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PGCE research proposal - intervention groups and progression

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by katiemaud, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. katiemaud

    katiemaud New commenter

    Hello all,

    I'm currently writing up my research proposal. The premise is that at my current school (i'm in a year 3 class) 8 children every morning are taught English and Maths in another classroom by another teacher. The 8 children were chosen for various reasons, either it was believed they'd progress more in a smaller group, they have behavioral issues and a smaller group works better for them, or they are low attaining and slow down the main classes learning. Also it reduces the main classes size (which is normally 30 (and reduced to 22)) which makes a difference.
    The research will look at the progression differences between children in the two groups and I will also hold interviews with the teachers/ children in both groups to gather their opinions on the set up.

    This small group is an intervention group, but not in a typical sense as they are taught the same things as all the other children. I am struggling to find research for my literature review that covers a similar area, as most of the research is based around intervention groups in a typical sense (phonics 20 mins a day).

    If anyone has any ideas of research i could use or different paths i can go down in my literature review that would be great.

    Thank you.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    your research consists of group of 22 children and a group of 8 children?

    Your findings will be totally invalid.

    This should prepare you very well for a career in education where life- dominating policies from class level, through school / LEA and even to national level are based on invalid research findings published by individuals with absolutely no understanding of statistics and equally no understanding what so ever of the meaning of the word "research".

    If you think there is any point what so ever to wasting your time on this, you will fit right in.

    Or, if as I suspect, you are simply jumping through hoops to get the qualification - good luck! invent the research, no one will ever check.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  3. katiemaud

    katiemaud New commenter

    Thanks for the reply. I know the findings won't be valid - I'm trying my best with the word count (2500 words) and time (1 week) I have. Would it be 'more' valid if I compare the 8 from the intervention group with 8 from the main class - who started at similar attainment levels?

    Thank you
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    no that won't be valid either.

    I'm not critisising you.

    I just feel total rage and despair at a system that forces people to waste time like this, on "research" that isn't research, and demeans the name of research, and holds the results up as meaningful.
  5. katiemaud

    katiemaud New commenter

    Yes I understand. Do you have any ideas how I could make this research valid?
  6. justkeepswimming18

    justkeepswimming18 New commenter

    Hi katiemaud

    I'm in 3rd year of BA Ed, so totally get why you are finding it difficult! If you were wanting to generalise from your research and come out with some kind of sweeping statement for a conclusion; then the study would have to be totally different. That is the kind of thing that takes a lot more work than is needed for 2500 words. Is it part of a larger piece of writing? What are your learning outcomes for the assignment?

    I am sure that part of the LO will be to evaluate the methods, sample size etc and relate to the literature, part of that will be to acknowledge that it could not be generalised. By talking to teachers, you are gathering qualitative data, so it would be a more subjective study, and as such leaves a lot of room for interpretation and lots of scope for you to discuss your results against what the literature says.

    Have you thought about looking for literature around setting or streaming? We have a student in our year who's dissertation is around that and it covers quite a broad range.

    Hope that helps :)
  7. PGCE_tutor

    PGCE_tutor New commenter

    I'm wondering if you're making this bigger than is required. A 2,500 word write-up of a week's investigation is going to need to be really tightly focused. The main problem with your current idea is that you would need to measure the effect over time, which you don't have.
    Has your tutor agreed this focus? If not, can you have a conversation before investing too much time?
  8. katiemaud

    katiemaud New commenter


    thank you for your reply! It is a small scale research project, with 2500 words for lit review and methodology and a 15 minute presentation to present findings.

    The LO's are as follows:

    1. Critically and creatively reflect on their own emerging identity as a professional and capacity for increased self-awareness and reflexivity.

    2. Critically evaluate, synthesise and apply an in-depth and specialist knowledge of educational theory and research, to their thinking about issues drawn from professional practice.

    3. Demonstrate a creative and critical awareness and understanding of the nature of schools as social organisations, including the importance of values and relationships in an educational organisation.

    4. Consistently demonstrate the standards and competencies required for QTS over a sustained period, showing evidence of having responded effectively to support provided from partnership settings and from the university, including fulfilling documentation requirements.

    5. Communicate effectively using appropriate academic conventions.

    I understand that my findings could not be generalised as it is such a small scale piece of research, this will be noted and the aim is to see in this particular setting if this intervention group works, and the reasons why it is taking place.

    I haven't thought about reading around setting and streaming, although it could work!

    Thank you again,


    amazing06 likes this.
  9. justkeepswimming18

    justkeepswimming18 New commenter

    The advice I'm being given is that it is difficult to conduct a study that is significantly robust in the time frame and with resources we have. The important thing is that you are demonstrating the ability to research and discuss the theories and methodology around it and to acknowledge the limitations - it doesn't have to be a perfect piece of research, you just need to discuss the findings. Recognising the things that are problematic is part of the critical evaluation. In fact, it's easier if you have gaps, it gives you something to write about. :)

    Good luck!
  10. katiemaud

    katiemaud New commenter

    Thank you for your response - that's very helpful! As a schools direct student, there is literally no support from the university so it is very helpful to hear this!
    justkeepswimming18 likes this.
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    3-5 years, a much bigger sample of students from a selection of schools and make attempts to control a few variables that may be affecting things.

    In other words, don't bother.
  12. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    In my opinion, this is not an 'intervention' group as the session is not in addition to their normal class maths and English sessions, it is their session. There does not appear to be anything to compare. If they don't make better progress than children in the bigger group then there is something amiss.

    You are probably not in a position to change any of these arrangements so it would make sense to change the focus of your research. Do you have any others areas of interest?

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