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2018 Dissertations

2018 Dissertations

Working Together: Investigating the Implementation of Chromebooks

James D. Alvarado

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

The use of technology has permeated both our lives and society. It is nearly impossible to overlook the role that technology plays in our everyday lives. Applying instructional technology in the classroom is a vital facet of enhancing students’ learning. Both independent school sites and school districts have utilized varying types of professional development for their faculty so that faculty can efficiently implement technology in the classroom and ensure that it is both significant and beneficial (Clifford & Reed, 2004; Engelbrecht & Ankiewicz, 2016). Teachers who utilize technology successfully tend to have more effective classrooms and students who are better prepared to succeed (Cuban, 2003).

While most changes in education tend to move slowly: curriculum, standards, certifications, etc. Changes in technology occur quickly. Technology advances and is quickly replaced making it difficult for stakeholders to successfully plan how to properly adapt and adopt new forms of technology that can benefit a classroom before it becomes obsolete. Additionally, teachers can often be an afterthought during any implementation. They frequently do not receive appropriate levels of support and communication leading to a negative culture of change that can stifle the adoption process(Hadar & Brody, 2010; 2016; Opfer & Pedder, 2011).

This qualitative case study of a suburban high school utilized a combination of individual teacher interviews with an administrator focus group to examine the implementation process of a Chromebook implementation program. Utilizing the educational change process through the lens of Fullan’s Change Theory, and by examining effective practices, the goal of this study was to inform policy and practice for any technology implementation at the K-12 level with particular emphasis on adoption, outcomes, and sustainability.

The Strength Within: Addressing Structural Opportunity Gaps Among Male Students of Color at 4-Year Universities Through A Strengths-Based Approach

Lui Amador

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Perez-Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

The enrollment, retention, and graduation rates for African American, Latino, Native American, and segments of Asian and Pacific Islander men in higher education are disproportionately lower than women from all racial groups and White men.  A significant body of research substantiates the concern by institutions on the opportunity gap for men of color in higher education.  Despite the research and concerted efforts by institutions, this opportunity gap continues to affect the educational and overall college experience of men of color.  Through qualitative interviews employing a photo elicitation protocol and a conceptual framework based on validation theory, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Anti-Deficit Perspectives, this study examines the social, cultural, and institutional factors that shape this population’s experience in higher education.  This research will examine the strengths and assets that men of color identify as supporting their success in college.  This study will also examine how institutional resources and practices informed by an anti-deficit framework can effectively improve the experiences of men of color in school.

The Importance of Teacher Development: Investigating Teacher Experiences and Perspectives in Professional Learning Communities

Andrea J. Chang-Seo

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hsieh, Betina

Abstract

PLCs have been shown to be a promising professional development model in increasing overall student achievement (Berry, Johnson, & Montgomery, 2005; Hipp, Huffman, Pankake, & Olivier, 2008; Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008).  As a result, schools have turned to implementing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) as a way to help teachers to collaborate, identify the needs of students, and formulate a plan to address the needs. However, little research shows how effective PLCs can contribute to both teacher development and student learning.  Examining the experiences of teachers within PLCs, however, is critical because, as professional development, it can be used to help teachers feel supported within school sites.

The purpose of this study is to investigate teacher experiences and perspectives about effective PLC’s characteristics that support their professional growth and commitment.  By examining effective PLC characteristics, practitioners can benefit from implementing PLCs that focus not only on student learning but also with teacher development.  This information can inform practice and policy within the K-12 school district with the importance of implementing effective PLCs that contribute to teacher development and success.  Creating effective PLCs can positively affect teacher development that may help deepen their commitment to the school and in return, create sustainable student achievement and teacher growth.  

Getting “Unstuck” Supporting Long-Term English Learners’ Access to Challenging Curriculum

Luz N. Rivera-Cotto

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hsieh, Betina

Abstract

The achievement gap and educational equity have been major concerns in the United States for many years.  While many groups are impacted by educational inequities, one population of growing concern is Long-Term English Learners (LTEL).  LTELs continue to be “stuck” at the intermediate level of English proficiency limiting their access to rigorous curriculum.  One program developed to specifically address the linguistic and academic needs of middle school LTEL students is AVID Excel. 

This qualitative case study explored the ways in which the implementation of AVID Excel at the middle school level, in a single district, sought to provide linguistic, academic and cultural supports for LTEL students. The study approaches this issue from an implementation perspective, based on the practices and perspectives of the adults who are enacting the program.

Utilizing multiple data sources, the results included four key findings: intrinsic motivation, parental support and Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills are strengths the adult participants perceived LTEL students have that help them succeed in school; academic language, navigating American schooling expectations and redesignation as challenges keeping LTEL students from achieving academic success; a combination of specific AVID Excel strategies and external ELD strategies were used to address language acquisition; despite citing parental support as a strength, participants identified family-connections and American school cultural development as LTEL students’ needs. 

