Cycle 2 Data

What happened during cycle 2?

AR Focus statement

The focus of my action research project is student motivation and engagement in the classroom. Implementation of the flipped classroom model aims to address both of these concerns by freeing class time for more involved and intellectually stimulating activity.

Target audience

My target audience is my class of 18 high school Physics students. They are juniors and seniors attending an all-girls private high school in Los Angeles. One hundred percent of the graduates of this school go on to four-year colleges. All students already participate in a one-to-one laptop program and have Internet access at home.

Summary of cycle 2

Beginning the implementation process with my target audience…

During cycle 2, I have continued my implementation of the flipped classroom model. I generated videos or directed students to outside videos containing the content that I would normally have delivered in lecture, and the students were assigned to watch the videos online and fill out video notes sheets for homework. In class, students were assigned to complete the concept questions and homework problems that would normally have been assigned for homework. (For a sample lecture video and in-class assignment, please see my Cycle 1 page.)

The major adjustment that I have made, given my students’ feedback on Cycle 1, was incorporating more time for class discussion. Each class still begins with an online quiz (just as in Cycle 1), but during Cycle 2, I have attempted to follow each quiz with a short (10 to 20 minute) class discussion. Generally, I lead a brief review of the last class’s content, offer suggestions based on the quiz results, take questions concerning the video lecture students watched for homework and briefly introduce the new topics for the day. By incorporating this time for me to address the students in class, I have implemented a less rigid flipped classroom model. This is in an attempt to solve some of the major problems that arose during Cycle 1, which included students’ resistance to watching the lecture videos for homework, and a lack of motivation for some students to complete the in-class assignments.

The technology I used…

To create my lecture videos, I used Screenflow software on my MacBook to record my work in SMART Notebook on either a SMART Board or an iPad 2. I then posted my lecture videos on YouTube for my students to access via their own MacBooks. In class, students took quizzes online using Quia Web, and they used their digital editions of Principles of Physics to complete interactive exercises and problems. Click here to view a sample quiz from Cycle 2. More information on the digital textbook can be found on the Kinetic Books publishing site.

Data collection

Report the data

My Cycle 2 data are based on my online post-implementation surveys of the 18 participating students, and on their quiz and midterm scores. Click here to view the post-implementation student survey. Since my Cycle 2 was a continuation of my Cycle 1, I have compared my post-Cycle 2 results with both the pre-implementation results and the post-Cycle 1 results. In this way, I can gauge the effectiveness not only of the flipped classroom as a whole, but also of my Cycle 2 modifications, as described above.

Based on the students’ grade-based performance in the flipped classroom, I found the following:

  • Compared to their daily quiz scores in a traditional classroom, students earned an average 10 percentage points higher on daily quizzes in a flipped classroom.
  • Compared to their midterm grades in a traditional classroom, students earned an average of three percentage points higher on midterm exams in a flipped classroom.

Based on the students’ self reported progress in the flipped classroom, I found the following:

  • In comparing the post-cycle 1 surveys to the post-cycle 2 surveys, I found no significant change in the amount of time that students spent working on Physics outside of class.
  • In comparing the post-cycle 1 surveys to the post-cycle 2 surveys, I found no significant change in the number of students who described Physics as their “most challenging” class, or as one of their “two least challenging classes.” In comparing the pre-implementation (pre-cycle 1) survey to the post-cycle 2 survey, I found a significant decrease in both responses. Pre-implementation, four students reported that Physics was one of their two least challenging classes, and six reported that Physics was their most challenging; post-implementation, one student reported that Physics was on of her two least challenging classes, and three reported that Physics was their most challenging.
  • Between cycles 1 and 2, there was a significant increase in the amount of time that students reported working with classmates on Physics. On a scale from one to five, with one meaning “never” and five meaning “always,” students averaged 3.89 for time spent working with classmates after Cycle 1, but 4.44 after Cycle 2. Between the pre-implementation (pre-cycle 1) survey and the post-cycle 2 survey, the difference was even more pronounced. Students averaged just 3.61 for time spent working with classmates pre-implementation.
  • In comparing the post-cycle 1 surveys to the post-cycle 2 surveys, I found a significant increase in level of engagement that students reported feeling during Physics class. On a scale from one to five, with one meaning “not at all engaged” and five meaning “very engaged,” students averaged 2.88 following Cycle 1, but 3.33 after Cycle 2. Compared with pre-implementation reports, however, the post-cycle 2 survey revealed a moderate overall decline in student engagement.
  • In comparing the post-cycle 1 surveys to the post-cycle 2 surveys, I found a significant increase in the motivation that students reported feeling to complete their homework assignments. On a scale from one to five, with one meaning “not at all motivated” and five meaning “very motivated,” students averaged 3.22 following Cycle 1, but 3.78 after Cycle 2. Compared with pre-implementation reports, however, the post-cycle 2 survey revealed a moderate overall decline in student motivation to complete homework assignments.

