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Action Research Proposal

The problem is that ninth grade students


at our school have a disproportionate
amount of failures in core courses. Upon
narrowing the problem, an intervention
will be implemented.

Action Research Proposal

The Problem Quantitatively:

1/3 of ninth grade students failed one or more core class in


semester I
About 40% of ninth grade students are on academic
probation (below 2.4)
Their tutoring attendance is poor

50% of ninth grade students have a failing assessment


average in one or more classes
50% of ninth grade students have below a 70% on
homework.
While constituting 28% of the school, ninth graders account
for 45% of behavior referrals

Action Research Proposal

The Problem Qualitatively:

The majority of ninth grade teachers state that many 9 th


graders are lacking study skills and interpersonal skills
needed to be successful
According to teachers and the Dean of Students, the
dissonance between behavior expectations in the high
school and middle school causes problems as well
There is a lot of disruptions in classes
There are a disproportionate number of suspensions for ninth
grade students

Action Research Proposal

The Problem through Literature:


Ninth grade students may be at risk of failing
courses due to intrapersonal issues and
subsequent anxiety and stress (Suldo, 2013,
p.200).
Unfamiliarity with the structure of a new
school also makes the transition to high school
challenging (Suldo, 2013, p.199).
Transitioning to a larger school with less
teacher support often results in a poor
relationship with teachers (Uvaas, 2013, p.71).
Action Research Proposal

The Problem through Literature:


There is a strong correlation between ninth
grade failure and high school dropout rates
(Geltner, 2011, p.48).
There is often an unrealistic expectation of
student skills when entering ninth grade
(Geltner, 2011, p.48)

Action Research Proposal

Why Has The Problem Not Been Addressed?


There have been attempts!
Grade level meetings
Summer Success Academy

Many feel that this problem is due to actions in


the middle school and we are powerless
We have accepted that ninth grade is a year of
adjustment and that students are destined to
struggle

Action Research Proposal

Why Action Research is the Answer


Our approach with ninth grade students is
not working
We need to turn to research-based approaches
Action

Research is a cyclical process

We need to better collect an analyze data on the


effectiveness of our interventions
We must make improvements and strive for
continuous improvement

Action Research Proposal

The Purpose of the Project is to


increase the core course passing
rate of our ninth grade students.

Action Research Proposal

As one of the two Building


Administrators, it is my role to identify
problems that need to be addressed.
This is a major problem that our school
faces year after year. I have the
authority to work with other school
leaders and institute changes that we
deem are beneficial. Therefore, I am
responsible for instituting interventions
and changing policies to assist the
development of our students.
Action Research Proposal

Why this Topic:


Every year we begin with 200 ninth grade
students and 175 tenth grade students.
Students who fail ninth grade are more
likely to fail in subsequent grades as content
builds.
It is our responsibility to address our newest
students and support their transition.

Action Research Proposal

Action Research Proposal

Action Research Proposal

The problem at hand involves their failures


Only students truly know the reasons for their failure(s)
Study time
Effort
Situation in 8th grade
Peer relationships
How they view relationship with teacher

Action Research Proposal

The why is what the survey aims to uncover


Poor 8th to 9th transition
Underdevelopment of organization skills
Underdevelopment of study skills
Negative peer relationships
Negative relationship with teachers
Behavior issues
Attendance issues

Action Research Proposal

Title: Improving Transitions to High School: A Review of


Current Research and Practice
Authors: Trina Uvaas & Brian McKevitt
Purpose: The article summarizes current research on 9th
grade student struggles and transition strategies to
mitigate such struggles.
Pertinent Findings
Stressors, such as anxiety and loneliness, coincide with
low academic performance.
Self-report data revealed that student struggled
transitioning to:
less teacher and administrator support
less classroom autonomy
less involvement in activities
lower self-esteem.
Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings Cont.


Positive supports found in research include:
group advisory periods
interdisciplinary team teaching
student shadow days
summer meeting with transition curriculum
a buddy program
a caring classroom culture
cohort groups
identify students dealing with multiple stressors.

