Palmer Middle School (2018)

Kennesaw , GA

School Counseling Core Curriculum Results Report

After the implantation of our core curriculum lessons the counseling team sat down to evaluate their effectiveness. There was an emphasis on academic achievement lessons this year to align with our program goal of improving promotion rates. This goal was developed to help decrease the number of retentions from previous years. The area that needed improvement in academic achievement was in the form of establishing good study skills, improving test taking skills, and preparing for the promotion to high school. We selected these lessons based on the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors to help students improve learning strategies, growth mindsets, and self-management skills. Each grade level counselor, selected one lesson to deliver to their grade level in order to provide equity and access to all students.

The sixth grade “Study Smart for Middle School Success” lesson was chosen at the teachers request because they felt our incoming 6th grade class was lacking in study and organizational skills. Students were introduced to middle school organization skills, test taking techniques, and study skills. The perception data based on the pre-tests revealed that only 22% of the 288 sixth grade students felt they had “Excellent” study skills while 50% indicated that their study skills needed improvement. After the series of lessons were taught, perception data showed that 70% of the students felt their study skills had improved to “Excellent”. Outcome data showed an improvement from 22 students at Progress report 1 not meeting promotion criteria to only 4 at the Semester 1 report card time. By the end of the school year, all 6th grade students were promoted to 7th grade with zero retentions. Looking at the data results, the counseling team concluded the lessons did help the new middle school students acquire the skills they needed to be successful in meeting promotion standards so the lesson will be continued next year. Next year we would like to add a parent component by surveying the parents on their students study habits at home and include lessons on good homework study habits.

The seventh grade lesson “Standardized Test Taking Skills” addressed the knowledge and skills needed to successfully take a standardized test in order to help improve scores. Our students take the IOWA test in the 7th grade as well as the End-of-Grade exams. Perception data was based on a 5 question pre/post-test of knowledge-based questions. Question 1 increased by 12%, question 2 increased by 5%, question 3 increased by 15%, question 4 increased by 34%, and question 5 increased by 31%. Correct responses improved from 31% to 68% correct. Outcome data measured average Lexile score growth from 70.3 points to 80.5 points following the series of skill building lessons. Overall, teachers were pleased with the results of the improvement in test scores and Lexile growth following the lessons. One adjustment we would do different next year is to administer this lesson prior to the IOWA/CoGAT tests in October so students benefit from the lesson earlier in the school year.

The eighth grade lesson held at the beginning of the school year helped students learn the graduation requirements for their respective high schools. 100% of the 8th grade students completed their Individual Graduation Plans. 97% of the students learned the registration process for their high school, and 100% of students were able to identify the number of credits needed to graduate high school. Students who applied and were accepted to Magnet High schools also completed applications and schedules with the 8th grade counselor. 100% of students successfully registered for their freshman classes by the high school deadlines. Outcome data for this lesson was measured in our promotion/graduation rate. 99% of 8th grade student were promoted to high school. 338 eighth grade students earned promotion, 1 student retained in the 7th grade and 1 8th grade student was placed to 9th grade. This lesson will be repeated each year because quality transition planning is achieved when the process begins early in the 8th grade school year and the counselors support the students through the entire high school transition process. Because of the success of this lesson and the supported mandated 8th grade activity, we will continue this program each year.

Overall we concluded that these lessons were successful in fulfilling our vision that all students can achieve promotion and our mission that all students are challenged to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become lifelong learners.

Grade Level: 6

Lesson Topic: Study Smart for Middle School Success

Lesson was Presented in Which Class/Subject:

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M5, M6, B-LS3, B-LS4, B-LS6, B-LS7, B-LS8, B-SMS 1, B-SMS 6, B-SMS 8

Start/End: Oct-Nov 2016

Process Data (Number of students affected): 100% of 6th Grade students (288); 4 classes daily; (50 min. class periods) Two series lesson.

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): A pre/post test was administered with 7 questions on study skill habits. The pre-test results were
22% of students scored “Excellent” 28% of students scored “Good” and 50% of students scored ‘Improvements Needed” when they self-evaluated their study skills. The post-test results improved to 70% who rated themselves “Excellent”, 20% rated “Good” and 10% rated themselves as “Improvements Needed”. The average pre-test score for the reading passage was 46% and post evaluation score was 94% on the reading questions. Students greatly improved their reading test-taking skills once they practiced how to find the correct answer in a reading passage.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Outcome data was analyzed by comparing Progress 1 grades to Semester 1 report card grades. At the Progress 1, 22 students were failing 2 or more subjects. At Semester 1 report cards (Quarter 1 & 2) the number decreased to only 4 students (an increase of 82%). Additionally, the average Lexile score improved by 68 points at the mid-year mark as indicated by the 6th grade RI scores. 100% of 6th grade students earned promotion to 7th grade.

