Dissertation Defense – Xiang Ke @ 137 Sports Arena, Conference Room
May 2 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

“Spatial-temporal Gait Pattern and Motor Strategy in Children With and Without Down Syndrome While Walking from Level Surface to Stairs”

by:  Xiang Ke

This study investigated the spatial-temporal gait patterns and motor strategy in children with and without Down syndrome (DS) when walking from the level ground to the stairs. Six children with OS and eleven typically developing (TD) children aged 5-11 years from the greater Atlanta area participated in this study. A full body 35 marker set and a Vicon motion capture system were used for data collection. Three three-step wooden staircases with the riser height of 17 cm (LS), 24 cm (MS), and 31 cm (HS) were randomly presented to the subjects. We examined anticipatory locomotor adjustments in spatial-temporal gait parameters (I.e., step width, step length, step lime, step velocity, stance lime) while the subject approached a staircase. While going up the stairs, we examined the aforementioned gait parameters and included other variables such as vertical toe clearance and horizontal toe velocity above the edge of stairs. In addition, we categorized motor strategies that were adopted to negotiate a staircase. A series of ANOVA with repeated measures were conducted on each spatial-temporal gait parameter. Our results demonstrated that children with OS displayed some anticipatory locomotor adjustments while approaching a staircase, but the pattern was different from that of children with TD. Specifically, while children with TD maintained a similar step length and velocity but decreased step width, children with DS decreased step length and velocity but maintained step width while approaching a staircase. While going up a staircase, children with DS choose a crawling strategy more often, and displayed a wider step width and a lower horizontal toe velocity than Children with TD. Further, children with DS produced a higher toe clearance (“overshooting”) from the leading limb than children with TD under the LS condition and a lower toe clearance (“undershooting”) under the HS condition. Our results suggested that children with DS aged 5-11 years are able to display some anticipatory locomotor adjustments while negotiating a staircase, but are still developmentally behind their healthy peers. This knowledge will be useful in the development of effective physical intervention in the future for children with DS to improve their motor function.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Ryan Maltese @ CEHD, Room 409
May 2 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

“A Critical Analysis of USG Policy 4.1.6 and Its Perceived Impacts on DACAmented Students”

by:  Ryan Maltese

What roles and responsibilities can educators play and assume in the analysis of policies that have disproportionate and disparate impact on the lives of minority students? “Research on the history, politics, and practices of rightist social and educational movements and ‘reforms’ has enabled us to show the contradictions and unequal effects of such policies and practices” (Apple, 2009, p. 645). This dissertation presents a critical analysis of University System of Georgia Policy 4.1.6 (USG Policy 4.1.6) and its application to students affected by the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. USG Policy 4.16 affects “DACAmented” students by restricting access to certain public colleges and universities in the state of Georgia. This study seeks an understanding of how the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program affects the “lawful presence” requirement of the policy, specifically as it relates to DACAmented students, and what accounts for the interpretations of policymakers with respect to the enforcement of the policy against those students. This critical policy analysis will also examine the perceived impacts of USG Policy 4.1.6 on DACAmented students in the state of Georg la seeking admission to public higher education institutions. Participant interviews, participant observations, and document analysis are the primary modes of data collection. Participant interviews are semi-structured, consisting of participants from either side of the political discourse surrounding USG Policy 4.1.6. Observations will take place in a variety of settings, and the researcher will follow the subject matter into classrooms, courtrooms, and public spaces. The study itself interrogates issues of race, equal rights under the law, citizenship status, and ethnicity, while also exploring the counter-narratives to the current hegemony in hopes of discovering alternatives to the current dominant policy discourse. The remainder of this study will be based on the data collection and analysis process. The knowledge produced by this research will provide viable alternatives for policymakers to consider in the Interpretation of federal mandates and conflicting state laws that may result in the subordination of particular student populations.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Lisa Stone @ CEHD, Room 509
May 3 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

“Exploring Perceptions, Extending Practice:  A Collaborative Inquiry into Teacher Resistance to Electronic Book Use in Reading Instruction”

by:  Lisa Stone

Teaching students to read digitally is more important than ever as teachers prepare children for success in the 21st century, yet many teachers are reluctant to use electronic books in their reading instruction. This qualitative study will investigate primary teachers’ knowledge of and perceptions about using electronic books for interactive read-alouds and use collaborative inquiry to develop perceptions and effective practices. A small group of primary teachers will collaborate in the practice of inquiry to develop a working knowledge of electronic children’s books and create a shared understanding of effective practices to use with electronic books in reading instruction with beginning readers. Data collected will include written and oral reflections of teachers participating. In addition, the researcher will interview each participant and take field notes as a part of participant observation. Grounded in sociocultural theory and using qualitative data analysis methods, this study aims to build a culture of collaboration, inquiry, and reflection in order to increase use of electronic books in reading instruction.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Steven Anderson @ Haas-Howell Building, Room 624
May 5 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

“Stereotype Management among Black Doctoral Music Students”

by:  Steven Anderson

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the management of identity stereotypes affects the experiences of Black doctoral music students. Stereotype threat is usually measured quantitatively and results vary based on the degree of an individual’s identification with a stigmatized identity and situational cues. However, stereotype management was developed to explain the reactions of individuals to stereotypes when they are ubiquitous and within real social and academic environments. Neither of these theories has been applied to music education research thus far. For this study, I am interested in investigating how black music students identify and respond to identity stereotypes throughout their music education. I will examine the depth of participants’ experiences with stereotypes through narrative inquiry and phenomenological analysis. Black doctoral students were chosen because of the salience of race in stereotype management and the multitude of experiences acquired from grade school through terminal degree study. This study will help inform the profession on how stereotypes in music education create both negative threats to performance and positive agency to succeed.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Stephanie L. Chattman @ CEHD, Room 409
May 6 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

