success for all through supporting inclusive education: a mixed method research study

Pandi Ann Elison-Chang
Success for all through supporting inclusive education
Ascertaining an effective delivery method to enhance general education teacher empowerment and confidence in working with students with disabilities is the focus of this research. A survey instrument and focus group discussions were used with participants to determine how effective professional training was as an ongoing tool to enhance inclusive education services by general education teachers.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015257

The use of cursive writing in a digital age: a mixed-methods analysis of the differences between modes of transcription in private schools

Tony D. Ryff
The use of cursive writing in a digital age
Cursive writing is a skill that contributes to learning, yet in the digital age it is no longer considered a necessary part of the curriculum in America’s schools. Research demonstrates the importance of handwriting, particularly cursive, in the development of fluency, compositional complexity, and literacy skills.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015263

Waiting to fail: a comparative study of effective school configurations for at-risk sixth grade students

Mary Ann VandeBrake
Waiting to fail
The purpose of this comparative study was to examine the relationship between student achievement and social-emotional well-being in three different school configurations for at-risk sixth-grade students. This study sought to apply the stage-environment fit theory to investigate the effect of mismatched school environments on young adolescents when developmental changes occur. The mixed methods research measured academic and behavioral success and school connectedness using surveys and focus group interviews.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00015255

2017

Adverse childhood experiences: the neutralizing impact of resilience

Kristina L. Brinkerhoff
Adverse childhood experiences: the neutralizing impact of resilience
Research surrounding the prevalence and impact of adversity during childhood has surfaced as a possible key to addressing the impact of chronic stress on children during their early years and well into adulthood. The research has suggested that when resilience is present, due to protective factors being in place, there may be neutralization of the negative impact and outcomes due to the physiological effects of chronic stressors.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006859

“The amazing race” – success through persistence and resilience: a phenomenological study on the lived experiences of African American males at a private historically black college and university

Luiws A. Mhlanga
“The amazing race” – success through persistence and resilience
Nationwide, a steep decline in the number of African American males enrolling and graduating from colleges and universities exists. To address the determination of African American male students, a closer inspection of factors promoting their persistence to degree completion is needed. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to investigate the lived experiences of eight African American male students at a private Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007003

An analysis of the impact servant leadership has on staff retention in elementary schools

Kendra McMillan
An analysis of the impact servant leadership has on staff retention in elementary schools
A successful superintendent once shared that, according to his research, the primary reason people remain with a company or a school is they enjoy those with whom they work. The second reason they stay? They enjoy those for whom they work. These kinds of leaders stand out in the crowd. They inspire people to work harder and improve themselves. People stay at the company or school because of them. Initially, this dissertation began as a mixed-methodology study and emerged to be qualitative in nature.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007001

The benefits and challenges of establishing a professional learning community through the lens of tiered instruction: principal and teacher perspective

Lynn Paslay
Benefits and challenges of establishing a professional learning community through the lens of tiered instruction
Since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, schools have focused on continuous school improvement and implementing systems that meet the legislative mandates set forth. Additionally, with the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, more requirements focused on high student achievement rates are expected. When students are at the forefront, teachers and administrators are working for the students’ benefit. Effective teams of teachers collectively work to find what is needed to ensure student learning goals are achieved.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007007

Best practices in K-12 online teaching: a quantitative study exploring secondary classrooms online and brick-and-mortar classrooms

Jessi Sigander
Best practices in K-12 online teaching: a quantitative study exploring secondary classrooms
Education in the 21st century is rapidly changing and expanding. The last 15 years has introduced a new concept of online education to students and schools throughout the nation. As online schooling continues to grow in K–12 schools in the United States, and technology increases in the brick and mortar classroom, there is a great need to identify best practices in both settings. Data were gathered using an online Likert-scale survey, distributed to secondary online teachers who were also brick-and-mortar teachers.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007104

A case study exploring international student engagement at small, private colleges

William Danny Sullivan, Jr.
A case study exploring international student engagement at small, private colleges
Higher education institutions in the United States continue to face increased scrutiny to better monitor student persistence rates and to develop better strategies to retain more students through the attainment of a degree. Student retention work has become a major force among higher education professionals, and an entire industry has developed from the need to better create, monitor, and track retention efforts on campus.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007106

The effect of music therapy upon language acquisition for children on the autism spectrum aged 3-8 years