Implications for further research, policy and practice should focus on the role of culture and promoting teacher’s cultural competencies in supporting LTEL students’ academic success. As well as supporting teachers in implementing the cultural funds of knowledge students (and parents) bring from their homes in order to bridge students’ culture with the American schooling context and focused language development found in programs like AVID Excel.

Get Your Verve On! Culturally Responsive Teaching in a Linked Learning Environment

Lisa M. Kirkendoll-Edwards

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Many Black boys become detached from their classrooms and disengaged from the learning process altogether.  Irrelevant curriculum, systemic discriminatory K-12 experiences, and poorly staffed and resourced schools are among the various historical, educational, and socio-economic factors that contribute to the 31% drop out rate among Black students, particularly males.  Those who drop out of school often experience unemployment, economic struggle, and in many cases, incarceration.  In an effort to explore engaging instructional approaches that address the cultural needs of Black boys, a qualitative case study was conducted to explore the cultural responsiveness of Linked Learning.  An emphasis was placed on identifying specific instructional strategies that impact the engagement levels and overall academic performance of Black boys. 

A combination of interview, observational and documented data were collected with participants consisting of 10 Black, male high school students, 3 Linked Learning teachers, and 2 administrators.   The following themes resulting from the data were evident within participants’ interview responses, observed behaviors and practices, and analyzed lesson plans and student work samples: (a) Caring, student-centered classrooms were critical to the success of Black boys, and (b) The Linked Learning promise positively impacts the academic experience of Black boys.  An integration of two theoretical frameworks, Invitational Education and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, served as this study’s conceptual framework, and guided the exploration of the Linked Learning model.

Understanding How Latina/o Faculty Navigate Higher Education 

Brenda Susana Estrada

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Perez-Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

There is a belief in higher education that Latina/o faculty do not possess the skills necessary to succeed in academe (Verdugo, 1995). Currently, the Latino/a population represents 17% of the total population in the United States. Although the Latino/a population is growing, the rate at which they are obtaining doctoral degrees remains low.  During the 2014–2015 academic term, 2.3 million Latino students were enrolled in undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs (NCES, 2015). Also, in 2015, 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees were conferred in the United States, 12% of which were conferred to Latinos. That year, Latinas/os earned only 9% of both master’s and doctoral degrees conferred (NCES, 2015). Consequently, the limited number of Latino/a that receive doctoral degrees ultimately contribute to a decreased representation of Latino/a faculty on college campuses, as most teaching positions at the university level require a doctoral degree (Padilla, 2003).    The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and understand the professional experiences of 15 Latina/o tenure/tenure track faculty members at Grove State University in California. These faculty experiences provide a narrative to help understand the factors that influence and motivate Latina/o faculty to pursue a tenure-track position.  This study is important to institutions of higher education because it provides an insider view of the factors that influence Latina/o faculty to pursue a tenure/tenure-track position as well as their experiences at a 4-year HSIs.   The study gives administrators an opportunity to implement programs and policy changes that will increase the number of Latina/o faculty on a college campus that is designated as an HSI.  It is important to note that, although HSI designation requires a specific percentage of students be of Hispanic/Latino background, it does not require the institution create an equitable environment.  This study creates room for the development of programs and policies that are responsive to the needs of the current higher education student. 

Improving the Language Skills of English Learners: The Role of Computer-Assisted Instruction

Miranda Jeannette Felix

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Richards-Tutor, Cara

Abstract

With an ever-growing population of elementary English language learners (EL), an increase in technology in classrooms, and a renewed sense of direction with English language development (ELD) instruction since the release of Common Core State Standards, educational leaders are making decisions regarding instruction for English language learners that will have long-lasting impacts on language proficiency and literacy achievement for the rising group of English language learners enrolled in schools across our nation. This problem suggested the need for research on computer-assisted language learning (CALL) program use in an elementary setting with English language learners in order to identify best practices for developing literacy achievement in the era of Common Core standards and technology implementation. Quantitative research in the form of a quasi-experimental design allowed for the researcher to establish a possible relationship between CALL program practices and the increase in literacy achievement. Participants included 759 elementary EL enrolled in either fifth or sixth grade in a large, southern California public school district. This study contributed to the limited body of research that aims to investigate the effectiveness of CALL instruction used for designated ELD in literacy achievement for elementary EL. The results of the inferential analyses indicated a relationship between language proficiency and literacy achievement, however the CALL program yielded neutral results on literacy achievement for elementary EL. The findings suggest educational leaders need to make informed decisions about technology integration. In addition, the researcher recommends that educational leaders place greater emphasis on integrated ELD and its role in increasing literacy achievement for elementary EL.