“Creating an Inclusive School Culture for Students in Special Education”

by:  Stephanie L. Chattman

Educating students with special needs has evolved throughout history. Initially, students with disabilities were not educated at all. This has changed dramatically in recent times, as students in special education are more often being educated within the general classroom. Special education laws have mandated that students with disabilities be educated ln the “least restrictive environment.” This is called inclusion; the term refers to a variety of programs ln which students enrolled in special education are educated with their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the norms, values, and beliefs that are ingrained in a school culture that promotes an inclusive education for special education students. This will be a qualitative study using a case study model. The study will focus on one urban elementary school (K-5), located in a large southeastern city, with an enrollment of approximately four hundred fifty students. For students with specific learning disabilities the school offers a variety of classroom models including self-contained, inclusion, and resource models. The key informants in the case study will be six co-teaching teams along with the school’s administrative staff. The principal and assistant principal will be crucial participants in the study. The data sources will consist of interview transcripts, field notes from informal and formal observations, and artifacts. The data sources will be compared to assess the connection between intention and practice. The theoretical framework for this dissertation is social justice theory. The success or failure of inclusion is based upon the school leaders’ perspective of how special education students should be educated and how school culture is shaped. This study will add valuable research to the body of knowledge on schools leaders’ efficacy in creating school cultures that foster inclusion for students in special education.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Dina M. Schwam @ CEHD, Room 830
May 9 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

“Individual Differences in Self-regulated Learning and Students’ Achievement in Online Courses”

by:  Dina M. Schwam

Self-regulated learning, a complex construct, involves three phases that a successful learner works through, referred to as forethought, performance, and self-reflection. Research has demonstrated that self-regulated learning is related to academic achievement, and that academic achievement and self-regulated learning can be improved with explicit instruction. Researchers have found that students enter college courses with varying levels of self-regulated learning skills and that online courses require a higher degree of self-regulated learning skills than other courses. In previous research, five self-regulating learning profiles have been identified in non-traditional students enrolled in online degree programs. These profiles run a spectrum from no self-regulated learning skills to superior self-regulated learning skills. With more courses being offered online at traditional universities, it is important to understand the self-regulated learning profiles of traditional students attending on line classes. It is also important to understand what factors may contribute to self-regulated learning such as age, education level, prior online experience, and comfort level in an online format. This information will inform universities of specific learning programs that may be needed. In this study I will focus on investigating if the five self-regulating learning profiles found by other researchers can be replicated in students attending online classes in a traditional university as well as the effects of self-regulated learning profiles on academic achievement. In addition, in the current study I will also explore how age, education level, prior online experience, and comfort level in taking online courses contribute to self-regulated learning profiles.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Johnathan Yerby @ Learning Technologies Division Conference Room, 2nd Floor
May 9 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

“A Systemic Analysis of Presence in Asynchronous Online Undergraduate Courses Using Structural Equation Modeling”

by:  Johnathan Yerby

This study seeks to explore the effects of teaching, social, and cognitive presence on interaction and student course satisfaction in an asynchronous online course. Data will be collected using elements of an existing validated survey based on the community of inquiry (Col) model (Arbaugh et al., 2008; D. R. Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000), The Noel-Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Learners (Ruffalo Noel Levitz, 2016), and the Distance Education Learning Environments Survey (S. L. Walker & B. J. Fraser, 2005). Results will be estimated using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling (Shea & Bidjerano, 2009). This study is meant to add to the literature on asynchronous online learning, but also serve as a model for future research and development.

Dissertation Prospectus Presentation – Dariush Bakhtiari @ CEHD, Room 830
May 9 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

“Parents’ and Children’s Oral Language Use during Three Gaming Contexts”

by:  Dariush Bakhtiari

The oral vocabulary knowledge that young children acquire prior to school entry is foundational to their ability to learn to read (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Parents are typically children’s first teachers, and research has shown that children’s oral vocabulary knowledge is linked to parent-child interactions (Hart & Risley, 1995; Rowe, 2012; Senechal, LeFever, Thomas, & Daley, 1998; Tamis-LeMonda, Bornstein, Baumwll, 2001; Taylor, 2011). Additionally, parent communication with their children has been seen to differ depending upon the context (Crain-Thorson, Dahlin, & Powell, 2002; Kaefer, Neuman, & Pinkham, 2015; Sosa, 2015). In this study, parents and their 3 and 4 year old children will be audiotaped while they play together in 3 different gaming contexts: a board game, a digital/video game, and while playing with toys. Specifically, this study addresses three research questions: 1) Are there differences in oral vocabulary used by parents and their children in three different gaming contexts: free play with toys, a board game, and a digital game?; 2) What is the nature of the relationship between parents’ and children’s oral vocabulary knowledge and use during game play and on standardized vocabulary assessments?; and 3) After accounting for children’s age and parents’ education levels, what characteristics of parents’ oral vocabulary knowledge and use explain significant variance in children’s oral vocabulary knowledge and use? Each parent and child will have their expressive and receptive vocabulary knowledge measured using the Expressive Vocabulary Test- Second Edition (Williams, 2007) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test- Fourth Edition (Dunn & Dunn, 2007). The parents’ and children’s verbal exchanges during the three different gaming contexts will be audiotaped, and their total number of words spoken, total number of different words spoken, mean length of utterance, number of rare words, and type-token ratio will be calculated. To answer the research questions, descriptive analyses (i.e., mean, standard deviations, range, and totals), multiple analyses of variance, correlations, and multiple linear regression analyses will be conducted.