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Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism

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..a persistent, contextualized, and specific issue embedded in the work of a professional practitioner, the addressing of which has the potential to result in improved understanding, experience, and outcomes. (n.d., Design-Concepts Upon Which to Build Programs section)

CPED (n.d.) further explains that scholarly practitioners (or professional practitioners):

…blend practical wisdom with professional skills and knowledge to name, frame, and solve problems of practice. They use practical research and applied theories as tools for change because they understand the importance of equity and social justice. They disseminate their work in multiple ways and they have an obligation to resolve problems of practice by collaborating with key stakeholders, including the university, the educational institution, the community, and individuals. (Design-Concepts Upon Which to Build Programs section)

As a professional practitioner, you will identify a problem of practice within the context of your professional setting. Over the course of your program, you can expand your knowledge of the scholarly literature related to the problem or issue. Your understanding of this problem of practice will develop through further study.

Read the Problems of Practice [PDF] document.

Read the EdD Doctoral Program Manual [PDF] and specialization-specific information to consider possible problems of practice to study further. The EdD program at Capella requires you to complete an inquiry project that is related to some aspect of your professional organization. At this early stage in your program, consider a problem that arises from a specific organization context, that is, your own professional setting.

For this post, discuss a possible issue or problem that is of interest to you and your professional context. What would be a problematic issue, an ongoing problem, or a situation that could be or should be improved? This will help you organize your early search for scholarly sources of information to inform your study of the problem.Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism

 

