Graduate School of Education Dissertations


Search results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 190
  • Publication
    The Illusion Of Inclusion: Curricular Possibilities Amidst A Homonational Project
    (2017-01-01) Kokozos, Michael J.
    In recent years, the LGBTQ community in the United States experienced many policy changes. Certain political advancements, which promise newfound protections and rights for LGBTQ individuals, might be considered an exceptional accomplishment toward inclusion. There is a lack of research, however, as to how this model of inclusion underpinned by heteronormativity and its appendage, homonormativity, which typically privileges white, well-to-do gay men, is incorporated into curricular resources and the ways in which these depictions and manifestations tie to national interests. As more resources become available to address LGBTQ issues, especially in schools, it is imperative to examine the practices by which these ostensibly progressive approaches may unintentionally reinforce the optimization of some LGBTQ students’ well-being to the detriment of other LGBTQ students – often along intersecting axes of race, gender, sexuality, and class. In particular, an area that warrants scrutiny concerns relations of power that inform conceptualizations of national LGBTQ “inclusion.” This project investigates what types of subjectivities LGBTQ curricular resources (re)produce and how these resources can also resist LGBTQ normativities. By applying a theoretical framework critical of inclusion to mainstream examples of LGBTQ curricular resources, I expose current and emerging approaches to LGBTQ inclusion as limited or exclusionary practices, reinscriptions of existing oppressive power structures, and part of a much larger project, homonationalism, which transform homonormative subjects into model members of the country. I conclude by offering educators suggestions to further “undo” homonationalism, as they, alongside their students, contemplate curricular and pedagogical possibilities for challenging the notion that there is an exemplary mode of being in the classroom and the world.
  • Publication
    (non)native Speakering: The (dis)invention Of (non)native Speakered Subjectivities In A Graduate Teacher Education Program
    (2016-01-01) Aneja, Geeta A.
    Despite its imprecision, the native-nonnative dichotomy has become the dominant paradigm for categorizing language users, learners, and educators. The “NNEST Movement” has been instrumental in documenting the privilege of native speakers, the marginalization of their nonnative counterparts, and why an individual may be perceived as one or the other. Although these efforts have contributed significantly towards increasing awareness of NNEST-hood, they also risk reifying nativeness and nonnativeness as objectively distinct categories. In this dissertation, I adopt a poststructuralist lens to reconceptualize native and nonnative speakers as complex, negotiated social subjectivities that emerge through a discursive process that I term (non)native speakering. I first use this framework to analyze the historico-political milieu that made possible the emergence of (non)native speakered subjectivities. Then, I turn to the production of (non)native speakered subjectivities in K-12 and higher education language policies, as well as their impact on the professional identity development of pre-service teachers. Next, I consider the relationship between (non)native speakering and other processes of linguistic marginalization in which language is implicit, as well as how teacher educators can resist (non)native speakering and move towards a more equitable paradigm of language and language education. This inquiry draws on qualitative data from teacher education courses at a large US university, including course texts, policy documents, observational field notes, interviews, and focus group data. In the conclusion, I consider the implications of (non)native speakering as a theoretical and analytical frame, as well as applications of the data for teacher education settings, and possible directions for future research. By reconceptualizing (non)native status as socially and discursively produced, this project provides a new lens for the critical examination of teacher education curricula, professional identity formation, and language education policy. Finally, it contributes to a theory of change and encourages a move towards more inclusive language teaching fields.
  • Publication
    The Four-Year College Pipeline and Factors Related to Bachelor's Degree Completion for High School Graduates
    (2014-01-01) Armijo, Michael
    This study examines students' progress from high school graduation through college enrollment and completion. Much of the existing research frames high school dropout, college access, and college completion as separate phenomena; few studies examine individuals' transitions across these points. Thinking about these events as related pieces of a pathway to educational attainment is called an education pipeline perspective. This perspective is particularly useful today, given recent reforms aimed at improving high school academic achievement, preparing students for college and careers, and increasing educational attainment. Using two nationally representative, longitudinal data sets (ELS:2002 and NELS:88) I examined changes in the education pipeline for high school seniors in the 2004 and 1992 cohorts. I also explored the relationship between bachelor's degree completion and high school academic achievement using logistic regression for students from the 2004 senior cohort who enrolled on-time in four-year institutions. The logistic regression results were used to conduct a path analysis modeling to what extent the experience of transferring from a four-year college mediates the relationship between bachelor's degree completion and academic achievement. Findings from this study indicate that a greater percentage of the 2004 cohort enrolled in college compared to the previous cohort, but the increase was largely driven by students who delayed enrollment by six months or more. The six-year bachelor's degree completion rate of the 2004 cohort was also lower than that of the 1992 cohort. Additionally, students who transferred from four-year institutions tended to switch to public two-year institutions. Results from the regression analyses suggest that high school GPA was a stronger predictor of bachelor's completion than SAT score; however, SAT score better predicted transferring. Transferring was a significant, but weak mediator of the relationship between academic achievement and bachelor's degree completion. This study's findings contribute to the understanding of student transitions along the education pipeline and to the literature on academic achievement, transfer, and bachelor's degree completion.
