Spring 2008 Newsletter

DOE Celebrates 2008 Inauguration of Ph.D. in Education with Campus Lecture and Reception Featuring Educational Psychologist David Perkins

David Perkins, Ph.D

On March 13 the Department of Education celebrated the inauguration of its new UC Irvine Ph.D. in Education with a campus distinguished lecture. Featured speaker was Professor David Perkins, Ph.D., of Harvard University, an eminent educational psychologist. Dr. Perkins is known for his research in the areas of creativity, intelligence, and the teaching of thinking. UC Irvine faculty, staff, administrators, and students joined guests from Orange County communities in the Cal IT2 Auditorium to congratulate members of the first class of Ph.D. students and listen to Dr. Perkins' thoughts on the kinds of knowledge that should be developed in K-12 and university classrooms.

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Assistant Professor Leticia Oseguera Receives UC Accord Grant to Study Impact of Social Capital on High School Achievement
Leticia Oseguera, Ph.D.

Dr. Leticia Oseguera has received a UC Accord Grant for her research study, “Why Do Asian American Students Do Better in School?: Understanding the Roots of Social Capital Among African American, Mexican American, Vietnamese American, and White High School Youth. The study will employ a mixed methods design evaluating NELS data and a Southern California High School.

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Assistant Professor Lindsey Richland Receives Grants from NSF and Office of Naval Research and a UC Irvine Faculty Development Award

Lindsey Richland, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Lindsey Richland has received three grants in support of her research in science and math education:

1. The NSF CreativIT program has awarded Dr. Richland and Bill Tomlinson (ICS) a grant to support their research: "Computational Metaphor Identification for Supporting Creativity in Science Education."

2. Office of Naval Research awarded Dr. Richland and three UCLA professors funding to study "Analogical Reasoning: Integration of Neural, Behavioral and Computational Analyses."

3. Dr. Richland also received a Faculty Career Development award from UC Irvine.


Professor Margaret Burchinal Publishes Findings on Early Childhood Research in Developmental Psychology

Margaret Burchinal, Ph.D.

The transition to middle school is often marked by decreased academic achievement and increased emotional stress African American children exposed to social risk may be especially vulnerable during this transition. To identify mediators and protective factors, severity and timing of risk exposure were related to academic achievement and adjustment between 4th and 6th grade in 74 African American children. Longitudinal analyses indicated that severity more than timing of risk exposure was negatively related to all outcomes and that language skills mediated the pathway from risk for most outcome. Transition to middle school was related to lower math scores and to more externalizing problems when children experienced higher levels of social risk. Language skills and parenting served as protective factors while expectations of racial discrimination was a vulnerability factor. Results imply that promoting parenting and language skills and decreasing expectations of racial discrimination provide pathways to academic success for African American children exposed to adversity during the transition from elementary to middle school.

Burchinal, M. R., Roberts, J. E., Zeisel, S. A., & Rowley, S. J. (2008). Social risk and protective factors for African American children’s academic achievement and adjustment during the transition to middle school. Developmental Psychology, 44, 286-292.

Additional Publications:

Burchinal, M. R., Vernon-Feagans, L., & Cox, M. (2008). Cumulative social risk and infant development in rural low-income communities. Parenting: Science and Practice, 8, 41-82.

Howes, C., Burchinal, M., Pianta, R., Bryant, D., Early D. M., & Clifford, R. (2008). Ready to learn? Children’s pre-academic achievement in pre-kindergarten programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 27-50.

Powell, D. R., Burchinal, M., File, N., & Kontos, N. (2008). An eco-behavioral analysis of children’s engagement in urban public school preschool. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 108-123.

Senior Lecturer Carol Booth Olson's Award-winning Paper Published in Research in the Teaching of English (RTE)

Carol Booth Olson, Ph.D.

Dr. Carol Booth Olson and Richard Land, two recipients of this year’s Alan C. Purves Award, reflect on their work (reported in RTE, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 269-303) on “A Cognitive Strategies Approach to Reading and Writing Instruction for English Language Learners in Secondary School” and the lessons they learned from their original research study as they tried to replicate the project in two additional districts outside their service area, to determine if the implications of their study would hold beyond the local context. The Allan C. Purves Award is given to the RTE article in the previous volume year judged most likely to impact educational practice.

Note: The above-referenced article was reviewed by Rick VanDeWeghe (Editor, University of Colorado at Denver) in English Journal 97(4) March 2008 in his article, “Research Matters.”

Assistant Professor Stephanie Reich Publishes Research in Journal of Community Psychology on the Historical Context of Psychological Research

Stephanie Reich, Ph.D.