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What are Problems of Practice? “Scholarly Practitioners blend practical wisdom with professional skills and knowledge to name, frame, and solve problems of practice [emphasis added]. They use practical research and applied theories as tools for change because they understand the importance of equity and social justice. They disseminate their work in multiple ways and they have an obligation to resolve problems of practice by collaborating with key stakeholders, including the university, the educational institution, the community, and individuals” (Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, n.d., Design-Concept section, para. 1). Problems of Practice have been defined by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), an organization of over 80 institutions committed to establishing quality EdD programs, as “a persistent, contextualized, and specific issue embedded in the work of a professional practitioner, the addressing of which has the potential to result in improved understanding, experience, and outcomes” (CPED, n.d., Design-Concepts section, para. 6). But, what, exactly, does that mean? What are problems of practice? Problems of practice are common to educational workplaces such as K–12 schools, community colleges, universities, and any organization that works to professionally develop its workforce through professional development or training opportunities. Within these organizations, a problem of practice presents itself as a performance gap between what educators define as the “ideal” or desired outcomes and the current “reality,” that is, what currently exists. The gap, whether it be an achievement gap or other performance gap, can be defined and described through an analysis of relevant data and evidence, both quantitative and qualitative. While individual institutions have unique instances of problems of practice, a problem of practice is often of such significance that it is present in some form across multiple institutions. Problems of practice usually affect groups of people rather than one individual, have a history of developing or trending over time, and are typically resistant to improvement. Problems of practice are usually complex. Root causes of these problems are more than likely multivariate and systemic in nature. For this reason, diagnosing a problem of practice requires the practitioner to recognize systems behaviors and understand the influence and interplay of contributing factors and systems dynamics both within and external to the organization. Mapping and understanding the complex nature of problems of practice will significantly increase the possibility of success in both choosing and implementing an intervention to improve outcomes and reduce the performance gap. Pitfall: Mistaking a Cause of a Problem for the Problem Itself Causes of a problem are often mistaken for the problem itself.Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism
For example, consider the following problem statement: “The problem at the community college is that instructors do not have the knowledge to effectively collect and use data to provide accurate and specific feedback to students on formative and summative assessments.” Is the instructors’ lack of knowledge the problem, or could it be the cause of a problem? The statement implies a problem with student performance but does not state one. Assuming instructors do, indeed, have a knowledge gap when it comes to formative feedback, so what? The question to ask is, “What is the problem that the instructors’ lack of knowledge causes?” Asking this question will likely lead to identification of the real problem. One problem caused by an instructor’s knowledge gap could be that first-year students are not performing as well as expected and that they do not improve from one assessment to the next. 1 Or, simply, the problem is that first-year students are not performing as well as expected at XYZ College. There could, of course, be many causes for this performance gap, one of which could be the inadequate formative feedback. The next step would be to determine whether data and evidence support the working theory that if instructors provided formative feedback, student performance would improve and, further, that the reason instructors do not provide such feedback is that they do not have the skills to do so. If data support this theory, a solution or intervention would be to address the problem of student performance by strengthening the formative feedback skills of the instructors. Pitfall: Mistaking the Solution for the Problem of Practice Likewise, a common pitfall in the identification of a problem of practice is to mistake the solution for the problem of practice. An example would be, “The problem is the lack of a professional development program for new teachers.” The “lack of professional development” is not a problem of practice.Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism
question: “So what?” So what that new teachers do not have adequate professional development? The answer to that question will more than likely be the real problem. The actual problem might be that new teachers leave the district within three years resulting in high turnover rates. Or, the problem is that students of first-year teachers do not demonstrate learning outcomes. In either of these cases, a professional development program is one potential way (but not the only way!) to address the problem. An accurate statement of the problem often frees educators to consider a variety of ways the problem might be addressed rather than settling on the first idea that comes to mind. Importance of a Systems View Using Data and Evidence Why are problems of practice so often stated as solutions or causes of a problem? It is not always easy to differentiate the problem, the cause of the problem, and the solution to the problem because problems of practice often have multiple causes and may also, themselves, cause further problems. This is why it is always critical to evaluate problems of practice through a systems lens and establish causal and reinforcing factors for the overlapping systems within which problems or practice reside. This is necessary to fully understand the problem and determine which cause(s) of the problem can be addressed for the largest impact. As part of the analysis, it is important to learn as much as possible about the background of the problem, including its origins and evolution over time; its effect on the organization; and any current or previous attempts to resolve the problem, as well as the outcomes of those interventions. In addition, literature and research can be searched for what is known about the problem, its causes, potential ways to address it, and approaches that have worked and/or failed to work in the past or in other settings. Data and evidence are always required to establish the existence of the problem, define the historical trajectory of the problem, and substantiate potential causes of the problem. These data are important to demonstrate the need for improvement and change. In addition, data that support the definition of the problem and its cause(s) can become benchmark data to measure the impact of any intervention that is implemented. Data and evidence also become the critical common factual foundation for collaboration with stakeholders when discussing and reaching consensus on the nature of the problem, its causes, and appropriate viable solution strategies for improvement. Finally, when identifying a problem of practice, scholarly practitioners need to be reflective and honest regarding their sphere of influence or powerbase in the organization so as not to take 2 on a task that they have very little chance of changing or improving. Addressing a problem of practice is inherently collaborative, and skills of collaboration, influence, and the requisite degree of autonomy are necessary. Change theory speaks of the importance of a critical mass of stakeholders who agree both that the problem exists and that it is worthy of their time and resources to address and improve. Thus, the solution or intervention to address a problem of practice must be actionable and it must be within the scholar practitioner’s control to guide the implementation of the solution strategy. Diagnosing a Problem of Practice: Significance, Scope, and Position Answers to the following questions will assist in diagnosing a problem of practice. Significance  What is the history of the problem? How long has it been evident? Was it precipitated by some other change? What other problems does the problem under study exacerbate?  What are the causes of the problem?  What has been done in the past (if anything) to address the problem and bring about an improvement? How successful (or not) was the intervention?  What does evidence/data (both qualitative and quantitative) reveal regarding the degree of severity and urgency for intervening; the amount of interconnectedness with other issues or problems; the actual gap between the ideal and what exists; and the population most affected by the problem?  