Equity vs. Equality

The term equity and equality are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are important distinctions between them. In education, understanding the difference between equity and equality helps us recognize and respond to issues of diversity, values, and social justice in the school(s) we serve. While they both seem very similar, I’ll discuss the similarities and differences between them.       

In education, equity aims to promote fairness and justness, whereas equality is about equal sharing and exact division (Kumar, 2010). An example of equality would be distributing ten pairs of shoes size 6 in exact division to ten people. This is considered equality because everyone gets a pair and its equal division.  Will all ten people have use for the size 6 shoe that is given to them? That depends on their size and needs. Some may have bigger feet or smaller than size 6. However, if all ten individuals receive the size that fits their size and needs then it’s equity.

In relation to education, equity and equality play a big part in schools. In simplicity, equality in education would be that teachers require all students to produce the same product after reading a grade level text of their choice. The product all students must accomplish is write a full entry page in their journal in response to their reading. This to some students may feel monotonous and uninteresting, but in terms of equality, all students are to produce the exact same thing. However, equity speaks in a different angle in this scenario. In requiring all students to produce the same outcome, some students may feel writing is not their strongest skill and have that be showcased. To give students choices is a beautiful thing, especially in the elementary grades because it empowers them. Giving students choices allows them to feel they are in charge of their own learning and in turn are accountable for what they chose to produce and how well the product is as a result. This is when differentiated instruction comes in. Laura Robb from Scholastics defines differentiated instruction as a “way to reach students with different learning styles, different abilities to absorb information and different ways of expressing what they have learned. Differentiation is a way of teaching; it’s not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning (Robb, 2014). By knowing the students and their strengths and weaknesses, teachers are able to adjust the task and make learning meaningful by allowing students to choose how they want to complete the task.

Administrators also emphasize equity in their schools.  At its foundation, school leadership for equity is grounded in efficacy, action, and reflection. Productive action is an artifact of equitable practice that consists of high-leverage steps to improve outcomes for every student. Leaders for equity are educators who gracefully stand up and stand for others, demonstrate courage, and take risks to forge improvement. They are grounded by the confidence that they are doing the right thing. They participate in reflection on their practice in accord with others. Leaders for equity are focused on the significance of their work and are motivated by learning in action (TeachHub, 2014). Administrators are the backbone of the school and their support to teachers and the communities in which they serve are crucial. It becomes a collaborative effort in building equity in any school. 

References: 

 

http://www.teachhub.com/equity-schools-what-administrators-need-know

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-differentiated-instruction

Kumar, M. (2010, January 12). Difference between equity and equality. Retrieved from        http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-equity-and-equality/

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Global, Theoretical and Practical Issues

In teaching today’s diverse society with its strict, mandated standards, I believe this alone makes it tough for teachers to instruct and students to perform let alone the many other issues facing education today. Yet, the reality is that teachers ARE faced with bigger issues and students are hit with issues of their own, making learning difficult and effecting their learning development. While there are countless issues facing education, I’ll name a few examples of global, theoretical and practical issues and discuss their effects.

 Students in today’s culture aren’t receiving teachings on culture and global challenges as they should in order to strengthen knowledge on international perspectives. To be truly globalized, these teachings need to take place, but it’s difficult to support these educational changes when schools and the education system’s main focus are on instruction and basic skills testing. Through the lack of students’ global understanding, this has taken an effect on students’ learning development on globalization and the understanding of the world in which they live in. Truly, our students are the future of this nation and our democracy rests on the decision of its citizens (Smith & Czarra, 2003).

If the United States is to thrive in the world, the electorate must be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and, most importantly, willingness to better understand and participate in international matters. (Smith & Czarra, 2003). In other words, the future of our nation and the citizens occupying it should be well versatile in all subject matters, even in international affairs. Understanding international matters is not the only thing students in our society are lacking in. According to a global education survey in 2012, the U.S. ranks 36th place in the subjects of math, reading and science amongst different international countries. The findings are part of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (or PISA) — a leading survey of education systems conducted every three years by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of the world’s richest economies (OECD, 2012). Not only is this data shocking, but it tells me that something in our education system isn’t working. In order for students to thrive academically in core subjects and improve students’ global understanding, I believe drastic evaluation in the each school system’s curriculum is necessary and reform in curriculum needs to take place. Although the results may not come immediately as we all hope, initiating change is better than sitting back and watching the U.S. slump in the global education survey.

