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Evaluation of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model into an Elementary School

Classroom Environment and Student Outcomes

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2013 110 Pages

Pedagogy - Common Didactics, Educational Objectives, Methods

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Declaration

Abstract

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 Introduction to Chapter
1.2 Background Information
1.2.1 STEM Education
1.2.2 Description of Morriss Elementary
1.2.3 STEM Professional Development Model
1.2.4 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STARR)
1.3 Significance of This Study
1.4 Purpose of This Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.7 Overview of the Chapters of This Study

Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction to Chapter 2
2.2 Historical Background of Educational Environments Research
2.3 Learning Environment Instruments
2.3.1 Varieties of Learning Environment Questionnaires
2.3.2 What Is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC)
2.3.3 Test Of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA)
2.4 Research Involving Classroom Environment Research
2.4.1 Associations Between Student Outcomes and Classroom Environment
2.4.2 Evaluations of Educational Innovations
2.8 Summary of Literature Review

Chapter 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction to Chapter 3
3.2 Methods of Data Analysis for Research Questions
3.2.1 Data Analysis of Research Question #1
3.2.2 Data Analysis of Research Question #2
3.2.3 Data Analysis of Research Question #3
3.3 Learning Environment Instrument
3.3.1 Selection and Modification of Learning Environment Scales
3.3.2 Development of the Modified Attitude Scale
3.3.3 Final Development of the Learning Environment Instrument
3.4 Sample
3.5 Data Collection Procedures
3.8 Summary of Chapter 3

Chapter 4 ANALYSES AND RESULTS
4.1 Introduction to Chapter 4
4.2 Validity and Reliability of Learning Environment Scales Based the WIHIC and an Attitude Scale Based on the TOSRA
4.2.1 Factor Analysis of the Learning Environment Scales based on the 56 WIHIC (Investigation, Cooperation and Involvement) and an Attitude Scale (Enjoyment) from the TOSRA
4.2.2 Internal Consistency Reliability of Learning Environment 58 Scales Based on the WIHIC (Investigation, Cooperation, and Involvement) and TOSRA attitude scale (Enjoyment)
4.2.3 Ability of the Learning Environment Scales Based on the WIHIC 60 to Differentiate Between Classrooms
4.3 Effectiveness of Integrated STEM Professional Development for 60 Mathematics Teachers
4.3.1 Comparison of Perceived Learning Environment for Students of 61 STEM (Morriss) Professional Development Model and Students of Traditional Professional Development Model
4.3.2 Student Achievement for Students of STEM Professional 63 Development Model and Students of Traditional Professional Development Model
4.3.3 Student Attitude for Students of STEM Professional Development 64 Model and Students of Traditional Professional Development Model
4.6 Summary of Analyses and Results

Chapter 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction to Chapter 5
5.2 Summary of Chapters
5.3 Findings
5.3.1 Findings for the Validity and Reliability of the Learning 75 Environment Scales Based on the WIHIC and an Attitude Scale Based on the TOSRA
5.3.2 Findings of the Effectiveness of teacher training through an 76 integrated STEM model in terms of (a) the learning environment as perceived by students, (b) student achievement, and (c) student attitudes
5.3.3 Findings for Associations for Student Outcomes (Achievement 79 and Attitudes) and the Learning Environment
5.4 Contributions to the Field of Learning Environments
5.5 Limitations of This Study
5.6 Future Direction

REFERENCES

APPENDICES

Appendix 1 Learning Environment Questionnaires

Abstract

The effectiveness of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model for elementary teachers was evaluated in terms of students’ perceptions of the classroom learning environment and student outcomes towards mathematics. The sample consisted of 664 grade 3 – 5 mathematics students from 41 mathematics classrooms. Students from a STEM focused elementary school (Morriss) provided 191 student responses with 473 student responses coming from 4 other elementary schools within the same school district. The students responded to a learning environment questionnaire based on three scales from the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) and the attitude scale from the Test Of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA).

