Spring on the York College campus

Research in Education

Student Researchers who are studying in the YCP Department of Education work with Faculty Mentors to collect data related to the field of education. Research may involve a variety of methods to analyze student learning, teaching methods, teacher training, and classroom dynamics. Student Researchers seek to describe, understand, and explain how learning takes place. 

YCP student with young children


  • Education - Aimee Osterman

    Tally on Intervention

    Student Researcher: Aimee Osterman

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katie Lewis

    Abstract: For this project, I was tasked with identifying an area of weakness in some or all of the students that I was working within my field placement. I had to give them a pre-assessment, determine who needed help, teach three lessons geared toward the specific students, give a post-assessment, and determine if my intervention was successful. The subject that I focused on was being able to count tally marks and determining the next number in a specific sequence which are two of the major areas of struggle that I noticed in the Kindergarten class. After my intervention was complete and I was able to look at all of the data, I determined that my intervention was a success as each of the children had improved their assessment score, but not every child demonstrated knowledge of the two focus elements. Overall, this intervention project helped me to learn how to best intervene in school situations in which students are not understanding the information the first time it is taught.

  • Education - Kaitlyn McIntyre


    Discipline in the Classroom

    Student Researcher: Kaitlyn McIntyre

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Hesson

    Abstract: Discipline is one consistent factor in classrooms everywhere around the world. It is something that becomes a major focus for teachers, but there can be unconscious biases a teacher has in regards to who is the recipient of the discipline. These biases can stem from a variety of areas, such as gender, race, or perceptions about a student. Through this research project, I was trying to uncover some of these unconscious biases teachers may have when disciplining students. My approach for this project was to track the number of times students were disciplined during a class period. Students receive discipline in a variety of ways, so I chose to focus on when they lost recess or were sent to complete their work somewhere else. I tracked the frequency of discipline implemented by the same teacher in two different classes, a third-grade class, and a fourth-grade class. In the third grade class, the boys were more frequently disciplined in one class period than the girls were. In the fourth grade class, the opposite was true. the girls were disciplined more frequently. The implications of this research project indicate that it is probable that teachers have internal biases that are present when choosing who to discipline and how frequently. These biases may not be the same from year to year, or even between different groups of students they are teaching.


  • Education - Ashley Meekins

    Effects of Course Load Demands on Average Amount of Sleep

    Student Researcher: Ashley Meekins

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Mudrick

    Abstract: Sleep is an important and vital part for optimal functioning. Often, students do not realize that poor sleep habits contribute to health problems and decreased academic performance. Students have extremely busy schedules where they must correctly manage their time to be able to balance attending classes, studying and completing work, socializing, exercising, and more. This does not leave a lot of time for students to sleep or relax. Sleep may be voluntarily sacrificed due to social factors, or involuntarily reduced due to environmental factors such as noise in a residence hall. It is important to ensure that the quality of sleep is received, rather than quantity. In all, there was no significant difference between strength of a course load and the amount of sleep a student receives on weeknights. With effective time management, students are able to balance their normal lives and have healthy sleep schedules.

  • Education Jaclyn Matthews

    Student Researcher: Jaclyn Matthews

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Mudrick

    Abstract: This project was designed to analyze the effects that coffee consumption has on different factors including energy, performance, attention, tiredness, and focus level. Multiple participants were surveyed to determine consumption levels of coffee followed by how their body reacted to the different factors once consumed. Additional information was included such as how long after the effects occurred and how long the effects lasted. The results were quite surprising as coffee alone did not increase any factors except for focus level. The key takeaway from this research is to understand that coffee alone will not increase these levels. Other factors are involved such as adequate amounts of sleep, healthy diet, and exercise. Although millions are consuming it on a daily basis, it is not a trick to a quick fix.

  • Education - Alexis Hamme

    Student Attitude Effect on Willingness to Learn and Succeed in College

    Student Researcher: Alexis Hamme

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Mudrick

    Abstract: My project was to determine the effect of student attitude on willingness to learn and therefore succeed in college.  The importance of this work derives from the problem that many research studies evaluate cognitive factors rather than nonacademic factors to measure student success.  This study analyzed whether attitude, student year in college, whether they commute to school or not, and if they work while attending college impacted student academic achievement.  The study was conducted by surveying York College Students through Qualtrics. The study asked students if they believe class attitude, attitude toward professors, and learning environment effected their willingness to learn or GPA.  The results found that learning environment is a significant determiner of student willingness to learn, although it was not shown to effect GPA. One limitation of this study was the sample size is not a justifiable representation of the entire student body at York College.

  • Education Caitlin Danner and Amanda Jones

    How Technology Improves Learning

    Student Researchers: Caitlin Danner and Amanda Jones

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Hesson

    Abstract: The question we all want to know is do students learn better with the aid of technology or do students learn better without the distraction of technology in the classroom? We investigated this question in two 4th grade classrooms in York City School District. After observing two different classroom settings and analyzing data, we learned the importance of technology within the classrooms. Our cooperating teachers provided us with Classroom Diagnostic Tool (CDT) Assessments that shows the student’s strengths and weaknesses for English Language Arts (ELA). We compared the two classroom's results to see which classroom has more students on grade level and if technology has an impact with those scores. We found that students who were using technology were scoring better on the CDT's, although technology is not the sole factor of our results. 

