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EDTEP 562-3: Adolescent Development

Case Study #1: Student development in multiple contexts

This case study focuses on the development of two students as they experience different contexts during a school day. The purpose of this assignment is to help you make connections between theoretical reading material and the actual students in your schools. It will also help you raise additional issues or questions regarding middle and high school students. Finally, you will be learning some different ethnographic techniques useful to both teachers and developmental psychologists.

Case Study #1 will serve as part of the assessment for the following course goals:

Grading:

Below is the rubric your teaching assistant and I will use to score your case study. Please look over the descriptors for each domain; if you have any questions, please ask.

Selection of students:

During the first week of your field experience, observe students with an eye to selecting two students to observe and interview. You should observe one student who has been identified as having special education needs (i.e., has an IEP, 504 plan), and one who has not. If there are no students with IEPs or 504 plans (and your teacher may or may not know for sure--check with site supervisor or special education teacher), you may substitute a student who speaks English as a second language. If you cannot find a student in either of these two categories, you may select a student in one of your classes who is struggling.

Think about the issues we have discussed in class and the ways adolescents may differ individually and socially. Identify students who will allow you to see different slices of school life and enlist your cooperating teacher's help in this process. Begin thinking of hypotheses you want to test.

Once you have selected possible participants, ask them individually (not in class or with the teacher present) if it would be alright for you to spend a day with them just seeing what it is like to be a middle or high school student. Most students are happy to be asked, but be sensitive to students who may feel coerced. Student participation must be freely given for both ethical and legal reasons. Make sure you negotiate how obviously "together" you will be at different points in the day. Try to unobtrusively observe your students during social times like lunch.

Scoring rubric for case study

Note: Bolded words are the criteria that differentiate a score from its preceding score.

4.0

The write-up clearly presents a coherent central theme around which the observations of the two students are organized. Paper makes a strong, well-supported argument for a developmental interpretation of data, including data concerning special education. Concepts and theories are used appropriately, and their use demonstrates an understanding of the ideas used. Interpretation includes appropriate discussion of the role of contexts in the development of the students observed, including opportunities for development afforded in the various settings. Examples are explained in detail, and the path from observation to inference is clear and easy to follow. Snippets of data are used effectively to illustrate and support assertions. When assertions go beyond the data, this fact is acknowledged.

Course readings are used in the service of explanation, to help you make sense of your data, not as a proxy for explanation. Possible alternative interpretations of your data are carefully considered and your choice of explanation supported.

3.5

The write-up presents a central theme around which most of the observations of the students are organized. Paper makes an argument for a developmental interpretation of data, including data concerning special education, using concepts and theories from the reading appropriately. Examples are explained in detail, but the path from observation to inferencemay not always be clear. Snippets of data are used to illustrate and support assertions. When assertions go beyond the data, this fact is usually acknowledged. Interpretation includes discussion of the role of contexts in the development of the students observed. Course readings are used in the service of explanation, to help you make sense of your data, not as a proxy for explanation. Possible alternative interpretations of your data are considered, but your choice of explanation may not be well-supported.

3.0

The write-up presents a central theme around which most of the observations of the students are organized. Paper makes an argument for a developmental interpretation of data. Examples are explained in detail, but the path from observation to inference is not always clear. Snippets of data are used to illustrate and support assertions. When assertions go beyond the data, this fact is sometimes acknowledged. Interpretation includes discussion of the role of contexts in the development of the students observed. Course readings are used by matching them to what you observed, rather than using readings to probe and analyze what you observed. (This often looks something like: "Paul's parents communicate frequently with the teacher: this is an example of the school-home mesosytem.”) The relevance of some readings used may not be clear. Possible alternative interpretations of your data are not carefully considered, or you do not provide your reasons for choosing among alternative explanations.

2.5

In this paper, your interpretation is inconsistently organized around a central theme. Argument for a developmental interpretation is made but not well-supported. You misapply some ideas/theories from the readings or don't take them far enough. Explanations do not consistently take context into account, but tend to focus on individual differences in the children. Conclusions are not well-supported by data. Possible alternative interpretations of your data are not carefully considered, or you do not provide your reasons for choosing among alternative explanations.

2.0

The write-up lacks a central theme. Argument for a developmental interpretation is made sporadically or not well-supported. This paper misapplies some ideas/theories from the readings or doesn't take them far enough. You either misunderstood the import of some readings or connect readings to observations in inappropriate, misleading, or cursory ways. Explanations do not consistently take context into account, but focus primarily on individual differences in the children. In some cases, analysis is free-floating rather than firmly rooted in observational and interview data. Examples may lack details or their connection to your interpretation may be sometimes unclear. Conclusions are not well-supported by data. Possible alternative interpretations of your data are not carefully considered, or you do not provide your reasons for choosing among alternative explanations.

1.0

The paper focuses on description rather than analysis. Little emphasis on development or context in the analysis. May go far beyond the data to make unjustified assertions about student development and individual differences.

Additional information

Scoring system for case study. Retrieved May 5, 2004 from http://faculty.washington.edu/sunolen/562-3/cs1_direct.html#Grading%20Criteria%20and%20Scoring%20Rubric

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