Revised Closing-the-Gap Results Report
In the 2015-2016 school year, 70% of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students passed the English Reading Standards of Learning (SOL) and 72% of LEP students passed the English Writing SOL. General education students had a 92% pass rate on the English Reading SOL and 91% on the English Writing SOL. In previous years, the English Reading and Writing pass rate for LEP students was higher. In 2014-2015, 83% of LEP students passed English Reading and 74% passed English Writing. In 2013-2014 school year, 83% of LEP students passed both the English Reading and English Writing SOL. Given the low pass rate of LEP students in 2015-2016, we thought it was important to focus on this gap.
At the beginning of the year, we met as a team to discuss the school data and to create goals and interventions. To remain consistent with our district school counseling office, we created a closing the achievement gap goal using the aforementioned data The goal reads: By June 2017 there will be a 10% increase from 70% to 80% for the English reading SOL (Standards of Learning) end of course exam and a 72% to 82% for the English writing SOL end of course exam pass rates for ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) students as compared to June 2016.
While consulting with other stakeholders in the building we learned that our English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) department held afternoon remediation sessions to help these students review and practice the types of questions that they would see on the English Reading and Writing SOL. As a department, we decided that each counselor would provide individual support by meeting with the students that did not pass these tests. Apart from meeting with our students individually, we also decided to hold a small group for these students. In speaking with the ESOL department chair, she stated the best way for us to provide additional support for these students was to challenge them to use conversational English. Two of the school counselors on our team crafted lessons that encouraged the use of conversational English while covering the following topics: internal vs external locus of control, progress monitoring, motivation, and goal setting.
Thirty 11th and 12th grade students that were level three and above that had not passed their English Reading and Writing SOL were selected to take part in our ESOL group, however, only eight students elected to participate. Of the eight students who participated, four passed both Reading and Writing SOLs; three passed the Reading but not Writing SOL, and one student withdrew from the group due to scheduling issues. Fifty-seven percent of students in the ESOL group passed both SOLs, whereas only 46% of the students outside of the group passed both. Our overall goal was to increase to see a 10% increase in English Standard of Learning (SOL) test pass rate for English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students by 10%. In June 2017, the English Reading pass rate was increased by 11% for all LEP students whereas the English Writing pass rate was increased by 9% for all LEP students.
The LEP students made significant strides in the English pass rate in both Reading and Writing. However, the goal to increase by 10% was only met in Reading. This data highlighted the importance of collaboration with teachers and parents to help students become more academically successful. In the future, the Student Services department would also like to involve other stakeholders in the planning and execution of our interventions. Although the English department was providing their own remediation sessions, we can collaborate more closely to better assist the ESOL students. In addition, we believe that we could have utilized our Spanish-speaking parent liaison to reach out to our Spanish speaking families that elected not to participate in our group to ensure that they understood the opportunity being offered to their students. Sending out the permission slip to the families in their native language rather than just English may have generated more interest as well. The group showed success and in the future, if we have increased interest, we may run two ESOL groups simultaneously.
As a comprehensive school counseling program, we create programs that address our department goals. Through the development of our lessons, we make sure that our lesson objectives reflect the Mindsets and Behaviors that we believe are important to cover and that the data highlights the Mindsets and Behaviors that need to be addressed.