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Boise State Had Strong Representation at 2015 NRMERA Conference

Boise State Presenters at the 2015 NRMERA Conference Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School Jenny Culp, Boise State University

Boise State Presenters at the 2015 NRMERA Conference
Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School
Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School
Jenny Culp, Boise State University

The Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association (NRMERA) held its annual conference in Boise on October 1-2, 2015. The 2015 conference was titled “The Science of Learning and Education”, and Boise State College of Education faculty, doctoral students, and alumni presented on a variety of original research topics.

“Faculty and graduate students from around the Rocky Mountain area presented original research on the science of learning and education in a supportive and collegial environment” said Keith Thiede, Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Programs in the College of Education. “It was exciting for Boise to be the host for a conference dedicated to this kind of quality education research.”

There were 13 Boise State presentations at the 2015 NRMERA conference:

The Ratio Table: A Flexible Model for Decimal Multiplication
Dolly Higgins, Anser Charter School
Giselle Isbell, Anser Charter School
Jenny Culp, Boise State University
Following instruction on decimal multiplication, students exposed to the ratio table answered significantly more questions correctly than those who were not exposed to this model.

Eradicating Misconceptions in Engineering Students
Dazhi Yang, Boise State University
Inanc Senocak, Boise State University
Krishna Pakala, Boise State University
Megan Luy, Boise State University
This study determined a short presentation of non-refutational text does not have impact on misconceptions engineering students hold.

Responsibilities, Supports, and Needs of Science Teacher Leaders
Julianne Wenner, Boise State University
This research explored the responsibilities, supports, and needs of formally designated science teacher leaders in urban elementary schools that have successfully narrowed science achievement gaps.

Affective Experiences in Mathematics
Angela Crawford, Boise State University
M. Brady Webb, Boise State University
This qualitative study investigates students’ affective experiences of mathematics, students’ emotions, mathematics identities, beliefs about their abilities, and mathematics’ importance.

Faculty Advocacy and the Impact on Teacher Candidate Quality
Carolyn Loffer, Boise State University
Meghan Eliason, Boise State University
A.J. Zenkert, Boise State University
Brad Coats, Boise State University
Emphasizing the importance of professional counseling along with academic advising, one teacher education program assigns faculty advocates to candidates as they are admitted to teacher education programs.

Instructional Strategies to Foster Online Classroom Community
Patrick Lowenthal, Boise State University
Jesús Trespalacios, Boise State University
Building community online can improve learning and retention. In this session presenters will share students’ perceptions of community and strategies used to build community online.

Identifying variables important to the success of K-12 students in blended learning
Kerry Rice, Boise State University
Jui-Long Hung, Boise State University
Presents findings from a blended learning program evaluation, using student end-of-course survey data combined with data mining. Findings suggest that is it possible to apply educational data mining techniques in blended learning classrooms to identify key variables important to the success of learners.

Studying Practice and Student Learning: Supporting Beginning Teachers-Professional Capital
Sherry Dismuke, Boise State University
Jennifer Snow, Boise State University
Meghan Eliason, Boise State University
Carolyn Loffer, Boise State University
Following up with elementary program graduates, researchers found a need indicated from new teachers on learning communities based in practice connected to student learning.

Replicated Effects of a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Program in Hawaii and Chicago Elementary Schools
Brian Flay, Boise State University
Two RCTs of Positive Action found the program to be effective in improving prosocial values and behavior, reducing negative behaviors, and improving school performance.

The Convergence of Imaginative Play, Literacy and Kindergarten Common Core Language Arts Standards Alta Gracia Salinas-Casper, Boise State University
Sarah Brownsten, Anser Charter School
Maggie Chase, Boise State University
This research suggests imaginative play embedded with literacy experiences, when paired with standards based direct instruction, can serve to facilitate the meeting of kindergarten Common Core English Language Arts standards.

Coherence Principle of Gamification: A Study to Determine the More Effective Approach in an Online Authentic Environment
Kristin Heath, Boise State University
This study examines the effectiveness of the coherence principle and compares it to using gamification to motivate and engage learners in an online, authentic environment.

What Motivates First Generation, Limited Income High School Students to Transition into a Post-Secondary Program of Study
Petya Stoyanova Johnson, Boise State University
Marilena Martello, Boise State University
Belma Sadikovic, Boise State University
This research study aims to find the motivating factors that help first generation, limited income high school students transition into a post-secondary program of study.

