20 May, 2007
Dancing with Data- Part 1
The graph above of Pat Maths results across the cluster provides a snapshot of what has happened with numeracy Mt. Alexander schools in 2005 and 2006. It is difficult to draw conclusions from the line graph.
But when we combine stanines into low(1+2+3), medium(4+5+6), and high (7+8+9), and plot a column graph clearer and interesting trends begin to emerge.
So, what can we say?
It appears there has been some improvement in numeracy across the cluster. Although, we have to be careful here. We’re comparing two different groups, and there are no isolated or control variables. On their own we can’t be too confident of these results meaning anything definate.
Harry and I have enrolled in the Graduate Certificate for Educational Research Methods and are understanding the fascinating complexities of educational research- a unique blend of scientific(quantitative) and humanistic(qualitative) approaches.
But, here is the strength of the humanistic approach: these graphs have ‘shone a torch’ on an area for further investigation.
By conducting interviews, compiling vignettes, recording teacher observation, parent comments, & tutor observations we might begin to draw a picture about what specifically in our program is happening with student learning. It’s often through qualitative approaches we find the unexpected, discover both subtleties and complexitites within education.
And from that, ascertain what contribution regular chess playing has on learning outcomes.
The moral to the story: its not always the graph that tells us entirely what’s happening, but understanding what’s happening in classrooms that gave us the graph in the first place.