Common Core Standards have affected U.S. public education since the adoption in July 2011. I believe because the CCSS are more rigorous, the CCSS demands a lot more from the teachers as well as the kids. Through this demand, it can be very stressful for teachers at times. For example, when the students in my classroom are in their literacy block, it used to be that we focused on specific skills, comprehension, writing, etc. Now, the CCSS requires much more out of the students. I have to begin looking at all angles and dimensions of the text, whereas before it was looking at one certain skill. The worry about using the CCSS is also geared towards special education students. In a Scholastic and Gates survey, forty percent of teachers say they worried about how students who are below grade level will keep up with the new standards, though, and more than a quarter worry about their special education students (Garland, 2014). These new standards can become problematic for special education students as it demands much more, especially if homeroom teachers aren’t receiving necessary teacher training on the CCSS to effectively teach their high needs students. A Washington State teacher told researchers, “I feel that my ability to be the best teacher possible for my students is most critically affected by the lack of professional time to adjust the curriculum to the Common Core” (Garland, 2004). I believe time to adjust to the new standards and training teachers to masterfully implement these standards are top priority. Without time and training, teachers will be lost in the dark and it’ll cost the students their learning development.

Another issue facing education is the No Child Left Behind program. While this program is intended to improve students’ success and potentially set students on track for grade level performance by 2014, studies show that NCLB is adversely doing the opposite. Standardized testing has not improved student achievement and “after No Child Left Behind (NCLB) passed in 2002, the US slipped from 18th in the world in math on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to 31st place in 2009, with a similar drop in science and no change in reading” (ProCon.org, 2014). Our nation has been fiercely using this program for decades with no proceeding results, yet policy makers continue to see that NCLB is favorable and will do good to our growing, complex society. Students all across the board in grade 3-8 are to take the standardized test, regardless of limited English proficiency or students who are on an Individualized Education Plan. To me, this seems unfair to those students who are still learning the English language and students with special needs. The idea of one-size-fits-all standards certainly does not apply in a circumstance like this. I believe this test alone can cause fear to students and give them the notion that they are unintelligent and in the long run could affect their learning development.

Alongside with NCLB, the “achievement gap” is also an issue facing education as well. Even through NCLB, it brought greater awareness of racial disparities and to rising concern about other kinds of achievement gaps. The attention led to more targeted interventions for different groups of students, but had not closed most achievement gaps to an appreciable degree a decade of the law passed (Education Week, 2004). The issue of achievement gap is especially concerning to teachers with non-affluent and/or black and Hispanic students because of the troubling performance gaps. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress reveal that black and Hispanic students have made great improvements in reading and math, yet there was still a gap that divided them from their white peers. (NCES, 2000). The lagging performance can definitely affect the learning development of minority students as these students are faced with peer pressure and having to catch up with their peers.

A rising issue that has faced education for a long time is budget shortage. Here in Washington State, our K-12 schools are feeling the effects of this issue. Tacoma Public Schools being one of the schools that are affected, are reaching out to the public on ideas of which program to keep, and which to terminate to save on funding’s and balance the district’s budget. Tacoma Public Schools faces a potential estimated $12 million budget deficit over the next four to five years depending on state funding. As part of a multi-year budget plan, Tacoma Public Schools expects to have to reduce spending by a total of approximately $12 million spread over the next four to five years. In addition, the district anticipated drawing down the district’s reserve funds each year to offset deeper cuts to staff, programs and services (Tacoma Public Schools, 2012). To close the $12 million budget gap, I believe the reality is that Tacoma Public Schools will keep core academic subjects and testing priority and eliminate extracurricular activities such as student-led clubs, special foreign classes to help students acquire a second language and other related services. Extracurricular activities are a part of students’ everyday life. They play important roles in student’s lives. They have positive effects on student’s lives by improving behavior, school performance, school completion, positive aspects to make successful adults, and social aspects (Massoni, 2011). When we cut out extracurricular activities, we are cutting out the social aspects and the affects it has on students. Other public schools nationwide are facing similar situations. This is just a simple look at what’s happening in Washington State.

