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2012
Friday, April 13th
4:00 PM

Enrollment in Academic Minors: The Role of Self-Efficacy, Behavior Models and Recollection of Conversations in Determining Academic Decisions

Elizabeth O. Vigeland

UC 327

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

In this study, we examine if University of Montana students enroll in the Wilderness and Civilization program because they have seen their peers rewarded for enrolling in the program. This research offers greater understanding about the reasons behind students' academic decisions. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire (Yeats quoted by Taylor, 2008). Higher education curriculum developers agree on the need to create academic programs “bridging between existing disciplines” and “moving towards a transversal, interdisciplinary curriculum” (Taylor, 2008. p. 6). The Wilderness and Civilization program at the University of Montana aims to fulfill these academic objectives. The program engages students in a year long program, exploring “wild land conservation and the human-nature relationship through an undergraduate field and campus program” (UM College of Forestry and Conservation website, 2012). Specifically, we hypothesize that enrollment in academic minors is a function of social interactions with academic models who enhance the appeal of enrolling.This research draws on the work of Social Cognitive Theory researchers and responses gathered from 20 past or current students in the Wilderness and Civilization program. We sent the survey to 68 students but only got 20 completed surveys back. Though our low response rate of 30% limits our ability to generalize our findings, comparatively few researchers have closely examined the effect personal communications can exert on academic decision making. The information from this descriptive study can be applied to enhance understanding of academic decisions, in general, and enrollment in interdisciplinary programs like the Wilderness and Civilization program, specifically.

4:20 PM

4th Grade Math: What We Learned in Five Weeks or Less

Nicole M. Baughn
Kayla C. Friedley

UC 327

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

As one component of our Elementary Math Methods course, we completed a five week immersion teaching in a 4th grade classroom. We each taught one individual whole group lesson, team taught one whole group lesson, and instructed multiple small group lessons throughout the immersion. Our immersion project sought increased engagement and opportunities in math with a diversified curriculum using manipulatives and problem based activities and utilization of additional teachers available to help with the wide-range of students and their varying abilities. Data includes a pre assessment, post assessment, and related data analysis. The three aforementioned items are criteria required for a Teacher Work Sample (TWS). The TWS was geared towards geometric concepts. Additionally, data includes observational notes, qualitative data, and anecdotal records. The TWS assessed and evaluated our effectiveness in the classroom. It specifically pinpointed areas of strengths and weaknesses within our lesson by comparing pre-assessment scores to post-assessment scores. We identified misconceptions in student learning and developed a better understanding of how to assess student progress. There were limitations in our study due to our entrance date into the classroom, the inequality in authority and trust between the presiding teacher and student teachers, and the respect and authority between the students and the student teachers given the short time frame. We were not invited into the classroom to run a research experiment. The priority was to teach the students.