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NCE Doctoral Dissertations

View upcoming doctoral student dissertations listings including date, time and location.


Dissertation Announcements

Candidate Name: Markisha Mitchell
Program: Educational Leadership Doctoral Program
Dissertation Title: Across the United States in almost every city, every suburb and every rural area there is a gap between the achievement of Black and White students. The term ‘achievement gap’ has become an accepted label in situations where Black students severely underperform relative to their White counterparts. Many school districts have discretely avoided discussing and/or addressing the gap for decades. School District Z located in an urban suburb of a large Midwestern city is the focus of this research as they attempt to address the gap. District Z is approximately two-thirds students of color, yet the achievement gap between Black and White students is 37 and 41 percentage points in reading and math, respectively. District Z’s plan of attack is to require principals to track the attendance and academic achievement of all Black students as part of their evaluation. My previous research explored the effectiveness of tracking the attendance and academic growth of Black students on the achievement gap between Black and White students by examining standardized assessment data since the initiative was put in place. I found that in almost all cases the percentage of White students meeting and exceeding standards decreased slightly and the percentage of Black students meeting and exceeding standards either increased slightly or decreased as well. This document attempts to develop instructional delivery systems and policies that will promote reform, specifically as it relates to closing the Black -White achievement gap in District Z. To that end, I argue for a comprehensive policy implementation plan that includes the critical issues District Z is facing, their identified needs, the pros and cons of the plan, and assessment and accountability measures.

Abstract: Date: April 3, 2018
Time: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Campus: Lisle
Room#: 317

Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Minor
Committee Member(s): Dr. Harrington Gibson
Dean's Rep: Dr. Gloria McDaniel-Hall
Candidate Name: Merryl Brownlow
Program: Educational Leadership
Dissertation Title: This document explores how a change in the definition of the formal observation may improve the teacher evaluation system in the state of Illinois. Currently, the formal observation must be conducted in person as defined by administrative code. To increase the value and impact of the formal observation as a tool for reflection and professional growth, this paper advocates for a videotaped alternative as an option in addition to the current in-person model. The intent of including a videotaped option is to empower the teacher in the process and increase ownership for building skills as a reflective practitioner. The videotaped model also promotes a more collaborative context for the post observation conference that may lead to a more direct impact on improving teaching and learning. The state of New York (2017) has already implemented a videotaped observation model as an alternative in the teacher evaluation process and the premise of advocating for such a policy was recently the subject of a study at The Center for Educational Policy Research at Harvard (Kane, et al., 2015). This policy advocacy document discusses the context and conditions by which to operationalize a similar vision in the state of Illinois.

Abstract: Date: April 19, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Campus: Lisle
Room#: TBD

Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Minor
Committee Member(s): Dr. Gloria McDaniel-Hall
Dean's Rep: Dr. Harrington Gibson

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