Action Research Proposal

Title: Changes in Stress and Psychological


Adjustment During the Transition to High School
Among Freshmen in an Accelerated Curriculum
Authors: Shannon Suldo & Elizabeth ShaunessyDedrick
Purpose: The study aimed to gauge whether
students who were enrolled in rigorous,
challenging courses experienced greater levels of
stress and if the stress is related to the
curriculum

Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings
Students involved in rigorous curriculum with high
expectations experienced increased levels of stress
due to high expectations
This increased level of stress did not have a
disproportionate negative influence on their
psychological functioning, when compared to general
tracked students
Both groups equally experienced declines in life satisfaction
There was an increase in social anxiety amongst both groups

Action Research Proposal

Title: Improving High School Transition with CAT Camp


Authors: Jill Geltner, Brian Law, Amanda Forehand, Dinah
Mills
Purpose: To determine the success of a ninth grade summer
day camp, entitled CAT camp.
Pertinent Findings
Students who attended the transition camp had higher
g.p.a.s, less referrals, and better attendance.
Students were interested in information about school
sturcture, academics, and procedures
The CAT camp decreased anxiety of students
School counselors played a vital role in the camp
The camp should be catered to the students specific needs

Action Research Proposal

Title: Supporting Young Adolescents' Middle-toHigh-School Transition by Creating a Ninth Grade


Community of Care
Authors: Cheryl Ellerbrock and Sarah Kiefer
Purpose: This article spoke to the effectiveness of
transition programs hinged upon promoting
competency, autonomy, and relatedness. The
program was for sixteen session in the first two
months of school.

Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings
It is vital that school implement programs to ease the
transition and allow personnel to meet new students.
Small learning communities (SLC) can help personalize
the high school experience by addressing social and
academic needs
The selection of staff is of the utmost importance.
Trained in mentoring
Scheduled to continue relationships with students after program

Sessions should focus on goals, career development,


leadership skills, study skills, and organization skills
It is powerful to have academic and behavior incentives

Action Research Proposal

Title: Effective Ninth-Grade Transition Programs


Can Promote Student Success
Authors: Victoria Roybal, Bill Thornton, and Janet
Usinger
Purpose: This article identifies specific struggles
faced by ninth grade students. It identifies
transition programs that can mitigate the culture
shock of high school and the core components of
such programs.

Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings
It is vital to have the involvement of parents in the
transition program.
Incentive programs are powerful for attendance,
behavior, and grades.
A very beneficial component of transitions is often
assistance with homework after school.
Small Learning Communities (SLC) can be coordinated
by placing a groups of students in same core courses
with a set group of teachers who have a common prep.
Peer mentoring programs allow upperclassmen to
mentor freshmen
Academic skills classes are supplemental classes that
enable 9th grade students to address deficiencies.

Action Research Proposal

Title: The Interplay Between Adolescent Needs


and Secondary School Structures
Authors: Cheryl Ellerbrock and Sarah Kiefer
Purpose: The article uses self-determination
theory and stage-environment fir theory to
examine students basic developmental needs
and how that relates to the thructure secondary
schools

Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings

Students developmental needs for greater


behavioral autonomy, inclusion among peers, and
connections with adults are often not met with the
structure of high school (less personal, more
controlling environment)
Interdisciplinary teaming to address student needs,
blocked groups, homerooms, and extended planning
time support student needs for connectedness,
community and positive peer relationships
Unstructured time (lunch, passing time, after school
activities) resulted in more negative peer
interactions, such as bullying, gossiping, etc.

Action Research Proposal

Title: Eighth-Grade School Form and Resilience in the


Transition to high School
Authors: Christopher Weiss and Christine Baker-Smith
Purpose: This study examines if attending middle
school, compared to k-8 school, negatively affects
student performance in the first year of high school.

Action Research Proposal

Pertinent Findings
Students who attend middle school for 8th grade
have significantly lower grade point averages their
first semester than those that attend a k-8 school
Students who attend a middle school in 8th grade are
more likely to fail a course than students who attend
a k-8 school
Students who attend middle school are less likely to
have friends with a hostile attitude towards school
These findings suggest that a more nurturing and
supportive environment is largely beneficial for
students before they leave for high school

Action Research Proposal

The goal of the intervention is to decrease the number of


failures for ninth grade students in core courses. Two
approaches will be used to achieve this goal:
1.Incoming ninth grade students will attend a summer
transition program, led by ninth grade teachers, with a
structured academic and social curriculum.
2.Students will be placed in cohort groups during the
summer transition program with two senior mentors and
one teacher mentor. These groups will meet bi-weekly
for the students first semester