Annette Marjorie Miller-Jones
The effect of music therapy upon language acquisition for children on the autism spectrum aged 3-8 years
Research indicates the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder include challenges with receptive and expressive language, which can negatively impact social-emotional development and physical regulation. The needs of children with autism are expected to greatly impact the current medical and educational resources, thus effective intervention for language development is considered crucial. A recently implemented intervention is music therapy. Effective intervention strategies for families and special education staff are constantly being sought after.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006871

Elementary teachers' perspectives: a qualitative exploration of the role of elementary teachers on the hiring team

Khristine Y. Bair
Elementary teachers' perspectives: a qualitative exploration of the role of elementary teachers on the hiring team
In this era of educational accountability, educators, parents, and patrons are interested in finding the most efficient and effective route toward increasing student achievement. Research has shown a highly effective teacher in the classroom as the central component on this path to improved student learning. As school districts restructure their hiring practices to ask teachers to join the principal in selecting the best teacher candidate to hire, new questions arise as to their role on the hiring team.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006854

An examination of psychosocial adjustment and coping strategies of adolescents enrolled in accelerated learning programs

Mary A. Dowski
An examination of psychosocial adjustment and coping strategies of adolescents enrolled in accelerated learning programs
As more opportunities abound for students to accelerate their learning during middle and high school, research is limited in the relationship between accelerated learning and the psychosocial adjustment of adolescents. This explanatory correlation research study provided additional empirical evidence of the relationship between accelerated studies, psychosocial adjustment, and the coping strategies adolescents utilize. Participants were 93 eighth to twelfth grade students enrolled in accelerated learning courses in a northwestern state in the United States.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006863

Family systems' influence on child behavior

Kathy Sexauer
Family systems' influence on child behavior
The purpose of this research was to investigate how parental stress is related to student behavior and the impact of the family system on student behavior. Bronfenbrenner’s (1994) ecological model was used as the theoretical framework with a focus on relationships within the family and direct links to student behaviors. The sample size (n) was small equaling 10 parents and 10 students.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007102

Grit and mindset as predictors of student success in a first-time online high school course

Brooke Phillips-Martinez
Grit and mindset as predictors of student success in a first-time online high school course
As online education becomes more available for high school students, the enrollment continues to grow. Unfortunately, the attrition rate is also increasing and educators are challenged to find a better vetting process to determine if students will be successful in his or her first online high school course. Growth mindset and grit have been predictors of success in high attrition situations and in some cases demographics such as age and gender have also been predictors of success.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007009

The impact of dual language programs on Latino high school students

Chelle Robins
The impact of dual language programs on Latino high school students
The purpose of this quantitative research was to measure Latino dual language program participants’ attitudes and beliefs about their two-way program, language proficiency, intentions to enroll in post-secondary education, secondary coursework, and work/career orientations. The significance of the study is that it provided additional research as educational policy makers are continually seeking methodologies and programs that increase educational outcomes for Latino students, specifically for second language learners.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007034

Leadership and trust: a mixed methods study of the rural elementary principal

Sherry Ann Adams
Leadership and trust: a mixed methods study of the rural elementary principal
Principals who are able to develop a high level of trust and establish positive relationships with teachers in a given school have greater opportunities to increase student achievement. This study reviewed the leadership factors that can increase or decrease the level of trust between teachers and the principal in rural elementary schools. A mixed methods study allowed for the most thorough review and interpretation of the data. Quantitative data was gathered from surveys regarding trust level and leadership styles.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006852

It's a matter of time: a quantitative study examining the impact of invisible mentors on the initial semester grades of struggling high school students

Eric W. Hogan
It's a matter of time: a quantitative study examining the impact of invisible mentors on the initial semester grades
Extensive research confirms that a high school diploma has a lasting value on future educational opportunities and career goals. Some students, in their transition to high school, can harm grade point averages to such a degree that future opportunities for rigorous courses or post-high school opportunities are diminished. Caring relationships are a critical element in the motivation and encouragement of most of life’s endeavors and the purposeful creating of this type of relationship within the school day could have a positive impact on a students’ success.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006869

A mixed method study to measure the impact of mastery-based, personalized learning on at-risk student achievement

Dustin D. Barrett
A mixed method study to measure the impact of mastery-based, personalized learning on at-risk student achievement
At-risk children have demonstrated that the traditional industrial model of education often does not work well for them, yet the majority continue to be educated in this fashion. With the evolving ability to incorporate technology into education, the potential exists to develop innovative, personalized methods to meet at-risk students’ educational needs.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006856

