skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Knight, David"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    There is an increasing emphasis on assessing student learning outcomes from study abroad experiences, but this assessment often focuses on a limited range of outcomes and assessment methods. We argue for shifting to assessing student learningprocessesin study abroad and present the critical incident technique as one approach to achieve this goal. We demonstrate this approach in interviews with 79 students across a range of global engineering programs, through which we identified 173 incidents which were analyzed to identify common themes. This analysis revealed that students described a wide range of experiences and outcomes from their time abroad. Students’ experiences were messy and complex, making them challenging to understand through typical assessment approaches. Our findings emphasize the importance of using a range of assessment approaches and suggest that exploring students’ learning processes in addition to learning outcomes could provide new insights to inform the design of study abroad programs.

  2. Purpose: Principals are critical to school improvement and play a vital role in creating inclusive and high-performing schools. Yet, approximately one in five principals leave their school each year, and turnover is higher in schools that serve low-income students of color. Relatedly, high rates of teacher turnover exacerbate challenges associated with unstable learning environments. Our study examines the extent to which principal turnover influences teacher turnover. We build on past work by exploring how the relationship between teacher and principal turnover differs in urban, high-poverty settings and by examining the effects of chronic principal turnover. Research Methods/Approach: We draw on a student- and employee-level statewide longitudinal dataset from Texas that includes all public K-12 schools from school years 1999–2000 to 2016–17. We estimate teacher-level models with school fixed effects, allowing us to compare teacher turnover in schools leading up to and immediately following a principal exit, to otherwise similar schools that do not experience principal turnover. Findings: Teacher turnover spikes in schools experiencing leadership turnover, and these effects are greater among high-poverty and urban schools, in schools with low average teacher experience, and in schools experiencing chronic principal turnover. Implications: Improving leadership stability, especially in urban schools experiencing chronic principalmore »turnover may be an effective approach to reducing teacher turnover. Principal and teacher turnover and their relationship with each other requires further investigation. The field would benefit from qualitative research that can provide important insights into the individual decisions and organizational processes that contribute to principal turnover.« less
  3. Studies show that historically underserved students are disproportionately assigned to less qualified and effective teachers, leading to a “teacher quality gap.” Past analyses decompose this gap to determine whether inequitable access is driven by teacher and student sorting across and within schools. These sorting mechanisms have divergent policy implications related to school finance, student desegregation, teacher recruitment, and classroom assignment. I argue that analyses of the teacher quality gap that consider how teachers and students are sorted across labor markets offer additional policy guidance. Using statewide data from Texas, I show that teacher quality gaps are driven by sorting across school districts within the same labor market, but this finding differs depending on how “teacher quality” is defined.
  4. As workforce participation increasingly requires a college degree, ensuring that more students from traditionally underrepresented populations have the opportunity to enter and complete college is an equity imperative. To that end, high school reforms have promoted “college-going cultures” in low-performing high schools through interventions such as rigorous course offerings and college counseling. College access research has focused on issues specific to academics and college-going processes. Yet this research has tended to ignore broader school climate factors such as school safety and extracurricular programming, which may play a critical role in postsecondary opportunity, especially for historically underserved students. The current study applies hierarchical generalized linear modeling to the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 to 2006 to examine the role of college-going culture and high school climate characteristics on college enrollment and persistence. We find that while some components of college-going culture are associated with the likelihood of college enrollment and persistence, that relationship is moderated by school climate factors. We conclude that efforts to implement a college-going culture may struggle if extracurricular opportunities, school safety, and overall school climate issues are ignored.
  5. Staffing classrooms with effective teachers remains a persistent policy challenge in the U.S. Teaching positions requiring STEM expertise are particularly difficult to fill. Scholars have identified similar trends in other industrialized nations. Yet, limited research examines international comparisons of the causes and consequences of staffing challenges. We use the 2015 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study to track teacher staffing difficulties in 27 countries. We find substantial variation across countries in the proportion of principals reporting difficulties filling STEM positions, with U.S. schools mirroring international averages. We also find consistent relationships between lower math and science achievement and attending a hard-to-staff school.
