Using Collaborative Teacher Research to Determine the Impact of Professional Development School Activities on Elementary Students' Math and Writing Outcomes

By Knight, Stephanie L.; Wiseman, Donna L. et al. | Journal of Teacher Education, January 2000 | Go to article overview

Using Collaborative Teacher Research to Determine the Impact of Professional Development School Activities on Elementary Students' Math and Writing Outcomes


Knight, Stephanie L., Wiseman, Donna L., Cooner, Donna, Journal of Teacher Education


As a result of the emphasis on professional development schools (PDSs) in teacher education over the past decade, numerous theoretical articles, process descriptions, and research reports provide considerable information about the nature and impact of school-university partnerships (Abdal-Haaq, 1998; Book, 1996). Several articles outline the perceived benefits for school and university faculty of participation in joint inquiry (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 1992). The literature provides particular insights into what happens to teachers, future teachers, and to a lesser extent, university professors; and how schools and universities change as a result of their collaboration. Most studies focus on roles and relationships, teacher attitudes, and teacher education, rather than on the elementary and secondary students in PDSs (Book, 1996). Although almost all PDS partnership goals include a stated emphasis on improved school achievement and student learning (Freeman, 1996), few studies address the impact of PDS efforts on student outcomes (Abdal-Haqq, 1998; Book, 1996; Valli, Cooper, & Frankes, 1997).

Why have researchers not adequately addressed the impact of PDS on K-12 student outcomes? Field research that assesses student learning is difficult and fraught with pitfalls that threaten its rigor. Easy-to-obtain measures such as standardized tests may be too far removed from the focus and activities of PDSs to provide adequate measurement of impact on student learning. Reform efforts focusing on restructuring typically seek to evaluate authentic student activities that have relevance and meaning for them (Newmann, 1991) but may be difficult to measure. Furthermore, it is difficult to isolate distinct variables in complex interventions such as PDSs that can be directly related to student outcomes. Use of control group or other traditional experimental designs, which might serve to identify cause-and-effect relationships, may be seen as unethical by teachers and administrators because they deny potentially beneficial treatments from groups of students and teachers in the school.

Another possible reason for the paucity of research on the effects of PDSs on K-12 students involves issues of trust and collaboration between practitioners and researchers. Many opportunities for inquiry to be misunderstood exist in partnerships where tenuous relationships are evolving between two very different cultures struggling with issues of trust, power, and control (Knight, Wiseman, & Smith, 1992; Ruscoe, Whitford, Egginton, & Esselman, 1989). Teachers may have concerns about the implications of experimentation in their classes because the experience may be damaging to students (Darling Hammond, 1992). Furthermore, partnership research can directly affect the professional lives of teachers and administrators. For example, teachers may see research as competing with instructional goals (Book, 1996); less than outstanding findings may reflect badly on programs, teachers, and administrators increasingly under public scrutiny. Teachers and administrators have traditionally been the objects of study by university researchers who may or may not even share their findings with the objects of their research. Teachers often see little relevance in studies that answer questions they do not ask and reports that use terminology they do not understand. As a result, the gap between research and practice widens.

One response to the problems of mediating research and practice and excluding teachers' voices in the development of knowledge about teaching and learning is the collaboration of school and university researchers in determining PDS impact. Collaborative inquiry (Sirotnik 1988), also known as teacher research (Hollingsworth & Sockett, 1994), action research (Oja & Pine, 1987; Reason 1994), or collaborative research (Lee, 1993), holds significant promise. The goal of collaborative teacher research is to link research with practice to affect teacher thinking and instructional behavior, school systems and culture, and student outcomes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Using Collaborative Teacher Research to Determine the Impact of Professional Development School Activities on Elementary Students' Math and Writing Outcomes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.