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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Publication Agreement and Assurance of Integrity Ethical Standards in Publishing Disclaimer of Liability Research Manuscripts Addressing Social Justice Education through Children’s Literature in Early Childhood Young Mi Chang, Ohio Dominican University Mathew D. Conley, Ohio Dominican University An Examination of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System: Recommendations for Equitable Changes that Impact Traditionally Marginalized Students and Schools John W. Hatcher III, Southeastern Louisiana University Alexis J. Alexander, Southeastern Louisiana University Joseph Brown, Southeastern Louisiana University Shavon Savoy-Helaire, Southeastern Louisiana University At-Risk High School Students and High Prestige Extracurricular Activities Todd Redalen, Wisconsin Department of Corrections John P. McClure, Saint Mary’s University Community Groups: A Strategy to Promote Connectedness in Online Courses Erin F. Klash, Auburn University at Montgomery Lesson Study with Pre-service Teachers: Learning to Teach English Language Learners Rosemarie Michaels, Dominican University of California Mathematics Lesson Study in Elementary Pre-service Teacher Preparation Rosemarie Michaels, Dominican University of California Sources of Academic Self-efficacy & Academic Performance in Online Learning Jennifer Miller, Tougaloo College Jillian Skelton Towards an Understanding of an Institution: The Perceived Legitimacy of Online Business Degree Programs Roy H. Keller, Murray State University Jacob A. Voegel, Coastal Carolina University Matthew R. Peters, Lander University Manuscript Submission Guide Why Read Our Journals

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Addressing Social Justice Education through Children’s Literature in Early Childhood Young Mi Chang Ohio Dominican University Mathew D. Conley Ohio Dominican University

Abstract Educators are challenged to find ways to develop age-appropriate curriculum that informs and expands young children’s pre-existing ideas and abilities related to diversity and social activism. Introducing young children to literature that addresses diversity and names social inequality is one way to address this challenge. Literature has the potential to connect with children emotionally and make seemingly abstract topics relevant. Research suggests that learning about diversity and social action should be integrated into the curriculum at every level. Through content analysis of 30 recently published social justice-oriented children’s picture books, this current research examined texts based on story elements like character representation, setting, and broader message of the text. Content analysis resulted in various noteworthy themes and trends in diverse literature for young children including texts that promoted an understanding of diversity; fostered a greater awareness of contemporary social issues; and presented various models for social action. Keywords: Diversity education, social justice, children’s literature, early childhood Introduction Promoting social justice is one of the critical goals of multicultural education. In order to meet this goal, children should be exposed to curriculum beginning in the early childhood years that challenge their egocentric points of view and transforms their closely held preexisting ideas. Traditionally, social justice and social action are often thought to be beyond the scope of


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curriculum for early childhood education. Previous research has documented the struggle teachers have in developing appropriate pedagogical strategies to integrate social justice education goals into their curriculum (Derman Sparks & Ramsey, 2006). Judicious integration of children’s literature can enhance young children’s ability to understand social justice issues and identify social injustices (Hawkins, 2014). Studies have been done that examine how to mediate learning when integrating children’s literature for social justice education (Hadjioannou & Hutchinson, 2014; Hawkins, 2014; Hawkins, 2009; ThomasFair & Hubbard, 2005). The outcomes of social justice curricula are dependent upon pedagogical strategies employed, as well as the appropriate selection of books with supporting social justice content. Indeed, the realm of social justice education is so broad that it is often a daunting task for teachers to find texts that are aligned with their educational goal and objectives. More research needs to be done to inform and equip teachers with a framework to examine and select books that promote social justice education in early childhood. The main purpose of the research at hand, then, is to examine trends and discover schemes in recently published, social justice-oriented children’s literature for utilization in the early childhood curriculum. The study is guided by the following research questions: What attributes are represented in recently published social justice literature for young children? What themes and trends are prevalent in recently published social justice literature for young children? Literature Review Early childhood curriculum evolves around children themselves and their immediate context, which oftentimes limits their view of the social world and awareness of social problems. Educators are challenged to find ways to develop age-appropriate social justice curriculum that informs and expands young children’s pre-existing ideas and abilities related to diversity and social activism (Bishop, 1990). Introducing young children to literature that addresses diversity and equity is one way to address this challenge. Children’s literature is a powerful learning tool that supports young children’s understanding of discrimination (Taylor, 2003) and injustice and oppression (Fain, 2008; Dietrich & Ralph, 1995; Park & Tyson, 2009). Depending on representations and the overall quality of the book, children can enlarge, reinforce, or undermine their developing identity; construct accurate or misleading images about


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people with differing identities; and develop positive attitudes or bias about others (DermanSparks, n.d.; Hamilton et al., 2006; Golos & Moses, 2003). Therefore, it is vital for teachers to rigorously examine elements of diversity and how it is presented in children’s books if they are to successfully utilize it in their social justice education curriculum. Content analysis research of children’s picture books focusing on various dimensions of diversity not only reveals how minority groups are portrayed in books, but also provides benchmarks and categories to consider when choosing books. Koss (2015) employed content analysis of children’s picture books to survey representations of ethnicity, gender, and disability. Koss’s analysis focused on frequency distribution based on whether a main character’s ethnic culture is specifically portrayed, whether their genders are depicted as beyond stereotypical gender roles, and whether characters with disability are represented as more than tokenism. Koss reported that (1) finding books depicting non-white characters, particularly books depicting culturally specific elements, was rare, and although there are books depicting culturally neutral and generic characters, they are often seen in the background and as support for the primarily white characters; (2) female main characters remain underrepresented; (3) ableism is prevalent in picture books and calls for the need of picture books that authentically portray people with disabilities as contributing members of society. Dedeoglu, Ulusoy and Lamme (2011)’s content analysis focused on images of poverty represented in international picture books, examining story lines, illustrations, and symbolic messages, and generated categories and themes based on Location, Author Perspectives (Insider Perspective or Outsider Perspective), Representation and Causes of Poverty (Father’s absence, Child Labor, Housing, Daily Life, Barter System, Life Conditions and Homeless). Dedeoglu, Ulusoy and Lamme reported that the image of poverty did not adequately represent current demographics of people living in poverty: Although many reasons for poverty were offered, and many ways of coping with poverty were represented, the information associated with the causes of poverty were minimally provided in these books. All characters were helpful to their families and well behaved, and all stories had a happy ending culminating in a celebration. Other research into the representation of poverty in realistic fiction have yielded similar findings (Tayler & Napier, 1992; Fitzgibbons & Tilley, 1999).


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These studies are useful in helping teachers to become more aware of how certain diverse groups are represented in children’s picture books. However, considering that social justice education involves four domains, including identity, diversity, justice and action (Van der Valk, 2014), more research is needed to focus on the broad spectrum of social justice issues, applying a more comprehensive analysis of content. Moreover, this review of literature reveals a paucity of research that analyzes the content of children’s literature specifically suitable for the early childhood years (PreK-3rd grade). This current study focuses on a broad-spectrum content analysis of recently published children’s picture books for social justice education. Methodology A content analysis was conducted of 30 picture books. Content analysis involves the “interpretation of the content of text data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying themes or patterns” (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005, p. 1278). Content analysis is appropriate for this study,because it is useful as a “sense-making effort that takes a volume of qualitative material and attempts to identify core consistencies and meanings” (Patton, 2002, p. 453). For the purpose of this study, we limited our selections to contemporary fiction picture books published between 2012 and 2018. Initial text selections were guided by the four domains of social justice components described by Van der Valk (2014), including identity, diversity, justice, and action, as well as the six elements of social justice curriculum report by Picower (2012) –self-love and knowledge, respect for others, issues of social injustice, social movement /change, awareness raising, and taking social action. Content analysis led us to examine and analyze books based on story elements, including the role of the character(s), scope of the setting, nature of the problem, action/resolution of the plot, and themes/messages of the text. Different categories emerged as we identified the attributes associated with each story element. Table 1 shows the booklist that was compiled along with the categories that content analysis generated. The categories included: Awareness/Empathy Building Types of Actions Action Orientation (Independent)


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Action Orientation (Collaborative) Action Taken at Individual Level Action Taken at Institutional Level Social Issues Social Issues (Inequity) Social Issues (Environmental) Root of Inequity Explored (Beyond Individual Level). The Awareness/Empathy Building category reflects texts with an overall message of respect and promotion of empathy; however, the characters in these texts do not take actions toward social issues. The four Action categories reflect the characteristics and level of collaboration and scope of actions taken by the characters to resolve a social problem. The Action categories include Action Orientation (Independent), Action Orientation (Collaborative), Action Taken at Individual Level, Action Taken at Institutional Level. The two Social Issues categories differentiate the nature of the problem in the story, which include Social Issues where Inequity is explored and Social Issues which specifically address Environmental issues. The Root of Inequity category encompasses texts in which the root causes of inequality are explicitly named. Texts in this category attempt to describe how structures in society create and maintain the inequity represented in the story. The analysis of content led us to seek broad themes and trends represented in our book collection. Picower’s (2012) six elements of social justice education were utilized as our initial coding system. As books were annotated and reviewed, new themes and trends emerged through dialogue between the researchers. As texts were compared, some initial categories were merged. Books initially placed in one coding category were checked for fit within another category. Moreover, intentionally placing books in other categories allowed us to explore rival possibilities. If the books fit well with more than one category and/or the coding categories overlapped with each other, categories were merged, resulting in a new category. The process of comparing codes across books and revising codes and themes resulted in five overarching categories represented in the picture book text set.


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Results/Findings In this section, we share the results of our analysis, naming the five overarching themes and providing children’s literature titles that exemplify each category: Category 1. Understanding Diversity Category 2. Awareness of Contemporary Social Issues and Conditions Category 3. Social Action for Self and Other Category 4. Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Environmental Issues Category 5. Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Social Injustice and Inequity Category 1. Understanding Diversity Books were coded as this category, if the theme mainly involved social-cultural identity, individual’s diverse characteristics, or self-acceptance and self-esteem. Understanding oneself, learning about others, and exploring difference and/or diversity were central topic of these books. (For complete picture book annotations, including bibliographic information, see Appendix A). Deep in the Sahara (2013) One of Kind, Like Me (2016) Walk with Me (2017) We Came to America (2016) Category 2. Awareness of Contemporary Social Issues and Conditions The books in this category all feature contemporary social issues, such as refugees, war, homelessness, and environmental problems. The texts in this category highlight social awareness over social action. Social awareness is the main theme of the book; however, actions to resolve the issue are not taken. Beautiful Moon (2014) The Journey (2016) Stepping Stone: A Refugee Family’s Journey (2017) Where’s the Elephant? (2016)


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Category 3. Social Action for Self and Others Max Weber (1978) defines social action as “an action in which the meaning intended by the agent involves a relation to another person’s behavior and in which that relation determines the way in which the action proceeds” (p. 7). Books in this category involve social action at the individual level. The action does not involve social movement nor institutional level action (e.g., addressing policy or law), as is the case in subsequent categories. Instead, the characters act independently to address a social injustice. The texts do not explore the root causes of inequity. Ada’s Violin (2016) Drum Dream Girl (2015) Each Kindness (2012) Grandfather Gandhi (2014) Last Stop on Market Street (2016) The Lonely Giant (2016) Peace is an Offering (2105) Sparkle Boy (2017) Category 4. Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Environmental Issues Books in this category feature social action for environmental issues. The action is taken for environmental issues specifically, rather than for dealing with inequity. These texts focus on actions for environmental change and involve social movement or policy or law changes. Root causes of inequity is not always evident in these texts. A Boy and a Jaguar (2014) Maybe Something Beautiful (2016) Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World (2012) The Tree Lady: How One Woman Changed a City Forever (2013) Category 5. Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Social Injustice and Inequity Books in this category feature characters acting together to address a variety of social injustice and inequity issues. Social movement to specifically address oppression and/or create


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social change characterizes character’s actions. The action in the text leads to policy or law changes. The texts explore root causes of inequity at an institutional level. Around America to Win the Vote (2016) Brave Girl (2013) The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage (2015) Elizabeth Started All the Trouble (2016) Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked for decades to achieve women’s rights. Stanton wrote My Night in the Planetarium (2016) Seeds of Freedom (2015) Separate is Never Equal (2014) We Shall Overcome (2013) We March (2012) The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks (2017)

Discussion The social justice-oriented picture books analyzed in this study align to Van der Valk’s (2014) social justice standards, including Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. Van der Valk’s Identity standard deals with building self-awareness while promoting a positive social identity and respecting cultural heritage accurately. Van der Valk’s Diversity standard involves building empathy, respect, and understanding about difference while examining diversity in social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Texts in our Category 1 Understanding Diversity align with Van der Valk’s identity and diversity standards in that the central theme of the books is understanding self and others and expanding the conception of diversity. Texts in our Category 2 Awareness of Contemporary Social Issues and Conditions align with Van der Valk’s diversity standard. The stories in this classification focus the reader’s attention on specific social issues and unjust conditions rather than highlighting social action. Van der Valk’s Justice standard entails recognition of unfairness at an individual and systematic level, as well as explores the harmful impact of bias and injustice. Texts in our Category 3 Social Action for Self and Other, partially align to this standard. The books in this


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category involve an action in a specific social context—but not at the systematic level. Texts in our Category 4 Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Environmental Issues also partially align to the justice standard. Texts in this classification give rise to actions taken at an institutional level; however, books in this category do not focus on broad justice or inequity themes. They are limited to environmental concerns. Texts in our Category 5 Social Action: Social Movement and Change for Social Injustice and Inequity, more fully reflect Van der Valk’s Justice and Action scheme. The picture books in this group promote social action with a broader social movement or institutional-level actions, while simultaneously describing injustice and the structures that support inequity. In addition to clear connections to social justice standards, this current research adds to the body of literature in the field of critical literacy. Previous research identifies dimensions of critical literacy as texts that 1) disrupt the commonplace, 2) interrogate multiple viewpoints, 3) focus on sociopolitical issues, and 4) take action and promote social justice (Lewison, Flint & Van Sluys, 2002; Lewison et al., 2008). All of the categories in this current study hold the potential to help young readers position themselves in the social world. Indeed, the texts classified in the higher categories satisfy all the key elements of critical literacy. Our Category 1 through Category 3 texts, to some extent, address the dimensions of disrupting the commonplace and interrogating multiple points of view. Texts in Category 4, actions for environmental issues, clearly focus on timely sociopolitical issues, but these texts did not highlight the injustice and oppressions associated with environmental concerns. Skilled educators will need to mediate children’s understanding of the causes and oppressions linked to environmental issues. Texts placed in our Category 5 are representative of literature that fully meets the call of critical literacy. The categories in our study indicate that when selecting books for a literature-based social justice education curriculum, educators should be aware of and incorporate a range of themes and issues. Educators will want to examine the broad themes and specific attributes of each text they use in their curriculum. When they have an understanding of the attributes and themes of the text, they position themselves to help young readers make meaningful connections to the text and foster deeper understanding of complex issues. Indeed, our goal was never to rank the texts in this study. A text in Category 2 may be more appropriate in a particular


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teaching context than a Category 5 text. Rather, we hope educators seek out the texts in this study to use in their classroom and utilize our categories to examine future text selections. We know skilled educators need to read widely to understand the strengths and limitations of all the justice-oriented literature they utilize in their curriculum. More importantly, they need to understand if a text is best used to introduce a seemingly simple topic or if it is layered with many historical and sociopolitical ideas that may be abstract to young readers. In this case, educators will need to help readers relate the concepts to their own lives and find concrete ways to unpack the oftentimes complex and subtly nuanced concepts in social justice-oriented texts. The attributes chart and categories described in this study can serve as a guide to assist teachers as they construct units of study aligned to specific objectives and learning outcomes. Indeed, we propose that educators systematically integrate the categories in this research in light of their social justice education goals. Picower (2012) outlines six social justice goals that teachers might use, including self-love and knowledge, respect for others, issues of social injustice, social movement and social change, awareness raising, and taking social action. He suggests each goal is addressed best through sequential examination. For instance, Picower recommends that it is important to embark on goal one before moving to other elements. Young children will be better able to identify root causes of inequality in social conditions, rather than believe these conditions are inherent within individuals, when they have a respect for and understanding of their unique identity markers. When young children develop knowledge and respect for others, they are less likely to experience cross group tensions. Indeed, Chang (2015)’s examination of teachers’ perspectives on integrating identity exploration suggests identity education needs to be central to social justice education or else it may become a source of prejudice and unintentional oppression. Future studies will be needed to study the teaching practice of literature-based social justice education, and perspectives of teachers and students to make sense of the literature. When integrating literature for social justice education, educators should have the ultimate goals of social justice education in mind--taking action for social justice, at an institutional level, in their minds. Attribute and theme categories represented in our study provides a critical analysis tool that enables teachers to carefully examine their multicultural literature selection,


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acknowledge what is excluded in their literature selection, and prepare their lesson and resources accordingly, based on their examination. Author Biographies Young Mi Chang is an Associate Professor in the Division of Education. Her research interests include: diversity education, service learning in teacher education, and integration of social pretend play in early childhood. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University. Her recent publication includes, "Teachers' Perspectives: Making Sense of Ethnic Nationalism, Ethnic Identity and Multicultural Education in South Korea" in the International Journal of Education. Matthew Conley is an Associate Professor of Education. Dr. Conley's research interests include diversity and equity education, emergent literacy practice, and teacher education. He holds a Ph.D. in Integrated Teaching and Learning with cognates in Literacy and Culture from the Ohio State University. His scholarship has been published in Teacher Education and Middle Grades Research Journal. References Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, in perspectives. Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3), ix-xi. Chang, Y. (2015). Making sense of ethnic nationalism, ethnic identity and multicultural education in South Korea. International Journal of Education, 7(2), 17-37. Dedeoglu, H., Ulusoy, M., & Lamme, L. L. (2011). A content analysis of international children's picture books: Representation of poverty. Egitim Arastitmalati Eurasian lournal of Educational Research, 43, 37-52. Derman-Sparks, L. & Ramsey, P. G. (2006). What if all the kids are white? Anti-bias multicultural education with young children and families. Teachers College Press. Derman-Sparks, L. (n.d.). Guide for selecting anti-bias children’s book. https://socialjusticebooks.org/guide-for-selecting-anti-bias-childrens-books/


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Dietrich, D. & Ralph, K. S. (1995). Crossing borders: Multicultural literature in the classroom. The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students. 15, 1-8. Fain (2008). “Um, they weren’t thinking about their thinking”: Children’s talk about issues of oppression. Multicultural Perspectives, 10(4), 201-208. Fitzgibbons, S. A. & Tilley, C. L. (1999). Images of poverty in contemporary realistic fiction for youth: Preliminary results of content analysis using social psychological framework. Paper presented at the Third International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, Birmingham, AL. Golos, D.B. & Moses, A.M. (2013). Rethinking the portrayal of deaf characters in children’s picture books. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 889. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00889 Hadjioannou, X. & Hutchinson, M. (2014). Fostering awareness through transmediation: Preparing pre-service teachers for critical engagement with multicultural literature. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 16(1), 1-20. Hamilton, M.C., Anderson, D., Broaddus, M., & Young, K. (2006). Gender stereotyping and under-representation of female characters in 200 popular children’s picture books: A twenty-first century update. Sex Roles, 55(11/12), 757–765. Hawkins, K. A. (2014). Teaching for social justice, social responsibility and social inclusion: A respectful pedagogy for twenty-first century early childhood education. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22(5), 723-738. Hawkins, K. A. (2009). Teaching for social justice: A pedagogy for twenty-first century early childhood education. Paper presented at the AARE Annual Conference. Canberra 2009. https://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2009/haw091467.pdf Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S.E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288. Koss, M. D. (2015). Diversity in contemporary picture books: A content analysis. Journal of Children’s Literature, 41(1), 32–42. Lewison, M., Flint, A. S., & Van Sluys, K. (2002). Taking on critical literacy: The journey of newcomers and novices. Language Arts, 79, 382–392.


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Lewison, M., Leland, C., & Harste, J. C. (2008). Creating critical classrooms: K–8 reading and writing with an edge. Lawrence Erlbaum. Park, S. C. & Tyson, C. A. (2009). Using multicultural literature in teaching for social justice. In E. E. Heilman, R. Fruja, M. Missias (Eds.), social studies and diversity education (296300). Taylor & Francis Group. Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Sage. Picower, B. (2012). Using their words: Six elements of social justice curriculum design for the elementary classroom. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 14(1), 1-16. Taylor, L. S. & Napier, G. (1992). The portrayal of economic deprivation in thirty selected works of children’s literature. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Knoxville, TN. ERIC Document No. ED353600. Taylor, F. (2003). Content analysis and gender stereotypes in children’s books. Teaching Sociology, 31(3), 300–311. Thomas-Fair, U. & Michael, K. H. (2005). Teacher, what are social justice and social change? A paper presented at the National Association of Multicultural Education. Atlanta, Georgia 2005. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED493023.pdf Van der Valk, A. (2014). Identity. diversity. justice. action. introducing the teaching tolerance social justice standards. Teaching Tolerance, 47. https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2014/identity-diversity-justice-action Weber, M. (1978). The nature of social action. In Runciman, W. G. Weber selections in translation (pp. 7-15). Cambridge University Press.


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Table 1

Roots of Inequity Explored / Beyond the individual level (Institutional)

x

Social Issues (Environmental)

Action taken at Individual level

Social Issues (Inequity)

x x

A Boy and a Jaguar

x

x x

x x

Brave Girl

The Case of Loving

Deep in the Sahara

x

Drum Dream Girl

x

x

Each Kindness

x

x x

Elizabeth Started All the Trouble

Action taken at Institutional level

Around America to Win the Vote

x

x

Ada’s Violin

Beautiful Moon

Action Orientation (Collaborative)

Action Orientation (Independent)

Awareness/ Empathy-building

Book Title

Content Analysis Chart

Grandfather Gandhi

x

The Journey

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x


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x

Last Stop on Market Street

x x

The Lonely Giant Maybe Something Beautiful

x

My Night in the Planetarium

x x

One of Kind, Like Me

Peace is an Offering

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Seeds of Freedom

x

x

x

x

Separate is Never Equal

x

x

x

x

x

Sparkle Boy

Stepping Stone

x

x

x x

The Tree Lady

x

x

Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World

x

Walk with Me

x

We Came to America

x

x

We March

x

x

x

x

We Shall Overcome

x

x

x

x


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Where’s the Elephant

The Youngest Marcher

x x

x

x

x


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Appendix A Picture Book Annotations Alko, S. (2015). The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Arthur A. Levine Books. The story chronicles the love and marriage of an interracial couple, Mildred and Richard Loving. Since interracial marriage was illegal in their native Virginia, they decided to marry in Washington DC. When they returned home, they were jailed for “unlawful cohabitation.” The story highlights the legal groundbreaking supreme court case that ensued. Ambrose, S. (2016). The Lonely Giant. Candlewick Press. In the middle of the forest lives a giant who spends his days uprooting and destroying the trees around him. Eventually, all the animals leave as the forest dwindles, and the giant becomes lonely. The giant realizes what he now must do. He must rebuild the forest by sowing seeds, planting trees and mending mountains. Barroux. (2016). Where’s the Elephant? Candlewick Press. This nearly wordless picture book asks young readers to find animals in a lushly colored jungle. The animals become easier to find as trees are turned into stumps to make way for roads, houses, and high-rise buildings. Finally, as their natural habitat is depleted, the animals are seen living in an urban zoo. Bass, H. (2015). Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama. Hester Bass. Seeds of Freedom tells the story of school integration in Huntsville, Alabama in 1963. Images of a young girl holding a paper outline of her feet in order to buy shoes in a department store and young black men sitting at a lunch counter only to be denied service depict “how it was” in the time prior to school integration. Bass and Lewis show how ordinary citizens with both creativity and courage can plant seeds of freedom that bring about social change. Bolden, T. (2014). Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer. Abrams Books. Looking out at the moon, a little boy imagines people around him and in the broader world, praying for people with no homes, for wars to end, for the sick to be healed, and for people to have the food they need. He promises he will continue to pray as the beautiful moon goes on its way. Buitrago, J. (2017). Walk with Me. Groundwood Books. The story shares the reality of a young girl whose father is no longer present in her life. She makes up an imaginary friend lion to bring her safety and comfort on her walks home from school. The lion keeps her company through her tasks of picking up her little brother from daycare and waiting for Mama to get home from the factory. Campoy, I. (2016). Maybe Something Beautiful. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


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Mira loves to draw. One day, Mira meets a muralist who says, “maybe…something beautiful”, when Mira asks, “what do you see?” The muralist begins to paint the brick walls in her “gray and hopeless” neighborhood. Mira’s family members and others join him to draw, paint, and add beauty to the community. Little by little, the entire neighborhood becomes a work of art. Cunnane, K. (2013). Deep in the Sahara. Schwartz & Wade. Lalla is a young girl growing up the Islamic country of Mauritania. The poem-like story describes what wearing a malafa means to many adult women in northwest Africa. Lalla shares why she wants to wear one too. de la Peña, M. (2015). Last Stop on Market Street. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. CJ and his Nana ride the bus across town on Sundays to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Young CJ wants to know why they don’t have a car and why they have to exit the bus in the dirty part of town. Nana’s response to him helps him see the beauty of the city around him. Engle, M (2015). Drum Dream Girl. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This poetic story captures a young girl’s efforts and important contributions she makes toward gender equality in the creative arts. Despite being told that only boys play the drums, Millo Castro Zaldarriage strives to become a drummer even though there has never been a female drummer in Cuba. Her father’s objections diminish after they are introduced to a teacher who determines Millo’s talents are greater than the social constraints of the time. Evans, S. W. (2012). We March. Roaring Brook Press. Evans depicts families as they prepare to march in Washington, D.C in 1963 where Martin Luther King Jr. is about to deliver his historic speech. Children get out of bed early, prepare signs, and join their neighbors at church. They march and sing and grow tired, but they are filled with hope for greater justice and new dreams. Gandhi, A. & Hegedus. (2014). Grandfather Gandhi. Atheneum Books. Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun, tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn feelings of anger into peace when another boy pushes him on the soccer field. “Anger is like electricity. It can strike like lightning. Or it can be channeled . . . and shed light like a lamp.” Hood, S. (2016). Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. Simon & Schuster. Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin but could not afford musical instruments. When an environmental engineer and music teacher, Favio Chávez, arrives, he teaches them to


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make and play instruments from salvaged materials. The story shares the accomplishments of the children’s orchestra both in Paraguay and around the world. Hopkins, H. J. (2013). The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One-Tree Loving Woman Changed a City Forever. Beach Lane Books. After graduating as the first woman to earn a degree in science from the University California, Kate Session moved to a dry, tree-less San Diego. Missing the vegetation and towering trees of her northern California home, Kate decided to take action. She scours the globe to source seeds that thrive in the desert community, transforming a barren plot of land into what is now a lush, tree-filled Balboa Park. Lawlor, L. (2012). Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World. Holiday House. The story recounts the life of young Rachel Carson who spent her childhood reading about and exploring nature. She would grow up to earn a master’s degree in biology and publish books about the environment. The story retells how her observation of declining bird populations led to understandings of the health hazards of insecticide use. To date, no one had stood up to the federal agencies and big businesses that promoted chemical use. LeBox, A. (2015). Peace is an Offering. Dial Books for Young Readers. The text defines ‘peace’ for young readers through concrete acts of giving and sharing. Children will learn that peace is all around them. “Peace is an offering. A muffin or a peach. A birthday invitation or a trip to the beach.” Diverse characters are depicted in a variety of communities to demonstrate how qualities of peace transcend location. Levinson, C. (2017). The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. The story recounts the life of Audrey Faye Hendricks, who at nine years old, was determined to participate in the civil rights movement. Desiring access to the same rights as her white peers, Hendricks became the youngest known child to be arrested for picketing against Birmingham’s segregation practices in 1963. The weeklong arrest and release of three thousand children helped wipe out segregation laws in Birmingham. Levy, D. (2013). We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song. Disney Book Group. This text traces the history and adaptation of the well-known gospel anthem, “We Shall Overcome” from the 1800s through the election of Barack Obama. The story highlights how the song was sung as a source of inspiration as well as protest. The story explains how the anthem has transcended the civil rights movement and represents the right for equality and freedom around the world. Markel, M. (2013). Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. Balzer & Bray. This book recounts the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s. When young Clara arrived in America, she could not speak English. She spent hours


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studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a factory. Long hours with little pay led Clara to organize the largest walkout of women workers the country had ever seen. Mayeno, L. (2016). One of Kind, Like Me. Blood Orange Press. This story focuses on the beauty of individuality and living in a supportive community. Young Danny wants to dress up as a princess in the school parade, and his family supports his interest by shopping for a purple dress. Gender expression is depicted as fluid and as a personal gift. Mendez, S. (2014). Separate is Never Equal. Jane Addams Award Book. Sylvia’s family moves to a new community in California with hopes of enrolling her in a nearby school. Despite being American citizens and speaking fluent English, they are directed to the “Mexican school.” The story chronicles the fight to end school segregation years before Brown vs. Board of Education. Nagara, I. (2016). My night in the Planetarium. Triangle Square. Seven year-old Innosanto's father, a famous Indonesian playwright, is in trouble with the government for his latest play's unfavorable portrayal of governmental abuse. After a rousing performance at a large theater complex that also houses the Jakarta Planetarium, Innosanto's father manages to sneak out of town to avoid arrest while Innosanto and his mother spend an exciting night sleeping under the stars in the Jakarta Planetarium. Newman, L. (2017). Sparkle Boy. Lee & Low Books. Casey plays with puzzles and dump trucks, but he also likes to wear bracelets that sparkle. Initially his sister, Jessie, insists that Casey looks silly. When other boys at the library bully Casey for wearing glittery nail polish, Jessie finds the courage to standup for Casey, asking why things that sparkle can’t be for everyone. Rabinowitz, A. (2014). A Boy and a Jaguar. HMH Books for Young Readers. In this autobiography, Alan shares his struggles with stuttering. He feels immense isolation except when he talks to animals. In college, his dream is to be able to speak like everyone else and to be the voice for the animals who provided him comfort as a child. As an adult, his travels take him to Belize to study jaguars. Using his ownfluent voice, he convinces the prime minister to establish the world’s first jaguar preserve. Rappaport, D. (2016). Elizabeth Started All the Trouble. Hyperion. The text outlines the efforts of activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton who worked for decades to achieve women’s rights. Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments to highlight injustices related to women’s inability to attend college, own property, or have the right to vote. It took seventy-two years and multiple generations of women to see the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, to become law. Ringgold, F. (2016). We Came to America. Penguin Random House.


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A timely text that depicts America’s rich history of immigration and diversity—from Native Americans who first settled here to the countless Immigrants who followed. The text highlights unique issues and experiences that different groups went through and the rich cultural traditions each brought with them. Common, shared cultural elements are brought to bear in the text. Rockliff, M. (2016). Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists. Candlewick Press. In 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke packed their yellow car and their black cat to embark on a 10,000-mile journey across the country to advocate for women’s suffrage. Enduring inclement weather, misogynists, and the occasional flat tire, the duo refuse to allow anything or anyone dissuade them from spreading the word about equal voting rights. Ruurs, M. (2017). Stepping Stone: A Refugee Family’s Journey. Orca Book Publishers. Rama and her family are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her family set out to walk to freedom in Europe. Sanna, F. (2016). The Journey. Flying Eye Books. This book chronicles the efforts of two children as they leave their war-torn home and immigrate with their mother to another country. After losing their father and leaving behind everything they know, the family makes their way to safer land. The children hope one day they will no longer need to cross borders; but rather, find a new home where their journey will end. Woodson, J. (2012). Each Kindness. The Penguin Group. The new girl at school, Maya, is different. She wears worn out clothes and plays with old toys. Each time she asks Chloe and her friends to play, they reject her. The girls’ teacher shares how small acts of kindness can change the world. This causes Chloe to reflect on the lost opportunity to befriend someone who is different from her.


