FINAL EXAMINATION/Writing an APA Paper

Assume that the following are your notes for an APA paper you are to write for an education class you are taking. Your assignment here is to turn these notes into a finished APA paper. Give your paper an original title, and include each of the following, labeled accordingly and in this order:

Title Page (page 1)
Abstract (page 2)
Introduction (repeat the title at the top of page 3; begin the paper s text)
Statement of the Problem
Review of Brahmasrene s Study
Discussion
Conclusion
References page

Your paper must be written in APA style: twelve-point font (Courier, Calibri, New Times Roman, Verdana), double-spaced, properly indented, and one-inch margins all around. Additionally, it must employ a proper APA page header on every page. Begin this APA paper with a title page, and conclude the paper with a References page (with every entry letter-perfect in keeping with APA specifications).

Your paper will be evaluated according to the following:

How faithfully it handles the information and ideas contained in the notes.
How well written it is (i.e., clarity of thought and expression, effectiveness of transitions, etc.).
How well the thesis statement governs the progress of ideas through the paper.
How well it employs a scholarly approach and writing style.
How accurately and smoothly it employs APA style requirements.
How well it follows principles of academic honesty (e.g., accuracy of quotations, care in documentation, etc.).
How good it is with all elements of grammar and mechanics.
How faithfully it follows all formatting instructions.

The following notes include information on four published articles. Your paper must use all four sources, properly handled and documented in-text and correctly entered into the References page.

One final note: This is not a simple cut-and-paste that you are being asked to do. The following notes are accurate in terms of the information provided and the spelling of names and titles. Material inside quotation marks includes titles of articles or exact borrowed language; all material inside quotation marks is error-free. You must consider all material not inside quotation marks as YOUR notes: your own summaries and paraphrases of sources. The factual content of summaries and paraphrases is accurate. However, you will also notice such things as contractions, use of the second person point of view, inconsistent spellings, a misplaced modifier, single-spacing, and so on, just as any set of notes might. Therefore, you cannot do a simple cut-and-paste: copying sentences and pasting them into the paper. Even though you must use all four sources, you do not have to preserve every single statement included in the notes into the finished paper, nor do you have to include all direct quotations. You may also rearrange the presentation of the material in accordance with the design of your paper. Take these notes and rework them into a paper you would write for a finished APA paper in an education course.

This paper will be evaluated on a 150-point basis.

Here are the notes you will be working with:

