AR Focus Statement
Within the English classroom at Crenshaw School, students struggle to create relevant discourse regarding author’s purpose in assigned readings. Implementing the Reflect, Inquire, Suggest, Elevate (RISE) model of critical feedback as a requirement for students to follow when evaluating peer responses to discussion posts should enhance student analysis of an author’s purpose in assigned readings.
Will my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade target students be able to create explanations that reflect a deeper understanding of an author’s universal message when providing peer critiques?
Will my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade target students’ responses during discussions become elevated when discussions are conducted independent of the teacher?
Will my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade target students utilization of the RISE model of discourse increase the level of questioning among themselves during peer critiques and evaluations?
The specific target audience for Cycle 2 was thirteen middle school students at Crenshaw School in Galveston Independent School District. Four of the participants were 12 years old and nine of the participants were 13 years old. 92.3% of this target audience are considered Low Socio Economic, and 38.5% reside in households where Spanish is the primary language spoken. Nine participants of the target audience were female and four of the participants were male. All of these participants completed the pre and post assessments, discussion posts, and RISE responses.
Summary of Cycle 2
Students completed a pre-assessment that required students to analyze the level of responses in class projects and student critiques prior to RISE implementation. Students evaluated responses to determine if the responses where literal, contained inference, or connected to a universal message. Students also evaluated peer critiques to determine if students independently reflected a connection to peer projects and ideas, inquired for more information, suggested alternative ideas and different perspectives, and elevated connections to a new perspective or a societal meaning.
After completion of this survey, participating students viewed a video explaining the RISE process, analyzed sample RISE responses, and then deconstructed their own previous responses in former projects and discussion posts. Students deconstructed these responses in a Prezi. When students did not find connecting information that established the critical feedback process of Reflect, Inquire, Suggest, and Elevate, students created these types of responses in their Deconstructing RISE Prezis. Upon completion of these projects, I generated questions to create a dialogue about elements of a new novel, A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest Gaines. These new questions were posted in our course located in Schoology. The next week, students then responded to these questions on the discussion forum, knowing that their peers would provide critical feedback utilizing the RISE responses. Week three students began implementing crucial feedback to two peer responses following the RISE format in Schoology. In addition, students then generated their own upper level questions, and posted these questions in a new discussion forum. These questions were limited to reflect upper level Bloom’s questions. All questions were required to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information within A Lesson Before Dying.
The final week, students began responding to peer questions. Each question posed by peers had to be answered by all students participating in Cycle 2. After completion of responses, students then implemented the RISE feedback process to two more student responses. Upon completion of the RISE responses, students then completed the Post Assessment. Students reflected back to his/her responses in their first Assessment and their previous discussion posts that did not require student implementation of the RISE feedback process. Students then evaluated whether the new responses remained in the literal level of thought, inference level, or universal area. Participating students then evaluated the implementation of RISE feedback to peer posts. Each student evaluated whether he/she included a reflecting statement, at least one inquiry question, provided a suggestion for peers to consider, and elevated a new understanding or societal message for the peer response he/she responded to.
The pre and post assessment tools are surveys designed to have students independently assess their own level of responses. Students determined whether responses were literal, inferential, and/or universal. Both assessments also required students to independently analyze the level of critical feedback that he/she provided to peers. In addition, I evaluated peer responses utilizing two rubrics. One rubric evaluated what level of responses (literal, inference, universal) students provided when answering discussion post questions. The second rubric determined what level of feedback did each student implement during critical feedback to peer responses. Both rubrics were utilized to evaluate discussion post responses that occurred prior to implementation of the RISE feedback process for We the Living by Ayn Rand. These rubrics were also utilized to gather data for responses and peer feedback after implementation of the RISE feedback process for discussions associated with a new class novel, A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest Gaines. Students participated in three trials. The first trial was pre RISE. The second trial occurred a week after implementation of the RISE feedback process. The third and final trial was implemented two and a half weeks after implementing the RISE critical feedback process.
Students indicated in the pre-assessment that all students felt responses and projects primarily demonstrated literal interpretation. Two students indicated that they considered their pre RISE responses and projects to contain universal connections. Students were introduced to the elements of RISE prior to taking the pre-assessment. This did allow for students to more accurately answer the questions on the assessment.
When comparing the data in the pre-assessment with the post assessment in regards to providing critical feedback to peers, the pre-assessment indicated that only 15% of students felt that their critiques elevated peer responses. The post-assessment required students to again evaluate critical feedback prior to the utilization of RISE, and students indicated that the majority of feedback provided before utilizing the RISE critical feedback process was limited to providing primarily reflective statements.
The data after RISE implementation indicated that 100% of students provided reflective statements, inquired for more information, and suggested other perspectives or possibilities when providing peer feedback. Student critiques of responses in these assessments showed a significant increase of analysis and feedback. Students indicated that the majority of responses, prior to RISE implementation, stayed in the literal interpretation area; however, after implementation, in the final discussion post responses, students determined that responses were mostly insightful. In the initial evaluation on this assessment, students indicated that peer feedback was limited to reflective comments only; however, after three weeks of implementation of the RISE feedback process, students determined that the majority of feedback reflected, inquired, and suggested more from peers. After three weeks of implementation, 62% of students indicated that the critical feedback provided by students elevated his/her understanding of the author’s intended message.
