What Accounts for Differences in Student Learning in a High School Chinese Class?

Link to PDF: student-learning-gap-case-study

 

“Learning is daily accumulation. The Dao is daily diminishing.”

~ Dao De Jing

What Accounts for Differences in Student Learning in a High School Chinese Class?

Introduction

Variations in learning outcome and skill acquisition between individual students in a class population seem to be a naturally occurring phenomenon in education. These learning outcome variations may be associated with long-term learning and achievement gaps for low-performing students. Nevertheless, it may be possible for educators to eliminate these gaps in learning and achievement through an increased awareness of the factors associated with high and low-academic performance. In order to better understand the issues related to individual student learning and achievement gaps, this article will identify and discuss student oriented issues that affect learning outcomes, teacher oriented issues the influence student learning outcomes, institutional issues related to student learning outcomes, and environmental issues related to student learning outcomes.

The student oriented issues in learning outcomes section of this article’s literature review will examine learning gaps, motivational and metacognitive factors in learning, and the effect of L1 literacy and individual background knowledge on learning outcomes. The teacher oriented issues in student learning outcomes section will analyze the effectiveness of pedagogy and learning support systems in the classroom, the importance of well-designed learning resources on learning, the implementation of realistic student learning expectations, and the necessity of developing a cultural and mistake friendly classroom environment. The institutional issues related to student learning outcomes section will address the effect of state and federal funding on education, the impact of class size on learning, and the influence of curriculum and standards on learning outcomes. The environmental issues associated with learning outcomes section will discuss the effect of economic disparity on learning, the impact of individual household environments on student achievement, and the importance of student access to health care, social services, technology and learning resources on overall classroom achievement.

Next, this research article will describe a convenient sampling case study conducted in two high school level Chinese language arts classrooms in a public school located in a suburb of a large city in the South Central region of the United States. The case study will attempt to answer the following questions.

  1. What causes one student to succeed at learning Chinese and another student to fail?
  2. Can differences between high and low-achieving students be identified? If so, what are some differences?
  3. What are high and low-achieving students’ perceptions on their learning outcomes?
  4. What are high and low-achieving students’ perceptions on how to improve future learning outcomes?

These four research questions will be answered through formative assessment analysis, survey analysis, and through interview data. The formative assessment data will help to identify high and low-achieving students. The survey data will find correlations between the constructs examined in the literature review, and each student’s level of achievement. The interview data will attempt to find patterns related to the high and low-achieving students’ perceptions of their learning outcomes, and how to improve upon future learning outcomes. Next, the results section of this case study will describe the meaning behind the obtained data, and will include a list of limitations related to the data collection process. A brief reflection will offer additional insight into the outcomes of the research, with one section of the paper dedicated to discussing the next steps required for decreasing the learning gap within future student classroom populations.

Literature Review

Student Oriented Issues in Learning Outcomes

Learning and Achievement Gaps

Learning gaps between individual students in a class is a major recurring issue within the field of education. These learning gaps can have a major impact on the future career and educational choices that students face after graduation. A learning gap can be define as the difference between an individual’s learning outcome, and the learning expectation set within a given class subject (Abbott, 2014). Achievement gaps are an accumulation of learning gaps over time, and are also a major problem in education. However, achievement gaps are typically associated with racial inequality, gender inequality, economically disadvantaged families, L2 English learners, students with disabilities, and students living in toxic environments (NEA, 2015). Achievement gaps are also observable within a large portion of the kindergarten student population who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds (NEA, 2015). According to NEA, persistent poverty has also been shown to increase achievement gaps in at-risk youth, especially in skills related to reading, math, and cognition, which are all important factors in future academic success (2015). These statistics are important to consider for educators, since many of the learning gaps that are observed in the classroom may be associated with achievement gaps caused by past developmental and environmental factors. More detailed information concerning racial inequality, poverty, students with disabilities, and toxic environments, can be found within the corresponding section of each topic in this literature review.

Motivational Factors

            Student motivation and metacognitive skill development may contribute to differences in learning outcomes within a classroom, and can be examined to better understand the motivational constructs that contribute to knowledge and skill acquisition.  Ivan Pavlov’s behavioral experiment on the conditioning of dog salivation is considered to be academia’s first model of learning, and is should be considered when examining motivational factors that contribute to learning gaps, since it shows that conditioned responses can be learned through the pairing of a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus (Ormrod, 2012). Operant Conditioning, later developed by B.F. Skinner, explains that behavior is reinforced through consequences, or the absence of consequences for an action. If there is a positive reinforcement, or a lack of consequences (i.e. negative reinforcement) for a particular action, the behavior will increase in frequency (Ormrod, 2012). If there is a punishment, or lack of reward for effort, the behavior will decrease in frequency (Ormrod, 2012). There are many types of reward schedules that can be considered for the reinforcement of a behavior. Continuous reinforcement schedules provide reinforcement for every expressed behavior by providing rewards each time the behavior is expressed, but motivation tends to be short lived (Ormrod, 2012). Intermittent schedules reinforce behavior through rewards based on a fixed or variable length of time, but variable interval schedules tend to have a more stable long-term effect on behavior (Ormrod, 2012). Fixed ratio schedules provide reward after a series of tasks have been completed, and have been shown to increase productivity, but may cause inattention as the reward is the goal rather than the task (Ormrod, 2012). Variable ratio schedules provide randomly chosen rewards for behavior, and tend to have a long lasting effect on behavioral reinforcement (Ormrod, 2012).

The Social Cognitive Theory explains that individuals imitate and adapt behaviors found within a social environment (Ormrod, 2012). Within the motivational processes, a series of consequences lead to expectations that create incentives for students to elicit a desired behavior. These consequences are influenced by external, observational, and self-regulated means, but are not directly linked to behavioral learning (Ormrod, 2012). Expectations are impacted by either a positive or negative expectation of an outcome, or one’s belief in their ability to complete the desired task (Ormrod, 2012). Self-regulation can be seen as an intentional behavior related to the setting of goals, the perception of consequences for actions required for reaching the goals, and a subsequent plan for action for reaching the goals (Ormrod, 2012). Modeling is based on the Social Cognitive Theory and is an important aspect of teaching effectively, since students are trained to imitate desired behaviors necessary for learning skills and knowledge. In order for modeled behavior to be adopted by students, the teacher must help build self-efficacy for each individual in the class by offering encouragement, and designing achievable tasks aimed at developing a desired behavior. Teachers must also create a mistake friendly environment, decide which behaviors require modeling, and individualize instruction to meet the needs of each individual student in the classroom. It is also very important for the teacher to clearly state learning objectives, or help students to create achievable short and long-term goals (Ormrod, 2012). These goals can be reinforced by ensuring that each student develops metacognitive strategies by creating criteria that encourage self-evaluation and self-administered consequences (Ormrod, 2012).

