As a special education teacher, data collection is a major part of my career. I find that I am comfortable with the data collection
Learning Goal: I’m working on a research & summaries discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Peer Response 1 -Alyssa
As a special education teacher, data collection is a major part of my career. I find that I am comfortable with the data collection and analysis process, but the timeliness of the task of collecting formal data is a personal weakness for me. I currently service 25 students in a resource room setting, some of which have bi-weekly progress monitoring as part of their IEP goals and objectives. Some of these students I only see daily for a half an hour. Data collection is challenging for me because I struggle to find the balance between instructional time and ensuring there’s time for data collection. As Pella (2012) notes, “accountability for student learning and overall school performance has been associated with performance on tests” (p.57). However, if I’m constantly assessing my students, I question if I am giving them enough time and instruction to actually learn the content.
As Schouten (2017) notes, data is meant to allow us to meet our students where they are. If unethical actions are taking place when collecting data, such as falsifying information, data becomes invalid and inaccurate. In order to truly know the current performance for each student, fidelity in data collection is key. Personally, I rely on quantitative and qualitative data equally when looking at instructional decision making. I have students who have test taking anxiety and may answer questions incorrectly when I’ve observed them previously being capable of answering similar questions correctly at other times.
A major challenge that I see with using data to select scientific-based programs and strategies is that a variety of data collection tools must be used to ensure accuracy. As I previously mentioned, as student may perform poorly on a standardized assessment and this may not be a true reflection of their skills. If a program or strategy is chosen based on this snapshot of information, it may not be the most appropriate option for this child. Additionally, as I’ve found to be a personal struggle, data collection is time consuming and can take away from critical instructional time. However, a strength of using data is that when it is collected using a variety of tools, teachers can use this information to hone in on specific strengths and challenges that their students have.
Pella, S.(2012). WHAT SHOULD COUNT AS DATA FOR DATA-DRIVEN INSTRUCTION? Toward Contextualized Data-Inquiry Models for Teacher Education and Professional Development. Middle Grades Research Journal, 7(1), 57–75. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
Schouten, G. (2017). On Meeting Students Where They Are: Teacher Judgment and the Use of Data in Higher Education. Theory and Research in Education, 15(3), 321–338.
Peer Response 2 – Matthew
In terms of casual observation and formative data collection, I feel quite comfortable with this and would venture to say most teachers would feel the same. If we are talking in terms of action research and an extended study or research project I am more apprehensive to say that I feel comfortable with these processes. I do a PGP each year where I establish a SMART goal and will track a certain skill among my classes. I collect various samples throughout the year that document growth in my students. I then must use the data collected to prove that there has been improvement in my classes. I feel comfortable with all that process as well.
There is bound to be lots of pressure coming from different directions when any type of research is being done, especially action research. Superiors might not want certain problems or deficiencies to be brought into the light, and in many cases, teachers themselves will not want to hear about how they need to change their way of giving instruction. Pressure will always be present because there are bound to be stakeholders that prefer their own agenda and will resist hearing the truth, especially if it does not follow that agenda. Dr. Metcalf (2020) stated as well that one must take into account their audience when considering the means by which research findings are stated. Some people will buy into new methods of implementation with statistics, and others might be more moved to action by anecdotes.
I love to refer back to an analogy that was taught to me involving cake. A man was giving a presentation on leadership and curiously had a beautiful strawberry cake with pink frosting up by the podium where he stood. He asked the group if anyone would like a slice of that cake, he assured them that it was a delicious cake made by a very fine baker. He described the cake in great detail and there were many takers when he asked who would like a slice. He beckoned one certain man to come up to the podium to receive his cake. The speaker delicately cut the cake then threw the cake at the man who had approached him. The speaker said, “there is your cake, enjoy, now please take a seat.” He then repeats the offer, “who else would like a slice of this cake?” Understandably so, the eagerness to partake of the cake had lowered significantly. Stalwart the man waited for another taker. Sheepishly, another man raised his hand. “Please come up so I may give you your cake,” the speaker said calmly. The man approached nervously and guarded, but ready to receive the cake. The speaker delicately cut the cake then placed the cake on a plate with a neatly folded napkin and a fork. The speaker said, “there is your cake, enjoy, now please take a seat.” The cake was exquisite, but the delivery of the cake made all the difference between the experiences had by these two men. By the same token, however fantastic our research findings may be, if we do not take care in the delivery of the same, and metaphorically throw the cake in their faces, we ought not to be surprised by the poor reception it receives.
Both qualitative and quantitative data have merit and hold weight when taking into consideration the curriculum and instruction design. We need to know about both the numbers and the qualities associated with any practice that is being considered for integration into our curriculum of instruction delivery.
The major and obvious strength of relying on scientific-based programs and strategies is that they have proven to be effective practices and can be backed up by hard evidence such as statistics and percentages. A potential weakness in this is simply that there are some people that are not numbers people. Many teachers are very touchy-feely people and put a great amount of heart and emotion into their job and numbers and statistics have little effect on those emotions in many cases. Simply put, numbers can be very boring for many people and will not move people to change. Also, there will always be those who will fight against science for their own convenience.
American College of Education (2020) Module 4 Video 5 Identifying Audience https://ace.instructure.com/courses/1830812/external_tools/118428
Peer Response 3 – Hope
As Moore et al. (2021) claimed, “research findings have shown that the nation’s teaching force fails to reflect the cultural diversity represented among students” (p. 1). Personally I do not think that this is intentional, but I do think that there is little done to overcome it. Moore et al. (2021) also brings to attention that not only are the majority of classroom teachers “white, middle-class, female, native English speakers, it is evident that many practicing and future teachers do not share the same cultural backgrounds, experiences, and values as their students” (p. 1). In addition, most new teachers are too often provided with scripted, standardized, and uniform curricula that promote “sameness,” rather than “equity” (Moore et al., 2013, p. 1). This is why it is so important to get to know your students and understand the importance of race, ethnicity, and culture and recognize how these key concepts influence the education experience for many students.