Isaac Prilleltensky’s (2003) concept of psychopolitical validity stresses the need to consider both the political and the psychological nature of power in the study of wellness, oppression, and liberation. The authors advocate that psychopolitical validity would be strengthened if it included an explicit appreciation of historical context. The inclusion of historical knowledge offers a greater insight into how power has been exercised to promote and maintain oppression, as well as helps to identify methods for working towards social justice. The authors illustrate how the dynamics of power change over time by using examples of how the field of psychology (including community psychology) treated two historically oppressed groups: African Americans and women. Consistent with epistemic validity, investigation into the history of these two groups demonstrates how the role of psychological research has both contributed to the oppression of others, as well as promoted social change. Consistent with transformative validity, these examples illustrate how marginalized groups can work within an oppressive system to challenge the status quo and, in turn, change their position in society.

Lecturer Valerie Henry Publishes Findings on Instructional Strategies in Math and Student Retrieval in Journal for Research in Math Education

Valerie Henry, Ed.D.

California is one of 4 states that have accelerated addition and subtraction basic-facts memorization. This article reports on teacher practices, first-grade achievement of the standard, and a broader conception of basic-facts competence. Even among students from the highest performing schools, fewer than 11% made progress toward the memorization standard equivalent to their progress through the school year. Several negative correlations between instructional strategies and student retrieval suggest that teachers may benefit from professional development targeted at basic-facts teaching and learning. Textbook reliance was negatively correlated with basic-facts retrieval, suggesting that educators and policymakers may want to reexamine assumptions about the efficacy of traditional first-grade textbooks. This study’s findings may prove useful to teachers, professional development trainers, and textbook publishers as they consider ways to improve basic-facts learning among early elementary children.

Abstracts from American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Faculty Presentations

Youth Engagement in After-School Programs: A Perspective from Experience Sampling
Professor and Chair Deborah Lowe Vandell

Deborah Vandell
Department Chair

Research on middle school participants’ engagement in afterschool programs shows that such programs often serve as developmental contexts for promoting "flow" experiences. Compared to when they are in other settings after school, participants in afterschool programs are more likely to experience high concentrated effort and intrinsic motivation, experiences consistent with Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow. Organized sports, arts enrichment, and academic enrichment activities were found to be particularly engaging program activities, in contrast to homework completion. The importance of high levels of engagement in promoting learning in afterschool programs leads to implications for practice and policy.

Experiences and emotions as mediators in the relationship between after-school program participation and developmental outcomes

Middle school students' experiences in and out of after-school programs were collected throughout the 2001-2002 academic year, and analyzed in this paper in order to determine if they predicted developmental and academic outcomes. The students (N = 196) attended eight programs in three Midwestern states. A total of 4,970 experiences were randomly sampled during weekday, after-school hours using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) during one week in the fall and one week in the spring. A variety of measures of students' school engagement and behavior, psychosocial competence, risky behaviors, and academic performance were collected in the beginning of the academic year to construct baseline variables and at the end of the year to construct outcome variables.

Middle School Use of Automated Writing Evaluation
Professor Mark Warschauer

Mark Warschauer, Ph.D.

Automated writing evaluation (AWE) software employs artificial intelligence to core and provide feedback on essays. This multi-method case study tracks the use of AWE over a three year period in two Southern California school districts. A survey of teachers, interviews with teachers, and classroom observations all supported the hypotheses that classroom use of AWE can lead to increased writing practice, increased revising, and increased student motivation to write and revise. Scores on the English Language Arts portion of the California State Test improved in one district where AWE was introduced in conjunction with other writing reform efforts. Although teachers reported that students wrote more and the software made teaching easier, use of the software was moderate overall. Usage patterns were shaped by peer support, professional training, institutional attitudes and policies, the availability and reliability of computer hardware and networks, and teachers' prior instructional practices.

Intergrating Writing and the Arts: How Effective?
Associate Professor Liane Brouillette

Liane Brouillette, Ph.D.

Evidence has been steadily accumulating that learning in the arts involves principles shared with other academic disciplines. The studies in Critical Links (Deasy, 2002), a compendium of arts education research, demonstrate that well-conceived arts activities have a variety of positive effects beyond the initial conditions of learning. The study summarized here looked at specific ways in which the arts can be a potentially formidable ally in increasing student achievement (Bransford et al, 2004).

