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Education Faculty and Students Present at AERA [05/22/2017]

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Doctoral student Elena Venegas was among students and faculty presenting at AERA.

Almost a dozen School of Education faculty, plus numerous graduate students, gave presentations on their research at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in San Antonio April 27-May 1. The annual meeting had a theme of “Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity” and focused on the progress toward pathways to equal educational opportunities.

Baylor presentations included:

“Critical Mirrors: Diverse College Students’ Perspectives on Stereotypes Depicted in Popular Films About College Life”
Students: Elena M Venegas, Toby Zhu
Faculty: Dr. Lakia M. Scott, Dr. Karon LeCompte, Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez
This qualitative study explored the perspectives of diverse college students on the portrayal of college life in recent popular films. Millennials often describe the U.S. as post-racial, yet findings reveal incongruity along racial lines. Findings suggest that White millennials believe society is post-racial while dismissing stereotypes in popular media as comedic satire. Whereas non-Whites readily identify the influence of negative media representations upon their academic and ethnic identities.

“Forming Identities in Community College”

Dr. Nathan Alleman

Students: Jessica Robinson, Cara Cliburn Allen, Ryan Erck, Katie Robbins
Faculty: Dr. Nathan Aleman
Using Kaufman and Feldman’s (2004) seminal study of students at a four-year university as a conceptual template, this 26-participant qualitative study examined how the community college affects students’ felt-identity from a sociological perspective.
Overall, Kaufman and Feldman’s original categories intelligence/knowledgeability, occupation, and cosmopolitanism remained salient for the community college population studied, with differences tied to students’ felt identities prior to entering the community college environment.

“The Role of Health Services in Student Veterans’ Private School Choice”
Students: Rachel L. Renbarger, Lauren Hertzberg, Caitlin Miller, Kayla Rhindenour
Faculty: Dr. Janet Bagby, Dr. Tracey Sulak
Student veterans are a unique, under-researched population on college and university campuses. The current study (n=113) investigated the criteria used when student veterans select a private non-profit college or university. A one-factor model of support for mental and health needs constructed from prior research was tested and found to have adequate fit. Results indicated veterans who served more time in the military are more likely to select a school based on the presence of mental and physical health services.

“The Effect of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis on Social Factors: A Causal Model Using Propensity Score Analysis”
Student: Harlee Floyd
Faculty: Dr. Tracey Sulak, Dr. Grant B. Morgan, Kristen L. Padilla-Mainor
The symptoms characteristic of ADHD may play a role in problematic social behaviors. Using propensity score analysis and inverse propensity score weighting on data from the fifth-grade wave (n=9,950) of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-98, authors presented a causal model of the effect of ADHD diagnosis on four social-related latent outcome variables from the Social Rating Scale. After applying propensity score adjustment, the standardized means among those students with ADHD diagnosis differed significantly from the means for students without an ADHD diagnosis for all four factors. These differences were statistically and practically significant.

Dr. Tracey Sulak

“The Relationship Between Teacher Professional Development and Frequency of School Violence in Rural Schools”
Students: Robin Wilson, Rachel L. Renbarger, Nicole O’Guinn
Faculty: Dr. Tracey Sulak
Research on school violence indicates proactive classroom management and behavior interventions may help reduce school violence. Rural schools may have unique challenges providing professional development and teacher training in this area. The current study investigates the relationship between the types of behaviors experienced and teacher professional development in rural schools (n=673) included in the School Survey on Crime and Safety. Latent class analysis on the frequencies of common school behaviors produced five distinct classes of schools. Then, multinomial logistic regression was conducted using the types of professional development offered to predict membership in a class. Only training for student drug and alcohol abuse and teacher training in crisis prevention predicted membership in a latent class.

“Why the Social Studies Needs Her Poets: A Case for Spoken Word Poetry in the Social Studies Classroom”
Student: Lauren Bagwell, Natalie Jansing
Faculty: Dr. Brooke Blevins
Spoken word poetry is an art form that has the propensity to engage students in critical thinking and empower them to use voice to represent their perspectives regarding controversial issues. Infusion of spoken word poetry in social studies classroom serves as a powerful means of self-representation for youth and alternative perspectives at a time when textbooks have become highly exclusionary. Until recently, research has focused primarily on spoken word poetry as a pedagogical tool in the English classroom. This study looks to address the role spoken word poetry can play as tool that cultivates meaningful understanding, engagement, and student voice in the social studies classroom.