  • Publication
    The Significance of Interactions: Understanding Gender, Ethnicity/race, and Socioeconomic Status as Related to the Likelihood of Bachelor’s Degree Completion
    (2010-05-17) Lundy, Valerie Cyrina
    Although access to a postsecondary education has increased exponentially since 1970, access to a bachelor’s degree has not grown as swiftly. National data highlight improvements in the aggregate, but disguise important disparities in completion across groups. Specifically, these data mask inequality in bachelor’s degree attainment across and within groups defined by gender, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic status. Although predictive models have shed light on disparities in completion with respect to gender, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic status, few predictive models incorporate the interaction of these demographic constructs. Since gaps in completion persist both within and across groups, additional consideration of interactions may prove helpful for retention efforts. Using Tinto’s conceptual model of student departure, this dissertation examines a model of bachelor’s degree completion, focusing on the interaction of gender, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic status. Framed by critical race feminist theory, this research acknowledges variance in privilege and marginalization by gender, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic status, as well as the interaction of these characteristics. Logistic regression analyses are used to identify likelihood of degree completion within six years using the Beginning Postsecondary Students data set. Descriptive analyses show that gender, ethnicity/race, socioeconomic status groups are related to bachelor’s degree completion and suggest that these variables may interact to predict attainment. None of the interactions were statistically significant in the logistic regression analyses. This research highlights differences in conceptual and statistical interactions, and how additional research may be needed theoretically and empirically. Implications for research incorporating a critical race feminist approach and interactions are also presented.
  • Publication
    Technical and Vocational Education and Training in India - A Study of Choice and Returns
    (2014-01-01) Tognatta, Namrata
    India has made remarkable progress and achieved near universal enrollment in primary school education. However, the quality of learning and progress beyond primary education are of concern; nearly 50 percent of fifth graders are unable to read second grade material and retention rates at the secondary level are quite low. The higher education sector has also shown impressive growth but faces several challenges around inequitable access and low quality. Low outcomes at the secondary and higher education levels have resulted in a significant deficit in employable and vocationally trained individuals in the workforce. Evidence shows that just 14 percent of new entrants to the workforce are likely to have a college or graduate degree. Research also shows that over the long-term low outcomes at the secondary and postsecondary levels are likely to translate into low lifetime earnings and well-being. In light of low educational and employment outcomes, policy in India has focused on skill development through the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector. The primary objective of these policies is to significantly improve the rate at which youth and young adults participate in these programs. However, there is limited research evidence on TVET in India. This dissertation addresses the need for empirical evidence on TVET to enable the policy dialogue on meeting the country's education and training challenges. Specifically, it examines the role of individual, household and macro-level factors in human capital investment decisions, especially as those might relate to participation in vocational education and training. Since the expected returns to education and training are a key determinant of investment decisions, the dissertation examines the economic returns to vocational education and training in India. Finally, the dissertation examines the impact of secondary-level vocational education on high school completion rates and postsecondary enrollment among participants. Large-scale secondary and primary data are used in empirical models to address the questions posed above. The findings thus generated present reliable, generalizable estimates that have the potential to inform the future direction of policy in vocational education and training in India. The findings also identify groups differentially affected by current policies and can thereby be used to address inequitable access to and stratification in education and training programs in India.
  • Publication
    Confronting The System: How Local Cross-Sector Education Collaborations Address Barriers To Postsecondary Access & Attainment
    (2021-01-01) Leigh, Elaine W.
    Cross-sector education collaborations, sometimes termed “collective impact” or “cradle-to-career” initiatives, have emerged in recent years across the U.S. as local interventions attempting to align services among educational institutions, local government, businesses, other community-based organizations, and philanthropies to improve educational outcomes. This study utilizes case study methods to focus on how one cross-sector education collaboration, Graduate Tacoma, works to improve postsecondary degree attainment in its local community and ensure equitable outcomes across student groups in the process. Drawing on 26 interviews with organizational stakeholders, internal documents, and a variety of other secondary data sources, the study addresses three facets of cross-sector collaboration implementation: 1) strategies utilized in Graduate Tacoma’s Tacoma College Support Network to address postsecondary readiness, enrollment, and attainment, 2) how those strategies relate to influencing postsecondary-related outcomes and equity in outcomes, and 3) conditions contributing to how those strategies connect to targeted educational outcomes. Findings suggest that strategies are most shaped by organizational missions and leadership of those stakeholders willing to collaborate. Those strategies where the local school district was heavily involved have had the most influence in shaping targeted educational outcomes. The relationships created among collaboration stakeholders also produce other kinds of public value, improving understanding of how sustained collaboration strategies impact organizational responses addressing postsecondary enrollment, attainment, and educational equity concerns. Study conclusions point to conceptual and methodological considerations for researchers in understanding the forces that need to be considered in assessing how cross-sector education collaborations contribute to systemic educational improvements. By describing the challenges and opportunities in implementing this cross-sector education collaboration, this study also has implications for how policymakers and practitioners can leverage school district and other partnerships in their communities for systemic change.
