Masters' Theses, Field Studies, and Research Reports

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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-12) Jackson, Amber Nicole
    It is important to further explore the role of specific resources and tools including token economies in supporting reading improvement among students in self-contained low-incidence autism classrooms. This quantitative study examined differences in Illuminate Education FastBridge Reading CBMComp progress monitoring when students completed the module comprehension question set with verbal praise and when they completed the module comprehension question set with the use of a token economy. Participants consisted of 16 students from ninth to 12th grade in a self-contained low-incidence autism classroom in the southeastern United States. Participants for the study were selected based on their classroom designation within a special day school environment. Data collected comprised FastBridge Progress monitoring scores from the ReadingCOMP. SPSS was used for data analysis; a paired sample t test showed a statistical difference between the sample means of the same group during the times each intervention was implemented. Findings indicated that students’ achievement improved by participating in a token economy. Finally, the field study concludes with practical implications that can be considered when implementing token economies in self-contained lowincidence autism classrooms.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-08) Paladino, Vanessa
    The purpose of this qualitative case study aimed to explore current perceptions of middle school content teachers and their abilities to effectively meet the educational needs of the students in their classrooms whose first language is not English. In addition, this study provided qualitative data to help identify the strategies used by middle school content teachers and the support they receive from schools in preparing to provide equitable instructional opportunities to English language learners (ELLs) compared to their native English-speaking peers. Participants included 10 middle school content teachers in Tennessee. All participants completed a survey consisting of both closed- and open-ended response questions. Analysis of responses submitted by participants indicated that many teachers are tasked with the responsibility to instruct ELLs in their classroom without having received much if any, related formal training, teachers need additional and ongoing access to support, training, and resources, and teachers of ELLs would benefit from increased opportunities for collaboration amongst content and ESL teachers. Based on the findings of the study, there are several practical implications for practice, research, and policy including that schools provide ongoing opportunities for professional development, the need to replicate the study with a larger sample group or in a different state to determine if similar results are produced, and urging the U.S. Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights to develop more specific guidelines for schools to follow in regard to implementation of effect ESL programs. Keywords: English as a second language (ESL), English language learner (ELL), teaching, instruction, second language acquisition (SLA), middle school
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-05) Zirkle, Sarah
    The tri-colored bat (PERIMYOTIS SUBFLAVUS) is a hibernating North American bat species that uses forested landscapes during summer months; however, information on the summer habitat requirements is limited. Summer habitats are critical to population persistence as they support multiple life history stages, including maternity colonies, nursery sites, and foraging locations. As tri-colored bats are highly susceptible to white-nose syndrome, a devastating disease that increases energy expenditure over hibernation, determining the resources that are important for building pre-hibernation fat stores is crucial to their population persistence. My objective was to quantify the characteristics of roost sites selected by tri-colored bats during the summer. I captured, tagged, and tracked 15 bats using radio-telemetry to 55 roost locations. At each roost, I recorded roost habitat characteristics and other forest descriptions within a 0.1 ha circular plot surrounding the roost tree. I repeated these measurements for three random trees per roost tree to serve as available habitat for selection. I used a suite of mixed conditional logistic regression models to test five competing hypotheses describing factors known to influence roost-site selection for various bat species. The top model demonstrated that roost selection was influenced by roost tree height, which may be linked to microclimatic factors. There is a critical information gap for the ongoing recovery of tri-colored bats; better understanding of summer habitat and proper forest management implications, as well as information on scale-specific habitat selection, is needed to better understand tri-colored bat management needs.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-05) Krueger, Sarah
    Energetic trade-offs between hibernation and reproduction occur in hibernating bat species to ensure pups are born when forage availability is optimal, yet little is known about how disease impacts reproductive success and how these impacts may vary with local climate. White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an infectious disease that disrupts hibernation in bats, leading to premature exhaustion of fat stores. There is evidence of reproductive shifts in areas where WNS has devastated bat populations; however, current research has yet to assess these changes in response to winter duration or local climate. I compiled data from four states and used generalized linear mixed effects models to compare effects of WNS, winter duration, and local climate variables on the number of reproducing females for WNS-susceptible species (Perimyotis subflavus and Myotis spp.) and two species not affected by WNS (Eptesicus fuscus and Lasiurus borealis). I incorporated the effects of WNS in two ways: presence and absence of WNS, with presence dictated by year first observed, and year since WNS was reported. I predicted WNS susceptible species would see a decline in the number of reproductive females, with the effect exaggerated by longer winter durations and inadequate pre-hibernation climate variables. I found that the number of reproductive females in both WNS-susceptible species and species not affected by WNS was positively correlated with pre-hibernation local climate conditions conducive to foraging (number of summer days above 18°C); however, WNS-susceptible species experienced an overall decline with years since WNS. This overall negative trend of WNS-susceptible species may cause a shift in bat populations, which is critical to understanding the effects of disease on population growth through impacts on reproductive behavior.