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An Examination of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System: Recommendations for Equitable Changes that Impact Traditionally Marginalized Students and Schools John W. Hatcher III Southeastern Louisiana University Alexis J. Alexander Southeastern Louisiana University Joseph Brown Southeastern Louisiana University Shavon Savory-Helaire Southeastern Louisiana University Abstract State mandated tests are a critical component of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System for all public schools and students in grades K-12. In this study, our research team examined the Louisiana Testing Accountability system to identify disparities in academic achievement that exist among traditionally marginalized student groups, as well as, the impact of grading on School Performance Scores (SPS). An integrative literature review has been employed to examine representative literature on state mandated tests to include the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) 2025, English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT), and the American College Test (ACT). Our research team then recommends equitable changes to the Louisiana Testing Accountability system. Keywords:

State mandated tests, academic achievement, accountability, school

performance scores, marginalized student groups, educational equity. Introduction Are there equitable changes that can be recommended to the Louisiana Testing Accountability System? This research is an examination of the Louisiana State Accountability


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system as it relates to academic achievement among traditionally marginalized student populations and the assignment of school performance scores for the schools that serve this population of students. Minority students, students who come from families with low socioeconomic status, and students who are being taught English as a second language are all among the traditionally marginalized student population. In 2018, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the following statement, "Educational equity means that every student has access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, sexual orientation, family background and/or family income" (p. 5). Provisions set forth by ESSA support the success of all students and schools, while promoting equity and calling for essential safeguards for our nation’s traditionally marginalized students (USDOE, n.d.). Louisiana schools are assigned School Performance Scores (SPS) largely based on factors that include academic achievement results on state mandated tests, such as, LEAP 2025, ELPT, and the ACT. The problem is that there are reported disparities in academic achievement among students who are traditionally marginalized within the Louisiana Testing Accountability System that lead to further disparities among the SPS for schools that serve this population of students. The purpose of this study is to examine the Louisiana Testing Accountability System by identifying, analyzing, discussing, and making recommendations for equitable changes that will have a positive impact on the disparities experienced by traditionally marginalized student populations who take and schools that administer the Louisiana state mandated tests. This study focuses on the following research questions. R1. What are the identifiable disparities in academic achievement that exist among traditionally marginalized student groups in the Louisiana Testing Accountability System? R2. What are the identifiable disparities in the assignment of school performance scores among schools serving traditionally marginalized students’ groups in the Louisiana Testing Accountability System?


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R3. What are some researched based recommendations for equitable changes to the Louisiana Testing Accountability system? This study examines published reports from the Louisiana Department of Education that highlight relevant data about student’s academic achievement levels, as well as School Performance Scores (SPS). A review of the literature more specifically examined the academic achievement of traditionally marginalized students, as well as, SPS of schools that are directly related to the LEAP 2025, ELPT, and the ACT. Literature Review Standardized testing has played a significant role in influencing the way Americans think about education, starting with the use of IQ tests as a form of standardized testing during the beginning of the 20th century, which was originally used for military recruits. The data generated from the tests encouraged the replication for public use. Once the 1965 authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed, it emphasized the use of tests for making key decisions about assessing students, schools, and school systems (Nichols & Berliner, n.d.). Subsequently, standardized testing became a widely used instrument for education and largely recognized in 1983 when The National Commission on Excellence in Education released A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, which served as a catalyst for school reform. Policymakers relied on testing as a vital tool for the management and governance of education (Manno, 2018; Nichols & Berliner, n.d.; The National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). As a result, the advancement of the modern-day school reform movement began and standardized testing became widespread (Au, 2013; Natriello, & Pallas, 1999). High-stakes standardized testing gained more support in the U.S. when the Bush administration passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002. High stakes testing in the United States is now more pervasive than ever and are tied to making critical decisions about students and schools. Marginalized student groups continue to fall through the cracks, as high-stakes tests can demonstrate an innate bias and are intended to obtain student's understanding of fundamental concepts (Choi, 2020; Crosnoe, R. & Cooper, 2010).


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As a result, the academic achievement gap among student groups remain. The lifealtering consequences related to low test results are significant as these students are often not promoted to the next grade level, may drop out of school due to the pressures of testing, lack confidence, as well as, are denied scholarship awards, which further exacerbate academic achievement gaps and ultimately affecting future life opportunities (Choi, 2020; Crosnoe, R. & Cooper, 2010; Long, 2014; Nichols & Berliner, n.d.). The Louisiana Testing Accountability System assigns SPS based, in part, on factors that include academic achievement results on state mandated tests, such as, LEAP 2025, ELPT, and ACT. There are disparities in academic achievement among traditionally marginalized student groups within the Louisiana Testing Accountability System, which lead to further disparities among the schools SPS. Standardized testing is essential within national educational reforms to measure and influence academic achievement. By examining the Louisiana Testing Accountability System and facets of the LEAP 2025, ELPT and ACT, our research team will recommend equitable changes to be considered for the future. In doing so, students and schools within the Louisiana Testing Accountability System will have access to a more equitable educational opportunity. The Louisiana Testing Accountability system was developed in partnership with educational and business leaders to inform educators of transparent expectations for student outcomes, while providing accurate data on school quality to educational stakeholders and parents (CCSSO, 2018; LDOE, 2020b). The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has annually issued SPS to schools since 1999. Louisiana public schools receive a SPS and a school letter grade ranging from A to F that evaluates how well they are preparing all their students for the next grade-level or post-secondary education. The SPS is measured by how well schools perform on a scale of zero to 150 (see Table 1). The SPS contains the points given to academic achievement levels earned by students for all subjects tested in elementary, middle, and high school. Table 1 displays the state's current grading scale, including the transition scales for the near future, followed by a depiction of each school level's SPS categories in Table 1. The configuration of the school performance scores vary at each school level are calculated based on a combination following: (a) The Assessment Index, which measures mastery of key skills and comprised of student performance on the LEAP 2025 to include improvements


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to English language ability of English language learner students (ELL) as measured by student performance on the ELPT; (b) Growth Index, which evaluates how much students have learned throughout the school year towards Mastery irrespective of where they were at the beginning of the school year; (c) Interests and Opportunities, which measures whether schools are providing students with access to well-rounded education, exposing them to diverse areas of learning in which they can develop their skills and talents; (d) Middle School Dropout Credit Accumulation Index, which is a measure put in place to encourage access to high school credits in middle school, as well as, a successful transition to high school; (e) ACT/Work Keys, in which students must earn an 18 on the ACT or equivalent silver level on the Work Keys exam; (f) Strength of the Diploma, is based on how well schools are preparing students for success in college or the workforce by looking at the rate in which students acquire college credit or Industry-Based Certifications (IBC's); (g) Graduation Rate, measures how many students graduate on time within four years (this is adjusted for students who transfer in or out). In order for any elementary, middle, or high school to earn a letter grade of an A in the state of Louisiana, schools are expected to meet the following criteria that pertains to their respective school level: (a) have students who are achieving Mastery or above on LEAP 2025 state test; (b) demonstrate student growth throughout the school year that dictates students are on the pathway to 'Mastery'; (c) ninth grade students must earn six or more credits by the end of the school year; (d) high school students earn an average of a 21 composite score on the ACT; (e) high school students graduate within 4 years and earn additional points by enrolling and passing dual enrollment or AP classes or industry-based credentials (IBC's); (f) 90 % of students from each high school cohort graduate in 4 years (LDOE, 2020b). Schools that are in decline or have failing grades are required to submit a deliberate plan for improvement and apply for funds to support the enactment. The schools are labeled as an intervention school on their report card (LDOE, 2018b, 2020b). Figure 1 displays the School Performance Score (SPS) breakdown at each school level. The LEAP 2025 state exams are administered annually to students in Grades 3 through 11. The exams measure proficiency in each subject area and preparedness for the following level of study. LEAP 2025 results are used to measure how well schools and school systems are serving the needs of their students and helping students achieve high expectations (LDOE,


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2020c; ULL, 2019). In 2015 the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) aligned the LEAP 2025 standards with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to better reflect national standards. As a result, student expectation standards moved from 'Basic' to 'Mastery' (ULL, 2019). Student test results are reported according to the five academic achievement levels of Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory with scale scores ranging from 650 to 850. The English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) was created to assess the level at which students in grades K-12 identified as English Language Learners (ELLs) are progressing toward English Language Proficiency (LDOE, 2019e). According to the Louisiana Department of Education (2019e), students who meet the following criteria are required to participate in the ELPT: (a) he/she is not a United State native and their first language is not English, (b) the student is Native American or Alaska Native or resides in an area where a language other than English is spoken and his/her English Language Proficiency is significantly impacted as a result, (c) the student is migratory and their first language is not English; and/or (d) the student is from an environment where English is not the dominant language. The LDOE requires that schools send home a letter requesting permission to place the student in the ELL program; however, the student must take the ELPT even if the parent refuses ELL services. The ELPT is a computer-based test designed to mirror classroom and real-life situations in four domains (LDOE, 2019e). The four domains are as follows: (a) Listening, (b) Reading, (c) Speaking, and (d) Writing. The ELPT measures proficiency using five performance levels and three proficiency determinations. In order to achieve proficiency and be exited from the ELL program, students are expected to achieve a minimum performance level score of four in each domain. National educational reform requires states to administer annual tests aligned with state standards. In high schools, a state may allow districts to administer a locally or nationally recognized high school test in place of the statewide test in math, reading/language arts, or science, including the ACT or SAT (USDOE, 2018). In Louisiana, high school students are required to take the ACT exam during their junior year. The ACT test is a curriculum-based education and career planning test that assesses students for college readiness (ACT, 2020a). Louisiana students may be eligible to take the Work Keys test, which is similar to the ACT.


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Work Keys is a workforce readiness test that measures a range of skills applicable to various levels of professions and industries (LDOE, 2019c). The Academic Achievement Gap is the observed or continuing disparities in measures of educational performance among ESEA subgroups of students in the United States (USDOE, 2020). The gap between groups can be perceived by, grade point averages, dropout rates, graduation rates, college enrollment, and more. One primary way the gap is measured is through standardized test scores. The academic achievement gap can have a lifetime effect on individuals unless it is addressed early. Academic achievement gaps appear before children enter kindergarten and if not addressed appropriately can be a standard deviation behind by the time marginalized students are in second grade. Interventions to close academic achievement gaps must start early (Daniel, 2018; Hanushek, et al., 2019; Jesuit Social Research Institute [JSRI], 2019; Kotok, 2017; Garcia & Weiss, 2017, 2019). Eighth-grade is another pivotal academic time for students as this level is a strong predictor of post-secondary success. The academic achievement level that students reach by eighth grade has a more substantial effect on their postsecondary readiness by the time they graduate. Change theory or change knowledge is an informing education reform that includes strategies to yield results from committed and action-oriented individuals (Fullan, 2006). There are seven core principles that underpin change theory: (a) a focus on motivation; (b) capacity building, with a focus on results; (c) learning in context; (d) changing context; (e) a bias for reflective action; (f) tri-level engagement; and (g) persistence and flexibility in staying the course (Fullan, 2006). This literature review covered the scope of the relevant information pertinent to this study. An examination of Louisiana Testing Accountability System via the LDOE website supported the collection and analysis of the state mandated LEAP 2025, the ELPT, as well as, the ACT. The persistent gaps in academic achievement between traditionally marginalized students and their peers require equitable change. The methodology used in this study has proven to be appropriate for the examination of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System. The remainder of this article articulates the methodology, the findings, a discussion with recommendations, and a conclusion.


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Methodology Our research team has employed an integrative literature review to examine the Louisiana Testing Accountability System to identify disparities between traditionally marginalized student groups and their peers. Torraco (2005) described this methodology stating, “The integrative literature review is a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated” (p. 1). It is for this reason that the researchers have employed the integrative literature review as the methodology for this research. The integrative literature review is being used to examine available data from the Louisiana Testing Accountability System that identifies disparities related to academic achievement, as well as, school performance scores. Our team initiated an internet search of Louisiana's Department of Education’s (LDOE) Accountability Policy followed by a number of searches focused around key terms on the LDOE’s official website (https://www.louisianabelieves.com/). The key terms used to collect and analyze data related to the state assessments engaged by public school students and administered by public schools in the state of Louisiana were: accountability, LEAP 2025, ELPT, ACT, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners (ELL), and minority students. Our research team examined the reports to identify disparities related to academic achievement and School Performance Scores (SPS). In addition, data on the overall academic achievement gaps among student groups were also collected by searching other key terms, such as academic achievement gaps and inequities. Academic achievement data reports were categorized and sorted by student demographic groups. The sample size used in this study represents the 71 public school districts across the state of Louisiana. LEAP 2025 data reported on 373,440 public school students from third grade through eleventh grade during the fall of 2018 and the spring of 2019. The ELPT data was gathered using the “ELPT accountability” and resulted in a June 2019 report that contained statistics referenced in the findings. Relevant data for the ELPT was analyzed from a June 2019 report that researchers carefully considered to support the research questions. The ACT data examined represents 43,696 public high school students from the 71 public school districts throughout the state of Louisiana. Results from the search yielded


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pertinent data from published reports provided by the Louisiana Department of Education, The Urban League of Louisiana and The Jesuit Social Research Institute. The researchers examined the mean scores of the ACT for students statewide, then compared these scores with the mean score of traditionally students. Finally, to analyze LEAP 2025 data, the researchers examined 2018-2019 high school performance scores by mastery subgroup performance. The disparities highlighted in the data collection and data analysis related to traditionally marginalized student population and the schools that serve them are reported in the findings section of this manuscript. The integrative literature review and examination of several data reports is being used in this research to examine available data from the Louisiana Testing Accountability System that identifies disparities related to academic achievement, as well as school performance scores. A search of reports related to traditionally marginalized student populations, LEAP 2025, ELPT, ACT, and School Performance Scores (SPS) were included in the data collection and analysis. Our research team examined the reports to identify disparities related to academic achievement and SPS. The next step in the process was to utilize the data that supports the research topic and research questions through the standardized assessment results of marginalized students in the state of Louisiana. Results/Findings The findings from our examination of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System are presented in this section based on the three research questions for this study. The research questions, followed by brief narratives of the data, and concluding with representative figures are used to share research findings. RQ 1. What are the identifiable disparities in academic achievement that exist among traditionally marginalized student groups in the Louisiana Testing Accountability System? LEAP 2025 scores at the mastery level indicate that students have met the expectations for the current grade level and are prepared for the next level of studies in the content area. Of the 2018 and 2019 statewide mastery results, students scored 34% and 35% respectively; of the marginalized student groups in Grades 3-11 during those same years, only 26 % scored a mastery or above on the LEAP 2025 (LDOE, 2019a). The LEAP 2025 data that determines academic achievement level at which traditionally marginalized students compare to their peers shows


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evidence of obvious disparity between the traditionally marginalized student groups and their peers who score at the mastery level. The percentage of English Learners (EL) in Louisiana public schools has steadily increased from 1.66 % during the 2011-2012 school year to 3.59 % during the 2017-2018 school year. Likewise, the percentage of marginalized student groups has increased by 3% during the last seven years (LDOE, 2018a). Although the percentage of EL students increased, the percentage of EL students scoring proficient declined from 14% in 2018 to 12% in 2019 (LDOE 2019b). Additionally, in 2019, the total number of ELPT testers increased by 6%; however, only 12% exited EL status by scoring proficient, which was a 2% decrease (LDOE 2019b). This data identifies the disparities that exist between the state-mandated ELPT and the disproportionate rate at which EL students are achieving proficiency. In addition to a decrease in proficiency on the ELPT, EL students who achieved mastery and above have also declined by 2% on LEAP 2025 last year. The data above further highlights the disparity in academic achievement that exists between traditionally marginalized students and the peers not only on the LEAP 2025 assessment, but the ELPT as well. According to ACT (2020b), the national composite score average during the 2019-2020 reporting year is 20.8. The average ACT composite score for Louisiana students statewide is 18.9 as reported by Louisiana Believes (2019). The Louisiana Department of Education (2019d) reports that the average ACT composite scores for traditionally marginalized students' have hovered around 17. After comparing the mean score of students across the state to the traditionally marginalized students, the disparities between the target population and their statewide counterparts as it relates to academic achievement, as well as, post-secondary funding opportunities. Again, traditionally marginalized student populations remain in the lower academic achievement categories. RQ 2. What are the identifiable disparities in the assignment of school performance scores among schools serving traditionally marginalized students groups in the Louisiana Testing Accountability System? The disparities listed above in regard to the LEAP 2025, ELPT, and ACT ultimately lead to disparities in the letter grade distribution among schools that serve larger populations of


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traditionally marginalized students. Because 95% of the SPS for elementary schools, 90% of the SPS for middle schools, and 50% of SPS for high school depend on individual student performance on the LEAP 2025, ELPT, and ACT, disparities in the school letter grade distribution are inevitable. The implications of access to early childhood education, as well as, the disparities identified above are contributing factors to elementary and middle school SPS. The criteria for obtaining an "A" letter grade in high school requires an average ACT score of 21 and the average score of traditionally marginalized students is 17; consequently, high schools that serve a majority of the target population of students find it virtually impossible to obtain an "A" letter grade. As a result, the disparity among school letter grades in Louisiana Schools is largely due to the heavy emphasis placed on state mandated assessments resulting in negative stigmas placed on schools serving a majority of traditionally marginalized students. The disparities identified by our research team, which are related to the focus of these findings are addressed further in the discussion section. RQ 3. What are some researched-based recommendations for equitable changes to the Louisiana system of education? In response to the disparities listed above, our research team recommends three changes that are aimed to promote equity and allow for marginalized students to gain access to a quality educational experience. The first is the implementation of universal early childhood education. The second is differentiated professional development opportunities for teachers. Finally, the third recommendation is to redirect school funds at the state and federal level to provide wraparound services. Discussion Standardized testing is essential to educational reforms, in order to measure academic achievement. By examining the Louisiana Testing Accountability System and specifically facets of the LEAP 2025, ELPT, and ACT mandated tests, our research team has recommended three equitable changes for consideration. By implementing these proposed changes, students and schools within the Louisiana Testing Accountability System will have access to more equitable educational opportunities.


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Academic development begins long before children are 5 years old and can enter the kindergarten classroom. Disparities in word count, vocabulary, letter, and number recognition, as well as, counting have already developed between traditionally marginalized students and their peers by the time children are legally designated as school age. Friedman-Krauss et al. (2016) stated, “Math and reading abilities at kindergarten entry are powerful predictors of later school success.” It is for this reason that our research team first recommends universal early childhood education in order to mitigate the disparities that develop during the primary years and persist as students move through their elementary, middle, and high school years taking the LEAP 2025. Our second recommendation is to provide differentiated professional development that increases teacher’s self-efficacy when engaging all students including traditionally marginalized populations. Mohtar et al. (2017) posits that students are empowered by a teacher's sense of selfefficacy, thus positively impacting instructional outcomes. Conversely, Villegas and Lucas (2007) states that many teachers serving students with diverse backgrounds see those students as socially subordinate and lacking the abilities to engage in higher order thinking tasks. This results in teachers lowering expectations and replacing rigorous, engaging work with drill, practice and rote-learning activities (Villegas & Lucas, 2007). When teachers are educated and empowered to differentiate instruction appropriately to meet the needs of diverse learners, schools can respond effectively to the challenges associated with their growing populations of diverse students (Villegas & Lucas, 2007). Thus, the researchers recommend designating resources aimed at equipping teachers to meet the unique challenges associated with teaching in schools that serve large populations of marginalized students. Furthermore, the implementation of ongoing professional development opportunities focused on ESL instruction and multiculturalism in the classroom is strongly suggested. Doing so aligns with change theory, as it promotes capacity building among educators and allows for reflective opportunities for teachers. By equipping educators on how to become culturally responsive educators and providing them with necessary resources via continued professional development, teacher self-efficacy is likely to increase, resulting in increased academic


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achievement. Increase academic achievement will have a positive impact on School Performance Scores. Our final recommendation is an equitable redirecting of school funds at the federal and state levels to provide wraparound services for traditionally marginalized student populations. State funding is the main mechanism for targeting districts that serve marginalized students. Low-income schools generally lack adequate funding, which can have a tremendous negative impact on marginalized students. Due to underfunding, schools serving marginalized students frequently have less experienced and underpaid teachers, which ultimately leads to higher turnover rates and instability in the teaching and learning process, further exacerbating the gap (Garcia & Weiss, 2019; USDOE, 2011; Urban Institute, 2017). Research indicates that marginalized students need additional support and resources to be successful; however, policies for allocating the resources often prevent this from occurring, making current state policy an issue. Transparency on resource allocation within school districts is critical to ensuring every child has access to equivalent educational opportunities. TOPS is a financial award system that has three levels that increase the financial award based on a student’s ACT composite score. TOPS contribute to student tuition costs at Louisiana public universities, which in turn increases students' admissions opportunities into colleges and universities. Redistribution of funds that support wraparound services, which in turn will help to eliminate disparities and promote a more equitable educational system. It is for this reason that our team recommends the equitable redistribution of funds toward high need schools with a larger population of traditionally marginalized students (Choi, 2020; Crosnoe, R. & Cooper, 2010; Long, 2014; Nichols & Berliner, n.d.). The redistribution of funding will also reduce the disparities of subsequent earning potential for traditionally marginalized students. A review of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System revealed some disparities among the LEAP 2025, ELPT, and ACT mandates. Our research team examined these disparities and in turn made recommendations for a more equitable system of education that employs greater fairness in the assignment of School Performance Scores, as well as, academic achievement levels. The educational reform recommended by our research team is based on our collective engagement of Fullan’s (2016) change theory. Consideration of the proposed


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recommendations will, “advance(s) equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students” (ESSA, 2015). Author Biographies Dr. Hatcher has been in the field of Education for over 28 years. He has educated students from pre-K through the doctoral levels of education. John has served educational communities from New Jersey, to Virginia, and now in the state of Louisiana. He received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Regent University in 2011. He is a licensed teacher and school administration and has led schools in both the public and private sectors. John has published research on African American male identity development and student achievement. His most recent study focused on mentoring academic success in the digital age. Alexis J. Alexander is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Southern University and A&M College. For the past eleven years, she’s worked as a high school English teacher and a Professional School Counselor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She presently is in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. Her dissertation focus is Professional School Counselors as leaders and their impact on student achievement. Joseph Brown has over 12 years of experience as an educator. His career began in 2007 working with students who qualified for Hospital/Homebound services. This led to him pursuing a certification in Special Education. Joseph worked as a certified special educator for seven years and during this time he received his Masters of Education in Educational Leadership. Since graduation, he has served in various leadership roles. He is currently the Director of Academic Programs at a K-5 Charter School and is enrolled in the doctoral program at Southeastern Louisiana University pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership. Shavon Savoy-Helaire is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and her master’s degree in Counseling Education. Currently she is working on her doctoral degree in Educational Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University where she is focusing on high-poverty high-achieving students and school leadership. Shavon


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has over 10 years of experience working with at-risk youth and minority populations in both the public and charter sector. She is passionate about working with underserved students by helping them realize their potential. Her belief is to always inspire students to strive to attain their goals. Table 1 SPS Grading Scale Results Letter Grade

2018-2021

2022-2024

2025 and beyond

A

90-150

95.0-150.0

100.0-150.0

B

75-89.9

80.0-94.9

85.0-99.9

C

60-74.9

65.0-79.9

70.0-84.9

D

50-59.9

50.0-64.9

50.0-69.9

F

0-49.9

0.0-49.9

0.0-49.9

*Over time, this scale will become more rigorous to ensure that an "A" school in Louisiana is the same as any in the country (LDOE, 2018; 2020 K-12 Accountability).

Figure 1 displays the School Performance Score (SPS) breakdown at each school level. Figure 1. Elementary School Performance Scores

Middle School Performance Score

5%

5%5%

25%

20%

25%

25%

25%

Assessment Index

Assessment Index

Assessment Index

Growth Index

ACT/WorkKeys

Growth Index

Interests & Opportunities

Strenght of the Diploma

Interests & Opportunities

Dropout Credit Accumulation Index

70%

5%

25% 65%

High School Performance Scores

Cohort Graduation Rate Interests & Opportunities


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References ACT. (2020a). About the ACT. http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-acteducator/the-act-test.html#order-reg-materials ACT. (2020b). National norms for ACT test scores reported during the 2019-2020 reporting year. http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/MultipleChoiceStemComposit e.pdf Choi, Y.W. (2020, March 31). How to address racial bias in standardized testing. https://www.nextgenlearning.org/articles/racial-bias-standardized-testing Council of Chief State School Officers. (February 2018). States leading for equity: Promising practices advancing the equity commitments. Washington, DC. Crosnoe, R. & Cooper, C.E. (2010). Economically disadvantaged children’s transitions into elementary school: Linking family processes, school contexts, and educational policy. American Educational Research Journal 47(2), 258–291. doi:10.3102/0002831209351564 Daniel, J. (2018). The power of early childhood education: Expanding educational equity, shrinking the achievement gap. YC Young Children, 73(2), 10-13. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26558912 Friedman-Krauss, A., Barnett, W.S., & Nores, M. (2016). How much can high-quality universal pre-k reduce achievement gaps? Center for American Progress. www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports2016/04/05/132750 Fullan, M. (2006). Change theory: A force for school improvement (Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 57). Victoria: SCE. Garcia, E., & Weiss, E. (2019, May). Challenging working environments (‘school climates’), especially in high-poverty schools, play a role in the teacher shortage: The fourth report in ‘the perfect storm in the teacher labor market’ series. Economic Policy Institute, Washington DC. (Report No. 162910). https://www.epi.org/files/pdf/162910.pdf Hanushek, E. A., & Raymond, M. E. (2005). Does school accountability lead to improved student performance? Journal of Policy and Analysis and Management, 24(2), 297-327. doi:http//dx.doi.org.ezproxy.selu.edu/10.1002/pam.20091


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Hanushek, E. A., Peterson, P. E., Talpey, L.M., & Woessmann. L. (2019). The achievement gap fails to close: Half century of testing shows persistent divide between haves and havenots. Education Next, 19(3), 8-17. https://www.educationnext.org/files/ednext_XIX_3_hanushek_et_al.pdf Jacob, B.A. and Ludwig, J. (2009). Improving educational outcomes for poor children. Focus 26 (2), 56-61. Jesuit Social Research Institute. (2019, October). Rich school, poor school: Education in inequity in Louisiana. Loyola University New Orleans, Louisiana. http://www.loyno.edu/jsri/reports Kotok, S. (2017). Unfulfilled potential: High-achieving minority students and the high school achievement gap in math. The High School Journal, 100( 3), 183-202. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/90024211 Long, C. (2014, June 17). The high-stakes testing culture: How we got here, how we get out. National Education Association (NEA). http://neatoday.org/2014/06/17/the-high-stakestesting-culture-how-we-got-here-how-we-get-out/ Louisiana Department of Education. (2019c). Louisiana high school planning guidebook: A path to prosperity for every student. (September 2019). https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/course-choice/high-school-planni ng-guidebook.pdf?sfvrsn=1fbd831f_52 Louisiana Department of Education. (2018a). Closing the equity gap: 2018 Statewide equity report. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/library/closing-the-equity-gap Louisiana Department of Education. (2018b). Louisiana believes accountability policy update: Teacher leader summit 2018. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/defaultsource/teacher-leader-summit/2018-teacher-leader-summit/s030--what's-new-inlouisiana's-school-and-school-system-accountability-policies.pdf?sfvrsn=2 Louisiana Department of Education. (2019a). Elementary and middle School performance; LEAP results. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/library/elementary-and-middle-schoolperformance Louisiana Department of Education. (2019b). Louisiana believes accountability policy update:


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Teacher leader summit 2019. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/accountability/el-accountability-( elp-indicator)-tls-june-2019.pdf?sfvrsn=6c8a9d1f_10 Louisiana Department of Education. (2019c). Louisiana high school planning guidebook: A path to prosperity for every student. (September 2019). https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/course-choice/high-schoolplanning-guidebook.pdf?sfvrsn=1fbd831f_52 Louisiana Department of Education. (2019d). High school performance: State district ACT subgroup performance. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/library/highschool-performance Louisiana Department of Education. (2019e). Assessment guide for ELPT K-12. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/assessment/elpt-assessmentguide.pdf?sfvrsn=8 Louisiana Department of Education. (2020a). Interpretive guide English I, English II, Algebra I, Geometry, U.S. History, and Biology 2019–2020. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/assessment/leap-2025-highschool-iguide.pdf?sfvrsn=33c79e1f_6#11 Louisiana Department of Education. (2020b). Louisiana's K-12 accountability system. https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/key-initiatives/louisianas-keyinitiatives_k-12-accountability-system.pdf?sfvrsn=3f00951f_27 Louisiana Department of Education. (n.d.) Every student succeeds act. https://webapps.doe.louisiana.gov/docs/default-source/louisiana-believes/essaoverview.pdf?sfvrsn=40bc8b1f_10 Mohtar, T. M. T., Singh, C. K. S., Kepol, N., Ahmad, A. Z. L., & Moneyam, S. (2017). Analysis of teacher beliefs and efficacy for teaching writing to weak learners. English Language Teaching, 10(9), 208-217. Nichols & Berliner (n.d). A short history of high-stakes testing: Arguments for and against its use, its place in contemporary society, and a brief introduction to Campbell’s law. https://www.hepg.org/HEPG/Media/Documents/chapter1_new.pdf Torraco, R.J. (2005). Writing integrative literature reviews: Guidelines and examples.


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Human Resource Development Review, 4(3) September 2005 356-367 doi: 10.1177/1534484305278283 Urban Institute. (2017, May). School funding: Do poor kids get their fair share? https://apps.urban.org/features/school-funding-do-poor-kids-get-fair-share/ Urban League of Louisiana. (2019, October). Advancing educational equity for public schools in Baton Rouge. https://urbanleaguela.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/BR-Equity-ReportOnline.pdf U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.) Every student succeeds act ESSA. https://www.ed.gov/essa?src=policy United States Department of Education. (2011). More than 40% of low-income schools don't get a fair share of state and local funds, department of education research finds. https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/more-40-low-income-schools-dont-get-fairshare-state-and-local-funds-departmentU.S. Department of Education. (2020). Race to the top: Definitions. https://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition/definitions U.S. News & World Report, (2020). Louisiana #50 in overall rankings. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/louisiana Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2007). The culturally responsive teacher. Educational Leadership, 64(6), 28.


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At-risk High School Students and High Prestige Extracurricular Activities Todd Redalen Wisconsin Department of Corrections John P. McClure Saint Mary’s University

Abstract When high school students participate in the high prestige extra-curricular offerings of athletics and fine arts, they have greater chances of staying in school (McNeal, 1995; Neely & Vaquera, 2017). Factors such as low socio-economic status, race, and ethnicity correlated with unequal student participation in extracurricular activities (Metsäpelto & Pulkkinen, 2014). The Risk Assessment Scale (Morley & Veale, 2005) was used to identify students. This study was an exploration of the experience of high-risk student participants in athletics and fine arts and how these had meaning for the students and their educational trajectories. Interviews and focus groups took place with 12 students. Participation appeared to cultivate and nourish the affective learning domain, as described by Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia (1964), by appealing to students’ interests, passions, and hopes. Students attributed improvement in academic achievement and persistence in school to participation in high-prestige activities.


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In a landmark work, McNeal (1995) found that among 14,000 high school students, those involved in athletics (including cheerleading) and fine arts, to a lesser degree, were less likely to drop out of high school than those who did not participate. Mahoney and Cairns (1997), using a sample of fewer than 400 students, documented the incidence of early dropout as markedly lower for those who participated in athletics. Blevins (2015) compared at-risk student participants in athletics with at-risk student nonparticipants and found a positive relationship with high school athletic participation and not dropping out of school. Also, factors such as low socio-economic status, race, and ethnicity correlated with unequal student participation in extracurricular activities (Metsäpelto & Pulkkinen, 2014). Blevins (2015) suggested that encouraging student participation in athletics may help address the contemporary problems of school failure. Brown (2017) believed that participation in the arts has the capacity to engage students; therefore, educators should deliberately encourage student involvement to help reduce incidents of dropping out of high school. Heckman and LaFontaine (2010) suggested that high school graduation rates plateaued at 80% in the 1970s. This number varies substantially from estimates by scholars such as Swanson (2004), who reported a 68% high school graduation rate, and within that national average, 50.2% of African American students and 53.2% of Hispanic students completed high school during that year. Swanson (2010) reported that more than 7,200 students dropped out of high schools in America each day, and male students graduated at lower rates than female students (Heckman & LaFontaine, 2008). Dewey (1938) suggested that student development should not only focus on the physical and intellectual, but also on the ethical dimension that occurs as a result of the educative process; because the process helps in the formation of attitudes of desire and purpose within the student. A quality educational experience includes extensive contact between the mature and immature, and the most beneficial type of contact and guidance is likely more complex and meaningful than that which often takes place in a traditional school (Dewey, 1938). The purpose of this study was to learn from the student participants directly about their experiences. Using qualitative research, specifically a phenomenological inquiry with interviews and focus groups, allowed us to gain insight into how 12 high school students in athletics and fine arts experienced the extra-curricular offerings. The research question was: What are the


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experiences of high-risk students involved in high school athletics and fine arts and have these impacted persistence toward graduation? Characteristics of Educative Experiences Even though educators may believe they can impact how students develop social and personal strengths, today’s educators must focus more on helping students acquire minimal academic skills than on inspiring and mentoring them (Griffith & Nguyen, 2006). According to Dewey’s (1938) philosophy of education, the type of experience a student has and the relationship between the student’s experience and his or her learning are crucial. Lawhorn (2008/2009) discussed the importance of the voluntary, interest-based nature of student participation in extra-curricular activities. These activities may represent one of the first times students work toward a common goal with others, and the experience of the extra-curriculum provides participants with opportunities to grow directly, culturally, and sensibly (Lawhorn, 2008/2009). Dewey (1938) also expounded that student development should focus not only on the physical and intellectual, but also on the ethical dimension, which is a social process that helps in the formation of attitudes of desire and purpose within the student. This view is consistent with the affective domain of learning, as discussed by Pierre and Oughton (2007), who stated that learning has to do with beliefs and openness to try new things and the capacity to make choices and judgments regarding how to respond and behave in many situations. These theorists implied that the ancillary attainment of permanent character traits (Dewey, 1938), which students internalize, may be the most important aspect of the educational experience. The extra-curriculum may be the arena in which schools have the best hope of accomplishing what Dewey (1938) identified as a quality education. The application of the affective domain, as proposed by Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia (1964), provides a practical description of learning within this complex phenomenon of student experiences in the extracurricular offerings of athletics and fine arts. This study’s findings were that students’ participation in athletics and fine arts cultivated and nourished their affective domain.


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Methodology Following recommendations by Creswell (2014), Giorgi, Fischer, and von Eckartsberg (1971) a phenomenological approach was implemented for this study. This approach involved asking participants to describe their experiences unfettered by restrictions, to put forth a conscious effort by using verbs such as thinking, remembering, and judging to create vivid meanings and reconstructions of their experiences in high school athletics and fine arts (Moustakas, 1994). Selection of Participants The 12 student participants in this study met the following criteria: •

They had been active participants in school-sponsored athletics or fine arts

programs in the same high school. •

They were willing to describe their experiences in the activity in an individual

interview and focus group. •

They were at high-risk for school dropout and/or failure, as identified and

recommended by school faculty and staff who knew them well; and as determined by the Risk Assessment Scale (Morley & Veale, 2005), as administered by the faculty and staff. •

They had been recommended by school faculty and staff as resilient because they

stayed in school and pursued a trajectory of future success. Description of the Sample Although more boys (8) than girls (4) comprised the active sample, the sample achieved an even distribution of students who participated in athletics and fine arts. Students who participated in more than one athletic or fine art offering selected the activity that they identified as most meaningful to them. The 12 students represented the following racial demographic groups: White (n = 4), Black (n = 3), Mixed race (n = 1) and Hispanic/Latino (n = 4), and more males (n = 8) than females (n = 4) participated in the study. Several steps were incorporated to mitigate potential problems with data collection. Because the interviews would play a central


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role in gathering information, all interviews and the focus group were audio recorded and transcribed so they would be available for review. In addition, all participants experienced similar lines of questioning during each individual interview and the focus group, and ongoing member checking ensured that the researchers’ interpretation of the information was consistent with that of the participant. Along with two outside consultants, a vetting process was employed to arrive at reliable findings. Findings The researchers and the two consultants identified and agreed upon five themes, which were refined to ensure they provided a valid description of the students’ experiences: (a) experiencing supportive social connections, (b) accessing the extra-curriculum: athletics and fine arts, (c) perceiving the extracurricular experience, (d) recognizing and accepting personal accountability for participation, and (e) internalizing and valuing life lessons learned in extracurricular activities. Further work to identify subcategories from the responses was completed and the subcategories were folded in under the corresponding themes. While affective learning seldom occurs without simultaneous engagement of cognition and psychomotor development (Pierre & Oughton, 2007), findings of this study indicated that participation in the extra curriculum engaged all three domains of human learning and may well be some of the few offerings that do so in a public high school. These high-risk students’ experiences were similar regardless of whether they were involved in athletics or fine arts. In other words, athletics and fine arts were two sides of the same coin, and all students experienced a similar phenomenon according to the findings of this research. Theme 1: Experiencing Supportive Social Connections All students indicated that other people had played a role in supporting and encouraging their initial or continued participation in the activity at the high school level. Supportive social connections fell into one or more of these groupings: friends/peers, family, in-school adults, and out-of-school adults. The students’ participation typically began with their being made aware of the extra-curricular offering through supportive social connections, which exemplified the theory of social capital. Initially, people directly involved in a student’s social network took action on


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the students’ behalf by making them aware of, or helping them to receive, information about these areas of the extra-curriculum. In some cases, bridging occurred, linking students with others in new social connections and sharing information that supported students to initiate action. Baker (2000) explained that bridging over “structural holes” (p. 11) means a person becomes linked to people not in their immediate network who may not otherwise be accessible to them. These social connections opened opportunities for students and represented social capital. Baker (2000) discussed social capital as a useful and valuable resource and explained that it springs from relationships with others in social networks. Theme 2: Accessing the Extra-Curriculum: Athletics and Fine Arts How these at-risk students could access extra-curricular activities was a central issue in their stories. Subcategories that made up this theme related to prior participation, prerequisites for participation, and costs associated with participation. Responding (the second category of the affective domain), according to Krathwohl et al. (1964), in the context of this study was associated with students’ complying with the prerequisites for high school participation, which included meeting minimum thresholds for school performance and being able to pay the costs associated with participation. Further, most students in this study referred to past experiences that cultivated their initial interest and motivated them to pursue the activity. Even those students with no prior experience in their activities expressed an early level of commitment to the experience by expending their own resources to join the activity; for example, getting a physical examination or purchasing shoes. All of the students made personal sacrifices or commitments to prepare, even as they acknowledged that the activity may have been under-supported by the school. Theme 3: Perceptions of the Extra-Curricular Experience Students revealed their perceptions of the extracurricular experience in their descriptions of a wide variety of experiences that came to represent subcategories. Students’ responses revealed how they developed strong attachments to the activity of their choice. Krathwohl et al. (1964) characterized this step in the affective learning hierarchy as valuing, when the student is


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so “sufficiently committed to the value to pursue it” (p. 145), and in this case, to seek out the experience and want to partake in it. Also during this phase, the students’ interest in the activity, combined with perseverance, led to them to develop higher level of skills and to the understanding that their participation “satisfies a deep need” (Krathwohl et al., 1964, p. 150), ultimately crystallizing their commitment to the activity. Also, the concept of resilience emerged in the students’ stories. Findings of this study aligned with Duckworth’s (2016) assertion that grit, a combination of passion and perseverance, empowered these students to “stick to their commitments” (p. 117) to participate in athletics or fine arts, to meet the goals of the educational program, and therefore, not to drop out of school. Theme 4: Recognizing and Accepting Personal Accountability for Participation Evidence from the interviews also indicated that students’ commitment led them to maintain acceptable behavior in school, sometimes influenced by whether their activity was in season. This dynamic reflected Krathwohl et al.’s (1964) description of the level of the affective learning domain hierarchy wherein the learner, in a sense, establishes an integrated value system from its parts. Some students’ deep commitments to their activities led them to change their behavior, act responsibly, keep their grades up, manage their time, and demonstrate maturity. No findings like these appeared in the previous literature pertaining to this topic. Theme 5: Internalizing and Valuing Life Lessons Learned in Extracurricular Activities Krathwohl et al. (1964) indicted that at the highest level of affective learning, people internalize the values they have been developing, and these values guide their behavior. These beliefs, ideas, and attitudes form a philosophy that motivates students to prosocial behavior and choices consistent with their own positive personal development. Also, during the final stage of affective learning, students may develop the maturity to know who to ask for support or how to access an outlet for stress. According to Eiss and Harbeck (1969), these skills are important not only because they indicate a person has achieved affective learning, but also because young learners “develop a value system that often remains unchanged even when they become adults” (p. 9). Adoption of a positive philosophy, therefore, mitigates the risk that young people will


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adopt and carry into adulthood values that are not conducive to their becoming productive citizens and workers. Responses from the students in this study indicated that participation in extra-curricular activities resulted in their internalizing positive values. Findings such as these began to fill gaps in the literature regarding the impact of extracurricular participation as a mitigating factor for atrisk students. Taken together, these students portrayed a transformation that resulted from their committed immersion in their extra-curricular activity. Summary of Findings These students achieved in-depth engagement and learning when they participated in their chosen activities because the experience engaged cognitive and psychomotor activity and served as a catalyst for igniting the passions and engaging the hearts of these participants. The programs offered specific benefits to these students that the standard school curriculum simply could not provide. The essence of the experience was that participating in athletics and fine arts was life changing for these students. As these student participants emerge into adulthood, they will carry with them the values and beliefs they acquired during adolescence. Evidence from the interviews and focus groups suggested that as a result of their participation, these learners became what Mezirow (1997) described as “more autonomous thinker[s] by learning to negotiate his or her own values, meanings, and purposes rather than to uncritically act on those of others” (p. 11). Their newfound perspective and maturity supported positive decision making, as well. As students cultivated interest and committed effort to the activity, they found passion and built strength that empowered them to find resiliency and transcend challenges, circumstances, and background characteristics that placed them at risk. For these students, participating in athletics or fine arts was a quality learning experience and offered what education should provide, an actual life experience. Participation offered hope, as Dewey (1938) described it, to accomplish goals not only for the individual learner but also for the larger society. Bell (2016) concurred that the desired results of learning are that the student acquires competencies and beliefs as a result of developing personally for conscious citizenship as they advance into adulthood.


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Recommendations for Practice and Further Research Policy makers, educational reformers, and educators should continue utilizing the high prestige areas of athletics and fine arts as supportive of the goals of improving student achievement and may consider adding these as possible outcomes for their ESSA reviews. Encouraging students to participate in the extra-curriculum should be incorporated into educational reform efforts, especially for high-risk student groups, who are underrepresented as participants in these areas of the curriculum. All of these at-risk students continued to attend school and progressed toward high school graduation; therefore, early exposure to the extra-curricular offerings of athletics and fine arts may serve to mitigate risk factors and influence students’ subsequent success in school and life. Educators should strive to provide experience, exposure, and education about available extracurricular offerings to all youth, especially those at risk. Schools should periodically examine inequalities in their patterns of support for extracurricular programs. Evaluation of the allocation of human and capital resources to these areas of the curriculum could ensure that they are affordable to low income students and that adequate support exists to sustain them. Limitations This qualitative study focused on a small group of students who were purposefully selected to meet a set of criteria. The students’ viewpoints may not be representative of the viewpoints of the entire population of high-risk students who participate in athletics and fine arts at this high school. It is not possible to make generalizations from this small sample of participants. Although the students who participated in the study were racially representative of the larger school population, fewer girls than boys participated in the study. The intent was to have equal or near-equal numbers of boys and girls participate, but two female students recommended to the researcher as candidates for the study by school personnel did not join the study, and therefore, the sample was not balanced, in terms of gender. The Risk Assessment Scale (Veale & Morely, 2005) demonstrated both reliability and validity in testing. However, while we provided discussion and training about how to administer the assessment, no inter-rater reliability was established among the school officials who used the


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instrument to select students. Therefore, students may have had a larger or smaller number of risk factors than were identified. Conclusions While this study did not specifically look at the correlation, it was these students’ perceptions that their participation in athletics and fine arts at this high school made it less likely that they would drop out of school. Furthermore, findings included some previously unknown information about how high-risk students experience these activities. This study’s criteria for participation—be high risk, be on a trajectory for success, be willing to share experiences in an interview and focus group, and be a current participant in athletics and/or fine arts—had not appeared before in research, including the use of the Risk Assessment Scale by Morley and Veale (2005). A greater understanding of what occurs in these curricular areas and of how students appear to develop and change as a result of participation in both athletics and fine arts began to emerge from this study. Because their experience in both athletics and fine arts engaged not only their minds and bodies, but also their emotions, these offerings cultivated students’ interests and passions, resulting in their commitment to something larger than themselves and their being transformed by the experience. Students attributed benefits such as improvement in grades, plans to stay in school and graduate, and a desire to go on for a post-secondary education to their involvement in athletics and fine arts. Findings illustrated that these at-risk student participants demonstrated resilience, in spite of background characteristics that made them vulnerable to negative outcomes, and they achieved a trajectory for success in conventional terms. From these findings, we can outline an opportunity for all stakeholders of the country’s K-12 education system to reconsider education reform efforts henceforth, especially as they pertain to high-risk students. Ensuring that extracurricular activities of both athletics and fine arts are available to high-risk students may help curb the dropout rate and increase the probability that these students will go on to be productive members of society. These areas of the school curriculum should be available not only to a privileged few students, nor overlooked as an unnecessary part of the curriculum; rather, they


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should be presented as prosocial offerings, readily accessible by all students, regardless of their background characteristics and past experience in the activity. Author Biographies Dr. McClure is a Professor and Program Director for the Doctor of Education in Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He has worked in the fine arts, hospitality and healthcare fields, as well as in higher education. Dr. McClure taught for the University of Minnesota and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. McClure has owned a business and managed several others. His research and teaching interests include exploration of work experience, qualitative research methods, communication and power, adult and adolescent development, organizational learning and effectiveness. Todd Redalen is a Education Director at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. He is an engaging person who works well with diverse populations of people of all age groups and background characteristics. He has functioned in a number of capacities, including in the role of teacher, trainer, instructor, facilitator, grant writer, program evaluator, consultant, supervisor, and director. While he was the Director of the K12 School-Aged At-Risk Program (Caring Connection) for the Marshalltown, Iowa Community School District. The Caring Connection was recognized in the (1998) Joy G. Dryfoos book Safe Passage: Making It Through Adolescence in A Risky Society. As one five exemplary programs in the nation serving at-risk students. Todd has worked in several public K12 settings, at the post-secondary level, within private community-based organizations, within public agencies and public institutional settings. He is passionate about working collaboratively with others for the purpose of not only solving problems but in creating new opportunities for the purpose of realizing improved outcomes for people.

References Baker, W. E. (2000). Achieving success through social capital: Tapping the hidden resources in your personal and business networks. John Wiley & Sons.


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Bell, D. J. (2016). Twenty-first century education: Transformative education for sustainability and responsible citizenship. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 18(1), 4856. doi:10.1515/jtes-2016-0004 Blevins, A. D. (2015). The impact of athletic participation on at-risk high school students (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global A&I: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection. (Order No. 3737186) Brown, K. (2017). The arts and dropout prevention: The power to engage [White Paper]. National Dropout Prevention Center Network. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publishers. Darling, D. W. (1965). Why a taxonomy of affective learning? Educational Leadership, 22(7), 473-522. Education Research Complete. (Accession No. 21624570) Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. Free Press. Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Simon & Schuster. Eiss, A. F., & Harbeck, M. B. (1969). Behavioral objectives in the affective domain. ERIC database (ED028101). Giorgi, A., Fischer, W. F., & von Eckartsberg, R. (Eds.). (1971). Duquesne studies in phenomenological psychology (Vol. 1). Duquesne University Press. Griffith, K. G., & Nguyen, A. D. (2006). Are educators prepared to affect the affective domain? National FORUM of Teacher Education Journal, 16(3), 1-4. http://www.nationalforum.com/Journals/NFTEJ/NFTEJ.htm Heckman, J. J., & LaFontaine, P. A. (2008). The declining American high school graduation rate: Evidence, source, and consequences. NBER Reporter: Research Summary, 1(2008), 1–4. https://www.nber.org/ Heckman, J. J., & LaFontaine, P. A. (2010). The American high school graduation rate: Trends and levels. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(2), 244-262. doi:10.3386/w13670 Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B., & Masia. B. B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook II: Affective domain. David McKay.


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Lawhorn, B. (2008/2009, Winter). Extracurricular activities: The after-school connection. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 52(4), 16-21. https://nrd.gov/resource/detail/ 15095484/Occupational+Outlook+Quarterly Mahoney, J. L., & Cairns, R. B. (1997). Do extracurricular activities protect against early school dropout? Developmental Psychology, 33(2), 241-253. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.33.2.241 Metsäpelto, R.L., & Pulkkinen, L. (2014). The benefits of extracurricular activities for socioemotional behavior and school achievement in middle childhood: An overview of the research. Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal Für Bildungsforschung Online, 6(3), 10–33. http://www.j-e-r-o.com/index.php/jero McNeal, R. B., Jr. (1995). Extracurricular activities and high school dropouts. Sociology of Education, 68(1), 62-80. doi:10.2307/2112764 Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 1997(74), 5-12. doi:10.1002/ace.7401 Morley, R. E., & Veale, J. R. (2005). Student risk assessment for identifying needs and evaluating impacts. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 11(1), 1-12. ERIC database. (EJ853376) Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Sage Publishers. Neely, S. R., & Vaquera, E. (2017). Making it count: Breadth and intensity of extracurricular engagement and high school dropout. Sociological Perspectives, 60(6), 1,039–1,062. doi:10.1177/0731121417700114 Pierre, E., & Oughton, J. (2007). The affective domain: Undiscovered country. College Quarterly, 10(4), 1-7. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ813766.pdf Swanson, C. B. (2004). Who graduates? Who doesn’t? A statistical portrait of public high schools graduation, class of 2001. Education Policy Center, the Urban Institute. Swanson, C. (2010). U.S. graduation rate continues decline. Education Week (29) 34. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/06/10/34swanson.h29.html?tkn=NPTFj02sUg0 9e%207qehprXnkiy8DOFYAjIkmAW&print=1


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Community Groups: A Strategy to Promote Connectedness in Online Courses Erin F. Klash Auburn University at Montgomery Abstract Relatedness is a key human need (Ryan & Deci, 2000). However, in the online learning environment, lack of social interaction among students and instructors is a main concern (Jaggars, 2014; Willging & Johnson, 2009; O’Neill & Sai, 2014; May et al., 2009). In this pilot qualitative case study, structured “community groups” were used as a strategy by one instructor (the author) in a foundations of education course to promote connectedness among students. Qualitative data collection took place via questionnaire during the last two weeks of the fall 2019 semester and were subsequently analyzed to determine thematic patterns (Bernard & Ryan, 2010). Results indicate that the majority of students found the community groups beneficial in fostering a sense of connectedness in the online learning environment and that the groups could be beneficial in future online course sections. Some students did report feelings of isolation due to lack of communication of group members, but this was relatively minimal. This research supports and adds to literature available, demonstrating a strategy that could be used to promote connectedness in online learning environments. Key Words: Online learning, collaboration, community, connectedness

Introduction Online courses are popular alternatives to face-to-face courses. In fall 2017, 33.7% of all students enrolled in college-level courses in the United States took at least some online courses, where 32.9% of those students were undergraduates and 38% were post-baccalaureate students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019). Additionally, the Babson Survey Research Group (2018) noted student enrollment in online courses increased by 5.6% between fall 2015


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and fall 2016, while exclusive face-to-face, on campus course enrollment decreased by 6.4% between 2012 and 2016. Online course opportunities are preferred by students for a variety of reasons, including flexibility in scheduling, cost effectiveness, convenience in access to education, and a preferred mode of delivery (Jaggars, 2014; Willging & Johnson, 2009). However, one of the greatest perceived impediments of online learning experiences is a lack of connectedness for students with either peers or course instructors. This concern causes some students to either avoid engaging in online learning or withdraw from online courses (Jaggers, 2014; O’Neill & Sai, 2014; Willging & Johnson, 2009; Banna, Lin, Stewart, & Fialkowski, 2015). While there are other noted concerns associated with online learning, the purpose of this study was to address the need for connection in the learning environment through strategic planning and implementation of small group interactions. A strategy called “Community Groups” was used in an undergraduate section of a foundations of education course taught completely online. A community group is defined as a small group of students (3-5) who share a similar major, can offer group members support in the content area of the course, and foster a sense of connection to others in the online learning environment. This qualitative case study examined students’ use and perceptions of community groups. Literature Review Given the prevalence of online learning environments researchers have spent a great deal of resources examining how to enroll students, and keep them enrolled, in online courses. The focus of the review of literature pertains to research emphasizing the connectedness aspect of the online learning community. Self-Determination Theory of Motivation Motivation is an important piece of the online learning environment. Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory emphasizes three main aspects of motivation: autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Chen & Jang, 2010). Relatedness is a key aspect of online learning, but the lack thereof is one of the main concerns expressed by students taking online courses. Defined by Ryan and Deci (2020), relatedness is a “sense of belonging and connection facilitated by


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conveyance of respect and caring” (p. 1). Ryan and Deci (2000) also explained that intrinsic motivation is more likely to occur within “contexts characterized by a sense of security and relatedness” and that students are more likely to excel when their psychological needs are met (p. 71). Furthermore, Haslam, Cruwys, Haslam, and Jetten (2015) explained that social connectedness is “a sense of belonging and subjective psychological bond that people feel in relation to individuals and groups of others… capturing the idea that the identification with others is the basis for social connectedness” (p. 1). Relatedness and connectedness are important aspects of motivation, which directly impact engagement in online learning. For the purpose of this paper, the term “connectedness” is used to encompass the sense of belonging as describe above. Students’ Perceptions of Connectedness in Online Learning Engagement is a critical component of developing connectedness in online learning. According to Dixson (2010), students perceive a variety of activities as engaging (e.g. active learning assignments, discussion boards, case studies, or assignments with an authentic context). However, Dixson (2010) asserted students with high levels of engagement were more likely to use discussion forums to collaborate and connect with other students. Dixson (2010) explained that students need opportunities to engage with content and social contexts unrelated to content. Engaging in both contexts of dialogue creates opportunity to develop a sense of connectedness, thereby combatting feelings of isolation. Martin and Bolliger (2018) surveyed students to gain a broader perspective of what they deemed valuable in engaging them in the online learning environment. As pertinent to the overall course, discussions were listed as the second most valuable aspect and indicated that “instructors should form small groups for discussions, post prompts for deep reflection and deeper understanding, and require students to participate” (Martin & Bolliger, 2018, p. 213). Additionally, peer interactions were deemed valuable in promoting engagement. However, in the same study, discussions were also reported as a least valuable strategy, whereas some students noted it felt like “busywork” (Martin & Bolliger, 2018, p. 214). Social presence in an online learning environment yields higher satisfaction, according to Kushnir and Berry (2014). Driscoll, Jicha, Hunt, Tichavasky, and Thompson (2012) identified


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no significant difference in student satisfaction levels of a course taught in both face-to-face and online formats by the same instructor when the instructor was actively present in the course. Additionally, they found that students in either environment who were actively engaged held more favorable perceptions of the course experience. Some students report feelings of isolation in the online learning environment (GillettSwan, 2017). Prior knowledge of other students enrolled in the class was a determinant in perceptions of connectedness in the online learning environment. Reilly, Gallagher-Lepak, and Killion (2012) reported that some students felt isolated in their first online class because they perceived others had prior relationships, whereas they did not know other students in the class. This promoted a lack of perceived connectedness in the course because they felt excluded from interactions. Collaborative Discussions as a Strategy to Develop Relationships in Online Learning Environments Students appreciate face-to-face formatted coursework for the physical connections to peers, instructors, and campus activities. Research consistently demonstrates that lack of physical connectivity to peers and instructors poses a significant concern related to online learning (May, Acquaviva, Dorfman, & Posey, 2009; Jaggers, 2014). Therefore, it is imperative to meet students’ psychological need for connectedness in the online learning environment. This can help to facilitate a positive learning experience and reduce feelings of isolation. In fact, King (2002) stressed that interaction and collaboration could be the key to a successful learning experience. Given the magnitude of connectedness in the online learning environment, activities should be deliberate and meaningful (Orcutt & Dringus, 2017). Hartnett, St. George, and Dron (2011) asserted practitioners need to be cognizant of the important role they play in influencing learner motivation when designing learning activities. Most importantly, the relevance and value of the task (e.g., online discussions) need to be clearly identified and linked to learning objectives to help learners understand how the activity can aid in the realization of personal goals, aspirations, and interests, both in the short and longer term. (p. 33)


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Several obstacles related to students working productively in a collaborative online learning environment include lack of perceived value of assignments, personal schedules, unresponsive group members, and a host of personality differences (Posey & Lyons, 2011). This further supports the need for purposefully planned deliberate, and meaningful strategies to promote connectedness in the online classroom. Research suggests there are several strategies which can be incorporated to increase interactions and connectedness among students enrolled in online courses. From the onset, instructors can explicitly describe the benefits of connectedness and collaboration in coursework, including benefits in content-area learning, social aspects, and increased exposure to diverse ideas and perspectives (Roberts & McInnerney, 2007). Purposeful planning and implementation of activities are integral components of assisting students in developing meaning and perceived value of interactions. Peer learning and collaboration are common strategies used by instructors to promote connectedness in online coursework. Results are mixed regarding effectiveness of using strategies such as discussion boards, due to personal preference of learning format (online, faceto-face, or mixed environments), experience with group members, and motivation factors (Kahn, Everington, Kelm, Reid, & Watkins, 2017; Raymond, Jacob, Jacob, & Lyons, 2016). Revere and Kovch (2011) claimed that discussion board formats can be effective in promoting supporting learning environments and even friendships. Raymond, Jacob, Jacob, and Lyons (2016) found that some students did not find online discussions beneficial, but many did because it afforded opportunity to think and reflect upon questions or tasks prior to responding. Additionally, convenience to work in a self-paced manner was perceived as important. Many students who responded in an unfavorable manner to online discussions did so due to a negative experience with a group member (e.g. conflict, lack of responsiveness, equal grades assigned versus equal role in work completion). A discussion strategy that has demonstrated promise in creating feelings of connectedness among students is that of a learning community. According to Yuan and Kim (2014), a learning community is a “group of learners who have a sense of belonging… (where) the critical element is a sense of community, which is the feeling that group members matter and that one’s needs are satisfied through the collective effort of the group” (p. 221). Literature


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provides several suggestions to optimize effectiveness of learning communities. These include implementing them from the beginning of the course, active engagement from both the instructor and learners, and to use a variety of strategies to facilitate conversation in both content and social contexts (Yuan & Kim, 2014; Jan & Vlachopoulos, 2018). Britt (2015) suggested that while a strong instructor presence is necessary to optimize engagement and connectedness, they should have a minimal role in actual discussion board activities. Summary In summation, a wealth of literature exists, which supports the need for connectedness in the online learning environment. Motivational factors contribute to students’ perceptions of connectedness. Students who are actively involved in online courses tend to perceive a higher level of connectedness and course satisfaction than those who are minimally involved. Research yields mixed results, in terms of effectiveness and students’ perceived value of structured interactions, but it supports that with purposeful and deliberate planning, learning groups can effectively increase connectedness in the online learning environment. Discussion boards and project-based group interactions are clearly noted in the literature as strategies to increase online course engagement. Based on the research, community groups, a sub-category of learning communities, were developed as a strategy to promote connectedness and engagement in a fully online course. This research adds to the literature by focusing on students at an individual level within the whole class group. Methodology This research study took place in a fully online, foundations of education course during the fall 2019 semester. A fully online course at this institution is considered a course in which instructional activities take place on an asynchronous online learning platform with zero face-toface on-campus meetings. As noted in the discussion, the purpose of this study was to facilitate connections between students in the online learning environment through strategic implementation of small group interactions. The implementation of community groups began approximately three weeks into the semester and culminated on the last day of classes, as per the University Academic Calendar.


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Students were assigned by major area of study (as much as possible) to a community group during the third week of class. This university allows students to add courses for up to two weeks into the semester. By waiting until the third week of class to create groups, it was reasoned that groups would be static, in terms of students wishing to add or drop the course. Therefore, groups could be created in the initial days of class and adjusted, if needed, prior to formally grouping students. This effort was in place to minimize any confusion or disruption that could occur. Additionally, though there were many “Childhood Education” majors enrolled in the course; there were few “Secondary Education” majors. Therefore, students majoring in Secondary English Language Arts were combined with students majoring in Secondary Social Science, while students majoring in Secondary Mathematics and Secondary Science were combined. Five groups consisting of 3-5 students within respective areas of study were formed as community groups for the semester. In order to facilitate structured interactions and discussions between members of the community groups, two mandatory discussion board posts were created. Groups were formed by the author and group members were introduced to each other via university email during the third week of the semester (see Appendix A). Students were encouraged to set up a discussion via GroupMe, text message, or other forum outside of the course, but university email was an acceptable method of communication. It was also noting that the author requested to be removed from these interactions beyond the scope of the course requirements. The purpose of this was to help students develop relationships with each other without outside interference. During the fifth week of the semester, the first structured discussion board interaction was conducted. Students were asked to complete a structured peer review of an assignment for the course and provide positively framed, specific, and relevant written feedback on the work. During the tenth week, group members were asked to do a similar task with a different work sample. Periodically, students received reminders via course announcements to interact community groups, talk about assignments, and check on each other in a social capacity. Therefore, over a period of nine weeks, students engaged in three purposefully planned, structured interactions within their community groups. Any other interactions which occurred within the group was facilitated by the group members.


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Setting and Participants This study took place in the author’s online course offered through the College of Education. Participants were recruited by proxy of being enrolled in the course. All 24 students enrolled in the course participated in the community groups; however, 19 chose to participate in this research study. Setting According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (2020), the urban, regional university located in the southeastern United States in which this study took place is a M1 University. The University is home to a diverse population of approximately 4,500 students, including both undergraduate and graduate students. Approximately 20% of the students are classified as “nontraditional,” based on a variety of qualities including age of student, outside responsibilities and obligations (e.g. families to care for, at least part-time employment), and pursuing of a second undergraduate degree as part of a second career (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2020). Participants The participants in this study were the undergraduate students enrolled in the author’s Foundations of Education course in the College of Education. Though all students were embedded within a community group, 19 of 24 enrolled students consented to participation in this study and completed the associated questionnaire. Students with a variety of majors in the field of education were represented in this study (see Table 1). Research Questions This research examined students’ perceptions of the value of using community groups as a strategy to promote connectedness within an online course setting. Originally, this study sought to answer two question, including the broad question of how students used their community groups. However, based on an initial read-through of the data, it became clear that this question required two sub-questions to address mode of communication and for what purpose students used the groups. Therefore, this study answers the questions:


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1.

How are community groups used by students in the online course? a. What modes of communication are used? b. For what did students use the community groups?

