To reach the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education (UPE), developing countries have implemented numerous educational policies (United Nations, 2014). Despite the remarkable upsurge in schooling in these countries, gender-related inequalities are persistent, particularly in levels of attainment. A recent report of United Nations specified that only 23% of girls in poor rural households do complete the primary level of education in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 (UNESCO, 2014). This dissertation provides three potential explanations for these issues: the schooling costs; the school infrastructure; and the household wealth. The first explanation relates to the remaining schooling costs. Indeed, policies of removal of school fees often neglect that parents also support other kinds of schooling costs. These residual costs are the indirect costs and the opportunity costs, which are reasonably high in some developing countries. In the case of Benin, a West African country, despite the removal of school fees, the residual schooling costs remain high. Thus, the dilemma of which child to send to school is still relevant for poor households. The evaluation of the elimination of school fees in Benin provides evidence for this argument. The poor quality of schools' infrastructure in developing countries could be a second explanation for the gender gap in schooling. The long distances to the closest primary school, the large numbers of pupils in the classrooms, the lack of teachers and pedagogical materials are all factors that could discourage children―especially girls―in their school attendance. The evaluation of a demand-and-supply policy indicates the importance of a removal of school costs and the upgrading of the schools’ infrastructure to reduce the gender gap in schooling. The third explanation relates to the importance of the household wealth on schooling decisions. A policy that eliminates school fees could maintain the dependence of schooling decisions on household wealth by neglecting the remaining schooling costs. In such a case, a wealth shock could be detrimental to the gender gap in schooling and on the efforts already engaged in to reach the goal of UPE. The assessment of the impact of a negative wealth shock on children’s schooling and labor in Benin provides empirical evidence for this argument.
The contributions of this dissertation are both theoretical and empirical. On one hand, this research meaningfully extends the literature on impact evaluation in Benin. Crucially, the country lacks research studies that evaluate economic policies. On the other hand, the relevance of the dissertation also lies in the analysis of the relationship between price and wealth effects. These effects are observed through the reactions of households to wealth or price changes. They indicate which policy―based on the schooling price or the household wealth―should be prioritized to enhance education in Benin. On the other hand again, the theory of the determinants of gender-related differences in schooling is also tested in the articles. Finally, this research uses novel methods in the field of impact evaluation with three natural experiments in the case of Benin to support the arguments.
This dissertation designs a metadata-driven infrastructure for panel data that aims to increase both the quality and the usability of the resulting research data. Data quality determines whether the data appropriately represent a particular aspect of our reality. Usability originates notably from a conceivable documentation, accessibility of the data, and interoperability with tools and other data sources. In a metadata-driven infrastructure, metadata are prepared before the digital objects and process steps that they describe. This enables data providers to utilize metadata for many purposes, including process control and data validation. Furthermore, a metadata-driven design reduces the overall costs of data production and facilitates the reuse of both data and metadata.
The main use case is the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), but the results claim to be re-usable for other panel studies. The introduction of the Generic Longitudinal Business Process Model (GLBPM) and a general discussion of digital objects managed by panel studies provide a generic framework for the development of a metadata-driven infrastructure for panel studies. A first theoretical application presents two designs for variable linkage to support record linkage and statistical matching with structured metadata: concepts for omnidirectional relations and process models for unidirectional relations. Furthermore, a reference architecture for a metadata-driven infrastructure is designed and implemented. This provides a proof of concept for the previous discussion and an environment for the development of DDI on Rails. DDI on Rails is a data portal, optimized for the documentation and dissemination of panel data. The design considers the process model of the GLBPM, the generic discussion of digital objects, the design of a metadata-driven infrastructure, and the proposed solutions for variable linkage.
This research thesis is looking for recognition of Rayy as a cultural zone of civilization and to find different capacities of living in it as a cultural landscape, including the centuries-old interaction between humans and nature; it also seeks to uncover the cultural damage it has sustained historically and presently. Finally, it investigates the introduction of conservation concepts in order to revive and preserve it.
Modern software systems are becoming increasingly integrated and are required to operate over organizational boundaries through networks. The development of such distributed software systems has been shaped by the orthogonal trends of service-orientation and process-awareness. These trends put an emphasis on technological neutrality, loose coupling, independence from the execution platform, and location transparency. Execution platforms supporting these trends provide context and cross-cutting functionality to applications and are referred to as engines.
Applications and engines interface via language standards. The engine implements a standard. If an application is implemented in conformance to this standard, it can be executed on the engine. A primary motivation for the usage of standards is the portability of applications. Portability, the ability to move software among different execution platforms without the necessity for full or partial reengineering, protects from vendor lock-in and enables application migration to newer engines.
