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: The overall purpose of my project is to help my students get make-up assignments in when they are absent from school. I will do this by providing them internet access to the work missed when they are gone. I have 110 students in six classes. Of these, 89% have access to the internet at home. The overall average number of days absent from my classes is 12.24 days. That is an average of about three days per quarter. I teach mostly honors classes and found that my students are above the school average of about 10 days gone per year. I discovered the biggest reason for this discrepancy is that the percentage of involvement in school activities for honors students is about 85% as compared to 63% for non-honors students. This means that they are out of school more for school-related activities. In talking to some of them, they can become overwhelmed with trying to keep up with missed work, even when they know they are going to be gone. When unexpected absences occur on top of this, they find it difficult to get all of their missed work in. Their biggest reasons were: Not enough time, they don’t get the work until they get back to school, too difficult to get the work from the teacher, and there is simply too much work from being gone. In providing Internet access, I hope to give my students easier and more timely access to the material missed when they are gone. In the survey given to them, over three-quarters of the students with Internet access indicated they prefer to work on makeup work at home. Having the work on the Internet will aid them in doing this. Especially for the following reasons: -Forgetting to get the work ahead of time when they know they are going to be gone. -Not having time to get the work ahead of time when they know they are going to be gone. -Having access to what they missed when they miss school unexpectedly. -Having access to what they missed when they are home sick. -Having easier and more instantaneous access to what they missed if they have a prolonged absence from school. -Having easier and more instantaneous access to what they missed for any absence. Needs Assessment development process: Initially, I spent about an hour searching the Internet for a tool that would aid me in my assessment. Other than finding a few Internet sites that I could use to do an online survey, I didn’t find anything that could aid me. I decided a survey was my best option, but decided against doing it online, since I had easier direct access to my students. I used a multi-pronged approach for gathering my data. First, I designed and administered my
survey to all 110 of my students to take home and fill out. This was my first mistake. I should have provided class time to do the survey, so that I could get all of them back. However, I was worried about using class time for this. I also thought they might share the survey with their parents. Which brings me to my second mistake. I wish I had surveyed parents also. Given the time constraints, however I am not sure I could have gotten enough of these surveys back. The second prong of my approach was to interview a sampling of my students. I especially found it useful to interview those students who wrote comments on their survey that I needed them to clarify. Here is a copy of my survey. 1. Do you have access to a computer that is linked to the internet at home? a. Yes- proceed to question 2 b. No-Thank you for your time, you may turn in the survey. . 2. On average, about how many days a year are you absent from school? ______(please write a number) 3. For the number you wrote in question 2, how many days are for unexpected reasons? __________(Please write a number) 4. For the number you wrote in question 2, how many days were spent at home?______(Please write a number) 5. When you are gone, about what percentage of the time do you not get your make up work turned in? ________(Please write a percent) 6. For work that you do not get turned in, please rank the reasons that you do not get your worked turned in by placing the appropriate number next to the reason that applies. Use the number one for the most common reason, 2 for the 2nd most common, etc. If the reason does not apply to you, leave it blank. _____Not enough time _____Too difficult to get the assignment from the teacher _____I usually don’t do homework _____I don’t get the work until I get back to school _____There is too much work that I have to make up when I get back to school. _____Other, please explain. 7. If you are gone and stay home, is it easier for you to get the assignment done while you are at home or after you get back to school? Assume you have the assignment while you are at home. Check your choice ______At home _____When I get back to school 8. If you had access to missed assignments through the internet while you were gone, would you access them and work on them while you were gone? Check your choice______Yes _______ No _______Sometimes 9. If you had internet access to material given in class, like powerpoints or handouts do you think you would find this useful? Check your choice ______Yes _____No 10. If you answered yes to question 9, which would you find to be more useful to have access to:________Powerpoints __________ handouts _________ Assignments _________Lesson plans ____________All four. 11. Would you access the above documents if they were available on the internet? ______Yes _____No