2. What are students’ perceptions of connectedness as a result of using community groups? Data Collection Data was collected via a structured, qualitative questionnaire (see Appendix B). Nineteen students enrolled in the course offered feedback and responded to qualitative questions on experience and perceptions in using the community groups. The questionnaires were collected via the online learning management system, Blackboard. Data Analysis The data was analyzed using qualitative methods. First, data was read to determine an appropriate manner to organize, then analyze, as well as to get a sense of participant responses. Based on anecdotal observations, the data were sorted by question and entered into an Excel spreadsheet for a more practical review (Bogden & Biklen, 2007). Descriptive information was accounted for in Items 1-5; therefore, the items were grouped together. Items 6-11a-d were separated individually to allow for extensive, individual analysis. Furthermore, each item was aligned to the research questions; Item 6 aligns to RQ1a-b, whereas Items 7-10 align to RQ2. Item 11 was for feedback purposes related to construction and future use of community groups and was not used in data analysis for this study. Each student was assigned a number which is consistent throughout the data to allow for patterns which emerged from the data to be examined on an individual level within the case. Following the data entry component, all data were uploaded to the coding and analysis software, Atlas.ti, manually coded. The unit of analysis for this study was each reflective comment made by students. Each comment was coded as a free quotation, then coded with either priori or emergent codes. Initially, open-coding was used to develop descriptive codes and themes for Items 6-10, but as patterns emerged, selective coding was employed (Miles & Huberman, 1994). A codebook was developed throughout the coding process, reflective of both


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priori and emergent codes, which led to the development of themes (Bernard & Ryan, 2010). Items were coded as they align to research questions; therefore, all items related to RQ1 were coded first, then items which supported RQ2 were coded subsequently. Additionally, after coding each prompt with respect to specified RQs, an observational memo was created to help think more critically about the data. Based on the codes and codebook, themes emerged, and the following results are classified based on the emergent classification of codes. Results As analysis of data ensued, it became quite evident that students accessed and used the community groups in a variety of ways. Additionally, there was an overall positive perception of the community groups. Descriptive Background Information Descriptive information was collected in Items 1-5. All students were from an undergraduate course section and all groups had 3-5 students. Student 1 indicated they did not know how many members were in their group, while Student 5 indicated they started with 4 students, but one withdrew later, leaving 3. As referenced earlier in the “Participants” section, a variety of majors were represented in the course (see Table 1). Item 4 asked students to identify how many members in their community groups they knew prior to the onset of the course. Two students indicated they knew 0 group members prior to the onset of the course, 6 students knew 1 member, 3 people knew 2 members of their group, 4 students knew 3 members of the group, and 3 students knew 4 members of their group. Most students knew at least one or more members of their community groups. Item 5 asked students to identify approximately how often they communicated with their community group on a weekly basis. Six students indicated they communicated 0 times per week with their community group, 10 students indicated they communicated 1-2 times per week with their group, 1 person indicated communicating 3-5 times per week with their group, and 1 person expressed communicating more than 10 times per week with their community group. When compared with data from Item 6 (methods used to communicate with community groups), 3 of the students who reported no communication disclosed discussing the course with


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community groups via discussion board forums, text messages, and in person conversations. Only 3 of the students who reported no communication or only communicating with community groups in two structured peer review activities consistently supported that premise through their responses. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that 3 students had limited or no interactions with their community group members beyond two required discussion-based assignments. How Were Community Groups Used by Students in the Online Course? In order to answer this question, it was analyzed under two lenses. The physical mode of communication used by groups was examined, then the context of use of the community group was studied. Mode of communication for community groups. Students indicated they used a variety of mediums to communicate with their groups. As expected, students used emails, text messages, social media platforms, and telephone to communicate. Text message was the most common form of communication among students; 10 reported using this as a mode of communication. In contrast, telephone was reported the least with one student using it, while email and social media were only reported twice. In both cases, the social media tool that students used was Facebook Messenger. The learning management system (LMS), Blackboard, was noted by 6 students. It was also reported that no mode of communication was used by 2 students which is in contrast to the 6 students who initially reported having no contact per week with their groups. An unanticipated, emergent mode of communication in the online community group was in person. Eight students reported communicating specifically with their community groups in person, most often on campus, in shared classes, or in shared field experiences. Student use of community groups. The data analysis indicated that student students used the community groups for both academic and social connectedness, reflective of the original intent of the groupings.


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Academic connectivity. Most students, 17/19, reported using their community group for an academic purpose during the semester. For example, clarification of assignments was a common method of using the group. Student 3 reported, “If I ever second guessed myself, I would ask for clarification from my community group first,” when referring to their assignments. Another way community groups were used was to give and receive feedback. Student 7 shared, “Yes, a few concepts I struggled with this semester and one of my group mates helped me to have a better understanding of how to properly format an essay question with a picture included,” in terms of receiving feedback, whereas Student 10 reported, “The members of my community group definitely helped me with concepts related throughout the course. We helped each other to understand how to correctly format a variety of assessments and rubrics.” Additionally, the group was an outlet for students to ask each other question. In fact, as Student 18 stated, “If I had questions that I thought might seem like dumb questions to my professor, I would ask them.” While this is obviously neither optimal nor true, it is certainly a reality for many students. Social connectedness. Developing relationships beyond academic means as a method to promote connectedness was demonstrated, but with mixed results. Twelve students out of the 19 students who participated in the study reported developing new relationships, or friendships, as a result of having a community group. Student 17 conveyed, “I feel that in being in community groups, I have developed stronger relationships with other students who share the similar major as me. If I was not in community groups or groups at all I would not communicate with others because I am not a big social person.” Student 19 had the best commentary related to the social connectedness as pertinent to the community group: “We did not talk much outside of the class, and now I am invited to an engagement party of a classmate.” The comments embody the social connectivity and relationship development that can occur as a result of the group. Four of 19 students reported that they already had prior relationships with some members of the group and were not sure if the community group served to strengthen the bond. For example, Student 11 stated, “I don’t know if it was my community group that strengthened the bond. I think it was the fact that we had several classes together.” Three of nineteen students reported that the community groups did not help with social connectivity and relationship development at all because there was a lack of communication among group members. For example, Student 5


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reported, “… my community group didn’t really do anything together,” in response to Prompt 8, regarding the development of relationships as a result to the community groups. Data overwhelmingly supported that students used the community groups for both academic and social purposes. Though the data reflected a much more prevalent use of the community group for connectedness related to academic support, students also used them to varying degrees for social relationships and connectivity. Perceptions of Connectedness through Use of Community Groups Data analysis revealed several findings related to students’ perceptions of connectedness within the online course setting as a result of using community groups. As a whole group, students found their community group beneficial, or felt that it could be beneficial in a variety of aspects; 18/19 students reported it being so beneficial that it should continue to be offered as an option for connectivity in future courses and even additional courses. Three major themes emerged from the data as it was coded and analyzed: benefits, or lack thereof, associated with the use of community groups, feelings of connectedness versus isolation, and student buy-in. The first two were priori, whereas the third was emergent. Benefits, or lack thereof, associated with the use of community groups. Students reported, essentially, two perceptions as related to the use of the community groups. They either felt the group was beneficial or they did not. The information reported was polarized, even among most students who didn’t use their community groups as a resource. In fact, in a quantitative sense, the code “Beneficial” was used 46 times in coding the data, while the code “Not Beneficial” was used 14 times. Benefits. Several benefits were noted in association with community group, including knowledge of who was enrolled in the course, including those with similar majors, ease of communication, having a defined place in the course, and to obtain assistance and feedback with academic work.


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Knowledge of who was enrolled in the course. From a basic perspective, this was an important finding. Students need to know who is in the course to begin to make connections with others. Comments were made with respect to benefits of community groups on a foundational level of how groups created an awareness of peers enrolled in the course. For example, Student 2 said, “…at times, you feel like online it’s just you and the teacher, but … you see there are actually multiple others that you know or have seen around, so it’s pretty neat and helps with being connected...” Additionally, Student 18 emphasized, “Most of the online classes I have taken before this one, I did not know who all was taking the class with me, so I felt completely isolated.” Both comments indicate a need that was satisfied through the groups. An identified role in the course. Perhaps another finding that was more emergent in nature was the notion of having a clear role, a place, in the classroom community. Student 1 noted this on two separate occasions in the data. With respect for recommendations for continued use, the student reported, “…it serves your intended purpose of giving students the sense of community like a real classroom does.” Additionally, when asked for suggestions for improvement on the use of the groups within the course, the student stated, “It’s always hard to decide whose discussion board post to comment on and with the community groups, I knew exactly whose post I was commenting on.” Both comments reflect a sense of purpose and the role they played within the group. Content assistance and feedback. The most noted benefit of the community group pertained to academic support. Students repeatedly referred to obtaining feedback, guidance, and clarification of coursework within their community groups, even among students who didn’t engage to a great extent with their group members. Some examples of commentary from the data are: Student 13, “We communicated when we were unsure of specifics for assignments (for clarification purposes when needed),” Student 17, “I feel that my community group was able to help and guide me through concepts through this class by being there to help explain a(n) assignment. Also, they were there to help sharing examples of the assessments we would have to make,” and Student 10, “I would recommend continuing to use community groups in the future


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sections. These group provided every student with personal references who could assist in times of need.” There were many more comments similar in style to the noted ones. Ease of communication. Some students spoke to the relative ease with which they were able to access and communicate with peers within their groups. For example, Student 19 reported, “If there were any misunderstandings, we could easily contact each other for help.” Student 1 indicated, “I talked with (a specific member) the most and we texted and called each other at least once a day, but usually more,” and Student 14 stated, “…they are usually quicker to get in touch with than teachers…” All of the commentary above, retrieved from the data, supported strong benefits associated with the use of groups from the perspective of students. However, though the majority of students reported having found the groups beneficial, some students did report the opposite. Lack of benefits. Some students reported a lack of benefit from the community group. After analyzing the data, the responses could be reduced to a lack of communication among group members. This is exemplified in a comment by Student 12, “I don’t feel that my community group helped. We didn’t communicate or collaborate at all in this course.” This was reported by Student 6, as well. A minimal amount of communication was reported among some students, too, such as with Student 4: “Some of their feedback was helpful through peer review. Other than that, we never talked much.” Throughout the data, Student 6, 8, and 12 reported little or no communication, consistently. Student 9, 15, and 16 initially reported zero communication with their group members, but inconsistently referenced various forms and benefits from communication. For three students in the class, the community groups were not beneficial. However, only 1 member of the class, Student 16, did not recommend continued use of the groups; the other students who reported varied degrees of communication and/or lack of benefits for them personally saw value in the groups if used consistently. Feelings of connectedness versus isolation. The creation of community groups was rooted in developing a sense of connectedness in an online learning environment. Though there


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were a few students who reported feelings of isolation, overwhelmingly, students reported perceptions of feeling connected to peers in the online course as a result of using the community groups. Connections. Students reported feeling more connected with classmates as a direct result of using community groups. For example, Student 17 said, “I feel like this made me feel more connected in an online environment instead of just doing assignments and turning them in. I was able to see others’ work and get feedback from people in my community group.” Additionally, Student 10 indicated, “Being in a community group helped develop stronger relationships with other students. At times, we all had questions or misconceptions throughout this course; however, being a part of a community group provided additional support from other students with similar majors. Both comments indicate a sense of connectedness. Prior knowledge of students in group. On several occasions throughout the data, it is worth nothing that some students reported knowing at least one group member prior to enrolling in the course. In some cases, students felt that the group served to deepen relationships and connectedness; in other cases, the students were unsure if the community group facilitated connectedness or if it was due to the prior knowledge and connections. Isolation. Feelings of isolation were also reported among students, though at a much less frequent rate than that of connectedness. In each instance, the reason cited was lack of communication. Student 12 summarized this feeling by stating, “I don’t feel that my community group helped. We didn’t communicate or collaborate at all in this course.” However, associated with the feeling of isolation, two interesting concepts emerged: a sense of regret and a sense of blame.

A sense of regret. On two occasions in the data, a sense of regret was manifested by students for not using the community groups more. For example, Student 4 said, “I think the Blackboard discussion group and peer review is helpful. However, we didn’t communicate and take advantage (of) one another.” This comment indicates that the student recognized this could


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have been a resource as portrayed in their phrasing “take advantage of.” Also, Student 9 reflected, “I feel like if we would have actually reached out to each other more, it would have been great.” Both comments reflect the sense that this group was an opportunity to connect with others. Blame? Perhaps one of the most interesting findings in this study was the one comment by a student that, in a sense, placed blame on group members for lack of communication. Student 12 stated, “No, nobody in my group reached out. It felt like a typical online course.” Though this was only found once, this comment is important because it begs the question of responsibility in communication amongst group members. Student buy-in relative to engaging with community group. An emergent theme that evolved from the data was the concept of student buy-in. On two occasions, comments were made that spoke to the value of student buy-in. Student 11 reported that “I don’t really care for online classes because you can’t connect with people,” while Student 5 stated, “I don’t really take online courses to feel connected.” The comments indicated lack of student buy-in which is, arguably, essential for the successful function of community groups. Discussion In this pilot study, community groups proved to be a beneficial strategy to promote connectedness in one online course. Clear patterns in the data exist and connect to previous research. Students responded favorably to discussions within their community group (e.g. structured and unstructured), supporting Roberts and McInnerney’s (2007) research that there are benefits in both content areas and social aspects through collaboration. Though the community groups presented in this study could be categorized as a subgroup of Yuan and Kim’s (2014) learning communities. Many students in this study reported a feeling of connectedness, which speaks to the self-determination theory of motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Several students reported prior knowledge of classmates in their community group which supports Gillet-Swan’s (2017) perspective that knowledge of other classmates is a determinant of feelings of


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connectedness in an online course. Finally, perceptions of isolation did manifest in the data, specially, due to a lack of communication between members (Posey & Lyons, 2011). The themes, “Benefits/Lack of Benefits” and “Connectedness vs. Isolation” were priori and supported by the literature. Overwhelmingly, students expressed the viewpoint that community groups as a strategy to promote connectedness was either beneficial for them or that it had the potential to be beneficial. Eighteen of the 19 students who participated in the study recommended the further use of community groups in future sections of the course, and even other classes. Additionally, though feelings of connectedness and isolation were both reported, many more students reported various perspectives of feeling connected to their classmates as a result of the groups. However, the theme “Student Buy-in” is an emergent theme and worth further exploration in future research. Student buy-in was, essentially, assumed in this study, but the data revealed that this did not hold true for all students, given two students made statements that revealed their lack of desire or belief that connections could occur in online courses. Limitations and Future Considerations Given the novelty of this strategy and the context of the pilot study, there were limitations. First, a small sample size comprised the case of study and it took place in one course. For future studies, perhaps a larger sample size could be available and the research could be expanded to additional online courses either taught by the author or additional instructors. Another limitation is that this was a pilot study. Based on feedback from Item 11, changes to the structure and deliberately planned discussions will be made to determine if students feel more connected. This information is beyond the scope of research questions and was included on the questionnaire to collect information for future planning. For example, students repeatedly asked for more structured interactions within the community group by way of discussion board prompts. Also, students requested to start community group interactions from the onset of the semester. Another avenue worth pursing is to examine student engagement in the online course to determine if there is any link between feelings of isolation or lack of benefits provided by community groups and course engagement and participation. Finally, additional questioning of students who report feelings of isolation or lack of benefit in using community groups should


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take place to determine underlying reasons for this. This could include a focus group interview or through additional questioning via questionnaire. For practical application in courses, consideration should be given to when the community groups are constructed. To create groups at the onset of the semester immediately introduces students to others with similar interests or majors. However, students regularly add or drop courses up to weeks into the semester, changing group dynamics. If the groups are created two-to-three weeks into the semester, valuable time is lost in relationship development. It is recommended that groups be created immediately prior to the start of the class. Students can be introduced to community group members on the first day of class, but course instructors can exercise flexibility to revise groups, if needed. Careful planning for structured interactions should be considered, particularly when constructing prompts for discussion. Prompts should be specific to the course and afford opportunities for deep thought, reflection, and conversation among students in the groups. Social interactions should be included in prompts, as well. For future facilitation, weekly or biweekly structured prompts aligned to course content could be constructed with at least three structured social check-ins throughout the semester. Social check-ins require no content discussion, but foster a sense of human connection within the community groups. Finally, encourage “social” interactions outside of the discussion board interactions. Ask students to check on each other as “human beings,” not merely students enrolled in the same online course who have similar major areas of study. This creates social and academic connections between students within community groups. The implications of this research are significant. If students sense that they are connected with others, they could be more likely to engage in online courses. Successful use of the community groups strategy could decrease drop-out rates in online courses, thereby increasing course completion rates. Additionally, students can potentially create networks of peers within their field and develop long-term professional relationships. Conclusion In conclusion, there was a positive response to the use of community groups to promote connectedness in the online learning environment for this course. The community groups strategy has great potential to fulfill students’ psychological need for connectedness within the


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online learning environment. As noted in the literature, this could be a strategy to retain students enrolled in online courses, moving them one step closer to graduation. Connectedness is a key component of motivation; community groups have the capacity to connect small groups of students in the online learning environment. Author Biography Dr. Erin Klash is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Auburn University Montgomery. Research interests related to this topic include instructional strategies teachers use to facilitate effective learning environments in the elementary and higher education classroom setting.

References Banna, J., Lin, M., Stewart, M., & Fialkowski, M. (2015). Interaction matters: Strategies to promote engaged learning in an online introductory nutrition course. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 11(2), 249-261. Bernard, H. R., & Ryan, G. W. (2010). Analyzing qualitative data: Systematic approaches. SAGE Publications, Inc. Bogden, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2007). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods. Pearson Education, Inc. Britt, M. (2015). How to better engage online students with online strategies. College Student Journal, 49(3), 399-404. Chen, K., & Jang, S. (2010). Motivation in online learning: Testing a model of selfdetermination theory. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 741-752. Dixson, M. (2010). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: What do students find engaging? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), 1-13. Driscoll, A., Jicha, K., Hunt, A., Tichavsky, L., & Thompson, G. (2012). Can online courses deliver in-class results? A comparison of student performance and satisfaction in an


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online versus a face-to-face introductory sociology course. Teaching Sociology, 40(4), 312-331. Gillett-Swan, J., (2017). The challenges of online learning: Supporting and engaging the isolated learner. Journal of Learning Design, 10(1), 20-30. Hartnett, M., St. George, A., & Dron, J. (2011). Examining motivation in online c environments: Complex, multifaceted, and situation-dependent. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(6), 20-38. Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., & Jetten, J. (2015). Social connectedness and health. Encyclopedia of Geropsychology. doi: 10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_46-1 Jaggars, S. (2014). Choosing between online and face-to-face courses: Community college student voices. American Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 27-38. Jan, S., & Vlachopoulos, P. (2018). Influence of learning design of the formation of online communities of learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4), 16. Kahn, P., Everington, L., Kelm, K., Reid, I., & Watkins, F. (2017). Understanding student engagement in online learning environments: The role of reflexivity. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65, 203-218. King, F. (2002). A virtual student: Not an ordinary Joe. Internet and Higher Education, 5, 157166. Kushnir, L.P. & Berry, K.C. (2014). Inside, Outside, Upside Down: New Directions in Online Teaching and Learning. Presented at International Conference e-Learning 2014. Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/157763/ Martin, F., & Bolliger, D. (2018). Engagement matters: Student perceptions on the importance of engagement strategies in the online learning environment. Online Learning, 22(1), 205-222. May, L., Acquaviva, K., Dorfman, A., & Posey, L. (2009). Medical student perceptions of selfpaced, web-based electives: A descriptive study. The American Journal of Distance Education, 23, 212-223.


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Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed). SAGE Publications, Inc. National Center for Educational Statistics. (2020). Definitions and data: Who is nontraditional? Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs/web/97578e.asp National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Number and percentage of students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by distance education participation, location of student, level of enrollment, and control and level of institution: Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 (Table 311.15). https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_311.15.asp?current=yes O’Neill D., & Sai, T. (2014). Why not? Examining college students’ reasons for avoiding an online course. Higher Education, 68, 1-14. Orcutt, J., & Dringus, L. (2017). Beyond being there: Practices that establish presence, engage students and influence curiosity in a structured online learning environment. Online Learning, 21(3), 15-35. Posey, L., & Lyons, L. (2011). The instructional design of online collaborative learning. Journal of Education Research, 5(3/4), 361-380. Raymond, A., Jacob, E., Jacob, D., & Lyons, J. (2016). Peer learning a pedagogical approach to enhance online learning: A qualitative exploration. Nurse Education Today, 44, 169-169. Reilly, J., Gallagher-Lepak, S., & Killion, C. (2012). “Me and my computer”: Emotional factors in online learning. Nursing Education Perspectives, 22(2), 100-105. Revere, L., & Kovach, J. (2011). Online technologies for engaged learning: A meaningful synthesis for educators. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 12(2), 113-124. Roberts, T., & McInnerney, J. (2007). Seven problems of online group learning (and their solutions). Educational Technology & Society, 10(4), 257-268. Ryan, R. & Deci, E. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. Ryan, R. & Deci, E. (2020). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from a self-determination theory perspective: Definitions, theory, practices, and future directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 61, 1-11.


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Seaman, J. E., Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2018). Grade increase: Tracking distance education in the United States. Retrieved from Babson Survey Research Group website: http://onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradeincrease.pdf The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (n.d). About Carnegie classification. http://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/ Willging, P., & Johnson, S. (2009). Factors that influence students’ decision to dropout of online courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(3), 115-127. Yuan, J., & Kim, C. (2013). Guidelines for facilitating the development of learning communities in online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30, 220-232.

Table 1 Demographics of Participating Students Enrolled in the Course; Fall, 2019 Major

Total

African

African

White

White

Trad.

Nontrad.

Students

American

American

Female

Male

Student

Student

in Major

Female

Male

14

1

0

13

0

9

5

Secondary ELA

2

0

0

2

0

2

0

Secondary Math

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

Secondary

2

0

0

1

1

1

1

Childhood Education

Science Note. This table represents demographic information of teacher candidates (study participants) enrolled in “Measurement and Assessment in Classroom Teaching” course and provided consent to participate in this study.


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Appendix A: Email Template Inviting Students to Join Community Groups Greetings! I hope this message finds you well. I have found that in online classes, there are several ways to foster community and collaboration within the setting. One such way is through something I like to call “Community Groups.” There are several majors represented in the class, so I created small groups of students with, mostly, similar majors. The Community Group serves several purposes. First, it’s a group of like-major people who are sharing a similar experience: this class. You can ask each other questions, clarify content, ask for feedback, etc. to enhance your positive experience with the class. Second, we will do a couple of structured peer reviews this semester and this group will help you greatly with that discussion board forum (stay tuned for more info!). Finally, I have found that it just helps students in an online setting to connect with others and have received very positive feedback about the experience. Your group consists of I also wanted to mention that I used your University email to connect you with and introduce you to the members of your group (if you don’t already know them). You should be able to see group members’ University user name, if not email, on this message. If you don’t see the email, just add “@aum.edu” to the user name. You do not need to keep me on your group messages. Many students have used the GroupMe app and/or text messages to communicate. Though it’s not necessary, you are welcome to communicate in whatever manner works best for your group. As always, if you need me, please feel free to email, come by my office during office hours, or set up a Zoom meeting during available times listed in the syllabus.


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Appendix B: Community Groups Reflective Questionnaire Community Groups Reflective Survey Background: In your course this semester, FNDS 4800 or FNDS 6800, you were assigned to a “community group” of students with similar major areas of study as a strategy to help you with coursework and to help provide connections with other students in the online setting. The reflective survey below if for me to gain more information about how this community group was used, if it proved beneficial to you, and to reflect on future changes that might benefit students in future sections of the courses, as well as the broader teaching community (other courses, colleges, and universities). Directions: Please respond to the following items. 1. In what course section are you currently enrolled? FNDS 4800 or FNDS6800 2. What is your major area of study? ________________________________________ 3. How many members were in your community group? _________________________ 4. Prior to being introduced to your community group, did you know any members of the group? If so, how many? __________________________________________________________________ 5. How often did you collaborate with your community group per week? 0 times 1-2 times 3-5 times 6-10 times more than 10 times 6. What method or methods did you use to communicate with your community group? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 7. Do you feel that your community group was able to help and guide you through concepts related to course content? Please explain your answer. ________________________________________________________________________


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________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 8. As a result of being in a community group, do you feel that you developed stronger relationships with other students in who share a similar major? Explain your response? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 9. Do you feel being a part of the community group helped you to feel “more connected” in an online learning environment? Explain your response? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 10. Do you recommend continuing the use of community groups in future sections of FNDS 4/6800? Why or why not? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 11. What additional comments or suggestions do you have about the: a. Construction of community groups __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ b. Introduction of students within the community groups __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ c. Use of community groups within the course __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ d. Anything else you want to share! __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Thank you very much for your participation in this survey!


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Lesson Study with Pre-service Teachers: Learning to Teach English Language Learners Rosemarie Michaels Dominican University of California

Abstract Pre-service teachers at a private university in California participated in a lesson study program prior to their full-time student teaching experiences in elementary schools. However, pre-service teachers consistently report that they learn very little about teaching English language learners (ELLs), even though lesson study sessions take place in schools serving predominantly ELLs. The lesson study program was redesigned to integrate collaboration among student teachers, mentor teachers, and university instructors to design lessons to teach all students, with a focus on planning for the academic needs of ELLs. Survey-research methodology was used to collect data to answer the research question: What are the effects of a lesson study program on student teachers’ professional growth? Results indicate that lesson study has a powerful impact on student teachers’ pedagogy, specifically, in their confidence and ability to plan instruction for and teach ELLs, especially for pre-service teachers that teach the research lesson. Keywords: Lesson study, English language learners, teacher preparation, professional development Introduction This study describes a university lesson study program and its impact on the professional growth of pre-service teachers. This article provides a review of literature on lesson study with pre-service teachers and their preparation to teach English language learners (ELLs); the protocol for implementation of a university lesson study program specifically redesigned to address preparation for teaching ELLs; and its impact on pre-service teachers’ professional growth.


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Context and Background Pre-service teachers at a small, private university in northern California participated in a lesson study program, which was embedded in coursework throughout the teacher preparation program. The primary goal of the lesson study program was to bridge the gap between theory and practice for pre-service teachers through guided experiences in the real world of elementary classrooms. The program is based on the Japanese professional development model of lesson study, wherein a team of classroom teachers collaboratively plans, observes, reflects, and analyzes research lessons as a way to enhance student learning through improved instruction (Lewis, 2009; Lewis & Hurd, 2011). Research lessons are collaboratively planned to focus on an aspect of teaching or classroom instruction (Chassels & Melville, 2009; Lewis & Hurd, 2011). The university lesson study program is similar, however, classroom teachers individually plan and teach lessons for pre-service teachers, demonstrating effective instructional strategies for the academic content area of focus. Pre-service teachers observe, participate, analyze, and reflect on the lessons in collaboration with classroom teachers and university instructors. Lesson study sessions take place at elementary schools serving diverse student populations, including ELLs, and are facilitated by university instructors. The focus of the sessions is on best instructional practices for specific content areas to facilitate pre-service teachers’ understanding of the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful. Prior research conducted at this university indicates that pre-service teachers’ professional growth is positively impacted through the lesson study program, however, preservice teachers consistently report that they learn very little about teaching ELLs, even though lesson study sessions take place in schools serving predominantly students whose first language is other than English (Michaels, 2015). In addition, classroom teachers plan lessons in isolation; so pre-service teachers miss an important aspect of Japanese lesson study, that is, the collaborative planning of research lessons to address the academic needs of students. Moreover, prior to the student teaching semester, pre-service teachers take a foundation ELLs course, but university instructors and mentor teachers report the knowledge and skills gained in this course do not transfer to their lesson planning or pedagogical practice during student teaching. This is a significant issue, as pre-service teachers need to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to


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meet the needs of all students, including ELLs, prior to earning a California teaching credential [California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), 2016]. Therefore, the lesson study program was redesigned to incorporate the collaborative planning of research lessons, mirroring traditional Japanese lesson study practices. During seminars, student teachers, mentor teachers, and university instructors collaboratively design research lessons to teach and reach all students, with a focus on best pedagogical practices for teaching ELLs. (Student teachers are pre-service teachers in their final semester in the teacher preparation program, working full-time with mentor teachers in their classrooms). The following week, a lead student teacher teaches the research lesson in his or her elementary classroom, while the university instructor, mentor teacher, and student teachers observe and participate. Student teachers take notes on the lesson and gather evidence of student learning. Immediately following the research lesson, student teachers, the mentor teacher, and the university instructor meet to collaboratively debrief and analyze the student learning and reflect on the research lesson. Thus, student teachers are participating members of a learning community that is collaborative and authentic, which may serve to prepare them for the teaching profession and their future classrooms. Purpose The purpose of this study is four-fold: 1) connect the literature on lesson study with preservice teachers and their preparation to teach ELLs, 2) describe the protocol of a redesigned university lesson study program for student teachers, 3) discuss the impact of the program on student teachers, and 4) discuss implications for effective practices in teacher preparation. The following question guided this research: What are the effects of a lesson study program on student teachers’ professional growth? Literature Review Preparation of Elementary Pre-service Teachers to Teach ELLs The number of ELLs attending public schools in the United States (US) has steadily increased over the last three decades and will continue to do so [National Center for Education


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Statistics (NCES), 2019; Villegas, SaizdeLaMora, Martin & Mills, 2018]. NCES (2019) reports that in 2016, the percentage of K-12 public school students who were ELLs was 9.6 percent, that is, 4.9 million students. California has the greatest population of ELLs; nearly 21% of their public school students are ELLs (NCES, 2019). As the population of ELLs continues to rise, pre-service teachers need to be prepared to meet the academic needs of these students. To maximize their opportunity to learn, ELLs require access to the same challenging grade level academic content and skills as their peers (Fairbain & Jones-Bo, 2010; Villegas et al., 2018). Unfortunately, pre-service teachers are inadequately prepared to effectively teach ELLs (Darling-Hammond, 2006; Durgunoglu & Hughes, 2010; Hallman & Meineke, 2016, Hutchinson, 2013; Liu & Ball, 2019). In response, teacher preparation programs across the US are being called upon to address this need (Hallman & Meineke, 2016; Hutchinson, 2013; Liu & Ball, 2019; Lucas & Villegas, 2011). As ELLs are a considerable portion of California’s student population, in 2016 the CTC mandated that all pre-service teachers be prepared to teach ELLs. California pre-service teachers must understand and “be able to apply pedagogical theories, principles, and instructional practices for the comprehensive instruction” (CTC, 2016, p. 3) of ELLs. Teacher educators agree that pre-service teachers should have fundamental knowledge of language acquisition that provides a foundation for understanding ELLs and planning instruction for their academic success (e.g., Bollin, 2007; Fairbain & Jones-Bo, 2010; Villegas et al., 2018; Wright, 2015). The most prevalent way teacher preparation programs prepare pre-service teachers to teach ELLs is through a foundation ELLs course. Characteristically, foundation ELLs courses include theories of language acquisition and pedagogical strategies for teaching ELLs academic content and skills at varying levels of English acquisition. Researchers of foundation ELLs courses study the evolution of pre-service teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about ELLs over the course of the semester. This is the most studied aspect in the field of teaching ELL research, as pre-service teachers’ knowledge and beliefs influence the way they will teach and view ELLs in their own classrooms (Pu, 2012; Villegas et al., 2018). As this is a newer field of study, the research base is small and conducted by the university instructors of the foundation ELLs courses.