The self-efficacy theory further explains that motivation is impacted by an individual’s confidence towards their ability to control the outcomes of a situation or task. Self-efficacy is an important factor in the development of a student learning, because it helps to decrease the negative emotional responses associated with failure, and improves motivation for completing difficult tasks (Ozturk, 2012). The self-worth theory is important to consider when looking at student motivation, and expands upon the self-efficacy theory. It explains that an individual’s perception of their personal worth directly affects their motivation, especially when faced with risk or failure (Ozturk, 2012). Students that suffer from low levels of self-worth are also at risk of developing negative emotional strategies that place blame on outside factors in order to avoid risk or failure, such as setting unrealistic goals, avoiding responsibility, and attributing failure to uncontrollable environmental factors. (Ozturk, 2012). These negative emotional strategies should be addressed by raising awareness of self-worth by teaching students to make personal reflection that focus on positive thinking patterns, setting realistic goal, gaining mental control in difficult situations, and by creating tasks that are achievable for the students specific skill level (Knight, 2013).

The self-determination theory explains that motivation is influenced by an individual’s ability to choose and regulate their actions through intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Ozturk, 2012). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be improved upon through the development of emotional health strategies that address mind wandering and negative thinking patterns (Knight, 2013). Teachers can improve this development by telling stories that inspire the students, offering rewards based on the achievement of realistic goals, having clear behavioral regulations for tasks, allowing autonomy during group activities, and connecting academic objectives to real-world application (Knight, 2013). The theory of planned behavior explains that an individual’s attitude towards a task, the influence of subjective cultural norm, and their perception of behavioral norms, all influence overall motivation (Ozturk, 2012). In order to address motivation related to attitudes, cultural norms, and behavioral norms, teachers should help to decrease negative emotions within the class, and design reinforcement tasks that allow for student autonomy, community connectedness, feelings of purpose, and expressions of altruism (Knight, 2013). This can be enhanced by having an open dialogue in class that examines negative emotions, emphasizing self-analysis, and by helping students to identify alternative reactions when faced with failure (Knight, 2013).

Background Knowledge, Literacy, and Metacognitive Factors

The cognitive process involved in learning behaviors, knowledge, and skills occur through the interaction of sensory memory, working memory, and permanent memory (Marzano, 2015) Sensory memory received from interactions with the outside world, and permanent memory developed through background experiences, are processed and connected through the working memory, which subsequently influence the understanding and retention rate of new experiences or information (Marzano, 2015). The attribution theory is based around this concept of memory and learning, as it explains that the interpretation of past experiences influences an individual’s motivation for completing a task (Ozturk, 2012). These past experiences also affect how an individual’s working memory perceives sensory information, influences their level of self-efficacy, and helps to determine their behavioral reaction to a task or situation (Marzano, 2015). Additionally, individual differences in background experiences that construct the permanent memory, and the function of working memory (i.e. integration, coordination, updating, attention switching, and binding operations), are all closely associated with higher-order cognition and learning (Unsworth, 2016). These differences in background experience have been shown to affect long-term recall on achievement tests, since recall is influenced by classroom experience and associations of past knowledge structures (Nuthall, & Alton-Lee, 1995).

Literacy and reading proficiency are major predictors of achievement gaps and directly affect higher-order cognition, past knowledge structures, and overall learning achievement rates. This can be seen in the high level of high-school drop-out rates for students who lack reading proficiency by the third grade, which is four times greater than their peers that are proficient in reading (Antilla, 2013). Reading and literacy have been shown to affect a student’s ability to obtain new knowledge and information learned in class, and is also associated with skills that relate to “deciding what is important in a text; drawing inferences; summarizing and synthesizing information; creating mental images; and making connection between text and personal experience, other texts, and knowledge about the author and the rest of the world.” (Antilla, 2013). Reading and literacy may also influence the development of metacognitive skills which are associated with up to 17% of the learning variance related to educational achievement (Veenman et al., 2005). However, reading and literacy are not the only factors that contribute to the development of metacognitive skills. Metacognitive skills and knowledge can also be attained gradually through parents, teachers, peers, learning opportunities, and motivation for investing in the development of such skills (Veenman et al., 2005). Furthermore, the development of metacognitive skills can be improved upon by connecting metacognitive strategies to instructional content, by stating the importance of using these metacognitive strategies in class, and through continual usage of these strategies during instructional activities (Veenman et al., 2005).

Teacher Oriented Issues in Student Learning Outcomes

Effectiveness of Pedagogy

Teaching pedagogy is a major factor in student learning and academic achievement. Jun Li compiled a list of nine principles for effective teaching in ESL classrooms, which provides a good overview of best practices in general language education. These principles include: implementing challenging curriculum with high expectations, designing standard academic content that is accessible to learners, offering explicit and culturally relevant instruction, supporting metacognitive and learning strategies, using the students L1 strategically with difficult concepts, teaching vocabulary within multiple contexts, building reading comprehension ability, providing strong oral and written modals for tasks, and integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills into instruction (Li, 2012). Furthermore, it is important for teachers to scaffold instructional content from simple to more complex concepts, and individualize instruction to meet each student’s particular needs, as it relates to their zone of proximal development (McDecitt & Ormrod, 2013). The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol is another excellent pedagogical method that describes the main components of effective pedagogy, which includes; preparation, building background, comprehensible input, student strategies for success, lesson delivery, application of knowledge, and review and assessment (Echevarria et al., 2012). Preparation occurs through teaching students how to learn through the target language, which requires the teaching of basic phrases that can be expanded upon through further instruction (Echevarria et al., 2012). Building background involves making connections to each student’s background knowledge and culture, while increasing the usage of high frequency vocabulary and grammar knowledge (Echevarria et al., 2012). Comprehensible input requires that the teacher provide the students with clear instructions during the implementation of various activities that change in accordance to the primary language learning goal (Echevarria et al., 2012).  The teacher should use body language, objects, & pictures to accompany speech, provide a model for each task or assignment, preview material for optimum learning, use multimedia and graphic organizer, and provide repeated exposure to words, concepts and skills (Echevarria et al., 2012).

Student learning strategies include cognitive and metacognitive methods that help to increase student comprehension rates in class (Echevarria et al., 2012). The cognitive learning strategies include skills such as outlining text, taking notes, highlighting, reading aloud, and establishing a purpose for a learning task (Echevarria et al., 2012).  Metacognitive learning strategies require the emphasis of skills related to summarizing, visualizing concepts, monitoring and clarifying ideas, and evaluating and determining the importance of concepts (Echevarria et al., 2012). Other language learning strategies include; guessing or deducing ideas found in the text, paraphrasing the main ideas of text, identifying verbal or nonverbal cues in speech, and finding meaning of language through context (Echevarria et al., 2012). Interactions between students and teachers should be encouraged by providing sufficient wait time for speech (up to 20 seconds), having group centered activities that focus on consensus, by providing positive feedback, and by creating a safe learning environment in the classroom (Echevarria et al., 2012). Lesson delivery involves clearly stating both the content and language objectives for the class, and providing appropriate pacing of material the keeps the students engaged for more than 90% of the class (Echevarria et al., 2012). This can be achieved through the development of segmented instruction with clear achievable goals, by providing modals and scaffolding, by pacing lessons to meet the students’ learning ability levels, and by providing students with meaningful activities, and supplementary materials when necessary (Echevarria et al., 2012).