A mixed methods research study investigating the influence of technology on offender mindset, resilience, and self-efficacy in Northwest correctional facilities

Jesse Buchholz
A mixed methods research study investigating the influence of technology on offender mindset, resilience, and self-efficacy
Increasing a correctional offender's mindset, resilience, and self-efficacy can be accomplished through the efficient use of technology within correctional education. Correctional facilities that employ the use of technology have the capacity to provide offenders with a tool that will serve them while they are incarcerated and again when they are reintroduced into society. This study utilized a mixed-methods approach which allowed for an in-depth examination of the impact of technology on an offender's mindset, resilience, and self-efficacy.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006861

A mixed methods study examining the instructional environment for students with autism in general education elementary classrooms

Lori Hawthorne-Schlichting
A mixed methods study examining the instructional environments for students with autism  in general education elementary class
Autism research continues to refine the exact rate of autism; it also attempts to approximate the undiagnosed rate of autism to capture the number of individuals functioning on the high-end of the spectrum without a formal diagnosis. Whether students exhibiting characteristics of autism have a formal diagnosis or not, many enrolled in public education classrooms are most appropriately served in the general education setting. This study examined the characteristics of students in general education settings to ascertain the number of students diagnosed with autism.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006867

A mixed methods study exploring the perceptions of elementary principals regarding grade retention of kindergarten and first grade students in rural Idaho districts

Wendy Moore
A mixed methods study exploring the perceptions of elementary principals regarding grade retention
Thousands of students across the United States are retained annually in their current grade level for a variety of reasons, but primarily retention is due to academic grade level performance, on local or state standardized tests. The push for higher student accountability has led states and school districts to implement intervention policies to try to bridge the gap for under-achieving students. This study focuses on the perceptions of administrators in rural districts and the pros and cons of grade level retention in primary grades.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007005

Pay for performance and teacher job satisfaction: a mixed-methods study

Joel F. Wilson
Pay for performance and teacher job satisfaction: a mixed-methods study
Proponents of teacher pay for performance suggest that it reflects American values by rewarding student achievement and encouraging hard work. Supporters also say that pay for performance helps to recruit and retain teachers by increasing their compensation. Critics counter that pay for performance erodes teacher collaboration, is difficult to monitor, cannot be reliably linked to student achievement, leads to dishonest reporting of test scores, and is not a long-term solution to low teacher pay.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007108

Perceptions on the effectiveness of iPad integration in vocational college classrooms: a mixed-methods study

Robert A. Reed
Perceptions on the effectiveness of iPad integration in vocational college classrooms: a mixed-methods study
As technology continues to change, educators are tasked with the challenge of creating better methods to teach their students and help them learn. In the 21st century classroom, there is often a technology gap between instructors and their techno-savvy student counterparts. The purpose of this study was to utilize Prensky’s assumptions of digital immigrants and digital natives to compare the perceptions between faculty and students regarding the use of iPads in vocational college classrooms.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007027

Promoting racial and ethnic identity: academic intervention to support scholastic success of Latinos

Alejandro L. Zamora
Promoting racial and ethnic identity: academic intervention to support scholastic success of Latinos
Latinos are disproportionately faced with societal and educational hardships. As such, it is incumbent upon the education system to offer a method of support that remediates this inequitable reality, particularly when viewed from a Critical Race Theory (CRT) perspective. Research has offered a connection between racial and ethnic identity (REI) and academic success in youth of color, though little research is explicitly connected to Latinos.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007110

The retention of Hispanic / Latino teachers in southeastern rural elementary schools

Oscar Rodriguez
Retention of Hispanic / Latino teachers in southeastern rural elementary schools
This qualitative study reviewed reasons so few Hispanic/Latino teachers remain employed with rural county public elementary schools. The study evaluated issues that present high retention and attrition concerns for Hispanic/Latino teachers in rural schools. In addition, the dissertation offered suggestions on ways to increase the representation of Hispanic/Latino teachers in rural elementary schools.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00007097

Student perceptions on the impact of career and technical education programs: a mixed methods study

Kimberly Eimers
Student perceptions on the impact of career and technical education programs: a mixed methods study
This mixed-methods study analyzed student perceptions regarding the impact of career and technical education (CTE) programs on student engagement, mind-set, support of teachers, and school climate. The Tripod 7C instrument was utilized to gather quantitative data, while focus groups were utilized for gathering qualitative data. Survey results showed statistically significant differences between CTE and non-CTE subjects in the areas of care, captivate, and clarify. These findings were used to develop the questions and structure for the focus group discussions.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006865

