Closing the Gap Results Report Narrative.
The purpose of any closing the gap activity is to build a multi-tiered system for a targeted group of students to close a “gap” in the areas of attendance, behavior or academics. During the last few years, Avaxat has had tremendous growth in reading scores. One of the principal’s goals for the year was to shift the focus of professional development from reading to math to address our student’s lower scores in math. In alignment with the school goals, my program goals #1 addressed improvements in math.
Goal defined through data
One large gap that I found in data analysis was the opportunity gap due to a student’s economic status. The goal was defined through data by disaggregating the scores of all students vs. students who came from households of low SES. This was determined by cross-referencing all students with those who received free and reduced lunch. What I found at the end of the 2017 school year was that there was a 58-point gap on average between these two groups. On average, these student’s scores were about 12% lower than the school average. (See attached "Gap Table")
Selection of Interventions and Activities
In grades 3 and 4, I targeted the bottom 10 students in Math scores, disaggregated by Low SES, to participate in small groups with an emphasis on study skills. Of the initial 20, 14 returned permission slips and I worked with them on study skills based on AVID strategies. As mentioned before our school implements AVID strategies such as STAR Note taking, organizational skills, WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading) and SLANT (Sit up, lean forward, ask and answer, nod your head, track the speaker). All of these practices are considered best practices for learning; nevertheless, some kids need more. In three small groups, I implemented study and focus/attention skills practice with students.
Following the group, I implemented multi-tiered supports to sustain progress post group. First, I developed a weekly progress-monitoring card, which asked students to implement academic related skills like showing effort, completing homework, being organized and participation. The card gauges students & teachers to share their perception on progress of skills learned in group. I implemented this process by collaborating with teachers to build the support. When students demonstrate the use of skills learned in group (e.g. organization & participation) it opens up opportunities for success which influence both marks in class as well as test scores. On top of implementing progress-monitoring checks with teachers, I also implemented a weekly version of a check in/checkout to review progress made and set goals for the students. Check in/check out is considered a best practice within any PBIS framework and I thought it would be helpful to reinforce the academic behaviors of my students.
The interventions planned throughout the year utilized different strategies to reinforce learning. I implemented group demonstrations, role-plays, scenarios, and skill practices utilizing a resource called avid weekly, which creates short articles about current events to practice study skills such as annotation, note taking and organization. By coordinating with their teachers, we established time lines that minimized the impact on the classroom. As a result, implementation of the small group was successful evidenced by the perception data of students and teachers and the outcome data in math. The pre and posttests were aligned with the mindsets and behaviors standards to implement within the group. This included: Social emotional M5 referring to achieving high outcomes and developing a positive attitude towards learning, B:LS3 which focuses on organization and study skills. The standards are integrated with in the pre/post questions as well as with teacher and counselor check-ins to make the intervention successful. The school’s outcome data suggested there was growth across the board in math; nevertheless, the school average growth was 16%, Low SES general Group 30%, and the closing the gap group 44%. There is still a lot of room to grow; however, by growing at the fastest rate suggests that the intervention was working to close the achievement gap for these students. Due to the positive results in perception & outcome data and successful collaboration with teachers and counselors to impact learning, I highly recommend continuing this intervention. I’m looking to modify this for the next year to impact student behavior and to disaggregate with other subgroups.