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    Non-Custodial Parents and their Children: Using Duoethnography to Explore Relationship Development
    (Austin Peay State University, 2020-08) Tims, D Tyler
    The development of a strong parent/child relationship has well-documented benefits that span the lifespan and into the next familial generation. These relationships can be assessed through the lens of attachment theory in which a secure attachment between the child and their parent is recognized as the desired goal. The parent/child relationship may be compromised during a parental separation or divorce and the family members then find themselves in need of new methods for maintaining or reestablishing the connections. There is currently an abundance of research relating to the parent/child relationship, attachment theory, and post-separation relationships between custodial mothers and their children. Present literature does not adequately address the unique phenomenon of the relationship development between non-custodial parents of all genders and their children. In this study, the researcher utilized a duoethnographic approach and qualitative analysis of relationships between non-custodial parents and their children as self-reported through one on one discussion with the researcher and an additional non-custodial parent participant. This study revealed some key themes throughout the discussion. It was discovered that one of the primary strengths of the relationship between the non-custodial parents and their children was their attempts at frequent and open communication with their children. Throughout the discussion the non-custodial parents also addressed their perceived barriers to the relationship with their children. These perceived barriers included the physical distance between their children, the tumultuous relationship with the custodial parent, and the social stereotypes of being non-custodial parents.
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    Population genetics of the widespread BOECHERA LAEVIGATA (Brassicaceae) and comparisons with its rare congener B. PERSTELLATA
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Lindsey, Annie
    A population genetics study of BOECHERA LAEVIGATA, the most widespread Boechera species in the eastern United States, was conducted using 15 populations from 11 states throughout its range. Sixteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were resolved for the species. Three populations exhibited nearly fixed heterozygosity at multiple loci, which was attributed to apomictic reproduction based on this study’s data and other Boechera research. Because of this likelihood of clonal reproduction, only unique multilocus genotypes (MLG) were used for most analyses of the apomictic populations. From 300 total samples, 153 unique MLGs were identified, with no MLGs shared across populations. Percent polymorphic loci at the population level ranged from 6.3-93.8%, with sexual populations averaging 40% and apomictic populations averaging 71%. Observed heterozygosity was lower than expected heterozygosity for sexual populations (H¬o = 0.052, He = 0.169), while the opposite was true for apomictic populations (Ho = 0.679, He = 0.441), resulting in a high FIS of 0.709 for sexual populations (probably due to inbreeding) and an extremely negative F¬IS of -0.927 for apomictic populations, as is commonly found with clonal reproduction. While 69% of the genetic variability in the sexual populations was due to differences among the populations, the majority of genetic variation in the apomictic populations was found within individuals. Widespread species often harbor greater genetic diversity than rare species, so this trend was tested by comparing B. laevigata with the federally endangered B. PERSTELLATA, which was previously found to have extremely low levels of genetic diversity. Such congeneric comparisons of genetic diversity provide phylogenetic context and a more nuanced understanding of evolutionary forces that have shaped a species. Considering the 11 loci assayed in both species, sexual B. LAEVIGATA populations averaged higher allelic richness, observed heterozygosity, and expected heterozygosity than its rare congener, although differences did not reach statistical significance. The rare species had significantly greater population differentiation than B. LAEVIGATA, possibly reflective of the very disjunct distribution of B. PERSTELLATA. This study provides context to the low diversity reported for the endangered B. PERSTELLATA as well as adding to the growing literature on the model genus Boechera.
