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Multilevel Approaches to Documenting Change: Challenges in Community-Based Educational Research

by Margaret A. Gallego, Robert Rueda & Luis C. Moll - 2005

Increasing availability of funds for development, design, and evaluation of alternative learning environments has challenged educational researchers to develop and validate innovative and effective interventions. The focus on accountability has resulted in an accelerated effort to record events, activities, and participation in substantive ways that suggest significance, statistical and otherwise, and that warrant further program improvements and modification. Yet, relying on traditional individual standardized measuresones that are specifically designed to discriminate among students and that are better suited to the study of controlled experiments in laboratories rather than the sporadic and often spontaneous interactions common to learning settings in and out of schoolleaves educational researchers generally ill equipped. Even as alternative educational programs are financially supported, the sanctioned means with which researchers and program developers document success of all educational programs have progressively narrowed, favoring traditional experimental designs with an emphasis on whether it works rather than on understanding why the program is successful. In this article, we used a multimethod, multilevel analysis to document the underlying dynamics of specific alternative learning contexts to identify generalizable principles while allowing for local variation.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 10, 2005, p. 2299-2325
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12194, Date Accessed: 7/29/2021 8:15:49 PM

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About the Author
  • Margaret Gallego
    San Diego State University
    E-mail Author
    MARGARET A. GALLEGO is a professor at San Diego State University in the School of Teacher Education. Her research has focused on the sociocultural influences within learning environments, including schools and after-school clubs that support second language learners’ English literacy development. She has also published in the areas of teacher staff development, heterogeneous classrooms, writing and learning disabilities, multiple literacies, and feminist and action research.
  • Robert Rueda
    University of California, San Diego
    ROBERT RUEDA is a professor in the Division of Learning and Instruction in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. He completed his doctoral work at the University of California at Los Angeles in educational psychology and special education, and he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. His research has focused on the sociocultural basis of learning and instruction, with a focus on reading and literacy in at-risk students, English learners, and students with mild learning handicaps; professional development; and literacy-related assessment and instruction. His current work is focused on how paraeducators mediate instruction and provide cultural scaffolding to English learners and on issues of reading engagement among inner-city immigrant students. He has consulted with a variety of professional, educational, and government organizations, spoken at wide range of professional meetings, and published widely in the previously mentioned areas.
  • Luis Moll
    University of Arizona
    LUIS C. MOLL, born in Puerto Rico, is professor, Department of Language, Reading and Culture, College of Education, University of Arizona. He has conducted educational research with language minority students for the past 25 years. Among other studies, he has analyzed the quality of classroom teaching, examined literacy instruction in English and Spanish, and studied household funds of knowledge and how that knowledge can be documented, analyzed, and applied by teachers to improve classroom instruction.. His most recent project involves the analysis of biliteracy development, how children develop literate competencies in two languages, and the broader social and ideological conditions that mediate such development.
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