Data Based Decisions

Data Based Decisions


Dear Leader-Scholar Participants,

Welcome to our module on "Using Action Research to Make Data-Informed Decisions. It is our hope that these action research examples will serve as helpful models to fellow superintendents who desire to use an action research approach to program evaluation or as a scientific approach to problem solving in their districts. Each presentation is linked beside the project title and description.
We want to reiterate that it is our hope that you, as participants, will be willing to make contributions to our modules that will benefit and engage other site participants. If you have an action research project you would be willing to share, please contact us by email and we will review and post your presentation on this page.

Cohort V

Randy Poe - Boone County Schools Extended Day Program

An elementary and middle school in Boone County took on the challenge of narrowing the achievement gap by participating in a district sponsored extended school day program. The research question for this study was: Would the achievement gap be narrowed for students in the extended school day program, especially for those who were identified as transient and/or living below the poverty level? The impetus for this study came from the district's work with Dr. Joe Murphy(Vanderbilt University). The district's administration realized that students who had an achievement gap of two or more years may benefit from additional instructional time beyond the six hour school day. Dr. Murphy described a “pancake approach” to meeting the needs of students who face challenges such as poverty and transience; this program sought to be a crucial layer or “pancake” in a systemic approach for these students. A mix-method action research study was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the extended day program.

The quantitative analysis indicated marginal statistical evidence of program effectiveness for both reading and math. The qualitative analysis concluded that teachers, parents and students benefited from the program. In addition, they all recommended some changes to the program to improve its effectiveness.

Extended Day Program ppt

Dorothy Perkins - Gallatin County's High School On-Line ACT Prep Software Program

Gallatin County High School implemented an on-line ACT prep software program, E-PREP, to help our students, particularly our juniors, prepare for the ACT in March 2012. The ACT is administered to all juniors in Kentucky in March of each year. The March test date is predominately the first time the majority of Gallatin County juniors have ever taken the ACT. The ACT results are used as part of each high school’s and each district’s accountability model. The ACT program is a comprehensive system for collecting and reporting information about students planning to enter post-secondary education. The multiple-choice test covers four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The tests emphasize reasoning, analysis, problem solving, and the integration of learning from various texts, reference materials, graphs, charts, and other sources, as well as the application of these proficiencies to the kinds of tasks college students are expected to perform.E-PREP is an on-line ACT prep software program designed to help students improve their ACT score. The 2012 junior class was the first class to experience and utilize E-PREP. The software program features engaging, expert, and personalized instruction that is continuously available through on-demand videos and interactive lessons. In addition to a plan that utilized E-PREP with our juniors on three specific test dates, students had access to this software program anytime and anywhere.My hypothesis was that students who utilize E-PREP will score statistically higher on the ACT in March 2012 than students who did not utilize E-PREP, i.e., the previous three junior classes (2011, 2010, 2009). I compared the 2012 junior class ACT scores to the previous three years (2011, 2010, 2009) junior classes ACT scores. These classes did not have access to E-PREP. I also compared the sophomore PLAN scores to their 2012 junior ACT scores to determine possible student growth or decline.

The quantitative analysis of the data indicated that E-PREP has potential. The group of students exposed to E-PREP exhibited higher ACT scores. The data was also inconclusive because there was no difference in growth between the E-PREP group and the non-E-PREP group. There were higher ACT scores in the first E-PREP class which could have been attributed to the academic abilities of the students in this class. The qualitative review of the data indicated that students believed E-PREP is a valuable tool and does impact ACT results positively by giving students confidence in the types of questions that are asked on this assessment and the time constraints that are imposed with this test.

Stats Project ppt

Lisa James - Summer Champ Camp in Carroll County

In the Carroll County School District we initiated a Summer Learning opportunity in 2011 called Summer Champ Camp. The goal of the Summer Champ Camp was to ensure that second and third grade students did not lose the level of reading they had achieved during the school year by attending the Summer Champ Camp. In order to monitor the effectiveness of the program, we compared the Reading retention of those students who attended the program with those that were invited to come but opted not to participate. The study showed that those participated retained their reading levels more than those who chose not to participate.

Summer Learning Stat Project ppt

James Flynn - Simpson County Boys and Girls Club Partnership


Simpson County Schools formed a partnership with our local boys and girls club for an expanded learning project where selected high school students interested in teaching or other helping careers have been hired to tutor elementary students in reading or math for 1 hour, 4 days per week in the afternoons at the club. The student tutors were trained to deliver prescribed interventions by two teachers who supervised the program along with the educational staff of the club. We conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses to evaluate the effect of the partnership. For the quantitative study, we used winter MAP results as our baseline to compare with the spring MAP results. We made a comparison between the experimental group (students receiving the services) and a control group (students of similar demographics and achievement trend scores who are not receiving the services). The qualitative study included an interview of the head certified teacher and a focus group interview with the student tutors.

