Goucher College Master of Education

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One of the few of its kind in the nation, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree offered by Goucher College aims to answer the urgent needs of today's teachers. In private and public schools, in the cities, in rural areas, and in the suburbs, teachers are facing a growing population of psychologically and sociologically disrupted students. The causes may range from family difficulties, such as drug/alcohol abuse, to educational problems, such as inappropriate school curriculum. The challenges posed to the classroom teacher, however, are uniformly immense. To understand the needs and motivations of students and to help them overcome obstacles to learning within their environments, educators and other concerned adults need specialized training that is unavailable in most master of education programs. Goucher College’s Master of Education degree and Professional Development certificates, developed in collaboration with Sheppard Pratt, aim to fill this void. With a curriculum specially designed to integrate theoretical and practical course work, the graduate program is divided into ten areas of specialization: Athletic Program Leadership and Administration; At-Risk & Diverse Learners; Literacy Strategies for Content Learning; Middle School Specialization (available only through Cohort program); Montessori Studies; Reading Instruction (MSDE-approved for Reading Specialist certification); School Improvement Leadership (MSDE-approved program for Administrator 1 Certification); School Mediation (in redevelopment); Special Education for certified Elementary and Secondary Teachers; and Teacher as Leader in Technology. Each of the ten areas addresses the societal forces that have an impact on student development and success and examines social and ethical issues, curricular and management strategies, and relevant research. Wherever possible, a clinical perspective is offered with practical applications.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 781
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    Increasing Student On-Task Behavior through Implementation of the Tier II Intervention Check-In Check-Out
    (2021-12) Palsgrove, Kaylee; Masters of Education
    This study served the purpose of determining whether the Tier II intervention Check-In Check-Out would increase student on-task behavior in the classroom for elementary school students. This study utilized a point sheet system adapted from PBIS (Positive Behavior Support System), with a pretest and posttest comparing student on-task behavior prior to and after implementing Check-In Check-Out. Student performance and data were analyzed throughout the study and were communicated with students on a daily basis. The Check-In Check-Out program did not have a strong impact on student on-task behavior. However, it is encouraged that further study into the Tier II intervention Check-In Check Out be conducted.
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    Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in the Classroom: How to Facilitate Behaviors Within a High School Inclusive Learning Environment
    (2021-12-10) Posluszny, Alysia; Masters of Education
    Educators are utilizing behavioral systems such as PBIS and restorative practices to improve student behaviors and improving overall classroom management. Proactive teaching along with reinforcing and monitoring behavioral expectations in the classroom are what school systems are moving toward so educators are able to build relationships with their students. In this particular study, the researcher viewed disruptions between general education students and special education students to see if restorative practices had an impact on classroom management. Through a rating scale measurement called the Child and Adolescent Behavior Inventory (CABI), students were exposed and measured with PBIS and restorative practice strategies. This six-point scale measured specific behavioral definitions for behavior toward others at school identified under oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). It was determined that there was an increase with behaviors within male African American special education students. Overall, restorative practices can have an impact, but it is limited due to the lack of resources and training provided to educators.
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    How Injuries Affect the Mental Health of Athletes
    (2021-12) Belin, Maya; Syed, Daniela; Brennan, Sarah; Education; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to determine the effect injury has on an athlete’s mental health. The research hypothesized that the athletes who had suffered through a long-term injury would have a more negative mental health than the athletes who had not. The research methodology used in this study was a descriptive approach through the use of a questionnaire. Data did not support the hypothesis that injured athletes have a more negative outlook when compared to athletes without a long-term injury. Research should be continued as the sample set of data collected was impacted due to COVID-19 limiting access to participants. Keywords: Belonging, positivity, injury, mental health, athletes
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    Educational Tools and Methods Available to Improve Comprehension for Non-English Speaking and Special Needs Students in the General Education Classroom
    (2021-12) Bell Booghier, Alyssa; Syed, Daniela; Brennan, Sarah; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to examine and investigate the relationship between direct vocabulary instruction and reading comprehension when working with students who are English Language Learners (ELL) and special needs students reading below grade level in the general education classroom. The main goal is to determine whether direct instruction of vocabulary has a significant impact on reading comprehension. The hypothesis was that there would be a relationship between vocabulary and comprehension. The relationship between direct vocabulary instruction, reading comprehension skills, and lessons assessed comprehension of ninth-grade ELL, SLD, and general education students as measured through direct instruction and small teacher-created quizzes. The results of the study show there is a relationship between direct vocabulary instruction and reading comprehension when working with English Language Learners (ELL) and special needs students reading below grade level in the general education classroom. When targeted vocabulary word lessons were taught in conjunction with comprehension strategies and teachings, students’ attainment of restored comprehension levels increased. Keywords: relationship between vocabulary and comprehension, reading below grade level, general education classroom, assess comprehension, direct instruction and small teacher-created quizzes, targeted vocabulary word lessons, comprehension strategies
