Archive for the ‘(11) Inquiry/Research:’ Category

Capstone-Standard 11 Meta-Reflection: Inquiry/Research

Standard 11 Meta-Reflection: Inquiry/Research

Competently consumes and produces where necessary empirical data to guide educational practice.

Initial reflection during C & I Orientation:

It is my responsibility to effectively use data at every level in my job including: selecting research-based curriculum, researching best practices for delivering services to address IEP goals, and collecting data on student performance. Equally important is to examine district records and track information to ensure that classroom goals are based on current IEPS which are in turn based on current evaluations.

Meta-Reflection following completion of EDU 6976 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research I and EDU 6975 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research II:

Please note: The requirement for EDU 6976 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research I was fulfilled via transfer credits through another university. I am grateful for SPU’s acceptance of credits for EDD/569 Introduction to Action Research and QNT/575 Measurement, Evaluation and Ethics in Research. Two of the artifacts included below are from these courses.

The need for data:

When our district’s new high school opened up in 2007, our principal wanted our team to implement a full-inclusion program….Our special education team felt strongly that “a continuum of services” needed to be offered, therefore, we took data. We carefully monitored every student’s progress in any way possible. We talked with teachers, met with students, checked and recorded online grades, and listened to concerned parents. Data became the magic key. Within three weeks, we were able to discern enough of a pattern and shared this data with our administrators–respectfully requesting that we be allowed to create a few class sections for SE  Math, English and Learning Strategies. Our request was granted and this model has since become our status quo. (Although now, the students with the greatest needs can be served in SE starting from the beginning of the year, but others are encouraged to spread their wings, knowing that we have a safety net with alternative approaches if needed). (excerpted from EDSP 6644 BLOG 2 Principles of HOPE, James, 2012)

EDD/569 Introduction to Action Research and QNT/575 Measurement, Evaluation and Ethics in Research.

The first two of the artifacts for Standard 11 provide examples of Artifact–Data Collection, Artifact–Descriptive Statistics. Please note: In the process of scanning and uploading hard copies, some distortion occurred within these documents.

Within these courses, a primary emphasis was the use of multiple data collection methods, regarding student performance in school settings at every grade level– leading to a more complete and composite picture of students’ strengths and weaknesses. A variety of data sources ranging from existing school electronic database, self-collected teacher observations, as well as responses to surveys collected directly from studentscan provide educators at every level with valuable baseline, target and progress information. It was noted that  among the most widely used methods for collecting more individualized responses are in-depth interviews, observations, surveys, questionnaires and document analysis.

EDU 6975 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research II:

In the context of this course, we wrote weekly reflections, although these were not required to be posted in WordPress. I am choosing to include these original reflections, in this meta-reflection, as this format allows me to retrace my steps in a way that is most beneficial for my learning within this C & I Capstone class.

Module 3 Reflection:

Within this module, I learned of the importance of looking at the differences between the percentages in studies versus the numbers, as well as the importance of always going back to the research question. Also, this week’s lecture helped to clarify for me that the sampling distribution is centered on “zero” as noted on the graph and that this represents the null hypothesis.  Additionally, I am learning of the importance of distinguishing between random assignment and random sampling; In analyzing the study regarding the “Murderous Nurse”, I found myself getting caught up with thinking about all the other potential variables instead of looking at the lack of randomization. The class notes indicate that “this study does not implement random sampling nor random assignment”. Lack of random sampling prevents generalization to the larger population. The lack of random assignment, prevents drawing a cause and effect conclusion.

This may be a stretch, but I created a visual in my own mind to help me differentiate the two terms. To associate sample with generalization, I visualize offering cookie samples to a larger group or population. The visual in my mind to associate assignment with cause and effect is; When I give an assignment to a student (cause), I anticipate that the student will complete it (effect).

