Designed Based Research: A Framework for Teaching an Undergraduate Word Study and Phonics Course



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Background: Student success is tied to highly effective teaching. One essential component of highly effective teacher preparation programs is modeling the use of data-driven instruction. Data-driven instruction is especially crucial in reading instruction to remedy the gaps acquired from learning loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Data-driven instruction is often used within the framework of Design Based Research (DBR). By purposefully teaching data-driven instruction through the lens of DBR, teacher preparation programs can produce highly effective teachers who continuously monitor student achievement and adjust their teaching accordingly based on student data. Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to determine whether the use of DBR to redesign and teach an undergraduate phonics course improved the achievement of students. Specific questions included: (a) Would student scores improve after item analysis of pretest and posttest assessment results and after re-teaching occurs?; (b) What specific adjustments made by the researcher were effective in improving student learning? Methods: This study used an explanatory sequential mixed methods design with priority given to the quantitative strand. Archival assessment data were acquired from teacher education students enrolled in the summer and fall semesters of ELED 3318: Elementary Phonics and Reading Instruction at a large urban university. Data were collected from three pretest and posttest assessments, individual interviews, and the researcher’s journal. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and a paired sample t test through SPSS. For the interview, purposeful sampling was used to choose students who made the most improvement from their pretest to posttest assessment scores. The interview protocol focused on student learning and understanding of word study. Qualitative data were coded for emerging themes using NVivo software. To strengthen the validity of the results, quantitative questions were created using the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) rubric and experts in the field evaluated knowledge of course materials in ELED 3318. To strengthen the validity of qualitative results, a second coder was used to analyze raw interview data and identify emerging themes. Results: Quantitative data showed students made significant growth from pretests and posttests on Modules One, Two, and Three. For the summer 2018 class, the most significant growth was from Module Three pretest and posttest scores. Students made a 48% increase in their mean score increasing their understanding of the use and analysis of the Spelling Assessment Inventory. For the fall 2018 class, the most significant growth was from Module One pretest and posttest scores. Students made a 60% increase in their overall mean score increasing their understanding of phonemic awareness. The qualitative data found four themes that contributed to student success: (a) a connection between theory and practice; (b) modeling word study workstations; (c) real-world examples; and (d) a positive relationship between instructor and student. Conclusion: The use of design based research to redesign an undergraduate courses does improve student learning with the use of the hands on application and practical interventions throughout the course. Future studies should be done to continue refining the course and adjusting for the best interests of students.



Design Based Research, Phonics, Word Study, Teacher preparation