Goal 1 targeted Fifth grade students scoring in the 24th percentile (Novice and not receiving IEP) on their Fall Reading Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores and distributed these students into three small groups in which they received the Student Success Skills (SSS) small group counseling with the hopes of increasing their reading scores by 5% more than students who do not receive the Tier Two small group interventions by the Spring Reading MAP assessment.
Fall Reading MAP scores were used to identify students who scored at the novice level (those who scored at the 24th percentile or lower) in the fifth grade. In Kentucky, the achievement data is organized in four levels, novice, apprentice, proficient, and distinguished. Schools are rewarded based on the percentage of their students that score at the proficient and distinguished levels. The focus of the school improvement plan reflected the need to help students scoring in the lowest percentile to close the gap. Further, conversations with the Principal reinforced this population as a priority for school counseling interventions. Fifth grade became a focal point of the program to ensure students transition to the middle school academically ready for the increased rigor.
The Student Success Skills (SSS) curriculum, an evidence-based intervention for students in grades K-12, was chosen to address the gap because it is a brief social-psychological intervention that is designed to support students by teaching learning, self-management, and social skills through group counseling lessons that offer structured practice, followed by opportunities for students to generalize skills across settings (Brigman & Webb, 2010; Webb & Brigman, 2006). Several outcomes studies (Brigman & Campbell, 2003; Campbell & Brigman, 2005; Webb, Brigman, & Campbell, 2005; Brigman & Webb, 2007) have demonstrated the impact of SSS on student achievement and increases in positive student behaviors across culturally diverse groups of students and age ranges. Five efficacy studies performed by SSS researchers, involving 1,279 students in grades 4 through 9 in 39 schools found significant increases in mathematics and reading scores on standardized achievement tests (Brigman & Campbell, 2003; Brigman & Webb, 2007; Campbell & Brigman, 2005; León, Villares, Brigman, Webb, & Peluso, 2011; 2010; Webb, Brigman, & Campbell, 2005).
Twenty-one fifth grade students who scored in the 24th percentile on Fall Reading MAP assessment received small group intervention for eight sessions using the SSS small group curriculum between December 2015 and March 2016.
A ten-question pre-post assessment was used to assess student changes in attitudes and knowledge. Overall, students experienced growth from the pre-test to the post-test. For example, on the pre-test 89.5% of the students reported that the statement "listening with my eyes means making eye contact with the other person during conversation" was true and 100% reported the statement was true on the post-test. In response to question #3, 63.2% reported they "increased their likelihood of success in school when they see or imagined themselves being success and practiced doing things that successful people do" compared to 84.2% on the post-test, an increase of 21%. 15.8% percent of students professed multiple strategies for staying calm when taking a math test on the pre-test (question #5) compared to 31.6% on the post-test, a 15.8% gain. Please refer to documents titled, "Perception Data Visuals" and "Perception Data -Pre_Post Survey Results" for additional examples.
Fifth grade students not in the intervention increased MAP Reading scores by 4.94 points, a 2.37% increase. Fifth grade students who received SSS small group counseling (Tier 2) gained 23.95 points, a 12.80% increase, thus closing the gap. (See attached: Outcome Data – Closing-the-gap Results).
Students in the SSS small groups gained 23.95 point in their MAP reading scores over the school year compared to a 4.94 point gain for students that did not receive Tier Two school counseling interventions. However, improvements in delivery could be implemented to make the intervention even more effective. It was difficult to pull students from classrooms at a consistent time. Group times were inconsistent due to snow days and teacher lack of follow-through. Groups were scheduled for the same time each week, but that schedule was constantly adjusted. Moving the group to lunch shortened the amount of time available to deliver the intervention. Hopefully, after showing teachers the impact of the small group intervention, the teachers will agree to a consistent pull-out time for Tier Two school counseling interventions each week.