In previous modules, we have discussed the fact that other variables can and do influence both the results and the interpretation of statistics. I am reminded that there can be correct statistical analysis, however, these results must also take into consideration the type of  study, number of trials, etc. so that appropriate inferences can be drawn. (ie Good data but incorrect procedures)

Module 4 Reflection:

In the midst of trying to grapple with significantly heavy material this week, I must admit I know I have SO MUCH more to absorb than I would have hoped by the end of this unit, however, I learned how to write up the results of a study. The example write-up (Sleep Deprivation Study) provided a tangible and very useful tool for guiding me through the critical steps in the process. Also, through the process of working with Group 1 on the Homework 2 assignment, a particular explanation from Laura Zylstra helped me to get a better understanding of how to calculate the p-value. (My understanding is still fuzzy and tentative—but at least her explanation made sense for the specific situation. Now if I can learn to apply the procedure…I’ll be moving in the right direction!) Her explanation (related to question #10 in the Latin American Study) is as follows:

”P-value is found by using the difference of the means of the educational achievement levels (5.92). This number (5.92) is then located on figure 2, the plot of the differences in means from the 500 simulated trials. All numbers at 5.92 and above are added together and divided by the number of trials. Since there is only one (1) dot at or above 5.92, and there are 500 trials, divide 1 by 500, and that is the p-value. Therefore the approximate p-value is 0.002.”

Module 5 Reflection:

While reading this week all about ANOVA and Tukey’s Post-Hoc tests (along with several others) I learned that “the F ratio is the resulting statistic” (Sprinthill, 2012, p. 367). A few basic concepts: High F ratio—high variability, low F ratio—low variability. One way ANOVA—one independent variable, effect size determined through using eta squares Factorial ANOVA—more than one independent variable, effect size determined through use of partial eta squares.

When considering the relationship between samples and populations, higher F-ratios suggest samples are from different populations whereas lower F-ratios suggest that the samples represent a single population.

Module 6 Reflection:

In the midst of studying the material for this week on Chi-square studies, I learned of the importance of this type of statistical analysis and its very practical application to many everyday situations. The textbook refers to this type of nominal data as ‘nose-counting data’ with ‘no shades of gray”. Perhaps this type of simplicity is relatively refreshing—in light of the complexity of the content of this course! In addition to the specific details of chi-square as a non-parametric procedure, I learned of the value of the added personal communication I experienced this week: 1) The honesty expressed by many of us when we are confused, 2). Dr. M’s compassion expressed in the discussion thread –especially when she posted the very applicable scripture to encourage us, 3) the follow-up email and subsequent phone appointment I made with her this week to discuss my mid-term results, 4) the blessing of working together in a small group on the homework, 5) the helpfulness of participating in the optional Tuesday afternoon “live-chat” session.

The specific details articulated throughout the lecture and discussion threads this week regarding chi square procedures have offered clarification of similarities and differences between these and previous tests we have been learning about such as the t-test and ANOVA. This type of contrast and comparison as well as spending additional time re-listening to lectures helps to bring more clarity to my thinking (although I still have much, much more to learn and understand). I am so grateful to God for His never-ending faithfulness and promise to be with me when I go through “deep waters”.

Module 7 Reflection:

Among the new concepts I learned about this week was that of the scatterplot. I learned that a pair of scores can be found on each point within the plot and that in correlational studies, the slope on a scatterplot indicates whether the correlation represented on the plot is positive or negative. (Lower left to upper right- positive. Upper left to lower right-negative). In previous units, we looked at experimental methods for determining cause and effect relationships (such as t-tests and ANOVA) whereas this unit focused on methods for effectively examining relationships between variables within the same group.

Module 8 Reflection:

During this week, I learned many new terms related to the concepts of correlation and prediction. Bivariate—two variable scatterplot, residual error—difference between actual values of Y and their predicted values, multicollinearity—when variables are “too highly correlated” as in the text’s example of income and unemployment, spurious correlation—a correlation that can be quite misleading, canonical correlation—two or more x variables correlated with two or more y variables (ex. several personality tests to predict several measures of leadership) Also, the standard error of the estimate relates to the interval where a true score might be located, and that the wider the interval—the higher the level of confidence. I wonder if this is like the larger a target is, the more likely you will hit it? I see the concepts surrounding correlation research as more applicable to research in educational settings than experimental research—and yet both can involve independent and dependent variables.