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    Impacts of habitat loss on genetic diversity of ETHEOSTOMA LEMNISCATUM, the Tuxedo Darter
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Brumley, Jacob Franklin
    Habitat loss and alteration is often detrimental to the genetic diversity of species within the impacted area, especially those species considered imperiled due to other factors, such as a naturally small native range. For imperiled fish species in the southeastern United States, damming of rivers is a leading form of habitat alteration that poses a major conservation issue for many riverine adapted species. Dams homogenize habitat and alter natural riverine flow regimes. The Tuxedo Darter, ETHEOSTOMA LEMNISCATUM, is a federally endangered fish species that inhabits the mainstem of the Big South Fork Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee. The species is considered a habitat-specialist, adapted to survive and reproduce in shallow pools with clean, cobble substrate. It is threatened by damming of the Cumberland River to create Lake Cumberland, which during summer pool, inundates the lower 8 rkm of the species’ range. To determine the impact of inundation on E. LEMNISCATUM, we compared occurrence, abundance, and genetic diversity metrics estimated from pre- (2015) and post-inundation (2019/2020; four years after inundation) samples from eleven sites spanning the species’ range. We expected to see a reduction in occurrence, abundance and genetic diversity and increased inbreeding as a response to inundation. Declines in occurrence and abundance were detected within the impacted reach. Standard and temporal comparisons of genetic diversity metrics stemming from our genotypic data from 20 microsatellite loci for the 92 individuals collected in 2019 and 2020 and data from the 107 individuals collected in 2015 (provided by Washburn et al. 2020) revealed low genetic diversity for the species. No significant changes in genetic diversity between years was detected. However, in addition to observations of local extirpation and declines in abundance in the impacted reach, early warning signs of genetic diversity degradation, such as lowered allelic richness and an increase in the proportion of private alleles, were also observed in the impacted reach. These early warning signs indicate a likelihood of impacts to genetic diversity in future generations. Our results warrant further monitoring of the species to determine any time delayed responses to inundation that were not detected in this study.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Lemieux, Cassandra
    Schools across the globe are looking to include quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in their schools. This research examined a collection of data over the effect on test scores in schools that implement STEM. This study also analyzed interviews with teachers and their thoughts on STEM and STEM professional development. Although many studies have discussed the positive effects of STEM in schools, there are few studies that explored how STEM schools influence test scores. There are difficulties with conducting this study because there are limited numbers of STEM schools. Even though many schools implement STEM, few schools are STEM accredited or have not been accredited for a prolonged period. The problem to be investigated is the comparison of United States assessment scores in STEM schools vs. Traditional schools (non-STEM). This study also examined STEM state test scores over a prolonged period. Finally, this study also sought to explore some of the factors that may have contributed to the inconsistent test scores in STEM schools across the United States by reviewing data on test scores in Ohio and North Carolina and interviewing educators who work in STEM schools. The findings of this research can serve as a guide to educators and administrators who are considering implementing STEM in their schools and how it can negatively affect or positively affect their school test scores. Key Words: STEM, test scores, teacher education, STEM integration, professional development, state assessments
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-05) Teeter, Judith
    The arts are not typically assessed through standardized testing. Therefore, evaluating the effectiveness of fine arts teachers based on student growth or achievement is difficult. The state of Tennessee piloted a portfolio growth model to measure student progress in non-tested subjects and grades (NTSG). This model is known as the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM) student growth portfolio. The portfolio growth model for fine arts was received with optimism and implemented in counties throughout Tennessee. The purpose of this study was to better understand how peer-reviewed portfolios have affected visual arts teachers’ perception of a value-added system of teacher evaluation. This study explores a collection of case studies with data collected from interviews with three fine arts teachers working in a middle Tennessee school district. Although art teachers reported that this new form of evaluation does better represent what takes place in their classrooms, the participants in this study were left wondering if the effort put into creating the portfolio was really worth the outcome.
