Development of a Q Methodology-Based Course Assessment Tool to Capture Shift in Students Theoretical Frameworks Due to Participation in Vygotsky Masters Class

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Natalia Gajdamaschko, Faculty of Education

Project team: Jason Lapenskie, research assistant

Timeframe: April to December 2013

Funding: $5,000

Course addressed: EDUC 879 – Vygotsky's Theories of Education

Conference paper: View the conference paper (PDF) from the 12th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, 2014

From the conference paper: "Our study shows that today’s educational practice represents an amalgam of often divergent views concerning learning, teaching, the curriculum and the child. The finding of these four perspectives in this relatively small group of educators should not be considered as necessarily generalizable to the entire population of educators in our society. Yet, we do show some evidence that graduate students in education hold diverse and at time incompatible ideas about educational theories prior to engaging in their study of Vygotskian theory.” Read more >>

Description: My study is designed to lead to new insights into the possibility of using a Q methodology-based course assessment tool to capture shifts in student attitudes due to participation in a course.  Q methodology, as a small sample, intensive methodology typically assists in obtaining an understanding of the subjectivities of participants, that is not possible through more traditional means (e.g., traditional R-surveys or tests and assignments that contribute to the grading process).  Q methodology may also provide support in understanding theoretical frameworks, thus assisting in observing the occurrence of changes in theoretical positions of participants.

The benefit of providing embedded Q methodology-based assessment into my course would be to integrate the learning experiences of students with course assessment. Integrating experience and assessment becomes more complicated when the course is mainly theoretical in nature and aims at unsettling the previous theoretical frameworks of students.  Therefore the main criterion to be assessed then becomes not a conceptual understanding in itself, but a dynamic of conceptual change.  The Q methodology is a way to study the “subjective” part of behavior and learning activities of students in my class. Q methodology makes possible the analysis of educational discourses that students engage in prior to entering the course and after the course of study.

Questions addressed:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Q methodology in documenting a conceptual shift in students taking my Vygotsky Masters class?
  • What can I as an instructor learn from the Q methodology findings in terms of changes in my teaching?

Knowledge sharing: I will disseminate the findings of my study project to the Faculty of Education colleagues at our yearly Education Without Borders conference. 

Gajdamaschko, N., & Lapenskie, J. (2014). Development of a Q-Methodology Based Course Assessment Tool to Capture Shifts in Students Theoretical Frameworks due to Participation in a Vygotsky Master Class. Proceedings of International Conference on Education (HICE) (pp.1648-1658), Honolulu, HI.

Gajdamaschko, N., & Lapenskie, J. (2013). Investigation of shifts of students theoretical perspectives due to participation in Vygotsky masters class. Proceedings of the XIV L.S. Vygotsky International Readings "Psychology of Consciousness: Origins and Perspectives", (pp. 54-67), Moscow, RU.