Doctoral Dissertations

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    Examining the Relationships Among Teacher Mindset, Knowledge of Text Complexity, and Text Selection
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Bell, Kimberly S ; Elleman, Amy ; Oslund, Eric ; Tharp, Terri
    The Common Core State Standards have driven an awareness for college and career readiness in schools today. This effort has brought to light the role text complexity plays in the classroom and the importance of students being exposed to complex text. Educators' understanding of complex text and their expectations when choosing text is inconsistent, affecting student’s capacity to learn and understand complex text. One goal of this research is to obtain new insight related to how and why text is chosen for instruction among educators teaching in elementary grades. This study will investigate the relationship of teachers’ mindset on their choice and knowledge of complex text using regression to examine these relationships. There were no significant relationships found. Implications for the educational field include advancements in professional development that specifically address the importance of text complexity decisions about text choice in the classroom.
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    Cross-country Productivity Heterogeneity, Trade Agreement, and the Quest to Free Trade
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Duan, Yaohan ; Suwanprasert, Wisarut ; Fayissa, Bichaka ; Rennhoff, Adam
    In the first essay, I study the role played by cross-country productivity heterogeneity in affecting the formation of global free trade. My model extends the three-country endowment model of Bagwell and Staiger (1999) by introducing production and productivity heterogeneity across countries. There are two main findings: (i) global free trade is the only equilibrium in the case of symmetric productivity; (ii) the bilateral free trade between two similarly-productive countries can be in equilibrium in the case of asymmetric productivity. I study two special trading cases of productivity asymmetry: (i) one highly-productive country and two low-productive countries and (ii) two highly-productive countries and one low-productive country. I find that in both cases when the degree of productivity asymmetry is too large, in equilibrium, only the two similarly-productive countries will form a bilateral free trade agreement. In the second essay, I study the role played by bilateralism (i.e. discriminatory tariff policy) under a condition of asymmetric productivity across countries in affecting the formation of global free trade. I show that global free trade is the only equilibrium in the case of symmetric productivity no matter if bilateralism is prohibited, or not. However, in the case of asymmetric productivity, the consent of bilateralism will either help or hinder the formation of global free trade. I study two special cases: (i) one highly-productive country and two low-productive countries and (ii) two highly-productive countries and one low-productive country. I find that in the case of two highly-productive countries and one low-productive country, the consent of bilateralism can help the formation of global free trade; but in the case of one highly-productive country and two low-productive countries, the consent of bilateralism can prevent the formation of global free trade. In the third essay, I study the role played by custom unions under a condition of asymmetric productivity across countries in affecting the formation of global free trade. I find that the consent of custom unions can always help achieve the global free trade. I also study the case of that custom unions and bilateral free trade agreement are both available. Bilateral free trade are always preferred to custom unions. The role of productivity asymmetry in the case of custom unions is same with that in the case of bilateral free trade: as the productivity asymmetry level is too large, only the custom union formed between two similarly-productive countries is the stable equilibrium.
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    Knowledge and Practices of Heat Acclimation in Recreational Runners
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Heatherly, Alexander John ; Caputo, Jennifer ; Fuller, Dana ; Johnson, Samantha
    Heat acclimation is the foremost method of preventing exertional heat illness during exercise in hot and humid environments. However, the prevalence of heat acclimation (HA) training and associated knowledge is not currently known in recreational running populations. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine the knowledge and practices of recreational runners toward HA across two studies. Additionally, participants’ training practices were examined for signs of natural HA as well as differences in knowledge and practice among participants of different training status. In study one, recreational runners in the Southeastern United States (N = 125) demonstrated a lack of knowledge toward proper HA training and associated benefits. Participants largely received HA advice from their peers (31.2 %) and a large majority reported no professional guidance in their training (79.2 %). Finally, participants’ beliefs toward proper HA training differed among training groups with moderate and high groups perceiving greater frequency, miles/wk, and min/wk as appropriate for HA compared to the low group (p < .05). In study two, it was determined that participants’ HA practices did not meet the current recommended professional guidelines regardless of training status. Participants preferred running for HA purposes (88.8%) with the majority preferring to run before 8 am (41.6 %). A total of 85.6% of participants reported their performance had suffered due to overheating with no association found by training group (N = 125; χ2 = 2.10; p = .35). Yearly occurrence of exertional heat illness (EHI) symptoms was not statistically different among participants of different training status, however there was a trend for participants in the low group to experience less nausea (Mdifference = -1.65; d = -0.41) and muscle cramps (Mdifference = -0.90; d = -0.31) compared to the high group. Finally, while there were statistically significant differences in some participants’ duration, miles/wk, or min/wk of exercise across seasons (p < .05), a general consistency in training variables throughout a training year was present. In conclusion, governing bodies in exercise and sports should consider developing more comprehensive and more widely distributed educational initiatives for the recreational running population regarding HA and EHI prevention.