Deliberate practice or the application of knowledge or skills will then allow the students to internalize content knowledge, and allows teachers to integrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking in their lesson (Echevarria et al., 2012). This can be achieved through the use of hands-on material, guided practice, short practice periods, dividing content into sections, and integrating new and past concepts. This deliberate practice should also apply content knowledge through the use of organizers, task based activities that focus on real-life problems, by holding debates, and by requiring discussions and journals in class. Last, teachers should review all of the main vocabulary and grammatical concepts required in each content section, in order to enable the students to understand what they need to gain mastery for the assessment (Echevarria et al., 2012). The assessment should only include items that correlate to these vocabulary and grammatical concepts, and avoid tasks that have not been taught explicitly in the class (Echevarria et al., 2012).

Learning Resources

            Learning resources are the backbone of any academic program and can include textbooks, academic journals, computer based applications, podcasts, internet websites, realia, and authentic material from magazines, books, and websites. Learning outcomes may be affected when the selected material for a class does not properly scaffold the content and language objectives into comprehensible pieces that are seen as useful in the students’ future. The difficulty and pacing of the material should also be considered as not to overwhelm students, which can affect motivation and learning outcomes. As seen in the SIOP model in the pedagogy section of this article, instruction should be segmented and paced correctly to meet the needs of individual students (Echevarria et al., 2012). The material used in class should also relate to real-life tasks, and should apply the appropriate syntax and lexical knowledge in ways that support the integration of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills (Echevarria et al., 2012). Additional support should be given to struggling students through adapted content and supplementary material that relates to the content objective, and reinforces language usage in a variety of circumstances. Moreover, the material should include a review section that lists all of the main concepts and vocabulary knowledge required for content mastery. The assessments should only include information that relates to the content objectives stressed within the class, and reinforced through the review. Assessment data can then be used to identify which specific objectives need additional instruction, which can be addressed through the usage of additional supplementary resources.

Learning Support Systems

            Learning support systems are an important aspect of a classroom environment, and can affect student learning outcomes. Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs is an excellent example of the types of support that teachers should provide to students in their classes. Teachers should first make sure that students physiological needs are cared for, since hunger, thirst, and bodily comfort are required before they can achieve in class (Burton, 2012). Next, the teacher should assure that the students feel safe within the class, as safety concerns negatively affect learning, and usually lead to more severe psychological problems given enough time (Burton, 2012). Then, the teacher must make sure that the students have feelings of love and belonging within their friendships and family (Burton, 2012). This can be enhanced by emphasizing community involvement, peer-to-peer communication in class, and parental involvement with class work at home. Next, the teacher should make sure that the students have self-esteem, feelings of achievement in class, respect for others, and the confidence to participate in the learning process (Burton, 2012). This can be achieved through the individualization of tasks to meet the skill levels of individual students, by requiring group based tasks that are modeled for behavior, and by stating behavioral expectations with reinforcement through reward or intervention. Finally teachers should try to help students reach a high level of self-actualization that focuses on the acceptance of facts, morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving skills, and lack of prejudice (Burton, 2012). This can be achieved by modeling behavior, stressing self-analysis and self-correction, and by creating tasks that allow student autonomy (Knight, 2013).

Institutional Issues Related to Student Learning Outcomes

Educational Funding

According to high quality empirical data provided from the Albert Shanker Institute, the amount of financial support provided to schools on a per-student basis affect overall learning outcomes, but the degree of the learning outcomes is also influenced by how money is used by the educational institution (Baker, 2016). Educational funding also influences class sizes, student support programs, early childhood education programs, and the retention of a high quality teacher workforce, all of which affect overall student learning outcomes (Baker, 2016). Furthermore, state finance reforms influence the distribution and responsible use of funding, which has been shown to positively impact sustained school improvement and positive learning outcomes (Baker, 2016). Research pertaining to the effect of class sizes on student learning outcomes has been controversial, and there is not enough evidence to make a conclusion on the matter (McCollough, 2014). However, the effect of funding on high quality teacher retention rates, teacher wages, teacher support systems, and teacher training, all have been shown to be influenced by educational funding, and have a major impact on student learning outcomes (McCollough, 2014).

Curriculum and Standards

A school curriculum is a framework designed by government leadership and special interest groups that specify course and content requirements for an academic program. There are many gaps in research involving the effect of national, state, and local curriculum on student learning, with the majority of literature examining its impact on assessments and teaching pedagogy. However, Black and Atkin conducted a study that examined the effect of a national curriculum on student performance, and found no evidence that a national curriculum impacts student achievement (Carr et al., 2005). Nevertheless, there is research which shows a negative impact of curriculum requirements on teaching pedagogy due to mandated standardized testing (Carr et al., 2005). This has affected overall student learning outcomes due to an increase in whole class subject based teaching aimed at increasing test scores, which has cause a decrease in student intervention and support, student centered learning, and student participation in class (Carr et al., 2005). The research also pointed out that mandated testing has contributed to a narrowing of the curriculum, and has increased the time that teachers allocate to test preparation (Carr et al., 2005). However, more research needs to be conducted in the future to determine the overall impact of various curriculum and assessments requirements on student achievement.

Environmental Issues related to Student Learning Outcomes

Household Socioeconomic Factors

Socioeconomic status is considered by many researchers to be a major contributing factor to student learning and development. The American Psychological Association explains that subpar education, poverty, and poor health are aggregates of low-socioeconomic status, which continues to rise in the United States due to inequalities in wealth distribution (2009). The negative educational impacts associated with low socio-economic households include an increase level of stress in children due to parental distress, and lower literacy rates in children due to limited access to books, computers, and tutors (APA, 2009). Children from low-SES background have also been shown to have high rates of learning disabilities, emotional distress, and self-efficacy (APA, 2009). High level of stress in children, which are influenced by parental emotional and behavioral issues, have been shown to cause brain changes that often lead to emotional and cognitive disadvantages at schools in low-SES environments (Willingham, 2012). Schools in low-SES environments tend to have higher rates of school unemployment, lower teacher quality, and less academic achievement (APA, 2009). This is apparent since children in low-SES environments have less proficiency in mathematics and language skills than high-SES students (APA, 2009). Moreover, students from low-SES backgrounds have been shows to be much as many as four years behind high-SES students in achievements, with graduation rates as much as five times lower (APA, 2009). Nevertheless, the negative impacts associated with low-SES environments can be mended with increased school funding, better educational support systems, socialized early childhood education programs, an increase in experienced teachers, an increase in public health and educational resources, and expanded social assistance programs.

