Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Data Collection Plan

Hello all,

For class, we are to write an ethnography learning paper and I am targeting my research on ability grouping in the secondary setting. Ability Grouping can mean many things; however, I want to focus more specifically on the students’ academic achievement in their English classes – whether in reading groups or writing groups. I want to know how successful ability grouping can be for students both with higher abilities and lower abilities. I want to know when it is “appropriate” to divide them based on their abilities and when I should be mixing them together. If these groups are based on the students test taking skills, I want to know what each student of differing abilities has to offer to their peers or differing abilities.

I plan to use my observation notes that I have been keeping of a 9th grade English class I currently volunteer in. I also think incorporating interviews with students as well as interviews with the teacher about their thoughts on ability grouping will be beneficial to my research. In the class I am observing, they are currently reading a novel in their ability grouped groups. Looking at some of their group assignments will show me their group’s level of understanding of the novel. Then I can compare and contrast my findings. I think these artifacts will help add credibility to my research. I also think using the student’s standardized test scores might show me how different their abilities are and then I can come to my own conclusions as to how I would group them if I were the instructor.

Since I am in the classroom at least twice a week, I will be collecting data every chance I get. I am not sure when I will be able to collect the student interviews –because I don’t want to take them away from the classroom. I will plan on asking the teacher I am working with on her planning periods and see when a good time would be to take a couple of students out of class for my interview. I have already started collecting student artifacts, and I will continue to collect.

I think this entire process will be helpful in answering my questions about ability grouping. I think it is important to look at the primary sources (i.e. student interviews, artifacts, and personal opinions of the class procedures) the classroom has to offer.

1 Comments:

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Marina said...

Brittany, I think you are off to a good start. It is interesting that your teacher is so focused on grouping her class in ability groups. Have you thought of interviewing her about it? I think she would be a good resource about this topic. She can tell you exactly why she does it and then you can observe the effects. Maybe you could ask her if she could experiment in her class and not group them by ability level and see how things turn out. Good luck!!

 

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