Understanding Action Research


Project Name: iPads for Bilingual Formative Assessment and Student Self-Reflection
Team members: Jenny Johnson-Blanchard and Tony Liuzzi
Action Research Overview:

We, as a co-teaching team, propose to research the utilization of online portfolio collection by first graders as a basis to promote regular and effective student bilingual self-assessment in writing and speaking. We aim to understand how iPads can be utilized by students to promote self-assessment of language and content in both ESL Science and Spanish Literacy blocks, and to increase structured oral interaction time between students.

Our research questions are:
  • How can iPads be used by students for electronic portfolio collection and self-assessment?
  • How effective are language self-assessments done by students?
  • How can iPads be used by students to promote oral interaction with academic vocabulary?
  • How does oral interaction with technology-based tools affect language learning

Action Research Cycle:

Timeline (implementation plan and progress, continue to update):


  • Explore apps and their potential for use (formative assessment, reflection, producing writing or speech artifacts, etc)
  • Test out some apps with students
  • students try self-reflection
  • Portfolio outline up
  • analyze student speech data
  • Tony and Jenny present progress on applying ipad activities to formative language assessment based on WIDA at MN ESL, Bilingual, and Migrant Conference
  • solidify portfolio plan for next year
  • Share learning with colleagues
fill in portfolio outline with new student names
  • begin using ipads with incoming 1st graders
  • analyze data on student speech (ACCESSANDMODEL)
  • integrate ipad tech into classroom for interactive purposes
  • collect first summative speech sample and have students self-assess
  • build regular self-and peer-assessment opps into classroom activities
  • utilize ipads weekly in centers for student-led learning in small groups for ESL Science
  • submit student speech samples to WEEBLY site
  • students utilize ipads to self-assess and peer- assessspeech (second opportunity) and build towards independence with their use
  • teacher reflection on successes and challenges for student self-assessment and ipad integration into classroom


Our overall goals are to:
  • Promote and provide many opportunities in a bilingual context for students to self-assess language. First graders in ESL Science would collaborate with peers to use iPads to record and document writing and speech samples and projects, which would be stored on their eFolio. Students would then return to their work on eFolio to self-assess their writing and speaking progress using the leveled WIDA Can Do descriptors. First graders in Spanish Literacy would use iPads to record reading samples and document their storytelling. Students would self-assess their reading samples and storytelling work for fluency, pronunciation, and intelligibility.
  • Increase the use of academic language in English and Spanish.
  • Increase time for meaningful, content-related structured oral interaction between students using the iPad as a medium. We would like this oral interaction to be based on iPad activities and become student-led and self-monitored by students.
  • Students apply their self-assessments to make specific language and content goals to support their own learning.
  • As teachers, better inform our instruction towards differentiation based on the regular collection and reflection of student writing and speaking samples.
  • Use the iPad activities and eFolios to bridge student learning in a bilingual context.

Collect & Analyze Evidence:

1st Grade ESL Students Learning Language and Science Autonomously in Small Groups

Example of ShowMe Formative Oral Language and Science Content (Electricity Applications) Assessment, done in pairs by first grade students

Example of VoiceThread Summative Oral Language and Science/ELA Content (Electrical Current Narrative) Assessment

Data Spreadsheets for 2012-2013 Oral Language Development (using WIDA ACCESS, MODEL, Formative Oral Language Assessments (self- and peer-), and Summative Oral Language Assessments (CVC criteria done by teachers, students self-reflect on over all level). This is just a snapshot of our year data sheet (only for our first unit on Pebbles, Sand, and Silt). The summative task was done on MyVideoBooks by students on the iPads.

Documents & Data (upload)
Formative Summary Report (must be uploaded by May 25, 2012)
Summative Report (due December, 2012)

Ongoing reflections and plan for sharing:

*Be sure to flip through all the pages and listen to any threads on the photos... Feel free to add your own comments as well!*

Sharing: 2012 MN ESL, Bilingual, and Migrant Conference, Weebly website, Twitter


Notes/ Apps/ Resources used:




various science-themed and inference-skill apps