PennGSE Graduate Student Research


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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
  • Publication
    Manding Reflexive Verb Constructions and Registers in Jula of Burkina Faso
    (2016-01-01) Donaldson, Coleman
    This article explores one structural way in which Jula differs from other Manding varieties: the forgoing of formally reflexive constructions in favor of formally ambiguous intransitive constructions and more rarely innovative idiomatic transitive constructions. To do so, I draw on contextually elicited forms from 2012 fieldwork with 9 Jula speakers in Burkina Faso. Given the limitations of elicitation, I explore wider acceptability judgments and text artifacts to reveal that Jula speakers in Burkina frequently recognize and in fact use formally reflexive constructions typically attributed to other Manding varieties such as Bamanan. These findings suggest that these so-called Bamanan constructions are enregistered (Agha 2007) for a certain social domain as sociolinguistic high-forms. This study thereby reveals the limitations of a traditional dialectology approach to understanding how various Manding forms circulate across isomorphic boundaries.
  • Publication
    A Policy Analysis of the Federal Growth Model Pilot Program's Measures of School Performance: The Florida Case
    (2012-01-01) Weiss, Michael J; May, Henry
    As test-based educational accountability has moved to the forefront of national and state education policy, so has the desire for better measures of school performance. No Child Left Behind's (NCLB) status and safe harbor measures have been criticized for being unfair and unreliable, respectively. In response to such criticism, in 2005 the federal government announced the Growth Model Pilot Program, which permits states to use projection models (a type of growth model) in their accountability systems. This article uses historical longitudinal data from a large school district to empirically show the inaccuracy of one state's projection model, to demonstrate how projection models are very similar to NCLB's original status measure, and to contrast projection models with value-added models. As policy makers debate the reauthorization of NCLB, this research can provide guidance on ways to improve the current measurement of school performance.
  • Publication
    Orthography, Standardization, and Register: The Case of Manding
    (2017-01-01) Donaldson, Coleman
    Since at least the rise of nineteenth-century European nationalism, Westerners have in large part judged languages by whether they are written and standardized (Anderson 2006; Bauman and Briggs 2000; Blommaert 2006; Flores 2014). As the colonial era came to an end across much of the world in the 1960s, this tendency intermingled with the rising interest in development: what would be the place of the long minoritized indigenous languages of Africa, Asia and Latin America in the educational and political projects of postcolonial states? In Africa in particular, this led to a flourish-ing of orthographies for a large number of languages which had previously been excluded from domains of government and schooling. The initiatives of the post-independence period, however, did not lead to one single orthography, script or standard for many of these languages. This chapter examines one such case, the West African trade language of Manding, which is written in at least three distinct scripts today: Arabic, N’ko (ߏߞߒ) and Latin. Emerging respectively from before, during and after colonial rule, these three writing systems are variably embraced and wielded by distinct West African actors today.
  • Publication
    Strategies to Support Adult Learners and Some College, No Degree Students “To and Through” a Postsecondary Credential
    (2020-09-22) Odle, Taylor K
    With generous support from Grantmakers for Education’s Learning, Evaluation & Data Impact Group and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, I partnered with Ascendium and program officers in their Streamline Key Learner Transitions focus area to examine the current status, scope, and impact of existing retention and completion strategies to support adult learners and some college, no degree students. This project had four primary goals: (1) to assemble an inventory of existing programs; (2) to develop a typology of these programs across important contextual domains; (3) to compile a brief literature review of existing research on strategies to support adult learners and some college, no degree students; and (4) to identify actionable opportunities for research, philanthropy, and policy or practice. This executive summary focuses on the first two goals and additionally presents and describes a third deliverable: a map of programs included in the inventory and typology. The Adult Learner and Some College, No Degree Student Program Inventory is a representative list of 83 individual programs and 15 common strategies that states, regions, and institutions have adopted to serve adult learners and some college, no degree students across a variety of levels, contexts, and strategies. The Typology takes these programs and scatters them across important program domains—location, audience, strategy, and solution—allowing one to quickly view clusters of practices and to begin answering “what works.” A map then captures the state, regional, and institutional programs to view their geographic reach and to identify areas of relatively high or low support for adult learners and some college, no degree students.
  • Publication
    The Gini Coefficient’s Magic Does Not Work on Standardized Test Scores
    (2018-04-01) Lee, Selene Sunmin
    The Gini coefficient, an indicator that is often used to measure the inequality in the distribution of income within countries, is meaningless when used on standardized test scores. This is because the value of the Gini coefficient depends on the scale’s mean and standard deviation which are arbitrarily selected by the test developers. Keeping the standard deviation of the scale constant, increasing the mean will decrease the Gini coefficient, while keeping the mean of the scale constant, increasing the standard deviation will increase the Gini coefficient. In addition, when Gini coefficients are estimated with scores on two different scales, not only the values of the Gini coefficients but also the country rankings of the Gini coefficients will change. Therefore, for standardized test scores, the value of the Gini coefficient is meaningless, as is comparing the size of the Gini coefficients estimated from different countries. More generally, all relative measures of dispersion, including the Gini coefficient, are meaningless for interval scales (i.e., a scale in which the distance between any two consecutive points are equal, but the scale does not have an absolute zero), such as standardized test scores.