Using who use the program consistently making greater

Using the classroom to do action research is a means for a teacher to improve their instruction.    Teachers have a vast amount of questions they need to answer about their students learning.   The role of the teacher in using school data is changing.   As Means, Padilla, & Gallagher (2010 cited in Van Lare, 2016) state ”  Ever growing expectations exist for educators to collect, analyze, and interpret data, particularly via increased assessments, with the purported outcome of improving instruction.” A teacher can make best use of the data, by conducting research relevant to their classroom and using the results to drive instruction and classroom and environment  (Yoshikawa, 2018). Research Purpose The teacher conducted research to discover how the usage of an online reading program affected her students’ reading acheivement.  The teacher wanted to answer the questionsHow does usage of an online reading program benefit first grade students reading achievement? And what behaviors does the online reading program improve? Problem StatementIn a first-grade classroom in a suburban school district the 19 students have access to an online blended reading program, Lexia.  The program assesses each student at the beginning and then determines the students needed minutes each week to reach their personal reading progression.  The teacher is held accountable by the district to use the program.  The students show varying degrees of interest in using the program versus reading actual books.  There are students who only want to read using the program and others who never want to use the program. The teacher has a problem does she force students to use the program to meet their minutes as expected by the district? She often asks herself does the use of the program increase reading levels? Are the students who use the program consistently making greater gains(Yoshikawa, 2018)?Literature Review The teacher found several researchers who have studied similiar problems.  In a time of digital learning the question arises are the programs benefitting the students they are intended to serve.  A comprehensive look at the effectiveness of technology to help struggling readers was conducted by Cheung and Slavin (2013).  Schools have been using technology applications to meet the needs of diverse student populations in classrooms (Cheung & Slavin, 2013).  The conclusions of the study were that technology applications produced a small but positive effect in comparison to traditional methods (Cheung & Slavin, 2013. The findings were that a small group intervention with the program had a greater effect on students achievement (Cheung & Slavin, 2013).  The online reading programs are intended to meet the needs of a digital generation (Union, Union & Green, 2015).  Union, Union, and Green (2015) worked to discover if a digital ereader would improve students reading achievement. The conclusions of the authors were that “that the use of eReaders in the classroom and at home by third-grade students, when integrated with the everyday lessons provided by classroom teachers, can contribute to improving student reading performance (Union et al, 2015 p.83).” The use of a reading program, Lexia in the classroom, was studied by McMurray (2013) in an Irish classroom.  The study looked at the effectiveness of this program.  The student’s usage and progress were compared to their progression on a reading test (McMurray, 2013).  The study was conducted with the students who had the greatest difficulty learning to read (McMurray, 2013).  The authors emphasized that Lexia is designed to be used with teacher intervention, especially for those students who are stuck (McMurray, 2013).  According to the authors, the benefit of Lexia to personalize phonics instruction and assessment data for each student would be difficult to duplicate in a traditional method (McMurray, 2013).  MethodologyThe teacher collected quantitative data about the student’s usage of Lexia and their reading achievement growth. The teacher electronically collected data about student use during the fall trimester of first grade.  The teacher then collected STAR testing data for the fall trimester of first grade.  Using the data to compare student usage to progress the teacher used a graph to look for correlation. The bar graph (Appendix A)  worked to compare student growth and Lexia usage. During the student’s silent read to self-time each day the teacher observed student reading behaviors.  The observations were done as a whole class and individually.  The teacher watched students reading habits.  The teacher listened to students read and observed their decoding and comprehension skills.  The teacher recorded this information on a clipboard in anecdotal form.  The teacher remained non-judgmental and recorded facts about student reading habits and ability.  Data-AnalysisThe data is used to help answer the question how does lexia benefit students reading.  The teacher compared Lexia usage to performance on the STAR reading test measuring student growth percentage (SGP).  The data did not show a strong correlation between use of Lexia and reading performance.  Students who used Lexia consistently and for the total number of minutes recommended did not have a higher SGP then students who had zero use with the program.   The teacher observed the students during their silent reading time each day.  She kept antedotal notes about the students reading habits. The observations revealed that students who did not use the program were just as engaged in their reading as students with high usage.  