The qualitative results indicated the head certified teacher and the student tutors had a strong belief that the program was beneficial for the children enrolled. The passion and commitment to the children and the partnership was evident throughout the teacher interview and focus group discussion. Although the MAP results did not show a significant statistical difference as a result of the program, there are indications that other measures showed academic improvement as a result of the program. The teacher and student tutors also believed there were non-academic benefits for the children enrolled such as responsibility, respect, teamwork, and character development. As a result of this study, we are making the necessary improvements to the program that will hopefully yield stronger academic results this year. The program will be all year long. Additionally, we have now 12 peer tutors working at the club in addition to the 2 certified coordinators and the Boys and Girls Club staff. We are carefully tracking the students to ensure consistency of services to meet the needs of the children enrolled. We have continued the program and will evaluate its effectiveness using quantitative and qualitative design in June 2013.

Expanded Learning Partnership
Expanded Learning Partnership.ppt

Lu Young - A Comparative Analysis of Full-day v. Half-day Kindergarten in Jessamine County

Most research on full-day kindergarten (FDK) focuses on the impact of FDK on student performance up to the end of primary grades. The Jessamine County Board of Education was interested to know if it would be possible to gauge the impact of FDK on college-/career-readiness. To that end, Superintendent Lu Young analyzed available data on 3 cohorts of FDK students who had matriculated through Jessamine County Schools (JCS) since 2000. JCS began offering FDK to all students in the fall of 2010. Prior to that, the district had offered FDK to a group of 100 randomly selected students in 2000-01, 2001-02, and 2002-03. Through this action research project, Superintendent Young collaborated with the KY P20 Data Collaborative to gather as much data as possible on the 300 students who participated in the FDK project in the school district. Many of those students were still in Jessamine County in grades 11, 10, and 9 in 2011-12 when the research was conducted. Most of the students who transferred out of JCS were still enrolled elsewhere in the state.

With the help of the P20 Data Collaborative, Superintendent Young was able to gather the following data on most of her FDK students: ethnicity, eligibility for free/reduced lunch, disability status, retentions, and Explore and Plan test results. KY is using the ACT EPas system (Explore, Plan, ACT) as the testing indicator of college-/career readiness. Superintendent Young analyzed available EPas results of these FDK students and compared them to the results of the rest of their JCS peers (control group) who participated in half-day kindergarten (HDK) over that same three-year period.

Results of the Study: In keeping with Young's null hypothesis, it was not possible to trace the benefits of full-day kindergarten to college- and career-readiness as measured by Explore and Plan tests taken seven and nine years later respectively. A review of research on FDK, however, does indicate that students of low socioeconomic status and minority children do, in fact, benefit significantly from FDK. In addition, the Jessamine study showed that parents of kindergarten children strongly prefer FDK over HDK because they believe that:
1)there are more learning opportunities for their children in FDK;
2) FDK better prepares their children for first grade;
3)FDK provides a better overall kindergarten experience; and
4) there is value in the custodial care that FDK provides for working families.


Tommy Floyd - Madison County Reading Recovery Program Effectiveness

Reading Recovery® is an intense, short-term intervention model of instruction for students experiencing difficulty in reading. This intervention provides a 12-20 week, daily one-to-one series of lessons for second year primary (first grade) students. Students receive daily 30-minute lessons, taught by specially trained teachers, as a supplement to classroom literacy instruction.

Reading Recovery began in Madison County in 2001 with only two teachers. In 2002, nine additional teachers were trained. In 2003, Madison County established a regional training site and trained 6 additional Reading Recovery teachers. Read to Achieve provided funds to train 13 additional district teachers in 2005 and 2006. With a district total of 23 teachers, full or nearly full implementation of the Reading Recovery Program was achieved at 9 of 10 district schools.

The Madison County site receives teachers for training from surrounding districts and provides continuing professional development for Reading Recovery. Since 2002, Madison County’s teacher leader has served teachers in Madison, Whitley, Knox, Fayette, Pulaski, Laurel, Estill, Bourbon and Garrard Counties as well as Berea, Middlesboro, Corbin, Somerset and Pineville Independent School Districts. Since its inception, the site has served 68 teachers representing 14 unique school districts and 35 elementary schools. In 2010, the site served 17 teachers in 4 school districts: Madison, Estill, Berea and Somerset. These 17 teachers provided intervention service to 140-second year primary children in 2010-2011.

My hypothesis was that students (Bottom 20% of K-1-2-3rd grade population) who participate in reading recovery would show substantial improvement over the comparative sample of students not participating in the program. I also want to examine/compare these students immediate (current year) improvement to a national comparison group as well as track their progress over time to determine if the impact of RR has not only a short term impact but also long term retention of skills needed to be a successful reader.

A qualitative analysis from teacher perceptions of RTA participants resulted in several emerging themes: increases in student confidence; an increase in self-esteem; enhanced small group participation; and transferring acquired skills beyond the program. Quantitative results determined that Madison County's RTA students were performing +1.4 points higher than non-RTA students at the conclusion of the program and +2.6 points higher than non-RTA students at the end of the school year.

Madison County Reading Recovery Stats Presentation