Several University of Florida education researchers were honored at this year’s Florida Educational Research Association annual meeting, hosted last month by the College of Education at UF’s Hilton Conference Center Hotel.
Walter Leite, an associate professor of research and evaluation methodology (REM), and his research assistant Francisco Jimenez, a Ph.D. student, received the conference’s Distinguished Paper Award. They were recognized for their paper evaluating the effects of the Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) degree program offered for prekindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. The graduate program is a joint project of the college’s School of Teaching and Learning and the UF Lastinger Center for Learning.
Leite and Jimenez developed statistical models following 10 years of performance by 78 third- through fifth-grade teachers’ who are currently enrolled or graduated from the program. They compared the teachers’ effects on students they had taught prior to their TLSI coursework to their effects after joining the program.
The study revealed that the students exposed to these teachers had improved their FCAT math and reading scores, and reduced their school absences.
“The most important finding of our study is that the TLSI program, which is unique to the College of Education and the Lastinger Center, is positively affecting schools,” Leite said. “It also shows that the work done by the college and Lastinger Center matters.”
Also recognized at the conference was professor Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, who received the Educational Researcher of the Year award for her contributions to educational research. Koro-Ljungberg is a professor in REM. In the past two years, she has authored or co-authored 11 peer-reviewed papers.
For Koro-Ljungberg, a qualitative researcher, the award came as a surprise because quantitative research is often seen as dominant, she said. Qualitative research is the practice of analyzing personal and narrative accounts, such as interviews, focus groups, observations, artifacts and oral histories. On the other hand, quantitative research often involves larger samples and relies on numbers and statistics.
“I hope this will motivate people to do more and present more qualitative research in the future,” she said.
Others honored at the meeting were UF doctoral students Kristi Cheyney (in special education), Nicole Jean-Paul (school psychology) and Jean Theurer (REM), who received awards for the best overall project posters.
For more information about the Florida Educational Research Association, visit feraonline.org.
https://education.ufl.edu/news/files/2019/07/News-1-300x65.png00https://education.ufl.edu/news/files/2019/07/News-1-300x65.png2013-01-14 17:19:152013-01-14 17:19:15UF education researchers recognized at state research conference