Friday, September 13, 2013

Dr. Borel's Week 3 Web Conference

     Tonight’s web conference began with some technical difficulties, but the lesson was clear.  Be flexible and just make things work, even if something doesn’t go exactly how it was planned.  Once we got going with the discussion, Dr. Borel began discussing the proper way to complete the internship activities.  She emphasized the fact that even if one activity covered several competencies, the activity must be broken down into each competency with a reflection for each competency.  This was important information as I had lumped one reflection for activities such as this and I am now aware that I need to go back and redo those reflections.  I’m not thrilled about this, but at least I know now!  The next part of the web conference focused on the APA activities in this week’s assignment.  We went through several examples together.  I find APA extremely frustrating as I am not into details such as “this period goes here and this comma must be there.”  As a former Language Arts teacher I appreciate good punctuation, but these itsy bitsy details are enough to send me over the edge!  Finally, the conference ended with overall information about what should be going on with our action research reports and other items which will be turned in to TK20 by Week 5.  Overall, another informative web conference, even with the technical problems.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Action Research In Progress

My action research project is well under way.  I have chosen my sample classes which will be analyzed during the study.  My sample classes closely reflect the demographics of our school based on the AEIS report for Selman Elementary.  I feel like this is extremely important in order for the results of the research to be valid and accurate.  I have also held a few teacher interviews regarding how they administer the I-Station program (I-Station is the progress monitoring tool that we use for reading).  So far, I have found that a couple of the teachers I interviewed didn’t realize the importance of I-Station assessments and therefore, were not making their students aware of how important the monthly assessments are.  They were not aware that this data is used in conjunction with other data to determine whether or not students may be in need of reading intervention.  I thought this was strange; however, since I heard this more than once, I now know that this is a topic which needs to be addressed as we create official procedures for these monthly probes.  The way teachers approach the assessment with their students could potentially cause variations in the outcome of testing which could then cause student placement into intervention programs to be incorrect.  I have done as much preparation work as possible and now I will wait for final testing results to be published in May.  The majority of my study will take place in May as final I-Station reports become available as well as standardized test results.  Once I receive the test results, the data disaggregation will begin, with the ultimate goal of determining whether or not our current progress monitoring tool provides accurate and reliable information to determine which students are in need of reading intervention.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Care Model

Examining What We Do to Improve Our Schools Sandra Harris, Stacey Edmonson, Julie Combs

Tool 8.1 CARE Model: Planning Tool

Identify Concerns that must change (look to the future)

(Assign points to concerns from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)

1.  At times it appears that our current progress monitoring tool, I-Station, does not accurately represent a student’s true ability when it comes to comparing the students results from I-Station to the students test results on standardized tests as well as local assessments such as 6 Weeks Tests.

2.  We want to ensure that our interventionists are working with Tier 3 students.  We want to be sure that these students are indeed correctly identified to be sure that we the students who are most in need receive the services of the campus interventionists.  Since we currently use I-Station as one of the factors to help us determine these students it is important that the reports and information we receive from I-Station are accurate and correlate to student expectations per the TEKS (which are assessed through standardized tests and local benchmarks).

3.  It appears that there may be discrepancies in how the current progress monitoring tool, I-Station is administered from teacher to teacher.  In order to be able to accurately compare students and identify those most in need, it is necessary for there to be set procedures with regard to how the probes are administered.

Identify Affirmations that must be sustained (look to the present)

(Assign points to affirmations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)

1.  Our campus does a phenomenal job of implementing the RtI (Response to Intervention) program with regarding to documentation and actual implementation of small group interventions.

2.  As a school we have a good working knowledge of who our struggling students are and we do a good job of involving all team members including administrators, counselor, interventionists and teachers with regard to making decisions and communicating the needs of these students and monitoring their progress as well as voicing concerns.

3.  Our faculty is knowledgeable regarding how best to provide intervention to struggling students and has done a great job with implementing small group instruction not just during designated intervention time, but during regular class time as well.

SMART Recommendations that must be implemented:

(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)

(Assign points to recommendations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important recommendations to implement.)

1.  Analyze the extent to which I-Station scores accurately reflect a student’s ability to apply the TEKS on written assessments (standardized tests and local benchmarks).

2.  Analyze the processes and procedures used to administer progress monitoring probes to ensure that all students have been given the same opportunity for success.