Liminal Being: Language, Belonging & Becoming

Jorge Casas Gamboa

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

The present study sought to examine institutional and personal factors that affect the sense of belonging of adult immigrant English-learners in a community college. Specifically, this qualitative study analyzed the lived experiences of twenty-one adult English-learners currently enrolled in a large California community college. Language and Critical Race theory was used a theoretical lens to help understand how language proficiency, instructional policies and practices and social factors affect the extent to which this population feels included and as part of the greater campus community. The study found that proficiency in English was the most salient factor in both enhancing the level of connectedness to campus life and hindrance in accessing linguistic and academic resources. Also, the study revealed that the most effective approach to fostering a greater sense of belonging for adult English-learners was providing high-touch experiences through a robust peer mentorship program. Thus, the findings suggest institutionalizing targeted student support services and professional development that will assist educational practitioners to better support adult English-learners to college completion.  

Voices from the Asphalt: Teacher Expectations and Student Perceptions in an Urban High School

Shauna Harris

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

            Urban high school education continues to struggle with providing quality educational experiences that meet the varying needs of students. Socio-economic status plays a powerful role in the educational opportunities afforded to students in the United States. Low socio-economic status can have an impact on the types of educational experiences students encounter which, in turn, influences student performance. Howard (2010), suggests the residuals of poverty, limited access to medical care, low-income status, and homelessness impact a student’s performance in school.  Moreover, Gorski (2013), contends that low income status students are likely to attend schools with inadequate resources and poorly trained teachers dealing with higher class sizes.

             Using William Purkey’s Invitational Education and the Teacher Expectation Student Achievement (T.E.S.A.) conceptual frameworks as lenses for analysis, this mixed methods study seeks to examine the effects of teacher expectations and 11th grade student perceptions on student engagement. Through teacher interviews, this study evaluates the causal factors that have developed teacher perceptions in one urban high school. It describes possible misconceptions, deficit views, and biases that influence expectations and their impact on student performance outcomes. Through student surveys, this study also explored the relationship between student perceptions of their learning experiences in school, teachers, and themselves and their impact on student engagement in the classroom.

            Teacher interviews and student survey results provided a deep insight into the overall culture of their school. Interview questions provided a forum where teachers shared their stories and expressed experiences that they believed shaped their expectations of the students they teach. Student responses about their school, teachers, and themselves provided the researcher with a deeper understanding of the influences that may help or hinder student engagement.

El Coraje Para Seguir: The Experience of Latinas in Upper Level Academic Administration/ The Grit  to Continue: The Experience of Latinas in Upper Level Academic Administration 

Eliza Hoyos Vences

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

Academic administrators play an important role in shaping policies and processes that impact students.  As student and faculty demographics in higher education continue to shift, academic administrative ranks need to mirror these changes, yet Latina upper level academic administrators face multiple challenges in moving up the leadership ranks. In order to create change within our educational system, it is important to have an understanding of the experiences of Latinas in upper level academic administration, including the role of culture and gender.

This qualitative interview study examined the experiences of twenty upper level academic administrators at two and four-year institutions across the United States.  Four themes emerged from the study. First, the majority of the participants entered administration by chance but stayed within these ranks due to their desire to be change agents. Second, the participants faced multiple challenges, including ethnicity-base discrimination, sexism, microaggressions and self-doubt.  Third, despite the challenges, the women accessed internal and external strategies and skills set such as coraje, an internal drive to continue pushing forward, hard work and mestiza consciousness to continue moving forward in their administration role. Finally, participants provided consejos, words of wisdom, such as going into administration being difficult, but doable and not losing one’s authenticity. The study provides recommendations for policy, practice and future research.

Black Males' Community College Experiences

Maisha N. Jones

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Davis, Shametrice

Abstract

Contrary to the rhetoric around a post-racial United States, Black male students are not experiencing equitable outcomes in higher education (Ford & Moore, 2013; Harper & Davis, 2012; Harper & Kuykendall, 2012; Harris, 2010; Harris & Wood, 2013; Strayhorn, 2015).  Community colleges are a critical access point to higher education for Black males, yet they are not graduating, transferring, or entering the workforce at an acceptable pace.  The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore Black male students' perceptions of their community college experience.  The Five Domains Conceptual Model is a holistic framework utilized to address inequitable outcomes for Black males in community colleges (Wood & Harris, 2014).  A constructivist approach to this qualitative inquiry reveals unique strengths and challenges of 17 Black male students as they navigate the community college for success.  Findings from this study illuminate the importance of human agency (e.g. background factors, self-efficacy, and aspirations) coupled with institutional responsibility (e.g. faculty engagement, campus climate, and campus resources) to improve academic outcomes for this disproportionately impacted student group.  Recommendations for addressing inequitable outcomes for Black male students include policy to sustain funding for Black Male Initiatives, equity-minded practices for faculty hiring and professional development, and future research that extends this inquiry to other marginalized student groups. 

