Thursday, January 31, 2013

8 Steps of Action Research

8 steps of action research

1.  Setting the Foundation
When collaborating with the leadership campus team, two problems were identified: 
1.  High school students reading significantly below grade.
2.  A lack of a campus reading intervention program. 
To address the problem, it was decided that a portion of the title 1 funds would be allocated to contract tutors to provide in school reading intervention.  The reading intervention will be provided to high school students that are reading significantly below grade level.  The program will take place during the students’ Delta/Study Lab class.  The students will receive tutoring for one hour a day, twice a week, for at least 15 weeks.  The goal is to increase student reading levels.  The purpose of this research study will be to evaluate the effectiveness of the title 1 funded in school tutoring program for reading intervention.    

2.  Analyzing Data
The initial data collected will be to determine which students will be participating in the intervention.  This will be decided through teacher input and the results of a reading assessment.  The STAR Reading Assessment will be given at the start and end of the tutoring program.  The effectiveness of the tutoring program will be evaluated based on a comparison of the pre and post assessment scores.  Other data collected will be student and teacher interviews.  I will interview teachers to see if the effects of the tutoring are noticeable in class.

3.  Developing a Deeper Understanding

To better understand the factors that can play a part in this research, I will learn more about the techniques and strategies that the tutors will use for the reading intervention.  I will gather additional data on the effectiveness of various techniques for reading intervention by reading relevant literature and applying it to what we are doing.  This will allow me to get a better understanding of how other tutoring programs have been successful at reading intervention so that I can do the same.

4.  Engaging in Self-Reflection

I will meet with the tutors for weekly updates on student progress.  This will allow me to reflect on what is working with students and what might not be working.  With this knowledge, I can continually question what is needed and how we might address problems that may arise.  Some questions that I may use for self-reflection: How do the students feel about the reading intervention?  What can be done to make the tutoring more effective?  Are the effects of the intervention noticeable to teachers?  Is the proposed weekly tutoring schedule efficient for student progress?  How might the tutoring schedule be tweaked for optimal results?  In what ways can we tutor students to increase reading levels? 

5.  Exploring Programmatic Patterns

Staying in close contact with the tutors, my administrator, students, and teachers will assist me in keeping the research on track.  If the students are not making progress, we may need to tweak the program.

6.  Determining Direction

The purpose of this study is to determine if a new in school tutoring program for reading intervention is effective at increasing student reading levels.  The main goal of this study is to improve the reading levels of students reading significantly below grade level.  When students are reading significantly below grade level, it hinders their ability to learn in all other subjects putting them at risk for failure.  The research project will be conducted by collaborating with the tutors.  The tutoring timeline is 15 weeks which is close to the average stay of the students in the facility.  This will determine if implementing a relatively short term tutoring program is effective at increasing student reading levels.   The plan will be evaluated for effectiveness by comparing pre and post reading assessments, and analyzing teacher reports of student achievement in the classroom.  Individual student progress will be closely monitored and any part of the tutoring plan can be revised and improved based on the observations.

7.  Taking Action for School Improvement

A committee consisting of the site mentor, counselor, director of the Austin Learning Center, tutors and myself will be established to complete this action research study.  The Harris et al. text, Tool 7.1 Action Planning Template will be used to guide the implementation of the research project.  A summative evaluation will be used to organize data that is collected during the research to reach conclusions and to share information.

8.  Sustain Improvement

A summary report of the action research project results will be shared with the members of the Leadership committee and school staff.  If the tutoring program is effective at increasing student reading levels, it will serve as justification for allocation of title 1 funds for the program in the future.


  1. Looks very planned out and I think you your self reflection asks good questions to set the program up for success. Just a question and I am not sure if I missed it but when is the tutoring? If it is before and/or after school have you posed will the needed kids attend?

    1. The tutoring will be done during each students Delta/Study Lab class during the school day. Thanks for asking. I will go back and make sure that it's mentioned!

  2. I think this looks great! It's very organized and thought out. I think you have a good plan going :)

  3. I also think your plan is thorough and well planned. I also question if the lab replaces another class that is reading in nature or a general study hall. I am very interested in the reading strategies that seem to be most beneficial. Do you think it will be more or less beneficial since the tutoring is offered during the school day?

  4. Thank you for commenting! I updated my plan to tell when the tutoring will take place. It's a Delta/study lab where students have the opportunity to either work on credit recovery or study. To answer your questions about how beneficial it will be during the school day, I'm not sure really. I think it would be most beneficial to have it during and after school. These students that are so far behind really need intensive, explicit reading program, for at least an hour a day, every day. I wish we could do more.

  5. Looks great! Seem to be on the right track for making improvements on your campus! One thought...if doing the tutoring after school you might run into the issue of transportation home. I know that at one point our campus ran a "late bus" on certain days to accomodate a program such as this that was targeted at one of student populations with a high need. Unfortunately, if we had not started the late bus, many of those in need would have been without transportation if they stayed for the hellp.

  6. I am curious as to who will be conducting the tutoring? Will they be professional teachers, retired teachers, or someone else? I think that this piece of information will be an important variable in your research. I am a firm believer in tutoring! I feel as though the tutoring is as good as the person who will be conducting the tutoring. :) Will be anxious to read about your research.

    1. The tutoring will be provided by tutors from the Austin Learning Center. They are contracted through the title 1 office. They will be using a program called the Challenger Reading Program. So far they have been wonderful!

  7. I am suppose to give you feed back on the little bit of information we are providing each other. so here it goes....
    it sounds like you have a lot of action research questions. I cant remember of it was the Dana text or Harris but they mentioned that action inquiry could lead yo into a trap of more action research questions and that this could over complicate the one action research question you posed. the text we read made it sound like over inquiry could also be bad. I too was a litle over inquiring baout my subject. so i threw it all out and started from sctrach i cant inquire about everything. keep your question simple and dont allow yourself to add anymore than just that question with just that answer. For example if you are asking what can we do to make high school students read at there grade level thn your second question would be the answer and the reason you are doing the inquiry. you then dedicate your time to creating an after school program or in school program but dont add any more questions. i know its hard not to but you only have a set amount of time for this project and i am sure you also have a full time job so keep it simple. at the moment it sounds like you instead of having a cut off you couninued to add more inquirys. i hope i helped you a little. please comment on my action research .....good luck