One stereotype that I did not realize that I had was my bias towards girls and leadership roles in the classroom. Our school provided classroom teachers with data specific to our classes that was broken down by subgroups. The data that showed learning gains for boys versus girls in my classroom was alarming. There was a significant difference in the learning gains for my girls and the learning gains for my boys. After reflecting on my classroom practices it was very apparent that the content/topics that I was choosing were definitely more high interest for the girls. It was also obvious that I always assigned the girls to the leadership roles in groups. For example, the girls were the facilitators, the analysts, and the presenters. The boys were often the time keepers, illustrators, word wizards, etc. Honestly, this was not something that I intentionally did. It was my opinion that the girls enjoyed these roles more than the boys. However, it transferred to the students believing that I thought the girls were more proficient and capable which was not my intention at all. Since then, I have been intentional in planning and allowing the students to determine their literacy roles. Fortunately, as evidenced by my more recent classroom data I have started to see a close in the achievement gap between boys and girls.
Moore, A. L., Giles, R. M., & Vitulli, P. (2021). Prepared to respond? Investigating preservice teachers’ perceptions of their readiness for culturally responsive teaching. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 15(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2021.150110 (Links to an external site.)
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects the ability to read, spell, write, and in some cases, speak. This disorder is present despite normal intelligence. Dyslexia is often recognized when a child begins to struggle with accurate or fluent word recognition. Some related disorders are dyscalculia, which is specific to difficulty with learning numbers and math fact. Also, dysgraphia, which related to difficulties with writing and transcription. It is important to understand these disorders so that appropriate interventions and supports are put into place. For example, I once had a student who struggled with dysgraphia. He had an IEP that allowed him to receive typed notes instead of transcribing, he was allowed to have someone dictate his Florida writing assessment, and he received multiple choice options on the majority of his assignments. As time went on, he was given a Chromebook that allowed him to use voice to text to complete his assignments. Without these accommodations, not only would he would have failed, he would have struggled with frustration and motivation.
Knight (2018) stated an important point, “Given that an estimated 5–10% of the worldwide population is said to have dyslexia, it is of great importance that teachers have an accurate understanding of what dyslexia is and how it effects their students” (p.207). This statistic further supports the need for teacher training/professional development focusing on dyslexia. Honestly, I have only ever seen one professional development course offered at my school in particular and it was optional and held in the summer. With dyslexia being such a common difficulty, it would be beneficial to include professional development/refresh courses on dyslexia during preplanning or during the new teacher mentor program. Knight (2018) recognized that, “Although it is not a teacher’s job to diagnose dyslexia, it is important that they have an accurate understanding of the underlying behavioural and cognitive difficulties associated with dyslexia so as to identify those that could be at risk and to intervene appropriately” (p.209).
Knight, C. (2018). What is dyslexia? An exploration of the relationship between teachers’ understandings of dyslexia and their training experiences. Dyslexia (Chichester, England), 24(3), 207–219. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1593
Peer Response 4 -Michael
My new role as the Dean of Students in a small rural school has done a lot to expose and reform my preconceptions about my students. It is a 6-12 grade school so I have a wide range of issues that I deal with and often I tell the younger students to let me put my ‘middle-school Hat’ on so I’m not too stern. The reality that the stereotype I struggle with is that younger kids have younger kid problems. It is easy for me to understand a high school kid who is alone, struggling without a good parent to help or a rough home life. I tend to forget that these younger students have the same issues. I also have to remember that the students who look put together may not have a supportive frame at home, where as the disheveled kids may have a good home, just one that is impoverished or struggling for a season. I think it is vital that I recognize and address these preconceptions so that I can be the same dean for all students. Often time people think of stereotypes or bias means you look down on a certain student, but they can also mean I assume a student has everything together, but they may need my help or be struggling and get overlooked. If I do not have a standard consistent way of dealing with each student, I may overlook a child who is struggling internally, but is able to maintain an outward appearance or façade.
I was just having a discussion with a colleague about Dyslexia, and the struggles both in diagnosing it, and in resolving the issue in their own family. She shed some interesting light on dyslexia and the difficulty in discovering it, especially in bright students. The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity say, “Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader” (Shaywitz, 2020). It is characterized as, ”a problem with word decoding, which in turn impacts spelling performance and the development of reading fluency” (Snowling, M. 2013. p.7) My colleague explained that one of the challenges from dyslexia was that the child was bright and capable in class so it did not manifest itself until the standardized testing later in the student’s academic career. This could have caused the school to miss the Dyslexia all together and not have been resolved. This is why it is vital for administrators and faculty to work with state and local agencies to develop a plan that will identify and provide interventions for those students that have been identified. The school is equipped with trained staff and resource rooms where these identified students can go and receive the necessary support. This support is vital to the students’ success and in the example above the student was able to overcome the Dyslexia and is succeeding in a demanding major at large in-state University. This story can be the story of all our students with the proper environment and encouragement to take advantage of the supports in place.
Snowling, M. J. (2013). Early identification and interventions for dyslexia: A contemporary view. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 13(1), 7-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2012.01262.x
Shaywitz, S. (2020). Overcoming Dyslexia: Second Edition. Alfred A. Knopf. https://dyslexia.yale.edu/dyslexia/what-is-dyslexi…
Answer preview for As a special education teacher, data collection is a major part of my career. I find that I am comfortable with the data collection