Student Use of Models to Divide Fractions
Emily Leckie, Kuna Elementary Instructional Coach
Rebecca Davis, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Wava Kaufman, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Jacob Dobson, Kuna Elementary Teacher
Our research hopes to inform teacher instruction on dividing fractions in 5th grade by identifying what students already know, guiding teachers to a best approach.

Exploring the Cues Behind Teacher Expectations and the Influence of Mindset
M. Brady Webb, Boise State University
This qualitative study investigated the cues teachers use to judge student learning, and examined the influence of a fixed or growth mindset on cue-usage.

The Idaho Reading Indicator as a Predictor of Subsequent Diagnosis of Specific Learning Disabilities
Kimberly Ennis, Boise School District
The IRI is an Idaho state mandated universal reading screen for primary students. The IRI scores were correlated to the subsequent identification of SLD.

NRMERA was established in 1982 and shares education research conducted by faculty and graduates students of colleges and universities in the northern Rocky Mountain geographic area.

College of Education Committed to Innovative Solutions for Special Education Teacher Shortage

Special Education Collaborative between Boise State University College of Education and Lee Pesky Learning Center

The College of Education now offers a master in teaching degree in conjunction with the Special Education Collaborative (also referred to as the Master In Teaching), an innovative partnership between the Department of Early and Special Education, school districts across the state, and Lee Pesky Learning Center.

Learn more about this important partnership in the Oct 2 op-ed piece in the Idaho Statesman written by the Dean of the College of Education, Rich Osguthorpe, and in a Sept. 20 story about the critical shortage of special education teachers. The Collaborative was also featured in a Jan. 16 story from NPR Ed on Morning Edition.

The primary intent of the program is to provide a flexible, high quality program and cultivate the specialized knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are needed for long-term success. Teacher candidates in the one-year, online program earn both a Master in Teaching degree alongside a certification in Special Education or Early Childhood Intervention, and work with committed faculty in the Department of Early and Special Education to develop high-quality skills, knowledge and dispositions to ensure success.

Learn more about the Master In Teaching programs, and visit the Department of Early and Special Education.

College of Education Programs Earn Prestigious Ratings in Higher Education

CommencementMarshall-500x333-300x199Boise State University’s College of Education ranks among the top education programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Graduate Schools report.

The annual report examines the largest professional graduate school disciplines of business, law, education, engineering and medicine and specialty rankings within those disciplines. The College of Education ranked in the top 100 nationally and its fully online educational technology graduate program ranked in the top 50.

The news organization’s rankings are among the most prestigious ratings in higher education.

The U.S. News rankings released March 10 follow an earlier announcement by the National Council on Teacher Quality putting Boise State’s undergraduate elementary and secondary Teacher Education programs in the top 5 percent of such programs in the country.

NCTQ’s review of teacher preparation programs focused on the knowledge, skills, and academic attributes new teachers need to be classroom ready when they graduate. Drawing from a set of 18 standards, NCTQ applied the relevant standards to elementary, secondary or special education programs. NCTQ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization located in Washington DC.

“These high rankings are because of our faculty’s dedicated work and commitment to quality in making continuous program improvement a hallmark of our undergraduate and graduate programs,” said College of Education Dean Rich Osguthorpe. “This commitment means we are producing graduates who are ready on the first day of their careers to teach and improve student learning. It also means that we are conducting high-level research with graduate students that aims to improve school outcomes.”

Osguthorpe particularly pointed to the leadership of Jennifer Snow, associate dean of teacher education, and of Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, in helping the college achieve the rankings.

Other universities with education programs ranked similar to Boise State included Kansas State University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech.

The graduate disciplines that U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors that include standardized test scores of newly enrolled students, employment outcomes for graduates, external research funding and other criteria. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Boise State’s Department of Educational Technology (EdTech) is housed in the College of Education. Other universities with programs and rankings similar to EdTech include University of Nevada at Reno, Drexel University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University.

Summer Literacy Academy Offers Faculty, Staff Discount

Summer Literacy Academy, St Mary's School, Petros Panaou, Photo Patrick SweeneyBoise State University faculty and staff who enroll their children in the Literacy Center’s Summer Literacy Academy program by April 15 can receive an additional $55 discount. This is in addition to the regular $25 discount for early registration, so faculty and staff can receive a total discount of $80.

To take advantage of this special offer, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or and provide her with your employee ID number.

Qualified teachers help children beat the summer slide and further develop their literacy skills. Participating in interactive, playful and creative activities, children become more confident and engaged readers, writers and speakers.

Financial aid is available, if annual income is below $30,000.

