Monday, September 14, 2009

LoTi Digital-Age Schools: Research Findings

During the past three years, rigorous efforts have been made at LoTi Digital-Age Schools to document student academic growth resulting from their school's participation in a multi-year school improvement process. Each campus that transitions into a LoTi Digital-Age School targets three measurable indicators of success: (1) Level of Technology Implementation (LoTi), (2) Current Instructional Practices (CIP), and (3) Student Academic Growth (measured by standardized tests).

Annual Pre/Post assessments are used to measure the first two indicators (i.e., LoTi/CIP) using in-class observations, student artifacts, lesson plans, and teacher/student interviews; annual standardized test score results are employed to measure student academic growth from one year to the next.

Each LoTi Digital-Age School also follows a tightly-coupled implementation model involving three stages of implementation: (1) Building Capacity, (2) Implementing Change, and (3) Sustaining Independence. Though one would expect elevated levels of LoTi, CIP, and Student Growth to occur at the conclusion of the final stage, Sustaining Independence, test score data has revealed statistically-significant increases in targeted content areas/grade levels after the first stage (i.e., Building Capacity).

In the Atlantic City School District in Atlantic City, New Jersey, statistically-significant results were realized in the targeted grades levels, 5th-8th grade, in the area of mathematics after the first year of the LoTi Digital-Age School implementation based on the NJ ASK (Assessment of Skills and Knowledge); statistically-significant increases in math achievement scores were similarly noted over the two subsequent years of implementation. In the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District outside Houston, Texas, statistically significant results were realized in all LoTi Digital-Age Schools at the middle school level based on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).

The type of statistical analysis used to determine statistically significant academic gains in student achievement at these digital-age campuses involved a z-test for proportions. A z-test for proportions was used to compare percentage changes in the students meeting the standards from one year to the next due to the fairly large sample sizes across grades.

The fact that test scores based on standardized measures have climbed at targeted campuses employing a school improvement model is not all that newsworthy; what is worth consideration is that these campuses are utilizing the tenets of digital-age learning (e.g., higher order thinking processes, real-world connections, differentiated instruction, technology integration) as their pathway to achieving two critical objectives: improving student academic achievement and preparing students for their successful matriculation into a digital world.

May the LoTi Be With You Always!

Chris Moersch

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