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Jimenez-Silva, Olson, and Hernandez (2012) studied their pre-service teachers’ efficacy and confidence in instructing ELLs while enrolled in such a course. Jimenez-Silva et al. (2012) found that lectures and readings on foundational pedagogical theories and practices for meeting the needs of ELLs did little to increase pre-service teachers’ efficacy. However, using collaborative instructional strategies, thereby engaging pre-service teachers with each other and the course content, significantly raised pre-service teachers’ levels of efficacy and confidence in teaching ELLs. Markos (2012) studied how pre-service teachers’ beliefs about, and understanding of, ELLs evolved while enrolled in her foundations ELLs course. At the beginning of the course, pre-service teachers held a deficit-based, limited understanding of ELLs. Over the course of the semester, Markos (2012) engaged them in the course content using a variety of personal and collaborative reflection activities. At semester’s end, pre-service teachers acknowledged their prior limited thinking and substantially broadened their understanding of ELLs, including appreciation of unique cultures, languages, and experiences. In addition, pre-service teachers understood the necessity for adapting instruction to meet the academic needs of ELLs. Pu (2012) and Bollin (2007) also studied the evolution of pre-service teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about ELL during foundation ELLs courses, however, fieldwork with ELLs was an integral component. Pu (2012) required her pre-service teachers to work with one ELL for 20 hours in an elementary school, while Bollin (2007) required pre-service teachers to tutor elementary ELLs in their homes for 10 weeks. Pre-service teachers in both studies kept weekly journals, wherein they reflected on their experiences with ELLs and also submitted final reflective essays on their overall fieldwork experiences. During classroom observations, preservice teachers in Pu’s (2012) study recorded teachers’ accommodation strategies to make academic content accessible and then practiced using those strategies with small groups of ELLs. Results of both studies indicate that pre-service teachers developed confidence and a deeper understanding of ELLs. Pre-service teachers also learned the factors that effect ELLs’ academic performance and the importance of differentiating instruction to accommodate ELLs (Bollin, 2007; Pu, 2012). This is best illustrated by comments in the reflective essays, “The greatest thing I learned from this experience is that not all of the children in a classroom can be taught in the same way. Every student is different and goes home to a different story” (Bollin,


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2007, p.184). “I now see it is my job to pinpoint the specific strengths and weaknesses of all my students, especially English learners, to give them the support they need and deserve” (Pu, 2012, p. 9). In addition, fieldwork with ELLs facilitated conversations between university instructors and pre-service teachers on teaching ELLs, thereby connecting the pedagogical principles and theories of teaching ELLs to actual practice. Daniel (2014) studied how four elementary student teachers learned to teach ELLs during their student teaching experiences in schools serving ELLs. Daniel (2014) used case study methodology to gather data through individual and group interviews and classroom observations. Unfortunately, throughout the semester the student teachers “heard, observed, and participated in multiple teaching and learning processes that perpetuated inequitable education practices for ELLs” (Daniel, p.13, 2014). Mentor teachers did not discuss or model effective pedagogy for working with ELLs, nor did they model supportive dispositions and beliefs about ELLs. Student teachers internalized mentor teachers’ beliefs and deficit thinking about ELLs and provided little or no attention to, or accommodations for, the ELLs in their classrooms. Daniels (2014) proposes that it is not only important for student teachers to engage in fieldwork in schools with ELLs, mentor teachers need to be experienced in working effectively with ELLs and maintain strong connections with university instructors. Lesson Study in Elementary Pre-service Teacher Preparation Lesson Study is a promising practice in pre-service teacher preparation, as it connects theory and practice through collaboration and reflection among pre-service teachers, university instructors, and classroom teachers in elementary schools. The practice of including pre-service teachers in lesson study is new; therefore, the research base is small. Typically, university instructors of education methods courses conduct the studies to discern the impact of lesson study on pre-service teachers’ professional growth in pedagogical knowledge and skills in specific academic content areas. In two such studies, teams of pre-service teachers in mathematics methods courses collaboratively planned, observed, taught, and then debriefed research lessons (Chassels & Melville, 2009; Pothen & Murata, 2007). Results indicate that pre-service teachers’ professional growth was positively impacted by the lesson study experiences. Specifically, pre-service


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teachers’ mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge improved, due to the lesson study experience (Chassels & Melville, 2009; Pothen & Murata, 2007). In addition, Chassels & Melville (2009) found that pre-service teachers expanded their knowledge of effective instructional strategies, including accommodations for diverse learners. Post and Varoz (2008) studied the impact of a lesson study program on the professional growth of classroom teachers and pre-service teachers in their mathematics methods courses. Teams of classroom and pre-service teachers planned, debriefed, revised, and retaught research lessons. Classroom teachers taught the first lesson, while pre-service teachers taught the revised lesson. Post and Veroz (2008) reported improvement in mathematics content and pedagogical knowledge and skills in both pre-service and classroom teachers. Marble (2007) also studied the effects of lesson study on pre-service teachers’ professional growth, though the focus was on science pedagogical knowledge and skills and reflective practice. Teams of three pre-service teachers in Marble’s (2007) science methods course completed the lesson study cycle three times to ensure all team members had the opportunity to teach the research lesson. Marble (2007) reports significant improvements in preservice teachers’ ability to plan lessons, create positive learning environments, and assess student learning. In addition, pre-service teachers’ confidence and ability to reflect on teaching practice increased over time. Michaels (2015) studied the impact of a lesson study program on pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and skills in four content areas (math, science, reading, and art) and in learning to teach ELLs. Classroom teachers planned and taught research lessons observed by pre-service teachers and university instructors. Pre-service and classroom teachers collaboratively debriefed the lesson facilitated by the university instructor. Results indicated that pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and skills improved, due to the lesson study sessions. Unfortunately, pre-service teachers learned little about teaching ELLs, even though lesson studies took place in classrooms with predominately ELLs. However, Michaels (2015) reports that pre-service teachers learned the most about the pedagogical knowledge and skills of focus, and recommended consideration of this finding in lesson study programs and future research.


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The literature in preparing elementary pre-service teachers to teach ELLs and in lesson study in pre-service teacher preparation is small, yet evolving. This study contributes to the body of literature by intentionally connecting learning to teach ELLs to the collaborative practice of lesson study in a teacher preparation program. Key features of both areas of research are a combination of pedagogy, collaboration, and reflective practice. The collaborative, reflective nature of lesson study, which also integrates effective pedagogy into fieldwork, may serve to develop pre-service teachers’ pedagogy and pedagogical skills in learning to teach the growing population of ELLs. Methodology This study took place in a small, private university in California and in the elementary schools in a small city adjacent to a large metropolitan area. Survey-research methodology was used to measure the impact of collaborative research lesson planning sessions and subsequent lesson study sessions on student teachers’ professional growth. Participants Participants were 70 student teachers in the elementary teacher preparation program at the university. Student teachers were undergraduate seniors (n = 31) and graduate students (n = 39) during their final semester in the program and were 68% White, 26% Latina, and 6% Asian. All were enrolled in one of seven student teaching seminar courses, while concurrently student teaching full-time in one of five public elementary schools serving ELLs; 41% - 85% of the schools’ student populations were ELLs. Classrooms of predominately ELLs were chosen for the lesson study sessions. Specifically, in three classrooms, 95% of the students were ELLs, while two classrooms held ELL populations of 85% and 66%, respectively. Seven student teachers were chosen by university instructors of the seminar courses to teach the lesson study sessions. Lead student teachers collaborated with their mentor teachers to choose the academic content area of focus and the date of the lesson study session on the school site. University instructors invited mentor teachers to participate in the research planning session on the university campus; all mentor teachers chose to do so.


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Instruments Three post-surveys were used to measure the lesson study program’s impact on student teachers’ professional growth following participation in the research lesson planning sessions and subsequent lesson study sessions: Research Lesson Planning Survey, Lesson Study Survey, and Lesson Study Survey for Lead Student Teachers. The researcher and university instructors collaborated to create the surveys grounded in California CTC’s Teacher Performance Expectations (2016). Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) are research-based pedagogical knowledge and skills student teachers are required to demonstrate prior to earning a teaching credential. Therefore, the TPEs served as research-based constructs for the surveys. The three surveys were piloted with one seminar class of 16 student teachers. The researcher and university instructors analyzed and discussed the resulting data and recommendations for improvement provided by student teachers and their instructors, and then revised the surveys accordingly. Content validity was established through these multiple reviews of the surveys. A measure for reliability was not used, similar to lesson study research in the literature review. The post-Research Lesson Planning Survey measured the extent to which planning sessions developed student teachers’ pedagogy and pedagogical skills, specifically in planning for and teaching ELLs, and teaching the academic content of the lesson. The survey also measured the planning sessions’ impact on student teachers’ confidence and collaborative practice. These pedagogical skills were chosen as areas of focus because they influence the way student teachers work with ELLs (Bollin, 2007; Pu, 2012; Villegas et al., 2018), are key features in the research base, and are research-based constructs in TPEs (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016). The post-Lesson Study Survey measured the impact of the lesson study session on the same pedagogy and pedagogical skills and also included making content accessible to ELLs and developing as a professional educator, two additional TPE requirements (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016). A different post-Lesson Study Survey for Lead Student Teachers was administered to lead student teachers, that is, those who taught the research lessons. The post-Lesson Study Survey for Lead Student Teachers measured the impact of the lesson study session on their pedagogy and reflective practice.


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Procedures A research lesson planning session was held during a regular class meeting of the student teaching seminar courses. University instructors administered the post-Research Lesson Planning Survey to student teachers immediately after the planning session. The following week, lead student teachers taught the research lessons at their elementary school sites, while the student teachers in their seminar course observed and participated in the lesson, which was facilitated by the university instructor. University instructors administered the post-Lesson Study Survey and post-Lesson Study Survey for Lead Student Teachers following the lesson analysis and reflection sessions. Data Analysis Due to the small sample size, descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data collected from three surveys. Means and percentages of student teachers and lead student teachers survey responses were aggregated and calculated for the research lesson planning sessions and lesson study sessions. Data are represented on Tables 1-6. Protocol for the Redesigned Lesson Study Program with Student Teachers A description of the redesigned university lesson study program is below. The purpose of providing the protocol is to clarify and share the procedures used in the teacher preparation program to prepare student teachers to meet the academic needs of ELLs. Research lesson planning session. Prior to student teaching, student teachers take a foundations ELLs course and methods courses for teaching academic content. The purpose of the planning session is to provide student teachers the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills learned in prior coursework to collaboratively plan a lesson that meets the academic needs of all ELLs in the class. Therefore, the research focus of the lesson is teaching ELLs. To begin, the university instructor of the seminar course asks a student teacher making consistent progress in the teacher preparation program to be the lead student teacher for the lesson study experience. Lead student teachers check in with their mentor teachers before confirming this responsibility then together choose an academic area of focus for the lesson. The


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university instructor invites the mentor teacher to participate in the research lesson planning session on the university campus. Participants in the collaborative planning session are the university instructor, all student teachers enrolled in the seminar course, and one mentor teacher. The university instructor facilitates the collaborative planning session and ensures all participants have access to a digital and hard copy of California’s English Language Development standards (2012) for the grade level of focus. The lead student teacher creates a handout that describes the academic content and objectives for the lesson and includes a description of the ELLs in the class. Lead student teacher and mentor teacher provide background information about the class and more specific information about ELLs. The university’s lesson plan format is used to guide the discussion and planning of lessons to teach all students, with a focus on best pedagogical practices for teaching the ELLs in the class. Plans are also made for how the student teachers may participate during the upcoming lesson; participation depends on lesson activities, and the academic and social needs of the elementary students. Lesson study session at an elementary school. The following week, the lead student teacher teaches the research lesson, while the university instructor, mentor teacher, and student teachers observe and participate as planned. The university instructor and student teachers take notes on the lesson, gather evidence of student learning, and record questions and observations. Immediately following the lesson, student teachers, the university instructor, and the mentor teacher meet to collaboratively analyze and reflect on the lesson. Mentor teachers are not always able to participate, as they are responsible for teaching their students. The university instructor facilitates the collaborative session with a focus on ELLs’ experiences and learnings. As in traditional lesson study, the lead student teacher begins the session with comments and reflections about the lesson. Following the lead student teacher’s reflections, student teachers share their observations and experiences. The conversation centers on observations, reflections, and questions on ELLs’ learning of the lesson objectives, teaching ELLs, teaching academic content, and pedagogical practice. Participants also discuss the successes of the lesson and how it could be revised for improved student learning. During the next seminar course class meeting, the university instructor leads a final reflective discussion


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about the lesson study session. Results/Findings Data were analyzed to answer the following research question: What are the effects of a lesson study program on student teachers’ professional growth? Descriptive statistics were generated from survey responses and organized into tables that include percentages and means. Survey responses to open-ended questions were analyzed quantitatively and are reported simultaneously with descriptive statistics. A 4-point Likert-type scale was used on each survey, with the weight of 4 given to the response with the most positive result. Specifically, responses were coded: a great deal = 4, to some extent = 3, minimally = 2, not at all = 1 or strongly agree = 4, agree = 3, disagree = 2, strongly disagree = 1. Survey results are reported on Tables 1-6, organized by student teacher group (i.e., student teachers and lead student teachers), research lesson planning session (tables 1-4), and lesson study session on the school site (tables 5-6). Overall, student teachers reported that their professional growth was positively impacted by the both the lesson planning and lesson study sessions, with lead student teachers consistently reporting greater impact. Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Student Teachers’ Pedagogy Student teachers reported that participating in the research lesson planning session impacted their pedagogy (Tables 1 and 2). Lead student teachers’ results were consistently in the “a great deal” category, while the student teachers reported results in the “to some extent” category, even though the university instructor, not the lead student teacher, facilitated the planning session. For example, 86% of lead student teachers and 47% of student teachers reported that the planning session impacted their ability to plan instruction for ELLs “a great deal” (M = 3.86 and M = 2.95) with 43% of student teachers reporting it impacted their ability to plan for ELLs “to some extent.” Similar results were reported for teaching ELLs and teaching the academic content. Eighty six percent of lead student teachers indicated that the planning session impacted their ability to teach ELLs (M = 3.86) and teach the academic content area “a great deal” (M = 3.86), while student teachers indicated that the planning session impacted their ability to teach ELLs and the academic content “to some extent” (M = 2.91 and M = 3.03,


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respectively). However, it is important to note that over 40% of the student teachers reported that their ability to teach ELLs and the academic content was positively impacted “a great deal.” Only 10% of student teacher indicated that the planning session “minimally” impacted their ability to plan for and teach ELLs. Student teachers’ ability to collaborate was also positively impacted: 100% of lead student teachers and 56% of student teachers indicated that participating in the lesson planning session greatly impacted their ability to collaborate with colleagues and mentors (M = 4.00 and M = 3.12, respectively), although 7% of student teachers reported their ability was impacted “minimally.” At the end of the planning survey student teachers were asked to list new teaching strategies they learned. Nearly all student teachers listed at least two new strategies they learned for teaching ELLs and some added comments to demonstrate they not only learned new strategies, but understood the rationale for their use. For example, a student teacher commented that she learned to “front load lessons with what students already know (access prior knowledge), this gets them engaged and ready, confident for the teaching that’s coming” (personal communication, February 7, 2018). This comment and others were surprising, as it is expected that student teachers learn this pedagogical knowledge in the foundations ELLs and methods coursework prior to student teaching. For example, student teachers commented, “There’s a difference between things needed for emerging students vs. expanding ELLs” (personal communication, September 26, 2018); I learned the "importance of teaching math vocabulary to ELLs” (personal communication, March 14, 2018); and “I learned how important it is to explicitly teach writing skills” (personal communication, February 7, 2018). Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Student Teachers’ Pedagogical Skills Student teachers’ pedagogical skills, that is, confidence, planning, and collaborative practice were impacted by collaboratively planning the research lesson (Tables 3 and 4). Lead student teachers’ results were consistently in the “strongly agree” category, while student teachers reported results in the “agree” category. For example, all student teachers agreed that they are more confident in lesson planning for all students; lead student teachers “strongly agreed” while student teachers “agreed” with this statement (M = 3.71 and 2.79, respectively).


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The one time the results were nearly the same was in planning for ELLs, both lead student teachers and student teachers strongly agreed that due to the planning session they are more confident in planning for ELLs (M = 3.86 and 3.83, respectively). All lead student teachers (100%) “strongly agreed” that they learned new strategies for working with students (M = 4.00), while 58% of student teachers “strongly agreed” they learned strategies (M = 3.08). All student teachers reported that their collaborative practice was impacted through participation in the planning session. Student teachers agreed that they better understand how to collaboratively plan with colleagues and are more likely to plan with colleagues (M = 2.98 and 3.11, respectively), while nearly all lead student teachers strongly agreed that they better understand how to collaboratively plan with colleagues and are more likely to plan with colleagues (M = 3.86 and 3.71, respectively). Lastly, lead student teachers strongly agreed that they know more how to work with their mentor teacher (M = 3.71), while student teachers were more mixed in their responses. Fifty three percent agreed, but 20% disagreed that they learned more about working with their mentor teachers. Student teachers were asked to comment about their learnings at the end of the research lesson planning surveys. Many commented on the benefits of collaboration. A lead student teacher commented, “I learned that collaboration between teachers is beneficial for everyone involved in the lesson” (personal communication, September 26, 2018). Another lead teacher explained, “Planning with other teachers gives more opportunities to learn and use new strategies” (personal communication, March 14, 2018). A student teacher explained that she “liked collaborating because it helped me remember strategies and instilled more thought in different components of lesson planning. It is also a good way to become more creative with lesson planning” (personal communication, March 14, 2018). However, some student teacher comments make it clear that they see that collaboration takes work, “Collaborating with other teachers is important but not always easy” (personal communication, September 26, 2018). Many student teachers commented on the planning session’s impact on their future practice, for example, a lead student teacher stated, “Collaboration in the workplace is a crucial part of being successful and this experience was good preparation for our future careers in teaching” (personal communication, March 14, 2018).


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Impact of Lesson Study Session on Student Teachers’ Pedagogy Student teachers’ professional growth was positively impacted by the lesson study sessions, in particular their pedagogy for working with ELLs (Table 5). Student teachers learned “a lot” about teaching ELLs and planning instruction for ELLs (M = 3.18 and 3.12, respectively). The highest result was for making content accessible, 57% of student teachers reported learning “a great deal” about making content accessible for ELLs (M = 3.32). Student teachers also learned “a lot” about the teaching the academic content and collaboration with colleagues and mentors (M = 3.09 and 3.12, respectively). Lastly, student teachers reported that they were developing as professional educators (M = 3.09) due to the lesson study session. Student teachers were asked to comment on the most meaningful thing they learned during the lesson study session. Most commented on learning to differentiate instruction, for example, “I learned new ways to utilize grouping and volunteers to maximize the learning for ELLs in the classroom” (personal communication, February 14, 2018). Student teachers also commented on their observations that using effective ELL strategies also enhanced the learning of other students in the class, “I loved watching (lead student teacher’s) strategies for working with her students. It was neat to see how well her strategies for teaching ELL students transferred to her whole class as a way of making content accessible to everyone” (personal communication, October 3, 2018). A student teacher was explicit about the importance of observing effective teaching strategies in schools as she stated the most meaningful thing for her was the “instruction for ELLs - and seeing it done, not just reading about it” (personal communication, February 14, 2018). Impact of Lesson Study on Lead Student Teachers’ Pedagogy and Reflective Practice Lead student teachers’ reported that their professional growth was positively impacted by the lesson study experience (Table 6). Lead student teachers strongly agreed that leading a lesson provided them with the opportunity to reflect on their own teaching practice (M = 3.86) and the experience will improve their practice (M = 3.86). Lead student teachers also agreed that they learned a lot about their own teaching (M = 3.57) and would like to lead a lesson study again (M = 3.43). They also reported that lesson study impacted other participants; lead student


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teachers strongly agree that their students benefitted from the lesson study session (M = 3.86) and their colleagues will student teach more successfully due to their participation (M = 3.71). Lead student teachers provided very positive responses on their survey about their learning. A typical survey ended with, “I really enjoyed this experience and am very grateful for the opportunity” (personal communication, March 21, 2018). Most also commented on lesson study’s impact on their future career, such as, “The experience of leading this lesson study was impactful on who I am as a teacher now and the teacher I will be in the future” (personal communication, October 3, 2018). Discussion Summary of Findings While both student teachers and lead student teachers’ professional growth was positively impacted by the research lesson planning and lesson study sessions, perhaps the most compelling finding is how much more lead student teachers were impacted. Specifically, collaborating to plan research lessons to meet the needs of ELLs impacted lead student teachers’ pedagogy in teaching ELLs, planning instruction for ELLs, teaching academic content, and collaboration to a higher degree than participating student teachers. However, the research planning session greatly impacted both student teachers and lead student teachers’ confidence in planning for ELLs. And due to the planning session, all student teachers are more confident in their lesson planning for all students, know more how to work with their mentor teachers, and are more likely to plan with their colleagues. Similar findings in professional growth were reported after the lesson study sessions. Due to the lesson study session in lead student teacher classrooms, participating student teachers learned a lot about teaching ELLs, making content accessible for ELLs, and planning instruction for ELLs. Lastly, teaching the research lessons provided lead student teachers the opportunity to reflect on and improve their teaching practices. Conclusions Since the population of ELLs in US schools continues to rise, pre-service teachers need to


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be prepared to meet the academic needs of these students. In this study, a university’s lesson study program was redesigned to address this need by incorporating collaborative planning of research lessons with a focus on teaching ELLs. Student teachers, mentor teachers, and university instructors collaboratively designed lessons taught by lead student teachers followed by reflective debriefing conversations in diverse elementary schools, thereby impacting the professional growth of all student teachers. Specifically, student teachers are more confident in planning instruction for ELLs and are better able to teach ELLs and the academic content, due to participation in the lesson study program. In addition, student teachers have a greater understanding of how to collaboratively plan with peers and mentors and are more likely to do so in the future. Lead student teachers, in particular, benefitted from the lesson planning sessions and the opportunity to teach the research lessons for their peers. Perhaps taking on a leadership roll with more responsibilities provided the opportunity for this greater impact. Even though it added a layer of stress, lead student teachers consistently expressed that they enjoyed and learned from the experience, as demonstrated by this comment, “Before the lesson, I was nervous to have my peers watch me, but I definitely think it is both a wonderful learning experience as well as a rewarding experience” (personal communication, October 3, 2018). In order for all student teachers to have this learning experience, the researcher will work with university instructors to incorporate Marble’s (2007) approach to lesson study, that is, small groups of pre-service teachers collaborating on a research lesson in three iterative cycles so that all have the opportunity to plan, observe, reflect, revise, and teach the lesson. Preparing teachers to work effectively with ELLs is a current focus of teacher preparation programs, although many are struggling to do so (Hallman & Meineke, 2016, Hutchinson, 2013; Liu & Ball, 2019). This study contributes to the body of research by intentionally connecting learning to teach ELLs to the collaborative practice of lesson study in a teacher preparation program. The framework for providing facilitated, collaborative planning, teaching, and reflection sessions focused on teaching ELLs provides the needed link between theory and practice, foundation ELLs courses and authentic teaching, that can pave the way for student teachers to become successful classroom teachers of ELLs. However, there are two limitations to this research. First, due to the small sample size,


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results in this study and those reported in the literature review may not be generalizable to other teacher preparation programs. Future research that includes a larger sample of pre-service teachers in more than one teacher preparation program will improve the generalizability of results. Second, the current study is missing the effects of lesson study with ELLs on student teachers’ future practice. How does the impact of the lesson study program transfer to actual teaching practice for successfully teaching ELLs? A more in-depth, longitudinal approach is necessary to elucidate this process. Implications Results of this study can provide guidance for teacher preparation programs engaged in preparing pre-service teachers for their future careers in working with ELLs. It is recommended that teacher preparation programs adopt some form of lesson study to enrich the way they are preparing pre-service teachers to teach ELLs. University instructors working with student teachers can introduce this program as a way to partner more closely with fieldwork schools and mentor teachers. Programs that already provide lesson study opportunities for pre-service teachers can invite mentor teachers to share their expertise on teaching ELLs during university coursework, thereby deepening partnerships with elementary schools as modeled by this study and Post and Varoz’s (2008) research. At the very least, it is recommended that teacher preparation programs connect foundation ELLs courses to guided fieldwork with ELLs in schools that welcome collaboration with the university and that this guided collaboration and attention to teaching ELLs continue throughout the student teaching semester. In this research, traditional Japanese lesson study practice was integrated into the final semester of a university teacher preparation program. Through participation in a collaborative lesson study program, student teachers are learning the pedagogical skills necessary to become confident, reflective educators of diverse student populations. Author Biography Dr. Rosemarie Michaels is an Associate Professor of Education at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. She is chair of the Education Studies Teacher Preparation Program.


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An experienced classroom teacher, Rosemarie has taught in higher education for over 20 years and is dedicated to developing university-school partnerships, both locally and abroad. She was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan in spring 2019, where she worked closely with professors and graduate students on professional development through lesson study. Rosemarie recently received the Francoise Lepage Award for Global Innovation and Global Education. Her professional interests include effective, equitable pedagogy in teacher education and K-12 classrooms, collaborative lesson study, and the 21st century skills.

References Bollin, G. G. (2007). Preparing teachers for Hispanic immigrant children: A service learning approach. Journal of Latinos and Education, 6(2), 177-189. California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016). California teacher performance expectations. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/educatorprep/standards/adopted-tpes-2016.pdf California English Language Development Standards (2012). https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/documents/eldstndspublication14.pdf Chassels, C., & Melville, W. (2009). Collaborative, reflective, and iterative Japanese lesson study in an initial teacher education program: Benefits and challenges, Canadian Journal of Education, 32(4), 734-763. Daniel, S. M. (2014). Learning to educate English language learners in pre-service elementary practicums. Teacher Education Quarterly, 41(2), 5-28. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Powerful teacher education: Lessons from exemplary programs. Jossey-Bass. Durgunoglu, A. Y., & Hughes, T. (2010). How prepared are the U.S. pre-service teachers to teach English language learners? International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 22(1), 32-41. Fairbain, S., & Jones-Bo, S. (2010). Differentiating instruction and assessment for English language learners. Caslon Publishing.


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Hallman, H. L., & Meineke, H. R. (2016). Addressing the teaching of English learners in the United States: A case study of teacher educators’ response. Brock Education Journal, 26(1), 68-82. Hutchinson, M. (2013). Bridging the gap: Pre-service teachers and their knowledge of working with English language learners. TESOL Journal, 4(1), 25-54. Jimenez-Silva, M., Olson, K., & Hernandez, N. J. (2012). The confidence to teach English language learners: Exploring coursework’s role in developing pre-service teachers’ efficacy. The Teacher Educator, 47, 9-28. Lewis, C. C. (2009). What is the nature of knowledge development in lesson study? Educational Action Journal, 17(1), 95-110. Lewis, C. C., & Hurd, J. (2011). Lesson study step by step: How teacher learning communities improve instruction. Heinemann. Liu, K., & Ball, A. F. (2019). Critical reflection and generativity: Toward a framework of transformative teacher education for diverse learners. Review of Research in Education, 43, 68-105. Lucas, T., & Villegas, A. M. (2011). A framework for preparing linguistically responsive teachers. In T. Lucas (Ed.), Teacher preparation for linguistically diverse classrooms: A resource for teacher educators (pp. 55-72). Routledge. Marble, S. T. (2007). Inquiring into teaching: Lesson study in elementary science methods. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18, 935-953. Markos, A. M. (2012). Mandated to learn, guided to reflect. Pre-service teachers’ evolving understanding of English language learners. Issues in Teacher Education, 21(1), 39-57. McMahon, M. T., & Hines, E. (2008). Lesson study with pre-service teachers. The Mathematics Teacher, 102(3), 186-191. Michaels, R. (2015). Bringing lesson study to teacher education: Simultaneously impacting pre-service and classroom teachers. Journal of Scholastic Inquiry: Education, 4(1), 4673. National Center for Education Statistics (2019). English language learners in public schools. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgf.asp


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Post, G., & Varoz, S. (2008). Lesson study groups with prospective and practicing teachers. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(8), 472-478. Pothen, B. E., & Murata, A. (2007). Transforming teachers’ knowledge: The role of lesson study in pre-service education. In Lamberg, T., & Weist, L.R. (Eds). Proceedings of the 29th annual meeting of the North American Chapter for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV, 231-238. Pu, C. (2012). Narrative inquiry: Pre-service teachers’ understanding of teaching English learners. AILACTE Journal, 9(1), 1-18. Villegas, A. M., SaizdeLaMora, K., Martin, A. D., & Mills, T. (2018). Preparing future mainstream teachers to teach English language learners: A review of the empirical research, Education Forum, 82(2), 138-155. Wright, W. E. (2015). Foundations for teaching English language learners. (2nd ed.). Caslon Publishing.

Table 1 Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Student Teachers’ Pedagogy, in percentages Pedagogy

A great deal

To some Extent

Minimally

Not at all

M

Planning instruction for ELLs

47

43

10

-

2.95

Teaching English learners

41

48

10

-

2.91

Teaching academic content

42

54

3

-

3.03

Collaboration with colleagues and mentors

56

37

7

-

3.12

Note. (n = 59)


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Table 2 Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Lead Student Teachers’ Pedagogy, in percentages Pedagogy

A great deal

To some Extent

Planning instruction for ELLs

86

14

Teaching English learners

86

Teaching academic content Collaboration with colleagues and mentors

Minimally

Not at all

M

-

-

3.86

14

-

-

3.86

86

14

-

-

3.86

100

-

-

-

4.00

Note. (n = 7)

Table 3 Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Student Teachers’ Pedagogical Skills, in percentages Strongly Agree

Agree

Disagree Strongly Disagree

M

I learned new strategies for working with students.

58

49

3

-

3.08

I am more confident in lesson planning.

24

64

12

-

2.79

I am more confident in planning for ELLs.

83

17

-

-

3.83

I know more how to work with my mentor teacher.

27

53

20

-

2.74

I better understand how to collaboratively plan with colleagues 39

56

5

-

2.98

I am more likely to plan with colleagues.

39

7

-

3.11

Note. (n = 59)

54


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Table 4 Impact of Research Lesson Planning on Lead Student Teachers’ Pedagogical Skills, in percentages Strongly Agree

Agree

Disagree Strongly Disagree

M

I learned new strategies for working with students.

100

-

-

-

4.00

I am more confident in lesson planning.

71

29

-

-

3.71

I am more confident in planning for ELLs.

86

14

-

-

3.86

I know more how to work with my mentor teacher.

71

29

-

-

3.71

I better understand how to collaboratively plan with colleagues 86

14

-

-

3.86

I am more likely to plan with colleagues.

29

-

-

3.71

Nothing

M

71

Note. (n = 7)

Table 5 Impact of Lesson Study Session on Student Teachers’ Pedagogy, in percentages Pedagogy

A great deal

A lot

A little

Teaching English learners

44

44

11

-

3.18

Making content accessible to ELLs

57

33

10

-

3.32

Planning instruction for ELLs

44

41

11

3

3.12

Teaching academic content

37

51

13

_

3.09

Developing as a professional educator

43

38

19

-

3.09

Collaboration with colleagues and mentors

40

48

13

3.12

Note. (n = 63)


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Table 6 Impact of Leading the Lesson Study on Lead Student Teachers’ Pedagogy and Reflective Practice, in percentages Pedagogy and Reflective Practice

Strongly Agree

Agree

Disagree Strongly Disagree

M

I learned a lot about my own teaching.

57

43

-

-

3.57

I would like to lead a lesson study again.

43

57

-

-

3.43

My own students benefitted from the lesson study session.

86

14

-

-

3.86

I reflected on my own practice during the experience.

86

14

-

-

3.86

Leading a lesson study will improve my own practice.

86

14

-

-

3.86

I benefitted from the research planning session.

71

29

-

I expect my colleagues will student teach more successfully due to their participation.

71

29

-

Note. (n = 7)

3.71 -

3.71


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Mathematics Lesson Study in Elementary Pre-service Teacher Preparation Rosemarie Michaels Dominican University of California

Abstract As elementary teachers are expected to understand and engage students in mandatory mathematical practices, teacher preparation programs are tasked with ensuring pre-service teachers begin their careers with the pedagogical knowledge and skills to be able to do so. A university lesson study program was collaboratively designed with elementary teachers to intentionally integrate mathematical pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy required by state and national standards. A mixed-method design was used to answer the research question: How does lesson study facilitate the development of elementary pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy in mathematics? Findings indicate that lesson study has a positive impact on the development of pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and mathematics pedagogy. Lesson study programs that focus on mathematical pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy in collaboration with classroom teachers can serve as models for exemplary practice in elementary pre-service teacher preparation. Keywords: Lesson study, elementary teacher preparation, mathematics pedagogy, pedagogical knowledge Introduction This study describes the effect of a university lesson study program on elementary preservice teachers’ mathematical pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy. This paper contains a review of literature on lesson study with pre-service teachers preparing to teach mathematics in elementary school, methods for implementing lesson study in collaboration with classroom teachers, and lesson study’s impact on the development of mathematical pedagogical knowledge,


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pedagogical knowledge in general, and mathematics pedagogy in pre-service teachers. Context and Background A challenge for university teacher preparation programs is to prepare elementary preservice teachers to effectively teach mathematics when they are classroom teachers. In 2010, a majority of states in the United States adopted the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-Math) that specify eight Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMPs) for K-12 students (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2020). SMPs describe the habits of mind that foster mathematical understanding and the skills needed to be successful in school and career (see Appendix A for list of SMPs). Although SMPs were designed for students, “they apply to all who do mathematics, including elementary teachers” (Max & Welder, 2020, p. 844). As classroom teachers struggle to implement the CCST-M and SMPs, teacher preparation programs are called upon to prepare teachers to understand and teach these standards (Max & Welder, 2020; Koestler, Felton, Bieda & Otten, 2013). Moreover, California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016) adopted new Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs), which include SMPs within the subject-specific pedagogy for teaching mathematics. As the TPEs are a set of knowledge and skills that pre-service teachers need to demonstrate prior to earning a teaching credential, pre-service teachers are expected to understand and engage students in the SMPs, along with more overarching and subject-specific pedagogies. In 2017, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) released Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics to provide universities with guidance in revising their teacher preparation programs to effectively prepare pre-service teachers to teach the CCSS-Math. Central to AMTE standards is learning to teach through mathematics methods courses that integrate the SMPs and provide foundations in mathematical pedagogical knowledge; and opportunities to learn in guided fieldwork settings through collaborative partnerships between universities and schools with a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction (AMTE, 2017). Incorporating lesson study in pre-service teacher preparation programs is a way to address both the AMTE standards and California’s TPEs. Lesson study in elementary preservice teacher preparation is a professional development tool wherein pre-service teachers plan,


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observe, analyze, and reflect on lessons in collaboration with classroom teachers and professors (Chichibu, 2016; Michaels, 2015). A growing body of research indicates that collaborative lesson study programs that deliberately connect professors with classroom teachers; and teacher preparation coursework with classroom instruction, provide high-quality professional development opportunities and learning experiences for pre-service teachers (Burroughs & Luebeck, 2010; Cajkler, Wood, Norton, & Pedder, 2013; Michaels, 2015). Hence, the focus of the university mathematics lesson study program was revised in collaboration with classroom teachers to incorporate the pedagogical knowledge and mathematics pedagogy described in the TPEs (California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016), while simultaneously addressing the AMTE standards (2017). Similarly, the mathematics methods course in the teacher preparation program was revised to embed the SMPs as a focus for understanding, learning, and teaching mathematics. Purpose The purpose of this study is three-fold: 1) describe the literature on lesson study with elementary pre-service teachers and their preparation to teach mathematics; 2) discuss the effects of lesson study on the development of pre-service teachers’ mathematical pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge in general, and mathematics pedagogy; and 3) examine implications for effectively preparing elementary pre-service teachers to teach mathematics. The following question guided this research: How does lesson study facilitate the development of elementary pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy in mathematics? Literature Review Background Traditionally, lesson study is a professional development practice that engages collaborative teams of classroom teachers in a cycle of planning, teaching, observing, analyzing, revising, and reteaching lessons with the goal of refining instruction to improve student learning (Fernandez & Yoshida, 2004; Lewis & Hurd, 2011). It is not surprising then, that the majority of lesson study research is conducted in K-12 schools with classroom teachers and their students


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(Larssen et al., 2018). Due to the success of these inservice lesson study programs, professors are beginning to incorporate lesson study into pre-service teacher preparation coursework. As it is a recent practice, the research base is small; only 17% of peer-reviewed lesson study research involves pre-service teachers in university teacher preparation programs (Larssen et al., 2018). In addition, as professors adapt lesson study to their unique teacher preparation programs, there is little consistency in how lesson study is conducted or studied in pre-service teacher preparation (Cajkler et al., 2013; Larssen et al., 2018; Wood, 2018). Therefore, the following review of the literature serves to describe the varied, yet small, research base of teacher preparation programs using lesson study to assist in preparing pre-service teachers to teach mathematics in elementary school. Mathematics Lesson Study in Elementary Pre-service Teacher Preparation This literature review includes all lesson study research with pre-service teachers in university teacher preparation programs with a focus on learning to teach mathematics in elementary school. In most of these seven studies, professors conducted research with preservice teachers in their mathematics methods courses using varying forms of the traditional lesson study cycle, that is, collaboratively plan, teach, observe, analyze, reflect, revise, and reteach a mathematics lesson. Fieldwork in elementary schools was a requirement for all preservice teachers in the courses and typically the lesson studies took place at those school sites. Elementary classroom teachers were integral partners in three of the studies. Pothen and Murata (2007) designed a lesson study program for pre-service teachers in their mathematics methods courses, wherein, small teams of pre-service teachers collaborated to plan, observe, and then analyze a mathematics lesson. Pre-service teachers taught the mathematics lesson at their elementary school fieldwork site observed by all other team members. Debriefing sessions consisted of sharing observations, reflecting on teaching practice, and discussions on lessons’ strengths and improvements. Pothen and Murata (2007) collected data on pre-service teachers’ mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge through pre- and post-lesson study surveys and post-lesson study reflective essays. They observed the planning meetings and classroom lessons, but did not facilitate the sessions.


