Faculty Mentors: Louise Ammentorp & Lauren Madden
Students: Jacqueline DeNarie & Tara-Lyn Farrell
In the education department at The College of New Jersey, students are partnered for their practicum placements during their sophomore and junior years. Our MUSE study sought to determine the various approaches used by faculty to create partnerships and examine their level of success as viewed by faculty and students.
We began the research process by conducting a literature review of studies that have been conducted in the United States and abroad involving paired peer placements. Our focus was compiling the various benefits and challenges that were discovered during these studies. Our data sources consisted of two surveys and two focus groups. The surveys were distributed online, one was geared toward the education departments’ professors and the other was geared toward TCNJ education students. They provided us with both quantitative and qualitative data.
During the two peer lead focus groups, we each took a turn being the moderator and note taker. They ran between forty five minutes and an hour. We were able to gather a great deal of valuable data because the students were able to really elaborate on their thoughts and feelings. We transcribed the audio of the focus groups so we could more easily access the data. The Atlas.ti software allowed us to analyze the qualitative data by coding the main themes that were prevalent throughout the data.
Through our analysis we found many common factors that lead to the success or failure of a partnership. We compiled a list of suggestions for professors to take into consideration when pairing students in the future based off of the data we gathered. This information will help faculty to create and support more successful partnerships in the future. Towards the conclusion of our study, we created a cooperating teacher survey and pilot student questionnaire that can be utilized in future research.