Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analysis of Teacher Ratings on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF) at the Item Level for Urban Middle School Students Included in a Study of the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness Awareness Program
by Chukwu, ObioRam Chakra-Boom, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2015, 306; 3681977
Abstract (Summary)

Previous research suggests that executive functions (EF), including self-regulation skills, are essential for children's academic readiness and educational production, particularly middle school students, who are identified with learning disabilities (Desmond & Hanich, 2014; Hartman, 2012). Decline in the educational outcomes of middle school students remains an alarming concern for educators and researchers (Anderman, Anderman, & Greisinger, 1999; Bobik, 2010; Jimerson, 2001; Roderick, 1994; Rumberger, 1995). For special education students, who fall short on the "producing" end, academic goals do not address the EF deficits, which are more likely to be addressed by EF development geared for academic production in reading, writing, and mathematics (Denckla, 2002; Hartman, 2012; McCloskey, Perkins, & Van Diviner, 2009).

Furthermore, the wide-range of changes experienced by the early adolescent during the critical development stage is supported by research on the brainā€”development of adolescent and related cognitive processes, particularly EFs (Sylvan & Christodoulou, 2010; Jensen, 2008; Kellough & Kellough, 2008; Caskey & Ruben, 2007; Manning, 2002; Dorman, Lipsitz, & Verner, 1985). Findings from these researchers have supported a variety of school-based interventions designed to support children's EF development. Limited research has investigated interventions utilizing mindfulness to improve EFs and academic production in middle school. To address the gaps in literature, the study design is a secondary analysis of an existing data set at the item level.

Five questions were investigated in this analysis of a prior study; Desmond and Hanich (2014) conducted a randomized control experiment using a quasi-experimental design, including repeated measures analysis of variance (RMANOVA) and multiple regression analyses. Additional procedures were used for accounting for and handling missing data arising from attrition (Enders, 2013; Little & Rubin, 2002).

The results suggested the following: a refinement of the item pool to produce more valid sub-sets of indicators of positive change in order to create a Scale based on the findings; establishing a basis for a more sound methodology for assessing change in studies of mindfulness; and supporting the research on the continuing plasticity of the early adolescent brain and on school-based interventions for brain development. The recommendations for practice, policy, and research are presented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kochhar-Bryant, Carol
Commitee: Desmond, Cheryl, McCloskey, George, Rouland, Karmen, Wallace, Greg
School: The George Washington University
Department: Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Neurosciences, Special education, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Executive functions, Mindfulness and the brief, Mindfulness awareness, Mindfulness meditation, Neuroplasticity, Self-regulation
Publication Number: 3681977
ISBN: 9781321550726
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