SC Core Curriculum Results Report Narrative
In 2014-2015, Georgia Milestones took the place of the Criterion-Referenced-Competency-Tests (CRCT) for Georgia students in 3rd-8th grades. This new assessment, which focuses on the knowledge and skills learned in language arts, science, mathematics, and social studies, gives a more accurate picture of the students’ academic progress and prepares students for college and career readiness. Since this was a new state assessment, it would not determine promotion until May 2017. Therefore, it was determined after discussion with the administration and the Advisory Council, that the county’s District Assessments would be used for our achievement data.
In Gwinnett County, it is the expectation for students to be at the Proficient Level on the District Assessments by the end of the school year. There are five District Assessments throughout the school year; a pre-test, three interims, and a post-test. The post-test covers everything the students have learned throughout the year. It was decided that the counseling department’s achievement program goal would be as follows: By May 2017, 60% of 3rd and 4th grade students with a score of 55-69 on the first quarter District Assessment in reading and math will move to the Proficient Level of 70 (Reading: 68 students to 28 and Math: 52 students to 21). This goal supports the counseling department’s mission and vision of decreasing barriers to academic achievement and becoming lifelong learners. It also supports rigorous academics, which is in the school’s mission statement and excellence in academic knowledge which is in the county’s mission statement. The county’s vision statement of acquiring the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and careers and the school’s vision statement to become lifelong learners also supports this goal.
A unit of three core-curriculum lessons was delivered to 168 third grade students from November 2016-January 2017. Lesson one focused on keeping one’s homework space free from distractions and staying organized. Lesson two focused on setting goals and paying attention. And lesson three focused on understanding directions and learning how to study and learn material. A pre-test, which represented attitudes, knowledge, and skills, was given at the beginning of lesson one and a post-test was given at the end of lesson three. For question one, there was a 16% increase (58% to 67%) for students who believed that it is important to do their homework free from distractions. For question two, there was a 27% increase (70% to 89%) for students who believed that students do better in school when they are organized. Question three had the biggest gain of 154% (24% to 61%) for students being able to list two ways to study for a test. And question four had a gain of 108% (34% to 71%) for students being able to define oral directions. For question five, there was a 51% increase (39% to 59%) showing students being able to prioritize their homework assignments. All three of these lessons focused on the ability to succeed, which is a Mindset and the use of time-management, organization, and study skills, which is a Behavior-Learning-Strategy. There was also an emphasis on the Behavior-Self-Management-Skills. Third grade is the year where students shift from “learning-to-read” to “reading-to-learn” therefore, it is important for students to assume more responsibility and to be able to work independently. This is a year where they also start to set academic goals.
The outcome-data showed 15 of the 28 students (54%) moving to the Proficient Level in Language Arts and 16 of the 24 students (67%) moving to the Proficient Level in Math on the May District Assessment. However, it is worth noting that of the remaining 13 students in Language Arts, they had a cumulative GPA of 83.3 and almost half of them had a 2nd semester grade of 80+. In math, the remaining students had a cumulative GPA of 78.8 and almost 40% of them had a grade of 80+ at the end of the 2nd semester.
Based on this information, the study skills unit had a greater impact on the students’ final grades than the District Assessments, which should in fact mirror each other. Next year, for these students, I will continue with the Step-Up to Better Grades curriculum to reinforce the study skills habits learned in third grade and explore using Milestone data and grades instead of the District Assessments. I will also monitor the students who did not achieve the Proficient Level to see if there are additional concerns impacting their academic performance.