There are two locations to choose from:

June 8-July 3: For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. with ESage afternoon program. The ESage afternoon program is an additional $300. The academy will be held at Sage International School, 421 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise. The optional ESage afternoon program includes outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, hiking and sports. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 426-2805 or For more information, contact Arron Walton at (208) 343-7243 or

June 22-July 17: Literacy Center Summer Literacy Academy. For children ages 5-12. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. $480. The academy will be held at Boise First Community Center, 3852 N. Eagle Road, Boise. Visit to enroll your child. For more information, contact Jessica Nelson at (208) 318-6424 or

Research Colloquium Features Flay and Allred

Brian Flay, research professor, and Carol Allred, president of Positive Action, Inc., will present “Replication of the effects of a Whole School Reform Character Education program from randomized trials in Hawaii and Chicago” at the College of Education Research Colloquium at 11 a.m., April 3 in room 110 in the Education Building.

Besides serving as a research professor in the College of Education, Flay also is a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, where he has worked since 2005.

Flay has done extensive work on the development and implementation of evidence-based programming in schools and communities. His recent studies focus on positive youth development, including social-emotional and character development.

Allred founded Positive Action, whose school-based program addresses influences on youth development, a broad array of positive and negative behaviors and academic performance. The Positive Action program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in the What Works Clearinghouse as a top-rated program for improving students’ behavior and academics.

For more information, contact Keith Thiede, associate dean for research and graduate studies, at 426-1731 or

Celebration of Teaching Awards to Honor Idaho Educators on April 7

Glass appleRecipients of the Celebration of Teaching – Mentors of the Year Awards will be honored at an awards program and dinner at 6 p.m. April 7 in the Stueckle Sky Center at Boise State.

The awards recognize teachers and counselors from Idaho public schools who guide, support and encourage fellow educators in their pursuit of effective teaching, counseling and professional growth.

For more information, contact Katherine Weatherspoon, management assistant in the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies, at (208) 426-4852 or

Barbara Morgan to Join Family of Woman Film Fest Discussion

The annual Family of Woman Film Festival brings issues that confront women and girls around the world to the big screen in Sun Valley. Through a partnership with Boise State University, special events also will take place in Boise this year.

Boise audiences can see two of this year’s films — “Sepideh” on Feb. 25 and “The Supreme Price” on Feb. 27 — along with featured guest speakers. Both screenings will take place in the Special Events Center on the Boise State campus and are free and open to the public.

SEPIDEHWednesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. “Sepideh” (90 min.)

This feature documentary from Iran will be presented in the United States for the first time outside of the Sundance Film Festival. Barbara Morgan, former NASA astronaut and distinguished educator in residence at Boise State, will join the film’s assistant director, Mona Rafatzadeh, in a conversation following the screening moderated by Idaho Public Television’s Marcia Franklin.

The star of her village school’s astronomy club, Sepideh lugs a telescope as tall as herself to a mountaintop to stargaze. She confides her dream of becoming an astronaut like her idol, Anousheh Ansari, in a journal addressed to Albert Einstein. When she’s passed over for a university scholarship and suitors come knocking at the door, her determination is seriously tested. This film is suitable for all ages. Learn more at

Friday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. “The Supreme Price” (75 min.)Supreme price

This feature documentary from Nigeria will be jointly presented by filmmaker Joanna Lipper and the subject of the film, Hafsat Abiola. Abiola’s father was Nigeria’s first democratically elected president. After he was overthrown in a coup, her mother was assassinated while campaigning for his release, and he mysteriously died in prison. A college student in America at the time, Hafsat Abiola did not return to Nigeria until 1999, after the transition from military dictatorship to civilian rule, where she founded Kudirat Initiative for Democracy. The non-governmental organization is dedicated to advancing the status and rights of Nigerian women and girls. Learn more at

The 8th annual Family of Woman Film Festival kicks off in Sun Valley on Feb. 24 with the second Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture on the Health and Dignity of Women, featuring Women Deliver founder Jill Sheffield. The festival concludes March 1.

“Each film we select has exceptional artistic merit and many have gone on to win major awards,” said festival co-chair Peggy Elliott Goldwyn. “But the main purpose of the festival has always been educational.”

The events at Boise State are presented by the Idaho Film Collection and the university’s Arts and Humanities Institute, Gender Studies program and Women’s Center.