Another tool I used to collect data was rubrics. The level of responses rubric and the RISE rubric demonstrated a more reliable comparison. After each student response to questions, I evaluated the responses based on literal (1), inference (2), and universal levels (3). Each level a student reached earned that corresponding score. The same process was utilized for Reflect (1), Inquire (2), Suggest (3), and Elevate (4). This information was recorded in a spreadsheet. Trial 1 was prior to RISE implementation, Trial 2 was the week after RISE implementation, and Trial 3 was two weeks after RISE implementation. The results recorded in the rubrics indicated that students did generate more insightful responses, provided more appropriate and relevant feedback, and established more valid connections than before RISE implementation. According the rubrics, students increased their feedback, and student open ended responses demonstrated more critical thought after RISE was incorporated into the classroom traditional and online setting.
Based on the data, Cycle 2 was relevant to my focus statement because it did generate increased connections and more insightful responses in relationship to text analysis. Student responses were more insightful and the discussion posts engaged students through the implementation of RISE.
Based on the data analysis provided above, all of the inquiry questions were addressed. Students did demonstrate a deeper understanding of an author’s message, student responses were elevated (more than what they had previously been prior to the utilization of RISE), and student questioning definitely increased. When analyzing the kinds of questions, the majority were upper level Blooms questions.
For example, the following is a typical student response prior the implementation of RISE:
“Yes, If you were there and didn’t stop them from doing something bad. You’re just as guilty.”(HC)
“It depends on the situation the other person is in; if he/she knows about what their friend is doing then they are guilty, but if they weren’t aware then they didn’t do anything wrong.” (FS)
“Yes, because you shouldn’t have went with the person doing wrong in the first place” (AH)
“If your with that person and your not the one doing something bad then you shouldn’t be guilty of being with the person doing that bad thing.” (TS)
“No, they shouldn’t pay for something they didn’t do.” (EM)
The following are examples of student responses after RISE implementation:
“Remember when the attorney called Jefferson a hog…. Well I would have asked the judge and the people of the jury to look at Jefferson as if he was their son and how would they feel if they found out that their son was going to jail for something like this. If it weren’t his fault, how would they like to see their son in an electric chair… If it were their own flesh and blood, then they wouldn’t have wanted to see their son die like that. Lets take a minute on how you feel Fallon, how would you have defended him? How much would you have tried to vouch for him if he was your client? Have you thought about the fact that since his attorney was whit then he didn’t was Jefferson to be proven innocent in the first place and that is why he said all of those mean and harsh things? Maybe we should look at this from Miss Emma’s view. She is crushed on the inside because she has done so, so much for Guidry’s family and yet he isn’t trying to convince the judge that Jefferson was innocent.” (AH)
“I feel that if I was Jefferson’s attorney I wouldn’t have called him ‘a useless hog that has no feeling’. If you were told something had no feelings at all, would you care about killing it? Him having no feelings, actually makes it easier on your conscience to send him for execution. If you look at it from the juries’ point of view, what would they like to hear? What would make them feel for Jefferson? I would have appealed to the jury in a more touching way, bringing in the sadness of segregation and how his life is. The jury might seem emotionless, but when they looked at Miss Emma during the case you could see and feel their emotions. The emotions all stopped when Jefferson was called a hog. Even if I appeal to the jury and do an amazing job being Jefferson’s attorney, do you really think the judge or the sheriff would care, or announce him ‘not-guilty’?” (AR)
“Jefferson’s thoughts in the beginning would be something like ‘Am I really just a hog?’ because his attorney said putting him in the chair is like putting a hog in the chair, and Grant’s would be ‘Why am I doing this? He’s going to die anyway.’ because he was asked/told to make Jefferson into a man and he did not know him. They both are questioning themselves as to the worth of putting forth any effort to change what society believes. Why put forth the effort to show that he isn’t a hog when he is going to die regardless of what he believes of himself or what others believe about him. Grant thinks the same thing-what is this lesson and becoming a man going to prove? What is it going to even help?” (TF)
The depth of understanding is more significant since the implementation of the RISE feedback process.
It was surprising to see that the most amount of growth between the genders tended to be associated with the males when associated with open-ended response levels (literal, inference, and universal). Boys, based on rubric analysis, averaged at a score of 2, indicating some inference was generated in their discussion responses; however, after RISE implementation, their open-ended response scores averaged at a 4.5, indicting that the male student responses were merging into the societal connection area. This demonstrated a growth of 2.5; however, although it was a larger increase than the participating females, the female data showed that the majority of responses were in the societal connection area after RISE implementation. Another interesting surprise was that both the boys and girls scored the same .5 score based on the feedback analysis (utilizing the rubric scoring system). After implementation, I was surprised to determine that the boys and girls remained very close in the ability to reflect, inquire, suggest, and elevate peer responses. There was only a slight deviation from each other. I found it surprising because there was such a distinct difference in the growth comparison (of boys and girls) relating to the responses in discussion posts. Another surprise was the data associated with students where Spanish is what is spoken at home. What I found surprising is that when evaluating the level of responses, the growth was quite close for both the English speakers and the Spanish speakers. Based on this data, I was even more surprised that the data comparison regarding RISE responses demonstrated a separation in scores between the Spanish speakers and the English speakers. The native speakers growth increased almost 2 entire points regarding increased critical feedback.
My plans are to conduct more trials utilizing different novels to determine if learners continue to demonstrate growth in their ability to understand connections within text despite the genre, category, or form of text. In addition, I plan to continue tracking the growth of all students to see if the progression continues to increase with repetitive practice with providing peer feedback utilizing RISE.