The counseling department conducted an analysis of our core curriculum results to ensure that the goals we set were relevant and enhanced student learning. We also examined these lessons to determine if they were developmentally appropriate or if there were changes required to be more effective. We chose three lessons from a unit created to address our program goal of reducing the number of core classes receiving no credit by 6th grade students. The lessons taught specific skills necessary for middle school success. The three selected lessons focus on the Mindsets and Behaviors: study skills-B:LS 3, understanding middle school grades-M.2, bully prevention and coping strategies, and self management skills-B:SMS 5, 8 and 10. The lessons employed multiple teaching methods like: small group discussions, YouTube videos, individually writing down tips, elbow partner reflections, and a Kahoot quiz. These lessons align with our vision that all students participate in accelerated courses with rigor and choice in learning and our mission to support successful lifelong learners with a strong transition to middle school to set students on a successful path throughout high school and beyond.
We measured the effectiveness of the lessons through various ways. By presenting the 3 lessons to every 6th grade Foundations class, we ensured the majority of the 211 students received the lessons in a consistent manner. Perception data was collected in the form of Google surveys at the end of each lesson. The results of the post surveys were collected and used for analysis and future lesson planning. For example, the data collected after the 3rd lesson showed the lesson has to be edited to more clearly define motivation and perseverance. The first lesson was focused on information and skills necessary for success in middle school, including the importance of grades, managing study time, and finding support. The results were overwhelmingly positive, 100% of the collected surveys responded that they knew why grades mattered and 88% could name 3 strategies to manage time. The 2nd lesson results were also affirmations that the students gained knowledge about bullying and how to respond if they witness bullying. The outcome data collected was grade data from the Infinite Campus system. The grades reports were run at the end of the first semester after the lessons were presented and we learned the lessons were effective because we achieved our program goal related to 6th grade core classes passed. Our goal was for the number of core classes failed to be reduced by 25%, from 50 classes to 38 core classes for the first semester. The number of core classes receiving no credit was 29 which shows we surpassed our goal and reduced the failed courses by almost 40%. The success is positive and it provides a platform to continue deeper work with this group of students. There are still 29 classes failed during this semester, so we used this data to set one of our goals for the 2017-18 school year. The goal is to reduce core classes failed by 7th grade black students because we know they all have been taught middle school success skills.
The grades data was very positive which provides evidence for the continuation of the lessons in 6th grade. The perception data collected was also positive, but we did not conduct pre surveys. The first two lessons started with a short discussion about the differences between middle school and elementary. This was not a formal pre survey, but provided a place to start the discussion and answer questions. The related post surveys have questions about what students understand and believe about their abilities to succeed in middle school, connecting to M:2. Without formal pre survey information, we can not correctly determine if the positive results were due to our lesson or if the students already possessed the knowledge and beliefs. Next year, we will start each lesson with a 3 question pre survey to have clear data to prove the effectiveness of the lessons. The third lesson results indicate some confusion about a few concepts, specifically perseverance and motivation. That data prompts me to make changes to the lesson to make the lesson more effective for students. The 6th grade teachers provided positive anecdotal feedback that students’ had more connections and appeared more comfortable in school. Our perception and outcome data make it clear the lessons had a positive impact on students and will be continued within the first semester of each 6th grade class at Capitol Hill.