Doctoral student Chris Lemley

“Recording the Controversial: Students as Oral Historians in a Guatemalan International School”
Student: Chris Lemley
Faculty: Dr. Tony L. Talbert, Dr. Brooke Blevins
This paper used a longitudinal single case study approach to explore the use of oral history curriculum as a means of introducing students in post-conflict societies to controversial subjects in their country’s history. The research focuses on an oral history project implemented in a private Guatemalan secondary school. Post-project questionnaires and interviews indicate that students felt safe and comfortable learning about a historical period that is often taboo in their context. The findings suggest that oral history can be an effective curriculum strategy for educators interested in introducing difficult topics into the classroom.

“The Importance of Teacher Credentials for Early Achievement: A Replication Study”
Student: Rachel L. Renbarger
Faculty: Dr. Grant B. Morgan, Dr. Tracey Sulak
Many educational reforms in the United States incorporated teacher qualifications into their design in order to better the quality of public education. However, research remains mixed as to whether teacher quality impacts student achievement. This study aimed to replicate a study from before recent reforms that found that some teacher qualifications mattered. A national, longitudinal source was used to examine school-, teacher-, and student-level variables on first-grade reading and mathematics achievement. Results indicate that few school- and student level variables impact reading and mathematics achievement, yet no teacher-level predictors impacted first-grade achievement.

“’iEngage’ Freedom School: Affirming Community Cultural Wealth Through Advocacy and Action”
Faculty: Dr. Karon LeCompte, Dr. Lakia M. Scott, Dr. Brooke Blevins
This study presents a unique educational partnership combining the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools Program with a concentrated iteration of civic education via iEngage Action Civics in order to provide an opportunity for a localized curriculum that featured specificity to the urban community demographic. Participants were asked to discuss community issues that plagued them and then, after learning and rediscovering citizenship and civil rights, students developed advocacy campaigns. Findings affirm Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth model because participants were deeply empowered to become active and informed citizens. By spending time immersed in learning civic principles and engaging in civic activities, students gained valuable content knowledge and were also able to apply information to real world civic issue.

Dr. Sunny Wells

“Pussy Riots as Legitimate Citizenship: The Case for Critical Feminist Citizenship Narratives in the Social Studies”
Student/Recent Graduate: Dr. Sunny Wells
With: Ginney Wright, University of Arkansas
In highlighting critical feminist citizenship as legitimate civic narrative within the 9­-12 social studies context, the authors sought to illuminate the fact that multiple and varied expressions of citizenship have shaped history, even though these acts are not emphasized within state standards. The authors conduct a pedantic analysis of United States U.S. History and Government standards. They contend that by investigating the mainstream citizenship narratives that are communicated to U.S. youth through state social studies curriculum, they can underscore the need for more differentiated visions of what it means to act as a citizen.

“Nationwide Growth Mixture Modeling of Early Classroom Disengagement Among Children at Risk”
Faculty: Dr. Marley Watkins
With: Paul A. McDermott, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Michael J. Rovine, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Jessica Chao, Univ. of Penn.; Clare Waterman Irwin, Education Development Center, Inc.; Roland Reyes, Univ. of Penn.
This research examined latent developmental patterns for early classroom disengagement among children from under-resourced families. A representative sample (N = 1,377) of children from the Head Start Impact Study was assessed for manifestations of reticent/withdrawn and low-energy behavior over four years. Latent growth mixture modeling revealed three distinct subpopulations of change patterns featuring a dominant class associated with generally good classroom adjustment and a more extreme class with relatively marginal, sometimes problematic adjustment. Whereas reticent/withdrawn behavior ordinarily subsides over time, low-energy behavior increases.