Toward a greater understanding of Hispanic undergraduate retention at a private Christian university using narrative inquiry and autoethnographic methods

Robert Sanchez
Toward a greater understanding of Hispanic undergraduate retention at a private Christian university using narrative inquiry
Student retention is considered a complex human behavior. Adding to the complex nature of student retention is the ever changing landscape of higher education due in large part to the growth of Hispanic undergraduate student enrollment on college campuses. While notable gains have been made increasing the number of Hispanic students graduating from high school and going on to college, little progress has been made in increasing the college graduation rate of this group.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006850

2016

A case study on the elements of school culture and the potential effect on student achievement at the rural middle school level

Jodi Elizondo
A case study on the elements of school culture and the potential effect on student achievement at the rural middle school level
Schools exist for the sole purpose of academic achievement, and within every school exists a unique culture that every student navigates and absorbs. It is reasonable to assume a student’s environment and the expectations set forth in that environment may have an effect on their academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to determine the elements of rural middle school culture and their potential impact on academic achievement as perceived by administration at a high achieving rural middle school. A rural middle school in Eastern Oregon was chosen for this study.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006830

Common characteristics of effective online training: a theoretical discussion and framework for online course design

Ali Abedi
Common characteristics of effective online training: a theoretical discussion and framework for online course design
Online learning offers a convenient and popular choice for those needing courses to accommodate busy schedules. These include busy professionals, students with limited or no access to physical training facilities, businesses with diverse and global workforces, and students studying on campus. Online learning has experienced steady growth in both the academia and business worlds in recent years. Despite this steady adoption rate, however, there is a gap in the literature for empirical research to determine common factors of successful online courses.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006818

Evaluation of successful practices that lead to resiliency, grit, and growth mindsets among at-risk students

Trenton Hansen
Evaluation of successful practices that lead to resiliency, grit, and growth mindsets among at-risk students
The United States is losing millions of students from its educational systems each year, leading researchers to exclaim that reducing the dropout rate is the top priority for educators throughout the country. As educators wrestle with the charge to educate and prepare every child to be successful in a global society, they seek answers about those students who are faced with serious adverse conditions leaving them statistically at risk of failure.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006838

An examination of the validity of state standardized testing of English Language Learners

Arturo Gonzalez
An examination of the validity of state standardized testing of English Language Learners
The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of state standardized testing English Language Learners are required to participate in as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Although policymakers continue to debate the minutia of the academic accountability for English Language Learners, the over-arching question of test validity has continued to be ignored. Current federal requirements identify participation in state standardized testing of all English Language Learners who have been in country more than one academic year.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006836

Kindergarten teacher knowledge of phonemic awareness and instruction: developing proficient early readers

Dana Harris
Kindergarten teacher knowledge of phonemic awareness and instruction: developing proficient early readers
Reading proficiently opens doors to college and career pathways. The success of children depends on this fundamental skill, yet students are failing to learn to read. This research investigated the relationship between teacher knowledge of phonemic awareness and the development of early literacy skills in kindergarten students. The study was conducted in a suburban school district of more than 20,000 students. This study sought to identify a kindergarten teacher profile linked to positive student achievement growth in phonemic awareness.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006840

A mixed-methods study examining the role of the instructional coach within a professional learning community

Christie L. Jorgensen
A mixed-methods study examining the role of the instructional coach within a professional learning community
Although instructional coaching and professional learning communities provide ongoing, job-embedded support and professional learning, little is known about what role the instructional coach serves within the setting of the professional learning community or what coaching skills teachers find most helpful within this setting. Research examining the specific role of the instructional coach within the professional learning community is nearly nonexistent.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006842

One-to-one mobile devices in rural school districts: a mixed methods study investigating the impact of Khan Academy on mathematics achievement and teacher pedagogy

Brady Dickinson
One-to-one mobile devices in rural school districts
Providing students with necessary intervention in the instruction of mathematics can be accomplished through the use of digital resources. Schools reaching a one-to-one (one device for every student) status have the ability to implement a digital intervention on a broad scale. For the purpose of this study, mixed methods research afforded an in-depth investigation into the impact of Khan Academy (digital intervention) embedded in a one-to-one program on student achievement, student perseverance with math, and teacher pedagogy within rural schools.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006828

