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# Course Syllabus Title : Statistics, Action Research, and Inquiry into Effective Practices, III Credits: 3 graduate credits

Instructor:Bob Laird Meeting dates and times: July 21-25 Location: Kalkin 110

Course Description: This course builds on prior courses in statistics and action research. The course reviews earlier concepts in descriptive and inferential statistics, and includes additional topics in the analysis of cross-tabulated data and in the analysis of correlational relationships between dependent and independent variables. Students will do critical reading of research on instructional practices in elementary mathematics, and will complete the design of their own action research investigations. Goals: Extend knowledge of commonly used study designs and statistical measures  Demonstrate understanding of several approaches to measuring the effect of intervention, including correlation, linear regression, and chi square.  Demonstrate ability to choose and construct appropriate graphs and charts.  Apply understanding of statistics to the interpretation of published research.

Exploration of major themes and issues in elementary math instruction  Locate, review, and reflect on educational research related to action research issues.  Demonstrate informed, flexible viewpoints about effective teaching practices based on in-depth understanding of current research. Finalization of Action Research Projects  Refine, present, and request specific feedback on action research projects. Mathematics Teacher Leadership Skills  Demonstrate independent initiative, intellectual flexibility and collegial support. General principle guiding each day’s instruction: Each day’s focus for instruction and discussion will be based upon data generated in a class activity, and we will use published literature to examine related analyses. Learning Outcomes: Day One: Objectives: The focus of the opening day of class includes a review of descriptive statistics. Additionally, participants will review action research papers from VMI graduates, identifying the components of an action research paper and examining the statistics used in the various studies. Time will be spent in the library conducting research around possible topics of study. Participants will: 1. Review the essentials of descriptive statistics from Action Research and Statistics II. 2. Review descriptive statistics as it applies to assessment. 3. Extend interpretation of standardized scores to fundamental ideas about reliability from psychometrics, especially the correlation between true scores and observed scores. 4. Explore the question, “what does a test measure?”

-25. Review existing VMI research as a means to understanding appropriate statistical analyses. 6. Brainstorm educational issues of interest through discussion and library research, narrowing ideas for action research projects. 7. Read and review existing VMI research as means to understand format and focus of action research question. Day Two: Objectives: Participants will understand various standard research designs, and appropriate use of each. We will spend additional time examining studies designed to measure change due to intervention and the role of a control group. Participants will become familiar with correlational studies and begin to consider issues of validity. Participants will: 1. Analyze and discuss various research designs. 2. Identify strengths and weaknesses of correlational studies. 3. Examine issues of validity. 4. Conduct library research on educational issues, taking note of research design and appropriate statistical analyses. 5. Complete a daily log commenting on progress toward identifying topic for research intervention. 6. Write draft of research question that will become the focus of action research. Day Three: Objectives: Participants will continue to analyze and discuss the statistics and graphics in selected research papers. Participants will further refine their action research question, and identify existing research applicable to the educational issue chosen for the study. Participants will identify possible study design for their study. Participants will: 1. Analyze and discuss the statistics and graphics in selected research papers, both professional and VMI action research. 2. Engage in detailed discussion about the parts of an action research paper. 3. Share action research questions with a small group and engage in discussion to keep question narrow in focus. 4. Complete daily log of progress towards action research topic, existing research about topic, and study design. 5. Identify positive aspects and limitations of study design. 6. Examine and identify possible validity issues of study. Days Four and Five: Objectives: Participants will be presented with formal concepts of statistical inference with emphasis on t-tests and chi-square tests. They will define and interpret p-values. Participants will identify the appropriate uses of these tests and values. Participants will: 1. Read and discuss research consisting of the use of t-tests for comparing means, and chi-square tests for comparing percentages. 2. Define and interpret p-values. 3. Complete daily log of progress towards completing draft of action research question, literature review, and study design and procedure. 4. Complete draft of action research paper and identify possible issues of validity. 5. Present draft to peers for critical analysis and feedback.

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General Course Information
Course Policies: As in all VMI courses, attention will be given to effective K-6 mathematics practice. This includes ongoing classroom observation by a VMI field mentor, conducting a systemic inquiry into practice in collaboration with the VMI mentor, demonstrating willingness to receive and use feedback about instructional practices, developing lesson plans in the context of overall curriculum, and sharing work with and critiquing work of other VMI teachers. Attendance Expectations: Full attendance is required. In the event of an emergency requiring an absence, the participant will arrange with the instructor to make up all work that was missed on the day of the absence. No grade will be issued until submission of completed assignments.

Religious Observance:
The official policy for excused absences for religious holidays: Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Each semester students should submit in writing to their instructors by the end of the second full week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester. Faculty must permit students who miss work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work. Contributions in Class: All participants are expected to contribute to class discussions, to share ideas and questions, to help other participants when possible and to share solutions to class and homework problems.

All students are required to be familiar with and adhere to the “Academic Honesty Policy Procedures” delineated in the most recent edition of “The Cat’s Tale”. (http://www.uvm.edu/~dosa/handbook/).

Accommodations:
Accommodations will be provided to eligible students with disabilities. Please obtain an accommodation letter from the ACCESS office and see one of the instructors early in the course to discuss what accommodations will be necessary. If you are unfamiliar with ACCESS, visit their website at http://www.uvm.edu/access to learn more about the services they provide. ACESS: A-170 Living Learning Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. PH: 802-656-7753, TTY: call 711 (relay), Fax: 802-656-0739, Email: access@uvm.edu, Instant Messenger: UVMaccess. General office hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Call to make an appointment. Required and/or recommended readings: Statistics for the K-8 Educator by Robert Rosenfeld Current mathematics education research articles and journals. Participants will explore the current body of mathematics education research and maintain a reflective journal of educational research. A final paper synthesizing their reading is required and at least five articles will be cited from journals such as Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Teaching Children Mathematics, and Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Documents such as NCTM’s Curriculum Focal Points: A Quest for Coherence, Vermont Grade Expectations and The Nations Report Card and others are assigned and included as expectations. Books include Measuring What Counts, Adding It Up and various other pertinent literature.

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Electronic Submissions/Internet Use: N/A

Student Evaluation/Assessment
Grading: We will consider the following when assigning course grades:  Completion of statistics problems  Journal of notes from readings and other prompts as may be assigned  Draft Action Research, with in-depth lit review  Presentation of research  Daily log of progress

Format for Expected Work:

All homework assignments should be written up neatly, with all work shown, and be organized. All homework assignments should be photocopied before submitting the original copies to the instructor. Homework assignments should be revised and rewritten as necessary and retained for the participant’s portfolio.
Scoring Rubrics: N/A Percentage Contribution of Each Assignment: 45%Statistics Work 45%Action Research Draft 10%Attendance and Participation Instructional Sequence: See Above

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