• The In-Crowd: A Study of High School Students' Problem Solving Techniques When Calculating the Area of Irregular Polygons

      Bradford, Cara (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2016-08)
      This research investigates student preferences of approaches and techniques used when calculating the area of irregular polygons. On a more conceptual level, this study was designed to analyze whether students demonstrate appropriate problem solving skills or simply the memorization of a single procedure. It was hypothesized that high school mathematics students would tend to choose one method and use that method regardless of its efficiency. To be more specific, it was hypothesized that students would choose the to use the addition method (breaking the polygon into smaller familiar shapes with known area formulas) more than the subtraction method (enclosing the shape in a rectangle and subtracting the area of the empty space) or any other method. The results of this study suggest that, as predicted, students do not use the most efficient method for calculating the area of an irregular polygon 72% of the time. However, further analysis reveals that students most often choose to employ methods other than the addition or subtraction method. While less than half of participants were able to use those other methods correctly, approximately two thirds of those who used the preferred methods (addition or subtraction) obtained correct answers.
    • Inclusive Education at a 4 Year Institution in New York State: Perspectives of Students, Faculty, and Administration

      Halewski, Daniel (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
      The goal of this research was to conduct an overview assessment of the inclusive education program at Rush University through the perspectives of students, faculty, and administrators. This research was developed and conducted in order to add to the existing knowledge on inclusive education at the post-secondary level. The study used quantitative surveys to poll students with disabilities (SWD) and faculty that have been involved in the program. The findings found a several commonalities between responses related to effectiveness and an understanding of inclusive education. The inconsistencies arise in the students understanding of their personal accommodations and the faculty opinions of effectiveness, training, and support from their institution. These results highlight a need for further research into the inconsistencies and a larger scope of the effectiveness of the program.
    • Increasing homework completion and accuracy among mathematics students using the Jars Game.

      Hargis, Debra Zibreg (11/12/2012)
      Homework is a teaching strategy used in mathematics to promote student mastery of new material through practice. In addition, homework completion and accuracy has a positive effect on academic achievement (Madaus, Kehle, Madaus, & Bray, 2003). Unfortunately, the literature also suggests that many students fail to complete homework and many others fail to do so at appropriate levels of success. As such, classroom teachers are in need of effective, efficient, and socially acceptable interventions that can improve the homework-related performance of all their students. The present study examined the effects of the jars intervention, a combination of interdependent and dependent group contingencies with randomized behaviors, criteria, and rewards, on the homework completion and accuracy of an 8th grade math class. The jars game produced immediately and educationally important improvements in all students’ completion and accuracy rates and replicated these effects across subsequent experimental phases. Teachers and pupils rated intervention goals, procedures, and outcomes quite favorably. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
    • Increasing students' participation by using cooperative learning in library and research course.

      Alhabeedi, Ezdehar (2015)
      The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of cooperative learning strategies on students' participation in a high school library and research course in Saudi Arabia. Increased student participation provides social, psychological and academic advantages to students. The review of the literature focuses on four primary frameworks. The first section addresses Vygotsky's theory of social constructivism. Second, previous studies completed in regards to cooperative learning are presented including definitions, benefits, potential drawbacks, elements and strategies, as well as the role of the teacher in cooperative learning. The third section focuses on student development while the last section focuses on curriculum of the library and research course. This research specifically targeted female first grade high school students who were 16 years old from an urban high school in Western Saudi Arabia during the fall semester of 2015. The experimental group was 15 students working in three cooperative groups while the other 15 students in the control group were taught in a traditional teacher centered method. Data was collected using quantitative techniques of participation tallies. The results showed students who were taught by the cooperative learning strategy increased their participation as compared to the students who were taught by a lecture approach. Therefore, the conclusion of this study is that cooperative learning had a positive impact on increasing students' participation in Saudi Arabia.
    • Increasing teachers' knowledge of ELLS' linguistic and cultural backgrounds through the use of a flip chart describing the differences between English and ten languages.