Learn more about festival activities at

Attend a Graduate Defense

The campus community is invited to attend the following graduate defenses:

Dennis Daw

When: 9 a.m. Feb. 27
Where: Education Building, Room 110
Program: Master of Science in Biology
Title: An In-Depth Evaluation of Otolith Zonation and a Comparison of Assigned Age and Precision of Otoliths, Scales, and Pectoral Fin Rays of Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) and Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

Abstract: There is extensive confusion surrounding the timing and interpretation of otolith zones, specifically, which zone represents fast growth and which represents slow growth. To determine if this confusion is a species-related difference, we calculated monthly growth rates and investigated otolith zonation for a cold-water (Redband trout: Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) and a warm-water (Bluegill: Lepomis macrochirus) species, in two Southern Idaho streams and three ponds. Redband Trout showed their fastest growth during the month of June, with continuation of growth through September. The opaque zone was forming during the highest rate of growth. As with Redband Trout, the fastest growth rates for Bluegill were during late spring and early summer. However, this fast growth coincided with the formation of the translucent zone. These findings have implications for both experienced and novice biologists conducting ageing studies. Lacking water-specific validation, the annulus for temperate warm-water centrarchids should be considered the opaque zone. Conversely, the annulus for temperate cold-water trout should be considered the translucent zone. To determine if there was a quality non-lethal ageing structure, I further compared the precision and assigned age of otoltihs, pectoral fin rays and scales for these two species. Otoliths were the most precise for both species in all water bodies. Scales produced lower age estimates when compared to otoliths for both species in all water bodies. Assigned age did not differ from that of otoliths, however fin rays were considerable more variable than otoliths on Bluegill. Redband Trout fin rays did not differ in assigned age but were more variable than otoliths. I do not recommend the use of scales for either species. Further I do not recommend fin rays as an aging structure for Bluegill. However, fin rays may be an acceptable aging structure for Redband Trout.

Zeke Hudson

When: 3 p.m. Feb. 27
Where: Liberal Arts Building, Room 208
Program: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Title: The Travelogues

Abstract: In the last few years, I felt uncomfortably situated between a frantic postmodernity and an earnest sincerity. I think as much is apparent in my manuscript. In The Travelogues, I tried to blend the abstract lyricism of the Language poets, the narrative tone and continuity of the New York School, and the sense of interpersonal connectivity and responsibility of contemporary Bay Area writers. To be more precise, I hoped to channel a bit of Rae Armantrout, Frank O’Hara, and Juliana Spahr. However, each poem in The Travelogues marks a journey, real or imagined; consequently, they manifest as travel or nature poems, wherein the aesthetic of shifting geographies blends with introspection and memory, ultimately inscribing themselves into a form as consistent as the roads on which they were conceived and written.

The Travelogues is a collection of poetry that seeks to escape the quotidian. In so doing, it examines the relationship between person, place, and memory. Each poem chronicles the speaker’s movement through a new and terrible landscape in search of connection. These landscapes, both real and surreal, are barren and hospitable, void of comfort or humanity. The poems reach a crisis: they become aware of their own artifice and inability to exist beyond the page. The Travelogues resigns in failure, yet still makes one last move toward escape.

Kelly Cox

When: 10 a.m. March 3
Where: Hemingway Center, Room 110 – Visual Arts Collective, Gallery Two
Program: Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Title: Fixate

Abstract: In this thesis, I will provide a brief history of consumer culture and the mechanisms by which it operates: such as the aestheticization of the factory including the illusions that remove evidence of process from production, a propagated fear of the body and a cultural rejection of the unfamiliar, the difficult or the old. Connecting them to ideas in both Art and consumerism, I will poke and prod at the mythologies of progress, dematerialization and the Orphic complex. In exploring theories of doubt and skepticism, I will suggest an alternative perspective on the body, one that considers the mouth as the entrance to the self (rather than the eyes) and personal experience as a compass for subjective direction (in the form of expression). Finally, I will explore complexity (created by depth, layers and juxtaposition,) decoration and gradient as concepts that are of both visual and conceptual concern.

Eric Mullis

When: 1 p.m. March 3
Where: Hemingway Center, Room 110 – Visual Arts Collective, Gallery Two
Program: Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Title:  B> Be greater than.

Abstract: B>Be greater than.

Be greater than nature. Be greater than human. Be greater than ever.

B> designs innovative lifestyle products that improve the lives of people everywhere by allowing them to transcend everyday life and reclaim their inner greatness.

B> was founded in 2013 by artist and designer Christopher Mollusk in a community center studio in Boise, Idaho. Two years later B> offers a line of four lifestyle products for everyday greatness ranging from simple and elegant self-improvement accessories, innovative mobile connectivity devices, tools for conflict resolution, and commemorative figurines that celebrate everyday greatness. B>’s line of innovative accessories for greatness allow you to transcend everyday life and be greater than ever.

