South Carolina recently passed legislation stating that students who did not pass the state standardized assessment for third grade in reading were to be retained. Prior to this mandate’s start (2017-18 school year), the school district analyzed data from past test administrations found that there was a high correlation between Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores and the state standardized assessment. Pate students do not take a state standardized assessment (this begins in third grade), but they do take MAP. I analyzed Pate’s past MAP data originally looking for disparities on gender or race. The data, however, showed a different gap. Students who spent more than 30 minutes on the MAP reading or MAP math test were more likely to achieve “met” status than “not=met”. Rushing through the test can be an indicator with difficulties in executive functioning and self-regulation.
Fifteen second grade students took less than 30 minutes and also were “not-met” on a fall or winter MAP assessment. These students were chosen to participate in a small group focused on academic success. ASCA mindsets and behaviors were chosen that would best target the goal of the group (increase time on task and meet goal score). Once the mindsets and behaviors were chosen an intervention was selected. A small group setting was chosen as the best method of delivering content as this was the most time efficient manner that would minimize classroom instruction interruption. The group met five times and focused on goal setting, positive visualization, mindfulness, and test-taking strategies. Curriculum was chosen based on the research base that supports the connection that mindfulness and its related skills helps focus attention, control stress, and optimize learning. Individual sessions were also prior to testing to review both score and time on assessment goal. Once the testing was complete a celebration was held to acknowledge the hard work and goals that were met.
Data showed that this group gave students the skills needed to help in self-regulation during assessments. Based on the promising data, this group will be continued with not much changing. One change, however, that could be made is letting teachers also recommend students who may benefit from the group even if they took longer than 30 minutes on the MAP test or were “met”.