Perceptions of the teacher-student relationship among full-day kindergarten teachers in relation to the achievement of students of poverty: a phenomenological qualitative study

Lisa A. Nolan
Perceptions of the teacher-student relationship among full-day kindergarten teachers in relation to the achievement of students
When considering closing the achievement gap, full-day kindergarten (FDK) is a viable contender. The implementation of specific teacher strategies enhances the FDK experience and elicit gains among the students.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006846

The principal as an effective communicator: increasing parental and community engagement through the use of digital communications and social media

Brian Fox
The principal as an effective communicator: increasing parental and community engagement
The purpose of this mixed-methods research study is to find evidence which supports building principals in the implementation of research-based practices which engage students’ families in ways which contribute to student learning and achievement.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006834

A qualitative study investigating administrator perceptions on the need, benefits, challenges, and areas for principal mentoring

Elisa Saffle
A qualitative study investigating administrator perceptions on the need, benefits, challenges, and areas for principal mentoring
Structured mentoring programs for new principals are designed to support and enhance their professional abilities. Providing mentoring support for new principals has benefits that extend beyond the novice principal to the mentor, school, and school district. Although the benefits of principal mentoring are established, mentoring of new principals is not a common practice in many school districts.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006848

Reading fluency interventions that work in high-poverty schools

Ashley Fowers-Coils
Reading fluency interventions that work in high-poverty schools
This study measured the impact of targeted reading interventions on improving reading fluency for second-grade students as indicated by their performance on a statewide standardized assessment of reading fluency proficiency. Reading fluency scores for students who received intervention in second grade were measured again in their third-grade year to see if the intervention had a lasting impact on their overall reading fluency ability.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006832

Student growth goals: the impact of evaluative student achievement goals on principal practice

Brian Lowney
Student growth goals: the impact of evaluative student achievement goals on principal practice
Changes in recent federal, state, and local legislation have added increased scrutiny of and pressure on the evaluation systems of educators across the nation. This scrutiny and pressure have prompted significant changes to both the systems and processes for determining and reporting the effectiveness of teachers and principals. One of the most substantial changes is the use of student growth goals in determining evaluation outcomes for educators. This qualitative study examined the practice and impact of student growth goals created by principals.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006844

Testing faith: a mixed methods study investigating the relationship between prayer and test anxiety amongst college students

Drey Campbell
Testing faith: a mixed methods study investigating the relationship between prayer and test anxiety amongst college students
Test anxiety is problem that affects college students. Explanatory mixed methods research was completed with the objective of understanding the interrelationship of prayer and test anxiety as well as the potential therapeutic effects of Christian prayer on test anxiety. It was hypothesized that Christian prayer would have significant effects on the reduction of physiological test anxiety biomarkers of salivary cortisol (SC), salivary alpha amylase (SAA), and heart rate (HR).
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006822

2015

An analysis of international student achievement test outcomes and the competitiveness of nations

David D. Meyer
This study examines the correlation between international student achievement test outcomes and national competitiveness rankings. Student achievement data are derived from a variation-adjusted, common metric data set for 74 countries that have participated in any of the international mathematics and science achievement tests since 1964. National competitiveness data are taken from the 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004975

A case study investigating collaborative working environments at the secondary level and the influence on student achievement

Rebecca Wills
This case study examined the positive influence a collaborative work environment has on improving student achievement. Research identified ways administrators, department leaders, and teachers work together in order to enhance student learning. For the purpose of this case study, data was gathered using a mixed methods approach investigating a collaborative work environment. The theoretical framework of transformational leadership was interlaced into this study to explore the three research questions on collaboration.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004981

Chinese immigrant parental involvement in the United States public elementary school: A qualitative research study

Shanshan He
Chinese immigrant parental involvement in the United States public elementary school: A qualitative research study
Throughout American history, parental involvement has been a “hot topic” in American education. Parents have great influence on their children’s schooling. Chinese immigrants are one of the largest populations in the United States, which introduces new challenges for American teachers. Along with the increasing numbers of Chinese in the United States, many American teachers have limited knowledge and resources to help them.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006814

Emotional well-being of secondary refugee and immigrant students: The relationship between acculturation and school support

