I have had a roller-coaster experience with creating my research proposal. At times, it was frustrating; and at other times, I felt that everything was falling into place. I have to say that the peer reviews that I received really helped me to refine my proposal. However, I also felt that I learned a lot by reviewing others’ proposals. I was able to identify a couple of key elements that my proposal was missing. I also felt that I did a decent job of being a peer reviewer. I was nervous about this task, but I think I gave good advice that was well received. I even had one peer re-submit her proposal to me so that I could review it a second time. I knew at this time that what I was doing was beneficial to others. This same peer also sent me some great information through email. Thanks Lexie!! I was also very thankful of the peer review I received from Jamie 🙂 I am so grateful for her correction to some terminology that I had used in my proposal. Overall, I am pretty please with how my proposal is turning out. I am fine-tuning my proposal, but here are the changes I made to my rationale and methodology.
Rationale and Question
I currently teach secondary mathematics in a small Yup’ik village in western Alaska. About 95% of our students are English Language Learners (ELL). Once a year, our students are administered the WIDA Access for ELL assessment, which consist of four parts: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Along with a composite score for English proficiency, the test gives results that show the student’s proficiency level according to their academic language. Academic language proficiency generally refers to the types of language proficiencies that are necessary for learners to perform successfully in academic contexts. It is no surprise that students who are not proficient in English are also struggling with their attainment of a strong academic language. I feel that this is one reason that my middle school ELL students struggle in my mathematics classroom. In fact, sixty-eight and sixty-two percent of the class passed their first and second chapter exams with 70% or better, respectively. My research question is to determine how the implementation of dual language strategies in my junior high math classroom will increase/affect ELL students’ the understanding of academic language and learning of math?
The participants of this study will by my junior high math students – grades seven and eight. Out of 23 students, I have one student who has tested proficient on the WIDA Access for ELL. There are also four students with IEPs for learning disabilities, one of which has missed approximately 62% of class so far this year. I do not plan to use this student’s outlying data as part of my study.
I plan to use Survey Monkey to survey the students and aides. I plan to use a rubric to quantitatively score informal observations of the dual language pairs. I will create a dual language wall as one of my strategies. I will use chapter exams as another set of quantitative data. All other materials to support my lessons will be supplied by myself. The data collection period will last approximately three weeks.
The study will implement dual language strategies in different ways. Before the study begins, I will use Survey Monkey to survey the students and my native-speaking aides as to their ability and comfort level with using their native language in the math classroom (see Appendix A).
I will use the results from the survey and the students’ academic level (using MAPS test scores administered at the beginning of the school year) to determine dual language pairs. During the three-week data collection period, I plan to informally observe my students as they work independently in their dual language pairs. I will use a rubric as a way to quantitatively assess these observations (see Appendix B).
A dual language word wall will be created for frequently used academic math vocabulary. The word wall will display the English and Yup’ik version of each term.
I plan on utilizing two native-speaking teacher aides in my classroom. Both aides will assist students when needed in their native language using the academic math vocabulary from the dual language word wall.
The students will be given at least one chapter exam during the data collection period. This quantitative data will be compared to the results gathered from exams 1 and 2, which were administered before the study began. During the exam, I will use testing accommodations, such as administering the test by a familiar person (myself), reading the test questions aloud, and giving the students extended time to finish their test.
The purpose of this research study is to determine if these dual language strategies will increase student understanding of the academic language of math and learning of the complex math content. I am also hoping that the strategies I implement will help my students meet the Common Core State Standards of mathematics, such as making sense of problems and persevering to solve them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, and constructing viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others (CCSS, 2012).