Contextualized Content Courses: Lessons Learned and Implications
Authors: Joan Karp, Hannah Sevian, Marilyn Decker, Christos Zahopoulos, Bob Chen, Arthur Eisenkraft

3. Design, Data & Analysis
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3. Design, Data & Analysis
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Claims 1, 2 and 3 (The model, its value for participants, and its impact on instructors): These preliminary claims characterizing the CCC model and its impact are based on in-depth qualitative analysis of data collected over the life of the project by BSP's external evaluators, and triangulated through numerous observations, surveys, interviews, and focus groups related to the Contextualized Content Courses, participating populations, instructors, and planners.

  • Observations: 27 CCC courses, 15 CCC instructor training sessions, 55 CCC participant classrooms, 2 project meeting with STEM instructors, 1 project meeting with BPS instructors

  • Surveys: 233 CCC exit surveys, 137 returning participant CCC surveys, 23 CCC instructor surveys

  • Interviews: 55 CCC participants, 16 CCC STEM instructors, 15 CCC BSP instructors, 21 BPS school-based administrators, 6 Science Department staff, 20 Leadership Team members

  • Focus groups: 1 STEM faculty instructor, 1 BPS HS instructor, 1 BPS MS instructor, 2 graduate students involved with CCC

Claim 4 (Impact on student achievement): End-of-course district-wide assessments were used to measure differences in student achievement between three treatment groups: students whose teachers have been CCC co-instructors, students whose teachers participated in CCCs, and students whose teachers had no involvement with the courses. These assessments are developed by the BPS Science Department and are administered to students at the completion of each term in science courses. Results of these exams were compared between groups to determine if students whose teachers had participated in CCCs scored higher than those whose teachers were not involved. Similar baseline scores from the year prior to the first CCCs were also compared. Additionally, student scores from the state mandated Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) science test were used to compare these same groups. (This test will become a graduation requirement in 2010.)

Claims 5 and 6 (Content knowledge gains for participants, and retention): The project developed content-based pre- and post-tests for the courses in order to examine changes in teachers' content knowledge, retention of information, and the success of differentiating instruction within the CCCs themselves. After the tests were used in Years 2 and 3, reliability and validity were measured for six of the tests and they were found to be of high quality. Teachers were also tested 6-9 months after completing the courses. Along with these delayed post-tests, teachers were given a list of state standards for teaching in the subject of the course, and asked to check off which topics they had taught in the classroom since taking the summer course. Results of tests from teachers who indicated that they had taught the related material, and those who had not, were also compared to assess the amount of knowledge retained over a longer period of time.