Our “Introduction to High School” lesson was presented in September to freshman English classes. We began with a whole group lesson regarding high school graduation requirements, postsecondary planning, and resources within our office. The attached data reports reflect an increase in the percentage of students correctly identifying graduation requirements. Each post-test question was answered correctly by over 90% of students. In fact, there was a 78.19% increase in the percentage of students who identified the minimum GPA required for graduation. Based on this success, we plan to continue including this lesson in our core curriculum plan. Our pre/post-test focused on graduation requirements. One improvement we plan is including questions in our assessment pertaining to college readiness and resources within our office. For example, we hope to assess freshman understanding of the minimum number of academic units suggested for college bound students. This would help us further refine the effectiveness of this and future lessons regarding college preparation.
Our “How is GPA Calculated?” lesson was presented through our school’s live feed system to all freshmen during their 5th period report card distribution. The results for this lesson were mixed. The perception data indicated there is room for improvement for this specific lesson. While several of the questions had large percentages of change, this was due to extremely low beginning baselines. Overall, raw percentages on the pre/post-tests reveal that students did not master this content; 4 of the 5 questions were answered correctly by less than 60% of students. We have several theories for this. First, GPA is a difficult concept for students. It may be that this topic is one that, in the future, would be best presented over several lessons. Also, we presented the lesson in this format, in part, to protect teachers’ instructional time. However, as a result we had to rely on teachers broadcasting our presentation and administering our pre/post-tests with fidelity. Unfortunately, we only had a 30% rate of return on our assessments. For future lessons we plan to include an option to complete the assessment online through Google Forms. This will eliminate reliance on teachers to pass out, collect, and return forms, hopefully increasing the accuracy of our results. We also deliberated how having students watch a video versus having a live counselor present possibly impacted student attention to the lesson. We plan to redesign the video so that it is more visually appealing, possibly adding a video clip or music. Finally, for the next post-test, we plan to survey students’ impressions of the delivery method. Still, our outcome data demonstrates positive changes for our freshmen. Our End of the 3rd Quarter Grade Report for freshmen revealed a 39.8% reduction in students earning below a C on their report card when compared to 1st quarter baseline results. Our End of the Year Graduation Status Report reflects success in meeting our Program Goal to reduce the percentage of 9th graders who end the year with GPAs below 2.0.
Presented in an assembly format was our third lesson: “Developing a Plan for Success in High School and Beyond”. Our perception data suggests that students better understood high school graduation requirements and the course selection process as a result of this lesson. Our pre/post scores showed either a large percentage of change (Questions 1 and 3) or raw percentages that were above 90% (Questions 2 and 4). One specific piece of misinformation that we have been working to correct in our school community is the foreign language requirement. In Florida, foreign language is not required for graduation, but is required for admission to our State Universities. Recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of students incorrectly believing it to be a graduation requirement. We were especially pleased to see a 176% percent increase in the percentage of students who correctly understand this distinction. We also had over 95% of our students submit their course selection sheets. This indicates they understood the process presented through this lesson. Our outcome data demonstrates that 71.8% of our 9th – 11th grade students were on track to graduate at the end of the school year. This represents a 1.7% increase over the previous school year’s underclassman results. One change we plan to make to this lesson is to divide it by grade level. In recent years this lesson has steadily increased in length. Delivering it by grade level will support improved focus on the grade specific content we present. We are already collaborating with our administration to effectively facilitate this adjustment.