Exploratory Factor Analysis: Applications in School Improvement Research

Diana Mindrila (Editor)
University of West Georgia, Georgia, USA

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU037000

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Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick

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In education, researchers often work with complex data sets that include a multitude of variables. One question that often arises in such contexts is whether the structure of associations that underlies the data is accounted for by a latent construct. Exploratory factor analysis is a multivariate correlational procedure that helps researchers overcome such challenges. It helps reduce large data sets into main components or identify distinct constructs that account for the pattern of correlations among observed variables. These unobservable constructs are refered to as common factors, latent variables, or internal attributes, and they exert linear influences on more than one observed variable. Although exploratory factor analysis is widely used, many applied educational researchers and practitioners are not yet familiar with this procedure and are intimidated by the technical terminology.

This book provides a conceptual description of this method and includes a collection of applied research studies that illustrates the application of exploratory factor analysis in school improvement research. The first chapter provides a theoretical overview of exploratory factor analysis. It explains the purposes for which this procedure can be used, the related terminology, the distinction between key concepts, the steps that must be taken, and the criteria for making the decisions. This information can serve as a starting point for researchers who need a brief, conceptual introduction to this topic. The following chapters present a series of research studies in which exploratory factor analysis was employed either by itself or in conjunction with other statistical procedures. The studies presented in this book address a variety of research problems in the field of school improvement. They specify how the factor analytic procedure was applied, and explain the theoretical contributions and the practical applications of the factor analytic results. In most studies, results from factor analysis were used for subsequent statistical procedures, thus helping researchers address more complex research questions and enriching the results. (Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Chapter 1. Exploratory Factor Analysis: An Overview
Diana L. Mindrila

Chapter 2. Teacher Motivation and Recruitment in High School Special Education
Matthew D. Lawrence

Chapter 3. Clusters of Teachers Based on Their Perceptions of Learner-Centered Instruction
Yun-Jo An and Diana Mindrila

Chapter 4. Student Voice Opportunities Quantified by Exploratory Factor Analysis
Jennifer E. Elemen

Chapter 5. Spiritual Health in Christian Schools: Implications for Academic Achievement and School Improvement
Chad A. McBane

Chapter 6. Educator Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Student Achievement
Wofford L. Green

Index

“As a former superintendent of schools, I consistently searched to pinpoint and understand the many variables that produced the variance in student achievement. Exploratory factor analysis and the application cases offered in this manuscript deliver a fresh glimpse into the complex relationships which influence student learning while providing a useful foundation for developing high impact strategies for school improvement. Recognizing the factors that impact educational inputs enlightens educational decision makers to more strategic approaches.” - Dr. Andy Nixon, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, University of West Georgia

"This book is an excellent resource for educators, who regularly must make sense of large data sets. Dr. Mindrila explains Exploratory Factor Analysis in ways that will help practitioners use this powerful tool for understanding correlations, recognizing variables that affect outcomes, and making predictions that will improve practice. Exploratory Factor Analysis: Applications in School Improvement Research is an accessible tool that will help educators see the practical application of sophisticated data analysis methods." - Dianne Hoff, Dean, College of Education, University of West Georgia

C2C Digital Magazine - Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University, USA

The book can be a helpful resource for graduate students in educational research, educational leadership, school improvement, instructional technology, special education, etc. Further, educational leaders, decision makers and other practitioners may benefit from learning about variables that may have an impact on school improvement and student achievement.

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