Factor structure, internal consistency reliability, discriminate validity, and the ability to distinguish between different classes were supported by data analysis of Morriss and Other student groups. An ANOVA was used which produced statistically significant differences in the Cooperation scale. Morriss students’ perceived higher levels of cooperation in their classrooms relative to Other students from schools within the same school district. Student outcomes (Achievement and Attitudes) showed a significant difference suggesting that the Morriss students may be performing better on Achievement assessments based on teacher preparation. However, data also suggest Similar groups of students enjoy their mathematics class at a significantly higher level than Morriss students.

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1.1 Typical 3Rd Grade Schedule

Table 2.1 Scales from Eight Learning Environment Instruments Classified 17 According to Moos’ Scheme

Table 2.2 Description and Sample Item of each WIHIC Scale

Table 2.3 Description and Sample Item of each TOSRA Scale

Table 3.1 Integrated STEM Professional Development Component matched to 44 Corresponding WIHIC Scale

Table 4.1 Factor Loadings for the WIHIC scales (Investigation, Cooperation, and 57 Involvement) and TOSRA attitude scale (Enjoyment) form

Table 4.2 Internal Consistency Reliability (Cronbach Alpha Coefficient), 59 Discriminant Validity (Mean Correlation with Other Scales), and Ability to Differentiate Between Schools (ANOVA Results) for the WIHIC Scales (Investigation, Cooperation, and Involvement) and the Attitude Scale from the TOSRA (Enjoyment)

Table 4.3 Mean Raw Score for State Assessment, Average Standard Deviation, 63 Effect size and t Tests for Differences between Achievement of Morriss Students and Similar Groups of Students

Table 4.4 Average Item Mean for Attitude Scale (Enjoyment), Average Standard 65 Deviation, Effect size and t Tests for Differences between Attitudes of Morriss Students and Similar Groups of Students

Table 4.5 Simple Correlation and Multiple Regression Analyses for Associations 67 Between Attitudes and Achievement and Learning Environment Scales

Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction to Chapter 1

The purpose of this study will involve evaluating the effectiveness of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model in terms of its impact on classroom learning environments and student outcomes. Using a learning environment questionnaire, students’ perceptions of their classroom environment will be assessed. The goal of this study is to evaluate the STEM Professional Development Model and its effectiveness in promoting a positive classroom environment and student outcomes.

In Chapter 1, Section 1.2 discusses background information, including a description of STEM Education in Section 1.2.1, a description of the Morriss Elementary School in Section 1.2.2, a description of the STEM Professional Development Model and Requirements in Section 1.2.3 and a description of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in Section 1.2.4. The significance of this study is described in Section 1.3, the Purpose of the Study in Section 1.4 and the specific Research Questions to be answered are described in Section 1.5.

Section 1.3 delineates specific research questions. The last section of this chapter gives an overview of contents of this thesis.

1.2 Background Information

In order to have a good understanding of the context of this study, a certain amount of background information is needed. The next few sections provide a definition of STEM education (Section 1.2.1), a description of Morriss Elementary School (Section 1.2.2), a description of the professional development requirements provided to the educators at Morriss Elementary (Section 1.2.3) and finally, a description of the State of Texas Assessment for Academic Readiness (Section 1.2.4).

1.2.1 STEM Education

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is defined in many ways. Some look at the acronym, STEM, and immediately focus on the four separate disciplines. For the purposes of this study, the focus isintegrated STEM education, which refers to a new name for the traditional approach to teaching science and mathematics. Integrated STEM education is not just the grafting of ‘technology’ and ‘engineering’ layers onto standard science and mathematics curricula. Instead, integrated STEM education is an approach to teaching that is larger than its academic parts. As Janice Morrison (2008) of the Teaching Institute for Essential Science puts it, integrated STEM education is a ‘meta-discipline’ (NHSA, 2009).

The following statement from the National High School Alliance on STEM education describes the ‘meta-discipline’ as one that “removes the traditional barriers erected between the four disciplines by integrating the four subjects into one cohesive means of teaching and learning. The engineering component puts emphasis on the process and design of solutions instead of the solutions themselves. This approach allows students to explore mathematics and science in a more personalized context, while helping them to develop the critical thinking skills that can be applied to all facets of their work and academic lives. Engineering is the method that students utilize for discovery, exploration, and problem-solving” (NHSA, 2009).

The Morriss professional development model was built upon the philosophy of an Integrated STEM approach as well as STEM being a ‘meta-discipline’. The goal of this study is to evaluate whether the STEM professional development is effective in producing a positive classroom environment and student outcomes. In the next two sections, a description of the Morriss School will be provided (1.2.2), as well as a description of the professional development model provided to the teachers at the Morriss School (1.2.3).

1.2.2 Description of Morriss Elementary

Morriss Elementary School is located in North East Texas. The K–5 school opened in 2007 as the first stage to building a P–16 STEM pipeline to Texas A&M University Texarkana (TAMUT). Morriss Elementary does not have an attendance zone. Typical elementary schools are designed to serve a student population within a defined geographical area, so that families, who have a home within the geographical area, send their children to that school. Morriss Elementary was located in another school’s attendance zone with the understanding that any family in a greater geographical area could send their child to school at Morriss depending on space available. The space available is confined to 66 students per grade level. Once enrolled, the student has preference to stay at the school for their entire K–5 educational career. Morriss Elementary employs a self-contained concept for the classroom setting. In other words, each teacher is responsible for teaching all core subjects to the 22 students in their classroom. An example of a third grade schedule is shown below in Table 1.1:

Table 1.1 Typical 3rd Grade Schedule

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The daily schedule for Morriss Elementary reflects all grade levels starting their morning with one hour of engineering. Engineering is not a typical course taught at the elementary level and thus is unique to Morriss elementary, the engineering course is considered part of the core curriculum for the school. While the course schedule also reflects a normal block of time for the other core content areas, it is the instructional methods employed by the teachers that are uniquely different. The professional development behind teaching teachers new instructional methods is the premise behind changing the classroom learning environment and producing better student outcomes. A more detailed description is provided in the next section on teacher professional development (1.2.3).

1.2.3 STEM (Morriss) Professional Development Model

Providing a high-quality teacher professional development program for an integrated STEM curriculum was essential to establishing Morriss Elementary. The essential foundation and approach to professional development for the Morriss teachers had been established through a district-led commitment to seeking methods and strategies to support changing the way in which students learn, and to producing students who possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills and abilities. Utilizing integrated STEM education to promote this shift in teaching values and teaching methods provided the district with the necessary framework for implementing a dramatically different approach to teaching. This has resulted in creating a school culture that embraces teachers as facilitators. The result has been the acceptance of integrated STEM education and an expectation of achievement and renewed commitment to educational excellence shared by the Morriss teachers. The following subsections describe the framework and expectations for professional development through required coursework in order to be employed at the Morriss school.

Teachers with a Master’s Degree (K-5)

Teachers who already had a Master’s degree were required to take eighteen (18) hours of specific graduate level coursework with Texas A&M University/Texarkana within the first two years of assignment at the school. Graduate coursework consisted of two courses in curriculum and instruction, and four courses in mathematics. The specified coursework led to a Master Mathematics Teacher Certification (EC-4).

Teachers without a Master’s Degree(K-5)

Teachers who did not currently have a Master’s degree were required to complete a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction within the first three years. Teachers without a Master’s degree were required to take eighteen (18) hours of specific graduate coursework with Texas A&M University/Texarkana within the first two years of assignment. The coursework consisted of two courses in curriculum and instruction, and four courses in mathematics. Finally, teachers had to complete the remaining 18 hours of graduate coursework needed to complete a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from TAMUT. The specified coursework led to a Master Mathematics Teacher Certification (EC-4).

Two key courses were identified as being imperative to the teacher professional development program, namely,Curriculum DesignandCurriculum Delivery. The syllabus for each course presented new STEM teachers with a variety of tasks and exercises that included research and information gathering, exploration of curriculum and instruction methods, project-based classroom instruction, and self-evaluation. The courses were team taught, utilizing the expertise of the Curriculum Coordinator who is a former secondary mathematics teacher, along with the Curriculum Specialist who is a former elementary mathematics teacher who brings experience and knowledge from outside the district to support the curriculum and instruction design process. The four-week coursework is also structured to foster teamwork and collaborative curriculum development through the project-based outcomes designed for the course, and through modeling of these practices by the course instructors.

Emphasis on research and self-evaluation as a method for constant improvement is also an important dimension of the professional development that prepares teachers to actively use technology in the classroom to access new information and ideas. Utilizing a research-based approach, professional development instructors are able to provide answers and information to support the premise of integrated STEM education, and also provided modeling of this approach through the method of instruction. The resulting buy-in of the new teaching methods, and of the premise of STEM’s focus on engineering and mathematics, provided a solid foundation for effective curriculum development.

The teacher professional development produced some requirements that were to be inherent in the integrated STEM culture when delivering the curriculum. The requirements were to deliver a curriculum using the following:

- Hands-on learning
- Constructivism
- Leadership and articulation
- Cooperative learning.

For the purposes of this study, the four components that teachers will inherently practice in their classrooms can be measured for effectiveness as the professional development relates to producing a positive classroom learning environment and student outcomes.

Another key component is the monitoring and review process that was established to ensure the teacher professional development components are being supported. Also through peer review, and collaboration during common planning time, feedback is provided on an ongoing basis. This process is led by a curriculum coach for the Morriss school who is responsible for meeting with the Morriss teachers on a regular basis to continually adjust the design and delivery of the curriculum through collaboration. Conducting classroom observations and research, the curriculum coach is able to adequately provide teacher support. Additionally, teachers have a common grade-level planning time and they meet at regular intervals to discuss effective delivery methods.

Morriss Elementary is now in its fifth year of operation. The learning behaviors of the Morriss teachers have had adequate time to change and thus change the learning environment of the classroom. A comprehensive evaluation of the professional development model will include not only the traditional student achievement outcomes, but also the student perceptions of their classroom learning environment. The next section (1.2.4) provides a brief review of the state assessment utilized as the achievement measure in this study.

1.2.4 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) are a series of state mandated standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools to assess a student's achievement and knowledge learned in a particular grade level. It tests curriculum taught from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which in turn is taught by public schools. The test is developed by Pearson Education, along with the close supervision of the Texas Education Agency.

The STAAR assessments are based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the standards designed to prepare students to succeed in college and careers and to compete globally. The new STAAR assessments test content students studied that year, as opposed to testing content studied over multiple years. This process strengthens the alignment between what is taught and what is tested for a given course of study. The STAAR mathematics, reading, writing, and social studies assessments in grades 3–8 continue to address only those TEKS taught in the given subject and grade.

Schools who receive funds from the state of Texas are required to enforce these tests among students who attend the schools. Any private school, charter school, or home schooling that does not receive monetary support from Texas is not required to take the STAAR test, and as of May 2012 can only take the TAKS test via ordering from Pearson. This study involves a public school entity and therefore utilization of a standardized state assessment was used as an achievement measure. The next section (1.3) describes the significance of this study.

1.3 Significance of This Study

The research related to an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model will provide guidance in utilizing learning environments research as an evaluation tool to help school officials reflect on the quality of professional development as it directly effects the mathematics classroom environment. The unique contribution of this study will provide a learning environment program analysis to new and innovative STEM professional development models in evaluating the changes in the classroom learning environment and student outcomes based on the extent of changing teaching behaviors. This study will contribute to previous studies that have enhanced teacher professional development in terms of the classroom learning environments. This study will also add to the validly and reliability of the selected scales from the What Is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC) and the Test Of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA) questionnaire for use with elementary students. Finally the study will provide research evidence showing which classroom environment dimensions have a positive impact on the student outcomes of achievement and attitudes. Section 1.4 describes the purpose of this study.

1.4 Purpose of This Study

The purpose of this study was to evaluate an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model for elementary teachers in terms of their students’ classroom environment perceptions and student outcomes with regards to Achievement and Attitude. Research questions involved validating a learning environment questionnaire based on scales from the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire and an attitude scale modeled on the Test Of Science-Related Attitudes (TOSRA), as well as investigating outcome-environment associations. The main and unique purpose of the present study is to compare the attitudes and learning environment perceptions of students taught by teachers who have been prepared through the Integrated STEM Professional Development Model relative to students taught by more traditional professional development experienced teachers. The next section (1.5) describes the research questions developed to evaluate the Integrated STEM Professional Development Model.

1.5 Research Questions

Evaluating an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model in terms of its impact on classroom learning environments and student outcomes (Pickett & Fraser 2009) is the thrust of this study. Because previous studies have shown a relationship between environment and student outcomes, I will also investigate outcome-environment associations (McRobbie & Fraser, 1993). To investigate this problem, the following specific research questions have been delineated for this study:

1. Is a modified version of the WIHIC valid and reliable for measuring the learning environment of students in grades 3–5 mathematics classes in Texas?
2. Is teacher training through an integrated STEM model effective in terms of (a) the learning environment as perceived by students, (b) student achievement, and (c) student attitudes?
3. Are there associations between student outcomes (achievement and attitudes) and the learning environment?

1.6 Overview of the Chapters of This Study

The main thrust of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model in terms of elementary mathematics students’ perceptions of their classroom learning environment and outcome associations of achievement and attitude towards mathematics. Chapter 1 outlined background information relative to this study, the significance of this study, purpose of the study, and the relevant research questions.

Chapter 2 reviews literature on areas related to this study which began with a historical background of the field of learning environments. Eight learning environment instruments and their development, validation, and utilization were discussed. A more heavily related focus was devoted to the development and use of the What Is Happening In This Class? (WIHIC) and the Test Of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA) since three WIHIC scales and the attitude scale from the TOSRA were used in this study. Finally an emphasis was placed on historical use of learning environments related to outcome associations with learning environments and learning environments studies involved with evaluating educational innovations.

Chapter 3 focused on the research methodology of this study. Specific research questions developed for this study is reviewed. In addition data analysis for each research question is discussed. The first research question dealt with the validity and reliability of the research instrument used in this study. The second research question focuses more on the effectiveness of the Integrated STEM Professional Development Model in terms of student perceptions of their learning environments and student outcomes. The third research question focused on associations between student outcomes and the learning environments scales. Also discussed in Chapter 3 are the learning environment instrument utilized and how the scales were selected. The sample and data analysis related to each research question are summarized.

Chapter 4 presents the results of this study. It provides results pertinent to the validation of the instruments that were used to assess students’ perceptions of their learning environments and attitudes towards mathematics.

Chapter 4 is devoted to reporting the analysis and results of the statistical analyses that were conducted to answer three research questions related the effectiveness of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model for elementary teachers. Validity of the use of a learning environment instrument, internal consistency reliability, and discriminant validity are reported in this chapter. Professional development’s impact on student outcomes (Achievment and Attitude), and associations between student outcomes (Achievement and Attitudes) and the learning environment are reported.

Chapter 5, the final chapter, summarizes and discusses all aspects of this study and proposes further studies into the factors involved and conclusions based on the data found. Chapter 5 also discusses the limitations and significance of this study and identifies desirable directions for future research.

Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction to Chapter 2

Teachers have a profound effect on their students by molding and shaping the classroom environment. The classroom environment can be positive or negative depending on a variety of dynamics within the classroom setting. If teachers are trained to promote a positive classroom environment, then students’ perceptions of their learning environment will also reflect a positive environment. One model of providing teacher training is through an integrated STEM approach, which is the premise of this study. In order to measure the effects of the STEM teacher training, student perceptions of their classroom environment will be assessed using a learning environment instrument. Therefore, it is important to review the literature which surrounds the field of learning environments. An initial review of literature reveals that the last several years have seen limited attention to the attitudes, educational styles, the nature of the classroom environment, and the instructional methods of teachers (Putnam & Borko, 2000). Also, there is a relatively small amount of literature dealing with the effectiveness of methods used for teaching educators new techniques for enriching the classroom environment. This study will help add to past studies in the field of learning environments.

This literature review is organized into specific topics that are central to the research questions being investigated. The literature review includes information about the background of the field of learning environments (Section 2.2), learning environments instruments (Section 2.3), and past learning environments studies (Section 2.4).

2.2 Historical Background of Educational Environments Research

The learning environment field has grown into a viable and flexible filed of research since its foundation that began in 1936 by Lewin. Lewin’s formula, B=f (P, E), states that behavior is a function of the interactions between a person and the environment. Murray followed Lewin’s research in 1938, identifying a Needs-Press Model in which an individual’s personal needs, or motivational personality characteristics, represent a person’s tendency to move toward their respective goals. However, there exists an environmental press that could run counter to a person’s needs (Fraser, 1986). During the 1960s and 1970s, Herbert Walberg developed the Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) to use as the evaluation instrument with the Harvard Project Physics (Walberg & Anderson, 1968). Rudolph Moos simultaneously developed the Classroom Environment Scale (CES) to use as an evaluation instrument to determine how individuals and groups of individuals react to their environment; to investigate what factors can affect their reaction to the environment; and to explore associations between the environment and student outcomes (Moos, 1974).

Learning environment studies that were introduced by Walberg and Moos over 70 years ago and have led to major research programs and analytical reviews, books (Fraser, 1986; Fraser & Walberg, 1991; Goh & Khine, 2002; Moos, 1979; Walberg, 1979), literature reviews (Fraser, 1994, 1998a, 1998b) and articles. Research has led to the idea of assessing classroom environments as criteria of evaluation when new methods of teaching are developed (Maor & Fraser, 1996; Mink & Fraser, 2005). This research builds on past work in the investigations of student perceptions of their classroom learning environment associated with teachers receiving professional development to change the dynamics of the classroom.

2.3 Learning Environment Instruments

Many learning environment instruments have been developed since the work of Walberg and Moos (Fraser, 1998a). Some examples include theWhat Is Happening In this Class?(WIHIC) (Chionh & Fraser, 2009; Aldridge, Fraser & Huang, 1999),My Class Inventory(MCI) (Majeed, Fraser, & Aldridge, 2002; Fraser 1982), and theConstructivist Learning Environment Survey(CLES) (Aldridge, Fraser, Taylor & Chen, 2000; Sebela, Fraser, & Aldridge, 2004; Nix, Fraser & Ledbetter, 2005). These instruments have been used in several lines of research reviewed by Fraser (1998b), including investigations of associations between learning outcomes and classroom environments (McRobbie & Fraser, 1993), cross-national studies (Aldridge, Fraser, & Huang, 1999; Aldridge, Fraser, Taylor, & Chen, 2000), and the evaluation of educational innovations (Khoo & Fraser, 2008; Martin-Dunlop & Fraser, 2007; Lightburn & Fraser, 2007; Fraser & Lee, 2009).

According to Fraser (2002), there are six areas of research which have utilized classroom environment assessments: examination of relationships between student outcomes and classroom environment, evaluation of educational innovations, evaluation of differences between students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the same classrooms, identification of determinants of classroom environment, use of qualitative research methods, and cross-national studies. This study will focus on the evaluation of the effectiveness of the educational innovations teachers receive through an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model. Most learning environment instruments provide information about students’ perceptions of their learning environment (Fraser 2002). Learning environment questionnaires measure the students’ perceptions of, as well as the teachers’ ability to create, a positive learning environment. Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the learning environment can provide valuable information to guide improvements in the quality of the learning environment and, subsequently, student outcomes (Fraser, 1998a).

Table 2.1 provides a list of learning environment instruments, year of development, and their corresponding dimension measured by each scale. This information is helpful to the researcher in narrowing down the appropriate tool to use in measuring certain learning environment characteristics.

Table 2.1 Scales from Eight Learning Environment Instruments Classified According to Moos’ Scheme

illustration not visible in this excerpt

2.3.1 Varieties of Learning Environment Questionnaires

As part of this study, it is important to know the variety of learning environment instruments available in order for the researcher to choose an ideal instrument in answering specific research questions. The most common instruments used today are described in Table 2.1. The table identifies the instrument, year of development, and classification of the scales according to Moos’s dimensions of human environment (Moos, 1974). Moos’s dimensions are: Relationship; Personal Development; and System Maintenance and System Change. The Relationship dimensions refer to the kind and strength of the personal relationships in the environment, the degree of involvement in the environment and the assistance given to each other. Personal Development dimensions measure the fundamental path of personal growth and self-enrichment. System Maintenance and System Change dimensions measure the degree of orderliness, control and responsiveness to change in the environment.