Meagan McKinney

When: 12 p.m. March 4
Where: Education Building, 3rd Floor, Ed Tech Conference Room
Program: Master of Science in STEM Education
Title: The Relationship Between Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy for Teaching Mathematics and Their Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Abstract: This thesis examines the relationship between the mathematical content knowledge elementary teachers have and their self-efficacy for teaching the mathematical content to their students. Self-efficacy refers to a person’s beliefs about their ability to successfully perform a task (Bandura, 1993). The main focus was on how is the self-efficacy teachers have related to their mathematical content knowledge (Hill, Rowan & Ball, 2005), which simply put is the subject matter knowledge that support teaching the why and how of specific mathematical procedures. Self-efficacy and mathematical content knowledge are of high importance with their implications in regards to quality of instruction and the drive of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics requires “highly qualified” teachers.

Data for this study was collected form a small group of elementary (grades 1-5) teachers. These teachers were participating in a grant project at the time of data collection. Data was collected regarding their self-efficacy with the practices of teaching mathematics and the overall mathematics content itself using a validated instrument called the Self-Efficacy for Teaching Mathematics Instrument (SETMI). The Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics Instrument was used to collect data on teachers’ mathematical content knowledge. A correlational analysis was run to test for a relationship between the two self-efficacy constructs and the CKT-M score. Analysis of the results showed there to only be a statistically significant relationship between self-efficacy for pedagogy in mathematics and self-efficacy for teaching mathematics content. There was not a statistically significant relationship between either of the two self-efficacy constructs and the content knowledge for teaching mathematics scores. Qualitative data was collected pertaining to teachers’ perceptions of the positive influences and challenges of implementing the Common Core State Standards into their classroom. The themes of training and support were seen as positive influences, while curriculum and time were seen as the major challenges.

Douglas Whitten

When: 9 a.m. March 11
Where: Education Building, Room 717, Social Work Conference Room
Program: Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Title: Recruiting for the Collegiate Marching Band: A Study of Student Perceptions of Recruitment and College Choice Factors in Kansas and Missouri

Abstract: The marching band is an important and iconic part of the game day atmosphere at athletic events and community functions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. To many institutions, the band is a great source of pride and considerable resources are committed in an effort to have the best band possible. A key component to having the best band possible is having effective recruiting practices.

There is a large body of research on recruiting general student’s populations and many other sub categories of students, including music majors. However, research regarding recruitment of students that participate in marching band is missing from the literature because most marching band members are not majoring in music. It is the hypothesis of the researcher that these students are a unique population that likely respond to different recruiting strategies than would those who are music majors.

To determine what college choice factors and recruiting strategies are most applicable to the college marching band member, the Marching Band Participation Questionnaire was designed to measure why students chose to participate in their chosen program. Results from the study demonstrate that 70% of college marching band members are not majoring in music and that they have college choice considerations that differ from the general student population and those of music majors. Therefore, this demographic is likely be more responsive to a recruiting and marketing campaign that treats them as a unique population.

Hsu Helps High Schoolers Turn Their Idea into a Working App

For the second year, EdTech’s assistant professor Yu-Chang Hsu was selected to coach a group of students working to turn their award-winning idea into a working mobile app.

The five-member team of 11th and 12th graders from the Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick, Washington, received personal guidance from Hsu from Feb. 19-21.

The high schoolers won one of eight “Best in Nation” awards in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The students won for their idea for a Safe & Sound app, which offers teens ways to manage stress or feelings of depression.

Below are some photos of Hsu working with the high schoolers:

AppTraining-6 AppTraining-5 AppTraining-4 AppTraining-3 AppTraining-2 AppTraining-1


Exploring JUMP and Literacy

The Literacy Center at JUMP

Pictured from left to right are Petros Panaou, Mary Ann Cahill, Maggie Chase and Stan Steiner.

Petros Panaou, director of the Literacy Center, and Kathy O’Neill, director of community engagement for JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place), have been exploring ideas for community literacy activities at the center. On Jan. 23, Department of Literacy, Language and Culture faculty members Stan Steiner, Maggie Chase, Mary Ann Cahill and Panaou attended an open house for JUMP to learn more about the vision and mission of the project. The four faculty members received a project overview, Q&A session and a tour of the construction. Pictured from left to right are Panaou, Cahill, Chase and Steiner.