Methodology

Theoretical Framework

Merriam explains that a theoretical framework in qualitative research is “designed to inductively build, rather than to test concepts, hypotheses, or theories” (2009). In order to inductively build this framework, it is necessary to first necessary to identify a topic to be examined for the study. For this study, individual learning gaps were chosen as the primary topic to be examined. Next, it is necessary to examine past research to identify a knowledge base surrounding a specific topic (Merriam, 2009). This can be seen in the literature review, which looks at factors that affect learning gaps within a classroom, which includes: the motivational factors of learning, background knowledge and literacy, effectiveness of pedagogy and learning materials, educational environment, institutional issues, socio-economic status, household learning environment, and access to educational resources. Next, it is necessary to examine a problem that represents a gap in the knowledge base of past research (Merriam, 2009). For this study, the gap in research can be found in identifying the causes of individual learning gaps within a bounded Chinese language arts classroom setting, and determining the perceptions of both the high and low-achieving study participants. Furthermore, the central focus of the study should be examined in order to identify the purpose and importance of the research. The purpose of this study is to identify the causes of learning gaps within a class, and find alternative methods to improve learning outcomes for low-achieving students. The causes of learning gaps will be identified through the analysis of formative assessment data, survey data, and interview data. The formative assessment will be used to identify the high and low-achieving students within the class population. These chosen participants will complete a survey that examines the level of correlation between the ten constructs identified in the literature review, and their individual performance on the assessment. Semi-structured interviews will then be conducted to identify patterns in the participants’ perceptions of their learning outcomes, and ways to improve learning outcomes in the future.

Sampling

Convenience sampling was chosen for this case study due to time constraints, lack of funding, and limitations in access to study participants. The participants were selected from two introductory Chinese language classes in a suburb of a large city in the South Central region of the United States. Formative assessment score results were used to identify the highest and lowest achieving students in each class. Two of the highest and lowest students were chosen per class using this data, with a total of eight participants selected to attend a semi-structured one-on-one interview. The participant population is demographically diverse and include a random mix of male, female, Caucasian, African American, and Asian American students. All of the participants are high school students whose ages range from 15 to 18 years of age.

Classroom Background Information

Each of the classes were located at a culturally diverse high school in a moderately wealthy suburb of a large city in the South Central region of the United States. Each of the classes are attended for 55 minutes 5 days per week during a traditionally scheduled school year. There are four levels of Chinese students within each of the classes due to state funding limitations. However, only the level one students were surveyed and interviewed for this research study, in order to identify student learning gaps in the class prematurely, and find solutions for improving low-achieving students learning outcomes in future classes. The students within the class are generally outgoing, and seem motivated to learn during class instruction. The class material was self-developed using a grammar input method that slowly builds grammatical and vocabulary knowledge in authentic, topic based lessons. Class instruction begins using a PowerPoint presentation to review past knowledge, and present new information in a fast paced, repetitive manner. Guiding questions are continually asked to students during this PowerPoint lecture, as to increase rates of immediate feedback, and increase student participation rates. Task based activities are then used to help students to apply the knowledge using a combination of reading, writing listening, and speaking skills. Homework or in-class writing assignments are given on a daily basis, and are aimed at having the students learn independently for around 20 minutes per day. The learning material can be viewed online at [www.andrewjcrane.word press.com.] Assessments were given to the students after the completion of 1 unit from the textbook listed above. Individualized instruction is given to students that have observable difficulties learning in class.

Data Collection and Analysis

Formative Assessment Data

            A formative assessment was given to two introductory Chinese language classes in order to identify which participants were acceptable for this study. The students that scored in the highest and lowest percentile of the score distribution were selected to complete a survey and participate in a semi-structured one-on-one interview. The assessment contained 41 items that were designed to test vocabulary knowledge, grammar knowledge, character identification knowledge, and sentence translation ability, using the content and language requirements taken from the material covered in the first five weeks of class. The content and language requirements include the following:  Using reading, writing, listening and speaking, students will be able to: formulate simple sentences and ask simple questions using 吗 ma; make pronouns plural using 们men; use compound adjectives and add conjunctions to nouns ask questions using 什么shenme; state likes and dislikes using 喜欢xihuan; use the adverb 很 hen to add emphasis to statements; make basic descriptions connecting 很 hen with an adjective; and ask questions using the adjective + 不bu + adjective grammar structure. The primary topic for these objectives revolved around the verbs eat 吃 chi and drink 喝he. A sample of the assessment is included after the reference section of this research paper.

Survey Data

            Survey data was collected by all class participants after the completion of a Chinese language assessment which corresponded to the content requirements of a level one Chinese course, as to obtain data that helps to identify the causes of learning gaps within the bounded classroom setting. Each question on the survey was chosen to correspond to the each of the construct listed in the literature review. These questions address motivational and metacognitive factors of learning, background knowledge and literacy, effectiveness of pedagogy and learning materials, student learning expectations, institutional issues, household economic issues, household learning environment, educational environment and student access to educational resources. Each of the following constructs can be seen in the Learning Gap Predictor Nomological Network in Figure 1.

Figure 1- Learning Gap Predictor Nomological Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The survey data was analyzed using a qualitative methodology that identifies the strength of association between each survey item, and theoretical constructs associated with learning outcomes. The resulting data obtained from the highest and lowest achieving students were compared to identify differences in strength of association of between the theoretical construct and the recorded learning gap. This connection can be identified in the results using the Strength of Construct Impact diagram in figure 2.

Figure 2- Strength of Construct Impact

-4                                                                       0                                                                     +4

 
Negative Impact                                      Neutral Impact                                     Positive Impact

 

Interview Data

The interview data was collected through a semi-structured interview continuum, which consisted of ten standardized questions, which were aimed at identifying each participant’s perception of their own learning outcomes, as well as each participant’s perception of ways to improve their learning outcomes in the future. Elaborative questions were asked to each student to increase the amount of information gained from each interview. Follow-up interviews were given to many students if the primary interview data was not sufficient. The data received from the participants interviewed for this study was analyzed through coding, as to find common concepts, themes, and categories of information that correspond to both the theoretical constructs associated with learning gaps, as well as the participants’ perception of their own learning outcomes, and methods for future improvements in learning outcomes. The interview data was then coded to identify patterns, and compared with the survey and assessment data, to gain a full understanding of each student’s perception of learning gaps. A synopsis of each of the participant’s viewpoints was written in the results section of this research paper.

Results

Formative Assessment Data Results

The formative assessment score results for class 1 were above average (mean 88), with the majority of the class population (60%) showing mastery in the vocabulary test section, grammar test section, character identification test section, and sentence translation test section. The remaining 40% of the class population assessment scores were high to average, signifying sufficient progress in learning the overall class content. The primary areas of weakness in the test population’s learning outcomes were found in vocabulary recall and/or character recognition recall. Very few issues could be found in skills related to grammatical knowledge and translation skills,

Figure 3 – Class 1 Assessment Score Results

            The Formative assessment score results for class 2 were slightly above average (mean 78) with 50% of the class showing mastery in the vocabulary test section, grammar test section, character identification test section, and sentence translation test section. In the class, 25% of the assessment scores signify a high to average level of progress in the learning of class content.  The remaining 25% of the class population assessment scores were significantly below average, signifying very limited amount of progress in learning the class content. The primary areas of weakness in the upper 25% of the test population’s learning outcomes were also found in vocabulary recall and/or character recognition. The main areas of weakness in the lower 25% of the test population’s learning outcomes were vocabulary knowledge, grammar knowledge, and character identification knowledge, with vocabulary knowledge showing slightly more progress than the other subareas.

