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Open access publications by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the School of Education.

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    ‘Growing from an acorn to an oak tree’: a thematic analysis of international students’ cross-cultural adjustment in the United States
    (Studies in Higher Education, 2022-11-24) Ammigan, Ravichandran; Veerasamy, Yovana S.; Cruz, Natalie I.
    Embarking on an educational journey overseas can be a rewarding, yet stressful experience for many international students. The transition to their new university life, which is not always well understood and supported by host institutions, is often accompanied by unique difficulties and challenges resulting from unfamiliarity with a new academic environment, social and cultural differences, and language barriers. This study examines the cross-cultural transition experiences of international students enrolled at a mid-sized university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States (U.S.). Using qualitative methods, we collected and analyzed data from reflection essays written by 378 international students between 2013 and 2020. This yielded experiential themes surrounding cross-cultural adaptation, adjustment, and acculturation to new local norms and values while studying in the U.S., including during an unwelcoming political climate and a global health pandemic. Drawing on Ward and Kennedy's (1999) model of sociocultural adjustment, we found that the experiences of international students were often characterized by distinctive psychological and sociocultural components. We contextualized the diverse student perspectives and relied on student voices to guide implications and offer recommendations to university staff and administrators with a goal to strengthen support services, enhance experiences, and ensure the well-being and success of this community. To our knowledge, this study represents the first time that a large data set of narratives, through reflection essays, has been analyzed to better understand the cross-cultural encounters of international students, both inside and outside of the classroom.
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    “Stuck in this wheel”: The use of design thinking for change in educational organizations
    (Journal of Educational Change, 2022-08-08) VanGronigen, Bryan A.; Bailes, Lauren P.; Saylor, Michael L.
    Many of today’s educational organizations around the world contend with complex challenges. Yet, longstanding practices and norms in educational systems can hamper educators’ abilities to identify and address these challenges, such as only principals leading change efforts or the use of misaligned “quick fixes” for ill-defined challenges. A design-based approach to organizational change, on the other hand, holds promise to reframe change in local educational agencies like schools. Design thinking is one way to enact a design-based approach, but little research has investigated the process’s use to help educators conceptualize and implement change. Drawing upon transformational learning theory, this United States-based mixed-methods study examined a year-long professional learning workshop sponsored by a state education agency that used design thinking to reframe how participants orchestrated change in their contexts. Results indicated that design thinking helped participants devise more nuanced understandings of themselves and the change process in their contexts, yet, most participants’ actions continued to be influenced by longstanding practices and norms of the U.S. educational system. We close by discussing implications for practice and policy, particularly the need for professional learning experiences that prompt educators to critically reflect upon their mindsets and how their actions may differ from those mindsets. This greater understanding can better position educators to engage in change efforts that address increasingly complex challenges in education.
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    Relational uncertainty: Does parental perception of adopted children's academic success change over time?
    (Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2022-06-04) Turski, Tamara; Del Tufo, Stephanie N.
    While initial findings suggested that children who are adopted (adoptees) perform less well academically, this result is not consistent across the literature. To explain these, often conflicting, results, researchers acquired a lagging view, in which adoptees need to “catch up” to their non-adopted peers. According to the lagging view, those adopted at a younger age have less catching up to do than those adopted when they are older. However, the lagging view does not account for the period in which adoptees and their new families adjust to one another. A period that we refer to as relational uncertainty. This is particularly relevant as data on adoptees’ academic performance is largely based on parent reports. The overarching goal of this study was to determine if parental perception of adoptees’ academic achievement changed over time, after accounting for the impact of age of adoption. Using a nationally representative dataset, we found that after accounting for age of adoption the length of time that children resided in their adoptive homes predicted parental perception of academic performance. Specifically, after accounting for age of adoption, parental perception of adoptees’ academic performance demonstrated early consistency followed by a significant decline. We also investigated if the relation, of those factors previously associated with parental perception of adoptees’ academic performance, remained after variance was accounted for by both age of adoption and children's length of stay in their adoptive homes. Several previous factors (where the child lived pre-adoption and the socioeconomic status of their adoptive household) and child characteristics (sex and the first language the child learned to speak) demonstrated a continued association. Results indicate the need for a paradigm shift in how we view parent reports of adoptees’ academic achievement, as well as the frequently reported factors surrounding adoptees’ academic performance. The implications for how to support adoptees’ academic achievement are discussed.
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    Examining a Coaching Routine to Support Teacher Learning
    (Investigations in Mathematics Learning, 2022-10-27) Gibbons, Lynsey; Okun, Ada
    Mathematics specialists tasked with the responsibility of supporting teacher learning face both the opportunity and the challenge of transforming the organization of the school workplace to support educators’ collective, ongoing learning, which is not the norm in most school settings. In this study, we examine a coaching routine called Teacher Time Out (TTO), which was organically developed by a school-based mathematics coach and the teachers with whom she worked. Through the routine, coaches and teachers work through complex, in-the-moment pedagogical decision making while collectively facilitating mathematics discussions among students. The routine thus opens opportunities for educators to learn about ambitious teaching alongside their colleagues. We report findings from an analysis of 360 TTOs that occurred over three years of one coach’s work supporting a school-wide, multi-year instructional reform effort in mathematics teaching and learning. We found that the coaching routine fostered teachers’ collective inquiry into practice, as they engaged with the unpredictability of teaching during real-time instruction with students. We discuss the potential of this routine to support coaching as a lever for organizational reform, reshaping mathematics teaching across many classrooms.
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    An exploration of individual, job, and organizational characteristics associated with district research leaders' knowledge brokering work
    (Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2022-10-18) Shewchuk, Samantha Jo; Farley-Ripple, Elizabeth
    The role of district research leaders (DRLs) in central offices has emerged as a strategy for improving the creation, flow, and use of research knowledge in decision-making. However, there is limited information about the responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges inherent in these roles. This exploratory qualitative study features document analysis to examine the individual backgrounds, job demands, and organizational contexts of DRLs. The result of this study suggest that multiple pathways to the DRL role exist, but few include formal training in knowledge brokering. Further findings suggest that DRL jobs are complex and entail diverse tasks, but share a focus on research leadership and coordination, identifying and obtaining relevant research information, and facilitating evidence-informed change. Moreover, organizational contexts varied in supportiveness for knowledge brokering work. Overall, there was limited evidence of alignment across individual, job, and organizational characteristics, signaling an opportunity to better define and support those in DRL roles.
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