An Investigation of Trust between Elementary School Teachers and Principals

Brent T. Kuykendall

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

This investigation explored what hinders and contributes to the level of trust a teacher has of the principal. Two research questions guided the investigation concerning what specific incidents teachers felt affected trust with the principal.  This case study allowed veteran elementary teachers to be interviewed and share personal incidents that they felt influenced the level of trust they had with their principal.  Teacher participants shared a wide variety of incidents that included both their personal and professional lives. Teachers most often identified incidents where the principal showed benevolence, openness, and honesty.  The results of this study led the researcher to infer that teachers have a higher level of trust with principals that show care, communicate openly, and connect with them on a personal level. This study provides implications for the preparation and professional development for K-12 principals. 

Key words: trust, facets of trust, elementary level, school principal, leadership

Role of Ready Leadership in a Head Start Preschool through 3rd Grade Continuum

Jenifer Lindley Lipman

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Young children attending high quality early education programs have demonstrated improved school readiness outcomes, with the most impact on low-income and high-risk children (Camelli, Vargus, Ryan, & Barnett, 2010; Levi, Segal, Rayburn, Martin, & Miller, 2015; Valentino & Stipek, 2016).  A comprehensive approach to school readiness used in Head Start programs that includes ready children, ready schools, and ready families, facilitates transition and continued school success (Office of Head Start, 2017).  Unique to this study, is the concept of ready leadership, inclusive of school leaders (district administrators, site level administrators, and teachers) and parents as leaders.  Gaps in school leadership efficacy around early education, family engagement, and a preschool through third grade continuum (PreK-3) have been documented in the literature (Brown, 2015; Brown, Squires, Connors-Tados, & Horowitz, 2014; ED, 2013; Halpern, 2013; Mapp & Kuttner, 2013; Weiss et al., 2014).  Using a qualitative research design and Ecological Systems Theory, the role of leadership in a PreK-3 continuum, around the integration of a Head Start preschool on an elementary school campus and on promoting and sustaining family engagement was explored (Bronfenbrenner, 1994).  Key findings included: (1) experiences with early education impact self-efficacy for a PreK-3 approach; (2) teachers focus on the transition from preschool to kindergarten, with their perspectives depending on their grade level position on the continuum; (3) regulations can create barriers to integration, real and perceived; (4) intentional alignment and collaboration support integration; and (5) strong family engagement policies support parents as leaders, including redefining the role of the school volunteer, to include unique strengths and needs of today’s families. Recommendations include policy and practice to respond to leaders’ priorities for a PreK-3 continuum, addressing barriers to integration, supporting parents as leaders, redefining the role of school volunteer; and capitalizing on transitional kindergarten as a link between early learning in preschool and the increased rigor now seen in kindergarten.

Accelerating Developmental Math Students in California Community Colleges: A Comparative Assessment of Two Acceleration Models

Arturo F. Martinez

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

Community colleges across the nation are under increasing pressure to find ways to improve the rate of which students, placed in remediation, complete college-level coursework. The attrition of students placed into the lowest levels of developmental mathematics has been a challenge for many colleges to overcome. Research has well recorded the lack of progress of students placed three to four levels below a transfer-level course. Yet, few studies have compared the outcome of similar students in accelerated programs designed to shorten the pathways through remediation. This study focused on students placed in the lowest levels of remediation at two colleges offering consecutive sequences of course-redesign and compression models of acceleration. This study conducted a multivariate analysis and examined the comparative effect on completion rates of students accelerated through two different developmental math acceleration programs from two different colleges within a four year period (2013 – 2017). Moreover, this study controlled for pre-program demographics as well as developmental math placement for students in both community colleges employing different acceleration models to explore the degree to which predicted developmental and college level math course completion.

The results of this study suggest students placed in developmental mathematics can increase the likelihood of completion and in less time in accelerated pathways. In addition, the acceleration models at each college yielded significantly different completion rates for different student groups. A comparison of outcomes for each acceleration model, at each college, indicated course-redesign acceleration model yielded more statistically significant improvements in transfer-level math and developmental math completion rates for first-generation students, and students placed in both low-level and mid-level remediation. The compression model of acceleration showed significant improvement in completion rates for students placed in mid-level remediation, but results were mixed for students placed in low-level remediation. Students in consecutive acceleration courses were most likely to complete a transfer-level math course, and historically underrepresented minority students were more likely to complete remediation, under certain circumstances, in the compression acceleration model.

