PARTICIPATION IN TITLE III-FUNDED FACULTY TRAINING ATCENTRAL PIEDMONT COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND ITSIMPACT ON THE TEACHING METHODOLOGIES USED BYINSTRUCTORS IN DEVELOPMENTAL READING ANDENGLISH COURSESCSRDE WebinarNovember 14, 2012Clint McElroy, Ph.D.Dean, Retention ServicesCentral Piedmont Community College
The Research Probleml The increasing number of students attending community colleges reflects abroader reach into the general population, which has resulted in highpercentages of under-prepared students coming through the doors of U.S.community colleges.l At CPCC, 54% of incoming students and 72% of incoming recent high schoolgraduates (within two years of high school graduation) test into at least onedevelopmental course in reading, writing, or mathematics.l “Urban institutions face numerous challenges, the most notable of which is astudent population largely comprised of individuals with one or more of thefollowing characteristics: income below the poverty line, immigrant status, first-generation college student, a member of an ethnic minority group, in need ofremediation, or whose first language is not English” (Hirose-Wong, 1999).
The Research Problem (cont’d)l In 2003, CPCC got a federal Title III grant to support development and implementation of athree-component program designed to improve the success of at-risk students (defined asstudents placing into developmental reading and/or English on the Accuplacer placementtest).l The three components of the CPCC Title III activity are Improving Student Services,Improving Faculty Training, and Improving Student Information Systems.l The faculty training portion of the Title III project was designed in part to encourage facultymembers teaching developmental reading and/or English courses to use more variedteaching methods in their classes, in order to accommodate the learning preferences of asmany students as possible.l The varied teaching methods addressed in the faculty training were selected by anexperienced group of faculty and administrators who came together to design the facultytraining program. They included methods identified as meeting the learning needs ofstudents with auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learning preferences.
The Research Problem (cont’d)l The researcher wanted to find a way to evaluate theeffectiveness of the CPCC Title III faculty trainingprogram.l Literature review revealed that community colleges(and other schools, colleges, and universities) rarelydo goal-based quantitative evaluations of theirfaculty training programs.
Research QuestionAre faculty members who havecompleted CPCC’s Title III facultytraining program more likely to employvarious teaching methods targeted tothe needs of students with visual,kinesthetic, and auditory cognitive/learning style preferences than facultymembers who have not completed thefaculty training program?
Theoretical frameworkl Vincent Tinto (1987) – “Student Involvement” theoryof student success– Student involvement with the institution is key– Student perception of institutional caring is key– Institutional retention actions should be systematic incharacter– Education, not retention, should be the goal of institutionalretention programs
Theoretical frameworkl Terry O’Banion (1997) – “Learning College” theoryof student success– Placing student learning needs first– Creating connection activities– Developing standards and outcome measures– Promoting cultural change in the institution
Literature Reviewl Studies cited showing trends regarding at-risk students in the communitycollegel Studies cited showing student retention efforts targeted to at-risk studentsl Studies cited showing that teaching using varied teaching methods has beenshown to improve the success of at-risk students in higher educationl Studies cited showing evaluations of the efficacy of faculty training programs inhigher educationl Studies cited showing methods used for the evaluation of college facultytraining programsl Studies cited showing data regarding the effectiveness of student assessmentof faculty teaching
Methodologyl Data collected via teaching methodology identification surveys completed bystudents enrolled in developmental reading and/or English composition coursesat CPCC during Spring Term 2005 and Spring Term 2006l Study compared the use of specific teaching methods by developmentalreading and English instructors who had participated in a 48-hour facultytraining program with the use of those same methods by developmentalreading and English instructors who had not participated in the training programl The purpose of the study was to determine if faculty members who hadparticipated in the training program were more likely to use 28 specific teachingmethods than faculty members who had not completed the training.l Of the 28 teaching methods, 10 were identified as meeting the needs of visuallearners, 11 were identified as meeting the needs of auditory learners, and 7were identified as meeting the needs of kinesthetic learners.
