Angela Bernier
Affiliation: MSAD#1
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: Meeting The Technology Demands of The 21st Century Student
Abstract: This mixed-method research study examines the scale of technology initiatives, funding options, and the implementation of technology in the classroom in grades four and five in schools in the state of Maine.  In this research study, an overwhelming percentage of the fifty eight schools that responded to a quantitative google survey, offer one-to-one technology to their 4th and 5th grade students.  A high percentage of those schools are funding their technology initiatives with district funds. Forty nine teachers of the represented schools responded to a qualitative google survey, and it was found that technology is being used extensively in the classroom to teach and supplement curriculum. Recommendations for school administrators in Maine, are to create a technology plan that includes funding a one-to-one technology initiative for grades four and five, and also include the provision of professional development opportunities for teachers, in order to best implement the technology initiative into the classroom.

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Renee Bouchard Charette
Affiliation:
STEM Specialist at Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: The Impact of Mathematics Coaching on Teacher Pedagogy and Student Understanding in Rural School Districts
Abstract: This study collected data from teachers and math coaches in rural Maine schools to determine if working with a mathematics coach had an impact on teacher’s pedagogy. Participants were asked about their perception of whether coaching interactions impacted students understanding of mathematics. The design included interviews with four coaches who had been trained through the Maine Mathematics Coaching Project. Data from nineteen teachers was collected through surveys that were emailed to all teachers who had worked with the four coaches. Conclusions indicate that most coaches and teachers do believe that working with a mathematics coach has a positive impact on both teacher pedagogy and student understanding. Increased classroom discourse, greater use of questioning techniques, and stronger number sense due to increased use of research-based practices emerged as common trends in the findings from both sets of data.

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Laura Columbia
Affiliation:
Mt.Blue Regional School District
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Understanding Teachers’ Perceptions of Digital Natives: How Do Teachers Perceive Digital Natives in Their Classrooms?
Abstract: This study seeks to understand how teachers perceive digital natives in their classrooms and how their teaching may be influenced by digital natives. Interviews revealed that teachers view digital natives as different than themselves and also viewed digital natives as being more comfortable with technology.  Most of the interviews demonstrated that many teachers held negative perceptions of digital natives as both learners and students, and have modified their teaching to help address that. Recommendations include increased professional development on balancing technology and classroom conduct.

 


Julie Conrad
Affiliation:
Central Aroostook Junior/Senior High School
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: Teaching Time Management in the Proficiency Based Classroom
Abstract: Students in Maine are currently making the switch to proficiency based education. In transitioning to a grading system based on only academic standards many of the soft skills, such as time management, are often not taught in the classroom as the focus is on only the academic standards. In this action research study, three different time management strategies were introduced to middle school math students in a rural junior high classroom. Each strategy was used for one academic learning standard. Student achievement and perceptions, as well as teacher observations, were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the strategies. The results showed a) an increase in student proficiency through the use of each of the strategies; b) a positive student response to the strategies used; and c) a reported increase in time management skills.

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Jennifer Daniels
Affiliation: 
Sanford School Department
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: The Impact of Parent Involvement on Students’ Mathematical Mindset.
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to examine parent-teacher communication and what impact it had on a student’s mathematical mindset. Previous research has shown that parent involvement impacts student achievement, generates positive attitudes towards learning and school, and increases communication between child and parents. This mixed-methods research project examined student attitudes towards math and whether they identified with a growth or fixed mindset.  Parents were surveyed on communication regarding their child’s math homework and curriculum. Findings revealed that parent-teacher communication did not directly impact a student’s mathematical mindset. Parents did report increased school-to-parent communication.

 


Melissa Sturgis Elie
Affiliation:
MSAD# 52-Tripp Middle School
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Improving Student Efficacy, Motivation, and Engagement Through the Use of Authentic Writing Tasks and Prewriting Conferences
Abstract: Students’ perceived authenticity is a critical motivational variable for engaging students in writing, especially adolescents. The dual purposes of this study included investigating the extent of improvement in student motivation, engagement, and self-efficacy when provided authentic writing options and to examine the extent that teacher/student prewriting conferences improve middle school students’ perceptions of authenticity.  This study explored possible benefits of using authentic writing assignments and prewriting conferences to encourage educators to incorporate these changes into their practices to increase student motivation, engagement, and self-efficacy.

