Using Action Research to Improve Teaching and Learning II

Educator engages in an action-research project that draws on a question from classroom data, viewed through current research and (re)examined through the systematic analysis of classroom data to yield responses to improve professional practice and student learning outcomes.
Made by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator implements the action research study designed in the “Using Action Research to Improve Teaching and Learning” micro-credential. The educator examines ways their multiple data sources will yield responses to the research question. The educator identifies and employs appropriate analytical techniques with the generated data and compiles a report of the findings consistent with standards of educational research.

Method Components

This badge builds explicitly on the “Using Action Research to Improve Teaching and Learning” micro-credential. You will need to successfully complete that micro-credential first to have the necessary artifacts that provide the foundation of this badge.

Components of Action Research to Improve Teaching and Learning

  • Conduct a research study that involves the systematic generation and analysis of data from at least three sources
  • Construct an appropriate research design for the identified question
  • Offer findings from your study with a clear evidentiary audit trail
  • Produce a clearly written report that details the research process and shares the study’s findings and implications for and on practice
  • Participate in, and value the importance of, a collaborative learning community.

Suggested Implementation

  1. Learn basic strategies for the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data
  2. Consider the relationships between research questions, analytical techniques, and research ethics
  3. Identify analytical methods appropriate to your action research question
  4. Collect action research data and conduct your analysis
  5. Document your findings in a standard research article format
  6. Present your findings publicly to colleagues

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

High levels of student learning rest on a teacher’s ability to teach effectively and to know the standards of success expected of students at each grade level.[1] Although this key relationship is codified in local, state, and national education policies, recent efforts have intensified the definition of teacher effectiveness, the tools by which it is measured, and the standards of success. Nowhere is this more obvious than the current demand for school districts across the country to identify effective teachers using student learning measures and link professional growth to increases in achievement.

Action research is one method for marking and charting professional growth linked to student learning. In Wisconsin, action research offers a means for identifying and providing evidence of your professional practice goals (PPGs) and student learning outcomes (SLOs) as required by your Educator Effectiveness Plan.

[1] See, for example, Banks et al. (2005); L. Darling-Hammond (2010); Hirsch, Koppich, & Knapp (2001); Monk (1994); Sanders & Rivers (1996); Zumwalt & Craig (2005).

  • Anderman, L., C. Andrzejewski, and J. Allen. “How Do Teachers Support Students’ Motivation and Learning in Their Classrooms?” Teachers College Record, 113.5 (2011): 969–1003.
  • Eisenhart, M. (2006). Representing qualitative data. In L. Green & G. Elmore (Eds.), Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research (2nd ed., pp. 567-581). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
  • Fraenkel, J. and N. Wallen. “The Research Problem.” How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. 26-36.
  • Glesne, C. (2015). Finding your story: Data analysis Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction (5th ed., pp. 183-217). New York: Pearson.
  • Solorzano, R. W. “High Stakes Testing: Issues, Implications, and Remedies for English Language Learners.” Review of Educational Research 78:2 (2008): 260-329. doi:10.3102/0034654308317845


Learning Opportunities

  • Session 1 (F2F)
    • Connect research questions to data sources by identifying the specific aspects of those data sources that contribute to answering the research question.
    • Learn basic quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques and practice those techniques using prescribed data sets.
    • Discuss issues of research ethics, bias, and inference in data analysis.
  • Session 2 (Online PLC)
    Explore quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods using online tools and resources.
    • Glesne, C. (2015). Finding your story: Data analysis Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction (5th ed., pp. 183-217). New York: Pearson.

    View the Video:

    Review the following research examples:

    • Skim (at least) the Rogers and Steele (2016) article and read the appendices included from the Rogers dissertation that describe the coding categories
      Rogers, K. C., & Steele, M. D. (2016). Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Enactment of Reasoning-and-Proving Tasks in a Content Course for Elementary Teachers. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 47(4), 372-419.
    • Read as an example of qualitative data analysis:
      Watson, D. (2011). “Urban, but Not Too Urban”: Unpacking Teachers’ Desires to Teach Urban Students. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(1), 23-34.
    • Read as an example of quantitative data analysis:
      Burris, C. C., & Welner, K. G. (2005). Closing the Achievement Gap by Detracking. The Phi Delta Kappan, 86(8), 594-598.

    Tinker as appropriate with the following online analysis tools:

  • Session 3 (F2F)
    Work collaboratively to analyze the collected data.
  • Session 4 (F2F)
    Write up your data in standard research article format and create a poster for public display in Session 5.
    • Eisenhart, M. (2006). Representing qualitative data. In L. Green & G. Elmore (Eds.), Handbook of Complementary Methods in Education Research (2nd ed., pp. 567-581). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

    Review the provided examples of action research posters:

    • Any two (2) Exemplar Action Research Projects—one qualitative, one quantitative—prepared by teachers in the George Mason University Language Minority Teacher Induction Program:
  • Session 5 (F2F)
    Participate in a poster session sharing the results of your action research with your colleagues and the public. This can be done virtually if you are not participating as a part of a cohort.

*Note: The “Learning Opportunities” are from the Milwaukee Master Teaching Program. If you would like to take advantage of that learning opportunity and are not part of the program, please check back later on this micro-credential for video recordings of the sessions.

Additional Resources

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Part 1 and a “Yes” evaluation for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

Response may be written or provided through a video.

  • Why was this action research question and topic important to you, and what did you hope to learn through the investigation?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

To earn this micro-credential, please submit the following:

  • A research report using the standard educational research article format, that includes:
    • A summary of the overall educational issue and your specific research questions
    • A review of the literature
    • The method used to collect and analyze the data
    • A report of results (including at least three sources of data, one of which should include some form of student reflection)
    • A discussion of what the results suggest about the educational issue and research questions, with a call to action regarding areas for further study
  • A research poster that summarizes the key points of your research findings and can be used to discuss the findings with others

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

Ready to get started?