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    The Token Economy (PBIS) Classroom Management Theory an Effective Way to Minimize Classroom Disruption in a Special Education classroom
    (2021-11-23) Autry, Patrick; Syed, Daniela; Brennan, Sarah; Masters of Education
    When students are disruptive in class it not only impedes their own ability to learn, but disruption interferes limits other students and the teacher from effectively delivering instruction. It is for this reason that behavior interventions, when implemented correctly, can lessen disruptive behavior in special education classrooms. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a token economy behavior intervention method was an effective way of minimizing disruptive behavior in students with autism and identified as having conduct disorder in a special education classroom. The measurement tool used to identify symptoms of conduct disorder in students was the Disruptive Behavior Disorder Rating Scale (DBDRS). Two types of token economies that were used in the study were a traditional and a cost benefit (responsive). Each token economy intervention was administered for a period of two weeks. Data from the research showed that although both token economies reduced disruptive behavior in the classroom, the cost benefit (responsive) token economy was the more effective intervention. Success of the cost benefit (responsive) token economy could be attributed to (1) the primary reinforces (tokens) being items of high interest, (2) token served as a reminder to earn reward, and (3) focus was on instruction since token was already provided at the beginning of instruction. These all counter the traditional method that did not have tokens of known interest and were given at the end of instruction.
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    Bilingual Education: Improvement in Literacy Skills of Non-U.S. Born Students by Providing ESOL Support and Parent Workshops
    (2021-12-08) Gamez, Gaston; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study is to investigate literacy outcomes of non-U.S. born students to better support ELL parents, specifically, kindergarten and first-grade students in a public school in the state of Maryland. The measurement tool was a revision of scores from the time of enrollment and a year after attendance in schools. In this descriptive study, a pre/posttest design was utilized in kindergarten and first-grade students in one of the largest school systems in the country. The participants in this study were 12 bilingual students receiving ESOL services in a public school system. The group consisted of six male and six female students enrolled in kindergarten and first grade. These students, originally from Central America and Mexico, arrived in the United States during the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to these students, their parents were also participants in this study. Findings showed each family is from either Central America or Mexico and moved to the United States after their children were born. The researcher concluded that these monolingual speaking Spanish children, later enrolled in a public school, demonstrated improvement in their reading, speaking, writing, and comprehension skills in English. Further research must be conducted with a larger group of participants; also, it will be imperative to include educators and administrators to determine how their understanding of ELL families’ cultures and values could have an influence on the students’ learning.
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    The Effect of Participation in Extracurricular Activities on the Academic Achievement of High School Age Students
    (2021-08-05) Bywaters, Russell; Masters of Education
    Educators across the nation are trying to find a way to help all students reach their potential inside and outside of the classroom. With limited time during the school day, educators need to find a way to maximize the time that they do have. Over the years, research has shown that involvement in extracurricular activities (EA’s) has helped students with their GPA, attendance, and incidences leading to school referrals. For the following study, the researcher tracked the GPA, attendance, and referral rate of 517 students, 91 of whom were involved in fall EA’s, over three school quarters. The research hypothesis for the study was that involvement in EA’s would lead to higher GPA’s, lower absences, and fewer referrals. Data for all 517 students was retrieved from the county’s data system and processed. The results of the study showed that the sample students who did participate in EA’s maintained higher GPA’s and lower absences and referrals than participants in the study who were not involved in EA’s.
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    Teacher Retention
    (2021-07-15) Peterson, Caitlin; Rhoades, Thomas; Brennan, Sarah; Education; Masters of Education
    Causes of teacher attrition have been related to educational trends, personal teacher concerns, institutional culture, low pay, educational background, and other factors just to name a few. Administration and school-based leadership should regularly seek out and analyze feedback data about trends in teaching efficacy and attrition among their own school communities to combat the growing teacher shortage. While common themes related to teacher job satisfaction and disinterest in the profession may transcend time, this paper will analyze the responses from current teachers and those that have recently left the profession to provide timely discussion topics for institutional improvement.
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    Game-based Learning Effects on Mathematical Engagement and Academic Achievement
    (2021-07-20) Ibberson, Regan; Rhoades, Thomas; Sunshine, Phyllis; Brennan, Sarah; Masters of Education
    The purpose of the study was to determine how game-based learning effects student engagement and academic achievement in the mathematics classroom. The participants in the study were given an engagement survey and were given achievement tests to determine the impact of using games in math. The participants were 59 Math 7 students in seventh grade. Findings showed that most students were more engaged and performed better when given the opportunity to play games to enhance their mathematics abilities.