  6. U.S. charter schools are publicly funded through state school finance formulas that often mirror the traditional public school finance systems. While charter school advocates and critics disagree over whether charters receive an equitable share of funding, few discussions are based on rigorous analyses of funding and expenditures. Most prior analyses, especially those presented in policy briefs or white papers, examine average funding differences without exploring underlying cost factors between the two sectors. Our purpose is to demonstrate how careful analysis of charter school funding with appropriate methodological approaches can shed light on disagreements about charter school finance policy. Using detailed school finance data from Texas as a case study, we find that after accounting for differences in accounting structures and cost factors, charter schools receive significantly more state and local funding compared to traditional public schools with similar structural characteristics and student demographics. However, many small charter schools are actually underfunded relative to their traditional public school counterparts. Policy simulations demonstrate that on average, each student who transfers to a charter school increases the cost to the state by $1,500. We discuss the implications of these findings for both school finance policy in Texas and nationally.
  7. To address complex problems in a globalized workplace, future engineers must understand the ethical implications of their work in the global context. International service learning is a possible approach for future engineers to gain an understanding of ethical implications in a global context. The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential benefits that international service learning may add to engineering ethics education. The quantitative study measured senior engineering students’ understanding of ethics from a national sample of students enrolled in capstone design courses (n=2095) in three types of international service learning experiences: capstone, volunteer/work, or co-curricular. Students who participated in international service learning through capstone and volunteer/work experience scored significantly (p<0.01, p<0.001 respectively) higher to questions that measured their understanding of ethics. Males compared to female engineering students showed the largest difference in their understanding of ethics. The integration of international service learning into engineering education should be more seriously considered to aid in more effectively teaching ethics. Male engineering students, who make up nearly 80% of engineering programs, can benefit the most in their ethics education from international service learning.
  8. Scholars have not reached consensus on the best approach to measure state school finance equity. The regression-based approach estimates the relationship between district poverty rate and funding level, controlling for other district cost factors. A second commonly used approach involves estimating the weighted average funding level for low-income students or other subgroups. Meanwhile, policymakers have preferences for their own data systems and poverty indicators when reading reports and assessing progress. We constructed parallel, district-level panel data sets using data from the California Department of Education and the U.S. Census. We estimated changes over time in district-level school finance equity under California’s Local Control Funding Formula, using multiple school finance measurement approaches, with each of the two data sets. Our results show that different methods and analytic choices result in policy-relevant differences in findings. We discuss the implications for policy and future research.
  9. This work-in-progress research paper stems from a larger project where we are developing and gathering validity evidence for an instrument to measure undergraduate students' perceptions of support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The refinement of our instrument functions to extend, operationalize, and empirically test the model of co-curricular support (MCCS). The MCCS is a conceptual framework of student support that explains how a student's interactions with the professional, academic and social systems within a college could influence their success more broadly in an undergraduate STEM degree program. Our goal is to create an instrument that functions diagnostically to help colleges effectively allocate resources for the various financial, physical, and human capital support provided to undergraduate students in STEM. While testing the validity of our newly developed instrument, an analysis of the data revealed differences in perceived support among College of Engineering (COE) and College of Science (COS) students. In this work-in-progress paper, we examine these differences at one institution using descriptive statistics and Welch's t-tests to identify trends and patterns of support among different student groups.
  10. Since the emergence of middle schools as distinct educational settings in the 1960s, proponents of the model have advocated for structures and approaches that best meet the particular developmental needs of young adolescents. Middle school researchers have developed frameworks of best practices for schools that have been widely, if not uniformly, adopted. However, there is a paucity of large-scale quantitative research on the efficacy of such best practices. In this study we used state-level administrative data from Texas to estimate the school-level contribution to standardized test scores in math and language arts, along with absenteeism. We then regressed these value-added quantities on indicators of middle school structures, along with research-supported predictors of school efficacy. Results showed that schools with fewer classes in the school day and higher quality teachers performed better, among other indicators. Findings from models using the campus contribution to absenteeism were similar. These results indicate that while elements of the middle school model may help transform individual schools, the equitable distribution of resources and the undoing of de facto segregation are vital to the success of all young adolescents.