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    Examining the Level of Implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Intervention Support and Teacher Support of the Program Relative to the Number of Reported Office Discipline Referrals
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-05) Jones, Bethany Lois
    School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) is designed to proactively decrease problematic behavior and increase social competency in students (Flannery et al., 2013). This field study examines the level of implementation of SWPBS within a Title 1 school in Middle Tennessee and the effect of implementation level and level of teacher support of SWPBS, known at this school as Response to Instruction and Intervention for Behavior (RTI²-B), on the number of reported office discipline referrals. It is hypothesized that implementation and teacher support of RTI²-B have a positive effect on the number of office discipline referrals reported during the school’s first five years of operation. However, research within this field study yields no substantive difference in either category. Keywords: School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support, SWPBS, SWPBIS, RTI²-B, Office Discipline Referrals, ODRs, Implementation Fidelity, Behavioral Support
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    Granny: A Collection of Memories
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-05) Cash, Ashley
    This is a collection of 18 short stories.
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    Gimme Shelter: Thermally-mediated refuge site selection by Gila monsters (HELODERMA SUSPECTUM)
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Brown, Brandon
    The Gila monster (HELODERMA SUSPECTUM) is a desert lizard which experiences strong above-ground thermal constraints throughout its range and copes with suboptimal environmental temperatures by retreating to sub-surface refuge sites. We addressed the hypothesis that refuge sites selected by Gila monsters would have higher thermal quality and provide more thermally stable regimes than sites not used as refuge. We measured the thermal properties of 48 selected shelters, each matched with two control shelters; a potential shelter having similar physical characteristics to the selected shelter but not observed to be used as refuge, and a random shelter, in which physical attributes were not controlled for, but still having the size and depth to be used as sub-surface refuges. We found that overall mean temperature did not differ among the three shelter types. In addition, random shelters had more time within the preferred thermoregulatory range of the Gila monster (Tset) when compared to potential shelters but shelters that were selected by Gila monsters did not differ from the other shelter types in the total amount of time spent within Tset. Over the course of the activity season, selected shelters deviated less from Tset and were more thermally stable than potential or random shelters. Our results also indicate a temporal shift in thermally-mediated shelter selection. Early in the activity season (April), selected refuge sites had temperatures within Tset for longer when compared to potential shelters. Later in the activity season (June and July) when above-ground temperatures were higher and potentially lethal, selected shelters had higher thermal stability and temperatures that were closer to Tset than other shelter types. Overall, our results indicate that shelter-selection in Gila monsters is thermally-mediated in ways that change over the course of the activity season, and that using biologically informative metrics is important in measuring thermal suitability of refuge sites in the field.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Martin, Cristine
    The importance that districts have placed on the teaching of science in school systems has declined due to high-stakes testing for reading and math. Resources and science labs are few and far between especially in rural communities where money is scarce. This study provided information about the influences of science laboratories and quality science laboratory materials have on student learning and academic achievement in rural and suburban schools. The researcher provided data on the possible influence on science test scores and the schools capacity for inquiry-based science activities. Research showed that this was an indicator of a lack of interest in learning science. Research suggests that the long-term effect is fewer students will pursue careers in the science field. The hypothesis stated that there would be a negative influence on student learning due to how labs were taught and a negative influence on how teachers and students view science overall. Results of recent studies indicate a strong correlation between the use of science labs and test scores. The purpose of this research was to help guide educators and administration in finding alternative ways to teach science labs.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-05) Williams, Sarah
    This is a collection of short stories varied in both length and plot. However, they all are introspective character studies where the protagonists learn about themselves through their relationships with others. The longer pieces focus on the effect of long-term environment and experiences leading to a breakthrough to a self-revelation. “Georgia Sunshine” is a story exploring character self-discovery through rebellion. “Fucked Up Like a Soup Sandwich”, “Lost in the Details”, and “50/50” are loosely connected stories that explore character self-discovery through trials, tribulations, and camaraderie. “Eulogy of Diana” is a story that explores character self-discovery through familial ties and mourning. “Innocent Bloom” is a story that explores character self-discovery through long-term obsession. Though different in content, these stories share the burdens and freedoms, as well as the methods, associated with discovering one’s true identity.