      Cunningham, Amy-Catherine (11/11/2013)
      Research has found a linguistic and cultural mismatch between teachers and students in the United States, with many teachers lacking training in how to work effectively with English language learners (ELLs). Therefore the purpose of this Master’s project was to provide teachers with a resource for understanding the linguistic and cultural differences of ELLs through the creation of a flip chart. This flip chart is intended to be used as a resource by any teacher who works with linguistically and culturally diverse students. A thorough examination of each language and culture was conducted through the use of articles, reports, encyclopedias, books, and websites in order to create the flip chart. Ten languages were chosen based on which were the most-spoken by ELLs in Western New York and the United States. The ten languages presented in the flip chart include Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, French, Karen, Korean, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The flip chart was designed to provide teachers with specific linguistic differences and similarities between these languages and English, in order for teachers to have an understanding of when students’ first languages may aid in the acquisition of English or may cause confusion. Cultural differences between interactions in ELLs’ home countries and interactions in the White, middle-class, culture of the United States were included, as well. This information may help teachers to have a more culturally responsive classroom.
    • Influence of cooperative learning strategies for English Language Learners with disabilities

      Langworthy, Allison L. (2015)
      Research has shown the amounts of English Language Learners (ELLS) with disabilities are on the rise in the United States. Parallel to the rise of ELLs with disabilities, are the struggles these types of students endure in the classroom. This study investigated the use of specific Kagan cooperative learning structures in the classroom with ELLs with disabilities and if students’ engagement, motivation, and other positive outcomes were affected by these strategies. This study also investigated teacher perspectives in regards to Kagan cooperative learning strategies. Further, a case study was conducted evaluating the use of Kagan cooperative learning structures in the classroom, when implemented by two special education teachers. Overall, findings distinguished that when specific Kagan strategies were implemented in a classroom with ELLs with disabilities, these students experienced increased motivation, engagement, self-esteem, confidence, and peer-acceptance. Findings also determined the teacher perspectives were conclusive with previous literature and were affirmative. Implications for further research are discussed in regards to Kagan cooperative learning strategies use in the classroom.
    • The Influence of Digital Writing on Writing Development and Writing Instruction in Traditional Paper-Based Curriculum

      Florian, Emma (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016)
      Digital (technology-based) writing is becoming prevalent especially among children and youth; they in turn bring many forms of digital writing into the classroom. On the other hand, proficiency level with paper-based writing remains low for many students. To address this problem of low proficiency and increasing digital writing from the perspective of a literacy specialist, the research question is, "how does digital writing influence writing development and writing instruction in the traditional paper-based curriculum?" To answer that question, a literature review and research synthesis have been conducted and have produced several findings. First is that the most frequently used forms of digital writing appear to be e-mail, blogs, wikis, software programs such as Microsoft Word, and writing that includes mixed forms or multimodal writing. The greatest influence of all forms of digital writing appears to be on students in grades 4 to 6, while the writing development of elementary and high school students is influenced in the areas of grammar and text structure. The influence of digital writing appears to becomes more complex as grade levels increase, with grades 1 to 6 influencing willingness to write and grades 10 to 12 influencing higher-level thinking. The fifth finding is that researchers appear to view digital writing as an instructional tool to benefit diverse, struggling and at-risk students. These findings form the basis of a professional development project presented on Google sites for Kindergarten to grade 12 classroom teachers. [from author's abstract]
    • The influence of electronic books on third grade reading comprehension.

      Rich, Sarah A. (04/01/2013)
      This study investigated the silent reading comprehension of three third grade participants who struggle to decode grade level material. The participants were given seven passages, four from a paper book and three from an e-book. After reading, the participants completed graphic organizers and met with the researcher to retell the story. The amount of what the participant recalled was estimated using a retelling guide. The amount of points the participant obtained from the retelling guide when reading from a paper book and reading from an e-book was compared. Data indicated that all participants retold more literal information when they read from an e-book. All participants also completed a survey to express his or her feelings about reading each type of text. Two participants preferred using an iPad to read and one preferred reading from a paper book. The participant who preferred reading from a paper book also had the smallest increase in comprehension score. Another participant stated that she would have liked the e-book more if it had a pronunciation feature that read individual words for her. In conclusion, it was found that there is no harm in giving participants the choice of reading a paper book or e-book in an elementary classroom. Also, e-books are most supportive for struggling readers when a pronunciation tool is provided.
    • The influence of prewriting strategies on the academic writing of students with learning disabilities

