The project apply an integrated mixed methods (MM) design (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2010) in which the mixing of QUAL(itative) and QUAN(titative) approaches occur in an interactive (i.e., dynamic, reciprocal, interdependent, iterative) manner.
Three parallel aspects of the project shed light on the research questions: the effectiveness study, the implementation study and the selected case studies used to address the implementation of classroom interaction and student outcomes in greater depth.
Survey investigating effectiveness and implementation
A longitudinal QUAN study will include all teachers and students at 15 schools participating in a national initiative on developing secondary school (Ungdomstrinn i utvikling) starting fall 2014 or fall 2015. This approach provides an opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of the intervention on student outcomes as well as teachers' implementation of high-quality classroom interaction practices in a larger sample of classrooms. Teachers and students in a sample of 15 schools participating in Ungdomstrinn i utvikling starting in 2016 will be a wait-list control group for the survey data (T1-T3) from teachers and students.
Teachers and their classrooms is the main unit of analysis. However, based on register data (e.g., standardized national tests, GSI and “Elevundersøkelsen”) for the last three years, a profile for each school will be developed, enabling control for student intake. Multilevel modeling will be implemented to control for individual- and class-level differences, including a control for student intake, as well as to assess changes in student outcomes.
A case study subsample of 120 teachers and their classrooms will be observed using 12 constructs for describing classroom interactions, identified by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary (CLASS-S) (Pianta, et al., 2012) which have been shown to capture features of teacher-student interaction that contribute to learning and development.
We intend to use stratified random sampling for the selection of the 120 teachers from the 15 schools participating in Ungdomstrinn i utvikling. Teachers the case study group will be observed four times during the intervention period between T1 and T3.
Additionally, QUAL digital logs from the 120 teachers will be collected four times during the intervention. Procedures similar to those applied by Bakkenes et al. (2010) will be used and will provide insight into teachers' learning experiences. Using digital logs will give teachers the opportunity to think carefully about meaningful learning experiences, or non-learning, as they have time to consider relevant aspects of their learning experiences.
Furthermore, group interviews will be conducted with a subsample of teachers and students in the case study classrooms. The interviews will explore in more detail teachers’ experiences with the implementation of research-based knowledge regarding classroom interaction and their perception of school-level factors that promote and inhibit implementation (see table 1 and figure 1 for an overview of the data collection procedures).
Moreover, interviews with students will provide insight into students' experiences of classroom interaction. The aim of the case studies is to explore the factors that promote or inhibit the implementation of research-based knowledge in practice in ways that QUAN data cannot and to add to the understanding of classroom interaction.
This diverse approach to data collection provides greater opportunities for mapping, analyzing and interpretation, allowing for a more holistic understanding of the research questions than would have been gained if relying on a single paradigm or approach (Sammons, 2010; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2010). The QUAN component will feed into the QUAL in two ways. The first QUAN survey wave (T1) will be conducted independent of, and prior to, the main case study phase. Register data will be “qualitized” to create individual school profiles that can support the understanding of school-level factors affecting teachers' and students’ learning processes and student outcomes.
The explicit link between the QUAL and the QUAN through the choice of case study sample classrooms enhances the ability to produce meta-inferences based on the integration of findings (Sammons, 2010). The case study analysis will further be supported by QUAN student and teacher data. Apart from the benefits of triangulation in achieving greater internal validity, the MM design allows for working back and forth between inductive and deductive modes of thinking (Creswell, 2009; Sammons, 2010).
Bakkenes, I. Vermun, J.D. & Wubbels, T.(2010) Teacher learning in the context of educational innovation: Learning activities and learning outcomes of experiences teachers. Learning and Instruction. 2, 522–548.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Mapping the field of mixed methods research. [Editorial]. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 3(2), 95–108.
Sammons, P. (2010). The contribution of Mixed Methods to Recent Research on Educational Effectiveness In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Sage handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (2010). Overview over contemporary issues in mixed methoddesign In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Sage handbook of mixed methods in social behavioral research Los Angeles: Sage Publisher.