The Professional Quality of Life of Title IX Coordinators

Elizabeth Miller

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

Title IX Coordinators are educational administrators who play a critical role in providing campus environments free of sex discrimination, harassment, and violence. Their work is demanding, highly regulated, and set in an increasingly volatile political context (Ali, 2011; Lhamon, 2015; Jackson, 2017).  There is little research on the experiences of these administrators (Klein, 2016).  Utilizing the Professional Quality of Life (Stamm, 2010) framework, this qualitative study explored the experiences of 20 Title IX Coordinators to understand their professional quality of life and organizational factors that influence their experiences.  Findings revealed participants’ satisfaction was drawn from passion for “the work” and making a positive impact in their communities, and fatigue and burnout were tied to an intense and overwhelming workload.  While fatigue can lead to a breaking point, moderating influences, e.g., coping strategies and balancing compassion with neutrality, mitigated negative factors. Institutional resistance and lack of understanding across stakeholders contributed to compassion fatigue, while institutional commitment and supportive interpersonal relationships affirmed the Title IX Coordinator’s experience.  Implications include expanding the Title IX Coordinator’s passion for gender equity across the institution, and building institutional capacity to adequately respond to complaints, to benefit both the experience of the Title IX Coordinator and campus communities at large.   Recommendations for policy and practice include creating Title IX teams, institutionalizing campus climate surveys, and supervision committed to building supportive working environments.  Future research is recommended on how intersecting identities influence the Title IX Coordinator experience, and understanding campus attitudes toward Title IX and other civil-rights based responsibilities among constituent groups.

They Want a Black Face Not a Black Voice: The Professional Experiences of African American Women Middle Level Managers

Melanie Mitchell

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

African American women in student affairs face negative experiences as they seek to move along their career paths, including discrimination based on race and gender, tokenism, and microaggressive behavior (Brancaccio, 2017; Jackson & O’ Callaghan; Henry, 2009; Shante, 2018; Sue et al., 2007). This qualitative interview study explored the professional experiences of 25 African American women middle level managers (MLMs) employed at four-year predominantly White institutions across the United States. All of the participants had a desire to advance beyond their current MLM position to a senior role in student affairs. This study employed a conceptual framework combining (P. Collins, 2009) Black Feminist Thought (BFT) with the Human Resource (HR) Frame of Bolman and Deal (2013) which piece together a lens for both the individual experiences of African American MLMs, and as people in their organizations of higher education.

Three themes emerged from this study. First, participants faced professional and personal challenges throughout their professional journey including race based and gender-based discrimination and disrespect, being “the only,” the need to think carefully about presentation of self, and demands based on higher standards of performance and motherhood. Second, participants accessed a range of strategies and supports such as mentors, sponsors, faith, family, community, and a network to respond to and navigate these challenges. Participants were strategic agents who recognized the importance of putting themselves first. Finally, opportunities for professional growth throughout their career were a central component of their plans for advancement.

This study offered recommendations for policy, practice, and future research. Institutions should provide affinity groups for staff of color, skills-based training, on campus professional development opportunities to invest in professional growth, constructive feedback on evaluations, and assessment of the campus climate to assist African American MLMs in advancing in their careers.

Jumping Over Hurdles To Get To The Finish Line: A Narrative Inquiry Exploring The Experiences Influencing Black Female Advanced STEM Degree Attainment 

Lynda Darlene Murray-Thomas

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Davis, Shametrice

Abstract

According to former President Obama’s Council on Advisors of Science and Technology (PCAST) analysis on STEM graduation rates, the study concluded that United States will need to increase STEM graduation rates by 40% to keep up with future job demands (Olson & Riordan, 2012).  The PCAST findings and National Center for Educational Statistics (2014) indicated that Black females are underrepresented in attaining advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees.  To achieve increased advanced STEM degree rates, it is necessary to increase graduation rates for underrepresented Black to meet the growing demand for jobs requiring advanced STEM degrees. This narrative inquiry study explores the experiences of seven Black females who attained their advanced STEM degree, as they recalled the people and events that positively influenced their successful completion.  Utilizing Swail, Redd, and Perna’s (2003) Geometric Model of Student Persistence and Achievement as the study theoretical framework, the study findings revealed the cognitive, social, and institutional factors that influenced advanced STEM degree attainment for the study participants.  Additionally, the study revealed the influences outside of the Geometric Model that impacted their degree success.  

This study delved in the participants’ kindergarten through graduate school experiences to provide recommendations to improve advanced STEM degree completion rates for Black females.  The study concludes with implications for future study so that researchers can add to the dearth amount of  literature that exists on this topic, and contribute to closing the gap on underrepresented resources needed for current high technology job demands. 

The Power of Caring: A Participatory Action Research Examining Black Male Students' Perspectives in Restorative Justice Community Building Circles

Eleanor Murray

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

This participatory action research (PAR) described Restorative Justice (RJ) as a paradigm

that supports the socio-emotional and behavioral development of students. Restorative practices are a framework for building school community, responding to challenging behavior using authentic dialogue, and accepting accountability to make things right. RJ is a philosophy that shifts from punitive discipline to an alternative positive based approach to discipline. Students of color have been disproportionately suspended from school, specifically Black male students.  School suspensions lead to poor attendance, loss of instructional days, low academic achievement, and potentially to dropping out of high school. RJ is a proactive approach to transform schools and stakeholders into a positive school culture built on the foundation of community building, fairness, and justice. The purpose of this action research was to investigate and describe the experiences of 10 Black male 10th-grade students who participated in the restorative justice group. Participants engaged in a 6-week Restorative Justice Community Building Circle to develop social-emotional learning and to explore in-depth outcomes in the

process. The following research questions were used to guide the study.