Module 9 Reflection:

Throughout this module I’ve finally learned to understand that one of the primary reasons for confusion between the terms standard error (SE) and standard deviation (SD) is that according to the article by Altman, “the standard error is a type of standard deviation”(2005, p. 903). A larger sample size decreases the standard error perhaps in the same way that a “closer look” at an object (making it appear larger) brings it into sharper focus and increases clarity and accuracy. If I want to obtain a clearer and more accurate “picture” of a situation (or sample mean), I need to ask more people. By contrast, regardless of the number of people I ask (size of the sample) the measure of variability or changes in what I am studying or looking at will not be apt to change.These concepts are important to understand when endeavoring to use inferential statistics to draw the most accurate-as-possible conclusions regarding what is “true” for a given population.

In conclusion and on a personal note:

In the midst of my measurement class, my mom became ill and passed away just two weeks before the end of the course. I can relate to Parker Palmer’s words in The Courage to Teach, as he describes the sudden loss of his father at a particularly stressful time in his teaching career; “I was devastated” (p. xi) Years earlier, just before taking my first statistics course, my dad had passed away. Thankfully, during the time I took EDU 6975 in the fall of 2012, I did not lose a family member, however, our family was in the midst of a major move and “in-between houses”—staying with family, and I became very sick and depleted. The reason I share these personal details in this meta-reflection, is that perhaps one of the greatest “life lessons” learned in the process of taking these research courses under particularly stressful situations is that of identifying even more with my students who struggle. As one who has always been blessed with high grades and success in school, I choose to “document” these vulnerabilities here in this reflection—that I might never lose sight of the importance of having empathy for my students who struggle. Palmer reminds us; ”Identity and integrity have as much to do with our shadows and limits, our wounds and fears, as with our strengths and potentials” (p. 13).

Artifacts for Standard 11:

UoP:  Artifact–Data Collection

UoP:  Artifact–Descriptive Statistics

SPU:   Homework 1:Homework 1 (second version)

SPU:   Homework 2:Sleep-Deprivation–Revised–Group Copy

SPU:   Homework 3:HW3 Group #1 graded

SPU:   Homework 4:Homework 4 Laurie James (graded)

SPU:   Homework 5:Homework5 Estimation Final



Altman, D. (2005). Standard deviations and standard errors. British Medical Journal. (p. 903)

Palmer, P. (2007). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sprinthall, R. C. (2003). Basic statistical analysis (7th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.


Reflection on Course of Study, C & I Standards

My goals for continuing my educational experience at Seattle Pacific University are educational, professional and personal in nature.

Educationally, as I progress through each course requirement for obtaining my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I intend to gain new information and further develop my teaching skills and effectiveness with students.

As a professional educator who has been teaching for nearly thirty years, I anticipate gaining fresh insights as I weave together past experiences with new challenges–enabling me to positively impact my classroom, school, district, and community–one person at a time.

On a personal level, I hope to grow both now and in the future–as I continue in my role as a graduate student, a life-long learner, and a veteran teacher seeking to gain new perspectives, skills, and opportunities.

Curriculum and Instruction: Program Standards

Standard 01. Instructional Planning

Designs and monitors long and short-term plans for students’ academic success.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher, my primary obligation is to ensure that both long and short-term goals are clearly articulated within each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and addressed on a consistent basis. I must also ensure my high school students have a transition plan and course of study which addresses the student’s post-high school goals.

Standard 02. Learning Environment

Creates and maintains school-wide and classroom environments that are safe, stable, and empowering.

Reflection: In my role as the special education curriculum leader in an inclusion setting, I must ensure that a continuum of services is available for consideration by each student’s IEP Team. I must see to it that my students are provided services in the “least restrictive environment” and that they are given the opportunity to access free and appropriate public education.

Standard 03. Curriculum

Provides knowledge and skills that bring academic subjects to life and are aligned with state content standards.

Reflection: As a special education teacher, I must endeavor to provide instruction and skill development opportunities for students that will promote progress toward the reaching of the Washington State Standards. I must ensure that students have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, I must facilitate the delivery of specially designed instruction as well as any necessary accommodations or modifications.

Standard 04. Pedagogy

Engages students in learning experiences that are meaningful, stimulating, and empirically proven to promote intellectual growth.