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Pothen and Murata (2007) reported that pre-service teachers’ mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge improved, due to the lesson study experience, and provide a few examples of how this manifested. While planning the lesson, pre-service teachers realized they needed to relearn elementary mathematics concepts, in order to teach them. While collaborating with their peers on lesson planning, they came to deeper understandings of mathematical content. Pothen and Murata (2007) also found that pre-service teachers learned the value and use of assessment in elementary classrooms, specifically, the importance of assessing prior knowledge and students’ learning during instruction. The researchers contribute the characteristic aspects of lesson study for this result, that is, collaborative planning and debriefing mathematics lessons with peers provided pre-service teachers with opportunities to plan, discuss, and think deeply about mathematics content and pedagogy. Small teams of pre-service teachers in Myers (2013) mathematics methods course also collaborated to plan, teach, observe, and then analyze mathematics lessons. She studied preservice teachers’ reflective practice through small group and individual reflective essays of their lesson study experiences. She participated in each aspect of the lesson study process, providing advice and subject matter expertise for her pre-service teachers during lesson planning meetings and post-lesson debriefing sessions, but did not facilitate or guide the sessions. Myers (2013) was surprised to find an absence of critical reflection in her pre-service teachers’ individual and group essays. Myers (2013) also noticed a lack of curiosity and attention to the complexity of teaching and learning. She suggests that pre-service teachers need a knowledgeable and supportive facilitator to provide continuous guidance toward reflective practice throughout the lesson study process. Similarly, small teams of pre-service teachers in Parks’ (2008) mathematics methods course also collaborated to plan, teach, observe, and then analyze mathematics lessons. While Parks (2008) provided guidance during lesson planning sessions, she did not facilitate the lessons taught at fieldwork sites or debriefing sessions, which were held during a mathematics methods class meeting. The focus of this study was on the development of pre-service teachers’ mathematics content knowledge and equity lens through analyses of lesson study essays and audio-recordings of groups’ planning and analysis sessions. Mixed results were reported; some pre-service teachers developed mathematical content knowledge and equity lenses, but others


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formed problematic beliefs about teaching and learning that do not support effective, equitable mathematics pedagogy. Parks (2008) recommends professors carefully structure and facilitate pre-service teachers’ lesson study experiences. Chassels and Melville (2009) studied the effects of lesson study on their elementary preservice teachers’ mathematical content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and reflective practice in their mathematics methods courses. Small teams of pre-service teachers not only collaborated to plan, observe, and then debrief a research lesson, they revised the lesson and a new team member retaught it at their fieldwork sites. Like Myers (2013), data were collected through group and individual reflective essays of their lesson study experiences. As in Pothen and Murata’s (2007) study, Chassels and Melville (2009) found that the lesson study experience increased pre-service teachers’ mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge. Specifically, pre-service teachers developed a deeper understanding of mathematics content and effective instructional strategies, demonstrating knowledge and skills in lesson analysis, reflection, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and confidence in their ability to plan lessons. However, Chassels and Melville (2009) also report that there were many challenges in implementing lesson study at elementary schools, including a shortage of time to plan and debrief lessons and an overall lack of support for collaboration at the school sites. They found that pre-service teachers need guidance in planning and lesson analysis from classroom teachers that host the lesson studies. Chessels and Melville (2009) recommend that professors provide classroom teachers with information about lesson study and guidance with their important roles in the cycle. The next three studies demonstrate how pre-service and classroom teachers can collaborate effectively in lesson study experiences. In Burroughs and Luebeck’s (2010) study, pre-service teachers observed a team of classroom teachers collaboratively plan a mathematics lesson. During the next mathematics methods class, professors and pre-service teachers discussed the lesson plan and provided classroom teachers with improvement ideas. Unfortunately, only two pre-service teachers were able to observe the actual lesson and participate in the subsequent debriefing session. Instead, a debriefing and analysis session was held with the team of classroom teachers, pre-service teachers, and professors later in the week. Burroughs and Luebeck (2010) collected data through reflective essays, video-recorded lesson


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study sessions, and focus group interviews; they reported results for emergent themes. Preservice teachers demonstrated pedagogical knowledge by understanding the importance of indepth planning and assessment of students’ prior knowledge and learning during instruction. Pre-service teachers also demonstrated the ability to collaborate meaningfully with classroom teachers, and to reflect and critically analyze mathematics lessons and the complete lesson study cycle. Michaels (2015) also studied a collaborative lesson study cycle with pre-service and classroom teachers; however, research was conducted in a seminar class rather than a mathematics methods course. Similar to Burroughs and Luebeck’s (2010) research, classroom teachers planned a mathematics lesson, which was then analyzed by pre-service teachers during a class session on the university campus. All pre-service teachers observed the mathematics lesson at the school site and participated in the subsequent collaborative debriefing and analysis session, facilitated by the professor. Data was collected through post-lesson study surveys. Michaels (2015) reports that pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge of mathematics instruction increased (i.e., using subject-specific pedagogical skills, assessing student learning, and making content accessible to students), due to the lesson study session. Lastly, Post and Varoz (2008) studied the effects of a complete lesson study cycle on teams of pre-service and classroom teachers, who collaborated to plan, observe, teach, debrief, revise, and reteach a mathematics lesson. After observing classroom teachers teach the first lesson, pre-service teachers taught the revised lesson. Professors facilitated the lesson study experiences, collecting written observations through the lesson planning and teaching sessions. Results indicate that pre-service and classroom teachers’ pedagogical knowledge of mathematics improved, due to the lesson study cycle. Pre-service teachers shifted their attention from the logistics of managing the lesson and students to demonstrating understandings of students’ mathematical thinking. Collaboratively planning lessons provided a format for pre-service teachers to learn about classroom teachers’ planning processes, while classroom teachers developed new strategies for mentoring pre-service teachers. Although the research base is small, overall results indicate that lesson study provides structured experiences for pre-service teachers to increase their understanding of mathematical pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, and pedagogy. However, there is little consistency


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or clarity on how these constructs are defined or studied in elementary pre-service teacher preparation. The current study defines mathematical pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge in general, and mathematics pedagogy using standards established by California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016) and Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (2020), that is, the TPEs and SMPs, standards for both pre-service teachers and K12 students. In addition, the methodology is clearly described and based on prior research. Therefore, this study contributes to the growing body of literature by systematically connecting mandated, clearly defined standards in mathematics pre-service teacher preparation to collaborative lesson study experiences in elementary classrooms. Methodology This study took place in a small, private university in western United States and an elementary school in the community. A mixed-method design was used to measure the extent to which lesson study develops pre-service teachers’ mathematics pedagogy, pedagogical knowledge in mathematics, and pedagogical knowledge, in general. Post-lesson study surveys and reflective essays were created and analyzed for this research. Participants Participants were 66 pre-service teachers in the elementary teacher preparation program at the university. Pre-service teachers were undergraduate (n = 31) and graduate students (n = 35) enrolled in one of five mathematics methods courses over a two-year period, taught by the researcher. All pre-service teachers were concurrently participating in fieldwork at elementary schools during the semester, as was required by all studies in the literature review. Instruments A post-lesson study survey was used to measure a lesson study session’s impact on preservice teachers’ mathematical pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge in general, and pedagogy. The researcher and professors in the department created the survey, which was piloted with pre-service teachers and revised as needed and suggested (see Appendix B for PostLesson Study Survey).


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The post-lesson study survey measured pedagogical knowledge as defined by California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016) through the TPEs. TPEs were used as the basis for this research as pre-service teachers need to demonstrate their knowledge of the TPEs prior to earning a teaching credential. The post lesson study survey measured pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge in mathematics in three areas: SMP 1: Makes sense of problems and persevere in solving them, SMP 4: Model with mathematics, and academic discourse. These focus areas were chosen as they are the elements that are traditionally difficult for pre-service teachers to comprehend; they are also standards that elementary students are expected to master (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2020); and can be observed readily during classroom instruction. In addition, the post lesson study survey measured pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge of four of the six general, overarching TPE domains: Assessing student learning, reflecting on teaching practices, maintaining effective environments for student learning, and engaging all students in learning, excluding two TPEs on lesson planning, which was not a focus of this study (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016). The researcher collaborated with classroom teachers to develop a post-lesson study reflective essay assignment, which was piloted with pre-service teachers and revised as recommended. The reflective essay assignment guided pre-service teachers to reflect on four areas: SMP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them; SMP 4: Model with mathematics; assessment of student learning; and their pedagogy, in addition to their own choices for professional reflection. Procedures Pre-service teachers in a mathematics methods course, the professor, and a classroom teacher collaborated on a lesson study cycle to plan, analyze, teach, observe, debrief, analyze and reflect on a mathematics lesson. The professor carefully structured and facilitated each aspect of the lesson study program, as recommended by previous researchers (Chessels & Melville, 2009; Myers, 2013; Parks, 2006). To maintain consistency, the same third grade classroom teacher taught the mathematics lesson study session for each class of pre-service teachers in this study and also participated in designing the reflective essay. The classroom teacher was chosen based on her expertise in the SMPs and knowledge of lesson study practice. She planned the


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mathematics lessons to meet her students’ academic and social needs, while purposefully incorporating the TPEs of focus (SMP 1, SMP 4, and academic discourse). Similar to Burroughs and Luebeck’s (2010) study, during a mathematics methods class session, the professor and pre-service teachers analyzed the lesson plan, discussing the focus TPEs, student learning outcomes, and considerations for the upcoming classroom observation. Just prior to observing the mathematics lesson, the professor and pre-service teachers met with the classroom teacher at the school site to preview the up-coming lesson. Pre-service teachers asked questions, in order to fully understand the classroom teacher’s thinking and lesson planning process. While pre-service teachers observed the mathematics lesson, the professor guided the experience by highlighting important aspects of the lesson for pre-service teachers. Immediately following the lesson, the classroom teacher and pre-service teachers met to collaboratively debrief and analyze the lesson, facilitated by the professor, with a focus on mathematics pedagogy, pre-service teacher and student learning, strengths of the lesson, and improvement ideas. The classroom teacher started the debriefing session with a commentary on the lesson and reflections on student learning. Then, pre-service teachers asked questions and shared their perspectives and observations. The professor ensured pre-service teachers were actively and equitably participating and guided their understanding of the classroom teacher’s thinking and decision-making processes and elementary students’ learning. During the next mathematics methods class session, the professor led a concluding discussion about the mathematics lesson study session, focusing on pre-service teachers’ learning and their current perspectives on teaching mathematics. Hence, pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy were constructed throughout the shared lesson study experience. Data Analysis Due to the small sample size, descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data collected from the survey. Means and percentages of pre-service teacher survey responses were calculated for the lesson study sessions. Reflective essays were analyzed and coded by focus areas on the essay and post lesson study survey; and then further analyzed for emergent themes. Data are represented in Tables 1-3.


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Results/Findings To investigate the impact of a lesson study program on pre-service teachers the following question was asked: How does lesson study facilitate the development of elementary pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy in mathematics? Survey results were analyzed and the generated descriptive statistics are reported in Tables 1-3, including percentages and means for survey items. Each response was coded with a score of 4, 3, 2, or 1. The weight of 4 was given to the response that had the most positive outcome, that is, responses were coded: a great deal = 4, a lot = 3, a little = 2, nothing = 1. Lesson study reflective essays were analyzed quantitatively and results are reported simultaneously with survey responses. Results indicate that lesson study has a substantial impact on pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge of mathematics (Table 1), pedagogical knowledge in general (Table 2), and mathematics pedagogy (Table 3). Reflective essays serve to elucidate how participation in lesson study facilitated this development. Pedagogical Knowledge in Mathematics Pre-service teachers learned “a great deal” about pedagogical knowledge in mathematics (Table 1), specifically SMP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them (M = 3.67); SMP 4: Model with mathematics (M = 3.76); and academic discourse in math (M = 3.48). Although a small percentage of pre-service teachers reported they learned “a little” about SMP 1 (6%) and academic discourse in math (11%), overall results indicate lesson study has a positive impact on pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge in mathematics. Reflective essays support the survey results. Pre-service teachers consistently demonstrated their new pedagogical knowledge of the SMPs by describing the teacher’s pedagogy and how her pedagogy supported students in learning the content. For example, a preservice teacher explained SMP 1, “The teacher directed the students to write instructions on how to solve a word problem if they had to explain it to a kindergartener. This activity activated prior knowledge and made the students think about the concept that they were about to work on” (preservice teacher 1). Pre-service teachers also shared the rationale for teaching students modeling with mathematics (SMP 4), “Modeling helps students build genuine understanding through direct experience and


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inspires curiosity about the topic” (pre-service teacher 2). Many pre-service teachers listed effective instructional strategies observed for each SMP and then included aspects of the listed strategies in their essays. In this example, a pre-service teacher saw a variety of ways that the teacher “encouraged persistence among her students by offering multi-step problems, checking for understanding, giving explicit encouraging words, and multiple opportunities to practice solving mathematical story problems” (pre-service teacher 3). Pre-service teachers related important realizations about mathematical pedagogical knowledge for problem solving, such as, “It’s okay for students not to understand how to solve the problem in one lesson. As long as they are making progress, it’s a success” (pre-service teacher 4). Lastly, pre-service teachers commented on their pedagogy, “I plan to use exercises like this when introducing new math concepts” (pre-service teacher 5). Pre-service teachers reported learning “a great deal” (59%) or “a lot” (30%) about academic discourse in mathematics during the lesson study experience. Reflective essays clarify what pre-service teachers learned about academic discourse, for example, “Students gain insight from one another by listening to their peers’ explanations and ideas, then try out the strategies that are presented for other real-world problems” (pre-service teacher 6). Pre-service teachers discussed how academic discourse can assist students in varying levels of concept understanding, “This discussion solidified understandings for some kids, and helped others learn from patterns that they did not independently notice (e.g., some models have different side lengths, but the same area)” (pre-service teacher 5). Others noticed how academic discourse provides the teacher with insights into students’ thinking. Pre-service teachers also observed the teacher’s roll during academic discourse, as the teacher “guided the conversation in the appropriate direction, which was a really useful strategy to learn” (pre-service teacher 7). It was common for pre-service teachers to state that they had not observed academic discourse in their fieldwork nor experienced it as elementary students, but were planning on using this strategy, “I will provide multiple opportunities for students to explain why they came up with their answers and to prove that their answers make sense utilizing reasoning and alternative strategies” (pre-service teacher 8).


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Pedagogical Knowledge Pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, in general, was positively impacted by the lesson study sessions (see Table 2). Specifically, pre-service teachers’ learned “a lot” about assessing student learning (M = 3.21), reflecting on teaching practice (M = 3.41), engaging all students in learning (M = 3.41), and maintaining effective environments for learning (M = 3.36). Even though no pre-service teachers reported learning “nothing” during the lesson study, small percentages of pre-service report learning “a little” about pedagogical knowledge. Indeed, 38% of pre-service teachers learned “a great deal” and 45% learned “a lot” about assessing student learning, while 17% learned only “a little.” Overall, assessing student learning scored the lowest of all elements of pedagogical knowledge, even though assessing student learning was a focus of the lesson study sessions. In reflective essays, pre-service teachers were consistently able to assess and discuss evidence of student learning using professional educator language as evidenced by statements such as, “The students appeared to understand the concept of solving a problem in different ways; they were able to follow through with providing an alternative method when asked to do so, which further indicted to me that they had already incorporated this flexibility into their math skill set” (pre-service teacher 9). Many pre-service teachers were able to suggest the next pedagogical step for the teacher, “Most of the students demonstrated that they could measure area by counting unit squares. They likely need further practice to generalize this idea, and to be able to use it with symbols rather than concrete materials” (pre-service teacher 10). However, a common practice for pre-service teachers was to discuss student assessment through the classroom teacher’s perspective, rather than their own, “The teacher was assessing the students by observing them and then asking students to share what they learned out loud. She assessed student understanding by seeing if the students were able to: practice multiplication and division and solve word problems” (pre-service teacher 11). And another pre-service teacher stated, “The design of the lesson made it easy to assess students’ understanding because they had to physically build the model. If they weren’t able to build it, the teacher could tell that they didn’t understand” (pre-service teacher 12). Pre-service teachers discussed the importance of assessing students throughout the lesson. A pre-service teacher stated that it “is a critical aspect of the teaching and learning


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process, as it allows for educators to strategically evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching by measuring the extent to which students in the classroom are understanding the course material” (pre-service teacher 13). Progress monitoring was a new learning for many pre-service teachers, as they previously thought about assessment as something teachers do after the lesson, “I have always thought that assessing students should be a separate column in a lesson. After listening to” this teacher during the debriefing session, “I realized that she assesses as she goes. This is such a good idea and something that I will forever have engraved in my brain moving forward” (pre-service teacher 14). Other pre-service teachers stated they will use what they learned about assessment in their own classrooms, “I will plan to incorporate multiple means and opportunities for formative assessment during lessons to help to fine-tune while class lesson planning and ensure all individual students are progressing” (pre-service teacher 6). Lesson study impacted pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge for reflecting on teaching practice: 51% learned “a great deal,” while 38% learned “a lot.” There was not a prompt on the essay to discuss reflective practices specifically, although the written assignment was an exercise in reflection in and of itself. Within the essays, pre-service teachers rarely discussed their own participation in reflective practice or what they learned through or about collaborative reflection during the debriefing session. Rather, pre-service teachers discussed reflection in general terms: “Reflection is what helps teachers improve upon teaching technique and procedure” (pre-service teacher 4) or shared the teacher’s reflections during the analysis & debriefing session, “We were privy to her immediate reflections on the lesson, which gave insight into her observation process” (pre-service teacher 2). Engaging all Students in Learning and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning were not main focus areas of the lesson studies, however, survey results indicate that lesson study impacted both elements of pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge “a lot” (M = 3.41 and 3.36, respectively) and the reflective essays support this finding. When pre-service teachers discussed these elements, they explained their importance, stated that the teacher’s pedagogy was effective, and provided specific examples observed in the lesson. Pre-service teachers also discussed what they learned from the teacher during the debriefing session, as exemplified in this comment, “I keep thinking about what she said about engaging kids because it’s the teacher’s job to keep the students engaged at all times. The more teachers make the


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lesson engaging the more kids want to do the activity and want to learn (pre-service teacher 14). Pre-service teachers discussed the impact on their own pedagogy, “This lesson impacted my teaching practice by showing me how a teacher really can create a positive environment, engage a student in a lesson, and support all learners at the same time (pre-service teacher 2). Pedagogy Pre-service teachers learned “a great deal” about the pedagogy for teaching math (M = 3.59), are more confident in teaching math (M = 3.48) and will be able to teach math to students more successfully (M = 3.56) due to their participation in the lesson study experience (see Table 3). Throughout the reflective essays, pre-service teachers consistently discussed the lesson study’s impact on their own pedagogy and teaching practice, as noted previously for elements of pedagogical knowledge. A few students admitted that, “Teaching math has always been a scary thought for me, but learning strategies such as these ones make me feel much more confident” (pre-service teacher 11). Most explicitly stated that they learned a great deal from the lesson study experience and “will definitely use these strategies in my fieldwork and later in my own classroom” (pre-service teacher 6). Lastly, pre-service teachers saw the connection between theory to practice by noting that the lesson study experience afforded them the opportunity to “see in practice how to use all the different strategies we’ve been learning about in class” (preservice teacher 15). Discussion Summary of Findings Lesson study integrated into a mathematics methods course through a partnership with classroom teachers has a significant impact on pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and mathematics pedagogy. Specifically, collaborative lesson study experiences developed preservice teachers mathematical pedagogical knowledge of SMP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them; SMP 4: Model with mathematics; and academic discourse; and preservice teachers’ pedagogical knowledge in general (i.e., assessment, reflection, student engagement, effective classroom environments). Pre-service teachers’ pedagogy was also


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impacted, both their knowledge of mathematics pedagogy and their confidence and ability to successfully teach students mathematics. Conclusions In this study, a mathematics methods course was revised to integrate SMPs as a focus for understanding how to teach mathematics in elementary school. The embedded lesson study program was also revised in collaboration with classroom teachers to incorporate required pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy for pre-service teachers (California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2016) following recommended AMTE standards (2017) for teacher preparation programs. A key to the results may lie in the collaborative, reflective nature of lesson study in combination with a professor-classroom teacher partnership with a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction in elementary classrooms. A common focus on the required SMPs for both teacher preparation and elementary classrooms, modeled by the classroom teacher, and facilitated by the professor provided important links between theory and actual teaching practice for pre-service teachers. Facilitation of the entire lesson study process may have contributed to its success. In this study, the professor carefully structured and facilitated all aspects of lesson study: classroom teacher collaboration, lesson plan analysis during mathematics methods course, guidance during lesson observation, and leadership in the subsequent debriefing session. This validates previous researchers’ recommendations for guidance from a knowledgeable facilitator to improve preservice teachers’ experience and learning during the lesson study cycle (Chassels & Melville, 2009; Myers, 2013; Parks, 2008). Results of this study supports previous research with pre-service teachers in mathematics methods courses in other ways. Pre-service teachers learned the value and use of assessment in elementary classrooms, in particular the importance of continual assessment of students during instruction, corroborating results of Pothen and Murata (2007) and Burroughs and Luebeck (2010) research. However, it is important to note that assessing student learning was the lowest element of pre-service teachers’ learning. Although pre-service teachers demonstrated pedagogical knowledge and skill in assessing student learning, the tendency was to report how the teacher assessed the students, rather than taking ownership of their own assessment of


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student learning. This is an interesting, yet not surprising finding, as pre-service teachers are in the process of becoming teachers and as such, do not yet see themselves in the professional educator roll in assessment of student learning. Implications This study contributes to the growing body of literature by systematically connecting required pedagogical knowledge and mathematics pedagogy standards to collaborative, facilitated lesson study experiences in elementary classrooms. When professors and classroom teachers are a collaborative team, pre-service teachers are provided opportunities to learn to teach through guided, structured experiences that link coursework theory to teaching practice in schools. However, limitations of this study should be considered. Generalizing the results may be problematic due to the small sample size. This study also lacks information from the perspective of classroom teachers and professors. How does lesson study impact classroom teachers’ work with pre-service teachers and elementary students? How can researchers examine professors’ observations of pre-service teachers’ growth in pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy? Further, as the strength of this study is collaboration in authentic classroom experiences and consistency in studying clearly defined constructs (i.e., pedagogical knowledge and mathematical pedagogical knowledge), future researchers can build on this work, thereby continuing to clarify best practices in lesson study research in elementary teacher preparation in mathematics. For example, how can university lesson study programs further develop pre-service teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and confidence in assessment? Results of this research can also inform teacher preparation programs. As participation in fieldwork appears to be an established requirement during mathematics methods courses, university-school affiliations can be expanded to include guided lesson study experiences. In methods coursework that already integrates lesson study, professors can partner with elementary classroom teachers more closely to ensure pre-service teachers are involved in seamless, authentic, and structured experiences to acquire the pedagogical knowledge and skills required of them. Professional partnerships such as these are not a new idea; Darling-Hammond (2006) has encouraged this practice for over 15 years; however, partnerships are still not common. Lastly,


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SMPs need to be embedded in mathematics methods courses to provide pre-service teachers with practice in developing the habits of mind that foster mathematical understanding, so they are prepared to facilitate the transfer of these knowledge and skills to their future students. A goal for teacher preparation programs is to prepare pre-service teachers to effectively teach mathematics. University lesson study programs that focus on mathematical pedagogical knowledge and pedagogy in collaboration with classroom teachers may serve as a model of exemplary practice in elementary pre-service teacher preparation. Author Biography Dr. Rosemarie Michaels is an Associate Professor of Education at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. She is chair of the Education Studies Teacher Preparation Program. An experienced classroom teacher, Rosemarie has taught in higher education for over 20 years and is dedicated to developing university-school partnerships, both locally and abroad. She was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan in spring 2019, where she worked closely with professors and graduate students on professional development through lesson study. Rosemarie recently received the Francoise Lepage Award for Global Innovation in Global Education. Her professional interests include effective, equitable pedagogy in teacher education and K-12 classrooms, collaborative lesson study, and the 21st century skills.

References Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (2017). Standards for preparing teachers of mathematics. https://amte.net/standards Burroughs, E. A., & Luebeck, J. L. (2010). Pre-service teachers in mathematics lesson study. The Mathematics Enthusiast, 7(2), 391-400. Cajkler, W., Wood, P., Norton, J., & Pedder, D. (2013). Lesson study: Towards a collaborative approach to learning in initial teacher education? Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(4), 537-554.


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California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016). California teacher performance expectations. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/educatorprep/standards/adopted-tpes-2016.pdf?sfvrsn=0 Chassels, C., & Melville, W. (2009). Collaborative, reflective, and iterative Japanese lesson study in an initial teacher education program: Benefits and challenges, Canadian Journal of Education, 32(4), 734-763. Chichibu, T. (2016). Impact on lesson study for initial teacher training in Japan: Focus on mentor roles and Kyouzai-Kenkyuu. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 5(2), 155-168. Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2020). Preparing America’s students for success. http://www.corestandards.org Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st-century teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57, 1-15. Fernandez, C., & Yoshida, M. (2004). Lesson study: A Japanese approach to improving mathematics teaching and learning. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Koestler, C., Felton, M., Bieda, K., & Otten, S. (2013). Connecting the NCTM process standards & the CCSS-M practices. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Larssen, D. L. S., Cajkler, W., Mosvold, R., Bjuland, R., Helgevold, N., Fauskanger, J., Wood, P., Baldry, F., Jakobsen, A., Bugge., H. E., Naesheim-Bjorkvik, G., and Norton, J. (2018). A literature review of lesson study in initial teacher education: Perspectives about learning and observation. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 7(1), 822. Lewis, C. C., & Hurd, J. (2011). Lesson study step by step: How teacher learning communities improve instruction. Heinemann. Max, B., & Welder, R. M. (2020). Mathematics teacher educators’ addressing the common core standards for mathematical practice in content courses for prospective elementary teachers: A focus on critiquing the reasoning of others. The Mathematics Enthusiast, 17(2&3), 843-881.


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Michaels, R. (2015). Bringing lesson study to teacher education: Simultaneously impacting pre-service and classroom teachers. Journal of Scholastic Inquiry: Education, 4(1), 4673. Myers, J. (2013). Creating reflective practitioners with pre-service lesson study. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 8(1), 1-9. Parks, A.N. (2008). Messy learning: Pre-service teachers’ lesson-study conversations about mathematics and students. Teacher and Teacher Education, 24(5), 1200-1216. Post, G., & Varoz, S. (2008). Lesson study groups with prospective and practicing teachers. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(8), 472-478. Pothen, B. E., & Murata, A. (2007). Transforming teachers’ knowledge: The role of lesson study in pre-service education. In Lamberg, T., & Weist, L.R. (Eds). Proceedings of the 29th annual meeting of the North American Chapter for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV, 231-238. Wood, K., (2018). The many faces of lesson study and learning study. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 7(1), 2-7.