1. What is the experience of Black male students’ in restorative justice Community

Building Circles?

2. To what extent did Black male students change during the Restorative Justice

Community Building Circles in terms of social-emotional, behavioral and academic

outcomes?

This PAR provided a systematic approach to qualitative research. The findings were

based on observations, semi-structured interviews, and the interview protocol. The students expressed six predominate themes that showed relationships matters in the success of young Black male students. The participants reported that the RJ community building circle positively improved their self-perception and influenced their attitude and mindset. The teacher-to-student and the student-to student relationship matters for the success of Black male students. The relationship teachers have with students appear to be related to student performance and academic achievement. The participants described the RJ group as a safe space that provided solidarity to express their personal views, thoughts, and emotions openly. The recommendations suggest how RJ can be embedded in school practices and how they can be used to address traumatic experiences of students.

Understanding Parental Historical Trauma and Its Effects on Second-Generation Cambodian Americans

Sara Socheata Pol-Lim

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

 This qualitative research study examines the effects of parental historical trauma on the educational aspirations and outcomes of second-generation Cambodian Americans. Twenty second-generation Cambodian Americans whose parents survived the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979) participated. The dissertation utilized the conceptual framework of historical trauma to navigate the research questions: 1). To what extent are children of Cambodian genocide survivors affected by the trauma their parents experienced and what form does this inherited trauma take? 2). What home experiences enhance or hinder academic aspirations and outcomes of the children of Cambodian genocide survivors? 3). What are the supportive networks and actions that foster hope and positive development for second generation Cambodian Americans? The data were analyzed using qualitative methods and NVivo software. Three key themes were found. The first theme was unresolved trauma. As a result, parental guidance and an open relationship between parents and children were limited. The second theme was overprotection. It was common behavior among parents who survived the genocide to want to shield their children from any unforeseen circumstances. The last key finding was a lack of communication between parents and children due to a language barrier.

Building on the findings of this study, it is recommended that schools with large Cambodian American populations should educate later generations about Cambodian history, including the Genocide, and provide dual immersion language classes. This would help to interrupt intergenerational trauma, reduce the language barrier, and allow students and their 2 parents to find purpose and peace. Future research should explore the experiences of survivors, including survivors who lived through the genocide but did not suffer persecution. Such research could lead to truth and reconciliation.

Out of the Margins: Single Mothers in Community College

Linda S. Ramos

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Perez-Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), almost 10 million single mothers are raising children in the United States.  Single parent status has a significant impact on a woman’s educational attainment.  Only 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the age of 22 (Perper, Peterson, & Manlove, 2010), and only between two to three percent of them earn a four-year degree by the age of 30 (Hoffman, 2006).  Of those women that do engage in higher education, the Center for Women’s Policy (2002) noted that one third (33.7%) of single mothers take more than 10 years to complete a bachelor’s degree, compared with 15.6% of all women.  

This basic qualitative study explored the educational experiences of 23 low-income single mothers of color attending two community colleges in southern California to determine how their intersectional identities shaped their engagement with policies and practices across federal, county, and campus-based programs.  Research findings indicate that age and single mother status are salient identities that interact to shape students’ experiences.  Participants noted that work-first policies adopted by federal welfare legislation do not align with student’s long-term aspirational goals.  Moreover, county staff act as gatekeepers to essential services and information that can greatly influence the student’s ability to complete their studies.  Finally, participants utilized campus-based programs and family as essential resources in their journey to complete education.  Strategies applied by students to persist in education included self-care and self-advocacy. 

Recommendations based on the findings include coordinated and comprehensive outreach efforts on behalf of campuses to ensure single parents understand the resources available to them, including Title IX policies relating to the rights of pregnant and parenting students.  Further areas for research include exploration into the transfer experiences of single mothers to universities to determine the continuum of care across institutions of higher education.

Teach Me With Cariño:  Head Start Teachers’ Perspectives on Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Preschool Classrooms

Rosie Ramos

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

While high levels of skills in education and achievement are critical for a student’s social and economic success, schools have yet to live up to their educational responsibilities to children of color and children living in poverty.  Nationwide, the achievement gap affects students of color, particularly low-income Latino students. Gay (2010) argued that contributing to educational deficits are teachers who do not understand the importance of knowing their students’ cultural backgrounds. This qualitative dissertation utilized the conceptual frameworks of culturally responsive pedagogy and sociocultural interactions to understand Latina Head Start preschool teachers’ perspectives in the classroom when implementing culturally responsive pedagogy embedded within sociocultural classrooms.  