 


Aimee Goff
Affiliation:
MSAD #70 – Mill Pond School
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: Utilizing Technology to Increase Math Achievement
Abstract: The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate technology use for differentiation to boost achievement in math.Fourth grade students were assigned intervention activities based upon their fall NWEA scores. The interventions were for twenty minutes each for twelve lessons in both IXL and Khan Academy. Students were observed for their engagement every five minutes during these interventions. Students were also given pre and post tests from their current Pearson math curriculum. Findings indicated that over 50% of the students did meet their projected RIT scores when they took their winter NWEA math test. The greatest growth was found in two of the subcategories – Operations and Algebra and Numbers and Operations. Students had more success with Khan Academy interventions, and this resource may be beneficial to others looking to use technology to differentiate interventions.

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Rene Gorneault
Affiliation:
The University of Maine at Presque Isle- Trio College Access Services/Upward Bound
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: College Success: Persistence and Retention of Upward Bound Low-Income First-Generation Students During Their First Semester
Abstract: There is growing interest in the TRIO Upward Bound community regarding persistence and retention for alumni who are enrolled in post-secondary institutions. There is limited research explaining actions, attributes, behaviors and strategies of low-income and first-generation students and their persistence and success during their first semester of college. Qualitative data was gathered for this study. Upward Bound alumni from the University of Maine at Presque Isle completed a survey and one-on-one interviews were conducted. The purpose of this study was to examine factors that cause Upward Bound students who are classified as low-income and first-generation not to matriculate beyond the first semester of college. Once students are at the college level, it is difficult to predict their smoothness of their transition and academic success. My research explored how Upward Bound students face retention issues, especially during their first semester of college. This study was able to recognize which factors are included in the college success of low-income and first-generation students.

 


Danielle Guerrette
Affiliation:
Mt. Blue Middle School RSU#9
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: The Effect on Motivation and Confidence of the Art Student of Low Socioeconomic Status
Abstract: This action-based research study used student and teacher surveys, as well as researcher observations to examine the effect of formative assessment and exploratory art education strategies in a high poverty school district. Both student perception of ability and confidence in the arts is often based on their previous experiences and past exposure to the arts. This research study sought to investigate students’ experience of art class through exploratory learning, along with the use of formative assessment, to best inform students ways to be successful while fostering a growth mindset.  Findings supported that student attendance and teacher-student relationships were most critical in the successful use of exploratory learning and formative assessment to increase student motivation and confidence.

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Nick Hart
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Influences to Develop Gifted Students With Math Talent: The Math Affects
Abstract: This case study examined characteristics of gifted students with mathematical talent. Research questions consisted of, (1) What contributes to gifted students in rural Maine to successfully develop math talent? and, (2) What role can the teacher play in developing students gifted with math talent? There were two participants in this research study, each a gifted student with a high level of mathematics talent from rural Maine. The data collected in this study consisted of a repossess to questionnaires and in-person interviews. Key characteristics identified in this study were innate motivation, unconditional encouragement from parents and the mathematics of competitions is more engaging than school mathematics for gifted students.


Jennifer L. Mahan
Affiliation:
Central Aroostook High School
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: Student Centered Approaches in High School Algebra
Abstract: This quasi-experimental study evaluated the impact of four, student centered approaches on learning outcomes for high school math students, to determine if algebraic understanding improved in an active learning environment.  Specifically, this study investigated high school algebra students’ use of learning stations, hands on manipulatives, small group collaboration and mathematical games, to deepen their conceptual understanding of linear equations.  Surveys revealed students prefered to work independently while being led by the teacher, yet this approach yielded the least amount of improvement. Pre- and post-tests showed students from the experimental groups out-performed peers in the control group on achievement of standards during each cycle of the experiment, with small group collaboration being the student centered approach yielding the highest mean.   In conclusion, research findings reveal students need to become active participants in their learning in order to enrich their learning experience and enhance conceptual understanding in mathematics.

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Amy McDaniel
Affiliation:
Milford School Department
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: The Perceptions of Parents Related to the Special Education Process in a Rural Maine Public School
Abstract: The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore parent and guardian feelings and perceptions of the special education process. Through the use of a cross sectional survey design, school leaders were provided with information needed to modify current practices to increase parent and guardian engagement in the special education process. Overall, parents and guardians reported mostly positive feelings as their child was going through the referral process. Through the use of open ended questions, parents revealed that communication, increased inclusionary services, and compassion were major themes impacting how they felt after special education services had begun.


