Action Research

Elements of Action Research
Significant Results Reflective Critque Effective Presentation

 

Elements - Appropriate Methods

A. Methods and Assessment Plan

  1. Student Learning Outcome Statement (SLO)
    Tutorial on how to write a measurable Student Learning Outcome
    A Student Learning Outcome states what a student should understand and/or be able to do as a result of what she has learned in a course, library orientation, counseling session.
    • What will my students know and be able to do better as a result of the intervention, innnovation, or strategy I employ here?
    • Does the SLO connect to or support the outcomes of a course or program?
    • Does the SLO describe learning that is meaningful in a real-world context?
    Effective Student Learning Outcomes should be results-oriented, clearly understood by colleagues and students, measurable, aligned with the Factulty Learning Outcome, and critical to teaching and learning.
  2. Performance Indicators of Student Learning Outcomes

    With each Student Learning Outcome, Performance Indicators identify the small steps students take to achieve the learning outcome.  Performance Indicators are pre-determined criteria, stated by you, that identify these steps.

    Keep in mind, many people think about the Student Learning Outcome (#1) before Performance Indicators (#2). This section, particularly, lends itself to recursive thinking.

    The following questions can help you identify the performance indicators of the student learning outcomes for your project. Answer the questions that are relevant to your project as a way to focus your ideas.

    • What specific qualities or evidence will I observe in the students' work/performance/behavior that will demonstrate to me they have achieved this competency or indicator?
    • What is the minimum level of performance I am willing to accept from a student to say he or she has achieved the learning outcome(s)? (This is your criteria.)
    • What student core competencies and indicators (TVCA) are related to these outcomes?

    Performance Indicators of Student Learning Outcomes are the qualitative or quantitative interim measurements demonstrating that the meaningful steps in student learning are being taken to achieve mastery. In other words, Indicators identify the specific, incremental traits or features of successful student mastery.

  3. Teaching, Counseling, or Librarianship Strategies of Student Learning Outcomes

    The following questions can help you decide the methods, strategies, and/or techniques to support student mastery of the student learning outcomes you identified in your project. Answer the questions that are relevant to your project as a way to focus your ideas.

    • What are my learning activities? Will these activities prepare my students for mastery?
    • What are the processes for taking students from beginning to end?
    • How can I establish an inclusive and safe learning environment for my students during this process?
    • How will my students make connections with the content, each other, and the instructor, counselor, or librarian?
    • How am I going to keep records of the processes (student learning, teaching strategies, etc.) for my action research project?  For example, written methods: personal journal or diary, field notes, surveys, questionnaires?  Live methods: Interviews, role play, video or audio tape?
  4. Assessment Strategies of Student Learning Outcomes

    The following questions can help you decide the most effective assessment methods. Answer the questions that are relevant to your project as a way to focus your ideas.

    • How will I measure the performance indicators described in the Student Learning Outcomes section?
    • What tool(s) am I going to use to measure/gauge how my students perform in relation to the indicators in the Student Learning Outcome?
    • Are there tools I can use that will give the students formative feedback (prior to receiving summative feedback)?
    • How will my students know the standards or criteria their work will be evaluated against?

    When choosing an assessment technique, I should ask myself:

    • Is the assessment technique chosen appropriate to my goal?
    • Can I integrate the assessment technique into my activities?
    • Will it contribute to learning?

    When applying an assessment technique, I should ask myself:

    • Have I tried it?
    • Have I done a run-through with a colleague?
    • How will I make its purpose clear to students?
    • How will I make its process clear to students?
    • How will I provide the necessary practice for students?
    • Have I allowed enough time to apply the technique?
  5. Action Research Methodology Design

    Action Research is a scholarly inquiry to improve teaching and student learning. You have already described your plan's student learning outcomes, performance indicators, strategies, and assessment methods of the student learning outcome. Now, you will design a plan to assess the effectiveness of the innovative teaching and assessment methods you implemented in your project. Remember, action research is about what you are doing, not what other people are doing.

     The following questions can help you decide the most effective methods to measure the usefulness of your innovations. Answer the questions that are relevant to your project as a way to focus your ideas.

    • How will I know whether or not (to what degree) my innovations have worked?
    • Have I planned how I will analyze the data?
    • Have I collect a reasonable amount of data?
    • Is my process of analysis manageable?
    • Have I planned adequate time to do the analysis?

    Consider the validity of your results: 

    What kind of evidence will I produce to judge the value of my innovation(s) incorporated in my action research project?

    For example,

    • If applicable, compare the results of a base class and pilot class
    • If applicable, compare the results of a base assignment and pilot assignment
    • If applicable, compare the results of a base class with aggregate departmental data

    Consider the reliability of your results: 

    • Will the statistics be the same if another researcher replicates your project? 
    • If you replicate the project in other classes, how will you demonstrate reliability and/or effectively describe your project for replication?