Action Research Proposal

The program will run for 4 hours per day for 4 weeks of summer
There will be four cohort groups, each of roughly 25 students
Each day students will spend one hour in English, math, science, and social
studies
Four ninth grade teachers will be selected to work in the transition
program
Each cohort will feature two senior mentors who will be given community
service and selected based upon character and academics

Action Research Proposal

Content-specific curriculum based upon the


following:

Deficiencies found through 8th grade NWEA MAP scores


Common Core State Standards
Areas of importance as found through an analysis of the SAT
Collaboration with instructional specialists

Expectations

School-wide behavior expectations


Classroom norms
Tardiness
Dress Code
Completion of homework
Note-taking

Action Research Proposal

Survival Skills
Study Skills
How to study for that specific content
Expectations of study time
Tutoring one another (Worley, p.27)
Office hours
After School tutoring
Organization Skills
How to use a planner effectively
Planning ahead for long-term assignments
Keeping a clean locker
Importance of materials
Action Research Proposal

Social Skills
Interpersonal Relationships
What is a healthy relationship?
How to prevent bullying
How to intervene in a bullying situation safely
(Bhukhanwala, p.4)
How to handle a disagreement with another
student
How to handle a disagreement with a teachers
Dangers of social media

Action Research Proposal

Instruction in the transition program will be


hinged upon:

Collaborative work
Student-centered learning
Frequent checks for understanding
Love and Logic
Higher order questioning
Socratic circles

Action Research Proposal

Cohort groups
Will meet bi-weekly with teacher and senior mentors to
Review expectations
Address problems
Review grades with students
Verify that organization skills are being used
Address trends in grades, behavior, etc.

Will have incentives based upon behavior and academics


Organized competition (Wilkinson, p.6)
Rewards based upon improvement (Wilkinson, p.6)

Action Research Proposal

4 cohort ninth grade teachers will be selected for


summer transition program
Teachers will meet with corresponding instructional
specialists to review 8th grade NWEA data, SAT
exams, and the CCSS to develop a curriculum map
for their content area
Teachers will attend a one day professional
development led by administrators and designated
colleagues on facilitating collaborative work,
student-centered learning, checks for
understanding, love and logic, Socratic circles, and
higher order thinking
Action Research Proposal

Monday: Students will meet mentor teachers (4), mentor


seniors (2) who will move with class throughout day), and
classmates. Classroom norms will be established.
Tuesday: Students will work on deficiencies found through
an analysis of NWEA scores.
Wednesday: Class time with be focused upon:

Math: School-wide rules (part I) class discussion


Science: School-wide rule (part II) Socratic seminar
English: Dress Code lecture and reflection
Social Studies: tardiness Students read and present in groups

Thursday: Students will work on deficiencies found through


an analysis of NWEA scores.
Friday:
Math and English teachers will explain expectations for note-taking
and lead students through note-taking deficiencies found through
an analysis of NWEA scores.
Social Studies and Science teachers will review homework
expectations and assign a homework assignment for the weekend.

Monday: Students will work on deficiencies found through


an analysis of NWEA scores.
Tuesday:
School social worker and counselor will visit English and Social
Studies classes to discuss healthy relationships and how to prevent
bullying.
Math and Science classes will continue to work on deficiencies

found through an analysis of NWEA scores.

Wednesday:
Assistant Principal and counselor will visit Math and Science classes
to discuss how to best handle disagreements with other students or
a teacher.
English and Social Studies classes will continue to work on

deficiencies found through an analysis of NWEA scores.

Thursday:
Classes will all be shortened to 30 minutes to accommodate state
prosecutor visit to discuss dangers of social media
During class time, student will be guided through the process of
creating a class project. Student will begin the project.
Presentation topics will be dangers of social media, dangers of bullying, good
citizenship, how to handle disagreements, how to be a good classmate
Students will have to analyze a small amount of data on their topic and create a
PowerPoint

Friday: Students will work on their presentations for their


first three classes and present in their final class

Monday:
In math and science, students will be presented with new CCSS
concepts.
In Social Studies or English class (the first to occur) , teachers will
discuss organization skills, such as
Keeping a clean locker
Using a planner planners will be provided and checked on Friday
Organizing with folders and binders
Students will write a paper on how they will stay organized in high
school in English or Social Studies (the later class)
Tuesday:
In math and science, students will be presented with study strategies as
well as after school opportunities for the fall. Students will also be
exposed to new CCSS content.
In Social Studies and English, student will students will be presented
with new CCSS concepts.

