This project has a cross-sectional research design and will generate evidence that is descriptive [design research]. Original data will be collected using diaries, assessments of learning, and observation [personal observation and videography]. The intervention that serves as the context for this study is a 96 hour, year-long professional development program for elementary school teachers. Instruments or measures include LMT measure of teacher knowledge; Diagnosing Teachers' Multiplicative Reasoning (NSF DRL-0903411) measure of teacher knowledge; and DELTA assessment (NSF DRL-073272) measures of student and teacher knowledge of equipartitioning. Students of participating teachers also take at pre and post DELTA assessment. Data is also collected to complete a network analysis of the ways in which knowledge from the project is disseminated among participating teachers in partner schools.
As it is usual for design experiments, the main form of data analysis used in this part of the project consists of constant comparison methods (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) and the search for grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Connected to the idea of examining a learning ecology, this method of analysis allows for the creation of emerging categories in the data analysis and the refinement of these categories as they are contrasted with new project data. Various sources of data are used for the ongoing analysis and for triangulating information (Miles & Huberman,1994) in search of both confirming and disconfirming evidences. It is this constant refinement of the categories and of the research lenses that allows for the understanding of the learning ecology supported by design experiments and the development of refined conjectures and intervention. For feasibility purposes, design experiments also require focused data analyses that attend to the projects’ conceptual framework and to the more targeted research questions posed by the researchers. We begin our research with initial learning conjectures and use complementary data analysis methods to supplement our constant comparison method.