Figure 4 – Class 2 Assessment Score Results

 

Survey Results

The survey results for class 1 show that each participant had positive levels of motivation, regardless of overall assessment score. The degree of motivation did not seem to have a significant impact on the overall achievement of the test population. The survey results for the background knowledge and literacy construct were predominantly positive, indicating that most of the class population feel confident about their ability to learn new class content. One student within the low test score range recorded a negative impact in her ability to learn new information. The participants’ feelings towards the class pedagogy were positive, which signifies that the teaching pedagogy in the class may not have contributed to overall class learning gaps. The survey results for class material were also perceived as having a positive impact on learning, and may not have contributed to learning gaps. The home environment survey data showed a negative impact on learning, with the lowest achieving students in the test population reporting having difficulties and lack of academic support at home. The only exception was the second highest scoring students, whose negative results may have been influenced by the family’s cultural and linguistic background. The positive and negative survey results for SES were randomly dispersed throughout the test population, showing the SES related factors were insignificant for the class populations overall learning progress. Resource access may have contributed to overall class learning gaps, as students with lower scores tended to have lower overall impact scores. Survey results for institutional issues were positive across the participant population, signifying that the students’ class size, and teacher experience level were sufficient. The survey results for meta-cognitive impact were insignificant, showing a randomly dispersed scores with neutral or negative impact. Last, the educational environment survey results were all positive, with one neutral score for the lowest test score participant, indicating that the classroom environment supports learning. The survey results may provide limited information about group trends due to the participant population size. However, the data will also be used with the interview data for each participant to give a better understand of the differences and learning outcome perceptions of each individual.

                                   Figure 5 – Class 1 Assessment and Survey Results                   
Participant ID Number I II             III IV
Test Scores 100 98 96 96 94 90 88 82 72 72
Motivation 3 1 4 2 3 4 3 2 2 3
Background & Literacy 1 2 3 2 1 4 3 2 -3 1
Pedagogy 4 1 3 2 4 4 3 4 2 4
Material 4 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 2 3
Home Environment 4 -1 3 2 2 3 -1 -2 -1 -1
Socio-econ

Status

4 -2 3 2 -1 3 2 0 -2 3
Resource Access 4 2 4 3 3 3 3 0 0 -3
Institutional

Issues

1 2 2 3 3 4 1 4 2 2
Meta-cognitive 4 0 2 -1 4 4 0 1 1 1
Educational

Environment

3 4 3 2 4 4 2 2 2 0

 

The survey results for class 2 show that the every student felt motivated to learn Chinese, with one student in the lower test score range showing a neutral feeling towards being motivated. The background and literacy for the class randomly dispersed positive and neutral scores throughout the test population, with two of the participants that had the lowest learning outcomes showing a lack of confidence in learning new content, or a lack of confidence in their English skills.  The participants’ feelings towards the class pedagogy were positive, except for one neutral response, which signifies that the teaching pedagogy in the class may not have contributed to overall class learning gaps. The survey results for class material were also perceived as having a positive impact on learning, except for one neutral response, and may not have contributed to learning gaps. The home environment survey data showed a negative impact on learning, with the lowest achieving students in the test population reporting difficulties and lack of academic support at home. The only exception was the third highest scoring students, whose negative results may have been affected by living in a hotel while her family’s new house was being prepared. The positive and negative survey results for SES were randomly dispersed throughout the test population, showing the SES related factors were insignificant for the class populations overall learning progress. This may also show that the survey questions were not sufficient in determining the true strength of this construct on student learning. This may have also been affected by the small participant population size. The survey results for student resource access was positive or neutral throughout the participant population, indicating that students have access to computers, books, and internet at home. Survey results for institutional issues were positive across the participant population, except for one student reporting a negative impact, signifying that the students’ class size, and teacher experience level were sufficient. The students reporting the negative response felt that many of her teachers in the school lacked teaching experience. The metacognitive survey results were predominantly positive, with two students showing negative construct impact, and one student expressing neutral results. This indicates that the majority of the students make goals when learning, and think about the impact of learning on their future. Finally, the survey results for the educational environment construct were largely positive, with one negative, and one neutral score, indicating that the classroom environment supports learning.

                                  Figure 6 – Class 2 Assessment and Survey Results                   
Participant ID Number V   VI               VII VIII
Test Scores 100 100 98 96 94 92 86 74 72 50 40 32
Motivation 3 1 4 1 3 3 4 0 2 1 2 2
Background & Literacy 3 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 1 -1 2 -2
Pedagogy 3 2 4 0 3 3 4 1 3 2 2 2
Material 2 2 4 2 4 2 3 2 0 2 1 1
Home Environment 2 3 -1 2 2 2 1 1 -2 -2 -3 -1
Socio-econ

Status

3 -1 -1 1 0 1 2 0 1 -1 -1 0
Resource Access 0 3 2 1 0 4 1 0 3 1 0 4
Institutional

Issues

1   2 -2 2 2 4 4 2 3 3 1 2
Meta-cognitive 2 2 0 -1 2 3 2 3 1 1 -1 2
Educational

Environment

0 1 3 2 3 3 4 2 -2 1 3 3

 

Interview Results

Participant I – Class 1 – High Achievement

The first participant was a very bright, outgoing, and well-mannered Caucasian female artist with bright pink hair. She had the highest assessment score in the first class, showing no gap in knowledge for the content covered in class. Her survey data showed positive results for motivation, background and literacy, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, home environment, SES, resource access, institutional issues, educational environment, and metacognitive constructs. The participant explained that she really enjoys learning Chinese, because the writing system is difficult, and the language is challenging overall. She said that this was the first L2 language class that she considered to be fun, and was highly motivated to learn. She has tried to learn many languages such as Spanish, German, and Japanese in the past, to which she has been able to pick up random phrases and vocabulary terms. She particularly enjoys learning about Chinese culture, and even spends some of her free time listening to Chinese pop music at home. Her passion for learning about language and culture was a common topic during her interview, as she explained that she is very interested in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese media. In fact, she plans to travel the world after she graduates from high school, in order to be an artist, and better understand the psychological and sociological differences between cultures. Her future travel goals have been a major motivating factor in learning Chinese, and finds that repetitive practice, listening to media, and comparing new lesson content to her past language knowledge has helped her to progress at a high level in learning Chinese. She usually studies Chinese for around 15 minutes per day after school. During this time, she often translates Chinese songs that she finds interesting, and practices learning from the class material, which she finds to be helpful since it relates to real-life situations. However, she admits that she does not necessarily enjoy self-study, because she tends to procrastinate when doing homework, unless there is fun information that describes culture and stories. She also finds one of her classmates to be distracting in class, but he has not caused her enough problems to affect her overall learning outcomes.