Insight

Based on the data listed above, I can state several conclusions regarding my implementation the flipped classroom.

As I found in Cycle 1, the flipped classroom did not have an appreciable effect on the amount of time that students spent preparing for Physics outside of class. This is a bit surprising, given that so much of the critical thinking work once reserved for homework was done in class during implementation. I attribute this result to the extra time that students spent outside of class reviewing their in-class materials. It is encouraging that, although the students were assigned less homework, they still felt motivated to review the course content independently.

I was encouraged also by the finding that, post-cycle 2, more students described Physics as being a class of “about average” difficulty, rather than as one of their “two least challenging” or as their “most challenging.” This suggests that the students felt greater command of the material, and that the flipped classroom worked on two levels—it made the class more challenging for more advanced students, but less difficult for the weaker students. This finding is aligned with the conclusions of Baker (as cited in Strayer, 2007, p. 61) and Lage, Platt, and Treglia (2000), as described in this project’s literature review.

Also in accordance with the literature review was the finding that students spent more time working collaboratively within the framework of a flipped classroom than they had pre-implementation. Baker (as cited in Strayer, 2007, p. 61) and Toppo (2011) noted similar trends in the flipped classrooms that they studied.

Surprises

Students working in the flipped classroom reported feeling somewhat less engaged during class time, and less motivated to complete their homework assignments. These rather surprising findings challenge the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model, and they contradict the findings of Baker (2000) and Lage, Platt and Treglia (2000), as cited in this project’s literature review. The encouraging aspect of this finding is that students’ engagement and motivation did show improvement between cycles 1 and 2, which suggested that the “hybrid” approach to flipping the Physics classroom, in which at least some class time each day is devoted to teacher-led discussion, could mitigate students’ negative reaction to the more rigidly enforced flipped model.

Evaluate and reflect/future direction

During Cycle 2, I made no adjustments to the proposed timeline for my Plan of Action; however, as described above, I did modify my implementation plan by incorporating 10 to 20 minutes of teacher-led class discussion into every class meeting. This was intended to increase students’ sense of connection between their homework vides, daily quizzes and in-class assignments. The data indicate that this adjustment improved students’ motivation and engagement.

My findings following Cycle 2 strongly indicate that, in spite of students’ self-reported feelings of motivation and engagement, the flipped classroom model improved their comprehension and performance in Physics. For this reason, I do intend to continue to implement a flipped classroom model, but to a lesser degree than I did during this Action Research project. In my classroom henceforth, I plan to use lecture videos to introduce students to the fundamentals of new topics, but to use in-class lectures or presentations to review more challenging ideas and problems. This adjustment is a response to students’ comments that they sometimes felt “left on their own” to learn more difficult material during the in-class assignments. Although I will go back to using more class time for lecture/presentation (as I did pre-implementation), I do not plan to revert entirely to a traditional classroom model; I have seen the value of using class time for students to work on labs and problems more collaboratively and with access to their instructor as a resource. Thus, I plan to continue to use challenging and engaging in-class assignments to complement introductory lecture videos and limited classroom instruction.

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