Static Learning in the 21st Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Millions of dollars are spent on test-prep manuals, books, computer programs and worksheets (Gluckman, 2002). Static/captive learning can help teachers around the nation prepare their students for standardized testing.

Significance of the Study to Leadership

A principal is the leader of the campus. The challenge for the principal is to know his or her district's mandated curriculum and make sure teachers are able to deliver it (Shipman & Murphy, 2001). As the key decision-maker for the use of time and space, principals must be aware of how the use of time and space affects instruction. Principals need to know how best to use assessment data based on relevant content standards with teachers, school communities. Improved student learning is always the focus of assessment.

Because of high stakes testing, teachers are always assessing to monitor student progress and plan the scope and sequence of instruction. Principals can work to structure school schedules to provide ample opportunity for formative assessment (used by teachers during instruction) and for faculty meetings where student work can be discussed. To learn well, students need access to high-quality instruction and a well-crafted curriculum. After that, they benefit most of all from the positive effects of strong school leadership. Case studies of exceptional schools, especially those that succeed beyond expectations, provide detailed portraits of leadership (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). Large-scale quantitative studies of schooling conclude that the effects of leadership on student learning are small but educationally significant. In these studies, as in case studies, leadership effects appear to be mostly indirect. That is, leaders influence student learning by helping to promote vision and goals, and by ensuring that resources and processes are in place to enable teachers to teach well (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). Static/Captive learning may bring a significant contribution to educational leadership through a new approach to present curriculum, without increasing the time needed to teach the subject.

Nature of the Study

The quantitative research study uses a captive audience as a new venue for teaching. Placing fifth grade, science TAKS objectives in strategic locations where students can view the information in the bathrooms gives teachers an innovative way to present the required curriculum. Teachers can target their lessons to a specific subject and grade level by choosing their washroom. This approach can be used for any subject and at any grade level.

Research Method

The experimental design research method will be used to conduct the experiment. Quantitative information will be collected from the benchmark, TAKS released and TAKS tests. Many schools in Texas use a series of pre-tests, or benchmarks, to ascertain acquisition of knowledge (Diamond & Spillane, 2004). Benchmark tests measure the academic standards taught in each area. Scores reflect whether students master, approach, or fall far below the standards in each area. These results are used to determine if students have mastered the standards, are approaching mastery, or if they fall below standards. The teachers utilize this data to determine the needs of their class (Diamond & Spillane, 2004). These benchmark tests are given at equal intervals beginning in the first week of school each year.

Students will be assessed using the benchmark tests, and then the science information will be placed in strategic locations where students can view the information in the bathrooms of fifth grade classes in two separate schools. Two schools will serve as control campuses and will not receive information in the bathrooms. The schools have the same demographic make up which includes the following sub-populations: race, socio-economic status, special education, languages and at risk. After four months of intervention, a TAKS released test will be administered to the students in the control group and the experimental group. The results of this test compared to the results of the previous years test will determine whether the intervention affected the students' ability to pass the test.

Research Question

The focus of this present study is an investigation into whether there is an existing relationship between repeated exposure of students in the static/captive learning environment and science TAKS test scores of fifth grade students. The specific question addressed in this research study is one of whether students being exposed in the captive/static learning environment to TAKS information will serve to increase the scoring of students in TAKS testing?

Hypotheses

Exposing students to captive/static TAKS information will increase TAKS scores. Students will retain information presented in a captive/static learning environment.

Theoretical Framework

The work of Gupta, Liang and Homma (2003) entitled: "Static and Dynamic Neural Networks" states that in order to find solutions to the problems that arise in understanding "…automation of task performed by humans, including speech understanding, decision-making and pattern recognition and control" it is necessary to examine neural network theory or the theory which relates to "…fuzzy sets and fuzzy neural systems and the application of these systems." Presently there is exploration relating to the "…carbon-based cognitive computer -- the brain" and the induction of the "…process of intelligence into robotic machines. One of our aims is to construct an autonomous robotic vehicle that can think and operate in uncertain and unstructured driving conditions." (Gupta, Liang and Homma, 2003)

Neural network studies have focused on the following:

(1) learning and adaptation;

(2) Dynamic neural systems;

(3) self-learning and control; and (4) adaptive filters and equalizers. (Gupta, Liang and Homma, 2003)

It is related that biological species have adopted strategies that are based on learning, adaptation, and self-organization in an uncertain environment. Learning by functioning is the most important that makes these biological species so robust and flexible. It is natural, therefore, that we adopt a similar strategy in the design of our intelligent systems." (Gupta, Liang and Homma, 2003)

The work of Ford and Zaid (1993) entitled: "Eyewitness Testimony, Memory and Assassination Research" reports that there were approximately four or five hundred individuals who waited on November 22, 1963, for President John F. Kennedy's motorcade to arrive in Dealey Plaza and that these individuals had no clue as to what they were to witness. It is reported that of these individuals that "less than two hundred testified" or recorded that which was heard and seen by them on that day while since then "many additional witnesses have come forward…[and]…eyewitnesses have told their stories to family and friends, journalists and researchers…" since that time. The questions posed across the years include those of:

(1) were multiple gunmen present in Dealey Plaza?

(2) Did the shots originate from the School Book Depository Building, the Grassy Knoll or perhaps both or neither?

(3) How many shots were heard?

(4) Who were the unidentified men in the railroad parking described only as Secret Service agents?

(5) Were photographs and films of the assassination confiscated by government agents? (Ford and Zaid, 1993)

Ford and Zaid (1993) state that memory "is the persistence of experience over time. It is a complex phenomenon which includes the capacity to:

(1) acquire,

(2) retain, and (3) retrieve information.

Furthermore, there are separate systems of storage for each of these memory capacities:

(1) sensory register;

(2) short-term memory; and (3) long-term memory. (Ford and Zaid, 1993)

The sensory register is stated to be a "…brief (one second) and thorough "registering" of events. The fundamentals of such a process fall outside of the scope of this article for it has been identified only through the use of specialized laboratory equipment. Although it is always operative this system is not what most people identify as "memory." (Ford and Zaid, 1993)

Short-term memory is described as a "…brief (20 second) and limited (five-nine pieces of information) storage of data. Data is retained in short-term memory by repetitive rehearsal. Common examples include the retention of pieces of conversation or your anguished efforts to memorize a telephone number just given to you by the operator." (Ford and Zaid, 1993)

Long-term memory is stated to consist of a "…lengthy duration and sports an enormous capacity. Information need not be rehearsed when in long-term memory, but must acquire its place through an elaborative rehearsal in which new information is associated with previously acquired information. Such a function is an active, effortful process rather than a passive or automatic process. If long-term memory is conceptualized as a house with many entries, elaborative rehearsal would be the main door to the house. Notwithstanding the fact that sometimes information comes in through the windows most of what enters does by way of the main door." (Ford and Zaid, 1993)

Ford and Zaid state that the process of retrieval is one that is an "active process" and one that is "…often pictured as a search through ones' memory -- usually, long-term memory. The process of retrieval is perhaps best observed when it fails, as in the "tip-of-the-tongue" dilemma experienced by us all when we can not recall a specific item yet know we know it." (1993) Retrieval, according to Ford and Zaid "…is often studied in terms of states and contexts. State-dependent memories are retrievable…

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