Saturday, my husband and I drove to Texas so I could walk across the stage. Since all of my classes were online, I wanted to do *something* to make my degree seem more real. What could be more real than walking across a stage in front of thousands of people I've never met before? My parents, sister, and great-aunt also made the trip to watch me graduate. Given that these are the people who have listened to me complain about every single deadline and assignment, it was only fitting that they be there to see me finish.
Shaun actually beat me to blogging about my graduation. So, you can read more about our road trip adventures to and from graduation here.
The most challenging/frustrating/satisfying part of my master's program in curriculum and instruction was my action research project. We were asked to consider an issue we saw in our school and design a research project to investigate it. I chose to focus my research on the remediation of integer operations since it is an area where my students struggle each year. Specifically, I decided to compare the impacts of two different forms of integer remediation: use of the number line model and use of memorized rules.
If reading educational research is your kind of thing, I've posted the entirety of my (56 page) action research project here. I've titled it "Investigating Effective Remediation of Integer Operations at the High School Level." Additionally, I've uploaded the resources I used to carry out the project here.
I have to say I'm a bit hesitant to post my research project. Are there typos? Probably. I know I've already corrected a few for this blog version that I didn't catch before turning in my final version to my professor. Oops. Was the research project flawlessly executed? No. To be honest, I don't even know what some of the statistical calculations I was supposed to do even mean. Should I be admitting that? Probably not. But, I can say that I definitely learned a lot through the process. If I was to plan another action research project, I think it would go a lot smoother because I *think* I've finally wrapped my head around what a project like this entails. One of the problems with doing my master's degree online was that we didn't receive a whole lot of feedback as we were planning our research projects. My project changed shape and form so many times throughout the year and a half I worked on it. I went into the project knowing I wanted to do something with integers and nothing more. It wasn't until I started collecting data that I realized I needed to be a bit more focused. As a result, I ended up collecting a lot of data that I didn't end up using at all. Oops... Since I am a perfectionist, my first instinct is to be happy I'm done with this project and store it away on a shelf to collect dust since it's not perfect. But, that's not what the #MTBoS is about. We don't share things because they're polished and perfect. We share things because we want to become better teachers and help others become better teachers at the same time.
So, without further ado, here's a peek into my research. My last assignment for my last class was to create a PowerPoint presentation to summarize my action research project. These slides don't tell the entire story. So, if any of this interests you, remember that there's a link to the entire paper above.
Through my research, I attempted to answer three questions:
1. At the high school level, does the use of the number line model result in more effective remediation of integer operations than the use of rules to be memorized?
2. Is the use of the number line model more effective in the remediation of integers with students enrolled in higher-level math classes?
3. At the high school level, does the use of the number line model lead to a greater retention of integer operation skills than the use of rules to be memorized?
If you read this far, can I just say thank you?
I was disappointed that none of the results from my research were statistically significant. I really wanted my research to come out and say that the number line model trumps memorized rules for integer remediation. My research did show that the students who used the number line model made greater gains that the students who used memorized rules. I *think* that if my sample size would have been larger that there's a chance the results could have been statistically significant. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking...