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Impact on Student Learning Projects and action research

Impact on Student Learning Projects and Action Research both offer opportunities for beginning teachers to analyze the evidence of student learning in their own classrooms. Like Student Work Sample Interviews, these activities share the benefit of direct evidence from P-12 student work samples and should accelerate new teacher development. Given the time required of early career teachers in both activities, such projects may be most effective for teacher preparation programs where early career teachers continue to take coursework during or following the start of their in-service teaching.

Impact on Student Learning Projects provide a structured opportunity for early career teachers to examine closely their effect on students’ learning.  As the components align closely with edTPA’s Task 3, teacher preparation programs using that assessment might compare results from early career teachers to existing data from student teaching. There are three basic components to this project:

  • samples of student work in pre/post/formative assessments from low, average, and high levels of performance, with teacher feedback included;

  • spreadsheets, graphs, or tables representing student performance data; and

  • analysis and reflection paper.

Table 4.13

Impact on Student Learning Project


Action research

In its simplest definition, action research is research conducted by practitioners in their own work settings, utilizing a typical cycle of “plan-act-observe-reflect.”  While this definition can be overly normative and underestimate the significance of attitudinal changes for developing practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Nias, 1991), its power is that it gives prominence to change in practices or institutions over mere description of them.  In these ways, action research that is designed specifically to examine impact on student learning can serve to improve the practice of both early career teachers and their teacher educators.

Example 1 of Action Research

Table 4.14


Gathering Pre-Post Data on
a Specific Strategy


Example 2 of Action Research

Table 4.15


Comparative Group Studies of Student Learning


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