Data Collection Musings & Their Inherent Challenges

Friday 10/17 9 p.m.

How will data collection ‘look’ for me? What challenges am I anticipating?

Post your Method/Research Design for peer feedback–more details coming on the method & design

First, data collection will be literal. I will be gathering scores from Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs), beginning with spring of 2014. The students in the Read 180 program are 7th and 8th grade students. They participated in a supplemental reading program called Lexia. If I can, I want to obtain scores from Lexia for the 8th grade students as well.  I want to compare scores between 7th and 8th grade within the Read 180 program. Although age difference, and therefore maturity, is a factor to consider when looking to see if they are making quicker gains than those who have not had Lexia for a full semester last spring, I think this will be balanced out by the fact that they are only one grade level apart.

Second, as inferred above, I will go into the Read 180 program to examine the data. The challenge here for me will be that this program is new to me. I did receive one and a half days worth of training last spring for this program; but a very wide range of information was covered, the assessment piece being only a small part.

Third, as of a week ago Monday, I have started going into the classroom and helping during the rotation part of this 90 minute comprehensive reading program. I have written brief observation notes. The observations will become more specific as I immerse myself further into the program with the students. I am working with the rotation group that is independent reading, but many of our students need much support. As I find ways to support many different types of readers in these low, medium and high ability groups, I will fine tune my observation. For example, I am very concerned that students have adequate background knowledge as they start reading trade books that have been preselected by lexile and genere ranges. Today, my observation will note that Isaiah now knows who Mohammad Ali is, because he watched a real video clip of him, and he took home a 5 page writing I found on Sonny Liston. The book he selected is about sports, and Isaiah is an avid basketball player, however, he is not familiar with sports like boxing and baseball. Now, he is engaged. There was even a piece in his book about prejudices of the day, and the video clip was of an interview with Mohammad Ali talking about believing in marrying within ones own race. I was able to expand Isaiah’s thinking by giving the perspective of the day and counter arguments that may have led Ali to be interviewed on the topic. Observations like this are participant observations. I could see Isaiah’s eyes light up when he saw the video clip and the article I brought in to enhance his reading understanding on a topic he is interested in.

Early this week I found an article that has a survey I intend to use with students. It is called Survey of Adolescent Reading Attitudes (SARA), and measures students’ attitudes toward academic and recreational reading in both traditional print materials and in digital settings (Conradi, Jang, Bryant, Craft, & McKenna). This survey is so well suited to my research, that I will use it as is, so I can utilize the normed scores it even has. There is an allowance to have students write in responses besides just using the 18 rating type questions, so I will add in questions based on the subsections of this survey and on my observations from being in the class with students over six days.

Another important form of assessment will be for me to interview students individually. I want to know what they think of using this program. It would make the most sense to wait a couple of weeks before doing this, though, as they are just now really settling down into the routine of the program and just now completing their first books so that they get the feel for the complete cycle they are participating in. They take computer tests, take notes as they read along, use sentence starters to help with what to write about setting and characters, and graphic organizers designed specifically for individual books. I have a book that is a wonderful tool for innovative ways to interview in a way that is natural. One method is to ask participants to reconstruct their experience by saying something like, “What was your experience like for you the first week or two you entered into this program?” rather than “Do you remember. . .” (Seidman, 2013). The difference is more freedom of response.

I believe, at this point, that my research framework will be an interpretive framework. For one reason, I will be analyzing students’ discourse with each other whenever they do get the opportunity to discuss the book they are reading, a situation I intend to set up. I noticed another young man who was really interested in what Isaiah and I were doing, so I think he will want to read that book as well. (I’ll check his general lexile level, but I think it will fit.). I believe in social constructivisim now that I have completed the Reading Specialist program at UAS. Therefore, I am keenly aware of how this will be a perfect framework for evaluating the impact of this blended comprehensive reading program. “Qualitative reasearch is often called ‘interpretive’ research” (Creswell, 2013, p. 25), and I will draw upon my knowledge of the cultural setting this program is taking place in.

Conradi, K., Jang, B.G., Bryant, C., Craft, A., & McKenna (2013). Measuring adolescents’ attitudes toward reading: A classroom survey. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(7), 565-576.

Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.

Seidman, I. (2013). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (4th ed.). New York, NY: Teacher’s College Press.

4 thoughts on “Data Collection Musings & Their Inherent Challenges

  1. sroleff

    It looks like you have a well organized plan. You will obtain information from a variety of sources which is important in any research study. You commented that you intend to wait a couple weeks before interviewing students individually. I believe this is an excellent idea. The novelty of the program will have worn off and students will have a better idea of how they feel about the structure of the lessons. You should get responses that are more relevant than you would have if you interviewed them early on.

    1. aletakmay Post author

      Scott, I agree with what you said–and it validates my thinking on waiting to interview. Thank you for complimenting my plan as well organized. It feels huge right now, but I think it is the nature of my topic. Blended learning has many facets.

  2. tvanwyhe66

    Hi, Aleta…
    You certainly have a unique perspective from which to conduct research! You are so completely “in there” working with students and knowing the programs so well, that you surely have a lot of questions about the programs themselves, student motivation, the effectiveness of various approaches, etc. We have been looking at Read 180 as a district, and I would appreciate some time to pick your brain about the program. It certainly does come highly recommended as a intervention for older students. To date, we haven’t found anything that really makes a big difference for students at that age.

  3. aletakmay Post author

    Hi Tammy,
    Thank you! I have control of parts of my schedule, and with 3 students in that class being on an IEP, and my Reading Specialist training, I was easily able to justify immersing myself as a teacher participant. What I am reading now, and thinking about, is that we need to transfer the learning from this rotation program, and specifically from the independent reading section, to other classes and more independent learning. Each rotation is 20 minutes. I think transferring their understanding of using a graphic organizer, a daily reading log (summarize what you read today), and answering questions (usually right there types of questions), to other subject areas will allow them to use these 3 independent reading strategies to create a writing for a blog and discussion for other classes. Without this transition, it seems students may not see how these 3 parts create a whole response usable in other classes. Read 180 does supply books across genres, including nonfiction.


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