             The major findings in this study documented that the Latina Head Start preschool teacher participants were sensitive to the unique needs of Latina/o dual language learners from low-income families.  The teacher participants overwhelmingly reported that providing emotional support, cariño (affection), and empathy to all of the children throughout classroom interactions was vital for student learning. They regularly used the children’s home language, Spanish, and supported children’s development in both languages. The Latina Head Start preschool teacher participants expressed a sense of commitment and responsibility to ensure each Latino child is successful.  The Latina Head Start preschool teacher participants shared a natural ability to teach with cariño while utilizing culturally responsive pedagogy with interwoven sociocultural interactions as they worked with their Latina/o students. 

Familismo & Marianismo: First-Generation Latina Navigating the Transition from High School to College

Maria Teresa Rangel-Hernandez

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

First generation Latina students are applying to four-year universities; however, they are doing so in low numbers.  Those who do apply, select community colleges and Familismo and Marianismo may be hindering them from pursuing four-year schools (Sy & Romero, 2008; Romo, Rios & Tello, 2013).  Research on first‐generation Latina students is replete with data collected from first year college students, but seldom do researchers study first-generation Latina high school students who may be experiencing family expectations and responsibilities limiting their college aspirations and preparation.

This study uses a qualitative participatory action research design to interview and survey first generation Latina ninth grade students.  It examined preconceptions and cultural limitations that restricted college aspirations. It also piloted a counseling program to possibly mitigate the effects of Familismo and Marianismo on their college aspirations and preparation.

The following research questions were posed to discover how family responsibilities and cultural dissonance affect college aspirations, college choice decision-making process and college preparation for first generation 9th grade Latina students.

  1. How does cultural dissonance affect college aspirations, college choice decision-making and college preparation for first generation Latina students?
  2. What effects will a pilot college counseling program designed specifically for Latinas have on their college aspirations, college decision-making process, and college preparation?

Findings and recommendations indicate the need for more culturally competent counseling, hiring of more diverse personnel, and adopting Place Based Education (PBE) to the already existing American School Counseling Association (ASCA) standards.  Findings from this study have potential to impact counselors and educational leaders in how best to support first generation Latina high school students.

The Presence of the Impostor Phenomenon in Tenured and Tenure-Track Black Women Instructional Faculty at California Community Colleges

Janet L. Robinson

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

The increased diversity of students at community colleges makes the support and retention of Black women instructional faculty critical. Black women instructional faculty may feel like impostors, receiving messages of inadequacy despite their achievements.  If so, such feelings may impede their ability to serve students and to thrive more generally in their roles.  Until now, the question of whether or how Black women faculty working in community colleges experience the impostor phenomenon had not been asked.

Through 23 in-depth, one-on-one interviews, this qualitative study explored and assessed the presence of and success strategies utilized to counter the Impostor Phenomenon or other challenges experienced by tenured and tenure-track Black women instructional faculty members employed at California community colleges. Findings revealed contentment and job satisfaction. While participants were familiar with and had experienced the Impostor Phenomenon, there was a general absence of the Impostor Phenomenon in their current roles due to positive on-campus relationships with colleagues and students. Microaggressions from colleagues and students related to appearance were also reported, but these challenges were mitigated best through established mentors and allies and a strong sense of cultural and personal identity. Established expertise and participation in professional development were also strategies that helped participants navigate, persist, and thrive within their work environments.

Recommendations for policy include increased state funding for community college faculty members to participate in off-campus professional development training. Practice recommendations include interpersonal skills training for new department chairs and best-practice discussions amongst continuing department chairs throughout the year.  Lastly, recommendations for future research include replicating the study in other states and among adjunct faculty in California.

Development of Technology Skills in a Graduate Program: An Application of the Framework for 21st Century Literacy Skills in a Linked Learning Context

Fabian A. Rojas Ramirez

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

The impact of technology on 21st Century society demands change in the education of new generations. Linked Learning as an educational approach is trying to fill the gap in secondary schools offering a model centered on students who are preparing for college and the workforce. This innovative educational environment is based on the framework of the 21st Century Skills. The present study aims at describing the development of these 21st Century Literacy skills through a master's program which focuses on Linked Learning and strives to provide career readiness to students. The research questions guiding this study are: how do university professors in a Linked Learning graduate program describe their use of 21st Century Learning Skills in technology, and how do secondary teachers in a Linked Learning graduate program describe their use of 21st Century Learning Skills in technology in their classrooms. This qualitative case study includes the analysis of two focus groups with graduate students, and faculty members, surveys, syllabi, and graduate students' assignments. The participants are graduate students and faculty members in a master's program focus on Linked Learning.

Significant findings include the implementation of strategies to promote the acquisition and improvement of technological 21st Century skills in the graduate students. There is good evidence showing how the master’s program help graduate students increase their technology skills and the integration of technology into their classes.

