As policymakers shift from a focus on recruitment to retention, the importance of understanding why beginning teachers continue to exit the profession is evident. This empirical study seeks to better understand factors related to teacher exit. First- and second-year teachers were surveyed about their satisfaction with mentoring, school climate, and principal leadership and the relationship of those factors to anticipated career plans. Findings indicate that principal leadership and climate were related to teachers’ decisions to remain in the profession, in the district, and at the school. In regression models looking at the contributions of climate and principal leadership on career decisions, school climate—in particular, perceiving school as a safe and trusting environment—emerged as the strongest retention predictor.
Initially funded by the Josiah C. Trent Foundation, this study was continued in direct response to the changing demographics of public school classrooms and the need to prepare culturally competent teachers. Building on current research in education and intercultural competence, the study examined how student teachers perceive other cultures and cultural differences, how beliefs and attitudes about other cultures change over the course of the student teaching internship, and what interventions are effective in promoting intercultural competency. Implications of the research include the development and dissemination of an innovative model that synthesizes students’ intercultural competence.
North Carolina has the nation's largest rural student enrollment and the second largest absolute number of students in concentrated poverty districts. It is evident that rural school systems will face many unique challenges and opportunities with regards to addressing the educational needs of gifted students. This study examines data from a needs assessment of school systems throughout the state regarding the new NC Academically/intellectually Gifted Program Standards that were approved for implementation by the State Board of Education. Findings indicate that Standards 3 & 4 are clearly the most problematic for our rural respondents. Nearly two-thirds of respondents from rural districts indicated that both of these standards, which address Comprehensive Programming and Professional Development, would be difficult to meet. The project hopes to create a Web site designed to warehouse resources for school systems pertaining to the standards and to provide a venue for school systems to network and share ideas as they work to address these standards in their respective school systems.
This project focuses on understanding how varying the motivational structure (cooperative versus competitive) of small group contexts relates to upper-elementary students’ interactions within four-person groups. The study specifically focuses on how these different motivational structures relate to the quality of the social and academic interactions within the group, the incidences of help-seeking and help-giving within each group, and the use of social comparison between and within groups.
This project focuses on concerns about the role schools play in children’s health. More than 1000 high school and elementary school principals in North Carolina have shared their views on issues such as the availability in schools of vending machines, K-12 health curricula, and the use of non-nutritious food as motivational incentives. The project hopes to contribute to the growing national debate on childhood obesity and school health policy.
At the request and with the support of former Arts & Sciences Dean of Social Sciences, Sarah Deutsch, Program in Education faculty reviewed the current literature on cutting edge initiatives in middle grades education, as well as the needs of the Durham Public Schools in this area. This study assisted the University in exploring the feasibility of a possible focus, initiative, and/or partnership in the area of adolescent growth and development.
This longitudinal study considers how undergraduate-level natural science courses promote the development of undergraduates' interest in science. Students' perceptions of the classroom environment as well as their own beliefs about science are being tracked across the course of a semester. Additionally, the relation of situational support for science interest to other important indicators of achievement, such as course grades and cognitive and behavioral engagement, are being examined.
School reforms meant to improve the academic performance of American students come in many varieties. Recently, some reformers point out that students spend less time in school in this country than in many countries that outperform the United States on international comparisons. Further, they claim that much of the achievement gap between rich and poor students in the U.S. can be explained by differential resources available to children and adolescents when school is not in session. These reformers are proposing and implementing extended school years, lengthened school days, and all-day kindergarten as approaches to increasing the achievement of all students and closing the achievement gap between ethnic and economic groups. Skeptics of these reforms question their effectiveness and suggest that money and effort would better be spent on improved curricula, higher teacher quality, and revamped school organizations.
This project involves the first comprehensive look at research on the effectiveness of time-in-school reforms and attempts to answer two questions: What does the cumulative research suggest regarding the impact of extending the school year on academic achievement and achievement-related outcomes? What does the cumulative research suggest regarding the impact of lengthening the school day, including all-day kindergarten, on academic achievement and achievement-related outcomes?