Lastly, students dealing with issues of their own at home such as growing up in poverty can have a detrimental effect on students’ performance in school. Students of poverty typically get inadequate health care and nutrition, having fewer educational resources in the home and in the neighborhood, and moving frequently-all factors known to depress school performance (Viadero, 2000). Of all that poverty students’ lack, I believe lacking basic resources at home can really affect their performance at school. Having basic educational resources at home means students can practice a skill in various core subjects on their own, at their own pace, and at a time they choose. When these resources are not apparent at home, acquiring a skill is achieved slower and more difficult without the rote practice at home. Learning becomes a slower process for students of poverty because of the lack of practice. Performance can also be attributed to school absences, tardiness rates, and incidents of illness in class, rates of undiagnosed and/or untreated health problems or disabilities (Jensen, 2009). Teachers may see students as uncaring or uninterested; when the real issue is that they’re not in class enough to keep up. (Jensen, 2009). These are common issues for students living in poverty.   

Again, while there are many, many more issues facing education, just a handful have been selected to highlight global, theoretical and practical issues and their effects on education and learning development.

 

References:

ASCD on Global Education, Andrew F. Smith & Fredrick R. Czarra

Brown, S. (2013, December 03). Shanghai teens top international education ranking, oecd says.

Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/03/world/asia/pisa-education-study/

District budget outlook 2012. (n.d.). Retrieved from      http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/Pages/District-Budget-Outlook-           2012.aspx

Education Week, “Achievement Gap,” August 3, 2004.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/achievement-gap/

Garland, S. (2014, January 26). Hope and anxiety:what do teachers think about the common core     standards?. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/content/hope-and-anxiety-what-do-teachers-think-about-the-common-core-standards_14897/

Massoni, Erin (2011) “Positive Effects of Extra Curricular Activities on Students,”ESSAI: Vol. 9, Article 27.

Available at: http://dc.cod.edu/essai/vol9/iss1/27

ProCon.org. (2014, February 5). Standardized Tests ProCon.org. Retrieved from  http://standardizedtests.procon.org/

Teaching with Poverty in Mind, Eric Jensen, ASCD, 2009

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074.aspx

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, “Digest of Education Statistics,” 2000.

Equity Key Principles

Do you agree with the key principles of equity why or why not?

After reading “Key Principles of Equity” by Edwin Lou Javuis, Ed.D., I would have to agree to these key values. Awareness, attitudes, and analysis are what I believe to be crucial stepping stones to ensuring educational excellence. When an educator is fully aware of the community they serve in, and the student body that make up the community, school and classroom, it brings forth a sense of identity alertness that empowers the community in which the educator serves. Being culturally aware changes the dynamic of the classroom and environment in which the students inhabit.  As a part of 75% Mindset, I believe it is imperative to be in the right attitude to successfully lead a classroom that is culturally diverse. Students in a diverse classroom are depending on the teacher to lead and provide quality instruction and support them morally. In order to ensure this, having the right attitude that all students can succeed and holding all students to high expectations is important in a culturally competent classroom.

In our 21st century world, we are becoming more diverse by the day, hour, minute and second. The nation we live in is growing beautifully in different schemes of color, language, and practices. As an educator, I see the same in my diversely populated classroom with multiple languages being spoken such as Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. Holding all students to high expectations “regardless of their skin color, cultural background, or previous learning challenges” (___) is doing the students a favor and having this equity based attitude will take students far.

25% Strategies listed in the key principles of equity is equally important as the 75% Mindset. After having a clear gasp of the mindset of equity, taking actions to ensure all students are reaching grade level standards such as providing the same resources, learning opportunities and treatment for each student is pivotal in a child’s learning, especially in a culturally diverse school. In order for students in a culturally competent classroom to succeed, I believe an enriched education in a culturally competent classroom consists of differentiated instruction and activities that are constructed around the needs of students’ learning while incorporating culture to bridge meaning between home and school experiences.  It is important for students to see that teachers are at least trying to incorporate culture into school curriculum. While all teachers are to be held accountable for their teaching practices and reaching grade level standards, I believe teachers in culturally conscious classrooms are more sensitive to being “actively involved in creating equity-based environments for all students to exceed achievement and performance targets” (Edwin Lou Javius, Ed.D). As a culturally conscious educator, holding yourself accountable can make a tremendous difference to a child’s learning. When you establish accountability in a culturally diverse classroom, you fight and fight until you see your students succeed academically and perform at or above grade level benchmarks.