Implications: Sixth grade students gained a knowledge and understanding of necessary study skills for middle school academic success. They learned that middle school requires more organizational skills and study time then it did in elementary school. The students study skills knowledge greatly improved as indicated in the pre/post test results. The most dramatic increase was in students improving their grades from Progress 1 at the beginning of the school year to their Semester 1 report card grades. 18 students improved their grades to all passing, an increase of 82%. Students identified who continued to not meet promotion criteria were placed in the “Success Group” for closing-the-gap. Students grades are monitored on a weekly basis and students are reminded to use the study skills, and use their agenda on a daily basis. Next year I would like to expand upon the lesson to include standardized (End-of-Grade) test taking skills. I would also like to expand the lessons by using technology in the computer lab for students to practice on-line test taking since so many tests are now being delivered computer based. I will also change the pre-post test to include additional questions based on the needs of the class. Based on the data, I will continue this lesson next year.




Grade Level: 7

Lesson Topic: Standardized Test Taking Skills

Lesson was Presented in Which Class/Subject:

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M2, M5, B-LS 1, B-LS 3, B-SMS 6, B-SS 1

Start/End: March 2016

Process Data (Number of students affected): 100% of 7th grade students (approximately 312); 12 Language Arts class over 4 days (50 minute class periods)

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): A 5 question, multiple choice Pre and Post Test was given to each student. The questions were knowledge based to compare what students knew before the lesson to what they learned after participating in the lesson. Each question had an increase in correct responses on the post-test given after the lesson was presented.
Question 1 increased by 12%, question 2 increased by 5%, question 3 increased by 15%, question 4 increased by 34%, and question 5 increased by 31%.
The most significant increase in correct answers on a question was for a question asking students to distinguish between general vs. absolute words. Correct responses improved from 31% on the pretest to 68% on the post-test.

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): Average Lexile growth increased from 70.3 to 80.5. Outcome data was measured in a comparison of 7th grade Lexile score growth before and after the Standardized Test Taking Skills lesson (Quarter 2 vs. Quarter 3). The skills taught in the standardized test taking lesson were aimed at helping students more successfully take the standardized Reading Inventory (RI) which measures Lexile scores and growth.

Implications: Students gained knowledge of strategies to use when taking standardized tests such as the IOWA, End of Grade Assessment, Reading Inventory (RI) and Math Inventory (MI). An increase in knowledge of the content taught in this lesson is shown in perception data through the pre/post test results. Achievement data is shown in improvement of Lexile growth on the Reading Inventory from Quarter 2 to Quarter 3. Improving test taking skills will help students take advantage of opportunities to show their strengths for more appropriate class placement and also has implications for college readiness exams such as the SAT and ACT. After evaluating the timing of the lessons, next year I will deliver this lesson before the IOWA/CoGAT test in October because of implications that the IOWA test scores are used for 8th grade class placement and improvement on these scores would benefit the students future scheduling. I would also reevaluate my pre-post test questions to be more specific in determining the needs of the students.




Grade Level: 8

Lesson Topic: 8th Transition: Getting from Here to High School

Lesson was Presented in Which Class/Subject:

ASCA Domain, Mindsets & Behaviors Standard(s): M4, M5, M6, B-LS 7, B-SMS 10, B-SS1

Start/End: August-September 2016

Process Data (Number of students affected): 100% of 8th graders (339) 12 classes that were 50 minutes in length. Classes were done with language art classes and process took two weeks. 100% of the 8th graders completed their Individual Graduation Plans as required by the State of Georgia DOE.

Perception Data (Surveys or assessments used): Pre-test showed that
329 students knew which high school they would attend and only 50 students did not know their feeder high school. Several students in that 50 where undecided as to which Magnet school program they would attend. Question 2 indicated that most all student did not know what a 4 year plan was, how to read their career profile, and what electives they would have to choose from.

Question 1:
True 329, False 50
Question 2:
True 20, False 319
Question 3:
True 75, False 264
Question 4:
True 30, False 309

Outcome Data (Achievement, attendance, and/or behavior data): 338 earned promotion to high school. 1 placed to 9th grade. 99% promotion rate.

Implications: Students were able to understand what classes they need to take on a yearly basis in order to graduate from a Georgia high school. When they did their elective registration in February they were able to make informed decision utilizing state requirements, career choices, and school offerings. By knowing when transitions and articulation activities occur in 8th grade students will be better able to plan out their ninth grade year in a more efficient way. When they investigate and research potential careers they are better able to see which classes in high school are best in line with this career. In the future this lesson will remain in place, I will make changes as needed for the particular class that year. For example, evaluate questions based on particular known needs of the class. The students came away with a much clearer picture as to how their classes in high school tied directly to their future goals and post- secondary plans. Furthermore, the students were better able to register for their elective classes with fewer mistakes and misunderstandings. This shows that it is important to walk them through each of the sections on the registration report so they are better prepared for high school. Since many of our students apply and attend Magnet programs for Cobb County high Schools, in the future I need to add more information about the Magnet School program options before the application dates.