Initial development and validation of a preliminary version of theLearning Environment Inventory(LEI) began in the late 1960s in conjunction with the evaluation and research related to Harvard Project Physics (Fraser, Anderson, & Walberg, 1982; Walberg & Anderson, 1968). The final version of the LEI contained a total of 105 statements with seven items per scale which are descriptive of a typical classroom. Students or teachers would express their degree of agreement or disagreement with each statement using the four responses of Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree and Strongly Agree. Some items were negatively worded and thus the scoring was reversed for those items. A typical item in the Cohesiveness scale is “All students know each other very well” and in the Speed scale is “The pace of the class is rushed”.

TheClassroom Environment Scale(CES) was developed by Rudolf Moos at Stanford University (Fisher & Fraser, 1981; Moos, 1979) and grew out of research involving perceptions that measure a variety of human environments including psychiatric hospitals, prisons, university residences and work milieus (Moos, 1974). The final published version of the CES contained nine scales with 10 items with a True/False response format in each scale. Typical items in the CES are “The teacher takes a personal interest in the students” (Teacher Support) and “There is a clear set of rules for students to follow” (Rule Clarity).

TheIndividualized Classroom Environment Questionnaire(ICEQ) focused on environmental areas of the classroom that differ from conventional classrooms. The initial development of the ICEQ (Fraser & Rentoul , 1980) was guided by: the literature on individualized open and inquiry-based education; extensive interviewing of teachers and secondary school students; and reactions to draft versions sought from selected experts, teachers and junior high school students. The published version of the ICEQ (Fraser, 1990) contained 50 items, with 10 items belonging to each of the five scales. Item responses were on a five-point scale with the alternatives of Almost Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often and Very Often. The scoring direction was again reversed for negatively worded items. Typical items are “The teacher considers students' feelings” (Personalization) and “Different students use different books, equipment and materials” (Differentiation).

The LEI was simplified to form the My Classroom Inventory (MCI) for use among children 8–12 years of age (Fisher & Fraser, 1981; Fraser, Anderson, & Walberg, 1982; Fraser & O'Brien, 1985). The MCI was developed originally for use at the primary school level, but it also has been found to be useful with students in the junior high school. The MCI differs from the LEI in four ways. First, in order to minimize fatigue among younger children, the MCI contains only five scales of the original 15 scales for the LEI. Second, item wording was simplified to help with the readability of the instruments’ items. Third, the LEI's four-point response format was reduced to a two-point Yes/No response format. Fourth, student answers were recorded on the questionnaire itself instead of on a separate response sheet and thus, aided in avoiding transcription errors. The final form of the MCI contained 38 items, with typical items being “Children are always fighting with each other” (Friction) and “Children seem to like the class” (Satisfaction). Although the MCI traditionally has been used with a Yes/No response format, Goh, Young, and Fraser (1995) have successfully used a three-point response format (Seldom, Sometimes and Most of the Time) with a modified version of the MCI which includes a Task Orientation scale.

The College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI) were developed for use in small classes with thirty or fewer students sometimes referred to as seminars (Fraser & Treagust, 1986; Fraser, Treagust, & Dennis, 1986). The CUCEI was used in focus more on higher educational classroom environments (Halpin & Croft, 1963; Stern, 1970). The final form of the CUCEI contained seven scales containing seven items in each scale. Each item has four responses (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) and once again negatively worded items were reversed scored which consisted of approximately half of the items. Typical items are “Activities in this class are clearly and carefully planned” (Task Orientation) and “Teaching approaches allow students to proceed at their own pace” (Individualization).

The Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) was developed in the Netherlands and focused on the nature and quality of interpersonal relationships between teachers and students (Créton, Hermans, & Wubbels, 1990; Wubbels, Brekelmans, & Hooymayers, 1991). Drawing upon a theoretical model of proximity (cooperation–opposition) and influence (dominance–submission), the QTI was developed to assess student perceptions of 8 behavioral scales. Each item has a five-point response scale ranging from Never to Always. Typical items are “She/he gives us a lot of free time” (Student Responsibility and Freedom behavior) and “She/he gets angry” (Admonishing behavior).

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Pages
110
Year
2013
ISBN (eBook)
9783656499077
ISBN (Book)
9783656499701
File size
663 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v233306
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Hooks Independend School Distict
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evaluation integrated stem professional development model elementary school classroom environment student outcomes

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Title: Evaluation of an Integrated STEM Professional Development Model into an Elementary School