The arrival of cloud computing has made it easy to provision new and scalable execution platforms. To enable easy platform changes, existing international standards for implementing service-oriented and process-aware software name the portability of standardized artifacts as an important goal. Moreover, they provide platform-independent serialization formats that enable the portable implementation of applications. Nevertheless, practice shows that service-oriented and process-aware applications today are limited with respect to their portability. The reason for this is that engines rarely implement a complete standard, but leave out parts or differ in the interpretation of the standard. As a consequence, even applications that claim to be portable by conforming to a standard might not be so.
This thesis contributes to the development of portable service-oriented and process-aware software in two ways: Firstly, it provides evidence for the existence of portability issues and the insufficiency of standards for guaranteeing software portability. Secondly, it derives and validates a novel measurement framework for quantifying portability. We present a methodology for benchmarking the conformance of engines to a language standard and implement it in a fully automated benchmarking tool. Several test suites of conformance tests for two different languages, the Web Services Business Process Execution Language 2.0 and the Business Process Model and Notation 2.0, allow to uncover a variety of standard conformance issues in existing engines. This provides evidence that the standard-based portability of applications is a real issue. Based on these results, this thesis derives a measurement framework for portability. The framework is aligned to the ISO/IEC Systems and software Quality Requirements and Evaluation method, the recent revision of the renowned ISO/IEC software quality model and measurement methodology. This quality model separates the software quality characteristic of portability into the subcharacteristics of installability, adaptability, and replaceability. Each of these characteristics forms one part of the measurement framework. This thesis targets each characteristic with a separate analysis, metrics derivation, evaluation, and validation. We discuss existing metrics from the body of literature and derive new extensions speciffically tailored to the evaluation of service-oriented and process-aware software. Proposed metrics are defined formally and validated theoretically using an informal and a formal validation framework. Furthermore, the computation of the metrics has been prototypically implemented. This implementation is used to evaluate metrics performance in experiments based on large scale software libraries obtained from public open source software repositories.
In summary, this thesis provides evidence that contemporary standards and their implementations are not sufficient for enabling the portability of process-aware and service-oriented applications. Furthermore, it proposes, validates, and practically evaluates a framework for measuring portability.
Over the last decades, large-scale assessments focusing on skills and knowledge of individuals have expanded significantly in order to obtain information about conditions for and consequences of competence acquisition. To provide valid and accurate scores of the subjects under investigation, it is necessary to thoroughly check the psychometric properties of the competence instruments that are administered and to choose appropriate scaling models for the competence data. In this thesis, various challenges in modeling competence data were addressed that arose from different recently developed competence tests in large-scale assessments. The different tests posed specific demands on the scaling of the data such as dealing with multidimensionality, incorporating different response formats, or linking competence scores. By investigating these challenges associated with each of the competence tests, the aim of the thesis was to draw implications for the specification of the scaling models for the competence data.
First, a new metacognitive knowledge test for early elementary school children was investigated. As earlier findings on metacognitive knowledge in secondary school pointed to empirically distinguishable components of metacognitive knowledge, especially the dimensionality of the newly developed test was studied. Therefore, uni- and multidimensional models were applied to the competence data and their model fit was compared. By applying multidimensional latent-change models, the homogeneity of change was observed as further indicator for dimensionality. Overall, the new test instrument exhibited good psychometric properties including fairness of the items for various subgroups. In accordance with previous studies in other age groups the results indicated a multidimensional structure of the newly developed test instrument. In the discussion, theoretical as well as empirical arguments were compiled that should be considered for the choice of a uni- or a multidimensional model for the metacognitive knowledge data.
The next objective in the thesis was to study a series of reading competence tests intended to measure the same latent trait across a large age span. The different reading competence tests, developed in a longitudinal large-scale study, were based on the same conceptual framework and were administered from fifth grade to adulthood. We specifically investigated whether the test scores were comparable across such a large age span enabling to interpret change across time. The analyses on the reading competence tests showed that the coherence of measurement could not fully be assured across the wide age range. The application of strict linking models allowing for the interpretation of developmental progress seemed to be justified within secondary school, but not between secondary school and adulthood.
The last purpose in the thesis was to find out how to adequately incorporate different response formats in a scaling model. Therefore, multiple choice (MC) and complex multiple choice (CMC) items were regarded as they are most frequently used in large-scale assessments. Specifically, we explored whether the two response formats form distinct empirical dimensions and which a priori scoring schemes for the two response formats appropriately model the competence data. The results demonstrated that the response formats built a unidimensional measure across domains, studies, and age cohorts justifying to use a unidimensional scale score. A differentiated scoring of the CMC items yielded a better discrimination between persons and was, thus, preferred. The a priori weighting scheme of giving each subtask of a CMC item half the weight of a MC item described the empirical competence data well.
