Recent News and Related Thoughts (January, 2014)

IPI-TECHNOLOGY COMPONENT  As we reach the mid-point of this 2013-2014 school year, the IPI work most prevalent on my mind is the expansion of the IPI-Technology Component for schools that are currently high-tech (1:1) or schools that will soon be moving to high-tech integration within their learning settings.  You will find an update of that IPI-Technology process in the feature article just to the side of this article on this IPI home page.  The IPI-T work has been both simultaneously exciting and challenging and is beginning to produce some “preliminary” findings that most educators will find of value.  

IPI-T workshops for current IPI Teams have been held on a regular basis this school year, with the first two of the year in Northwest Iowa and Phoenix.  Those were followed by additional workshops across Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois, concluding with an IPI-T overview session for the West Virginia Department of Education on December 9, 2013.  Overall, 18 IPI-T professional development workshops were conducted this past fall and more are already on the calendar for this winter and spring.   The data provided by the IPI-T Process have been described by many participants as “simply powerful” as the schools work to understand the relationships between their use of technology to support learning and their students’ cognitive engagement.  Read more about the IPI-T in the home-page featured article previously described.

NATIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL ASSOCIATION INVITED PRESENTATION   I was asked by the Research Advisory Board of the Association for Middle Level Education (formerly the National Middle School Association) to make an invited presentation at their National Conference in Minneapolis on the IPI research in middle schools.  Such an invitation is an honor, because the Research Board invites only one specific presentation each year to represents critical, cutting edge research about teaching and learning in middle level schools.  As I organized the presentation, I made some new research “runs” to answer some unique questions about the degree of change common to IPI schools during their first two years of IPI data study.  What I learned and presented was not particularly surprising to me because of prior research across all grade levels, but it was important to present and, I think, of value to overview herein.  

I studied the differences between higher-order/deeper thinking percentages from the first data collection (baseline) before faculty study and interventions to the twelfth data collection, testing for differences in percentage change.  I grouped and averaged the fifth and sixth data collections together and the seventh through twelfth data collections together, thus providing an estimation of how the data might progressively change from the first to the fourth data collection (typically year one); the fifth and sixth data collections (typically the first half of year two), and the seventh through twelfth average (typically the last half of the second year and all of the third year).  To sum up the pertinent findings, the first four data collections were not significantly different from each other and the fifth/sixth data collections were also not different from any of the first four.  But when the seventh through twelfth data were compared to the other findings, statistical difference were present for almost ever assessment.  In other words, minimal changes typically occurred in higher-order deeper thinking during the first year and a half of IPI study.  But sometime around the middle of the second year, the data began to look noticeably different, with the end result being that the amount of higher-order/deeper thinking occurring during the last half of the schools’ first three years of IPI work were twice as great as the schools’ baseline and early data collections.  As I mentioned to the audience…this proves that changes in instruction and subsequent student cognitive engagement are slow to evolve. Patience is paramount when one begins to consider the degree of learning and commitment necessary to significantly change the amount of time students spend engaged in the higher-order learning skills of analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, reflection, decision making, evaluation, synthesis, creativity, and innovative thinking.  

If you are interested in viewing the PPT presentation I used for that session, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Jerry Valentine

January 2014