      Giacomini, Evan (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2017-05)
      To answer the question of the influence of prewriting strategies on the academic writing of students with learning disabilities, the most appropriate way is with a research synthesis. The first finding is that all single prewriting strategies examined for both expository and narrative writing are either mnemonic devices (verbally-based) or a form of graphic organizer (visually-based). Both devices guide students through the prewriting process: mnemonic devices also remind students to plan their work, while graphic organizers display a plan for writing. Students with learning disabilities in grades 6 to 9 appear to be influenced most by pre-structured graphic organizers in either paper or computer-based mode. Second is that how prewriting strategies are taught also appears to play a major role in the impact of the strategies, with the most effective form of instruction for both strategies being an explicitly taught direct instruction approach. Third is that the most effective instruction for pairing with a mnemonic device appears to be the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) approach, while direct instruction of any prewriting strategy improves the writing of students from grades 2 to 9. The fourth finding is that the most effective prewriting strategies for students with learning disabilities appear to be strategies which use a visual or mnemonic device and are taught through direct instruction using a form of self-regulatory instruction, frequently Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD). These four findings will be presented on the internet as professional development in the form of a Prezi intended for educators and reading teachers. [from author's abstract]
    • The influence of society on the roles of African Americans, [and] Gays and Lesbians in film.

      Platt, Andrew J. (2013-01-14)
      Minorities, specifically African Americans, and gays and lesbians have been widely represented by negative stereotypes in film. These stereotypical roles have been strongly influenced by society. While these stereotypes may represent some individuals they do not represent the community as a whole. Films such as Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind, Imitation of Life, Foxy Brown, Chicago, Different from the Others, These Three, Victim, Making Love and Brokeback Mountain were researched and screened to determine how African Americans and the gay and lesbian individuals were portrayed. Throughout history, the roles played by these minorities have changed. How the majority of society views those minorities has been how they were represented in the films during their time. It should be the goal of Hollywood to represent minority characters with substance and not focus only on the stereotypical roles for financial profitability. More independent studios and filmmakers are needed to create positive images. These types of roles played by minorities may not change until the audiences are willing to pay to see films that have positive roles for minority characters.
    • The influence of students' perceptions of writing on academic writing performance

      LiPuma, Kelsey (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016)
      Analysis of The Nation's Report Card (NAEP, 2011) indicates low performance by adolescent students in the area of academic writing, which in turn suggests that students in the elementary grades are not developing the writing skills that will enable them to write successfully as adolescents. Academic writing involves specific expectations for structure, content, and conventions. While students learn these expectations, students' perceptions of writing may also impact their academic writing performance. Therefore, to address this problem of students' low academic writing performance, an appropriate research question is, what are fourth grade students' perceptions of writing and what is the influence of those perceptions on their academic writing performance? This question of perception and influence is appropriately addressed by conducting an empirical study with fourth grade participants and a mixed methodology to determine specific perceptions and their relationship to writing performance. After measuring academic writing performance and collecting data on perception attitude, self-efficacy, and writing knowledge, analysis has produced three findings. First is that although these participants all had the same teachers and writing instruction throughout their elementary schooling, their perceptions of writing are not consistent with each other but range as do their academic writing performances. Second is that their knowledge of "writing" appears to be primarily focused on an academic concept of writing, and the third finding is that the relationship between perception and performance appears to have a linear correlation, with neutral attitude and neutral self-efficacy producing below average to average writing performance. [from abstract]
    • Information content of house cricket (Acheta domesticus) songs and the evolution of multiple signals.