Table 1 Impact of Lesson Study on Mathematical Pedagogical Knowledge, in percentages A great deal

A lot

A little

Nothing

M

SMP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere

73

21

6

-

3.67

SMP 4: Model with mathematics

76

24

-

-

3.76

Academic Discourse in Math

59

30

11

-

3.48

Note. Focus areas are in boldface. (n = 66)


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Table 2 Impact of Lesson Study on Pedagogical Knowledge, in percentages TPEs

A great deal

A lot

A little

Nothing

M

Assessing student learning

38

45

17

-

3.21

Reflecting on teaching practices

51

38

11

-

3.41

Maintaining effective environments for student learning

52

33

15

-

3.36

Engaging all students in learning

54

32

14

-

3.41

Note. Focus TPE is in boldface. (n = 66)

Table 3 Impact of Lesson Study on Pedagogy, in percentages A great deal

Pedagogy for teaching mathematics I am more confident in teaching math I will be able to teach math more successfully

Note. (n = 66)

62 50 56

A lot

35 49 44

A little

3 1 -

Not at all

-

M

3.59 3.48 3.56


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Appendix A Standards for Mathematical Practice, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (2016) 1. Make sense of problems and persevere in soloing them 2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively 3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others 4. Model with mathematics 5. Use appropriate tools strategically 6. Attend to precision 7. Look for and make use of structure 8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning


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Appendix B Post-Lesson Study Survey Check one space to indicate how much you learned during today’s Lesson Study. A Great Deal

A Lot

A Little

Nothing 1. MP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them 2. MP 4: Model with mathematics 3. Academic Discourse in Math 4. Reflecting on teaching practices 5. Maintaining effective environments for student learning 6. Engaging all students in learning 7. Assessing student learning

How did the lesson study further develop your pedagogy? A Great Deal at All 1. Pedagogy for teaching math 2. I will be able to teach math more successfully 3. I am more confident in teaching math

A Lot

A Little

Not


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Sources of Academic Self-efficacy & Academic Performance in Online Learning Jennifer Miller Tougaloo College Jillian Skelton Abstract The purpose of the correlational study was to examine to what extent relationships exist between the four sources of academic self-efficacy in math and academic achievement for online undergraduate math education students. Data were collected from 93 undergraduate math education students enrolled fully and exclusively in an online program at a major university in Arizona, using an online survey comprised of self-reported cumulative grade-point average and Zientek, Fong, and Phelps’s modified version of the sources of self-efficacy in mathematics scale. The multiple linear regression results indicated mastery experiences significantly and positively predicted academic achievement, which aligned with past research from traditional learning environments and the original theory. However, the results also indicated verbal persuasion was a significant negative predictor of academic achievement, but neither vicarious experiences nor physiological state were statistically significant, results that differ from both past research conducted in traditional learning environments and the original theory. Keywords: Academic self-efficacy, academic performance, online learning

Introduction Online learning is emerging as a key technology for undergraduate education, with over 5 million students taking at least one course online in the United States in 2016 (Allen, Seaman, Poulin, & Straut, 2016). However, as this platform expands in use, so too are the dropout rates expanding, with online programs yielding attrition rates 3% to 5% higher than traditional programs (Cochran, Campbell, Baker, & Leeds, 2014; Lee, Choi, & Kim, 2013). Among those


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college students dropping out of their programs, education majors have the highest attrition rates (Chen & Soldner, 2013), which is particularly concerning, due to the current shortage of math teachers in the U.S. (Diekman & Benson-Greenwald, 2018). Research into student attrition has identified academic performance as a key factor in online student drop out (Lee & Choi, 2011; Park, Luo, & Kim, 2015). Current studies continue to confirm a positive correlation between academic self-efficacy and its sources with academic performance in traditional college environments (e.g., Alyami et al., 2017; Bartimote-Aufflick, Bridgeman, Walker, Sharma, & Smith, 2015; De Clercq, Galand, Dupont, & Frenay, 2013; Doménech-Betoret, Abellán-Roselló, & Gómez-Artiga, 2017; Farchi, Cohen, & Mosek, 2014; Fong & Krause, 2014; Høigaard, Kovač, Øverby, & Haugen, 2015; Macaskill & Denovan, 2013; Trigwell, Ashwin, & Millan, 2013; Zientek, Fong, & Phelps, 2017), but it was not known if such relationships exist in online learning environments. In studying the four sources of self-efficacy in underachieving students in a traditional education program, Fong and Krause (2014) concluded that it might be the sources themselves that relate directly to academic achievement. Hodges (2008) hypothesized that there might be different sources of self-efficacy in an online learning environment. There does not appear to have been any follow-up in the literature to this idea from Hodges (2008) or any study that examined all four sources directly in the context of online learning, so this study addressed that gap and followed up on Hodges’ (2008) hypothesis. Academic Self-Efficacy According to Bandura (1977), self-efficacy is the evaluation of one’s ability to produce a desired effect; the internal process by which people initiate and persist in a behavior. Bandura (1986) claimed that self-efficacy is context-specific, with levels that vary across domains and later described it as “a differentiated set of self-beliefs linked to distinct realms of functioning” (Bandura, 2018, p. 133), such as the realm of academics, which would yield academic selfefficacy. According to Bandura (1978), the internal self-efficacy process is influenced, but not controlled, by the environment. Changing the environment to an online setting would result in an alteration in a student’s sense of efficacy, which, also according to the model, would alter the initiation of and persistence in academic behaviors.


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Unfortunately, research specific to academic self-efficacy in online learning environments has primarily focused upon technology-related factors, such as computer selfefficacy, Internet self-efficacy, and Learning Management System self-efficacy (Alqurashi, 2016). In studies that mentioned academic self-efficacy, it was identified as a mediating factor for other learning-related concepts, such as metacognitive regulation (Cho & Shen, 2013), intrinsic motivation and self-regulated learning behavior (Pardo, Han, & Ellis, 2017), and helpseeking behavior (Dayne, Hirabayashi, Seli, & Reiboldt, 2016). In the research conducted about online learning, the sources of academic self-efficacy have not been studied directly, but have rather been included in studies as an aspect of a main variable or as a treatment condition in the investigation of learning-related concepts, such as instructor feedback (Alrushiedat & Olfman, 2014; Delaval, Michinov, Le Bohec, & Le Henaff, 2015; Ladyshewsky, 2013; Lawanto, Santoso, Lawanto, & Goodridge, 2014; Pardo et al., 2017; Shen, Cho, Tsai, & Marra, 2013; Wang, Shannon, & Ross, 2013). Sources of self-efficacy. Bandura (1977) identified four sources of information that people use when evaluating their capabilities and developing their sense of efficacy: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Self-efficacy develops through the cognitive processing of this information, not from the sources directly, which means that not all experiences affect one’s level of self-efficacy. As such, self-efficacy is beliefs about skill and not always reflective of actual skill. Bandura (1986) found that the same level of capability can result in subpar, ordinary, or extraordinary performances, depending upon the level of self-efficacy. Sources of Self-efficacy in Traditional Learning Environments Since that first experiment on the four sources with people suffering from a severe snake phobia (Bandura, 1977), mastery experience has frequently been identified as the strongest influencer of self-efficacy. Fong and Krause (2014) confirmed this conclusion in a mixed methods study on underachieving college students, with underachieving defined as a discrepancy between predicted ability and actual performance. Fong and Krause (2014) reported that selfefficacy was positively correlated with both mastery experiences and verbal persuasion, but negatively correlated with both vicarious experiences and physiological states. The group of


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underachieving students reported a significant lack of mastery experiences and less verbal persuasion than the group of achieving students (Fong & Krause, 2014). The actual levels of self-efficacy did not differ between the groups, but there was a sufficiently significant difference between the sources that Fong and Krause (2014) concluded that the antecedents to efficacy are the salient factors to performance. In a later study, Zientek et al. (2017) investigated the four sources of self-efficacy in remedial math community college students. The results indicated that all four sources of selfefficacy explained the variance in the students’ math skills (Zientek et al., 2017). However, while all four sources influenced self-efficacy, mastery experience was determined to be the strongest predictor (Zientek et al., 2017). Studies with college students in Singapore (Loo & Choy, 2013) and Taiwan (Lin, 2016) also found all four sources correlated with self-efficacy. In examining the influence of all four sources of self-efficacy on academic self-efficacy, computer self-efficacy, and programming self-efficacy in undergraduate students in computing majors, Lin (2016) reported that all four sources of self-efficacy contributed significantly to the variance in academic self-efficacy. Lin (2016) also noted that more persistent students had higher scores in mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, and verbal persuasion. Loo and Choy (2013), on the other hand, found all four sources to be significantly interrelated for math students. While there was a significant positive correlation between academic performance and all four sources, mastery experience had the strongest correlation (Loo & Choy, 2013). Additionally, only mastery experience explained the significant variance in predicting academic performance (Loo & Choy, 2013). Fong and Krause (2014) included a similar note about how it may be the sources themselves that relate to academic achievement. Sources of Self-efficacy in Online Learning Environments It does not appear that the four sources of self-efficacy were examined together in the context of online learning prior to this study. Instead, prior research in the realm of online learning has examined individual sources. While research in traditional learning environments has repeatedly reported how mastery experiences is the strongest predictor of self-efficacy, only Jan (2015) reported that the strongest correlation was between prior experience and academic


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self-efficacy. Other studies have similarly reported that how prior experience leads to increased self-efficacy, but they have not identified it as the strongest or most significant source of selfefficacy (Bradley, Browne, & Kelley, 2017; Hodges, 2008; Shen et al., 2013). Online learning presents a significant challenge to vicarious learning experiences since student interaction takes place online and in a disjointed manner, as opposed to the immediate face-to-face interactions available in traditional learning environments. Among undergraduate and graduate students in the United States, hybrid courses, in which students participate both inperson and online during the course, were rated more satisfactory than fully online courses (Cole, Shelley, & Swartz, 2014). The primary reason cited for the dissatisfaction with the fully online course was the lack of interaction with both instructor and fellow students (Cole et al., 2014). Even the limited interaction provided in a hybrid format was preferable to the online interaction of an exclusively online learning environment. Such studies lend support to Kozar, Lum, and Benson’s (2015) hypothesis that online learners are at a disadvantage because of the limitations placed on vicarious learning by the online environment. Another source that is affected by the online learning environment is that of verbal persuasion, particularly in the case of instructor interaction and feedback, since the online format typically keeps interactions in a textual format. A mixed methods study compared two groups of underperforming freshmen students, with one group receiving web-based, face-to-face tutoring (such as through Skype) and the other group receiving only text-based online tutoring (Wu, Lin, & Yang, 2013). Both groups showed improvement in their academic skills, but only the face-toface group reported increased in perceived efficacy (Wu et al., 2013). As for the source of physiological state, many of the studies that have reported on the role of emotions in online learning have done so in the context of studying self-regulated learning. Also, as with the research on learning-related emotions and self-efficacy in traditional learning environments, these studies have focused primarily on anxiety. For example, Pardo et al. (2017) investigated self-regulated learning and academic performance in online learning, including the variables of self-efficacy and test anxiety. The findings revealed a negative correlation between self-efficacy and test anxiety and a positive correlation between test anxiety and a negative selfregulated strategy (Pardo et al., 2017). In addition to test anxiety lowering self-efficacy and


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increasing the usage of negative strategies, it was also found that test anxiety has a significant negative impact on academic performance (Pardo et al., 2017). The purpose of this correlational study was to fill this gap in the literature by examining all four sources of self-efficacy together in an online learning environment, specifically focusing upon math education students and their sense of efficacy in learning math online. This study investigated if relationships exist between the four sources of self-efficacy in math and academic performance for college students who have been enrolled fully and exclusively in an online math education program for at least one year at a large private university. The research question examined was: To what extent do the four sources of math self-efficacy (mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, physiological state) predict academic performance for undergraduate math education students with at least one year of exclusively online courses at a large private university in the southwestern United States? To address this question, the following hypothesis was made: at least one of the four sources of math self-efficacy (mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, physiological state) will be a statistically significant predictor of academic performance for undergraduate math education students with at least one year of exclusively online courses at a large private university in the southwestern United States. Methods Participants Participants (n = 93) were students enrolled in a full-time online undergraduate math education degree program at a large private university in the southwestern United States. All participants confirmed that they had been taking courses exclusively online, with no in-person courses, for at least one year. No demographic information was collected from participants. Procedures Data was collected using an online survey distributed via email by the university to all students enrolled in the online math education undergraduate degree program. Participants were informed of the inclusion criteria, with 103 confirming they were at least 18 years old and 100


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confirming they were in the online math education program with exclusive online coursework for at least one year. All 100 consented to participate, but only 93 then completed the survey. A $5 e-gift card was offered as an incentive, with only 34 claiming the incentive at the end of the survey. Measure The survey did not collect any demographic information from participants. To measure academic achievement, student cumulative grade point average (GPA) was collected via selfreport as the first question on the survey. Sources of self-efficacy in math. The four sources of self-efficacy in math were measured using all four subscales of the Sources of Self-efficacy in Math Scale (SSEMS) (Usher & Pajares, 2009), using a 6-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 = definitely false to 6 = definitely true. Scores for the physiological state scale were reverse coded and then averaged together to measure the physiological state source of self-efficacy in math. For the other three scales, the scores were also averaged together to create a mean measure of the mastery experiences source of self-efficacy in math, the vicarious experiences source of self-efficacy in math, and the verbal persuasion source of self-efficacy in math. Since the original instrument was designed for middle school students, the Zientek et al. (2017) modified version of the SSEMS was used. This modified version adjusted the wording of two items to better fit college students, reporting similar internal reliability to the original version (Zientek et al., 2017). Analysis Prior to conducting statistical tests, preliminary analyses using SPSS were run to ensure the data met the required assumptions for the planned statistical test. Basic descriptive analyses presented means and standard deviations for all variables. Scores for all variables were converted to z-scores for analysis.


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Results This section demonstrates the breakdown of the data to create results. The first section explains the initial preliminary analysis. The next level of analysis was a multiple regression analysis. The final stage of the results was a post hoc. Preliminary analyses. Since the SSEMS had not been used in an online learning environment in past studies, a reliability analysis was conducted on all four subscales. The mastery experiences subscale had a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.80. The vicarious experiences subscale had a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.62. The verbal persuasion subscale had a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.94. The physiological state subscale had a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.90. The scores for mastery experiences and vicarious experiences are similar to those reported by Usher and Pajares (2009) in the validation study for this instrument: 0.86 for mastery experiences and 0.68 for vicarious experiences. However, the scores for verbal persuasion and physiological state were higher than that reported by Usher and Pajares (2009): 0.82 for verbal persuasion and 0.84 for physiological state, respectively. See Table 1 (Appendix A) for comparison of Cronbach’s alpha scores from this study and the original validation study of the instrument (Usher & Pajares, 2009). Multiple linear regression. A standard multiple regression was run to predict student GPA from each of the four sources of self-efficacy in math (mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, physiological state). Table 2 (see Appendix B) summarizes the standardized beta coefficients for the variables of mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological state. Using a statistical significance level of .05, the multiple regression model statistically significantly predicted student GPA, F(4, 83) = 3.385, p = .013, adj. R2 = .099. Only the variables of mastery experiences (β = 0.399, t = 2.782, p = .007) and verbal persuasion (β = -0.353, t = 3.107, p = .003) were statistically significant to the prediction. Vicarious experiences (β = -0.183, t = -1.51, p = .135) and physiological state (β = .0127, t = 1.047, p = 2.98) were not significant predictors. The overall model fit was R2 = 0.14. Based on findings, the null hypotheses for mastery experiences and verbal persuasion were rejected in favor of the alternative hypotheses. However, the null hypotheses for vicarious experiences and physiological state were accepted.


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Post-hoc tests. The actual sample size of the study was 93 undergraduate students enrolled in an online math education program. The post-hoc achieved power analysis result was .84. Additionally, a post hoc sensitivity test was conducted with a result of .13. Discussion The results of this study are noteworthy because this study may be the first to examine all four sources of self-efficacy in the context of online learning. The results indicated that only two of the sources had a statistically significant predictive relationship with academic performance for online undergraduate math education students. Mastery experiences and verbal persuasion were statistically significant, while vicarious experiences and physiological state were not. The results indicated that mastery experiences was the strongest predictor of academic achievement, which aligns with a study conducted in a traditional learning environment with undergraduate engineering students (Loo & Choy, 2013). However, the results for verbal persuasion showed a negative correlation, which is different from what past studies have shown; yet it was second in strength, which does align with studies that found verbal persuasion to be both strongly interrelated with mastery experiences and second in strength of influence (Lent, Ireland, Penn, Morris, & Sappington, 2017; Loo & Choy, 2013; Usher & Pajares, 2006; Zelenak, 2015). What remains unknown is why the correlation between verbal persuasion and academic achievement was negative in the context of online learning, but positive in traditional learning environments. Hodges (2008) may be correct in his hypothesis that there may be different sources of self-efficacy in online learning environments from the four that were identified as part of the original theory. This may be particularly true due to triadic reciprocal determinism. For example, the source of vicarious experiences did not show up as statistically significant. Vicarious experiences involve watching others succeed. Such observations are readily available in traditional learning environments, but such observations are restricted, if not prevented, in online learning environments. By changing the environment, the source experience is altered, which changes its influence upon behaviors. Cole et al. (2014) noted that the primary reason that students cite for dissatisfaction with online courses is the lack of interaction with the instructor and with fellow students. Kozar et al. (2015) hypothesized that online learners are at a disadvantage because of the limitations on vicarious learning in online learning environments.


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Triadic reciprocal determinism explains this change because according to that concept, changing the environment would have a reciprocal effect on the student’s personal qualities, including their sense of academic self-efficacy. An interesting implication from this study’s findings is this negative correlation between verbal persuasion and academic achievement for online undergraduate math education studies, which differs from what the original theory presented about this source experience, as well as what past research in traditional learning environments have indicated about this source experience. However, this particular finding may also be explained by the theory of triadic reciprocal determinism by way of the environmental events – behavior path, which is distinct from the environmental events – personal factors path that involves self-efficacy; meaning that changing the environment from in-person to online alters the verbal persuasion source experience in a manner that inversely affects student GPA. In a traditional setting, instructors provide various forms of feedback, including written, verbal, paraverbal, and nonverbal. In an online environment, feedback is only in written form and provided as feedback to posted work, rather than as part of in-person interactions during class time. This limited method of feedback may explain the negatively related effect in the online setting. Limitations The findings of this study are limited to the sample of online undergraduate math education majors from the private university used to recruit participants because it is a correlational study and a convenience sample was used. However, this delimitation was intentional because it allowed for control of potential confounding variables. Participants all had to be enrolled exclusively in an online program for at least a year to increase the time in which the source experiences and their sense of academic self-efficacy was adequately affected by the online learning environment, rather than any previous traditional learning environments. Participants were limited to students enrolled in the math education degree program of one university to limit the possibility of differences in programs affecting the source experiences and the grading structure. In this way, the researcher was able to confirm that all students used the same learning management software, the same curriculum and learning materials, the same online engagement requirements and means of communication with classmates and instructors,


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and the same grading expectations and structure. So, although these delimitations prevent the results from being generalized beyond the sample, they also provided strength to the findings. Another limitation was the use of email recruitment and an online survey. Due to these two online-only means of recruiting participants and collecting data, it is possible that there was a self-selection recruitment bias amongst the participants, especially since only 17.5% of respondents had a GPA of less than 3.0. It appears students with higher GPAs were more inclined to opt-in to participate in the study. While this provides insight into better performing students, it fails to capture data from underperforming students. It is also possible that some participants did not provide an accurate or exact GPA since it was an anonymous online survey. Recommendations for Future Research Further research into the four sources of self-efficacy is recommended. While this study showed two of the four sources statistically significant in relation to academic achievement, this was possibly the only study so far that has investigated all four sources in the context of online learning. One particular area of research that is recommended is into the negative correlation between verbal persuasion and academic achievement. Research into other majors and other universities can confirm whether this negative correlation holds true outside of this study’s sample of online undergraduate math education students from one university in the southwestern United States. Further, studies into the differences between online learning environments and traditional learning environments, as well as the differences between students who choose a fully online program and those who choose a traditional program would provide insight into both the negative correlation to academic achievement found in this study. It is also recommended that exploratory research be conducted with exclusively online students to test Hodges (2008) hypothesis about the existence of additional or alternative sources of self-efficacy for online learners. The results of this study indicated that it is possible that not all four sources affect online students’ academic behavior, resulting in their GPA. It would also be useful to conduct qualitative research with online students to understand more fully the source experiences in the online learning environment, which may yield more specific directions of research for the original four sources of self-efficacy.


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The final recommendation is the creation and implementation of a new, tested selfefficacy and sources of self-efficacy instrument specific to the context of online learning. The instruments used in this study were worded in terms of general education, rather than specifying online learning, which may have impacted the responses from participants. A new instrument would enable researchers to advance scientific knowledge for online education programs and educators. Author Biographies Jillian Skelton (Ed.D.) has worked in various areas in higher education and continues to enjoy studying and researching diversity, educational curriculum, leadership, and policy. She lives in the South with her family where she actively works as an editor, teacher, but also enjoys family time and hikes. Jennifer Miller (Ph.D.) is a teacher and a problem-solver. With a decade of experience in higher education, she is currently Assistant Professor of Psychology at Tougaloo College. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor with seventeen years of clinical experience. She regularly helps others tackle obstacles to their growth and development, which directly informs her research interests. The focus of her research has been addressing the challenges encountered by college students in the online learning environment, specifically investigating how that environment affects the experiences that inform students’ sense of efficacy and their academic behaviors.

References Allen, I. E., Seaman, J., Poulin, R., & Straut, T. T. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group. http://onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/onlinereportcard.pdf Alqurashi, E. (2016). Self-efficacy in online learning environments: A literature review. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 9(1), 45-52. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Emtinan_Alqurashi/publication/296704124_Self-


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Efficacy_In_Online_Learning_Environments_A_Literature_Review/links/56f55ab208ae 95e8b6d1d670.pdf Alrushiedat, N., & Olfman, L. (2014). Anchoring for self-efficacy and success: An anchored asynchronous online discussion case. Journal of Information Systems Education, 25, 107116. http://jise.org/ Alyami, M., Melyani, Z., Al Johani, A., Ullah, E., Alyami, H., Sundram, F.,… Henning, M. (2017). The impact of self-esteem, academic self-efficacy and perceived stress on academic performance: A cross-sectional study of Saudi psychology students. European Journal of Educational Sciences (EJES), 4(3), 51-63. doi:10.19044/ejes.v4no3a5 Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191 Bandura, A. (1978). The self system in reciprocal determinism. American Psychologist, 33, 344358. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/33/4/ Bandura, A. (1986). The explanatory and predictive scope of self-efficacy theory. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 4, 359-373. doi:http://dx.doi.org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1521/jscp.1986.4.3.359 Bandura, A. (2018). Towards a psychology of human agency: Pathways and reflections. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 130-136. doi:10.1177/1745691617699280 Bartimote-Aufflick, K., Bridgeman, A., Walker, R., Sharma, M., & Smith, L. (2015). The study, evaluation, and improvement of university student self-efficacy. Studies in Higher Education, 41, 1918-1942. http://dx.doi.org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.999319 Bradley, R. L., Browne, B. L., & Kelley, H. M. (2017). Examining the influence of self-efficacy and self-regulation in online learning. College Student Journal, 51, 518-530. http://www.projectinnovation.com/college-student-journal.html Chen, X., & Soldner, M. (2013, November). STEM attrition: College students’ paths into and out of STEM fields [PDF file] Washington, D.C.: US Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014001rev.pdf Cho, M., & Shen, D. (2013). Self-regulation in online learning. Distance Education, 34, 290301. doi:10.1080/01587919.2013.835770


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Cochran, J., Campbell, S., Baker, H., & Leeds, E. (2014). The role of student characteristics in predicting retention in online courses. Research in Higher Education, 55(1), 27-48. doi:10.1007/s11162-013-9305-8 Cole, M. T., Shelley, D. J., & Swartz, L. B. (2014). Online instruction, e-learning, and student satisfaction: A three-year study. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 111-131. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/issue/view/65 Dayne, N., Hirabayashi, K., Seli, H., & Reiboldt, W. (2016). The examination of academic selfefficacy and academic help-seeking of higher education students taking an on-campus or online general education course in family and consumer sciences. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, 33(2), 13-24. http://www.natefacs.org/Pages/v33no2/v33no2Dayne.pdf De Clercq, M. D., Galand, B., Dupont, S., & Frenay, M. (2013). Achievement among first-year university students: An integrated and contextualized approach. European Journal of Psychology Education, 28, 641-662. doi:10.1007/s10212-012-0133-6 Delaval, M., Michinov, N., Le Bohec, O., & Le Henaff, B. (2015). How can students’ academic performance in statistics be improved? Testing the influence of social and temporal-self comparison feedback in web-based training environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 25(1), 35-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.11.002 Diekman, A. B., & Benson-Greenwald, T. M. (2018). Fixing STEM workforce and teacher shortages: How goal congruity can inform individuals and institutions. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5, 11-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/2372732217747889 Doménech-Betoret, F., Abellán-Roselló, L., & Gómez-Artiga, A. (2017). Self-efficacy, satisfaction, and academic achievement: The mediator role of students' expectancy-value beliefs. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1-12. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01193 Farchi, M., Cohen, A., & Mosek, A. (2014). Developing specific self-efficacy and resilience as first responders among students of social work and stress and trauma studies. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 34, 129-146. https://doiorg.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/08841233.2014.894602


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Fong, C., & Krause, J. (2014). Lost confidence and potential: A mixed methods study of underachieving college students' sources of self-efficacy. Social Psychology of Education, 17, 249-268. doi:10.1007/s11218-013-9239-1 Hodges, C. B. (2008). Self-efficacy in the context of online learning environments: A review of the literature and directions for research. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 20(3/4), 7-25. doi:10.1002/piq.20001 Høigaard, R., Kovač, V. B., Overby, N. C., & Haugen, T. (2015). Academic self-efficacy mediates the effects of school psychological climate on academic achievement. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(1), 64-74. doi:10.1037/spq0000056 Jan, S. K. (2015). The relationships between academic self-efficacy, computer self-efficacy, prior experience, and satisfaction with online learning. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(1), 30-40. doi:10.1080/08923647.2015.994366 Kozar, O., Lum, J. F., & Benson, P. (2015). Self-efficacy and vicarious learning in doctoral studies at a distance. Distance Education, 36, 448-454. doi:10.1080/01587919.2015.1081739 Ladyshewsky, R. K. (2013). Instructor presence in online courses and student satisfaction. International Journal for The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23. http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/v7n1.html Lawanto, O., Santoso, H. B., Lawanto, K. N., & Goodridge, W. (2014). Self-regulated learning skills and online activities between higher and lower performers on a web-intensive undergraduate engineering course. Journal of Educators Online, 11(3), 1-32. http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ1033324 Lee, Y., & Choi, J. (2011). A review of online course dropout research: Implications for practice and future research. Education Technology Research Development, 59, 593-618. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9177-y Lee, Y., Choi, J., & Kim, T. (2013). Discriminating factors between completers of and dropouts from online learning courses. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44, 328-337. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01306.x Lent, R. W., Ireland, G. W., Penn, L. T., Morris, T. R., & Sappington, R. (2017). Sources of selfefficacy and outcome expectations for career exploration and decision-making: A test of


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the social cognitive model of career self-management. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 99, 107-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.01.002 Lin, G. (2016). Self-efficacy beliefs and their sources in undergraduate computing disciplines. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 53, 540-561. doi:10.1177/0735633115608440 Loo, C. W., & Choy, J. L. F. (2013). Sources of self-efficacy influencing academic performance of engineering students. American Journal of Educational Research, 1(3), 86-92. doi:10.12691/education-1-3-4 Macaskill, A., & Denovan, A. (2013). Developing autonomous learning in first year university students using perspectives from positive psychology. Students in Higher Education, 38(1), 124-142. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.566325 Pardo, A., Han, F., & Ellis, R. A. (2017). Combining university student self-regulated learning indicators and engagement with online learning events to predict academic performance. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 10(1), 82-92. doi:10.1109/TLT.2016.2639508 Park, J. Y., Luo, H., & Kim, W. H. (2015, October). Factors affecting students' completion: A study of an online Master's program. In Educational Innovation through Technology (EITT), 2015 International Conference of (pp. 275-278). Wuhan, China: IEEE. doi:10.1109/EITT.2015.33 Shen, D., Cho, M., Tsai, C., & Marra, R. (2013). Unpacking online learning experiences: Online learning self-efficacy and learning satisfaction. Internet and Higher Education, 19(10), 10-17. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2013.04.001 Trigwell, K., Ashwin, P., & Millan, E. S. (2013). Evoked prior learning experience and approach to learning as predictors of academic achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 363-378. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2012.02066.x Usher, E. L., & Pajares, F. (2006). Sources of academic and self-regulatory efficacy beliefs of entering middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31, 125-141. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2005.03.002 Usher, E. L., & Pajares, F. (2009). Sources of self-efficacy in mathematics: A validation study. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34, 89-101. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2008.09.002


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Wang, C., Shannon, D. M., & Ross, M. E. (2013). Students’ characteristics, self-regulated learning, technology self-efficacy, and course outcomes in online learning. Distance Education, 34, 302-323. doi:10.1080/01587919.2013.835779 Wu, E., Lin, W., & Yang, S. C. (2013). An experimental study of cyber face-to-face vs. cyber text-based English tutorial programs for low-achieving university students. Computers & Education, 63, 52-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.11.018 Zelenak, M. S. (2015). Measuring the sources of self-efficacy among secondary school music students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 62, 389-404. doi:10.1177/0022429414555018 Zientek, L. R., Fong, C. J., & Phelps, J. M. (2017). Sources of self-efficacy of community college students enrolled in developmental mathematics. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 1-18. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1357071


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Appendix A Table 1. Comparison of Cronbach’s Alpha Scores of PALS and ME, VE, VP, PS scales of SSEMS

Study

PALS

ME

VE

VP

PS

This Study

0.81

0.80

0.62

0.94

0.90

Validation Study

0.78

0.86

0.68

0.82

0.84


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Appendix B Table 2. Standard Multiple Regression for RQ2 (H2) Variable

B

SEB

β

ME

.352

.127

.399*

VE

-.158

.104

-.183

VP

-.300

.097

-.353*

PS

-.137

.131

-.127

* p < .025, B = unstandardized regression coefficient; SEB = standard error of the coefficient; β = standardized coefficient (beta)


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Towards an Understanding of an Institution: The Perceived Legitimacy of Online Business Degree Programs Roy H. Keller Murray State University Jacob A. Voegel Coastal Carolina University Matthew R. Peters Lander University

Abstract Organizational forms can become institutionalized in the sense that their existence and application is taken-for-granted and perceived as legitimate by stakeholders. In this study, we examine online business degree programs (OBDP) as an emerging institutionalized form in relation to its perceived legitimacy from the perspectives of four key stakeholder groups. Findings offer strategic guidance to business schools either currently offering ODBPs, or those planning to develop an online version of an existing program. Keywords: Online business degree program, legitimacy, institutional theory Introduction The growth and popularity of online education has been well documented (Allen & Seaman, 2008, 2010, 2014; Kumar, Kumar, Palvia, & Verma, 2019). In this vein, our study argues that the creation of a new institutional form is taking place in the context of higher education with regards to online academic degree programs. Institutional theory posits that in order to gain legitimacy and increase the likelihood of survival, organizations are motivated to conform to society’s commonly accepted rules for and belief systems about organizations (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). As such, institutional theory is the


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theoretical foundation of this study and is utilized to assess the degree of legitimacy that online business degree programs possess. This assessment focuses on the perspective of four key stakeholder groups (students, academic faculty, academic administrators, and business practitioners) and four identifies variables (accreditation, reputation, placement of graduates after graduation, and linkages to other more legitimate entities) that are believed to have a direct and positive influence on the institutionalization and subsequent legitimation of these programs as a taken-for-granted, appropriate institutional form. From this perspective, traditional business degree programs are an existing or established institutional form and online business degree programs are considered as a new or emerging institutional form. Specifically, this study addresses the following research question: How do varying levels of accreditation, reputation, placement of graduates after graduation, and physical linkages impact the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs? Traditional higher education is typically resistant to change. As a result, the existing institutional form of higher education has experienced very little challenge to the traditional model of providing education at the post-secondary level. Over time, traditional higher education has become so institutionalized that colleges and universities are often referred to as “institutions” of higher education. Given the popularity of online education will likely continue to grow, it is pertinent that online degree programs earn the same level of legitimacy by becoming “institutionalized.” From this perspective, an interesting empirical test of institutional theory is offered in this study. Literature Review In their paper on the institutionalization of organizations, Meyer and Rowan (1977) argue that many organizations mold their formal structures to “dramatically reflect the myths of their institutional environments instead of the demands of work activities” (p.341). When something becomes “institutionalized,” it becomes legitimate and achieves the unquestioned, myth-like status that Meyer and Rowan describe. Aldrich and Fiol (1994) present legitimacy as socio


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political which refers to the extent to which it “conforms to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards” (p.646). Legitimacy in Higher Education The pursuit of legitimacy is perhaps the most coveted measure of success. As Morphew (2009) indicates, “institutional theorists would argue that an organization’s survival is inexorably tied to perceptions of its legitimacy” (p.245). Armstrong (2001) notes, “higher education collectively values highly their stability and the ability to survive for long periods of time without revolutionary change” (p.3). Other authors have referred to change in higher education as having to be measured in years, or even decades (Folkers, 2005). The common theme of change in the higher education literature is presented and operationalized in various contexts, such as higher education expansion (Naylor, Smith, & Telhaj, 2015; Ou & Hou, 2019), and the use of institutional theory in studies of legitimacy in higher education research is also relatively prevalent (Cai & Mehari, 2015; He & Wilkins, 2018). Legitimacy and Online Academic Degree Programs One major source of change in higher education is the increasing demand for online academic degree programs. Evidence that online degree programs are rapidly increasing can be found in a survey conducted by Seaman, Allen, and Seaman (2018) that found that 6.4 million students were taking at least one online course in 2016, which is 31.6% of all higher education enrollments. This equates to a 5.6% increase over the number reported the previous year and 17.2% increase over the last four years. Based on these examples, the legitimacy of online academic degree programs seems to be increasing, at least in terms of density. Although online enrollments and offerings continue to grow, online academic degree programs are not without its detractors. Faculty often categorize online delivery as being inferior in quality to more traditional methods (Grossman & Johnson, 2015; Tanner, Noser, & Totaro, 2009; Willett, Brown, & Danzy-Bussell, 2019). One study found that instructors rated traditional, face-to-face methods more favorable in terms of “(a) comfort and ability to interact with students; (b) students’ opportunity to interact and participate in class discussions; and (c) instruction accommodating different learning styles” (Lee & Busch, 2005, p. 109). Other


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authors have suggested that employers often distrust online degrees (Richards et al, 2019) and have a negative perception of graduates whose degrees were completed solely online (Thomas, 2018). Stakeholder Perceptions of Legitimacy Related to, but separate from the taken for grantedness aspect of the legitimacy of online academic degree programs is the extent that key stakeholders consider the institutional form of online education to be an appropriate and desirable form for colleges and universities to adopt. Students. As already documented, students are increasingly demanding and participating in online education. Based on this, one could conclude that students view online education as an appropriate and desirable means of earning an education. Dobbs, Waid, and Carmen (2009) compared the perceptions of two student groups: 1) students that had participated in online education; and 2) students that had not. Not surprisingly, the study found that students that had participated in online courses had a more favorable impression of online education. Research on student perceptions of online courses has been done in various contexts. For example, Chew (2013) investigated differences in students’ perceptions based off their nationality; Kuo and Belland (2016) measured the impact of a student’s minority status; and Bowne et al. (2018) gauged the impact of an Online Instructor Certification Program. Although this body of this type of work continues to grow, this study is unique in that it takes a more macro view and considers perceptions of overall legitimacy. Academic administrators. Academic administrators’ impressions of online academic degree programs are less obvious and a bit more difficult to predict. There is evidence to suggest that when academic administrators are faced with faculty hiring decisions, they are inclined to view faculty candidates that earned a doctoral degree online as lower quality (Adams, 2008). Academic administrators also note that an online education often results in weaker leadership skills (Rutledge, 2017). Kelly and Rebman Jr. (2014) demonstrated most administrators perceive online education to be inferior, when compared to face-to-face delivery in six different areas: (1) quality; (2) rigor; (3) engagement; (4) retention; (5) discussion; and (6) critical thinking.


