How the continuous improvement efforts through the use of action research can inform progress of a school/community/organization?
Educators and leaders alike are always looking for ways to improve student learning. One way to provide this improvement is through the use of action research. A problem is identified with a hypothesis of the possible outcomes following data and the outcomes of strategies of what works and what doesn’t work. In a book review of Action research for school leaders (by by Dean T. Spaulding and John Falco, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, Mass., 2013, 176 ), Berkowitz (2012) indicates: “Action research has become an essential tool for those engaged in the development of focused whole-school efforts to improve teaching and learning. It is imperative that we encourage our school leaders to foster building-level action research teams focused on closing the achievement gap while simultaneously increasing learning for all”. The overall goal is to provide the highest quality of teaching to improve student leaning in schools and/or an educational organization.
How the action research implemented in this study will generally improve student learning?
In my study, the research action plan questions being investigated are:
What are today’s students test-taking skills? Are mini quizzes more effective than end of semester classes more effective for meeting the learning objectives for the course? What are the alternative assignments and classroom assignments that equal to standardized tests? The overall goal is to determine how students can demonstrate their learning without taking standardized summative test. By breaking down units with creative assignments, students will be able to attain and retain information for the long haul to put to use in the real world of work. By proving that student learning take place with more hands-on activities, maybe this will shed some light to the stake holders that standardized testing may not be the best option to determine student learning. Berkowitz, P. (2012) describes that ‘“School-level Action Research”… building or school-level action research teams frequently lead to more energized teaching and increased student enjoyment, engagement and learning. This can occur whether the teams are homogenously (same grade level or same subject matter) or heterogeneously (multi-grade or multi-disciplinary) grouped”.
Studies have found that students’ knowledge need to be tested and measured. Teachers are held under this system for their evaluation based upon improvement in test scores. Some states are using an approach to use innovative ways to determine student knowledge with alternatives to standardized testing. The results of student learning must be proven for the state holders for funding (Goldstein, 1990). Students need to be prepared for the 21 Century as they are competing with the world. Activities conducted in the classroom will provide students with the necessary skills they will need to compete with other students entering into the job market. As jobs require skills may require technology knowledge, students will be introduced with assignments that will incorporate technology in their coursework. With this subject proven with action research, then standardized testing may be a thing of the past as alternative knowledge gathering may be incorporated with innovative learning activities.
Berkowitz, P. (2012). School administrators, retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=25914 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Goldstein, A. (1990). Finding a new gauge of knowledge; some states are designing alternatives to standardized testing. The Washington Post.