      Covey, Andrea J. (2013-01-11)
      Despite the extensive literature on cricket bioacoustics, little collective understanding has been established that compares the structural and functional significance of the three distinct gryllid song types: calling song, courtship song, and aggressive song. Here, we compile recent work on all three song types that underscores the importance of song in communicating aspects of male phenotype to receivers (females and rival males). In doing so, we uncover similarities and differences between both the information content of each song type and the acoustic structures through which this content is communicated. By placing these comparisons into the context of multiple signaling theory, we can begin to understand how and why male gryllids make use of multiple acoustic signals. -- Author abstract (leaf 2) Despite the extensive literature on cricket bioacoustics, little collective understanding has been established that compares the structural and functional significance of the three distinct gryllid song types: calling song, courtship song, and aggressive song. Here, we measured all three song types from a cohort of male house crickets (Acheta domesticus) throughout their natural lifespan in order to make direct comparisons of song structure and phenotypic information content between the calling, courtship, and aggressive songs. Through statistical analysis of eight acoustic parameters of song, we established that there are significant structural differences between the three song types. By looking for correlations between phenotype and song structure, we also determined the phenotypic information content present in all three house cricket songs and that the distribution of information content may differ depending on song type. This suggests that the evolutionary persistence of three song types in the gryllid family may be due to the presence of multiple messages. -- Author abstract (leaf 45)
    • Instructional strategies for non-traditional text.

      Stern, Kyle N. (2014)
      To answer the question of whether an adolescent student may comprehend a non-traditional form of expository text just as well as a traditional form of expository text by using the appropriate reading comprehension strategy, this researcher conducted an empirical study. The Literature Review addressed three aspects of the research question: adolescent comprehension struggles, adolescent comprehension strategies, and non-traditional modes of expository text. The quantitative experimental methodology of this study made use of a visual reading comprehension strategy and compared test results when students were asked to read and apply that strategy to both a traditional expository text (the US Constitution) and its non-traditional graphic novel counterpart. Findings indicate that a comprehension strategy shown to be beneficial on a traditional text can be applied to a non-traditional text and also produce positive results. Findings further indicate that some adolescent students increase their comprehension when applying a strategy to a non-traditional mode of text, while others actually decrease their comprehension of the expository content when using the strategy on a non-traditional text.
    • Instructional technology and literacy performance.

      Hillebert, Amanda R. (2014)
      Technology use in schools appears to be growing rapidly in many school districts, so this researcher wanted to determine if the instructional technologies being purchased by schools were in fact beneficial to the students. This thesis was completed to address the research question of how instructional technology impacts literacy development in students. To answer that question, the researcher conducted an extensive literature review and research synthesis. The collected studies were organized into five categories: instructional technology with computer software, with interactive white boards (IWB), with digital story booking/podcasting, with mobile devices, and impact of teacher attitude on instructional technology. Analysis of the studies in each category produced the following findings: that instructional technology impacts literacy development in a positive way, specifically by improving reading and writing skills, increasing student participation and engagement, increasing standardized test scores, and increasing reading comprehension across content areas. Instructional technology with digital story booking/podcasting increases literacy development in emergent literacy skills, student performance, and vocabulary. Instructional technology with mobile devices increases phonemic awareness skills and student responsibility. Findings also show that teacher positive attitudes towards instructional technology influence student positive attitudes towards instructional technology, which in turn improves student literacy development. The findings of this literature review are applicable to all teachers in all content areas because instructional technology is used in all content areas at all grade levels.
    • Integrating Children’s Literature into 5th Grade New York State Social Studies Curriculum.

      Lindstrom, Amber (29/03/2013)
      The integration of children’s literature into curriculums has shown to have a positive influence on student’s learning. In this project, children's literature will be integrated into the 5th grade New York State social studies curriculum. The curriculum will contain nine units that include whole group lessons and small group lessons. Each of these lessons have been designed to allow for differentiated instruction to occur within classrooms allowing all students the ability to comprehend the given content. Each lesson also contains a historic library to allow students to expand beyond the typical social studies lessons each day. Students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge from multiple points of view as well as academic levels. These supplemental lessons have also been designed to integrate the English Language Arts Common Core standards within to assure that all standards are being met. This supplemental curriculum has been designed as an outline to allow teachers to create their own units through their curriculum. However, the completion of the curriculum has proved that these types of lessons require a substantial amount of time to create. Therefore, it is then understood why many teachers choose the textbook and worksheet route rather than the different forms of differentiated instruction.
    • Interactive read alouds.

