Student and Faculty Present Research During Educational Research Forum

Holy Family University doctoral candidates will present their dissertation research during the Educational Research Forum on Monday, May 2, at 5 pm in the ETC Auditorium. Holy Family faculty will also present their unique research projects. The forum is sponsored by the School of Education.

Dianna Sand | Doctoral Student

Research Title: An Examination of Postsecondary Faculty and the Extent of Critical Reading Taught in 100-Level Introductory Biology and American History Courses in Publicly Funded Two-Year and Four-Year Pennsylvania Institutions

The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent postsecondary faculty teach critical reading in specific 100-level introductory disciplinary courses and to identify significant differences between and among part-time and full-time faculty at two- and four-year institutions in Pennsylvania. This research examined the responses of postsecondary faculty on a critical reading inventory. Full-time and part-time faculty from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Pennsylvania community colleges participated in this study; faculty taught 100-level introductory biology or American history. The researcher conducted multiple regression analyses using a hierarchical method. Predictor variables included institution type, faculty status, and disciplinary area; criterion variables included the sub-scales of the critical reading inventory. In the field of postsecondary reading, this study helped to establish baseline knowledge of the present extent of critical reading expectations, strategies, and instructional support in postsecondary 100-level introductory courses in two different academic content areas.

Brian Caughie | Doctoral Student

Research Title: The Perceived Impact of the Layered Curriculum Model on Student Engagement

Students at risk of dropping out often cite a lack of engagement in classes as a factor contributing to disconnectedness in school. This study explored the perceived impact of the Layered Curriculum instructional model on student engagement. The participants were secondary teachers implementing Layered Curriculum and their students. The study consisted of two individual case studies and a cross-case analysis. The perceived best practices that teacher participants followed included: setting clear expectations related to the model, decreasing student stress associated with the model, providing meaningful feedback to students, planning independent student work time, and offering assignment choices that attend to diverse learning styles. Participants perceived that the following factors related to Layered Curriculum positively impacted students’ levels of engagement: assignment choice, meaningful homework, and individual attention from teacher. Finally, participants perceived that the following factors related to Layered Curriculum positively impacted students’ performance: clear expectations, assignment choice, student accountability for learning, and feedback from teachers.   

Carol Braunsar | Doctoral Student

Research Title: Fifth and Sixth-Grade Students’ Motivation to Read and Parent or Guardian Involvement

This correlational research study examined how parent or guardian involvement through modeling and social interaction related to fifth and sixth grade students’ motivation to read. Students were surveyed using the Motivation to Read Profile-Revised (MRP-R) by Malloy, Marinak, Gambrell, and Mazzoni (2013), and parents and guardians were surveyed using a researcher-generated involvement survey that mirrored questions featured on the MRP-R. A two-tailed Pearson product-moment coefficient was calculated for each of the correlations under examination. The results of the study revealed that parent or guardian involvement is one variable that is positively related to fifth and sixth grade students’ reading motivation.

Sandra Molden | Doctoral Student

Research Title: Teacher and Parent Perceptions and Preferences Regarding Effective School to Home Communication

Perceptions and preferences of teachers and parents were investigated to understand school-to-home communication. Data were gathered using surveys specifically focusing on the frequency of communication between teachers and parents, modes, field, and tenor of effective school-to-home communication. The study found that teachers and parents were largely in agreement in their perceptions about the importance and value of school-to-home communications. Teachers and parents believe that effective home-to-school communication helps them work together as a team to improve student learning.

Ellie Ingbritsen | Doctoral Student

Research Title: The Impact of Response to Intervention (RtI) on Referrals for Special Education Services in Secondary Schools

Adolescents with literacy deficits struggle academically, socially, and emotionally in secondary settings. However, intervention strategies for students in this setting often result in labeling and exclusion. This study examined how the use of RtI in secondary schools affects the number of secondary students diagnosed with specific learning disabilities. The purpose of the study was to document if Response to Intervention as an early intervening tool is implemented in New Jersey public schools in grades 6-12 and to determine the impact of RtI in these settings as it relates to special education services referrals.

Dr. Roger Gee | Professor, School of Education

Research Title: A Corpus-based Study: Frequency Levels of the Defining Vocabulary Found in Five Online Dictionaries

This study examined the defining vocabulary found in five online dictionaries that were used for target words in the three to five thousand word frequency bands. The target words used for this study come from the 100,000 Word Frequency list developed by Davies (2013). The defining vocabulary corpus was analyzed using AntWordProfiler, once with a reference list of word forms and again with a reference list of word families. A third analysis using lemmas was done with Text Lex Compare. Contrary to what might logically be expected, it was found that a substantial proportion of the defining vocabulary was less frequent than the target words. Assuming that more frequent words are known before less frequent words, this result suggests that the online dictionaries used in this study may not allow for unassisted use by upper intermediate and even many advanced English language students.