In 1990 W.J. Mack and L. M. Duttlinger conducted a research project, which they wrote up and published in an article titled Inmates and Regional Campus Students: A Comparison of Academic Achievement. It was published in 1991 in The Yearbook of Correctional Education on pages 213-228.
Mack and Duttlinger s research was done at the Westville Correctional Facility (WCF) and at Purdue University–North Central Campus (PUNC). Their research question, as stated on page 213, was, What are the similarities and differences in academic achievement between college students at WCF and PUNC
Mack and Duttlinger devised a questionnaire which they then administered to students at WCF and to faculty who taught at both locations. 78% of the faculty and 83% of the students completed and returned the questionnaire, considered an excellent response (noted on page 214). The faculty response indicated that the incarcerated students actually got higher grades overall than the traditional on-campus students. Both faculty and student responses suggested several possible reasons for the disparity. Two suggestions were that the incarcerated students were more highly committed and motivated than the on-campus students were. Other suggestions were that the incarcerated students had more time to devote to their studies and fewer distractions. (214-5).
In a general critique of the methods used to study academic achievement, Cecilia L Lopez wrote an article called Assessment of Student Learning, which was published in volume 84, issue 3 (Summer 1998) of the journal Liberal Education on pages 36-43. The first thing Lopez said in her article is that the North Central Association (NCA) is committed to assessment of student learning. Accrediting associations cannot ignore the national imperative for institutional accountability and student performance. All six regional accrediting associations require that the institutions they accredit assess student learning across all their academic programs. (p. 36) But she also says that too much of the time, student learning is evaluated just by anecdotal evidence. [Accreditation] Teams advise institutions to avoid providing anecdote as a substitute for evidence. As one team wrote: We heard wonderful success stories; however, the college needs to collect and maintain documentation regarding the performance of the students across the stated goals for its general education program. (37)
Lopez observed that the major problem with survey instruments such as questionnaires is that what they yield is only the participants opinions (38). This is a direct quotation of what she says exactly here: Almost every institution is using some kind of survey or questionnaire that probes students’ attitudes about their experience with the general education curriculum. However, evaluation teams consistently were critical of the heavy or exclusive use of indirect measures such as surveys. One problem with an over-reliance on survey instruments (e.g., student, alumni, employer surveys) is that they yield self-report data; providing only participants’ opinions on what they have learned and on subjects not directly related to their learning, such as quality of instruction or competency of faculty. In other words, surveys do not focus on what the student has actually learned, nor do they in any sense measure it. (38). This is because opinions can be influenced by a great many factors which have little or nothing to do with the actual quantity or quality of the learning experience. Opinion surveys do not necessarily measure the real learning that has happened. (38) In other words, the Mack and Duttlinger study is the kind of opinion-based study that Lopez was warning about–even though Lopez knew nothing of the M&D study when she wrote her article. And even though standardized multiple choice tests are dismissed by many who think their only purpose is parroting back facts and figures, Lopez (1998) argues that standardized tests can be very useful because, if professionally done, they can test higher-order skills of critical thinking and because they are nationally normed. (p 40)
Tantatape Brahmasrene, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics at PUNC, has also taught economics at WCF since 1989. Since the original Mack and Duttlinger study was done at WCF and PUNC, and since it relied only on self-reported opinion data, Tantatape wanted to know if students at WCF really actually learned more than on campus students. Or was there some bias going on After all, incarcerated students in general come from more educationally impoverished backgrounds than on-campus students do. If incarcerated students had better critical thinking skills, they wouldn t be incarcerated in the first place (152). Maybe the faculty only thought they were giving better grades over all to the WCF students, that if they actually checked their grade sheets, they would discover, alas, the on campus students were doing better. OR: Maybe the better grades at WCF is explained as follows: Faculty that serve at both WCF and PUNC are a self-selecting group, after all, of people who want the WCF students to succeed. So maybe those faculty don t even realize their bias at work as they give better grades to WCF students. (152)
G. Davis (1995) wrote On the Inside Looking Out, a one-page article published on page 15 in NEA Today in November s edition, that there is an inverse correlation between education and recidivism, that the more education an inmate achieves, the less likely that inmate is to recidivate.
Dr. Brahmasrene used a standardized multiple choice test published by the National Council on Economic Education in order to pursue his research. He used the pretest on the first day of class at both WCF and PUNC, and he used the post-test upon the completion of the course. He published his findings in an article titled Comparing the Academic Achievement of Inmates with Regional Campus Student Populations in Economics Courses, pages 152-55 of The Journal of Correctional Education, volume 52, issue 4, December 2001. His null hypothesis was, There is no difference between the mean performance in economics between inmates and regional campus students. (page 153). The alternative hypothesis he tested was, There is a difference between the mean performance in economics between inmates and regional campus students (p. 153).
Tantatape administered actual standardized economics tests to both populations. In this way he was able to compare not just what the students THOUGHT ABOUT whether they had learned a lot or not. He actually tested them on their knowledge of economics at the beginning of the term, at the end of the term, and the difference between them. His beginning assumption was that there would be no overall difference between the two populations (p. 153). And after doing the pretest, teaching the course at both locations, administering the post-test, and comparing the results, his null hypothesis was confirmed that there was no mean difference between the two groups. (p155)
Tantatape concludes that his research provides a more accurate result than the Mack and Duttlinger study because it measures what a student has actually learned (page 155). But he also acknowledges the limitation of his study, that it is based on one-time standardized testing and is considered less reliable than that based on multiple testing. (p. 155). He encourages other professors to follow the same methodology as he did to build up a database until the question of whether inmates perform as well as civilians can be answered confidently.

 
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