      Steinert, Priscilla (04/01/2013)
      This Master’s Thesis project focused on interactive read-alouds as a strategy to increase preschooler's vocabulary and comprehension skills. The findings from the literature review suggested that reading aloud provided a means of engaging students as they constructed meaning and explored the reading process. Findings further indicated that reading aloud to children provided them with opportunities to discuss the text and explore language usage by verbalizing their own interpretations. This resulted in a professional development project for prekindergarten teachers on interactive read-alouds and ways in which this strategy can increase vocabulary and comprehension in preschoolers.
    • Introduction of native tree species in sites invaded by Japanese Knotweed Taxa and a study of its affect of the seedbank.

      Toews, Hans-Peter C. (2013-01-15)
      The invasion of three closely related taxa of knotweeds: (Japanese knotweed) Polygonum cuspidatum, (giant knotweed) Polygonum sachalinensis, and their hybrid Polygonum x bohemica in riparian corridors throughout the eastern U.S. has a negative impact on native plant communities. In the study the following research objectives were addressed: 1) To determine if forms of mechanical control (cutting and tilling) could be used to allow tree saplings to become established in knotweed invaded sites. 2) To compare height and leaf number of saplings of four native tree species inside and outside of Japanese knotweed stands. 3) To compare the soil seed bank density and composition in knotweed invaded versus noninvaded sites. No significant differences were found in the growth or survival among the saplings of four native tree species across treatments. Although treatments did not significantly affect sapling growth trends showed that saplings in the tilled treatment had the greatest growth across treatments over the growing season. A longer running experiment is needed to establish any emerging patterns in the data. Significantly greater densities of seedlings were observed in non-invaded than invaded sites and significantly greater densities of native seedlings were observed in non-invaded than invaded sites. Knotweed invasion does significantly affect the seedbank.
    • An introduction to home-making practices among Karen speaking populations of Buffalo, New York

      Dewey, Lauren (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016)
      Refugees from all walks of life who have been relocated to numerous countries are often in need of resources to help them settle in and make sense of a new culture and language. This capstone focuses on aiding refugees in integration with a new society. The capstone project takes the form of a bilingual guide book that can be used by refugees on their own as well as used as a teaching guide through multiple institutions such as schools, church outreach programs, and social service programs. The problem with refugee integration services is that there is little funding and flexibility for appropriate programming. This capstone project attempts to help bridge the gap and provide a versatile, cost effective measure to aid in refugee integration in the city of Buffalo, New York, focusing specifically on Karen refugees from Burma with the intention to allow translation into many different languages. The result of this collection of chapters ranging from household and personal health and hygiene to getting help, and finding transportation, is intended to provide answers and background knowledge to refugees on everyday subjects. [ from author's abstract ]
    • An investigation of the relationship between sleep and college achievement

      Lilga, Justin (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016)
      An experiment was conducted at a small university to investigate the effects of sleep patterns on academic achievement of undergraduate students. Undergraduate students were given a self-reporting questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to help track their sleep habits during the academic semester. The sleep habits that were tracked include subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, sleep medication, and daytime dysfunction. The participants were asked to return the self-reporting instruments, which were used to determine their eligibility for a second round of self-reporting. The students were asked to submit a second self-reporting questionnaire designed to target if their sleep patterns had played a role in their midterm grade point average. Participants were asked to turn in a copy of their spring 2016 midterm academic information. The sleep patterns and academic achievement of each participant were used for analysis. In conclusion, there was a slight decrease in grade point average for students who were reported to have a worse sleep quality according to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. [from abstract]