“The Challenges of Teaching Teacher Candidates to Actively Engage K–12 Students During a Yearlong Residency Experience”
Faculty: Dr. Nicholas Benson
With: Nicholas Shudak, Univ. of South Dakota; Hee-Sook Choi; Ayana Kee Campoli, Univ. of South Dakota
The purpose of this study was to investigate a commonly held notion that increasing the duration of teacher candidates’ student teaching experiences will increase their teaching effectiveness. Using direct observations of student behavior, we compared the ability of teacher candidates to engage students in their classrooms during the first semester to their ability to engage students in their classrooms during the second semester of their year-long student teaching experience. No statistically significant differences were found with the exception of a notable effect size in the opposite direction in terms of active engaged time. Implications of the findings are discussed, along with limitations and suggestions for future studies.

Dr. Lakia Scott

“’They See Me as the Rich, White Lady’: Othering Perceptions in the Urban Literacy Classroom”
Student: Elena M. Venegas
Faculty: Dr. Lakia M. Scott
This study examined the perspectives of pre-service teachers regarding teaching reading in an urban classroom setting. Throughout the literacy methods course, the students gained knowledge of and discussed issues associated with critical pedagogies, literacy, and culturally appropriate instructional strategies that have demonstrated success among African-American and Hispanic/Latino(a) students. Previous studies have examined White teachers in diverse classrooms, but few interrogate perceptions AND realizations of the experiences of teaching literacy in urban contexts. This study informs the field of teacher education, particularly in regards to equipping pre-service teachers to teach racially and ethnically diverse students within an urban context. Additionally, this study contributes new insights about pre-service teachers’ perspectives on teaching in an urban classroom.

“Feeding the Ph.D. Pipeline: Understanding the Role of Mentorship, Networking, and Social Capital at Historically Black Colleges and Universities”
Faculty: Dr. Lakia M. Scott
With: DeShawn Preston, Clemson Univ.
Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are highly noted for making the contributions of Black graduates in the STEM field and those who matriculate to advanced degree programs. However, there is a lack of literature exploring the environment HBCUs provide for their students to achieve success. There are even fewer literature sources that examine provides the perspective of the faculty at HBCUs. This paper uses a single case-study method to determine how faculty at HBCUs utilize mentorship, networking, and social capital to influence and assist Blacks students to enroll in a STEM doctoral program

“Exploring Opportunity: Notions of Play, Agency, and Civic Engagement”
Faculty: Dr. Lakia M. Scott
With: Amber C. Bryant, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte; Marcia Watson, Towson University
In 1994, Dr. Ladson-Billings published “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children,” where she investigates teaching strategies that are effective with African American students in predominately low-income communities. This introduction of culturally relevant pedagogy, or adaptive teaching that empowers cultures and identities, changed curricula for many pre-service teacher programs in America and helped to foster a long-standing agenda of education for liberation. This article reviews Ladson-Billing’s foundational works on culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and defends how its popularity speaks to a shift in the right direction for the role of education for all children

“Detecting Sigmoidal Trajectories in Structured Latent Curve Models: An Examination of Fit Measure Performance”
Student: Kevin Wells
This simulation study examined structured latent curve models under varying conditions to provide recommendations on how to properly format longitudinal research when there is an a priori hypothesis of sigmoidal growth. It also provides recommendations for model identification when completing post hoc analysis of existing data.

“Approaches to Learning Among Schoolchildren in Trinidad and Tobago: National Scales of Differential Learning Behaviors”
Faculty: Dr. Marley Watkins
With: Jessica Chao, Univ of Penn; Paul A. McDermott, Univ of Penn; Anna Rhoad Drogalis, Ohio State Univ.; Frank C. Worrell, Univ of Calif, Berkeley; Tracey E. Hall, Center for Applied Special Technology
This study reports on the national standardization and psychometric properties of the Learning Behaviors Scale (LBS) in Trinidad and Tobago. LBS is a teacher rating scale designed to assess classroom observable behaviors to identify childhood approaches to learning. The sample comprised students (N = 900) attending government and assisted elementary schools across the islands. The norming information on the LBS will enable identification of patterns of learning behaviors and be useful in targeting interventions and instructional approaches for struggling students.


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Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

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