12. What other information about my class would you like to have access to on days that you are gone? Please describe. Once I got the surveys back, I went through them and pulled out the surveys that had comments or answers on them that I felt I needed the student to explain. For example, I had 10 students check the sometimes box on the questions about if they would access missing work on-line. There was a variety of reasons why they marked this which I will share with you in the next section. I also chose from a cross section of respondents based upon grade point average and success getting make-up work in. For my interview portion my data gathering, I took notes so that I could refer back to them. To analyze the data from my survey, I created an excel document, so that I could organize my data. I used formulas to find averages and percents. The data I got from my surveys raised some questions that I needed additional help with. Which led to the final prong of my data gathering, which involved other school personnel. I had the school attendance secretary find the average number of days missed over a two-year period for all students. I wanted this, so I could compare the school average with the average from the students that were surveyed. I also had the school counselor give me the names of all of the students who were enrolled in at least one honors class. I then sent this list out to all of the teachers and coaches so that they could indicate which students were part of their program. From this additional information, I was able to gain some insight on why the average number of days missed was higher for the students who were surveyed than for the school as a whole. Summary of needs assessment During the data collection of the assessment phase of the project, a survey was handed out to one hundred and ten students. This is the number of students that attend my classes this year. A link to the data table I created is supplied in the menu to the left. Sixty two surveys were returned. This is a return rate of 56 %. Several things were learned from the survey. Question number 1 asked if they had access to the internet at home. Of the 62 returned surveys, 7 (11%) indicated they had no Internet access at home. These students will gain little benefit from the project. These students were not required to answer any additional questions. However, 55 (89%) of the respondents indicated they do have access to the internet at home. These students could gain benefit from the project. The remainder of the survey addresses these students. The next section of the survey dealt with number of days missed in a school year and why. A total of 673 total days were estimated by the 55 respondents. This is an average of 12.3 days per student per year. From interviews conducted after the survey, I learned that reasons for being gone tended to fall into three categories: 1. School activities, including field trips, and athletic events. 2. Pre-planned family trips. 3. Unexpected absences, including being sick, the death of a relative, or an emergency at home. One unexpected result of the survey was discovering that the respondents’ average days missed was higher than the overall average of ten day for the school as a whole. To discover the reason why, the attendance secretary was asked to provide a
break down of days missed and reasons why. A trend started to appear. The biggest number of days missed for a majority of students was due to school related activities. Honor students were then compared with non-honors students and it was discovered that honors students tend to miss more days than non-honors students due to school activities. Since the majority of my classes are honors classes, this explains the higher than average absenteeism of my students. This was further confirmed by my follow up interviews. Ninety five percent of the student interviewed stated that the majority of the days they miss are due to school activities. Sixty percent of those interviewed state they miss between eight and ten days a year for school activities. This is also confirmed from the data from table 1. Of the 12 day absentee average, 3.91 days are for unexpected reasons. This means that there are about eight days per year that they know they will be absent from school ahead of time, which includes school events. When asked why they don’t get make-up worked turned in or what makes it most difficult to turn in make-up work, the majority of students stated lack of time as their number one reason. Lack of time was followed closely by difficulty getting assignments from teachers and the fact that they wait until they come back to school to get their assignments. From the interviews, two reasons for not getting the work ahead of time when the student knows they will be gone were stated. First, the students often forget to check ahead of time with the teacher. Second is lack of time to get to all of the teachers when the teachers have time to find and explain the assignments. When asked if they prefer to do make-up work at home or at school, 76% of the respondents indicated they prefer to do the work at home. When asked if they had access to class documents and powerpoints on-line, 100% of the respondents said they would access them to some degree. During the interviews, reluctance to access the documents was due to low internet speed for large documents and fear they may not understand the assignment. Also during the interview process it was learned that having access to handouts through the Internet would be beneficial to student who were not absent, like being able to download an assignment that was forgotten at school. Goal Statement Lesson plans, assignments, and powerpoints for my classes will be posted on the internet, so that my students can access these when they are gone in order to get them in on time and stay current with the class.
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