Action Research


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“Educational Action Research refers to taking a systematic look at some educational practice and recording what was done, why it was done, collecting data, analyzing the data and reflecting on how the results might influence future teaching endeavors. If done carefully and thoughtfully, Educational Action Research can improve an individual's teaching. If done by multiple teachers at a single school, it has the potential to enhance the overall quality of the school.” (http://actionresearch.altec.org/)

Action Research Procedure

Click Here for Sample AR Project

Action Research may be conducted based on the content of any professional development opportunity that:

  • was valued at 10 points or more AND

  • was completed during the current or previous school year.

Completed activities may include workshops, professional learning communities, book studies, etc.

Here are the steps to follow to complete an Action Research Project:

  1. Verify that the foundational professional development opportunity 1) is showing as 'complete' in My Learning Plan, 2) is valued at 10 points or more, and 3) was completed during the current or previous school year.

  2. Complete all information in My Learning Plan using the 'Action Research' link on the left margin or the 'Application Level' link on the activity page.

  3. Continue to save the form as a draft until all of the steps have been completed.

  4. Click submit when all steps have been completed and documented.

Here is how it looks in My Learning Plan:

OR    

 

*** sample ***

Action Research
Documentation Form

Teachers participate in many professional development activities (strategies, content knowledge, etc.) but seldom determine the impact of the new learning on student success. Action Research is a simple and effective process that allows teachers to explore the effectiveness of the new learning.

The steps to the Action Research process are detailed below. Read through all of the steps before creating your implementation plan.
Save this form as a draft until all Action Research steps have been completed and all responses are documented. Click submit when complete.

Related Completed Professional Development Activity:

Reminder, you can only complete an action research project for an PD activity completed during the previous or current school year that is valued at six points or more.

Title of Activity

Date Completed

Hours for Application

Component Number

To be completed by approver

Hours

Timeline of Action Research Project

StartDate (mm/dd/yy)

09/16/08

End Date (mm/dd/yy)

01/28/09

AREA OF FOCUS: (What is your chosen area of focus? How does it directly impact student achievement? Why did you choose this area?)

Area of Focus

My chosen area of focus is implementing differentiated instruction to meet the needs of my at-risk students.  One of my students scored a level 1 and three of my students scored a level 2 in reading last year.  I chose the area of reading to help impact the success of my students in a meaningful way.

TARGET GROUP: (Who are the students you are trying to impact? (use first names only or another identifier) How do you think this strategy or content focus will benefit the target group?)

Target Group

My target group consists of four students.  Mary A., John B., Sam C., and Sue D.  I believe that differentiating reading instruction by student interest will increase engagement and make a positive difference in the fluency of these students.

BASELINE DATA: (What are the baseline data that support your choice for this area of focus? What patterns or trends do you see in the data?)

Baseline Data

The first administration of the DIBELS measure showed all four students to be at high risk in the area of Oral Reading Fluency.  Words per minute scores were: Mary - 15, John - 22, Sam - 17, Sue - 31. 

These scores are consistent with the FCAT data and confirm that I need to try something different to assist these students.

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: (What is your plan to implement the strategy or content knowledge? How did you involve the stakeholders in the planning process?)

Implementation Plan

When planning my reading instruction, I will include fluency practice as one of my small group rotations.  I will utilize the strategies learned in the Differentiated Instruction Cohort training to provide choices for students to practice fluency.  For example, students will be able to choose between a variety of fluency-building opportunities including creating an audio podcast of a reading passage, acting out a passage utilizing readers’ theater, creating an interview of a main character in the book, using a karaoke machine to allow students to read aloud, etc.  These activities will be reinforced by practice at home and sharing the finished products with parents.  I involved the stakeholders by talking to them about their interests.  This is why I chose to include the podcast and karaoke activities as choices.

SMART OBJECTIVES: (Identify at least one SMART objective related to improved student performance.)

Specific,
Measurable,
Attainable,
Results-oriented,
Time-bound and Tied to Student Achievement

SMART Objectives

All four students will increase their Oral Reading Fluency to move from the high risk to either the medium or low risk zone by the second administration of the DIBELS measure.