Determine your beliefs about equity and equality and how they impact education?

My belief on equity and equality is that both equity and equality are equally valuable principles that should be recognized by all educators and utilized to its maximum potential to positively impact schools. With equity and equality, there comes culturally responsive teaching and I believe using the value of cultural responsiveness in diverse schools empowers the students. However, to keep the function of cultural responsive teaching effective and positively impact education, we as educators must not lose sight of staying committed to ensuring fairness and maximizing opportunity for accessed experience in school for our students.

Understanding

During my undergrad study, I often wrote many research papers, mostly pertaining to current issues facing education today. Other times, I conducted statistical research to present to my classmates in the form of a presentation. One thing I didn’t realize was how science and reasoning played a part in research and what they truly mean once the information gathered is present. Today, as a graduate student, I am embarking on a new journey learning not just how we conduct research, but WHY we conduct research. I am excited to share with you my findings for the three most popular methods of research in education and other related fields.

The three most common types of research methods are Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed- Methods. Qualitative research has part of the root word “quality” which I interpret as “value”. Quantitative research has part of the root word “quantity” which I relate to number and/or statistics. As you can guess for the last method, Mixed- Methods research uses a combination of both Qualitative & Quantitative research. There are many components that set these methods apart from one another and become the reasons why researchers use the method they choose to use and when to use them.

Qualitative research “encompasses a wide range of methods such as interviews, case studies, ethnographic research and discourse analysis, to name just a few examples” (Muijs, pg 13). Numbers are not involved with Qualitative research and cannot be analyzed using statistics. Researchers who use this method aren’t looking for numbers to crunch and charts to depict meaning from, but rather explain the question/issue by looking for deeper meaning from the given response. In Qualitative research, interviews are frequently used to collect stories and opinions. During these interviews, Qualitative researchers must keenly watch the interviewee’s reaction, what they’re saying, doing, in the way they speak and even gestures. Qualitative research requires the researcher to put aside the biased view the researcher might have and be openly objective. In the interview method, researchers must ask purposeful questions and safe for the interviewee. An example question may be, “What is love?” Although this may sound like a simple question, it may become more complex as it deals with science and the sensitivity of love overall. I interviewed my elderly neighbor to get an analysis of my Qualitative question. Her response to my question was, “Love is when you are able to look past the flaws and accept the other person. Flaws are not imperfections. Flaws are perfections of humans.” My elderly neighbor has been married for 56 years and going strong. I observed her facial expression as she was responding and it appeared she was sincere yet adamant about her thoughts on love. Love was the focus of my question and what I was seemingly looking for out of the question is sincerity. Qualitative researchers who conduct interviews to analyze from ask specific questions to narrow in on what they are looking for and to sharpen their perception.

Quantitative research is entirely different than Qualitative research. Quantitative research does not deal with interviews, case studies, ethnographic research, etc. Qualitative Research is all focused on explaining a phenomenon by collecting data with numbers. Our federal government uses Quantitative research to find out our nation’s population through what? A Census. Using statistical trends to gather data is also another approach to Quantitative research. Essentially this census collects the numbers and will allow the government to depict the trend of population development.  Quantitative research has “the truth is out there” mindset. The truth is out there and events and circumstances CAN be explained using numbers. Quantitative research also looks at “cause & effect”. The most commonly used method of Quantitative research are questionnaires, structured interviews and direct observations. In using questionnaires, Quantitative researchers must be sure the questionnaire is well designed, the questions are meaningful, and it answers the question the researcher wants it to answer. Since Quantitative research is geared towards numerical data, researchers typically use tools or equipment to assist with their study. These tools range from something simple as a ruler to high-tech instruments.

