Action Research Process – Articles and Books

Resources to Learn More about Assessment and Collecting Data


Altrichter, H., Posch, P., & Somekh, B. (1993). Teachers investigate their work: an introduction to the methods of action research. London: Routledge.

  • Chapter 5 (Data Collection) describes methods for making sure the methods selected are relevant to the behavior under study, provides tips for establishing criteria to use in data selection process, discusses different ways to obtain data such as using existing data, conducting observations and interviews and using samples of classroom work. It also explains the concept of triangulation (the importance of using multiple data sources).

Andrade, Heidi G. (2000, February). Using rubrics to promote thinking and learning. Educational Leadership, 57,13-18.

  • A journal article that explains how to construct rubrics so that they let students know what you are looking for and the gradations of quality for each criterion.

Arter, J., & McTighe, J. (2000). Scoring rubrics in the classroom. ?? : Corwin.

  • A book that focuses on developing and using rubrics.

Bilmeyer, R. (1999). Rubrics: What is one? why use one? Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • An audiotape that describes what rubrics do and how to create one using a step-by-step process.

Blum, R.E., & Arter, J.A. (1996). A handbook for student performance assessment in an era of Restructuring. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • A collection of papers organized into different topics related to student performance assessment. Each section has a number of papers written by different authors representing the best thinking on a given topic. Each section starts with an overview summarizing major issues relevant to the topic and explanations of how each paper is relevant. Chapter 4 discusses aligning assessment with curriculum and instruction. Chapter 5 explores designing performance assessment tasks, and Chapter 6 talks about establishing performance criteria.

Blythe, T. (1997). The teaching for understanding guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • This book helps teachers consider what they most want students to understand and the evidence they will accept regarding student learning.

Busick, K. Building and applying rubrics and other types of scoring guides. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • An audiotape that discusses how to engage students in developing rubrics and other scoring guides.

Calhoun, E. (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • Chapter 5 talks about data collection and includes the following topics: sources of data (existing archival, conventional and inventive), how to collect data, from whom to collect data, how often to collect data. Chapter 6 focuses on organizing data.

Jacobs, H.H. (1997). Mapping the big picture. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • This book describes a 7-step process for creating and working with curriculum maps, from data collection to curriculum review.

Popham, J. (1998). Classroom assessment: what teachers need to know. ?: Allyn & Bacon.

  • This book issues related to validity, reliability, bias, and portfolio assessment.

Rogers, Spence. Quality rubrics. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • An audiotape that shows how effective rubrics align worthwhile purposes, determine performance levels, and foster increased student motivation and performance quality.

Sagor, R. (1992) How to conduct collaborative action research. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • Chapter 4 focuses on data collection. Topics include: guiding principles (validity, reliability and generalizability), sources of data, triangulation, making a data collection plan and the role of the “critical friend.”

Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative assessment: designing assessments to inform and improve student performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • A book that gives information about designing assessments and using them to make instructional decisions.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • A book which explains the method of “beginning with the end in mind,” also called “backwards design.” It details the process of first clarifying the desired end result, then developing assessment activities that address the question, “What would count as evidence of successful teaching?”

  • Horace is the journal of the Coalition of Essential Schools. The November, 1996 issue, which is available at the link above, is entitled Looking Collaboratively at Student Work: An Essential Toolkit. Among other things, it contains short pieces that describe some guidelines for learning from student work, what to look for in student work (standards for authenticity), and examining student work: a constructivist protocol.

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