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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Science Education (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences

First Advisor

Bradley Baltensperger


Included in this report are the report of the action research conducted in a Strategic Mathematics classroom (Chapter 1) and the essay describing the impact of the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MiTEP) on one Kalamazoo Public Schools teacher (Chapter 2). The action research report details the motivation for the study, the details of the data collection and analysis, and the findings as presented. The essay describes the experiences of the MiTEP program, the impact on the participants, and the effective change in the classroom and the school district.

I am a middle school math teacher in Kalamazoo Public Schools. More specifically, I teach an intervention course titled Strategic Math. The course targets students who are two or more grade levels behind, based on standardized testing, and provide remediation for those students. As a teacher of at-risk urban youth, I have always made it a goal of mind to identify and implement a new teaching strategy each year that will in turn benefit my students. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, I decided that I would like to try using Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN) in my classroom. I thought that this could be a useful way to support students who lacked organizational skills, note-taking skills, and study skills, and it could serve as a bridge to their gap in performance. The purpose of the study detailed in chapter one was to determine whether or not the use of Interactive Student Notebooks would improve student performance.

For this project, I worked jointly with Jennifer Finta, a fellow Kalamazoo Public Schools teacher. She and I both began the year using Interactive Student Notebooks. We thought it best to jointly implement the ISNs to promote collaboration and idea sharing. For completion of the project, we decided that it would be best to collect one set of data that would compare the performance of students who did not use ISNs (2012-2013 control group) to the performance of those who did (2013-2014 experimental group). We used the Scholastic Math Inventory (SMI) assessment for that. The SMI test is a performance assessment administered every twelve weeks to all students in the program. For the purposes of the study, data was collected in September and November of the respective years. For data collection purposes, 68 students were included in the control group and 94 students were included in the experimental group.

Based on our analysis of the data, we used the Cohen's formula to determine the impact of ISNs. We noted that the implementation of the ISN had a medium effect on student growth. As a result of the study, we can confidently say that using ISNs in a mathematics classroom does, in fact, boost student performance.

For the research on the benefits of Interactive Student Notebooks in a math classroom, both Jennifer and I implemented the ISNs. We decided that even though we would only collect data in one classroom, it was important to have the ability to share ideas and collaborate on the implementation process. We shared equally the responsibility of meeting together, answering research-driven questions together, and journaling. We shared resources, photographs of ideas, project plans, learning activities and lessons, and suggestions for things that worked or tips for fixing things that didn't work. Jennifer and I worked together on the data analysis and the completion of the paper. We met together to make calculations and process each of the research questions as we evaluated our own effectiveness. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Jennifer on this project.