Leadership Research: Vol 01, No 1. (2010)

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 10
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    The effects of provincial standardized testing on teaching grade 10 and 12 English curriculum in School District #71
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2010-07) Mills, Dwayne R.
    In the modern educational era with an increase in external accountability and the residual effects of the industrial model of education, it is challenging for teachers to maintain a robust curriculum when the system asks for more and more data that demonstrates the educational development of their students. These demands have lead to an increasing movement towards “teaching to the test” as teachers feel that positive results on the externally set examinations determine whether they have been successful in their classroom. This study focuses on the Grade 10 and 12 English teachers in School District #71, which is located in the rural area of the Comox Valley in the province of British Columbia (B.C.). A Likert-based survey (Appendix A) was sent out to 18 teachers and 12 responded with both quantitative and qualitative data that revealed how the provincial exams have affected their teaching content and style. The results of the data collected revealed that teachers were internally motivated to adjust their curriculum to meet the skills and content that students are asked to demonstrate on the provincial exam, while external pressures such as administration, parents, students and public organizations were a lesser factor in the adjustment of their curriculum.
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    The reported effects of collaborative coaching on the professional learning and growth of participating secondary school teachers
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2010) McLaughlin, Barbara
    This mixed methodology study, using comparative and content analysis, examined how engaging teachers in collaborative coaching enhanced the professional learning and growth of the participating teachers. Six secondary teachers completed monthly digital reflection logs after meeting with their collaborative coaching partner(s). At the end of the five month study the participating teachers completed a survey on the reported effects of collaborative coaching. Three themes emerged: (1) participating teachers expanded their teaching strategies, (2) collegial support was valued, and (3) opportunities for self-reflection enabled teachers to monitor their professional learning. An additional theme concerning lack of time to collaborate also emerged.
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    Professional learning community focused on assessment for learning: teachers’ reported levels of adoption and changes in attitude
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2010-05) MacDowell, Venessa M.
    The empirical evidence on changing educators’ assessment practices shows what pedagogical changes effectively increase student achievement, but the question remains about how to support educators in making the necessary lasting changes. In this present study the what is formative assessment, specifically the six assessment for learning strategies that matter (Halbert & Kaser, 2008, adapted from Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall & Wiliam, 2004, see Appendix A), and the how is a structured professional learning community (PLC) over a six month period. Eight secondary school humanities educators engaged in six PLC sessions, of which, three were learning focused and three were application focused. Throughout the study, the six AFL strategies were examined, two per PLC, at both a learning session and an application session. The premise is when educators are given on-going support in the form of leadership; facilitated collaboration; learning, practice, and reflective time in the school day; resources; and multiple opportunities to develop and share their own “…living examples of implementation…” (as cited in Wiliam, Lee, Harrison, & Black, 2004, p. 51) a change in mind set and practice will result. Findings of this present study supported the hypothesis. The eight educators after the treatment at month six, reported an increase in the level of adoption for each the of the six AFL strategies.
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    Professional learning community focused on assessment for learning
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2010-03) Hryniuk, Lori
    This mixed methods study explored the questions: To what degree, if any, does the involvement in a structured professional learning community, focused on assessment for learning (AFL), lead to increases in secondary science and math teachers’ reported levels of adoption of assessment for learning strategies; further, what factors did the participating teachers perceive as obstacles or support structures in doing such; finally, how did teachers’ reported attitudes change towards assessment for learning? Seven secondary (Grades 8-12) math and science educators from different schools within the same school district in British Columbia worked together in a structured professional learning community (PLC) over the course of six months. The focus of the PLC was the study and implementation of the Network of Performance Based Schools Six Assessment For Learning Strategies (Halbert & Winter, 2008), adapted from the work of Black & Wiliam (1998). Participants were given an AFL practices rubric at the beginning and at the end of the study to determine the reported level of classroom adoption of the six AFL strategies. Professional learning community participants engaged in structured goal setting and reflection exercises that were recorded in writing. Participants’ reflection logs were reviewed to determine what factors were identified as perceived obstacles or support structures. Teachers were also asked to complete an AFL attitude survey at the beginning and the end of the study to determine if there was a change in attitude towards the AFL strategies. Participants self reported that their attitudes about AFL improved and their use of the six AFL practices increased by the end of the study. Several obstacles were identified by the participants. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed along with suggestions for school organization.
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    The effects of focused collaboration on instructional and assessment practices
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2010-05) Garner, Dani
    There are many long-held, traditional views of what the teaching profession looks like: isolated individuals creating and delivering lessons, then collecting a myriad of samples of student work to assess. Presently, however, opportunities for teachers to work together and to expand their instruction and assessment repertoires are becoming more commonplace. There is significant research that not only supports the benefits of teacher collaboration, but also the impact that certain instructional and assessment practices can have on student learning. This study describes how combining opportunities for teacher collaboration with conversations focused on instructional and assessment strategies can lead to improvements in teaching practices. Eight middle-school teachers volunteered to meet together for an hour, after school. Every two weeks for five months. At each meeting, teachers discussed a new instructional or assessment strategy, and reflected on the new strategies they had implemented in previous weeks. Together, teachers shared ideas, supported each other, and discussed ways in which each of them could implement the new strategies in their respective teaching areas. At the conclusion of the collaboration sessions, teachers reported on any changes in their practices through two surveys: a questionnaire consisting of ten close-ended questions, and one containing six openended questions. Results of the questionnaires revealed a positive connection between the frequency a specific strategy was discussed, and positive changes in that area, as reported by participants For example, Learning Intentions was discussed at all ten meetings, and teachers reported they had made the most significant changes in this area of instruction or assessment. Analysis of the data raises questions about how the motivation of teachers may impact their reportings, and how teachers or researchers can sustain, over longer periods of time or teaching assignments, the positive changes that teachers reported.