In terms of ability to decode words independently no difference between the two groups of students could be noted.  From the literature review these findings are not surprising. Union, Union, and Green (2015) found that ereaders neither improved or decreased students reading skills.  For the students in my class the findings were similiar.  Students who used the program did not increase at a signifcant amount or decrease their SGP.  The literature speaks about the use of small group intervention with the programs, stating small group intervention program had a greater effect on students achievement (Cheung & Slavin, 2013). The teacher’s students have not tried small group use of the program.  The use of the program to teach phonics and foundational skills in the classroom is supported by literature. According to McMurray (2013),  the benefit of Lexia to personalize phonics instruction and assessment data for each student would be difficult to duplicate in a traditional method.  Conclusion The teacher hoped to discover if the time her students spent on online reading programs  were beneficial to their reading achievement.  In looking at the data the teacher has determined that general use unsupervised is neither benefical or determintal to her students reading achievement.  The students who use the program are progressing as readers similiar to students who do not use the program.  In observing the students reading habits and abilities to decode and read authentic text the students showed non-significant differences.   The teacher was trying to answer the question of does time spent on an online reading program benefit her students reading achievement.  From the findings the teacher concludes the program neither benefits or hurts her students reading achievement.  The literature supports the teacher intervening with the student when they are struggling with a portion of the program.  The teacher  concludes that when students are choosing between reading real text and digital reading work allowing student choice is best.  Part 2 At a weekly first grade team meeting the teacher shared her report.  There were four team members present.  All team members have an online program, Lexia, and use the program in their classrooms.  The report was of interest to the teammates.  The teacher presented the report to her teammates through a verbal presentation.  The teacher shared her graph and some of her observations.  The team discussed the use of Lexia in the classroom. For M. Kappen (personal communication January 24, 2018), she discussed that her students had rarely used Lexia in the classroom, yet were still making progress on the STAR testing.  H. Anderson (personal communication January 24, 2018) discussed the use of an incentive to help students reach their needed minutes.  H. Anderson (personal communication January 24, 2018) said her observation of student reading time was the same as before the incentive.  The team looked at their STAR data and concluded that classrooms that used the program consistently had about the same SGP as classrooms that did not.  The team members felt the small group and teacher intervention ideas could help make Lexia more effective for their students. The team concluded that requiring students to work on Lexia was probably not neccssary for reading achievement.  Future ActionMoving forward from here the teacher plans to change how she uses an online reading program such as Lexia in her classroom.  For the students who struggle to make progress with the program she plans to work in small groups with them.  The teacher will follow McMurray’s (2013) advice, that Lexia is designed to be used with teacher intervention, especially for those students who are stuck.  She will work those students so that they can benefit from the program.  The information that Lexia is designed to used with teacher support will be shared with the staff.  The school can make changes in how they use the program and the students can benefit.  In the future the teacher plans to continue her research in this area.  She plans to focus on struggling readers.  She plans to look at whether their use of the program consistently over an extended period of time changes their reading achievement and independence. The teacher plans to study how teacher intervention helps struggling students achieve in the program and if this transfers to classroom reading.  The teacher plans to look at whether Lexia is benefitting her high achieving first graders or whether they would be better served by reading.  Conclusion Action research allows the teacher to be specific to the needs of her classroom and school.  Action research is an important tool for an educator to make meaningful change in their classroom.  Action research will challenge the teacher, through finding the time to research and analyze, but mainly to find the time to take action on the results. ReferencesCheung, A & Slavin, R. (2013). Effects of educational technology applications on reading outcomes for struggling readers: A best-evidence synthesis. Reading Research Quarterly,McMurray, S. (2013). An evaluation of the use of Lexia Reading software with children in Year 3, Northern Ireland (6- to 7-year olds). Journal Of Research In Special Educational Needs, 13(1), 15-25Union, C. c., Union, L., & Green, T. (2015). The Use of eReaders in the Classroom and at Home to Help Third-grade Students Improve their Reading and English/ Language Arts Standardized Test Scores. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 59(5), 71-84.Van Lare, M. D. (2016). ‘Obviously, that worked’: examining links between data use and classroom instruction. Journal Of School Leadership, (5), 756.

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