Our three lessons were a part of a larger unit for all freshmen. The first lesson focuses on helping students understand the role of the school counselor, learning about school resources, and understanding how to calculate grade point average.This lesson was given to students individually or in small groups in each counselor’s office. The second lesson was about teaching students about different learning styles, identify their own learning style, and understand how their learning style impacts their way of learning. This lesson was given through a push-in model through freshman physical education classes. The third lesson focused on goal setting and identifying career interests. This lesson was given through a push-in model through freshman English classes. The 3 lessons were given to 375 freshman during the 2017-2018 school year. A pre/post test was used to collect perception data at the beginning of the first lesson and the end of the third lesson since it was part of one single unit. Students’ attendance and earned credits at the end of each semester were used for outcome data.
For perception data, we asked 10 questions connected to the identified mindsets and behaviors for the lessons. For 8 of the 10 questions, there was growth from the pretest to posttest. The 2 questions that did not have growth were: I can identify how I learn best (changed by -1.62%) I can organize my time (changed by -3.13%). Based on this, we will reexamine which mindsets and behaviors we are targeting with these lessons and how the content aligns with identifying how students learn and manage their time. The largest growth in student perceptions came from: I know how many credits I need to graduate (changed by 41.43%) and I am aware of the 16 career clusters (51.07%). We were least effective based on perception data with our learning style lesson. We need to revamp the learning styles lesson and spend more time on connecting the content to each individual student’s learning style and how that relates for them to a classroom setting. Knowing that students had different learning styles, we could have differentiated the lesson to them based on their own needs. We were most effective by teaching students how many credits they needed to graduate and awareness to 16 career clusters.
For outcome data, we took the average number of days absent for 1st and 2nd semester. 1st semester, students’ averaged 4.24 days absent, while 2nd semester, they averaged 5.44 days. We also looked at average credits earned each semester. 1st semester, freshmen students earned an average of 2.78 credits and 2nd semester they earned an average of 3.24 credits. We believe that the lessons on how to earn credits and calculate GPA had an impact on students knowing the connection between grades and credits. While number of absences increased in a negative way, earned credits increased in a positive way. Regarding absences, we believe that they increased for a few reasons: 2nd semester has a few more days than 1st semester, and school-wide, we see more absences for sicknesses during 2nd semester with the colder winter months and fluctuation in spring temperatures.
Mindsets and behaviors were identified for each area, but our pre/post test did not cover each mindset and behavior. For next year, we need to update the pre/post test to target specific questions geared towards each mindset and behavior.
For other future planning, we will keep these lessons in place with a few modifications. Our perception data was inconsistent and led us to changing our lesson plans for the following year. Students perception data about “I can organize my time” went down slightly from the pretest to the post test. This topic was covered in lessons 1 and 3. Our plan is to create a separate lesson focused on executive functioning for next year. Perception data regarding students understanding “how they learn” also decreased slightly. This topic was covered in lesson 2. For next year, we plan to revamp this lesson and spend more time on defining the different learning styles and helping students identify different ways they learn in different settings. For goal setting, which was covered in lesson 3, we would have liked to see more students who understand and can set a SMART goal. For next year, we will introduce this topic in lesson 1, so by the time we get to lesson 3, it will not be a new concept.