Many of us use Qualitative analysis and Quantitative analysis on a daily basis and it happens so quickly and naturally in our lives that we may not realize it. An example of both Qualitative and Quantitative analysis is over the weekend; my mission was to find an antique item that’ll be fitting for my living room so I set forth with this mission and visited an antique shop in Downtown Everett to discover a unique picture frame that I believe would fit right in. My quantitative analysis of the frame is that it measures to be 10”x15”, 1.5” thick and weighs 4 pounds. My Qualitative analysis of the frame is that it’s a gray finished frame with gold paint chipping off of the corners. The interesting use of paint on the frame gives the frame a coarsely texture. The overall appeal of the frame is austere and that is what I needed to complete my Victorian style living room.

Finally, the last research method is Mixed-Mode research method. This method merges both Qualitative and Quantitative research. Mixed mode research uses concentration of data collected by all methods in a study to enhance the credibility of the research. It is best to apply mixed mode research when you want to gain fuller understanding of the research problem. Merging mixed-methods approach with stories and statistical trends can give a more complete research understanding of the researcher’s problem than simply using one method by itself.  When a researcher gains fuller understanding of the research problem, information becomes clearer and when the information is clear, clarity gives research results.

Mixed-methods research collects and analyzes Qualitative and Quantitative research while making sure that the results draw from a rigorous procedure to each method. Researchers will chose a frame work design that fits into the study. The first framework a researcher might choose would be to collect data quantitatively and qualitatively. The results are compared and the researcher derives to an interpretation from the findings. The second framework a researcher might choose would be to collect data quantitatively and qualitatively, but interpret results using qualitative findings. The last framework a researcher might choose would be to collect data qualitative and quantitatively, but interpret results using quantitative findings. Mixed-methods research digs deep into the question by combining qualitative and quantitative methods and can potentially lead to a theory or philosophy in research.

Works Cited

Muijs,D. (2004). Introduction to quantitative research. In Doing quantitative research in                        education with SPSS (pp. 1-12). London: SAGE.

Implementation

Now that I’ve talked a little bit about each of the research methods, let’s put it into effect using Mixed-Methods research.

My 1st grade class is comprised of 22 students of color. Of these students, I have ELL, behavioral and low income students. Bear in mind, these are 1st grade students, most are low income students, some with behavioral problems and ELL. My study begins.

Quantitative Research: I posed the question, “What’s your favorite subject of the school day?” I gave each student a small slip in which they can write their answers on. Here’s what I found out.

Favorite Subject:

Specialists (Music, Physical. Ed., Computer Ed.) – 13 students

Language Arts – 5 students

Math – 3 students

Science – 1 student

This was an interesting discovery and raised a question as to, “Why?” but I didn’t ask that then and there. I’ll talk about that a little later. I collected my students’ slips, brought them home to look making sure I got my numbers right.

The next morning, I began my Qualitative Research on my 1st grade students, pulling one student at a time for about 5 minutes to discuss, or rather have a 1-on-1 talk with my student. I asked each student privately while taking notes, “What kind of help does Mom or Dad give you at home for homework? And depending on the student’s prior response to what their favorite school subject was, I asked “Why?” and “What about this subject that makes it your favorite?” I listened intently and picked up on gestures and facial expressions that I wouldn’t have gotten with my Quantitative data. During the 1-on-1 talk, my students displayed raw emotions of bitterness, sadness, and willingness.

-15 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because they aren’t familiar with the English language and don’t know where to begin with the homework materials.

-4 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because of unfamiliarity with the school curriculum. Although these parents are able to help with homework, they would rather leave it up to the teacher to teach the curriculum and don’t want to mess with teaching in their own way to their child, and potentially cause a mix-up in their child’s learning.

-3 of my students reported that their parents don’t help with homework because their parents are too busy with work, or are rarely seen at home. The guardians look after these kids, but don’t provide much help with their homework.

Earlier in this post, I said I was going to talk a little bit more about the, “Why” question. My “Why” question goes along with my mixed-methods research.

Let’s recap…

Quantitative research question: What’s your favorite subject of the school day?

Qualitative research question: “What kind of help does Mom or Dad give you at home for homework?” Depending on the student’s prior response to what their favorite school subject was, I asked “Why?” and “What about this subject that makes it your favorite?”