3.  Review other possible programs for progress monitoring which may more closely reflect the rigor imposed by the TEKS.

EVALUATE – Specifically and Often

(Identify the best ways to evaluate the implemented recommendations.)

1.  On-going comparison of scores between I-Station and written assessments.

2.  Walk-throughs by administrators and discussions among faculty members to ensure that I-Station probes are being administered uniformly according to the procedures set in place.

3.  Administer annual surveys for teachers regarding their feelings regarding the I-Station program, procedures for administering the program, as well as how they feel it helps to identify students in need.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Action Research Plan

Action Planning Template
Goal:  To ensure that our current progress monitoring tool (I-Station) provides accurate and reliable information to determine which students may be in need of reading intervention.
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Data Collection
Pull data from I-Station by running reports broken down by grade level and individual teacher.  Review standardized test reports (ITBS 1st and 2nd) (STAAR 3rd).  At this time, I will also select my sample classes to be used in the research process. I will choose 3 teachers/classes per grade level for a total sample of around 200 students ranging from 1st to 3rd grade.
Lisa Svoboda
Start:  May 2013
End:  June 2013
*I-Station reports
*ITBS reports
*AEIS report
In May, when final testing reports have been received, all of this data will be collected.  Final test reports from I-Station, ITBS, and the AEIS reports will be used.
Data Review
Review information on a student by student basis.  Create graphs for 3 teachers per grade level (1st, 2nd, 3rd) comparing and reporting student achievement/placement per I-Station report and student achievement/placement per standardized test reports.
Lisa Svoboda
Start:  June 2013
End:  August 2013
*Previously collected reports
Throughout the summer I will analyze the data, looking for rules and exceptions or as Dana (2009) refers to them “patterns and negative cases.”
Analyze Testing Variances
Conduct teacher and student interviews to determine if any variances exist in how the progress monitoring tool, I-Station, is administered.  I also want to conduct research on testing variances to help me ensure that I am considering all possible variables.
Lisa Svoboda
Start:  September, 2013
End:  October, 2013
*Teachers willing to be interviewed regarding testing procedures
*If necessary, students to interview regarding testing procedures
*Research information regarding testing variances
I will ask teachers about procedures they use when using I-Station to determine if variances exist and how they may affect end results.
Preparation of Final Reports and Write-Ups
Present the data gathered including the answers to the following sub-questions:
1. Is the evaluation data on the final I-Station report reflective of the final testing data per the ITBS and AEIS reports?
2. Does there appear to be significant differences with respect to the way teachers implement the I-Station testing?
3. Do teachers and students attitudes toward I-Station and standardized testing appear to be playing a role in the final scores?
Presentation of data will include a final write up and/or a presentation to the faculty which may involve information on how we should standardize our progress monitoring assessment.
Lisa Svoboda
Start:  October, 2013
End:  December, 2013
*Data gathered in Steps 1, 2, and 3
By answering these sub-questions, I will be able to answer my action research question as well as provide reasons describing why and how results may have occurred.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Already Changing my Topic....

I met with my principal today to discuss my ideas for my action research project.  I was already convinced going in to the meeting that I would proceed with a project to determine whether or not our current intervention program produced long term positive results for our struggling students.  However, after meeting with my principal (although she like my idea above), she really wanted me to focus on a more pressing concern.  She (as well as myself) have had concerns about whether or not our progress monitoring tool accurately correlates and aligns to students' achievement on standardized tests.  This is a problem because we want to make sure we are capturing students in intervention programs who most need it.  We use our progress monitoring tool to determine which students are pulled for intervention (we have limited slots available) and so it is important that the data we receive is accurate and correctly aligns to standardized test requirements.  I am excited to begin this research as I feel it will provide information which will be very useful for our campus as a whole.  Everything I learned this week points to the fact that an action research plan must be aimed at what we are passionate about.  I am passionate about our struggling students and early intervention for those who need it so I think this will be a perfect fit for me!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Educational Leaders Might Use Blogs

I think that the use of educational blogs for educational leaders could be immense.  Immediately I think of data sharing.  How wonderful it would be to have a group of leaders who are in similar positions (for example a group of elementary school principals who have schools that are similar in size, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc.) to be able to get together and post issues they have come across and how they have solved them.  The administrators could even post questions and ask others who may have come across similar issues how they approached the issue.  I think communication among educators is one of the greatest ways to learn new things.  Blogs could most definately help to facilitate these discussions and communications.