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EDU 6980 – Applying Research in School Settings – Meta Reflection – Standard 3

EDU 6980 Applying Action Research in School Settings – Meta Reflection – Standard 3


Standard 3 – Teacher leaders improve teaching and learning through the use of education research at the classroom and school levels.

“Teacher-led professional learning is critical for supporting teachers to innovate, own, share and spread their professional knowledge and practices” (Campbell, 2015, p. 58)

            This class was one that I was very much looking forward to taking from the moment that I learned I was going to need a book about statistics in education! As a math teacher, the idea of thinking about the role that statistics could play in an educational setting was very intriguing, and I must admit, something that I had not fully considered until now. Thinking about my learning and understanding at the beginning of the course, I realize that I understood the importance of using research, both action research at a local level, as well as published professional research, when making decisions for my classroom, department, and school, but I had never thought or been taught about how to make critical decisions about the research and or whether a secondary source article used primary research appropriately.

At the beginning of the course, we worked to create a basic understanding of statistics, how different statistical measures are found, and how to use them appropriately. For me, this was a review of mathematical understand I already had, but it was interesting to put it into application when considering it as it related to educational research. We also chose a secondary source article that we would be critiquing by the end of the course. Although it probably should not have been, even considering the difference between a primary and secondary source article was something new to me. Prior to the start of this course, research had always been something I searched for, found the articles that were on the topic I was researching, and then used as needed. I had never put much thought into whether an article was primary or secondary, or how a secondary source article used the primary source research.

Then we moved on to the beginning critique of a primary source article. Reading a researcher article critically, with a focus on the actual data and how it was used was one of the most interesting pieces of learning throughout this program to me. I really appreciated the idea of working through an article considering each step along the way. This also helped me consider what I would do if I ever attempt to write or publish a formal article. We also interviewed an administrator to determine how they used research in their professional responsibilities.

After we began our critique of a primary source article, we spent time analyzing provided data and considering the implications of the data. That was done in my data analysis paper. This assignment opened my eyes to what type of data is useful in an educational study, and how it can be best used.

Then we put together all the pieces and completed my critique of the original primary source article we started with as a whole class. The process of reading the article, considering the critique questions, working with our cohort to answer the questions, fine-tuning our understanding, and then putting the whole thing into writing was a process that left me with a much greater understanding of what appropriate data and research is, as well as how I can use that understanding to promote learning in my classroom, as well as my department and building.

Lastly, we returned to the secondary source article that we picked at the beginning of the course. My article was How Mathematics Counts by Lynn Arthur Steen and published in Educational Leadership. Originally, the article was interesting, and seemed to have a lot of appropriate sources to back up the claims made by the author. For the final paper, I was asked to read the article, identify a primary source article used by the author of the secondary source article, and then critique the primary source article and how the secondary source author used it. Imagine my surprise when I found that the article I originally chose and felt so positively about, did not even have a true primary source article behind it! My critique of the one primary source research article and the way it was used can be found here.

Reflecting on my learning this quarter has caused me to consider many aspects I did not originally expect. With a math background, the actual statistics was not as much of a stretch for me as it was for others of my colleagues, however, the real learning for me came from realizing just exactly how much published research is actually lacking many important requirements to be making the connections that authors make. As I move forward in my role as a teacher leader, I will be working to do two things: make sure any research I present is appropriate, that the data provided is used correctly and that the researchers made appropriate determinations from the data, and I will be working to make sure my colleagues understand the concerns that are associated with research. Learning how to be critical readers of educational research and data will allow myself and my colleagues to use research in the most appropriate way to make the best educational decisions for students. Making the best educational decisions for my own students, and helping my colleagues do the same for their students is a primary goal that I have developed for myself as a teacher leader as I have worked through this program.



Bok, D. (2005). Our underachieving colleges. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Campbell, C. (2015). Teachers as leaders of professional learning. Education Canada, 55(1), 54-59.

Lutsky, N. (2006). Quirks of rhetoric: A quantitative analysis of quantitative reasoning in student

writing. Proceedings of the section on statistical education, American Statistical Association, 2319-2322. Retrieved from

Mergendoller, J. R., Maxwell, N. L, & Bellisimo, Y. (2006). The Effectiveness of Problem-Based

Instruction: A Comparative Study of Instructional Methods And Student Characteristics. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based  Learning, 1(2).

Ravid, R. (2011). Practical Statistics for Educators (4th Edition). Landham, MD:

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc

Steen, L.A. (2007). How mathematics counts. Educational Leadership, 65(3). Retrieved from

Stigler, S. M. (1999). Statistics on the table. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.





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