Participant II – Class 1 – High Achievement

The second participant was a very intelligent, mildly-outgoing, and well-mannered Vietnamese American female, who hopes to study medicine in the future. She had the second highest score in the first class, showing no major gaps in knowledge for the content covered in class. Her survey data showed positive results for motivation, background and literacy, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, resource access, institutional issues, and educational environment constructs. She showed negative results for home environment and SES constructs, and neutral results for the metacognitive construct. She explained that she enjoys learning Chinese because of the high level of community involvement within the classroom, group activities, and the many chances that she has to participate in class. She has found the class material particularly useful in learning Chinese, because it is easy to use and reference. She has also found the teachers and her classmates to be helpful in the language learning process. She usually spends around 30 minutes per night practicing Chinese, but has found remembering some vocabulary terms to be difficult because many of the terms can be easily confused with her L2 language (Vietnamese). She has tried to learn many other languages in the past, but has not been motivated to learn due to her classes being boring. She does not feel that there have been any factors that inhibit her learning of Chinese, and tends to stay on track, finish homework on time, and practice the language often at home. She feels that learning Chinese can help her in preparing for her future job in the medical field, since there is a large Chinese population in the United States. However, she dislikes rote learning, and tends to procrastinate and lose focus when memorizing vocabulary terms. She also finds Chinese to be similar to Vietnamese, which has caused her confusion when learning new content knowledge. She thinks that more self-study material would help her progress at learning Chinese more quickly, but feels that her overall learning progress has been successful.

Participant III – Class 1 – Low Achievement

            The third participant was a very bright, mildly-introverted, Caucasian female, who hopes to travel the world and visit China in the future. She was tied for having the lowest assessment score in the first class, showing minor gaps in knowledge in vocabulary recall and character recognition. Her score is slightly below average when compared with the total assessment results of both classes, and can be described as having made acceptable progress in learning Chinese.  Her survey data showed positive results for motivation, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, institutional issues, educational environment, and metacognitive constructs.  She showed negative results for background and literacy, home environment and SES constructs, and neutral results for the resource access construct. The participant explained that she really enjoys learning Chinese, especially the written and spoken language, because the class is interactive, there are rewards (candy) for answering questions, and there are many enjoyable activities in class. She typically spends around 20 minutes per day studying Chinese within short break periods throughout the day, but finds it to be frustrating when she can’t remember vocabulary terms after spending a lot of time studying. She usually makes small goals that are achievable, instead of making large goals that are unrealistic. She has had a limited amount of self-study experience learning French, Japanese, and Chinese, but has only been able to learn a few phrases in each language. She has also taken Spanish in the past, and found that the in-class recitations, harsh grading practices, and lack of guidance to decreased her motivation to learn. She dislikes taking assessment, because they cause her to lose motivation for learning, and has also had trouble accessing the online learning material for the class. She considers Chinese to be one of her favorite classes at school, and thinks that more individual attention, or tutoring after school, could help her learn Chinese more efficiently.

Participant IV – Class 1 – Low Achievement

            The fourth participant was a very bright, extroverted, easily-distracted, African-American male, who hopes to go to school or travel to China in the future. He was tied for having the lowest assessment score in the first class, showing minor gaps in knowledge in vocabulary recall and character recognition. His score is slightly below average when compared with the total assessment results of both classes, and can be described as having made acceptable progress in learning Chinese. His survey data showed positive results for motivation, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, institutional issues, background and literacy, SES, and metacognitive constructs.  He showed negative results for home environment, resource access, and neutral results for the educational environment construct. He explained that he really enjoys learning Chinese characters, participating in movement based activities and group communication practice, and going over picture based flash cards. He has also found the material packets and white board games to be helpful when learning Chinese. He claimed that he spends around an hour per day studying, and teaching his little brother Chinese using the class material, but I estimate that he is probably over-estimating the overall amount of time that he spends studying at home, since he also said that increasing the amount of time studying at home would help him to learn the language more efficiently. He does not feel that there are any factors that inhibit his language learning, and tends to make small goals consistently, stating that he tries to learn one Chinese vocabulary term per day. However, he does find speaking Chinese to be difficult, because the pronunciation of words and tones can be difficult. He has also had experience learning Spanish in the past, but did not enjoy learning the language, because the teacher taught the class poorly. Nevertheless, he feels motivated to learn Chinese, because the activities and scaffolding of content support his personal learning preference.

Participant V – Class 2 – High Achievement

            The fifth participant was a very smart, slightly-outgoing, and well-mannered Asian-American male, who speaks some Mandarin as a second language at home. He had the highest assessment score in the second class, showing no gap in knowledge for the content covered in class. His survey data showed positive results for motivation, background and literacy, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, home environment, SES, institutional issues, and metacognitive constructs, and showed neutral results for resource access and educational environment constructs. He has found that learning Chinese is in class is fun, and often uses his class knowledge to practice speaking with his Taiwanese parents at home. He has found that picturing images as characters, learning radicals, and doing repetitive self-study practice, has helped him to learn Chinese quickly. He spends around 3 hours per week studying Chinese outside of school, attends Chinese tutoring once per week, and often practices speaking Chinese with his parents at home. He has tried to learn Spanish in the past, but was only able to memorize a few terms, and lacked overall motivation for learning. He considers himself to be fluent in spoken Chinese because of his cultural background, but has trouble learning written Chinese. He does not usually make goals when learning, but motivated to learn Chinese, so that he can communicate with his friends and family, and to gain an occupational advantage in the medical field in the future. He does not feel that there is anything inhibiting his language learning progress, but still considers Chinese to be complicated, and finds it difficult to memorize new terms.

Participant VI – Class 2 – High Achievement

The sixth participant was a very intelligent, very-outgoing, and opinionated Caucasian female, who is very interested in Asian culture, and plans to travel to China in the future. She had the third highest assessment score in the second class, showing no gap in knowledge for the content covered in class. Her survey data showed positive results for motivation, background and literacy, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, and educational environment constructs. She expressed negative feelings towards home environment, SES, and institutional issues constructs, and neutral results for the metacognitive construct. She is very interested in studying Chinese, enjoys learning about differences in culture, participating in group based activities, and seeing visual aids when learning new vocabulary terms. She is very self-motivated for learning outside of school, and studies Chinese in short bursts of time throughout the day. She has tried to learn Spanish and Japanese in the past, and has been able to learn some phrases and declarative knowledge in each language. She has had more progress in learning Japanese, since she has had experience communicating with Japanese foreign exchange students at her previous school. She also watches Japanese, Chinese, and Korean television shows on a regular basis, and has become accustomed to the sounds of each language. She usually makes small goals when learning, and tries to expand her topic knowledge during self-study sessions. She explained that repetition games, competitions, rewards, and less testing could help her learn Chinese more efficiently. She is very jealous of kindergarten students because they get to have very active and fun learning environments, and thinks that rote-learning is boring and should be avoided in class. She dislikes the pace of the class, and thinks that there is not enough time to learn all of the material. She also said that sometimes the pronunciation for characters can be unclear, and that there needs to be more social learning in language classes. She has a particularly negative view about teacher centered learning practices, and thinks that it is very important for teachers to provide comprehensible input and immediate feedback to students in class.