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    SARAH BOWLIN DUGGER. Covid-19 and the Risk of Teacher Attrition in the United States (under the direction of DR. JOHN R. McCONNELL, III). A secondary analysis of data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 and the COVID Response Survey (CRS) 2020 was completed to evaluate the implications of COVID-19 on teacher risk of attrition. This study involved two stages. In stage one, data from the TALIS 2018 was analyzed using a hierarchical regression to specify a model predicting teacher risk of attrition, the criterion variable. Predictor variables for model one included teacher-related factors of total years in the profession, ICT preparedness, teacher age, job satisfaction, and regret and disappointment with the profession. For model two, the predictor variable of job-related stress was added. Data analysis indicated a statistically significant correlation between the predictor variables and the correlation variable, with model two accounting for 36.1% of the variance in teacher risk of attrition. Considering the rate of teacher attrition in the United States was 8% prior to COVID-19, it is incumbent upon educational governing bodies to understand the potential impact of natural disasters such as a pandemic upon this rate so they may institute measures to help reduce it. While much research has been done about teacher attrition, scant research exists about the relationship between COVID-19 and the rate of teacher attrition. Extrapolation using data from the CRS 2020 was completed by using mean values for similar survey items inserted into model two, the model which accounted for more variance in the criterion variable. The results of this extrapolation indicated that COVID-19 has an impact on the rate of teacher attrition. Keywords: teacher attrition, COVID-19
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    (2021-08) Van Orden, Sammantha
    The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on the achievement gap experienced in science education. This study utilized quantitative science assessment data from the state of Texas. The population consisted of fifth grade students across the state of Texas and the sample included those with reported scores on the Texas standardized assessment for science. This test was disaggregated into sub-categories based on the rate of proficiency as well as broken into raw score compilations. Determining the impact of factors on the science achievement gap allows educators to provide strength in teaching in an area where support is lacking, providing a more equitable education for all students. Key Words: Achievement, Science achievement, socioeconomic levels, minority students, ethnicity, standardized testing
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    Surviving the Pacific War Torch: The Cyclical Revitalization of Nagoya from Meiji Restoration to 1960
    (2021-01) McCall, Christian D
    By the end of the twentieth century, the city of Nagoya was a major core of Japan’s automotive, aerospace, ceramics, and machinery industries. Nagoya has not always been such a hub. Prior to the war in the Pacific, the main industry was textiles, predominately pottery and loom work until the 1930s. The start of the Fifteen-Years War created a need for heavy industries to take over led by the production of Mitsubishi’s fighter planes. In 1945, American forces used strategic bombing to fire-bomb Japanese cities to diminish military factories and citizen moral. Nagoya is typically overshadowed in the fire-bombing campaign by other cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Kobe. This paper will demonstrate how Allied bombing was a transformative incident in the economic history of Nagoya, and how this catastrophe set way for the modern urban economy. By chronicling the city’s economy before the war, showing the extent of the destruction caused by the bombings, and exhibiting the reconstructive efforts, the impact of Allied bombing can be assessed. The key objective this paper supports is how in-spite of experiencing a horrific tragedy, Nagoya was able to benefit from it as it was given a fresh start to revamp its entire economy as the city progressed into the latter half of the twentieth century.