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    Students' Perceptions of Their Learning Spanish in an Online Class Setting Versus a Face-to-Face Class Setting
    (2021-07) Hackshaw, Michele; Rhoades, Thomas; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to gain information about students' perceptions of their learning Spanish in an online class setting versus a face-to-face class setting. More significantly, the study aimed to examine the data from students' perceptions and feedback to provide further recommendations about creating online lessons that contain strategies that are more effective in sustaining student involvement in an online Spanish class. In this study, the researcher used a descriptive methodology through a survey with a conveniently selected sample of 72 students of fifth-grade elementary who were in their second year at the Spanish Passport Program at Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland. The results indicate that relationships between students and teachers are among the most important things in students' motivation to learn Spanish. In addition, students preferred learning in person and the classroom over virtual learning, as analyzed statistically. Overall, the help of teachers to students was cited many times.
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    An Examination of the Use of Argument Driven Inquiry Strategies to Support Argumentative Writing in the Middle School Science Classroom
    (2021-06) Barrie, Michele; Rhoades, Thomas; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to explore the impact that argument driven inquiry strategies would have on the written ability of seventh grade science students. The measurement tool used was the 15-point rubric Claim Evidence Reasoning Rubric used for Grades 6-12 in the Science Curriculum. The Next Generation Science Standards have a focus on students’ use of argument, particularly in writing, to communicate their knowledge and scientific findings and to develop an understanding of scientific practice. The purpose of this action research study is to evaluate the influence of inquiry-based argumentative writing exercises, based on the Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI) model, in a middle school science classroom. This study utilized a quasi-experimental pretest/-posttest using a convenience sample. Using the ADI strategies did statistically impact student written ability. The ADI strategies should continue to be implemented in various level science classes in order to assist students in their ability to validate or refute a scientific idea/phenomena/claim.
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    Teacher Relationships with Students Who Suffer from Anxiety in the Sixth-Grade Classroom
    (2021-07-05) Rolfes, Molly; Rhoades, Thomas; Sunshine, Phyllis; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to better understand how classroom teachers can build on their relationships with sixth-grade students suffering from anxiety. The measurement tool was a questionnaire and survey created in Google Forms. The study was a descriptive study to understand the causes of anxiety in sixth-grade students. The participants were 193 sixth-grade students who ranged from age 11 to 12. Findings showed that many factors contribute to anxiety in young middle school students, and COVID-19, no doubt, also attributed to their fears and worries. Further training and studies in the field of mental health in middle schoolers would be beneficial to address anxious students, especially as we slowly start to resume our normalcy and return to hopefully a more normal (or at least stable) school year.
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    English Language Learners and Participation
    (2021-05) Bussink, Ryan; English, Mashonah; Masters of Education
    This study was conducted to determine the relationship between attendance/participation and reading comprehension with English Language Learners. The study was conducted with twenty sophomore high school students in United States Government classes. The twenty students were split between two different classes and both classes had a special education co-teacher. Classes were fifty minutes long with an accompanying twenty-minute small group time where students could stay and receive extra help. This study would yield results that students who attended regularly and participated regularly would do much better on their reading comprehension post-test.
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    Comparing Preferred Coaching Behaviors of Collegiate Athletes to Self-Perceived Coaching Behaviors of Collegiate Coaches
    (2021-05) Cheatham, Morgan; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to compare, contrast, and understand leadership behaviors most exhibited and preferred by collegiate coaches and athletes. Previous studies have found that leadership styles can have a lot to do with the skill level of each athlete, as well as their current psychological state (anxiety levels, confidence, motivation, emotional maturity, competitiveness, optimism, etc.). Team culture was also said to have a noticeable influence on the coach-athlete relationship. Using both the Leadership Scale for Sport for Athletes (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1978) and the Revised Leadership Scale for Sport for Coaches (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980), an analysis of training behavior, positive feedback, social support, autocratic behavior, and democratic behavior was conducted. Results found that training behavior, social support, and positive feedback should be at the forefront of the five leadership styles, while autocratic behavior should be avoided in most instances.
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    The Relationship Between 5th Grade Students’ Physical Confidence and FitnessGram Scores
    (2021-05-14) Cassard, Samuel; Woods, Rebecca; Vickery, James; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to determine whether FitnessGram test scores could accurately predict 5th grade students’ confidence in PE class. The researcher hypothesized that FitnessGram scores would significantly predict confidence levels, with the strongest predictor of confidence likely being the Pacer test of cardiovascular endurance. A Functional Body Image Questionnaire (FBIQ) created by the researcher was completed by 58 fifth grade students to yield a confidence score. A multiple regression was used to determine if the four FitnessGram test scores gathered for each student from the previous year could accurately predict confidence scores. The results indicated the combination of the four FitnessGram scores did not significantly explain the variance of the criterion (Confidence scores) (R-squared = .129, p < .113). Therefore, the null hypothesis was retained. Results did indicate there were four significant correlations between the following scores, only one of which was with the criterion, Confidence. These were between the Confidence and Push-Up scores (r = .27, p < .04), Pacer and Push-Up scores (r = .36, p < .004), Curl-Up and Push-Up scores (r = .345, p < .008) and Sit and Reach and Pacer scores (r = .264, p < .045). Factors influencing confidence of students in PE class should continue to be researched in order to develop more effective ways to motivate children to live a healthy lifestyle.
