Practicum Environment DescriptionThe practicum environment is a Colorado lower school which serves students from pre-school through eighth grade. There are 467 female students who comprise 48.6% of the total enrollment group, and 494 males, who represent 51.4%. of the enrollment group. The student base is considered to be culturally diverse with the largest group being 756 Caucasians (78.7%), followed in second position by 100 Hispanics. There are also 52 Asians, 39 multi-racial students, 2 native Hawaiians, 11 African Americans and 10 American Indians at the school.
Another factor of this environment is the socioeconomic aspect of free and reduced lunch benefits. Twenty students receive reduced lunches daily and 107 receive free lunches. Also, there are 119 students who live outside the district in which the school is located. Finally, there are four learning-impacted classifications of students. These are 121 Early Literacy Learners (ELL), which is the pre-school component, and126 talented and gifted students, who require accelerated learning opportunities. Additionally, there are 99 Special Education learners and 24 other students who are classified by Section 504 of the United States Rehabilitation Act, which ensures accommodations for American students with types of disabilities.
An Appropriate Research Scenario for an Action Research Paradigm
A research study related to the school culture or climate would encompass the informed determination of whether ethnic culture, socioeconomic conditions and varied learning needs affect the overall learning environment of the school setting.
An Appropriate and Measurable Research Question
R1: To what measurable extent do ethnic culture, socioeconomic conditions and varied learning needs of students affect the overall learning environment of a lower school which serves to educate pre-school students through eighth-grade students?
An Appropriate and Measurable Hypothesis Linked to the Question
H1: The measurable extent of ethnic culture, socioeconomic conditions and varied learning needs of students significantly affects the overall learning environment of a lower school serving pre-school through eighth-grade students.
H0: The measurable extent of ethnic culture, socioeconomic conditions and varied learning needs of students does not significantly affect the overall learning environment of a lower school serving pre-school through eighth-grade students.
The Role of the Researcher Defined
It is the role of the researcher to add to the existing body of educational scientific knowledge surrounding the subject under consideration. In order to accomplish this, the researcher will formulate a measurable research question, a statement of the apparent problem, and a valid hypothesis. He will then conduct extensive research, selecting and employing an appropriate methodology with an instrument, analyzing data and reaching conclusions and recommendations.
The Target Audience and Role of Participants Described
The target audience would consist of such educational personnel as school administrators, curriculum planners and elementary principals and teachers who may benefit by the results and recommendations of this study. The participants in the study would provide data by completing a pertinent questionnaire, whose questions deal with culture, socioeconomics and varied learning needs of students, indicated by a target age group within grades pre-school to eighth grade.
Possible Variations of Groupings in the Action Research Scenario
Possible topic groups might include (1) students plausibly impacted by ethnic culture, (2) students plausibly impacted by socioeconomic determinants and (3) students plausibly impacted by varied learning styles or needs. Possible participants groups might include (1) classroom teachers only, (2) classroom teachers and relevant staff members such as a librarian or school nurse, and (3) classroom teachers, relevant staff members and administrative personnel.
Methods of Data Collection and Instrument Used
Primary data would be generated using a questionnaire delivered by e-mail to classroom teachers and selected staff members, via a service such as Survey Monkey ®, with responses gathered by return email. The instrument would be an objective questionnaire which would be marked by a “strongly agree to strongly disagree” pattern in order to answer short questions. The questions would be divided into three parts: one section with questions dealing only with ethnic culture, a second section with questions dealing only with socioeconomic conditions, and a third section with questions dealing only with varied learning needs of students.
Three Types of Data to Allow for Triangulation of Data Described
The quantitative questionnaire data is one type. The second type would be the investigation of existing published literature relevant to the subject, and the third type would be recorded interviews. These would be conducted with small, selected focus groups of four to six participants in the research study who would be asked to waive anonymity, though their identities would not be revealed in the final discussion of results and recommendations at the close of the research study.
Type of Data Analysis Described
Since both quantitative and qualitative data will be extracted; this constitutes a mixed-methodology approach to the study. The quantitative questionnaire will limit subjectivity and promote statistical validity. A proven technology source would be used to perform technical analysis (i.e. G*Power). The review of existing literature will be analyzed by the researcher to reveal any discernible gaps in theory, methodology or practice. The summary analysis of focus group responses will be subjective in nature at the discretion and interpretation of the researcher.
How the Research Benefits Practice or Informs the Field
Though many studies have been conducted about the quality of education, it is still uncertain how advantageous to students the level of learning is in American schools in the twenty-first century. Practitioners in the field of education may benefit from additional knowledge about school culture to help formulate school policy and curriculum development.