Loni L. Nadeau
Affiliation:
University of Maine Fort Kent
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: Student Persistence and Factors which Affect Retention in Online Courses at a Small Rural College
Abstract: With declining enrollment and retention issues among Maine public universities it would be beneficial to try and determine what factors are contributing to online student retention and student persistence to ensure we are meeting the needs of online students which may help lead to better attrition rates, student success, and degree completion.  This mixed-methods study sought to determine the various factors which may have contributed to student persistence and retention in online courses and programs at the University of Maine Fort Kent. The research correlated student experiences and perceptions with institutional efforts in order to address any gaps in services which may improve the educational experience and student success for online learners, in turn, helping to improve retention.   Analysis of the data revealed that there are identifiable factors within the institution’s control that may help increase retention rates and that using available student information may help to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful in meeting their educational goals.

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Kelly Nelson
Affiliation:
MSAD 75
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Movement in the Classroom: Breaks or Integrated Opportunities?
Abstract: Incorporating movement in the classroom has been shown to increase cognitive functions, provide better retention of academics, improve focus and concentration, and increase positive affect. In this action research study, both qualitative and quantitative data was collected to investigate whether movement breaks or academically integrated physical activity have a greater effect on student engagement, and to gather student perceptions to see if students prefer one approach over the other. 18 fourth grade students participated in a series of movement interventions and completed surveys about each. Survey results, along with teacher observations, showed that both types of movement made learning easier, although students preferred GoNoodle breaks to movement opportunities incorporating math fact practice.


Brandon Terrill
Affiliation:
Hall-Dale High School, RSU 2
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Student-Perceived Authenticity of Learning Tasks in Proficiency-Based Education
Abstract: This study examined the level of authenticity that students perceive in learning tasks. A questionnaire asked about the topic selection and value of topic; impact of topic on school, community, and self; expression of ideas vs. conventions; authentic audience; and level of motivation. The conclusions regarding the level of student-perceived authenticity are: a) a connection between student selection and value of topic and motivation, b) impact on school, community, or self did not impact student motivation, c) focus on conventions did not negatively impact student motivation, and d) authentic audiences connected to lower rates of student motivation.

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Mark Thibodeau
Affiliation:
Tripp Middle School
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Standards Based Education: Effective Professional Development
Abstract: This study explores the perceived value of ongoing professional development for Standards Based Assessment and Response to Intervention (RTI). In this study, professional development opportunities that support Standards Based Learning and RTI will be explored using a mixed method study, specifically asking the question: Does effective planning of professional development opportunities have a positive effect on student achievement on standards based assessment and instruction?  Furthermore, how can Professional Development opportunities improve teachers effectiveness in implementing RTI in a Standards Based curriculum?

 


Tim Tweedie
Affiliation:
RSU 29, Houlton High School
Cohort: Aroostook Cohort
Title: The Impacts of Delayed Starts in Maine Schools
Abstract: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate the benefits and challenges associated with delayed starts in Maine high schools.  In the past few years, several school districts in the midcoast-southern region of the state have elected to delay their high school start times for the purposes of allowing students more sleep.  Across the five districts, administrators reported benefits to the delayed starts, and teachers reported more mixed results. In comparing between the five districts, the alignment patterns varied considerably.

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Bridget Wright
Affiliation: Foxcroft Academy
Cohort: UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Writing Center Use and Perception at Foxcroft Academy
Abstract: This mixed-methods study seeks to better understand how teachers, students, and writing coaches perceive and use Foxcroft Academy’s Writing Center. Surveys and interviews were conducted to gather data about how various members of the learning community perceive the writing center. Findings revealed that teachers and students use the writing center for help with grammar, but also for idea and argument development support. Results suggest that teacher-recommended visits drive the majority of traffic to the writing center. Recommendations include promoting the center’s mission to facilitate a more accurate understanding of the purpose and available services.

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Jeremy Young
Affiliation:
RSU 4 Oak Hill High School
Cohort:UMF Campus Cohort
Title: Increasing Technology Engagement in the Mass Customized Secondary Classroom
Abstract: The increase in student-centered and self-directed classroom practices and curriculum delivery methods such as proficiency based education (PBE) and mass customized learning (MCL) coupled with 1:1 technology environments requires the student be productive without direct teacher oversight.  Using productivity software, this research project examines student digital engagement in a high school classroom employing student-centered MCL and PBE practices in an attempt to answer the following research questions: “Can the use of self-monitoring productivity programs increase positive technology outcomes while decreasing negative technology outcomes?” and  “Do student perceptions of their engagement fit their behavior?” This qualitative study uses three phases of survey to collect data concerning productivity as reported by the productivity application and students’ beliefs concerning how the percentage reflects their actual computer use.

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