PROCEDURES & MEASURES: (What are the steps you will follow? How will you measure student progress?)

Procedures/Measures

1.    Create lesson plans that include fluency practice with opportunities for students to make choices based on interest.

2.    Monitor student interaction and interest levels.

3.    Administer teacher-made fluency checks every two weeks to gauge progress.

4.    Document student progress.

5.    Adjust future lesson plans to better meet student needs.

DATA COLLECTION: (What data will be collected? How often?)

Data Collection

Administer fluency checks every two weeks and record student progress.  Graph results with students using a line graph to increase student involvement and awareness.

IMPLEMENTATION: (Describe the actual implementation of your plan.)

Implementation

Week 1 – Students were excited about new choices.  Three students chose to use the karaoke machine and one student worked with a partner to create a readers’ theater script.

Weeks 2 & 3 – All students continued to show increased interest.  Administration of teacher-made measure indicated that one student was not progressing as hoped.  I increased the level of practice at home and contacted the parent for additional support.

Week 4 – Students worked with peers to create an audio podcast of the climax of the current reading selection (including sound effects).  Students participated in repeated readings in order to prepare for the taping and I noticed a strong increase in the expression used when reading aloud.

Weeks 5 & 6 – The teacher-made measure shows that all four students are making steady progress and seem to be more excited about participation.  Next week I plan to incorporate a play in one of the reading rotation stations to allow for increased practice.

Weeks 7 & 8…

DOCUMENTATION OF ADJUSTMENTS: (How did the plan change during the course of the AR timeline? What prompted the change in plan? What were the effects of the changes?)

Adjustments

1.    I found that I needed to continue to look for new ways for the students to practice fluency. I utilized online resource ideas and worked with the school’s academic coach.  I decided to increase the variety based on the reaction of my students when the choices were too similar.  I discovered that their interest continued as long as the variety was present.

2.    One of the students, Mary, needed reinforcement more frequently.  For her, I added opportunities for repeated reading of the same passage and we charted her progress daily.  This process provided tangible results of growth and allowed her to see her own progress.  After two weeks of this added intervention, her motivation increased and she was on track.

3.    After the first six weeks, I administered the teacher-made measure every 3 weeks instead of every 2 weeks.  I decided to extend the time because I was seeing progress in the students’ abilities and wanted to ‘reward’ them with fewer check points.  This change seemed to increase their confidence in their own abilities.

REPORTING RESULTS & IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE: (What are your results and how will you share them? How will the results impact your teaching in the future?)

(What are your results? How does the baseline data compare to the ending data? How will you share results with stakeholders? How will you share results with others in your school? How will the results impact your teaching in the future?)

Results/Impact

The second DIBELS measure indicated that all four students made progress.  Mary remained in the high risk zone, but increased her fluency level to 68.  John (82), Sam (91), and Sue (102) all moved to the medium or low risk zones.  I will continue to utilize fluency practice opportunities by providing the opportunity for choices.   I shared my results with the teachers at my school during a faculty meeting and used charts of student progress to illustrate the gains achieved by my students.

Alignment To District Goals and Objectives

Goal(s)/Objective(s)

Goal : Organizational Effectiveness
 Facilities are Well-Maintained
 Financial Processes are Sound
 Human Resources are Delivered
 Progress of Construction Program
 Quality Cost-Effective Food
 Safe and Secure Transportation
Goal : Stakeholder Loyalty and Engagement
 Business and Community are Affiliated
 External Communications are Effective
 Learning Environment is Safe and Enriching
 Parents Participate and are Satisfied
Goal : Student Achievement
 Students are Prepared for the Workplace
 Students Compete Nationally
X      Students Master the Curriculum
 Students will Graduate

Comments

Comments

I enjoyed this experience and look forward to ‘testing’ some of the other training ideas that I have learned through the differentiated instruction cohort activities.  Several of the teachers commented that they would like to try similar activities with their students, and I look forward to seeing if they have a similar result.

Finish

   

Additional Resources

National Staff Development Council -- provides national standards and guidelines for Action Research.

Teach in Florida -- provides a teacher toolkit with information about Action Research.


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