Participant VII – Class 2 – Low Achievement

The seventh participant was a very bright, introverted, African-American female, who hopes to travel to China in the future. She had the second lowest assessment score in the second class, showing major gaps in vocabulary recall, grammatical knowledge, character recognition, and translation skills.  Her survey data showed positive results for motivation, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, institutional issues, educational environment, and background and literacy constructs. She showed negative results for home environment, SES, and metacognitive constructs, and neutral results for the resource access construct. She really enjoys learning Chinese, and often teaches her 8-year-old brother the knowledge that she learns in class. She also enjoys learning about cultural differences, and spends much of her free time watching Asian television shows. She typically practices Chinese outside of school for 2-3 hours per week, and feels that she needs more time to master the language concepts studied in class. She has found that the PowerPoint presentations have been helpful to her for learning Chinese, because they provide repetitive review. She also thinks that the class material, clear instructions, group practice, and individualized instruction has helped her to learn Chinese in class. She is also very interested in language and culture, and has attempted to learn French, German, Dutch, and Burmese, but has only had limited success in learning, because she did not have enough environmental and social learning experiences. She usually makes small goals when learning in order to see if she is progressing in her classes, but believes that testing has caused a decrease in her motivation. She feels that the pacing of the class is too fast, there is not enough comprehensible input when learning new material, and not enough individual attention when learning in class. Furthermore, she finds it difficult to pronounce vocabulary words and tones, and would like more information on the deeper meaning of Chinese characters.

Participant VIII – Class 2 – Low Achievement

The eighth participant was a very smart, mildly-introverted, Caucasian male, who would like to learn Chinese to gain access to the prosthetics market for in China. He had the lowest assessment score in the second class, showing significant gaps in vocabulary recall, grammatical knowledge, character recognition, and translation skills. His survey data showed positive results for motivation, pedagogy effectiveness, material effectiveness, institutional issues, resource access, educational environment, and metacognitive constructs. He showed negative results for home environment, background and literacy, and neutral results for the SES construct. The participant enjoys repetition practice, group communication practice, and dialogue memorization when learning Chinese. He explains that the classes PowerPoint presentations, peer assistance, and constructive feedback help him to learn Chinese. He also thinks that the class material is very authentic, and can be used in real-life situations. He rarely studies Chinese outside of class, because he has moved between 8 different schools over the past 10 years, and wants to spend time playing sports with friends in his free time. He rarely makes goals when learning, and is easily distracted when trying to self-study after school. He has taken one Chinese course when he was in 5th grade, but does not remember any particular terms or phrases from the class. He feels that slowing down the class speed, increasing the amount of writing practice in class, having more flash card activities, and increasing the amount of time spent studying at home, could all help him to learn Chinese more efficiently. However, he still has motivation to learn Chinese, due to his long-term career goal of selling prosthetics, in which China has more advanced technology than the United States.

Reflection

Interpretation of Results

            When I first designed this study, I assumed that the high performing students would display high positive impact rates for each of the constructs related to learning outcomes that were examined in the literature review, while the low-performing students would display higher negative impact rates. This was a very incorrect assumption. After analyzing the survey data and exit tickets, and comparing it to observational data, it became clear that each individual student had different positive and negative impacts for dissimilar reasons. In retrospect, I should have expected this outcome, since every student has had different background experiences in their life, and interpret the world in accordance to their current cognitive schemata, environmental circumstances, and biological makeup. These results do not signify that the outcome of the study cannot be used to better understand individual learning gaps in a given classroom. On the contrary, it shows that the causes of learning outcomes vary between students, and valuable information concerning the cause of these learning gaps can be gained through the use of qualitative research methodologies. This information can then be used to better understand the personal needs and background of each student in a class, which can help to increase the development and application of individualized instruction strategies in class. It is important to remember that even though teachers may not be able to control all of the factors that contribute to learning gaps, they still possess the ability to influence the development of declarative and procedural knowledge through mentorship, differentiated instruction, community involvement, and by creating a positive learning environment that promotes self-determination. Furthermore, the patterns found between the highest achieving students in the study provide information on the qualities associated with successful student learning outcomes. For instance, each of the high-achieving students were interested in learning about culture and language in their free time. The high-achieving students were also much more likely to be self-motivated to study outside of class, and express outgoing personal characteristics. The patterns found between the lowest achieving students in the study also provide information on student characteristics related to learning gaps. For example, low achieving students expressed a need to learn at a slower pace, more individual attention and support, and need for more structure when completing self-guided tasks. In fact, the amount of time spent studying at home seemed to have the greatest impact on learning outcomes between all of the student interviewed for this research study. Effective methods for teachers to increase learning outcomes in low achieving students is to provide individualized instruction, and help each student improve their ability to study outside of class. This can be achieved by helping each student to make small goals, rewarding and paying attention to daily improvements, increasing motivation by telling students about personal experiences which occurred while learning Chinese, and helping introverted students express extroverted behavior in class through the use of rewards, community support, and by having an error safe classroom environment. Moreover, teachers should consistently review material, offer tutoring to struggling students after class, express clear and achievable class objectives, scaffold material to meet the needs of each student, and provide immediate feedback and support for each student during class activities.

Study Limitations

There were many limitations that have impacted the results of this study. First, since the participant population for each class was small, many of the constructs that contribute to learning gaps may not have been observed. Second, the student demographics were culturally diverse within the school, but the majority of the students come from middle to upper-middle class economic situations. The overall data reflects this demographic trend, and may change when examining school districts with less affluent population demographics. Time constraints were another major limitation in the study, with much of the class time being divided between the primary teacher and myself. The length of time that the students have spent studying Chinese is another major limitation in the study, and may affect the overall results of the study. A longitudinal study that examines the students as they progress throughout the Chinese program would provide much more reliable data, since learning gaps are more likely to develop as content requirements increase. Next, the survey data did not provide enough information over learning gaps due to limitations in the amount of questions that could be asked to the students in the class time frame. The SES section of the survey was particularly limited, and will require an increase in survey questions in future studies. Last, the classes learning outcomes may have been limited due to the school combining four language levels per class. This was particularly apparent in the second class, since the class size was larger and the needs of individual students varied considerably.

Actions for Future Educational Improvement

            Learning and changing environments consistently challenge education professionals to adapt and change teaching pedagogy and content to meet the needs of the students. Because of this constant change, it is important for teachers to track the learning outcomes of students in class, identify those who are showing signs of learning gaps, and offer remediation based on each students’ individual needs. In order to gain this information, it is necessary for teachers to keep an open dialogue with students in the classroom, and offer individualized support that helps to increase self-determination, self-efficacy, and overall motivation to learn for the sake of learning. This can be done through story-telling, helping students to make goals, creating objectives that are achievable for students, offering individualized instruction based on each students personal needs, maintaining a proper pace of content learning, creating authentic material that is easy for students to understand, building positive community interactions within the classroom, having task-based learning activities that support the class objectives, creating an error friendly class culture, and by offering remediation and support when students fall behind in learning content. The theoretical framework used for this research paper can also be used in the future to help teachers identify the individual characteristics that contribute to learning gaps in the classroom. The material used for this study is included following the reference section of this paper to allow teachers access to easily replicate the methodologies used for identifying learning gaps. Individual edits on the material that help to increase research reliability, and obtain better data are encouraged for teachers who decide to replicate the study. If any teacher would like to replicate this study, feel free to contact me with any questions concerning the study material or methodology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Abbott, S. (2014). Learning Gap. The glossary of education reform. Retrieved August 29, 2016                from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum

American Psychological Association. (2009). Education and Socioeconomic Status. Retrieved      September 19, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/education .aspx

Baker, B. D. (2016, June 10). Does money matter in education? Second edition. Retrieved                       September 18, 2016, from http://www.shankerinstitute.org/resource/does-money-matter-   second-edition

Burton, N. (2012, May 23). Our hierarchy of needs. Retrieved September 18, 2016, from                          Psychology today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/our-                 hierarchy-needs

Carr, M., McGee, C., Jones, A., McKinley, E., Bell, B., Barr, H., & Simpson, T. (2005). The         Effects of Curricula and Assessment on Pedagogical Approaches and on Educational             Outcomes. Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy.     doi:http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/curriculum/5391

Echevarria, J., Echevarrøa, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. J. (2012). Making content comprehensible     for English learners: The SIOP model (4th edition) (SIOP series) (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn                     & Bacon.