Mixed-methods research: finding the correlation between the two research and provide explicit reasoning, justification and conclusion.

-Almost 60% of my students said their favorite time of the day was going to Specialists.

-Only 23% of my students liked Language Arts.

-13% of my students liked Math.

-Only 4.5% or (1 student) liked science.

After conducting my Qualitative research with my students, these numbers were starting to make sense.

-Almost 70% of my students aren’t receiving the needed support at home for homework and other activities because their parents come from third world countries and aren’t yet proficient in the English language to be able to help their child succeed in school. Majority of my students in this category are the ones who chose “specialists” as their favorite subject of the day. Surprised? Not so much. These kids chose specialists as their favorite subject of the day because in specialists (Music, Physical Ed., Computer Ed.) they aren’t forced to learn a core concept like they are supposed to in my general ed classroom. In specialists, they can free their mind, play with musical instruments, play catch, freeze tag, and dodge ball with one another. These are the activities my ELL students are most comfortable with because there’s no “expectations” in their learning.

-18% of my students have parents that CAN teach, but would rather leave it up to the teacher to implement materials. These are my students who chose “math & science” as their favorite subject of the day.

-14% of my students have parents that are too busy with their lives to find time to teach and revisit the learning of their child. These are the students that chose “language arts” as their favorite subject of the day. Upon analyzing my students’ responses to my Qualitative question, it makes complete sense. Because their parents are rarely present in their lives and learning, these students love to read and write independently which is why they chose language arts as their favorite subject of the day. These kids only have their books and diaries to keep them company. Often times, these students write journal entries about their day, or simply just draw pictures to illustrate their day.

In Mixed-Methods research, I used the questions from the Quantitative & Qualitative research to bring reasoning for my mixed-methods research. I am now in the phase of interpreting the data after collecting data quantitatively and qualitatively.

The correlation between my students’ answers from mixed-methods research shows that although qualitative and quantitative studies are vastly different than one another, both studies produced similar results upon analyzing.  After careful analysis of the findings from my two studies, I came to realize that the number of students who weren’t receiving help from their parents due the unfamiliarity of the English language (15 students from quantitative study) were the 70% of my students from my qualitative study and this became evidence of correlating data. The correlating data continues with 18% of my students with parents who can teach but would rather leave it up to the teacher from my qualitative study were the same 4 students from my quantitative study.  Essentially, I attained similar results from applying mixed-methods research and really shows me how the data from the qualitative research and quantitative research correlate undeniably. Mixed methods research produced valuable classroom data and will become an avenue for future research topics.

Intention

Mixed-Methods research is the best method to gather data because it forces the researcher to use multiple forms of data to draw a conclusion and without several ways of looking at data; the research lacks conceptual database interpretations and is limited to only data from Qualitative or Quantitative research alone. Using triangulation in Mixed-methods research also INCREASED the validity of my findings by looking at the same phenomenon in altered ways. In any research study, I feel it is best to provide as much data as possible rather than being restricted to the types of data from Qualitative or Quantitative research.

In implementing the research, I chose Mixed-Methods research solely for the purpose that it draws on multiple forms of data and assists in increased validity of findings. Using mixed-methods research, I was able to explore the problem in depth and not just look at the problem through one research method, but involve raw stories from my students and capture their emotions. This method allowed me to get a broader depiction of the findings while also. The only way to get the best of both worlds, is to implement the best of both worlds, and with mixed-methods research, you get both.

As a part of mixed-methods research, my quantitative analysis allowed me to draw a conclusion for a large number of my students, controlled any biased opinions, and also demonstrated the cause and effect between home life and school subject interest.

My qualitative analysis allowed me to gather comprehensive viewpoints from a majority of my students and I was able to hear my students answer my question in detail while capturing their raw emotions.

Essentially, applying Mixed-methods research provided significant gains to my study, classroom research and students’ learning (this will be discussed in Analysis & Reflection).