Methodologyl In order for the randomly selected samples of course sections to be surveyed to representthe actual populations of students enrolled in sections being taught by Title III-trained andnon-Title III-trained instructors in 2005 and 2006, a stratified random sampling procedurewas used for each year.l In 2005, 25% of students selected for surveying were in classes taught by trainedinstructors. In 2006, 50% of students selected for surveying were in classes taught bytrained instructors.l Survey results were compiled for each of the 28 identified teaching methods, andPearson’s Chi-square tests were run for each of the methods in order to gauge thestatistical significance of the results.l Pearson’s Chi-square was the appropriate because the survey data were in the form ofraw frequency counts of things (teaching methods) in two mutually exclusive andexhaustive categories (trained versus non-trained instructors).
Results & DiscussionOverall, the results were:l Raw survey results showed trained instructors using 21 of the28 teaching methods more frequently than non-trainedinstructors.l The seven teaching methods which the raw data indicated non-trained faculty used equal to or more than trained faculty werewhat could be termed more traditional, standard collegeteaching methods:– writing on the whiteboard or chalkboard,– using black and white handouts,– using cartoons or comics,– lecturing,– forming groups,– giving oral instructions,– encouraging peer discussions.
Results & Discussionl There were eight teaching methods for which the difference inusage between non-trained and trained faculty members wasfound to be statistically significant (p < .05) for both surveyyears, 2005 and 2006.l There were two additional teaching methods for which thedifference in usage between non-trained and trained facultymembers was found to be statistically significant (p < .05) forone survey year and statistically significant (p<.10) for the othersurvey year.l In each of these 10 instances, the rate of use of the method forwhich the results were determined to be statistically significantwas higher in the group of trained instructors as compared tothe group of non-trained instructors.
Results & Discussionl Three of the 10 teaching methods where statistically significant results(p<.05) were found for both survey years were identified as benefitingvisual learners:– In 2005, trained instructors used the Blackboard online system in theirteaching at a rate of 67.9 percent, while non-trained instructors used it at arate of 32.9 percent. In 2006, the rates were 65.6 percent for trained and43.9 percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used maps/charts/posters in their teaching at arate of 67.9 percent, while non-trained instructors used them at a rate of43.9 percent. In 2006, the rates were 59.7 percent for trained and 41.4percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used Powerpoint/internet/computer graphics intheir teaching at a rate of 94.2 percent, while non-trained instructors usedthem at a rate of 43.6 percent. In 2006, the rates were 69 percent fortrained and 51 percent for non-trained.
Results & Discussionl Two of the 10 teaching methods where statistically significantresults were found for both survey years were identified asbenefiting auditory learners:– In 2005, trained instructors used guest speakers in their teachingat a rate of 49 percent, while non-trained instructors used them ata rate of 31.1 percent. In 2006, the rates were 57.5 percent fortrained and 41.4 percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used assignments of oral presentationsin their teaching at a rate of 76.5 percent, while non-trainedinstructors used them at a rate of 53.6 percent. In 2006, the rateswere 78.3 percent for trained and 65.2 percent for non-trained.
Results & Discussionl Five of the 10 teaching methods where statistically significant resultswere found for both survey years were identified as benefitingkinesthetic learners:– In 2005, trained instructors used activities requiring movement in theirteaching at a rate of 72 percent, while non-trained instructors used them ata rate of 45.9 percent. In 2006, the rates were 67.2 percent for trained and51.6 percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used hands-on projects in their teaching at arate of 75.5 percent, while non-trained instructors used them at a rate of49.8 percent. In 2006, the rates were 77.6 percent for trained and 60.4percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used service learning in their teaching at a rateof 52 percent, while non-trained instructors used it at a rate of 35 percent.In 2006, the rates were 52.2 percent for trained and 34.5 percent for non-trained.
Results & Discussion(kinesthetic cont’d)l Five of the 10 teaching methods where statistically significantresults were found for both survey years were identified asbenefiting kinesthetic learners:– In 2005, trained instructors used activities outside the classroom intheir teaching at a rate of 58.8 percent, while non-trainedinstructors used them at a rate of 46 percent. In 2006, the rateswere 70.5 percent for trained and 49.7 percent for non-trained.– In 2005, trained instructors used drawing activities in their teachingat a rate of 54.2 percent, while non-trained instructors used themat a rate of 39.2 percent. In 2006, the rates were 44 percent fortrained and 24.8 percent for non-trained.