A quasi-experimental study investigated whether there was an increase in student writing skills as a result of implementation of an integrated arts-and-literacy curriculum at the secondary level. In September, and again in May, students of selected teachers who had participated in the ArtsCore professional development program were asked to write an essay to a prompt taken from the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). A matched control group did the same. A total of 782 student essays were collected. University of California, Irvine, English instructors were recruited to read the essays, which were blindly scored, using the 4-point rubric used to score the essay component of the CAHSEE. Treatment group students did significantly better than controls.

Improving Student Achievement through Professional Development: Results from an Experimental Study Conducted in a High-Poverty Urban District
Assistant Professor Rossella Santagata

Rossella Santagata, Ph.D.

As Co-director of the IES study, Dr. Santagata described the design and summarize the findings of a four-year study of a mathematics professional development (PD) program implemented in a high-poverty school district. The PD program was based on results from the Third International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) Video Study. The TIMSS study revealed that mathematics lessons presented in high-achieving nations were mathematically sound and cognitively rich- requiring students to engage deeply with mathematical concepts and skills throughout the entirety of their lessons (Hiebert et al., 2003). The PD program under study was designed to test the effects of exposing urban middle school teachers in the US to both a greater level of mathematics content and to video-taped examples of mathematics lessons that engaged students deeply in mathematics.

A Framework for Learning to Notice Student Thinking
Assistant Professor Elizabeth A. van Es

Elizabeth van Es, Ph.D.

Classrooms are complex settings and teachers need to learn what to pay attention to and how to make sense of what they observe. This is particularly important given new views of mathematics teaching and learning, where teachers are being called on to adopt a flexible approach to teaching, adapting their instruction, at least in part, based on the ideas students raise. Thus, teachers need to learn how to pay attention to student ideas, to reason about these ideas in the midst of instruction, and to make instructional decisions based on their analysis. How do teachers learn to examine classrooms in this way? One model, namely video clubs, uses video records from teachers' classrooms to help teachers learn to examine student thinking. In this paper, I report on a group of seven elementary teachers who participated in a video club and developed in the ability to “notice” student thinking. Data analysis resulted in identifying a framework for learning to notice student thinking. This framework examines teachers' analyses of four dimensions of classrooms, actor, topic, stance, and specificity and identifies four levels in their development of noticing: baseline, specialize, focus, and extend. The results examine the development of video club’s group noticing within this framework. In addition, I consider particular features of the video club design that may have influenced teacher noticing.

Immigrant Youth in Transitional Spaces: Culture, Identity, and Affiliation in a Community Learning Center
Researcher Maria del Pilar O'Cadiz

Maria del Pilar O'Cadiz

With their increased presence in urban enclaves, after school programs have the potential to positively affect the lives of immigrant youth and their families. These programs can serve as transitional spaces, helping youth to navigate new social contexts, make links to the broader community, build social capital, and cultivate their sense of civic engagement. This paper examined how immigrant youth and their families experience a career oriented and technology intensive after school program in a community learning center. Through ethnographic interviews, observations, and artifact analysis, we explore how youth in the center express their cultural identity and develop new affiliations while developing new knowledge and skills to succeed in the broader society.

Commitment and Retention of Urban Teachers: Exploring the Role and Influence of Urban-Focused Pre-service Programs Lecturer Kim Barraza Lyons

Kim Barraza Lyons

Teacher turnover in urban districts arouses great concern among practitioners and policy-makers. To help meet the pressing need for teachers committed to urban schools, some teacher education programs have begun to focus specifically on the preparation of teachers for urban contexts. This interactive symposium will focus on current research about the preparation of teachers in urban-focused teacher education programs at research institutions, and will also examine how these programs shaped the subsequent career pathways of their graduates. Taken together, these papers explore how these programs shape pre-service teachers' commitment to urban schools and how this commitment translates to teachers' future career decisions. These papers focus on urban teachers at different career stages and use a variety of complementary research methods.

Teaching Retention: An Examination of the Effects of Pre-service Preparation on Retention in Education

This paper presents findings from a quantitative study examining the extent to which pre-service preparation predicts beginning teacher retention and movement. Applying an expanded definition of retention, and controlling for demographic and school level variables, the study used national data to determine the associations between pre-service teacher preparation program components and types, and the retention of educators in the classroom, specifically high-poverty classrooms, and in the education profession. Binomial and multinomial logistic regression were employed to examine predictors of staying in and leaving the classroom, moving between schools, and shifting roles within the field of education. The study found that while program types and specific programmatic components significantly affect teachers' retention in the classroom and the field of education, a school's poverty level does not.