Diane Oliva
Emotional well-being of secondary refugee and immigrant students: The relationship between acculturation and school support
Given the rapid increase of refugee and immigrant students entering U.S. public schools, a clear understanding of student acculturation issues is needed in order to support this specialized, at-risk population. This mixed methods study examined the relationship between student acculturation, school support, and the emotional well-being of refugee and immigrant students and provided information for schools on how school supports affect categories of acculturation and emotional well-being of immigrant secondary students.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006816

Improving behavioral and academic outcomes for students with reactive attachment disorder

Cynthia Cook
Research on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is minimal and is limited primarily to describing its nosology and clinical treatment practices. This qualitative, multi-case, case study identified school-based academic and emotional–behavioral interventions and factors which contribute to or hinder progress by conducting open-ended, semistructured interviews with high school students with a diagnosis of RAD and with school personnel who worked directly with them. Participants were from two neighboring school districts in a relatively large western state.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004961

One-to-one computing: A mixed-methods study designed to uncover the perceived effects on the overall classroom environment

Christopher R. Prososki
The rapid surge of technology throughout both our society and our schools has changed many of the traditional functions of our daily lives. The traditional classroom has changed with the advent of one-to-one computing in the United States. Conventional teaching methods that were once thought to be customary and accepted are now a thing of the past. The trend of one-to-one computing has swept across the United States at an accelerated rate.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004979

A quantitative study exploring literacy and career technical education instructional beliefs in Idaho schools

Angela Sue Edelblute Neal
The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the differences in career-technical education (CTE) teachers’ educational beliefs and attitudes toward teaching reading in CTE content classrooms in Idaho high schools when both CTE content area and teacher certification levels were considered. The importance of this study stems from teachers working with students who lack the skills necessary to meet the demands of reading in high school, preparing to read in college, and continuing on to workplace literacy needs.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004977

A quantitative study investigating the efficacy beliefs of elementary teachers including a specific emphasis on mathematics

William Fritz
Quantitative study investigating the efficacy beliefs of elementary teachers including a specific emphasis on mathematics
This study analyzes teacher efficacy for fourth- and fifth-grade mathematics teaching and its relationship to teacher and student performance as measured through classroom observation ratings by administrators and mathematical growth of the students. Quantitative correlation methods were used, including point-biserial regression, single regression, and multiple regression. The subjects of the study were 32 teachers in a single school district in Florida.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00006812

A quantitative study of Idaho high school seniors' postsecondary decision-making influences

Shana L. Hawkins
The purpose of this study is to assist state, district, and high school educational leadership in understanding the influences of the Idaho high school students’ postsecondary decision-making.The literature review established five categories that influence students’ postsecondary decisionmaking: postsecondary and career awareness, postsecondary and career admissions process, academic readiness for postsecondary education and careers, postsecondary monetary cost, and social capital influence for postsecondary education.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004973

Self-Defense as a bullying prevention strategy: An evaluation of the Gracie Bullyproof program

Jared S. Emfield
Bullying in schools has received a great deal of attention in the United States over the last 15 years. Despite this increase in attention and the resulting increases in funding and programs, bullying continues to be a significant issue of concern today. Researchers have often suggested two fundamental approaches to reducing violent behavior. These include seeking social change and empowering victims through self-defense training. When it comes to bullying in schools, however, educators have focused primarily on seeking social change.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005174

Student perception of school safety and how it affects their academic achievement

Andrew Grover
The high-profile lethal violence that has occurred in multiple schools around the country has brought school safety to the forefront of educational concerns. These high-profile cases are rare, but when they do occur, they create serious concern for parents, teachers, students, administrators, and communities about school safety. Accountability has become a buzzword in today’s educational setting. When students do not feel safe at school, their academic success suffers.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004971

2014

The academic and linguistic effectiveness of a dual language program: A comparison of student achievement within one district

Valerie Fuhriman-Cleverly
This quantitative matched-pair (N = 53) study examined the academic and linguistic effectiveness of a two-way dual language program in a rural Western United States elementary school. The school in this study was a magnet school. Matched pairs were defined as students who attended the dual language school from kindergarten through fifth grade and like peers from the dual language students’ neighborhood schools.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004993

A comprehensive model of instructional leadership: The effects of middle school leadership on growth in student learning

Kasey Teske
Using a comprehensive model of instructional leadership, this mixed-methods study investigates the relationship between the leadership of middle school principals and growth in student learning. This study also delineates specific actions performed by principals to execute research-based instructional leadership behaviors. The researcher used annual student growth data from the Idaho Star Rating System of schools to identify five middle schools of high growth and five middle schools of low growth.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005007