Action Research Proposal

Wednesday:
In all classes, students will be presented with new CCSS concepts.
Thursday:
In math and science, students will learn new content and be given a
review sheet for the content covered for the week.
In Social Studies and English, student will students will be presented
with new CCSS concepts.

Friday:
In math and science, students will have brief reviews and then be
assessed.
In English and social studies, students will write a paper with partner on
what they learned for the week.

Action Research Proposal

Monday: Students will be exposed to new content in all four courses.


Tuesday: Project rubrics and expectations for all content areas will be established.

Math project will mirror an extended response from Smarter Balance


English project will be a group paper on a novel read
Social Studies project will be a poster board on content learned
Science project will be a short lab and lab report

Wednesday: Students will work collaboratively on projects


Thursday: Students will present projects
Friday:
Students will retake NWEA tests
There will be a completion ceremony with parents invited to conclude the program

Action Research Proposal

All meeting will:


Be held after school for one hour
Feature two senior mentors and teacher mentor
Allow students opportunities to share concerns,
struggles, questions with peers
Provide students with data on their own tardies,
discipline referrals, and grades
Address pertinent issues that have arisen with the
students
Feature pre-constructed topics as well

Action Research Proposal

Week 2: School-wide rules and expectations


Week 4: Identifying where I can improve by
analyzing my progress reports
Week 6: Organization skills

Lockers and planners will be analyzed

Week 8: Social Skills


A review of how to have healthy relationships and
deal with problems

Week 10: Study skills for midterms

Action Research Proposal

Week 12: School-wide rules and


expectations
Week 14: Identifying where I can improve by
analyzing my progress reports
Week 16: Organization skills

Lockers and planners will be analyzed

Week 18: Social Skills


A review of how to have healthy relationships and
deal with problems

Week 20: Study skills for finals


Action Research Proposal

1.

Collectively, ninth grade


students who attend the
summer transition program
and are placed in a cohort
will have fewer failures when
compared to:

Ninth grade students who did


not attend the transition
program
Ninth grade failures of students
who attended the transition
program the year prior
Action Research Proposal

2.

Collectively, ninth grade


students who attend the summer
transition program and are
placed in a cohort will receive
less average behavior referrals
and suspensions than:

Ninth grade students who did not


attend the transition program
Ninth grade students who
attended the transition program
the year prior

Action Research Proposal

NWEA scores upon exiting 8th


grade compared to NWEA scores
at the end of the transition
program
There is no control group because
students not attending will not be
administered the exam
The results will show any increases
in proficiency after the CCSS and
NWEA data-driven instruction
This will document academic growth and
inform planning in the future

Action Research Proposal

Progress & Marking Period Report Cards


Throughout the first semester there will be a
number of report cards to analyze and compare the
percent increase in failures
Progress Report I, Marking Period I, Progress Report II

The percent increase in failures from 8th to


9th grade will be analyzed and compared for:
A.Student in the summer program (75% attendance)
B.Students not enrolled in the summer program
C.Students enrolled in the summer program the year before
(their 9th grade report cards)

Action Research Proposal

Survey on academic readiness


Administered:
First day of the transition program
First day of school
End of Marking period 1

Purpose
Gauge growth in those who attended the transition program
Compare Those who attended the program and those who did not

Action Research Proposal

Action Research Proposal

Semester Report Card


The percent increase in failures from 8th to 9th
grade will be analyzed for:
A. Student in the summer program
B. Students not enrolled in the summer program
C. Students enrolled in the summer program the year
before (their 9th grade report cards)

Survey Results
A.Growth of the students who were enrolled in the
program
B.Comparison of growth from September to January of
students involved and not involved in the cohort

Action Research Proposal

Incident Report from the summer transition program


Compared to students from last years program
Can be analyzed at the two-week mark and at the end of the summer transition program

Suspension totals and Incident totals


Coinciding with progress reports and the end of marking period 1
Comparing percent increase/decrease from 8th grade to 9th grade between the following groups:
Ninth grade who attended the summer transition program (again 75% attendance)
Ninth grade students who did not attend the summer transition program
Last years ninth grade students who attended the transition program (comparison of their 8 th and 9th grade discipline as
well)