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    The Influence of Motivational Factors on Reading Comprehension for Elementary School Students with Dyslexia
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Hutchings, Tamera Lynn ; Odegard, Timothy N ; Elleman, Amy M ; Oslund, Eric L ; Farris, Emily A
    Dyslexia is a reading disability that interferes with accurate and fluent word reading. Deficits in word reading may cause secondary consequences, including reading comprehension difficulties. However, despite inherent word reading problems, there are students with dyslexia who exhibit resiliency that manifests as better than expected educational outcomes despite their struggles to read words. In particular, a subset of individuals with dyslexia comprehend written language better than would be expected based on their basic reading skills. Emerging research is focused on identifying protective factors to mitigate the setbacks in reading comprehension students with dyslexia may experience. Specifically, motivational factors, such as growth mindset and grit, are theorized to act as protective factors to foster resiliency. A growth mindset provides students with dyslexia the belief that abilities change with effort, whereas grit provides the persistence to improve abilities and meet goals. The current study examined the influence of a growth mindset and grit on reading comprehension in a sample of 196 elementary school students with dyslexia. Multiple regression models were used to evaluate the unique role of motivational factors on reading comprehension. Growth mindset and grit did not predict reading comprehension in the sample of students with dyslexia included in the current study. However, the results highlighted that language skills might serve as a protective factor to mitigate the adverse effects of word reading deficits on reading comprehension for individuals with dyslexia. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
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    Novel Approaches to Measurement of Passive Torque and Stiffness in the Hamstrings
    (Middle Tennessee State University, 2022) Norman, Timothy Luke ; Coons, John M ; Grubbs, Brandon F ; Jin, Ying
    Recent evidence related to passive force enhancement (PFE, Herzog & Leonard, 2002) and the calculation of passive stiffness (Nordez et al., 2006) show that the measurement of passive torque may need to be revisited. The purpose of this study was to compare a novel assessment of passive resistance to the traditional assessment. Mathematical models were used to determine model goodness of fit between experimental and traditional conditions and these models were used to predict maximal passive stiffness (MPS). Peak passive resistance was significantly lower (p < .001) after a 1-minute 3-minute, and 5-minute rest period and resetting to resting length in comparison to the traditional measurement. Among the experimental conditions, 1-minute was significantly lower than 3-minutes of rest and resetting to resting length (p = .039), while the other comparisons were not significantly different. These results show that passive resistance is lower in the novel assessment that considers PFE compared to the traditional methodology. In the second-order polynomial model, root mean squared error (RMSE) was significantly lower (p = .011) after a 1-minute rest period, a 3-minute rest period (p = 0.23), and a 5-minute rest period and resetting to resting length (p = .028), compared to the traditional measurement. In the fourth-order polynomial model, RMSE was significantly lower (p < .001) after a 1-minute, a 3-minute (p = .002), and a 5-minute rest period and resetting to resting length (p = .004), compared to the traditional measurement. In the exponential model, RMSE was significantly lower (p < .001) after a 1-minute, a 3-minute (p < .001), and a 5-minute rest period and resetting to resting length (p < .001), compared to the traditional measurement. Comparisons among the experimental conditions in each model were not significantly different. When observed MPS was compared to predicted MPS, all comparisons among each testing condition and each mathematical model were significantly different (p < .001). These results show that PFE is likely to not be involved in the experimental conditions as they show a better fit to each mathematical model. Further, no one model appeared to predict MPS better than the others.