Mercer Journal of Educational Leadership
The Mercer Journal of Educational Leadership (MJEL) is an open access, refereed, on-line publication of the Department of Educational Leadership, Tift College of Education, Mercer University.
Focus of the Journal
The MJEL is interested in manuscripts that focus on current and emerging issues in education leadership – P-12 and Higher Education, nationally and internationally. Specifically, authors are encouraged to align their manuscripts with one of the following categories:
(a) best practices in P-12 education
(b) best practices in 2-year and 4-year higher education;
(c) empirically-based studies focusing on current and emerging issues in P-12; and
(d) empirically-based studies focusing on current and emerging trends in 2-year and 4-year higher education.
(e) qualitatively-based studies focusing on the issues described above.
(f) Additionally, critical analysis submissions dealing with issues of education policy that are of a scholarly nature will be considered.
Collections in this community
New Teachers at Middle School Campuses: A Multi-Year Statewide StudyIn this study, we examined the five most recent years (2003-2004 through 2007-2008) of Texas educational data concerning new teachers employed at middle school campuses (low of 495 campuses to a high of 517 campuses). The extent to which differences were present between middle school campuses with the highest beginning teacher percentages and middle school campuses with the lowest beginning teacher percentages was analyzed. For all five years of data, middle schools with the highest percentages of minority students, with the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students, and with the highest percentages of at-risk students tended to have the highest percentages of beginning teachers. Working conditions for beginning middle school teachers appeared to be quite challenging. Implications of our findings are discussed.
The Relationship between Teacher Knowledge of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Among Middle School Students in South Texas and Teacher Training and ExperienceThe researchers examined the knowledge middle school teachers in South Texas have in relation to ADHD. Explored were the relationships between teachers’ demographic characteristics such as levels of education, number of years teaching, and past attention deficit hyperactivity disorder training, and their knowledge of ADHD. The sample for this study involved five predominately Hispanic middle schools in South Texas during the 2008- 2009 school year. An examination of the findings indicated a non-significant correlation between the number of courses taken and the teachers’ knowledge score. Similarly, the number of years of teaching experience and the level of education attainment did not make a statistically significant difference in teacher knowledge of ADHD. Implications and recommendations are discussed.
The Consequences of Merit Aid: Who Really Benefits?State governments make a tremendous investment in the financing of higher education. Considering this investment, it is critical that there be a better understanding of exactly how financial aid programs administered at the state level are related to persistence and degree attainment, especially among the groups these programs were created to serve. The purpose of the current research was to examine the relationships between state merit-based aid programs and degree attainment among African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students. Longitudinal data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics were analyzed using an ex post facto research design. The Beginning Postsecondary Students Survey served as the source for the longitudinal data, and these data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. The state financial aid programs of interest were broad merit-based financial aid programs. The findings here are consistent with past research suggesting that state merit- based financial aid is disproportionately awarded to majority, high-income students. Additionally, although there was a very weak relationship between the receipt of state merit- based aid and timely degree attainment among African-Americans, there was no statistically significant relationship among Hispanic and low-income students. The findings from the current research could prove helpful as related to the continued establishment and implementation of state financial aid programs. It is important for legislators to know who the true beneficiaries are of these broad merit-based financial aid programs that are becoming increasingly popular. In addition, it is also important to determine whether or not the receipt of these types of funding is related to timely degree attainment.
The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure, Scientific Management, and Institutionalism on Standards-Based Educational ReformThe world of public education today is dominated by a focus on standards-based reform and high-stakes accountability systems. School leaders, who are under immense pressure to raise standardized test scores, particularly for poor and minority children, attempt to do so by applying politically sanctioned solutions to educational problems without subjecting them to critical scrutiny within the context in which they are applied. Further, these “solutions” often conflict with well-established theoretical paradigms governing professional knowledge in the areas of organizational behavior and child development. This paper presents a theoretical explanation of how this phenomenon occurs by connecting the institutional school of organizational analysis (Meyer and Scott, 1983; Zucker 1983), Max Weber’s sociology of domination, including his typology of bureaucracy and social control (1978), and Frederick Taylor’s (1911) theory of scientific management.
Student Perceptions of Online Learning: Regression AnalysisThis study gathered data on student perceptions of online coursework. Specifically, students were asked to indicate their perceptions of how easy Blackboard was to use (Ease), how useful they found Blackboard (Useful), and how much they actually used Blackboard (Usage). Students also provided general demographic variables and variables related to their length of time using Blackboard, how many hours per week they used Blackboard, and their student classification. A survey instrument was administered electronically to all students enrolled in at least one web course during the Spring 2009 semester at a Midwest, regional, comprehensive university. The survey instrument elicited responses on a series of Likert- type questions, and also asked respondents to provide basic demographic information. A hierarchical regression analysis and a series of regression analyses were run to answer four major research questions. Analyses of the regression equations revealed that the variables for Ease, Usage, and Useful could be used in a predictive model with moderate accuracy. More interesting, though, were the results as they related to student demographic variables. The results of the regression equations showed that students used various functions of Blackboard based on their individual student classification (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate Student). The results of the study provide useful information for course designers and faculty members with respect to the various features of Blackboard. Conclusions include suggestions for further research.
The Advanced Placement Program and Gifted Learners: A Comparative Study of SuccessGiven the growing number of districts that have adopted the Advanced Placement program as the sole means for serving their Gifted students at the secondary level, it was surprising to us that no published empirical quantitative studies were located in which the effectiveness of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in meeting the learning needs of exceptional studies was examined. Moreover, because AP courses are open to all students, whether identified as Gifted or not, no empirical data are available which suggests that exceptional learners in these courses benefit any more or less than the rest of the student body enrolled in them. In this study, we examined differences between AP course enrollment, test participation rates, and test scores in students identified as Gifted compared to non-identified students. Using archival data from one large urban school district in the Southwest, Gifted students had statistically significantly higher rates of course enrollment, higher rates of test participation, and overall test success when compared to non-indentified students, with effect sizes ranging from small to large by topic (.19 to .52).
Elementary School Teacher Perceptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderThough studies of ADHD using quantitative methodology have been conducted in the medical, psychological, and education fields, the researchers who conducted these studies by and large have ignored an important variable: the role of the teacher. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore teachers’ perceptions about ADHD. Interview questions were adapted from similar quantitative studies in which teachers’ knowledge and perceptions about ADHD were assessed. In this study, we selected five elementary school teachers to participate in interviews. Themes of perception, focus, teacher empathy, parental concern, perception change, personal research, personal experience, and lack of institutional information emerged from these qualitative interviews.