The effect of instructional coaching on teacher efficacy and on student achievement

Shannon Panfilio-Padden
Self-efficacy affects the way a person decides to live his or her life. Efficacy can dictate whether a person takes a risk, can influence personal and professional goals, and can determine what a person does when failure arises. Strong self-efficacy includes perseverance, motivation, and courage to try an unfamiliar path. In education, efficacy is imbedded in a school environment. The areas of efficacy that co-exist in an educational setting are teacher efficacy, collective efficacy, and student efficacy.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004999

The effectiveness of summer school in halting summer learning loss and increasing student achievement: A mixed-methods study

Cynthia J. Daly
Low-income children lose academic skills over the summertime months when they are not given learning opportunities. The loss of academic skills over the summertime months supports the widening of the achievement gap. This mixed-methods study examines the effectiveness of summer school in halting summer learning loss and increasing student achievement. Paired-samples t-test and independent t-test were used to analyze reading and math scores of students in summer school and students not in summer school. Teachers’ perceptions were gathered through an open-ended survey and interviews.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004985

A mixed methods study exploring transformative learning through a Christian discipleship process

James A. Lang
This mixed-methods study investigated the transformative learning that occurred in the alumni of the 22-lesson, Christian discipleship process called the Immersion Experience by Aphesis Group Ministries. Quantitative data was collected from a survey sent out to the 850 alumni. Deep interviews were conducted with 16 participants who had the additional prerequisite of being raised in a religiously confused home of origin. The transformative learning was examined through the theoretical framework of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory. An additional lens was resistance to change.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004995

A mixed-methods approach discovering the impact on reading fluency of struggling kindergarten students when receiving a double dose of literacy instruction

Taylor Raney
Students struggling in tier-one and tier-two kindergarten literacy instruction are likely to continue to have difficulty reading over the next several years. Schools must find creative ways to keep them motivated and learning in order to build fluency and eventually comprehension skills. This nonequivalent control group, pre-test–post-test, mixed-methods research focuses on a particular kindergarten intervention strategy: double dosing of research-based curriculum identified at-risk students.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005003

A mixed-methods study determining new teachers' perceived level of preparedness in primary literacy instruction

Amanda Eller
Historically, new teachers have entered the profession woefully underprepared to immediately be highly effective, primary literacy teachers. The twenty-first century has brought to education extensive reforms in literacy instruction, but are teacher preparation programs keeping up? This research examines the varying levels of perceived preparedness with which new primary teachers are entering the profession. The researcher surveyed K–3 teachers throughout three districts of varying sizes in a northwestern state.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004989

The Prairie Valley project: Development of a rural, school-wide, multiage elementary classroom design

Gregory J. Bailey
The multiage classroom design that has its origin in the rural, single-age classroom that blanketed the United States in the 1800’s is returning as a viable alternative to the single age classroom. The author looked at the perceptions of the parents and teachers that were impacted during two rural elementary schools’ transition away from the single-age classroom to a multiage classroom design.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004983

Principal and teacher perceptions of the effectiveness of Look 2 Learning

Elizabeth Olson
The term management by walking around (MBWA) has been used in the business setting by chief executive officers as a method of checking in with their employees and monitoring the continuing work of the business. President Lincoln practiced this same theory by getting out of his office to see the troops. The classroom walk-through is an educational technique used to monitor instructional teaching practices and curricular decisions by teachers.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004997

A role of the rural elementary principal: Increasing reading literacy in third graders living in poverty through advocating community partnerships

Wendy L. French
Bridging the achievement gap for elementary students living in poverty can be accomplished by creating relationships with community partnerships. It is also reasonable to believe that the role of the elementary principal has the potential for building capacity with community partners, while also improving student achievement for young readers through advocating these partnerships. For the purpose of this case study, mixed-methods afforded an in-depth investigation of this role.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004991

School leader preparation in the Nazarene university system: A qualitative study of the role of emotional intelligence

Andrée Scown
The overall intent of the study was to understand the role of emotional intelligence in school leader preparation programs in the Nazarene university system. A qualitative exploration of the understanding and presence of emotional intelligence (EI) theory and associated concepts in two Nazarene university principal preparation programs was conducted along with an investigation of the need, hindrances, and solutions to including such topics in the universities’ programs.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005005

Student engagement: Best practices in teaching in a K-5 blended learning environment