The Effect of Transfer Degrees on California Community College Outcomes

Jeremy I. Smotherman

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

President Barak Obama set a national agenda to increase the number of higher education degrees completed in the United States (Russell, 2011). Moore, Shulock, and Jensen (2009) reported that the U.S. is projected to produce 48 million new undergraduates between the years 2005 to 2025. Additionally. Moore, Shulock, and Jensen (2009) reported that due to their population, California Community Colleges have a significant role in producing baccalaureate degrees than any other state. However, California projections have shown a shortfall of 1 million college graduates by the year 2025. One strategy for addressing this shortfall is improving the transfer pathways for community college students.

The Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act provided community college students in California with a clearer path towards transfer with the caveat of completing a newly established associate degree for transfer. Implementation of the STAR Act coerced California Community Colleges into adopting a standard curriculum model for transfer degrees.

This quantitative study used within-subject ANCOVAs to analyze a multi-year period of degree completion and transfer data to determine if STAR Act significantly impacted community college outcomes. Program awards and CSU transfer were dependent variables used to statistically analyze the impact of the STAR Act on community colleges. Median county income, college size, regional college location, and the number of transfer degrees offered were grouping variables used to help determine if the STAR Act impacted all colleges or only colleges with certain institutional demographics. 

Institutional Theory (Bess & Dee, 2008) was used to contextualize the impact of the STAR Act on community college degree completion and transfer rates. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) identified three categories of conformity within institutional theory: normative conformity, mimic conformity, and coercive conformity. Each category aligns the action of conforming to either norms, values, or ideologies.

Implications for this study address the role state legislation and individuality of community colleges in education reform. Recommendations for research and practice propose that normative and coercive attributes of conformity support significant institutional changes. Community colleges are encouraged to incorporate normative and coercive standards to support new initiatives and programs effectively. At the same time, community colleges must embrace individuality and limit mimic conformity.  

Implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in Preschool Classrooms

Jennifer Michelle Solano

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Richards-Tutor, Cara

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of K-12 PBIS implementation in preschool classrooms. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a multi-tiered social-emotional and behavioral framework developed for the K-12 population.  Districts that adopt K-12 PBIS sometimes implement this model within their preschool classrooms.  K-12 PBIS was not developed for young children.  The Pyramid Model is a framework adapted from K-12 PBIS that was developed specifically for young children. When districts choose to implement K-12 PBIS in preschool classrooms, this contextual mismatch may negatively affect outcomes, such as teacher self-efficacy and student behavior. 

This study used a logic model to examine the relationships between implementation fidelity, teacher sense of efficacy and student behavior.  Three research questions asked to what degree teachers trained in K-12 PBIS implement Pyramid Model key practices within their classrooms and how this relates to teacher self-efficacy and student behavior.  A convenience sample of twenty preschool teachers trained in K-12 PBIS participated in this quantitative research. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was utilized to run descriptive, correlation and linear regression data analyses on data gathered through The Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT), Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) and student behavior tallies.  Results indicated that preschool teachers trained in K-12 PBIS implement 63% of Pyramid Model key practices.  Implementation fidelity was not found to correlate with teacher self-efficacy, but was found to predict the frequency of inappropriate student behavior that occurs during child-directed activities. Implications of this study suggest that contextual fit matters when choosing an intervention model for young children.  It is recommended that districts that implement K-12 PBIS with their K-12 population, separately implement the Pyramid Model in their preschool classrooms.  Teachers should be trained in the key practices developed to support young students’ social-emotional and behavioral growth.  Future research could compare preschool programs that implement K-12 PBIS with those that implement the Pyramid Model.  Direct comparison of teacher and student outcomes within these two contexts could reveal important findings for policy and practice.

Sharing Stories of Student Mothers in Community College

Kamisha A. Sullivan

Long Beach State University, 2018

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hansuvadha, Nat

Abstract

Student mothers are an often overlooked population within higher education. However, one national study found the majority of students raising children while attending college are located in community college and they are predominately female (Gault, Noll, & Reichlin, 2017). Therefore, the experience of student mothers in California, which has the largest system of community colleges in the country with 114 colleges (California Community Chancellor’s Office, 2018), provides important understanding about this population. This qualitative study shares the stories of 23 student mothers enrolled in two community colleges in California through a conceptual framework that combines the Intersectional Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity (Jones, Abes, & Quaye, 2013) and Resiliency Theory (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005; Stanton-Salzar & Spina, 2000). In their own words student mothers described their intersecting identities as both invisible and empowering. Findings from the study point to the resiliency of student mothers who utilized personal assets (e.g. organizational strategies, self-care, and self-talk) and institutional resources (e.g. child care, opportunities for student engagement, and faculty support). The implications for this study are centered in an Ethic of Care (Noddings, 2013) by institutionally adopting practices and policies that engage students in a maternal way that responds to their needs with care. Recommendations for research and practice propose community colleges develop a strategic method to gather data on student mothers to better serve this student population. Further, institutions are encouraged to re-examine child care services and supports on campus. Policy changes can begin with educating faculty and students about Title IX, so student mothers can better understand and exercise their rights within a more inclusive community college campus.