Beyond the Essential Question: What Inspired My Research
My Essential Question is: How does implementing a positive math mindset and technology increase student performance in the mathematics classroom? This essential question has been developed throughout my experience in Touro’s Master’s in Innovative Learning program.
I knew that I wanted to increase student performance in the area of math. International, state, and local data prove that there is a need to develop strategies to increase student math scores. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assesses student achievement in mathematics and science internationally. The TIMMS mathematics achievement scales summarize student performance based on the achievement across all participating countries, in fourth and eighth grade. In 2015, over 580,000 students in 57 countries and 7 benchmarking entities (regional jurisdictions of countries such as states or provinces) participated in TIMSS. For fourth grade mathematics, 49 countries participated. The United States Ranked 14th with a score of 539. East Asian countries were the top achievers for fourth grade mathematics. (Mullis, Martin, Foy, & Hooper, 2016 ).
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a cross-national test given every three years. In 2015, the United States ranked 38th out of 71 countries in mathematics. On a different test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), United States fourth graders received a score of 240 out of 500 (Desilver, 2017). Common Core Standards are leading United States students to develop a deeper understanding of what they are learning by using 21st century skills. Education is moving away from memorizing information, and moving towards teaching students how to access information and think critically about what they are learning (Urbani, Roshandel, Michaels, & Truesdell, 2017).
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores in Mathematics, prove that there is a need to develop strategies to increase student math scores. In 2018, fourth grade students in scored lower in the area of Mathematics than in English Language Arts/Literacy. In Mathematics, 18.46% scored “Standard Exceeded”, 24.45% scored “Standard Met”, 30.81% scored “Standard Nearly Met”, and 26.27% scored “Standard Not Met.” (CAASPP Results, 2018).
In addition to the data supporting a need for change in math instruction, I also chose this area of academics because I wanted to grow as a math teacher in new innovative ways, and I wanted to see my students become engaged and motivated in the math classroom. Once I had my math focus, it was time to narrow down what strategies and tools I would use to achieve increased student performance. The school I teach at is in an Accelerated Math program funded through NapaLearns. I originally thought focusing on inquiry would be one of my main focuses to engage my students and create a higher-learning environment. As we progressed through our Touro Master’s Program classes, I began shifting more towards the technology we were learning about. As I began implementing the new tech tools and ideas in my classroom, and saw how positively my kids were responding, I began to shift my focus. Implementing this new technology ended up yielding the results I was looking for: increased student motivation, greater creativity shown in math, and increased student performance.
I loved researching the brain and how a growth mindset can impact learning. I am very passionate about instilling a positive growth mindset principles in my classroom. This was something I knew I wanted to have as part of my research topic because teaching students to apply a growth mindset to their learning will positively affect their academic success. The school I teach at is an AVID site, and using a growth mindset is a big part of AVID. This allowed my research to be integrated into our school culture as well.
Though using inquiry in math is very important, it became a smaller part of my study as I began implementing what I was learning in our classes. Before introducing technology centered around math, I began with teaching digital citizenship through Google’s Be Internet Awesome. I then had students use programs like Prodigy, Khan Academy, and Sumdog to support student learning. I created video content to put into Google Classroom for my students to use during small group rotations in class. I used these videos as part of an in-class flip model of teaching that we learned about in our Digital Tools for Edu-Vators class. I used Google Classroom to assign videos and quizzes via Google Forms in order to get immediate student feedback and provide 1:1 support. This technology provided the opportunity to redesign/readjust student learning experiences based on student feedback. This allowed me to learn from my students and make sure I am reaching each student by individualizing instruction.
I will be continuing to build on the work that I have been researching and implementing in my classroom throughout my teaching career. As an elementary school teacher, you will inevitably teach a combo class (two or more grade levels). An in-class flip model will work beautifully in this environment. I will continue to create video content to place onto Google Classroom for students to access. While I am working with one grade-level, the other grade can be on their Chrome Books participating in the in-class flip. Then the students can switch places. This way they are receiving the benefit of small group direct instruction along with the benefits of a flipped classroom. I will continue teaching a growth mindset in my classroom with fidelity. I found many new resources through my study that I will continue to implement such as read-alouds, growth-mindset bracelets, student feedback forms, and continued growth mindset reflection time for my students. I will continue to implement CCSS aligned math curriculum that supports student learning.
I want to thank NapaLearns for the opportunity to extend and grow my teaching through Touro’s Master’s in Innovative Learning Program. I have grown as an educator this year, and I look forward to continuing to build on the skills and teaching strategies I have learned in this program.
Video Presentation About My Research Paper
The SITE Model (Sociocultural, Informational, Technical, and Educational) intertwines connections between the learner and three sub-contexts: informational, sociocultural, and technical. One goal of the SITE Model is to have the designer understand the context of the learners in order to design products (or curriculum) that will enable the learner to successfully engage within that context in order to gain skills and knowledge that will help them accomplish their educational goals. This was important to keep in mind as I designed my capstone project. I thought about what motivates my learner, and the ways that will be the most effective to have the learner engage in the curriculum.