  • Math Education - Brooke Davis

    Hooray for Arrays

    Student Researcher: Brooke Davis

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katie Lewis

    Abstract: I conducted a math intervention with my field experience class of third grade students. This math intervention included 14 third grade students from an urban school setting. The students in this intervention group scored an 11/16 or below on the preassessment. The 14 third grade students were split up into 2 groups of 7. Half of the math class was spent teaching the first group of students and the other half was spent teaching the second group of students the same lessons. After I had taught all three math lessons on using arrays to solve multiplication problems, the students were retested to see if they improved their scores. Overall, the post-assessment data showed that the students made tremendous improvement with using arrays to solve multiplication problems after the intervention lessons were taught. Based on the data collected from the post-assessments, out of 14 total students that participated in the intervention, 0 students scored an 11/16 or below on the assessment. Therefore, all 14 students who were once considered below basic or basic at both learning goals, no longer fell into either of those categories after the intervention lessons. Of those 14 students, 3 students received a score between 12/16 and 14/16 on the pre-assessment which is considered proficient at both learning goals. The remaining 11 students received a score between 15/16 and 16/16 on the pre-assessment which is considered advanced at both learning goals. This was an effective and well-executed math intervention for the third grade students within the intervention group. The two learning goals were met and proved to be extremely beneficial for the students in mastering the use of arrays to solve multiplication problems. All students within the intervention were very engaged and excited while taking part in the three lessons. The students did an amazing job listening, absorbing, and doing what was asked of them throughout the intervention. This played an essential role in the success of this math intervention. 

  • Brooke Davis, Emily Pupo, Skyler Wilt

    Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care

    Student Researchers: Brooke Davis, Emily Pupo, Skyler Wilt

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Hesson

    Abstract: Teachers commonly appear to be guilty when it comes to calling on the same students to answer questions during a lesson. Some teachers find themselves always calling on the “advanced” students, others find themselves always calling on the boys, or only calling on the students who raise their hand, and they never get any new students to share. This can greatly affect how much the students are learning and understanding what is being taught within the classroom, and can take a toll on the level of engagement teachers will receive from their students. Therefore, we decided to take a deeper look into which gender of students we see in our field experience classrooms being called on most by our cooperating teachers - males or females. We found that boys were called on more than girls in a ratio of 3:2. Boys were called on 90 times out of the 150 total times students were called on throughout all the observations made in the three different classrooms. However, girls were only called on 60 times out of the 150 total times students were called on throughout all the observation made in the three different classrooms. Therefore, boys were called on about 60% of the time while girls were only called on about 40% of the time. As future elementary school teachers, being aware of this issue can significantly help maximize the learning that takes place for each individual student in our future classrooms.

  • Education: Meagan Holder

    Grades in a Modern Education System

    Researcher: Meagan Holder

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katie Lewis

    Abstract: This project explores the plausibility of a gradeless classroom in the 21st century. School rankings are reliant on standardized test scores, and students are evaluated based on arbitrary number and letter grades. Both of these measurements lack important information regarding specific concepts that teachers expect students to know. Educators believe that moving away from a score based system would allow students to learn and achieve more. Instead of letters or percentages on a report card, some schools have turned to a narrative grading system. By breaking down student report cards into specific content categories, teachers produce feedback for students on individual concepts. Emory H. Markle Intermediate School in southern Pennsylvania has recently transitioned to a standards-based grading system. Through the collection of administrator and teacher opinions, readers can get a deeper understanding of the topic by current professionals in the field. In addition to the educator’s perspective, data are included on student opinions. Through current research, teachers, administrators, and parents alike support a standards-based system due to its ability to provide specific feedback, promote student growth, and make learning meaningful.

  • Math Education: Meagan Holder

    Trends of Free or Reduced Lunches in Public Schools

    Researcher: Meagan Holder

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Virgil Ganescu

    Abstract: Schools provide more to students than just an education. Today, millions of students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Students can qualify for free or reduced lunches if their parents make less than a certain percentage of a state’s poverty line. The thought behind this is to ensure that students, especially those who come from a lower economic status, have access to a nutritious meal each and every day. In this project I plan to explore the trend between projected number of students in total and projected number of students that qualify for free or reduced lunches.

  • Education: Wessner

    Problem Based Learning and Standardized Testing

    Researcher: Thomas Wessner

    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Katie Lewis

    Abstract: Standardized tests measure student performance and see which concepts students struggle with the most. Standardized tests can identify which school districts perform well and which districts constantly fall behind in standards. The presence of standardized tests has grown into a normal part of school culture even though it can have negative consequences such as low-importance curriculum and intrinsic problems with students. Problem-based learning is one solution that can give a more purposeful curriculum while maintaining excellence in standardized tests as seen by comparing problem-based learning schools with schools that have a traditional curriculum and seeing performance on standardized tests. Medical schools have used problem-based learning before but implementing it in a high school setting is somewhat new. Problem-based learning focuses on using application to make students learn the content and give student intrinsic rewards such as motivation and confidence. Even if classes do not depend on a standardized test, the effects of problem based learning can be seen because the skills developed through problem based learning can be applied to other content areas.