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According to administrators, online education is not without its advantages. Increased enrollment is one advantage that administrators often mention (Hanson, 2019). Academic faculty. The academic faculty and business practitioner stakeholder groups are inclined to be more skeptical of the appropriateness of online academic degree programs. Seasoned and experienced faculty that have been trained and have managed their careers in the context of the long-established institutional form of traditional, face-to-face education naturally resist any new institutional form that creates uncertainty and potentially threatens their role and identity as a faculty member (Tagg, 2012). Seaman, Allen, and Seaman (2018) demonstrates that academic faculty do not view online education as appropriate. Negative feelings faculty have toward teaching online stem from online communication not being as effective, student engagement suffering, and active learning opportunities being fewer (Walters, Grover, Turner, & Alexander, 2017; Hoffman, 2018). Like administrators, the advantages of online education do not go unnoticed by faculty. Many faculty reference the ability to reach more students from much wider backgrounds, demographics, and locations in an online format (Lampley & Reynolds, 2017). Business practitioners. Although their opinions are typically not as strong as academic faculty, business practitioners have historically expressed a general distrust and reluctance to hire applicants with online degrees (Carnevale, 2007). Findings from Erden’s and Tekarslan’s (2014) indicated that employers prefer applicants with traditional degrees for several reasons: (1) education quality; (2) gain of competencies; (3) development of communication skills; (4) personal growth; and (5) the importance of student-instructor interaction. When specifically looking at the accounting field, Mauldin et al. (2019) found that CPAs are more likely to hirer graduates who earned a degree in a face-to-face setting. This is due to CPAs’ perceptions of better rigor, academic integrity, and a higher level of career preparation in a face-to-face setting. One could argue that as the number of graduates from online academic degree programs increases and enters the workforce, business practitioner perceptions will evolve and become more accepting of job applicants that earned their degrees online.


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Legitimacy of Online Business Degree Programs The following sections focus on four specific variables that are thought to influence the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs as a taken-for-granted and appropriate institutionalized form. Accreditation. The first factor thought to influence the perceived legitimacy of online business programs is accreditation. Armstrong (2001) suggested that accreditation is important in higher education, as it provides external evidence of a program or school’s quality. In the context of business schools, Romero (2008) suggested that due to an increasing number of schools offering business programs, the AACSB accreditation credential is “more important than ever” (p.245). When possible and appropriate, schools attempt to leverage their traditional accreditation credentials towards the promotion and marketing of their online offerings. Gambescia and Paolucci (2009) studied the ways that schools with online offerings communicated and marketed their online programs and found that when accredited schools and/or programs were able to incorporate their online offerings into their traditional accreditation credential, the schools overwhelmingly highlighted the fact in their promotions. Clinefelter and Aslanian (2015) found that sixty-seven percent of students in their study viewed accreditation as an important factor in selecting an online program, which lead them to recommend that professional accreditations should be “overtly” promoted. Based on this, it seems logical that online academic degree programs that have earned and promoted a recognized accreditation credential will be perceived as more legitimate than non-accredited online academic degree programs by all stakeholder groups. Therefore, the following relationship is predicted: H1: Accredited online business degree programs are perceived by key stakeholders as more legitimate than non-accredited programs. Reputation. The second factor thought to influence the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs is the established reputation of the school or university providing online education. The importance of an organization’s reputation, in any context or industry, is well established in the literature. Jensen and Roy (2008) define reputation as “the prestige


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accorded firms on the basis of how they have performed in the past” (p. 497) and point out that a firm’s reputation creates expectations about future performance based on past performance. Although reputation and legitimacy are closely related, the relationship between reputation and legitimacy can be described by indicating that reputation is an emotional perceptual estimation of a firm; whereas, legitimacy is a broader concept that focuses on adherence to social norms (Czinkota, Kaufmann, & Basile, 2014). From this perspective, reputation and legitimacy are clearly related, but distinct with reputation being an influential factor in the overall perception of a firm’s legitimacy. Reputation is especially important in higher education. It has been well documented that colleges and universities aspire to receive high rankings from national entities like U.S. News and World Report in order to increase and exploit reputational standing (Sauder & Fine, 2008). Evidence of this can be seen in Clinefelter and Alsanian’s (2015) findings that reputation is the factor that most influences student impressions of online programs, more important than convenience and tuition. Rindova, Martins, Srinivas, & Chandler (2018) explain how rankings can seem attractive to consumers because they help simplify often complex choices. From this perspective, the reputation that an online business degree program develops over time, in terms of rankings and past performance will have a positive effect on the perceived legitimacy of the program. Therefore, the following relationship is predicted: H2: Online business degree programs that are perceived by key stakeholders to have good reputations are more legitimate than those programs with poor reputations. Placement after Graduation. The third factor thought to influence the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs is the program’s ability to assist its graduates in securing employment opportunities. Research conducted by The Higher Education Research Institute found that 55% of college freshmen indicated that “graduates get good jobs” was a very important factor in college choice (Eagan et al., 2014). Thouin, Hefley, and Raghunathan (2018) corroborated these findings when they found job placement to be one of the top program selections factors of graduate students. High placement rates would also serve as a signal of legitimacy to business practitioners when considering online degreed candidates for positions. To the extent that business


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practitioners are aware that other organizations they perceive to be legitimate are hiring a program’s graduates, business practitioners would be more likely to respond to mimetic isomorphic pressures and be inclined to view the program and its graduates as legitimate. Clinefelter and Aslanian’s (2015) found that individuals who completed an online academic degree program improved their employment standings by obtaining a first job, a first full-time job, or new job. Therefore, the following relationship is predicted: H3: Online business degree programs that are perceived by key stakeholders to have high levels of placement after graduation are more legitimate than programs with low levels of placement after graduation. Linkages. The fourth factor thought to influence the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs is the online program’s linkages to other entities that are perceived as legitimate. When an online program is linked to an established, traditionally legitimate school, the online program’s perceived legitimacy increases as a result of the connection. Gambescia and Paolucci (2009) note the importance of these types of linkages when describing common ways that universities promote and communicate their online offerings. They report that traditional schools attempting to transfer legitimacy to their online offerings often use language such as “the same curriculum” or “the same faculty” to highlight the linkage to the school’s traditional programs. To the extent that traditional programs are perceived as legitimate, online academic degree programs will benefit, in terms of perceived legitimacy, as a result of the linkage. Examining this linkage, Mauldin et al. (2019) found that graduates who earned a degree online from a university with a traditional campus are more likely to be pursued by employers than graduates who earned a degree online from a university without a traditional campus. Following the logic of the stated research, the following relationship is predicted: H4: Online business degree programs that are linked with a more legitimate entity are perceived by key stakeholders as more legitimate than programs that are not. Methodology This research is designed to examine the degree to which four factors (accreditation, reputation, placement after graduation, linkages) influence the perceived legitimacy of online


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business degree programs of four key stakeholder groups (students, faculty, academic administrators, and business practitioners). Subsample Definitions Definitions of each of the subsamples were devised relative to the survey and experimental task presented to each group. First, the student subsample is defined as individuals currently enrolled in some level of post-secondary coursework at a post-secondary provider of education that offers an AACSB accredited business curriculum. Second, the faculty subsample is identified as individuals that currently hold instructional positions at a post-secondary provider of education that offers AACSB accredited business curriculum. Third, the academic administrator subsample is defined as individuals currently in decision making positions at the level of department chair or above at a post-secondary provider of education that offers AACSB accredited curriculum. Fourth, the business practitioner subsample is defined as individuals currently in professional positions outside of academia. Recruitment of Participants All subsamples were recruited via email and were asked to participate in the research by following a link provided in the email to the online instruments designed for this project. Recruitment of participants for the faculty, student, and academic administrator groups was based on a random sample of the 478 institutions of higher education that offer AACSB accredited business programs. Faculty and academic administrator emails were obtained from the specific schools’ websites. For faculty, two each from the traditional AACSB disciplines (accounting, finance, management, marketing, information systems) were targeted. For administrators, individuals identified on the specific schools’ websites as having administrative duties were contacted. Student participants were recruited by asking faculty participants to make the study available and encourage their students to participate. Business practitioners were recruited through a statewide small business development network, as well as member organizations of a local chamber of commerce. Contacts within these two groups were asked to participate in the research, as well as forward the research request to other potential participants in their professional networks.


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Procedure The research instrument was divided into three parts. Part one asked participants to provide basic demographic information. Part two used the conjoint analysis method to measure the effect that varying levels and combinations of four online business degree program attributes (accreditation, reputation, placement after graduation, and physical linkage) have on the overall legitimacy perceptions of participants in each of the four subsamples (H1-H4). Each participant was provided a short description of the conjoint task, basic instructions, and assumptions relevant to the conjoint task. Specifically, participants were instructed to assume they were acting in today’s economic environment; furthermore, it was acknowledged that not all variables important to the decision were included, and participants were urged to consider any other influential factors, not included in the research, as constant and “satisfactory” across all profiles (Norwood & Henneberry, 2006; Patzelt & Sheperd, 2009). Participants were also presented information relative to the definitions and descriptions of the levels of each variable. Conjoint Analysis Conjoint analysis is an experimental technique that forces respondents to make decisions based on different factors identified as being influential to the decision being made. In a metric conjoint experiment, respondents are provided a hypothetical decision situation composed of various levels of attributes that have been identified as key factors in making the decision (Monsen, Patzelt & Saxton, 2010). In the context of this study, respondents were asked to make a series of judgments or tradeoffs relative to their perceptions of online business degree programs based on various combinations of the factors described previously. These individual decisions or judgments were analyzed to determine the importance or strength of each of the four factors in the context of the decision being made in the experiment. Additionally, conjoint analysis provides the ability to measure the relative strength of each individual attribute. The ability to analyze part-worth preferences of individuals within group as well as the overall, aggregate preferences of the group is especially well suited for this study. As with most experimental research, the internal validity of conjoint experiments is generally high, due to the researcher(s) being able to fully control the presentation of the stimuli,


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which increases the likelihood that the observed relationships are an actual product of the factors being studied rather than being influenced by unaccounted for extraneous factors (Zikmund, 2003). DV: Perception of Online Business Degree Programs The dependent variable in this study is the participant’s perception of the overall legitimacy of online business degree programs. The conjoint experiment consisted of sixteen hypothetical profiles that were made up of four, two level attributes (independent variables) and a scale in which participants from all four subsamples indicated their perception of the overall legitimacy of online business programs relative to the various levels and combinations of attributes. As recommended by Louviere and Hout (1988), an 11-category rating scale was used with not very legitimate and very legitimate serving as the end points. IVs: Accreditation, Reputation, Placement After Graduation, Linkage In the conjoint experiment, the hypothetical profiles presented to participants consisted of four attributes or independent variables. Accreditation refers to whether or not (yes/no) the online business degree program is accredited by an appropriate external entity. Reputation is also a two-level variable (strong/weak), and refers to whether or not the online business degree program is thought to be prestigious based on past performance. Placement after graduation refers to the degree (high/low) that an online business degree program places its graduates in employment upon program completion. Linkage refers to whether or not (yes/no) the online business degree program has a formal connection to more a legitimate entity such as a traditional university or corporation. Results/Findings We will discuss the findings of our study in the following sections. We will start by taking a closer look at our sample characteristics and then further investigating the conjoint analysis of this study.


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Sample Characteristics This study had 494 individual participants. Of the 494 participants, 290 were students, 86 were academic faculty, 64 were academic administrators, and 54 were business practitioners (see Table 1). Conjoint Analysis When utilizing conjoint analysis, there are a few key steps to follow. First, measure reliability of the technique. Second, investigate relationships between variables with a correlation analysis. Third, determine the amount of variance explained through a regression analysis. In the following sections, we discuss these steps within our study and share our findings. Reliability. Conjoint analysis is a repeated measures technique where issues related to reliability are addressed through replication of profiles and test-retest checks (Monsen, Patzelt, Saxton, 2010). To test the reliability of the conjoint task, four of the scenarios that participants were exposed to were repeated so that test-retest reliability could be conducted. Correlation analysis, as well as an internal reliability analysis, was conducted on each of the repeated items. Each of the repeated pairs was significantly and positively correlated, and was found to have a high degree (α > .84) of internal reliability. Correlations. Correlation analyses performed on each subsample separately revealed a number of significant relationships between program variables and perceived legitimacy (see Table 2). Specifically, the presence of accreditation, a strong reputation, high placement after graduation, and being linked to a more legitimate entity all yielded positive, significant results with accreditation being the strongest relationship and linkage to a more legitimate entity being the weakest. Regression analyses. To determine the amount of variance explained in the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs by the four program related characteristics over and above the amount of variance explained by demographic control variables alone,


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demographic variables were entered into Model 1 before the program characteristics were entered in Model 2. The significant predictors and R2 values from each regression model are shown in Table 3. After the control variables were entered in model 1, the four program characteristic variables were entered in model 2 to determine the amount of variance explained by program characteristics over and above what was explained by demographics alone. The R2’s of four models including the program characteristic variables was found to be significant, and each of the program characteristics were found to be significant predictors in all models tested. Relative to the predictive strength of the specific program characteristic variables, the accreditation variable was found to be the strongest predictor across all four of the sample groupings, placement after graduation was second strongest, reputation third strongest, and linkage to a more legitimate entity was found to be the weakest predictor. Specifically, accreditation was ranked as the strongest predictor in each individual group and linkage to more legitimate entity was ranked lowest in each group, except for the business practitioner group where it was the second strongest predictor. Another interesting finding relative to the specific program characteristic variables is that placement after graduation was found to be a notably stronger predictor of perceived legitimacy with the student subsample than with the other sample groups. Each of the hypotheses stated that each of the program characteristic variables, when in their positive state, would be significant predictors of the perceived legitimacy of online business degree programs, and based on the findings of the regression analyses presented in this section, each of the four hypotheses are supported. Discussion In the following paragraphs, the program-related and demographic factors that influence perceptions of legitimacy, the theoretical and practical implications of our findings, and the limitations and future research directions of our study are discussed. Lastly, we offer a few concluding thoughts. Program-Related Factors Influencing Legitimacy Perceptions


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As predicted, each of the four program-related factors were found to positively influence the legitimacy perceptions of online business degree programs across all groups. Most notably, the program-related factor of accreditation was found to have the strongest influence on legitimacy perceptions across all of the groups. Placement after graduation was identified second to accreditation as the most influential factor for the student and faculty groups. One of the main, if not the main, priority of students is securing employment after graduation, so it is expected that student legitimacy perceptions would be heavily influenced by the placement after graduation factor. The reputation variable was viewed as the third most influential variable in each of the groups, except for academic administrators. This is not surprising, due to the external and nonacademic perspectives that administrative positions require. The linkage factor had the least influence on legitimacy of the four factors, except with the business practitioner group. Business practitioners perceived the linkage factor as the second most legitimacy influencing factor behind accreditation. In terms of legitimacy, it is likely that business practitioners’ perceptions are increased when an online business program is linked to an established educational institution. Demographic Factors Influencing Legitimacy Perceptions Of the demographic factors, age, marital status, and having taken an online course were all found to be the most significant. There was some discrepancy across the groups, in terms of the influence of age. In the faculty group, age was a negative predictor indicating that younger faculty perceive online business degree programs as more legitimate; however, with the academic administrator and business practitioner groups, age was a positive predictor. These findings are consistent with the results discussed previously related to rank in the faculty and academic administrator. Marital status and having taken an online course were also found to be positive predictors in the faculty and academic administrator groups. As previously mentioned, married individuals may be attracted to the autonomy that online courses provided. It is interesting that having taken an online course was not found to be a significant predictor with the student and business practitioner groups.


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Theoretical Implications By not focusing on any one individual group, the generalizability of the findings across the groups is increased. By not limiting the sample to faculty or academic administrators from one type of school or discipline the representativeness of the respective populations is notable, thus further strengthening the generalizability of the results. Second, the use of conjoint analysis to measure perceptions of legitimacy in institutional research is novel. Conjoint analysis has long been used in marketing related research to measure perceptions of product attributes, but the use of the method in institutional or higher education research is virtually non-existent. Third, this study contributes to the institutional theory literature by providing an empirical test of institutional theory in higher education, specifically relative to the emergence of online programs in higher education. Practical Implications The practical implications of this research are primarily based on the unique perspectives of each of the four groups studied. The results provided here indicate that different stakeholder groups are influenced by different factors when it comes to the legitimacy-based perceptions of online business degree programs. This type of insight can be used by academic administrators in the development and implementation of online business degree programs. Accreditation was indicated as being the most important variable influencing legitimacy perceptions across the groups studied. Schools interested in developing an online business degree program that is perceived as legitimate must pursue accreditation. Limitations and Future Research Directions This study does have limitations that should be considered and addressed in future research. The first limitation is related to the lack of randomness in the business practitioner sample. The second limitation is related to the ordering of factors in the conjoint task. The factors in each of the scenarios of the conjoint task were presented in the same order throughout the experiment. This could potentially cause an ordering effect that influenced the results in that the ranking of the factors might follow the order of presentation.


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The third and perhaps most notable limitation is related to the factor combinations that composed each of the scenarios in the conjoint experiment. Some of the combinations were likely perceived as unrealistic to some participants, specifically relative to the accreditation variable. For example, some participants may have found it difficult to imagine a situation where an online business degree program had a weak reputation, low placement after graduation, was not linked to any other entity, but was accredited by the AACSB; or conversely, had a strong reputation, high placement after graduation, was linked to another entity, but was not accredited. The final limitations are related to possible common method and self-selection biases. The potential for common method bias is related to the fact that independent variable data and dependent variable data were both collected from the same source. Conclusion Within this study, we have provided an empirical test of institutional theory in the context of higher education, specifically online business degree programs. An understanding of the legitimacy-based perceptions of four key stakeholder groups (students, faculty, academic administrators, and business practitioners) has been gained. Additionally, the legitimacy influencing effect of four program-related variables (accreditation, reputation, placement after graduation, linkage) have been examined and each were found to be positive influencers of legitimacy. Author Biographies Dr. Keller is an Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration at Murray State University. Dr. Keller earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing and his Master of Business Administration at Murray State and his Ph.D. in Business Administration with major areas in organizational theory/strategy and management information systems from Southern Illinois University. His primary research interests are institutional legitimacy and resource dependence in the context of higher education. Dr. Voegel is an Assistant Professor of Management at Coastal Carolina University. Dr. Voegel possesses a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from the University of Southern


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Indiana, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration with major areas of study in management and organizational studies from Southern Illinois University. His research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, ethics, religiosity, and pedagogy. Dr. Peters is an Assistant Professor of Management at Lander University. Dr. Peters earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Psychology and Communications from Mercer University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of West Georgia, and a PhD in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University. His research interests include emotional intelligence, organizational citizenship behavior, bias, improving online business education delivery, and improving online group collaboration. References Adams, J. (2008). Understanding the factors limiting the acceptability of online courses and degrees. International Journal on e-learning, 7(4), 573-587. Aldrich, H. E., & Fiol, C. M. (1994). Fools rush in? The institutional context of industry creation. Academy of Management Review, 19(4), 645-670. Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2008). Staying the course. Online education in the United States, 2008. Babson Survey Research Group. http://www.sloanc.org/publications/survey/pdf/staying_the_course.pdf. Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2010). Learning on demand: Online education in the United States, 2009. Babson Survey Research Group. http://www.sloanc.org/publications/survey/pdf/learningon demand.pdf. Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade change: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group. http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradechange.pdf. Armstrong, L. (2001). A new game in town: Competitive higher education. Information, Communication & Society, 4(4), 479-506.


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Bowne, M., Wuellner, M., Madsen, L., Meendering, J. R., & Howard, J. (2018). The relative influence of instructor training on student perceptions of online courses and instruction. Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence, 2(2), 7. Cai, Y., & Mehari, Y. (2015). The use of institutional theory in higher education research. In Theory and method in higher education research (pp. 1-25). Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Carnevale, D. (2007). Employers often distrust online degrees. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(18). Chew, R. S. Y. (2013). Perceptions of online learning in an Australian university: an international students’ (Asian region) perspective–quality of learning. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 3(2). Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. The Learning House, 8. Czinkota, M., Kaufmann, H. R., & Basile, G. (2014). The relationship between legitimacy, reputation, sustainability and branding for companies and their supply chains. Industrial Marketing Management, 43(1), 91-101. DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American sociological review, 147-160. Dobbs, R. R., Waid, C. A., & Carmen, A. D. (2009). Students' perceptions of online courses: The effect of online course experience. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(1), 9-26. Eagan, K., Stolzenberg, E. B., Ramirez, J. J., Aragon, M. C., Suchard, M. R., & Hurtado, S. (2014). The American freshman: National norms fall 2014. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. Erden, N. S., & Tekarslan, E. (2014). How do managers regard job applicants with online degrees? Evidence from Turkey. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 4(1), 35-38. Folkers, D. A. (2005). Competing in the marketspace: Incorporating online education in higher education - An organizational perspective. Information Resources Management Journal, 18(1), 61-77.


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Gambescia, S. F., & Paolucci, R. (2009). Academic fidelity and integrity as attributes of university online degree program offerings. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(1). Grossman, A. M., & Johnson, L. R. (2015). Faculty perceptions of online accounting coursework. American Journal of Business Education, 8(2), 95-106. Hanson, E. J. (2019).Administrative perceptions of participation in the California virtual campus-online education initiative and its effects on enrollment management. (Doctoral dissertation, University of La Verne). He, L., & Wilkins, S. (2018). Achieving legitimacy in cross-border higher education: Institutional influences on Chinese international branch campuses in South East Asia. Journal of Studies in International Education, 22(3), 179-197. Hoffman, M. S. (2018). Faculty participation in online higher education: What factors motivate or inhibit their participation?. In Teacher Training and Professional Development: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 2000-2013). IGI Global. Jensen, M., & Roy, A. (2008). Staging exchange partner choices: When do status and reputation matter? Academy of Management Journal, 51(3), 495-516. Kelly, D., & Rebman Jr, C. M. (2014). Perception and acceptance of online education: Do online courses pass the muster?. Issues in Information Systems, 15(2). Kumar, P., Kumar, A., Palvia, S., & Verma, S. (2019). Online business education research: Systematic analysis and a conceptual model. The International Journal of Management Education, 17(1), 26-35. Kuo, Y. C., & Belland, B. R. (2016). An exploratory study of adult learners’ perceptions of online learning: Minority students in continuing education. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 661-680. Lampley, J., & Reynolds, S. (2017). Faculty perceptions and practices in online education. In Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the Academic Business World International Conference & International Conference on Learning and Administration in Higher Education (p. 82). Lee, J. A., & Busch, P. E. (2005). Factors related to instructors' willingness to participate in distance education. The Journal of Educational Research, 99(2), 109-115.


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Louviere, J. J., & Hout, M. (1988). Analyzing decision making: Metric conjoint analysis (No. 67). Sage. Mauldin, S., Braun, R. L., Viosca, C., & Boldt, M. N. (2019). CPAs' evaluations of accounting graduates: An empirical investigation of face-to-face and online degrees. The Accounting Educators' Journal, 28. Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. The American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340-363. Monsen, E., Patzelt, H., & Saxton, T. (2010). Beyond simple utility: Incentive design and tradeoffs for corporate employee-entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 34(1), 83-103. Morphew, C. C. (2009). Conceptualizing change in the institutional diversity of U.S. colleges and universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(3), 243-269. Naylor, R., Smith, J., & Telhaj, S. (2015). Graduate returns, degree class premia and higher education expansion in the UK. Oxford Economic Papers, 68(2), 525-545. Norwood, F. B., & Henneberry, S. R. (2006). Show me the money! The value of college graduate attributes as expressed by employers and perceived by students. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 88(2), 484-498. Ou, D., & Hou, Y. (2019). Bigger pie, bigger slice? The impact of higher education expansion on educational opportunity in China. Research in Higher Education, 60(3), 358-391. Patzelt, H., & Shepherd, D. A. (2009). Strategic entrepreneurship at universities: Academic entrepreneurs' assessment of policy programs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(1), 319-340. Rindova, V. P., Martins, L. L., Srinivas, S. B., & Chandler, D. (2018). The good, the bad, and the ugly of organizational rankings: A multidisciplinary review of the literature and directions for future research. Journal of Management, 44(6), 2175-2208. Romero, E. J. (2008). AACSB accreditation: Addressing faculty concerns. The Academy of Management Learning and Education, 7(2), 245-255. Rutledge, D. (2017). Superintendents' perceptions of online education for principals. Arkansas State University.


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Sauder, M., & Fine, G. A. (2008). Arbiters, entrepreneurs, and the shaping of business school reputations. Sociological Forum, 23(4), 699-723. Seaman, J. E., Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2018). Grade increase: Tracking distance education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group. Tagg, J. (2012). Why does the faculty resist change? Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 44(1), 6-15. Tanner, J. R., Noser, T. C., & Totaro, M. W. (2009). Business faculty and undergraduate students’ perceptions of online learning: A comparative study. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(1), 29-40. Thomas, D. (2018). Perception of the online degree by accounting hiring gatekeepers of mid-size firms in the northwestern US. Thouin, M. F., Hefley, W. E., & Raghunathan, S. (2018). Student attitudes toward information systems graduate program design and delivery. Journal of Information Systems Education, 29(1), 25. Walters, S., Grover, K. S., Turner, R. C., & Alexander, J. C. (2017). Faculty perceptions related to teaching online: A starting point for designing faculty development initiatives. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 18(4), 4-19. Willett, J., Brown, C., & Danzy-Bussell, L. A. (2019). An exploratory study: Faculty perceptions of online learning in undergraduate sport management programs. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, 25, 100206. Zikmund, W. (2003). Business Research Methods (7th ed.). South-Western.


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TABLE 1 Subsample Characteristics as a Percentage of the Sample Characteristic All Subsamples Gender: Male Female Age (yrs.) Ethnicity: Caucasian AfricanAmerican Asian Hispanic Marital status: Single Married Education completed: High School Some College Associate’s Bachelor’s Graduate Doctoral Online experience: Yes No Student only Class: Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate Faculty only Rank: Lecturer Assist. Prof. Assoc. Prof. Full Prof.

Student (n = 290)

Faculty (n = 86)

Academic Business Administrator Practitioner (n = 64) (n = 54)

55.2 44.8 M = 23.7

68.6 31.4 M = 50.2

75.0 25.0 M = 55.23

68.5 31.5 M = 40.48

85.2 5.5

86.0 2.3

93.8 ----

98.1 1.9

5.5 1.4

10.5 1.2

4.7 ----

-------

90.7 9.3

20.9 79.1

10.9 89.1

14.8 85.2

9.7 57.9 15.5 15.9 1.0 ----

------------11.6 88.4

------------10.9 89.1

---7.4 1.9 50.0 40.7 ----

71.7 28.3

24.4 75.6

28.1 71.9

35.2 64.8

0.3 1.4 21.7 67.6 9.0 10.5 24.4 19.8 45.3


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Characteristic Online teach experience: Yes No Academic administrator only Position: Dept. Chair Assist./Assoc. Dean Dean Assist./Assoc.V.P./Provost V.P./Provost President Online teach experience: Yes No Business practitioner only Org. size (no. of employees): < 25 26-50 51-100 >100 Work experience (yrs.): Management experience (yrs.):

Student (n = 290)

Faculty (n = 86)

Academic Business Administrator Practitioner (n = 64) (n = 54)

40.7 59.3 51.6 32.8 10.9 ---3.1 1.6 43.8 56.3 35.2 7.4 9.3 48.1 M = 18.13 M = 10.3


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TABLE 2 Correlations between Program Variables and Legitimacy Perception Program Variable

Accreditation - no Accreditation - yes Reputation - weak Reputation - strong Placement after graduation low Placement after graduation high Linkage - no Linkage - yes

Legitimacy Perception Student Faculty Academic Administrator -.42** -.41** -.46** .42** .41** .46** -.32** -.30** -.34** .32** .30** .34** -.36** -.29** -.27**

Business Practitioner -.47** .47** -.35** .35** -.29**

.36**

.29**

.27**

.29**

-.17** .17**

-.14** .14**

-.16** .16**

-.29** .29**


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TABLE 3 Summary of R2 Model Values and Significant Predictors from Regression Analyses Subsample Model Predictor Beta Model R2 Change in R2 Student 1 1. Gender .17*** .004** 2. Age 0.03*** .457*** 3. Marital status -0.46*** 4. Accreditation 2 2.50*** .461*** 5. Reputation 6. Placement of 1.70*** 2.09*** Graduates 7. Linkage 1.23*** Faculty 1 1. Age -.01** .05*** 2. Marital status 1.33*** .37*** 3. Online exp.a .83*** 4. Accreditation 2 2.52*** .42*** 5. Reputation 6. Placement of 1.65*** 1.80*** Graduates 7. Linkage 1.12*** .04*** .03*** Academic 1 1. Age 2. Marital status .62*** .44*** Administrator 3. Online exp.a .32* 4. Accreditation 2 2.94*** .47*** 5. Reputation 6. Placement of 1.95*** 1.70*** Graduates 7. Linkage 1.21*** Business 1 1. Gender -.39** .01** 2. Age Practitioner .03*** .53*** 3. Accreditation 2 2.74*** .54*** 4. Reputation 1.71*** 5. Placement of 1.69*** Graduates 6. Linkage

1.82***

* p < .10 ** p < .05 *** p < .01 a. Online exp. = previously taking an online course.


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MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION GUIDE

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o Please be sure to indent the paragraph before the biography begins. If there are multiple authors, please begin a new paragraph for each author. Manuscript: (From this point forward, please be sure your manuscript is FREE of any identifying information.) 

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Addressing Social Justice Education through Children’s Literature in Early Childhood Young Mi Chang, Ohio Dominican University Mathew D. Conley, Ohio Dominican University An Examination of the Louisiana Testing Accountability System: Recommendations for Equitable Changes that Impact Traditionally Marginalized Students and Schools John W. Hatcher III, Southeastern Louisiana University Joseph Brown At-risk High School Students and High Prestige Extracurricular Activities John P. McClure, Saint Mary’s University Todd Redalen Community Groups: A Strategy to Promote Connectedness in Online Courses Erin F. Klash, Auburn University at Montgomery Lesson Study with Pre-service Teachers: Learning to Teach English Language Learners Rosemarie Michaels, Dominican University of California Mathematics Lesson Study in Elementary Pre-service Teacher Preparation Rosemarie Michaels, Dominican University of California Sources of Academic Self-efficacy & Academic Performance in Online Learning Jennifer Miller, Tougaloo College Jillian Skelton Towards an Understanding of an Institution: The Perceived Legitimacy of Online Business Degree Programs Roy H. Keller, Murray State University Jacob A. Voegel, Coastal Carolina University Matthew R. Peters, Lander University

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