Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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Possible Reasons for and Consequences of Generalizing Subgroup-Based Measurement Results to Populations: Based on Research Studies Conducted by Elementary Teachers in South Korea

Authors: Jaejun Jong

Abstract:

Many teachers in South Korea conduct research to improve the quality of their instruction. Unfortunately, many researchers generalize the results of measurements based on one subgroup to other students or to the entire population, which can cause problems. This study aims to determine two things: (1) examples of possible problems resulting from generalizing measurements based on one subgroup to an entire population or another group and (2) reasons teachers often generalize the results of measurements based on subgroups to entire populations or other students. This study is needed as teachers’ instruction and class quality significantly affect the overall quality of education, but the quality of research conducted by teachers can become questionable due to overgeneralization. Thus, finding potential problems and understanding why teachers generalize subgroup-based results can improve the overall quality of education. The data in this study were gathered from 145 sixth-grade elementary school students in South Korea. In addition, interviews were conducted with 14 elementary school teachers in South Korea. The results showed that students in different classes could differ significantly in various ways; thus, generalizing the results of subgroups to an entire population can engender erroneous student predictions and evaluations, which can lead to inappropriate instruction plans. The main reason for using such unsound generalization stems from teachers’ lack of knowledge of research methodologies. The interview showed that none of the teachers had the opportunity to take research methodology classes when they attended university as undergraduate students and there were no online research methodology courses available for teachers. This result shows that providing teachers with research methodology classes and revising teacher education programs in South Korea can significantly improve the quality of education.

Keywords: generalization, measurement, research methodology, teacher education

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