  • Publication
    Challenging the Assumption of Rationality in Performance-Based Accountability Systems: A Comparative Case Study of School and District Decision-Making Approaches
    (2013-01-01) Beaver, Jessica K
    CHALLENGING THE ASSUMPTION OF RATIONALITY IN PERFORMANCE-BASED ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS: A COMPARATIVE CASE STUDY OF SCHOOL AND DISTRICT DECISION-MAKING APPROACHES Jessica K. Beaver Richard M. Ingersoll Performance-based accountability systems provide schools and districts with detailed student performance data on the front end and demand that schools meet rigorous minimum proficiency thresholds on the back end or face a set of sanctions that ratchet up year after year. The process by which schools and districts make decisions for improvement in order to meet these requirements, however, is opaque at best. Each district is like an island unto itself, with its own political context, financial constraints, demographic and economic makeup, human capital, and social dynamics. Especially given the immense amount of money spent every year in improvement grants to districts, as well as the plethora of vendors touting new products, there is a clear imperative to understand how schools and districts select particular programs or strategies for improvement above other options. In this dissertation study, I apply the literature on search and decision-making in other disciplines to the field of public elementary and secondary education, paying particular attention to schools and districts under pressure to improve from performance-based accountability systems. I employ a comparative case study approach, using three consecutive years of data from a stratified random sample of eight schools (nested within their districts) in Pennsylvania. I find that schools and districts are under immense pressure to demonstrate student achievement gains, and that this pressure extends to all phases of the decision-making process, including problem identification, search, and the decision point. Despite this pressure, I find that schools do not descend into chaos when making decisions for improvement - they generally approach the decision-making process in a linear manner and let building-level administrators employ a "middle-out" approach to decision-making. But on the other hand, schools are far from purely rational organizations, as there are forces internal and external to the school or district that constrain decision-making processes. Although these constraints affect all stages of the decision-making process, they have the most severe influence on the search phase. Finally, I create a framework that advances the literature on decision-making in education by establishing four distinct typologies of decision-making approaches.
  • Publication
    Heterogenous Trajectories Of Depressive Symptoms From Adolescence To Young Adulthood: Non-Cognitive Risk Factors And Labor Market Outcomes
    (2020-01-01) Gladstone, Jessica Nicole
    Depression commonly emerges during adolescence and is conservatively estimated to affect up to 12.5% of 12- to 17-year-olds annually (Clayborne, Varin & Colman, 2019). Prior longitudinal analyses have identified significant heterogeneity in the level and growth of depressive symptoms during the transitional period from adolescence to young adulthood. The purpose of this study was to follow one representative cohort during this transition to identify non-cognitive, in-school risk factors for atypical depression trajectories and contextualizing them using impactful labor market outcomes. Latent growth mixture modeling (GMM) was used to assess and classify depressive symptom change trajectories using four occasions of measurement from 1994 to 2008. The study used the public-use dataset from the National Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Two distinct change trajectories were identified using a latent basis model and classified as being either Normative (82.2%) or Elevated (17.8%) in its symptom level and shape. The adolescents in the Elevated class exhibited elevated and increasing depressive symptoms, while the Normative class showed consistently lower and decreasing depressive symptoms. Several demographic factors—being female, Black, or Native American—were risk factors for membership in the Elevated class. In addition, four non-cognitive, within-school indicators were associated with a significantly higher risk for an Elevated classification. The strongest non-cognitive risk factor was low levels of school connection, followed by high delinquency, low self-perceived likelihood for college admission, and retention in grade. Lastly, adults who were classified as Elevated in their depressive symptoms reported significantly lower socioeconomic outcomes across all eleven labor market indicators, including measures of employment benefits, job satisfaction, income, and public assistance.
  • Publication
  • Publication
    Gender (in)Query: Young Adults Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning Gender in a Queer Majority Space
    (2010-08-13) Cross, Erin G
    As today’s discursive frames available to queer young adults reflect a stressful, shifting historical context for sexuality from ‘struggle and survive’ to emancipation, they still are confined by U.S. sexual norms assuming the authority of ‘truth’ while demanding heterosexuality. Consequently, sexuality and gender are linked inextricably as heterosexuality relies on the gender binary and the gender binary relies on heterosexuality. Via gender, queer, and situated learning theories this qualitative study decouples such mutual reinforcement to explore how queer young adults – who are already positioned outside of obligatory heterosexuality – learn, unlearn, or relearn gender in queer majority spaces. Research occurred during investigator facilitated gender group sessions comprised of college-aged queer young adults and also drew on individual interviews, private online journal entries, and periodic surveys. Through this work young adults had a safe space to learn about and perform gender, but were limited by previous heterocentric knowledge and language. This research raise vital questions and concerns about the hegemony of heterosexuality and the gender binary, how context affects learning, and how college students benefit from a non-judgmental space to grapple with questions of identity. Additionally, it points out the usefulness of queer and gender theories in educational research in combination with situated learning theory as well as on their own.