Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Janis Freeman

Second Advisor

Dr. Jerry Valentine

Third Advisor

Dr. Owen Van Den Berg


This participatory action research study followed a middle school for two academic years to determine if incorporating the Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI) would increase classroom experiences that engaged students in learning and encouraged deeper, higher-order thinking skills. This study also used student standardized test scores, the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP), to determine if there was a relationship between the IPI process and improved test scores. I worked as the IPI coder, researcher, and facilitator for this study. During the research study, I kept field notes and observational data. Utilizing the IPI process, I created a series of “snapshots” to measure student learning experiences during a typical day at Kaskaskia Middle School (a pseudonym). The “snapshots” of learning experiences were collected during my focused walks through the middle school. A focused walk occurred when an educator, trained and approved in the IPI coding process, systematically walked through a school, recording a minimum of 100 classroom observations, and used the IPI tools to assess classroom learning experiences. Use of a trained and approved IPI coder was critically important, because the IPI required an understanding of -- and fidelity to -- the process for the purpose of collecting and processing accurate data. Using the data collected from these snapshots, I created pie charts for core, noncore and all classes, depicting my observational data. I presented these engagement profiles to the faculty for their analyses. This procedure encouraged faculty collaboration, an important tenet in the IPI, in both small and whole groups. The focused walks, followed by faculty analysis and collaboration, were repeated six times during the two-year study. During year two, I created longitudinal data to look for possible trends in student-engaged learning and test scores. From this study, data from MAP and ISAT tests showed a strong, upward trend. In addition, faculty collaboration improved during the use of the IPI. Implications for this research include the recommendation to continue the IPI process throughout this district, with the possibility of expanding to other school districts.