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    Increasing Engagement in Fourth Graders’ Independent Reading
    (2021-05) Hunsinger, Sarah; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to determine if the implementation of a self-monitoring reading checklist would improve active engagement when reading independently in a group of fourth graders with mixed reading abilities. This study used a pre- and post-survey regarding participants’ reading attitudes and levels of engagement before and after the intervention of the self-monitoring checklist was administered. The group was instructed on important components of engaged reading and asked to monitor their engagement levels during Silent Sustained Reading (SSR). The post-intervention mean score on the survey (24.33), on which higher ratings reflected more engagement than lower ratings, was slightly higher than the pre-intervention mean of 23.15. The results of the t-test indicated the mean pre- and post-scores for items 1-7 were significantly and positively correlated (r=.783, p<.000), however, the t value of 1.185 was not statistically significant (p<.158), therefore, the null hypothesis was retained. The study indicates that student choice can positively impact levels of engagement; however, more research needs to be done to determine instructional strategies to increase independent reading engagement.
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    Improving Reading Skills in 2nd Graders Using Guided Reading Interventions at School
    (2021-05-14) Hamilton, Twana; Masters of Education
    This study investigated the effect of a Guided Reading Intervention on Reading skills amongst 2nd graders in a Title 1 Elementary School using a quasi-experimental pretest/posttest design. Twenty 2nd graders were selected to participate in the study based on past standardized test and quiz grades from the first, second, and part of the 3rd quarter of the school year (August 2020 through early-March 2021). The 10 boys and 10 girls were divided into a control and a treatment group, each containing 5 girls and 5 boys. Both groups completed a pretest and protest of their phonics skills. The treatment group then participated in a Guided Reading Intervention with a phonics base to improve their reading skills. The null hypothesis was rejected as the treatment group's mean gain score (10.5 points) was significantly greater than the comparison group's gain score (1.6 points) (t=6.966, p<.000). Discussion notes that the gains in student's scores could result from the intervention and other intervening factors. Further research is indicated to determine how to best implement guided reading supports to benefit students.
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    Improving Second Language Acquisition of English Language Learners
    (2021-04) Furniss, Mariely; Rhoades, Thomas; Brennan, Sarah; Masters of Education
    The reading achievement gap between English language learners (ELLs) and English native speakers is increasing due to many factors, including the limited oral language of ELs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of reading online on oral language for English language learners learning virtually from home and for English language learners learning from a hybrid setting. The differing learning environments (virtual and hybrid) were just one of the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The null hypothesis in this action research study was that there would be no difference between the two groups’ speaking performances after reading online over time. This study was a descriptive study using survey methodology. The participants were eight second graders from Anne Arundel County, Maryland. All eight participants were English language learners. The research found no statistically significant difference between the two groups’ speaking performance after reading online for five weeks.
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    The Effect of Student-Centered Instruction on the Academic Achievement of First Grade Students
    (2021-05-13) Smith, Erin; Masters of Education
    The study attempted to determine the impact of student-centered learning on student achievement among first grade students. Three classes of first grade students participated in the study. The study used a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest control group design. Two classes continued to receive the science instruction as provided by the county, while one class received science instruction tailored to be student-centered. Students in the student-centered class asked questions that drove the instruction, where students in the traditional classroom were taught based on a pre-determined curriculum. Before and after the sound unit in the science curriculum, each student was given a five-question survey to indicate their feelings about science instruction and given an assessment to evaluate mastery of the sound unit content. In this study, the change from pre-to-post unit test scores was statistically significant in favor of the student-centered approach. Further research should continue in this area to determine specific strategies that are most effective in encouraging student autonomy, as well as expanding the sample size to include a wider range of age levels.
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    Increasing Student Interest in Reading
    (2021-05) Taylor, Jennifer; Masters of Education
    The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not daily book talks and weekly book tastings would increase student interest in reading for a group of 23 second grade students. Student interest was measured using the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey. The study was a one-group repeated measure design. Participants were selected based on convenience sampling. Implementing daily book talks and weekly book tastings resulted in increased interest in reading and more books read, on average. The upward trend across time was statistically significant for the interest surveys but not statistically significant for the number of books read.