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    An Overview of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
    (Austin Peay State University, 2004-05) Segarra, Lisa
    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) has been a front-runner in terms of media attention. To many, this is a disorder that involves an abundance of energy that is difficult to control. Information that is less likely to make headlines includes research regarding theoretical underpinnings, specifics regarding motor difficulties, cultural etiology and diagnosis, and how to successfully manage children with these symptoms within the educational system while still abiding by relevant law. This review of the literature will primarily focus on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominately Hyperactive/Impulsive Type to include current popular treatment. Practical applications are included in the appendix.
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    The Dose Makes the Poison: The Anti-predator Responses of the Southern Redbelly Dace
    (2020-12) Schwarzbach, Erin
    Social organisms use chemical alarm cues, which warn conspecifics of danger. A well-known case of this is seen in Ostariophysan fishes in the form of Schreckstoff. Historically, an extract made from skin was used to test fish for their fright response, however it is difficult to determine Schreckstoff concentrations and ensure consistency among trials and across species. The objectives of this study were to: (1) to determine if chondroitin, an easily measurable hypothesized replacement for skin extract, is an effective alarm substance for our focal species Chrosomus erythrogaster; and (2) assess anti-predator behaviors in the wild. We hypothesized that chondroitin would elicit the same fright response as conspecific skin extract. We also hypothesized that wild C. erythrogaster would respond to conspecific skin extract with anti-predator behaviors that are detected during aquarium-held experiments. We exposed fish to conspecific skin extract and two concentrations of chondroitin, and compared the responses; neither concentration of chondroitin elicited similar responses to conspecific skin extract. Fish exposed to conspecific skin extract spent significantly more time Darting (F2, 32 = 5.01, p = 0.0128) and Burrowing (F2, 32 = 3.31, p = 0.049) than fish exposed to either chondroitin concentration. There were no instances of any other typical anti-predator behaviors in the chondroitin trials. These results do not support the hypothesis that chondroitin is an effective alarm substance for C. erythrogaster. In the field, fish were exposed to both a water control and conspecific skin extract. We did not find any Burrowing or Freezing behaviors in response to skin extract, nor was there a significant difference in number of fish pre and post exposure to conspecific skin extract (p = 0.718). In addition, we observed a Scatter behavior in response to conspecific skin extract in the natural environment, similar to that of Darting in laboratory experiments. Behavioral responses to chondroitin may be species-specific as a function of the concentration of chondroitin in the skin, or interplay between chemicals released from tissue damage. Further, we encourage future studies to focus on the Scatter behavior performed by this fish to elucidate the anti-predator responses in natural environments.
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    Engaging Upper Elementary Students in Singing: A Content Analysis of Related Research and Published Curricula
    (2020-12) Edmaiston, Rachel C
    Research findings indicate that upper elementary students have decreased interest in singing than younger elementary students. However, prior research has identified strategies that may help to engage upper elementary students in singing lessons. The purpose of this study was to identify research-based strategies that engage upper elementary students in singing and the extent to which these strategies are utilized in published curricula. The research questions for this study were: 1) What have music researchers determined about the level of interest in singing in upper elementary grades?; 2) What research-based strategies might impact interest in singing among upper elementary students?; and, 3) To what extent do published elementary curricula align with research-based practices pertaining to singing in the upper elementary grades? I conducted the first phase of the research through a review of literature to determine the level of interest in singing among upper elementary students and what research strategies might impact their interest. The second phase of the research comprised a content analysis of four published elementary school curricula. Findings suggest that, although there are some research-based strategies that are only minimally used in published curricula, on the whole, many of the research-based strategies from related research are included in the analyzed curricula. Since the published curricula largely include these research-based strategies, the final conclusion of this study indicates a need for more research in this area to determine other possible causes for the disengagement from singing among upper elementary students.