Cynthia Prouty
This study was designed to involve a variety of research methods, resulting in a mixed methods, case study approach to investigate best teaching practices in an elementary blended learning environment. The research-based evaluation work of Charlotte Danielson was incorporated as the theoretical framework for this research. Differing methods of tablet use were observed in 10 classrooms while data was collected on student engagement. Blended learning is among best teaching practices, though surprisingly, educators in this study were not familiar with blended learning models and techniques.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005001

Supporting statewide systems utilizing external coaches: A concurrent mixed-methods study in a rural community

Adria M. David
Across state lines, budget cuts in education are a reality, especially for those in remote and rural areas. With less financial support, some districts are looking to their state departments to be models of good practice for how to leverage and work within budgetary means, while also keeping up with the advancement in education seen around the world.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00004987

2013

Best practices for student success in an alternative middle school setting from a student's perspective

Jim R. Brown
Attrition among students costs individuals, institutions, and communities. As a result, alternative schools are growing rapidly. In 2010, over half a million students were enrolled in public alternative schools in the nation (Carver, Lewis, & Tice, 2010). Alternative programs offered at secondary, middle, and elementary schools exhibiting a variety of practices, structures, and philosophies combat this epidemic of attrition. This mixed study investigates best practices in an alternative middle school setting from a student’s perspective.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005012

College success factors for international students studying in the United States of America after completing an international baccalaureate high school program

Jennifer Coles Hill
This quantitative study took place at a private international school in East Asia. The purpose of the study was to investigate United States college admission trends comparing International Baccalaureate Diploma Program candidates and International Baccalaureate non-Diploma Program candidates from the same school.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005020

Effectiveness of K-12 administrator preparation programs: A mixed method study

Sarah Hatfield
School principal preparation programs have the obligation to ensure administrators are ready for the challenges that face them on a regular basis. This study investigated the effectiveness of school principal preparation programs. The purpose was to determine specific areas for which K-12 administrators are unprepared and the role school principal preparation programs play in helping administrators feel prepared for their roles, responsibilities, and duties.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005018

A mixed methods study exploring the realities and perceptions of principal evaluation

Donald P. Bingham
Principals play a critical role in how a school performs and what type of culture it will have. However, most principal evaluation relies heavily on practices and beliefs grounded in 20th century educational paradigms or adheres to outdated behavioral checklists. This mixed methods study explores the current realities of principal evaluation in southeastern Idaho and the perceptions of 127 principals and superintendents. Findings suggest that there is a variance between written evaluation policies and current practices.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005010

A mixed methods study investigating parental involvement and student success in high school online education

Heidi Curtis
While questions exist about the effectiveness of online education, it is a growing part of the pantheon of educational choices available to students in America today. Though online education first gained popularity for advanced learners, increasingly at-risk populations are enrolling in online learning environments. Research in K-12 full-time, online learning environments is nearly non-existent. This mixed-methods study investigates student achievement in the full-time, online learning environment and the effect parents have on student success.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005014

Parent involvement and the impact on student achievement in grades 2-5

Yvonne Marie Thurber
This quantitative research study examined the relationship between student achievement in reading and mathematics on the STAR (Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading and Mathematics) and parent involvement in specific character development activities. The research design was quantitative in nature and conducted in two similar elementary schools, within a four month time frame. School 1(Experimental) served 719 students, while the School 2 (Control) served 807 students.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005024

A qualitative study exploring the use of online education to overcome the educational challenges faced by out of school youth

Kelsey LeDuc-Williams
Out of School Youth encompass a unique group of individuals who are not benefiting from the free and appropriate public education they are eligible to receive. The challenges faced by this group are immense; however, as evident in this study, they can be overcome. This study found that with flexible educational platforms, training on the U.S. education system, and additional familial supports, these students can succeed and obtain a U.S. high school diploma.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005022

A quantitative study exploring grading and assessment practices in the middle school environment

Greg Wiles
Educators are committed to providing students the best possible education by using the practices and tools they know (Zmuda, Kuklis, & Kline, 2004). Unfortunately, the status quo for grading and assessment practices is faulty, outdated, and ineffective.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005026

Whatever it takes: A mixed methods study evaluating the implementation of professional learning communities across a district

N. Shalene French
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide the basis for meeting the challenges and expectations in today’s educational environment. Effective PLCs provide the framework for school improvement and ultimately impact student academic success.
English
Type: 
Dissertation
WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005016

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WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00005169
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