Student Presentations

Shaping Teaching Practice Through Diverse Life and Student Teaching Experiences: Perspectives of Latino Pre-Service Teachers
Ph.D. Student Laurie Hansen and Professor Evelyn Weisman, CSUF

Laurie Hansen

UCI Ph.D. in Education student Laurie Hansen and California State University, Fullerton Professor Evelyn Weisman studied a group of ten Latino/a pre-service teachers who were student teaching in urban and suburban schools. Participants in the study were bilingual in Spanish and English and enrolled in a multiple subject credential program with a bilingual-bicultural emphasis (BCLAD: Bilingual Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development). The study employed interviews to explore the pre-service teachers' experiences with schooling and their observations while student teaching. Findings reveal that participants' life experiences and unique responses to cultural conflicts influenced their ability to relate to Latino students and parents and their desires to teach in Latino communities. However, participants demonstrated minimal recognition of forces that contribute to inequity, and none expressed the need to challenge traditional practices. Findings support the need for professional development programs for teachers of color to incorporate ongoing critical reflection of life experiences to promote political consciousness.

"Student Teaching in Urban and Suburban Schools: Perspective of Latino Preservice Teachers" will be published in the November 2008 issue of Urban Education.

Padres Promotores: Incorporating a Psycholsocio-Cultural Approach to Parent Involvement
Ed.D. Student Lilia Margarita Tanakeyowma and Jeanett Castellanos, Ph.D., UC Irvine

Lilia M. Tanakeyowma

Limited research has focused on efforts that address Latina/o psychosociocultural (PSC) needs, programs that have effectively involved Latina/o parents and efforts that could be implemented to further integrate Latina/o parents into their children's educational process.

Padres Promotores de la Educacion is a program of the Santa Ana Partnership administered by Santa Ana College (SAC); the Partnership is a collaboration between Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Ana College, California State University, Fullerton, the University of California Irvine, and community-based organizations. The program, initiated in 2001, has the goal of connecting parents to school services and delivering information about higher education to the Latino community through nontraditional methods (e.g., home visits, platicas in community areas, etc.). It empowers parents to understand educational information required to navigate the educational system and provides a social network for engagement with the ultimate goal of exposing their roles as advocates and educators about the education process K-20. Over 300 parents have participated in this program and approximately 40 programs complete serving as promotores during one year of service.

Using both qualitative (observations and interviews) and quantitative (survey) data, the authors highlight the elements of Padres Promotores, parents' attitudes toward higher education, the psychosociocultural factors that contribute to these attitudes, and the influence the program has on its participants.

Experiences and emotions as mediators in the relationship between after-school program participation and developmental outcomes

The objective of this paper is to bring awareness to the need to adequately assess the impact of college-bound programs in actual college-going rates at a school-wide level, going beyond the more common program-specific target population and to stimulate dialogue among practitioners regarding the most effective approach in measuring the impact of various programs in traditional public schools and meaningfully analyze patterns that can uncover the power of collaboration between specially-funded college-bond programs.

Indigeneous Peoples of the Americas
Miguel Mendevil

Miguel Mendivil

Miguel Mendivil, CSU/UCI doctoral student in Cohort III, CSULA emphasis in Urban Educational Leadership, was a participant in the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas SIG Business Meeting. Mr. Mendivil is focusing his doctoral research on the power and influence of storytelling and pedagogies of the home on the critical thinking and learning styles of urban Mexican American and Native American children.

Alumni and Students

Ph.D. in Education Student Irene Vega, Ph.D. has had a particularly active quarter with two publications in press and three presentations at the the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education conference in Miami, Florida, March 6-8

Irene Vega

In Press:
Increasing Latina/o students' baccalaureate attainment: A focus on retention (Leticia Oseguera, Angela Locks, & Irene I. Vega)

Hispanic Presidents and Chancellors of Institutions of Higher Education in the United States in 2001 and 2006 (Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. & Irene I. Vega)


American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education

La Nueva Latina

Consejos Your Advisor Never Told You

A Synthesis of Retention Literature and Research: A Focus on Hispanics

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Alumna Crystal Kochendorfer, graduate of the first year of UC Irvine's Teacher Credential program, returns to UCI

Crystal Kochendorfer

Crystal Kochendorfer has the distinction of being a graduate of the first year of the UC Irvine teacher credential program. Crystal initiated her higher education studies at University of Southern California (USC) as a Sociology major and upon graduation was employed as a social worker by Los Angeles County. In recalling those days, Crystal explains, "As a social worker, I saw people poorly educated and ill prepared for life. This realization led me back to the classroom and teaching. I knew that if I taught children to read, I would help them unlock the doors to life long learning and independence."

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