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.

What I Have Learned About Action Research

I recently began my study of action research by starting with readings which describe the process of action research and describe benefits of using this process in order to help solve problems and issues.  As I read this material, I made numerous "text to self" connections.  This tells me that I was already very familiar with action research, but perhaps did not know it actually had an "official" name.  For me, this process is a common sense way to approach problem resolution.  Using action research as a way to solve issues is the most appropriate way to approach problems because it comes from within the school where the problems and issues arise.  Who is better equipped to identify and solve problems within an organization than those (i.e. the administrators and teachers) who actually walk the halls of that building every day?  When using action research, the people within the organization are the ones who generate the problem or diagnose the issue which needs resolution.  These same people then research the problem and several solutions and strategies to solve the issue, implement the strategy and evaluate the strategy's effectiveness for resolving the issue.  Finally, this same group will clarify the issue and perhaps move on to newly arisen problems.  Action research is a cyclical process for constant improvement.