Results & Discussionl There were also eight other teaching methodologiesfor which the results for only one of the two yearswere found to be statistically significant at the mostcommonly used p value for significance (p < .05).l In each of these eight instances, the rate of use ofthe method for which the results were determined tobe statistically significant was higher in the group oftrained instructors as compared to the group of non-trained instructors.
Results & Discussionl It is possible that many of the methods for which asignificant difference was not found between the twogroups are simply more widely used by the facultymembers teaching these courses at CPCC.l For example, attending a training session duringwhich the importance of writing on the whiteboard orchalkboard is discussed may not make a facultymember more likely to do something that mostfaculty members do without being prompted.
Results & Discussionl The results suggest that participation in the CPCC Title III facultytraining program does encourage faculty members teachingdevelopmental reading and/or English at CPCC to use a wider varietyof teaching methods than are used by faculty members who have notyet participated in the training program.l The statistical significance of the results over both survey years for 10of the teaching methods indicates that instructors’ participation in thetraining program is likely encouraging their use of those methods.l The fact that these 10 methods are distributed among the threelearning preference groups (three for visual, two for auditory, and fivefor kinesthetic) indicates that at-risk students enrolled indevelopmental courses taught by instructors who have participated inthe training program should be more likely to succeed in theirdevelopmental courses, as their learning preferences are more likelyto be met by the instructional methods employed by their instructors.
Results & Discussionl Another conclusion that can be reached as a result of this studyis that student surveying regarding instructors’ teachingmethods is a viable way for colleges to assess the instructionalpractices of their teachers.l Central Piedmont Community College holds becoming a morelearner-focused college as an institutional priority, and, in thisinstance, its efforts to encourage faculty behavior that bettermeets the learning needs of students was evaluated in a directway, by asking the students.l As the literature review for this study indicates, very fewcommunity colleges attempt to assess the efficacy of theirfaculty development programs (Murray, 2002).
Results & Discussionl The system of evaluation applied in this study is specific to theintended outcomes of the CPCC Title III faculty trainingprogram.l The study documented that instructors who participated in thetraining were using several methods that those who did notparticipate in the training were less likely to use.l This was appropriate, as the efficacy of the training program inencouraging use of the specific methods was being assessed,not the overall efficacy of individual instructors.
Limitation of the Studyl The limitation of this study is that the methodology used did not allow for an absolute causeand effect relationship between participation in the CPCC Title III faculty training programand instructors’ use of more varied teaching methods.l In order to establish causation, it would have been necessary to arrange some form of pre-and post-test format for assessing changes in the individual instructors’ teaching methodsin the post-training period.l While such a study might yield more conclusive results regarding causation, broaderconsiderations relating to the environment in which this study was conducted argued forthe treatment versus control format of this study.l The broad goal of the CPCC Title III project under which the faculty training program isbeing offered is to improve the success rate of at-risk students.l Faculty support for the project is very important, and by devising a method for studying theeffects of the faculty training program which allowed participating faculty members toremain anonymous, it was possible to assess the faculty training program’s efficacywithout assessing the performance of individual faculty members.
Recommendations for FutureResearchl A primary recommendation regarding future research is that community college personnelactively pursue formal, outcome-based evaluation of faculty development activities.l A recommendation regarding future research that is specific to the content of this study isthat a pre- and post-test format would yield more conclusive results regarding a facultytraining program’s actual impact on the teaching of individual instructors.l It is likely that other community colleges seeking to measure specific teaching-relatedoutcomes of a faculty training program will be faced with similar environmental concerns aswere present when this study was being designed for use at CPCC. If this is the case,replication of this study format may be advisable.l Additionally, further research on the impact, if any, of the training program on studentperformance would be valuable. Grade performance (both in-term and in subsequentreading- and writing-intensive courses) and retention of students in courses taught bytrained instructors versus those in courses taught by instructors who had not been throughthe training might be studied to gauge the this impact.