This dissertation derives new ways and methods on how to integrate and bind developers in Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. It examines how sustainable commitment of new contributors can be identified at an early stage, how developers’ geographic dispersion affects their collaboration productivity, if the presence of reputable developers increases teamwork productivity and if mentoring is an appropriate means to bind developers in FLOSS projects. To address these research questions, the thesis builds on established theories and concepts from organizational and social science such as Person-Job (P-J) and Person-Team (P-T) fit, the social practice view and self-determination theory. The results of the performed empirical evaluations suggest that: (i) the derived criteria for P-J and P-T fit are suitable to identify sustained commitment early on, (ii) developers’ offline relationships determine if their spatial and cultural distance becomes a gain or a burden for their collaboration, (iii) the presence of reputable developers increases productivity in FLOSS projects only marginally, (iv) mentoring is an appropriate means to bind developers in FLOSS projects
In the last decade, several efforts have been made to improve teaching and intervening practice in preschool classrooms by means of professional development programs (Mar-tinez-Beck & Zaslow, 2006; OECD, 2012). In-service professional development for pre-school teachers varies widely with respect to amount, duration, delivery format (traditional workshop and course vs. modern approaches such as coaching, mentoring, blended learning) and content (Oberhuemer, 2012; 2013). In general, it is assumed that in-service training enhances teachers’ knowledge, skills, and classroom practice. Improved teaching practice enhances student achievement. The connection seems intuitive, but empirical demonstration is difficult. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to conduct a research synthesis on the results of in-service professional development effects and to draw conclusions about the findings on potential effect modifiers into an integrated frame-work.
Systematic review procedures and meta-analytic techniques were used to estimate the effectiveness of in-service programs. The review consists of experimental studies (RCT, CRT, quasi-experimental and non-experimental studies) that have evaluated the impact of professional development for teachers working in center-based care on quality ratings and child development. Electronic searches (ERIC, PsycINFO, ProQuest, FIS, and WISO) and hand searches in renowned journals from 1970 to 2011 produced 1,162 hits. Two inde-pendent coders extracted statistical information from the full texts and screened the litera-ture on the quality of the studies, in-service characteristics, and training transfer factors. A randomized multi-level procedure was used to aggregate the summary impact, where effect sizes were nested under treatment.
Overall, 36 studies provided sufficient data to conduct a meta-analysis of in-service train-ing effects on quality ratings. The aggregation of findings revealed a medium summary effect g’ = 0.64 (SE = 0.071). Alongside methodological variables, the size of the effect was statistically moderated by training intensity and format. In-service programs with 45 to 60 hours of training and programs that used coaching as their sole format were the most effective.
The impact of professional development programs on the language and literacy abilities of young children have been investigated in 48 studies. The summary effect was small
g’ = 0.38 (SE = 0.045). Differential impacts and variations in the size of the effects were found for different outcome domains. Effect sizes were moderated by methodological as-pects, training design and intensity. Programs with 15 to 30 hours of training were the most effective in fostering language and literacy skills. Approaches that used mixed delivery types, in particular the combination of workshop and course had a larger impact.
For the meta-analysis of in-service training effects on social skills and reduced problem behavior, 13 studies provided sufficient data. A small summary effect was found: g’ = 0.45 (SE = 0.074). However, differential effects emerged for different outcome domains. In particular, larger effects were found for the promotion of social skills than for the reduction of problem behavior. Alongside methodological variables, training programs with a duration of 9 months or short-term programs with less than 30 hours of training were significantly more effective.
To investigate the link between in-service professional development, quality improvements and child development, 9 studies were found that provide data on both quality ratings and child development. In-service training effects on student achievement could be significantly predicted by quality improvements that occurred during training. More than
53 % of the variance in effects on child development was explained by the quality ratings which emerged as a result of in-service professional training.
In addition to the meta-analyses, narrative reviews identified some features of highly ef-fective in-service programs with a calculated effect of g > 0.80. Narrative analysis indicat-ed that a narrow content focus and educational principles matter. In particular, effective programs provided opportunities for active learning, guidance and feedback as well as performance-based assignments during training and between training sessions. Further, the trainers of highly effective programs were either the authors of the program or had a specific pretraining/license for the program.
Several effect modifiers were tested. In the majority of cases, the effects were influenced by methodological issues (e.g., pretest differences, reliability of scales or informants) and training intensity in hours. However, the results for training delivery variables were incon-sistent. Clear conclusions on other characteristics cannot be made from the meta-regression, because the findings were either inconsistent or missing information in primary studies hindered the investigation.
In summary, there are some beneficial programs and the synthesis of research findings suggests that most of the in-service training has positive effects on the quality of early education and child development. The results demonstrate that quality improvements are a key mechanism to enhance student achievement. Some conclusions for achieving highly professional development with regards to duration and intensity, educational principles and trainers can be drawn. Recommendations for further research include high quality research designs (e.g., equivalence of groups, reliable scales, etc.) and data collection on confounding and contextual variables. Nevertheless, some questions remain in analyzing in-service training effects. In particular, more research and primary studies are needed to investigate the heterogeneity of the results and the moderating role of implementation processes and program fidelity.