Surveys

Administered the same times as the academic surveys


Purpose
Gauge growth in those who attended the transition program
Compare those who attended the program and those who did not

Action Research Proposal

Action Research Proposal

Suspension totals and Incident totals


Will be analyzed at the end of the semester
Comparing percent increase/decrease from 8th grade to 9th grade between the following
groups:
Ninth grade who attended the summer transition program (again 75% attendance)
Ninth grade students who did not attend the summer transition program
Last years ninth grade students who attended the transition program (comparison of
their 8th and 9th grade discipline as well)

Survey Results
Growth of the students who were enrolled in the program
Comparison of growth from September to January of students involved and not involved in
the cohort

Action Research Proposal

If

the transition program is correlated to a


decrease in failures
Overall decrease in failure for students attending the
transition program in 2014 to 2015
Larger decrease in failures for those attending the transition
program than those who did not attend
Growth in student surveys

Action Research Proposal

If

the transition program is correlated to a


decrease in failures
Overall decrease in referrals and suspensions for students
attending the transition program in 2014 to 2015
Fewer referrals and suspension per student for those
attending the transition program than those who did not
attend
Growth in student surveys

Action Research Proposal

Results will be presented to the school board,


administration, and the teachers of the program
Will reward their efforts
Will guide the continuous improvement process
Next years transition program
What to cover with cohort groups
Other interventions for year

Format
PowerPoint Presentation
Data will be provided for analysis
Suggestions will be provided and a debate will occur

Action Research Proposal

Bhukhanwala, F. (2014). Theatre of the Oppressed in an After School Program.


Middle School Journal, 46(1), 3-12. Retrieved June 3, 2015 from ERIC.
Ellerbrock, C., & Kiefer, S. (2014). Supporting Young Adolescents Transition to
High School by Creating a Ninth Grade Community of Care. Middle School
Journal, 45(3). Retrieved May 20, 2015, from ERIC.
Ellerbrock, C., & Kiefer, S. (2013). The Interplay Between Adolescent Needs
and Secondary School Structures. High School Journal, 96(3). Retrieved May
18, 2015, from ERIC.
Geltner, J., Law, B., Forehand, A., & Mills, D. (2011). Improving High School
Transition with CAT Camp. Georgia School Counselors Association Journal,
18(1), 48-53. Retrieved May 2, 2015, from ERIC.
Hendricks, C. (2009). Improving Schools Through Action Research: A
Comprehensive Guide for Educators. (2nd ed.). Merrill.
Action Research Proposal

Mehta, S. S., Newbold, J. J., & O'Rourke, M. A. (2011). Why Do First-Generation


Students Fail?. College Student Journal, 45(1), 20-35. Retrieved June 3, 2015,
from ERIC.
OConner, R., Porowski, A. & Passa, A. (2014). Disproportionality in School
Dicipline: An Assessment of Trends in Maryland 2009-12. Regional Educational
Laboratory Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from ERIC.
Roybal, V., Thornton, B., & Usinger, J. (2014). Effective Ninth-Grade Transition
Programs Can Promote Student Success. Education, 134(4). Retrieved April 18,
2015, from ERIC.
Suldo, S. & Shaunessy-Dedrick, E. (2013). Changes in Stress and Psychological
Adjustment During the Transition to High School Among Freshmen and an
Accelerated Curriculum. Journal of Advanced Academics, 24(3), 195-218.
Retrieved May 2, 2015 from ERIC.

Action Research Proposal

Uvaas, T. & McKevitt, B. (2013). Improving Transitions to High School: A


Review of Current Research and Practice. Preventing School Failure, 57(2), 7076. Retrieved May 2, 2015 from ERIC.
Worley, J. & Naresha, N. (2014). Heterogeneous Peer Tutoring: A Intervention
that Fosters Collaboration and Empowers Learners. Middle School Journal
46(2), 26-32. Retrieved June 3, 2015 from ERIC.
Weiss, C., & Baker-Smith, C. (2010). Eighth Grade School Form and Resilience
in the Transition to High School. Journal on Research of Adolescence, 20(4).
Retrieved May 20, 2015, from ERIC.
Wilkinson, G. (1988). Incentive Programs for Middle School Students.
Retrieved June 3, 2015 from ERIC

Action Research Proposal