The Miles Elementary School Counseling Team (MESCT) offered a variety of small groups during the 2015-2016 school year. Counselors used data (student needs assessments, standardized test scores, attendance, behavior referrals, and parent/teacher input) to determine students to include in groups, which typically consist of 4-8 students and meet for 5-8 sessions. Groups are cycled throughout the year based on the presenting needs. Topics include: behavior problems, anxiety, anger-management, academic/social skills, and organization. Further information about all of the small groups delivered can be found in the Small Group Action Plan document.
To determine a Goal 2 for Small Group, counselors again assessed the data and areas of student need. They noticed that on the Fall 2015 Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Reading assessment, a high number of 2nd grade students scored at or below the 25th percentile in Reading. Low scores such as these are indicative of non-proficiency and can be early indicators of “Novice” scores on the state standardized test. After discussing this concern with administration, teachers, and Advisory Council members, it was determined that this group of students would be the focus of the 2015-2016 small group goal. The MESCT selected the evidenced-based Incredible Flexible You (IFY) curriculum, as this program teaches students at the lower elementary levels to be “social thinkers” and recognize and communicate appropriately about their feelings in order to demonstrate positive behaviors; when student learn foundational social-emotional skills they are able to be better learners. This goal, therefore, was developed to nurture struggling 2nd grade students in order to foster their academic growth as measured on MAP reading assessment by the Spring of 2016.
All students, K-5, at Miles Elementary take the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAP assessment. Fall 2015 MAP data revealed that 15 students in 2nd grade scored at or below the 25th percentile (below proficiency). The goal of raising MAP reading scores was set at 14 points as this was the average/typical growth for the norm group of 2nd graders. At the onset of the 2015-2016 school year, the Student Success Skills (SSS) curriculum was implemented as a Tier 1 intervention by counselors and teachers in all K-5 classrooms. Students in grade 2 had received, Ready to Learn (RTL), the SSS program designated for the primary grades. However, this small group was still evidencing that they needed more supplemental support so they were targeted for the Tier 2 IFY program. All 15 students returned permission slips to participate.
Fifteen (15) students in the 2nd grade participated in the intervention. Services were delivered on a weekly basis for a total of 5 sessions lasting 30-45 minutes each. Services were delivered from 2/22/2016 to 3/24/2016.
All 15 students in the group completed a 7 question IFY Student Pre/Posttest (attached) to determine what they knew before and after regarding the ten topics covered in IFY: Thinking and using your brain (Q1) Feelings (Q2) Feeling words (Q3) The Group Plan (Q4) Using your eyes to listen (Q5) Keeping their Body in the Group (Q6) and Whole Body Listening (Q7). The pre-tests took place from 2/22/16- 2/25/16 before the first lesson and the post-tests from 3/21/16- 3/24/16 after the lessons ended. As a whole, students increased in their overall knowledge of the IFY skills from 59.5% at pre-test to 97.0% at post-test.
Outcome data results revealed that 11 out of 15 students (73%) who participated in the IFY small group, met their expected growth goals as set forth by NWEA. Individual growth ranged from 7 to 54 RIT points with an average gain of 39.5 points. As the goal was to increase their scores on the MAP reading assessment by 14 points, this group, as a whole, far exceeded the goal.
Full explanation of the perception and outcome data results, tables, and figures can be found in the Closing the Gap Results Report.
NEXT STEPS BASED ON RESULTS
Working to remove barriers to learning and improve students’ social-emotional, behavioral, and academic progress is at the forefront of our roles as school counselors. During the 2016-2017 school year, the MESCT will focus on low test scores and track student achievement through implementing IFY in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Additionally, students who score lower in categories other than reading on the 2016 Fall MAP test will also be considered to receive small group services. The MESCT believes since student growth was positively impacted by the IFY curriculum, it could also be beneficial for students who struggle in other areas, as well.