What does the literature say about the problem? Scope  Is the “problem of practice” and the intervention that will be chosen of value to a broader audience such as a professional organization, other institutions with similar issues, or other departments/programs within your own organization? Position  Is what we are considering as a “problem of practice” something that is within your sphere of influence or powerbase? Is it actionable by you given your role in the organization? If not, is it possible to secure that influence?  Are there any particular challenges to convincing the stakeholders that the problem exists and needs to be improved? When a Problem is Not a Problem of Practice Not all problems encountered in organizations are considered problems of practice. The problems or minor crises that arise daily in every organization are often due to random environmental or human factors that reflect normal performance variation. Examples might be a parent complaint, an absent faculty member, an unexpected request for data from the provost, 3 inclement weather, an injury on the playing field, or even a dip in student performance. These fluctuations in individual performance, organizational processes, or environmental factors commonly occur during daily routines and do not usually result have significant long-term consequences as long as institution’s processes and procedures adequately address these occurrences. As long as they do not exceed a certain frequency or, in the case of student achievement, dip below expected normal statistical variation, they are not considered problems of practice.Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism
However, if such problems occur repeatedly and lead to large-scale consequences, a minor issue can evolve into a problem of practice. For example, a parental complaint could potentially represent similar sentiments of a majority of parents. If the issue persists, it might snowball into a town hall meeting that reveals a larger leadership, communication, and/or school culture performance gap that has broader implications for the success of the entire institution. If the performance gap is supported by data and evidence, has significant consequences, and is of sufficient scope, the problem may meet the definition of a problem of practice as “a persistent, contextualized, and specific issue embedded in the work of a professional practitioner, the addressing of which has the potential to result in improved understanding, experience, and outcomes” (CPED, n.d., Design-Concepts section, para. 6). Reference Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. (n.d.). Design-concepts upon which to build programs definitions. Retrieved from https://www.cpedinitiative.org/page/framework 4 EdD Doctoral Program Manual School of Education Effective July 2019 v.1 Capella University 225 South Sixth Street Ninth Floor Minneapolis, MN 55402 EdD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION TO THE EDD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL ………………………………… 4 Purpose ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4 SECTION 1. OVERVIEW OF THE DOCTORAL PROJECT PROCESS ……………………………… 4 Introduction to the Doctoral Project ……………………………………………………………. 4 Doctoral Project Courses …………………………………………………………………………. 4 Signature Assignments ……………………………………………………………………………. 5 Communication Within the Courseroom ……………………………………………………….. 5 Course Participation ……………………………………………………………………………….. 5 Minimum Expectations for the Doctoral Project Course and Academic Standing ………. 5 SECTION 2. UNDERSTANDING THE DOCTORAL PROJECT ……………………………………… 6 Doctoral Project: Applied Improvement Project ……………………………………………… 6 Guiding Principles for the Doctoral Project ……………………………………………………. 7 SECTION 3. ADVANCED DOCTORAL INSTRUCTOR AND DOCTORAL LEARNER ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ………………………………………….. 7 Role of the Doctoral Learner …………………………………………………………………….. 8 Role of the Advanced Doctoral Instructor ……………………………………………………… 9 General Advanced Doctoral Instructor Expectations in the Courseroom ………………… 9 Advanced Doctoral Instructor–Doctoral Learner Relationship ……………………………… 9 Managing Your Journey …………………………………………………………………………. 10 SECTION 4. UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT REQUIREMENTS ………… 10 Overview …………………………………………………………………………………………… 10 Signature Assignment …………………………………………………………………………… 10 Secondary Reviewer …………………………………………………………………………….. 11 Signature Assignment 1: Needs Assessment……………………………………………. 11 Signature Assignment 2: Literature Review …………………………………………….. 11 Signature Assignment 3: Action Plan …………………………………………………….. 11 Signature Assignment 4: Doctoral Project Monograph ………………………………… 12 Signature Assignment 5: Doctoral Presentation and Portfolio ……………………….. 12 SECTION 5. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES …………………………………………………………… 12 Advisors ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 12 APA Style ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12 Library ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 12 SafeAssign …………………………………………………………………………………………. 13 Research Ethics and Compliance ………………………………………………………………. 13 EdD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL School Review Criteria…………………………………………………………………………… 13 Smarthinking ……………………………………………………………………………………… 13 Writing Center…………………………………………………………………………………….. 13 EdD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL INTRODUCTION TO THE EDD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL Purpose The purpose of the EdD Doctoral Program Manual is to provide support to doctoral learners and faculty at Capella University in understanding the professional doctorate capstone process for a doctoral project. It provides an overview of the doctoral process and outlines steps by which doctoral learners fulfill the academic and administrative requirements for their doctoral degree at Capella University and describes the roles and responsibilities of the doctoral learner, the advanced doctoral instructor, and the university support staff.Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism
SECTION 1. OVERVIEW OF THE DOCTORAL PROJECT PROCESS Introduction to the Doctoral Project The School of Education’s (SOE’s) EdD program delivers a doctoral learning experience that culminates in an applied improvement project for your doctoral project. The doctoral project is a type of capstone and is intended to provide an experience that is distinctive, problem-based, and integrative with specific coursework and that leads to a showcase outcome for your career portfolio. It is based in a field of specialization that leads to organizational improvement. The doctoral project serves as a culmination of your doctoral efforts to apply the skills of an independent researcher to solve a problem of practice and connect theory to practice within your chosen field and organization. Completion of the doctoral project serves as a public confirmation that you possess the ability to understand the literature in your field, engage in critical analysis, communicate effectively, and complete a scholarly project by following through on tasks and meeting deadlines as expected of a doctoral graduate. By the completion of the doctoral project, you are positioned to have an effect and make potentially significant contributions within your organization. At the same time, you develop an applied improvement project that meets the doctoral expectations for writing, content, connection to the specialization, quality, integrity, and ethical compliance of a Doctor of Education. Doctoral Project Courses After doctoral learners such as you complete their required didactic courses, they move to an advanced doctoral course with an advanced doctoral instructor to complete the doctoral project. The doctoral project is completed in six discrete fourcredit courses. Doctoral project courses are organized similarly to didactic courses. They include discussions, assignments, and resources. The doctoral project courses include the following: • EDD9951: Doctoral Project 1. • EDD9954: Doctoral Project 4. • EDD9952: Doctoral Project 2. • EDD9955: Doctoral Project 5. • EDD9953: Doctoral Project 3. • EDD9956: Doctoral Project 6. 4 EdD DOCTORAL PROGRAM MANUAL Signature Assignments Throughout the required courses of this academic program, learners must complete a series of program-specific requirements called Signature Assignments.
A signature assignment is a critical part or component of the doctoral project that you must successfully complete to pass the course. Signature assignments build on each other as you make progress, and the assignments result in a final doctoral project at the end of the program. A signature assignment may also need a secondary review to ensure quality. If you do not earn a passing grade on a signature assignment, you will not pass the course and will not be allowed to progress to later stages of the doctoral project. The signature assignments are as follows: • Needs Assessment. • Literature Review. • Action Plan. • Doctoral Project Monograph. • Doctoral Presentation and Portfolio. Communication Within the Courseroom Primary interaction with your advanced doctoral instructor should occur within the courseroom. All work related to the doctoral course must be submitted in the courseroom. You are expected to log in to the course each week to ensure …Problem of Practice Chronic Absenteeism