Hoffman, B. (2015). Ch, ch, changes: The developmental trajectory of motivation. Motivation                  for learning and performance. Retrieved August 31, 2016.

Julie, A. (2013). The effect of early literacy development on academic success in the education     setting and the implications for educational leaders and teachers. Retrieved September             18, 2016, from: https://www.nmu.edu/education/sites/DrupalEducation/files/UserFiles/       Antilla_Julie_MP.pdf

Knight, J. (2013). High-impact instruction: a framework for great teaching. London, UK: Sage     Publications.

Li, J. (2012). Principles of effective English language learner pedagogy. Retrieved September                   18, 2016, from https://research.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/2012/8/            researchinreview-2012-3-effective-english-language-learner-pedagogy.pdf

McCollough, S. (2014). Education funding, student learning, & long term outcomes.         Retrieved September 18, 2016, from http://abcte.org/education-funding-student-learning-      long-term-outcomes-61414/

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (2nd ed.).        San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Marzano, R. J., & Marzano, J. S. (2015). Managing the inner world of teaching: emotions,                           interpretations, and actions. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.

McDevitt, Teresa M., and Jeanne Ellis. Ormrod (2013). Child Development and Education. 5th     ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall, 2013. 98-107. Print.

National Education Association (2015). Understanding the gaps: Who are we leaving behind –     and how far? NEA Education Policy and Practice & Priority Schools Departments, 1-11.     Retrieved August 29, 2016.

Nuthall, G., & Alton-Lee, A. (1995). Assessing classroom learning: How students use their           knowledge and experience to answer classroom achievement test questions in science and        social studies. American Educational Research Journal, 32(1), 185. doi:10.2307/1163218

Ormrod, J. E. (2012). Human learning (6th ed.). Boston, Mass.; London: Prentice Hall.

Öztürk, E. Ö. (2012) Contemporary motivation theories in educational psychology and language learner: an overview. The international journal of social sciences, 3(1). Retrieved April            1, 2016, from: http://www.tijoss.com/3rdVolume/elcin.pdf

Unsworth, N. (2016). The many facets of individual differences in working memory capacity.                  Psychology of learning and motivation, 65, 1–46. Retrieved August 31, 2016.

Veenman, M. V. J., Van Hout-Wolters, B. H. A. M., & Afflerbach, P. (2006). Metacognition and             learning: Conceptual and methodological considerations. Metacognition and Learning,      1(1), 3–14. doi:10.1007/s11409-006-6893-0

Willingham, D. (2012). Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning? American Educator.             doi:http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Willingham.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Study Resource Material

Chinese Language Learning Research Survey

Read each statement carefully. Circle the most appropriate answers for each of the following statements.

 

1.       I feel motivated to learn Chinese.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

2.       I feel confident in my ability to learn Chinese.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

3.       I rarely have difficulties learning new class content.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

4.       I am very talented at reading and writing in English.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

5.       My teacher is very effective at teaching me new content knowledge and skills.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

6.       I feel that my Chinese class is well structured and helps me learn Chinese effectively.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

7.       I feel that it is easy to learn from my Chinese class materials.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

8.       I feel that my Chinese class material helps me to read, write, listen, and speak Chinese.

 

Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral

 

Agree Strongly Agree
 

9.       My parents are willing to help me with my homework.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

10.   I often have difficulties studying at home.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

11.   I often feel stressed out when I am at home.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

12.   I often feel that I am not very good at math or reading.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

13.   I usually have access to a large variety of books at home.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

14.   I have regular access to a computer and internet at home.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

15.   I feel that there are too many students in my Chinese class.

 

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

16.   I feel that I have experienced teachers in all of my classes.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

17.   I usually make goals when completing difficult tasks.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

18.   I usually think about the usefulness of school content knowledge in my future.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

19.   I feel socially connected to my classmates in Chinese class.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
 

20.   I feel that my classroom environment supports my learning.

 

Strongly Disagree

 

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree

 

What has helped you learn Chinese most effectively?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has been done well or could be done better to help you learn Chinese?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Language Learning Research Interview Questions

  1. Tell me how do you like learning Chinese?

 

  1. What do you enjoy about learning Chinese?

 

 

  1. What do you dislike about learning Chinese?

 

 

  1. What has been most helpful to you when learning Chinese?

 

 

  1. What could help you learn the language more efficiently?

 

 

  1. How much time do you spend studying Chinese outside of School?

 

 

  1. Do you have any past experience learning a second language? Explain.

 

 

  1. Do you feel that there is anything that inhibits your learning of Chinese?

 

 

  1. Do you ever make personal goals for learning Chinese? Explain.

 

 

  1. Do you feel that it is useful to learn Chinese? Why?

 

Chinese Level 1-1 Formative Assessment

Part 1: Translate the following English words into Chinese pinyin (1pt each).

1. To like

 

 

 

2. To eat 3. To watch/see 4. To drink

 

 

5. To buy
6. To want

 

 

 

7.  Chicken Egg 8. Beef 9.  Pork 10. Juice
11. Tea

 

 

 

12. Movie 13. Stuff 14. Smart 15. Fried Rice
16. Water

 

 

 

17. Beautiful 18. Cake 19. Coffee 20. Book

 

Part 2: Write sentences that address each of the following questions (2pts each).

  1. How would you ask someone what they like to eat?

 

 

  1. How would you ask someone if they want to drink tea?

 

 

  1. Tell me something that you would like to buy.

 

 

  1. Tell me something that you would like to read or watch.

 

 

  1. Make a sentence using the word “very”.

 

 

Part 3: Translate the following Chinese characters into English (1pt each).

26. 我

 

 

27. 看 28. 他们 29. 喜欢
30. 吃

 

 

31. 你 32. 买 33. 喝
34. 什么

 

 

35. 要 36. 红酒 37. 电影

 

Part 4: Translate the following sentences from pinyin into English (2pt each).

  1. 你喜不喜欢喝茶?Nǐ xǐ bù xǐhuān hē chá?

 

  1. 我们想喝咖啡。Wǒmen xiǎng hē kāfēi.

 

  1. 我们很饿。 Wǒmen hěn è.

 

  1. 他累不累?Tā lèi bù lèi?

 

Part 1 Score: _____/20

Part 2 Score: _____/10

Part 3 Score: _____/12

Part 4 Score: _____/08

Total Score:  _____/50

、Notes:

 

 

DSC_9023.JPG

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