A. Two-Way Interaction
B. Three-Way Interaction


A. Two-Way Interaction

Two-way interactions involve data from two different sources and seek to answer questions related to the relative impact. Bernhardt lists the following questions that involve two-way interactions (p. 3):

  • Do students who attend school every day get better grades? (demographic/student learning)
  • Do students with positive attitudes toward school do better academically, as measured by teacher-assigned grades? (perceptions/student learning)
  • Did students enrolled in interactive math programs this year perform better on standardized achievement tests than those who took traditional math courses? (student learning/school processes)
  • What strategies do 3rd grade teachers use to teach students with native languages different from their own? (demographic/school processes)
  • Is there a difference in how students enrolled in different programs perceive the learning environment? (perceptions/school processes)
  • Is there a gender difference in students' perceptions of the learning environment? (perceptions/demographic)

For example, data were collected that examined scores on the ACT test and the relationship to family income levels in Florida, representing a two-way interaction between student learning and demographics. It is clear from the graph below that those students with a higher income level scored higher on the ACT. 

You must, however, be careful when interpreting interactions among data -- simply because a relationship or trend is observable does not necessarily mean that there is a cause and effect relationship. In the case of this graph, the scores on the ACT obviously did not impact the family income level. Whether or not the family income level "caused" the "effect" of an ACT score would require additional research.



Download to your desktop the Interaction Analysis worksheet. For each question listed, mark the categories of data that are involved. When you are finished, check your answers via this answer sheet.



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This course was developed in partnership between the Pinellas School
and the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at USF.