Reflection: The learning experiences I provide for my students should be interesting, inspiring, and research-based. Instruction to promote thinking skills should be delivered in the student’s least restrictive environment. Additionally, I must keep up-to-date and aware of methods and techniques to actively involve my students in the learning process.

Standard 05. Assessment

Assesses students’ mastery of curriculum and modifies instruction to maximize learning.

Reflection: With regard to assessment, I must ensure that I am monitoring progress toward each student’s IEP goals and make any necessary adjustments required to keep them moving toward the general education curriculum–while also addressing the unique needs presented by their disability. Not only does this include measuring progress in the classroom, but also ensuring access to and administration of any alternative assessments to state testing. Examples include: High School Proficiency Exam—Basic (meeting standard at Level 2 versus Level 3), Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (DAPE), Locally Determined Assessments (such as the Woodcock-Johnson III). Currently, I am not directly responsible for preparation for and administration of the WAAS-Portfolio administration or Collection of Evidence (COE); however, will be in the near future.

Standards 06. Communication

Communicates regularly and effectively with colleagues, parents, and students through a variety of mediums.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher “Communication” (with a capital C) is as necessary as breathing. In my nearly thirty years of teaching, I would have to say that communication continues to be the number one requirement for my job—and I always strive to keep it my priority. I find that most often, extra attention devoted to maintaining regular and effective communication with students, parents and colleagues—whether in person, by phone, via email, US mail, etc.—is well worth the time and energy.

Standard 07. Collaboration

Cooperates with other professionals to bridge gaps between schools and community and between departments/disciplines within schools.

Reflection: Every IEP meeting is an example of the collaborative process at work. This process in designed to bring together the perspectives of the student, family, special educator, general educator(s) and the district–as well as any necessary outside agencies. In addition to the required annual IEP and triennial evaluation, I must facilitate any coordination and collaboration between any and all of the above noted members of the IEP Team—as needed. Beyond the specific realm of the IEP process, I am required to be an active participant of my special education team, professional learning community, POD team, and leadership team.


Standard 08. Exceptionality


Addresses the unique learning and behavioral needs of all children, collaborating with other educators and professionals where necessary.

Reflection: The concept of addressing exceptionality is “where I live—day to day and moment by moment” as a special educator. Regardless of the unique needs presented by each of my students who qualify for special education services, I must ensure that they have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. In the process, I must serve as an advocate for each student and coordinate the delivery of services required for offering free and appropriate public education on their behalf.

Standard 09. Cultural Sensitivity

Establishes a culturally inclusive learning climate that facilitates academic engagement and success for all students.

Reflection: Regardless of the range of differences in race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity and exceptionality represented by the students within my care, I must model respect for diversity and promote a learning environment that is free from bias. Specifically within my school setting, I must be especially mindful and responsive to the unique interests of students who belong to one of the two Native American tribal communities represented within our school district.

Standard 10. Technology

Integrates current technology into instruction and professional communication/collaboration activities where appropriate.

Reflection: I am responsible for utilizing technological means to ensure that my students have access to materials and resources available to all general education students. Not only does this involve receiving presented information, but students must also be provided instruction and opportunity to use assistive technology to express and effectively convey thoughts and information to others. As a teacher, I must keep up with communication methods used to interact with my parents and colleagues. (Online IEP programs, Skyward Information system, email, etc.)

Standard 11. Inquiry/Research

Competently consumes and produces where necessary empirical data to guide educational practice.

Reflection: It is my responsibility to effectively use data at every level in my job including; selecting research-based curriculum, researching best practices for delivering services to address IEP goals, and collecting data on student performance. Equally important is to research district records and track information to ensure that classroom goals are based on current IEPS which are in turn based on current evaluations.


Standard 12. Professional citizenship

Willingly engages in dialogue that transcends the individual classroom, taking informed, coherent positions on important matters of educational policy and practice.

Reflection: I believe that on a continual basis I endeavor to develop my professional citizenship by serving as my school’s special education curriculum leader as well as a member of the building leadership team. Additionally, I am part of a professional learning community (PLC) group which meets weekly and I regularly participate in faculty and district meetings.