Analysis & Reflection

Researchers pick out the type of research method they want to use for a sole purpose. Each method serves its own uniqueness, purpose, and outcome. From the proper use of research, teachers and administrators are then able to reflect and use these reflections to best increase classroom practices. According to McMillan, “There are steps and ways in conducting educational research and it’s imperative that researchers go in stages. Researchers first begin with framing the initial question or problem. Researchers then determine what previous research says about the question or problem. Next, researchers frame a specific research question, problem, or hypothesis. After that, researchers will design and implement a plan for collecting or obtaining data which then allows researchers to analyze and interpret the results of gathered data. Finally, researchers generate conclusions from the study. By implementing research, teachers can then promote distinguished classroom practices that enhances students’ learning” (McMillan et. al., 2010, pg 3).

In the research that I implemented, I conducted Mixed-methods research on my students to gain a fuller understanding and comprehensive study through the use of both qualitative and quantitative analysis student as a whole. I feel I achieved this through the raw stories and numerical data I collected during the study with my students. My interpretation of the findings was that there’s a distinguished correlation between the results from the qualitative and quantitative studies and that the data line up systematically.

Through the proper use of mixed-methods research, I have learned that developing a concise and purposeful question as well as choosing from one of two frameworks of design enhances the overall interpretation of the data. I have learned that Mixed-methods research is beneficial when wanting to look at both numbers and stories and in my situation, it worked best for me because I wanted numerical data as well as stories to enhance my findings and interpretation. Through my findings, I am able to evaluate my own teacher effectiveness and promote distinguished classroom practices that will allow for student achievement gains. First, I would start with looking at my instructional strategies in the classroom and it varies from small group, whole group, and cooperative learning.

A plan that I could implement immediately is to get in contact with each student’s family and arrange a formal meeting to talk about the research and goals that I have for their child as well as the instructional strategies I plan on using. Through this formal meeting, I would then be able to get the parents thoughts and input to better meet the needs of the child. I believe that teamwork with parents/guardians is an essential piece to student success. Together with the family, we will create an at-home action plan for their child that’ll be examined every Monday morning.

Goal for my ELL students: Students will read grade level text with 90% fluency and accuracy by the end of the school year.

At-Home Action Plan: Students will read 4 days/week for 45 minutes each day. Teacher will need validation by having parent signature next to each logged reading time. Parents are encouraged to listen and read with the child, while providing support and mentorship for the child. Students are encouraged to circle the words in the book that they want to find more meaning about and discuss with the teacher before or after school hours.

For my students that are at standard but do not receive additional support at home because their parents rely on the formal education of teachers to teach, I have altered my instructional strategies with these students. These students need even higher expectations to reach and constantly stimulate their knowledge through new concepts and materials. I believe providing enrichment materials for these students will keep these actively engaged in their learning especially in math and science.

For my students that have parents who live busy lives and are rarely present in their child’s learning, I have altered my classroom practices with these students. These students are given enrichment materials as well as they are highly capable.

Goal for at standard students: Excelling in grade level standards in math and science and exposure to 2nd grade level standards in math, science and reading before the end of the school year.

At Home Action Plan: Provide families with fundamental resources for 2nd grade level expectations in math, science and reading to go over. Every Monday, families will receive new resources of ideas on books and educational math websites that target 2nd grade level expectations. The parent and child will work on a new math skill every week. The skill learned will be logged weekly and returned to the teacher. Given grade level science ideas, the students and their families will try fun at-home experiments and log experiments weekly. This log will be checked off by the teacher every Monday.

To provide additional support, I am going to set up a 30 minute intervention period before school and a 1 hour intervention period after school. Students are encouraged to attend as intervention period provides valuable 1-on-1 teaching and guidance.

As a teacher, student and learner, I am and will continually be on a learning path in Educational research. In future research studies, I plan on using the my questions that connect to current research to open up new territory of study. A goal that I have for myself is to regularly attend public research presentations to continually improve the quality of student learning. Another goal for myself is to USE mixed-methods research with my new set of students next year to better understand my students’ needs, target their needs and continually improve on instructional strategies to enhance the learning of my students.

Works Cited

McMillan, J. H., & Wergin, J. F. (2010). Introduction to reading educational research (pp. 1-              13). In Understanding and evaluating educational research (4th ed.). Boston, MA:                Pearson.