Concordia University , Portland: CU Commons

    The Structural Underpinnings of Access to Justice: Building a Solid Pro Bono Infrastructure

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    When individuals in the United States face civil justice issues, they do not have a constitutional right to legal counsel and therefore must secure paid counsel, proceed pro se or qualify for free or pro bono legal assistance. As a result of the economic downturn, the number of Americans who are unable to afford legal counsel is now at an all-time high, and studies have shown that roughly 80 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income Americans go unmet. As the civil legal system is designed to require an attorney in most, if not all, legal situations, this ever-widening justice gap has sparked a national conversation on access to justice, particularly for underserved and vulnerable populations. As part of and in response to this conversation, the National Center for Access to Justice launched the Justice Index, an online resource that aims to provide a comprehensive, visual picture of access to justice across the country. In doing so, it evaluates each states’ infrastructure for providing attorney access, support for self-representation and access to the courts for non-English speakers and people with disabilities. When evaluating attorney access, the Justice Index omits a critical indicator – pro bono legal services provided by the private bar. This is in large part due to the lack of analysis surrounding the best practices necessary for states to develop a pro bono infrastructure to expand access to justice. This article will therefore explore and evaluate the laws, rules and policies adopted by some states and proffered by the public interest community as best practices for promoting pro bono and will aim to determine which practices or interventions are the most effective and should be instituted by all states to increase access to justice

    Middle School Teachers’ Perceptions of Goal Orientations, Teacher Self-Efficacy, and Authentic Outcomes-Based Assessments

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    The purpose of this study was to determine middle school teachers’ attitudes towards authentic outcomes-based assessments and to relate teachers’ perceptions of patterns of adaptive learning to authentic assessment scores of middle school students. Multiple learning theories were used to shape the conceptual framework. The correlational portion of this study was designed to seek relationships between the participants’ perceptions of patterns of adaptive learning and their students’ mean authentic assessment scores. The descriptive survey portion of this study was designed to gather middle school social studies teachers’ opinions of authentic outcomes-based assessments used to evidence mastery of intended learning outcomes. The Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient was used to examine correlations, and descriptive statistics were used to describe teachers’ perceptions of authentic outcomes-based assessments. The results of the correlational portion of this study were nonsignificant in that patterns of adaptive learning do not predict authentic outcomes-based assessment scores. Insights that stemmed from the descriptive survey portion of this study included middle school teachers’ opinions of the resources, scoring practices, format preferences, and alignment of authentic assessments used to replace state standardized assessments. Implications that were formed based on the findings from this study included revisiting school culture and methods of evaluation. The results of this research study warrant additional research across multiple grade levels, content areas, gender, and professional roles to heighten awareness about patterns of adaptive learning and authentic assessment

    Parent and Teacher Perceptions About What Leads to Mastery in Reading at Classical Charter Schools in Texas

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    Throughout the United States and in the State of Texas there are high percentages of students who are not reading at grade level. This study looked at the activities done at home by families of students who scored above grade level on the Third Grade Reading STAAR from classical charter schools. In this quantitative study, a survey was given to the parents of fourth-grade students and the teachers of elementary students. The families used in the study were from classical charter schools located in Texas. The literature review discusses the curriculum used in classical schools and how reading is taught. In addition to parents of fourth-grade students being surveyed elementary school teachers at three classical charter school in Texas were surveyed. The study was seeking to discover activities linked to high reading scores but also to find if teachers were aware of activities parents of struggling readers could do at home to improve reading skills. The study found that parents of students scoring above grade level were highly involved in reading with their children, speaking with them often, and modeling an enjoying for reading. Teachers reported support for doing many activities related to reading and talking with the child. The survey found a vast majority of teachers reporting sharing reading strategies with parents. Interestingly, an equally large percentage of parents reported that teachers had not shared reading strategies with them
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