The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program, is an annual assessment tool that measures student progress in core curriculum subject beginning in 3rd grade. When a student fails to pass these assessments in 3rd and 4th grade, students may be placed in the next grade level. When students reach 5th grade, they must pass the STAAR assessments. The Student Success Initiative (SSI) stipulated that students in Grades 5 could advance to the next grade level only by passing the state assessments or by unanimous decision of a grade placement committee (GPC). With that information at hand and after looking at the 4th grade STAAR data for 2016-2017 we noticed that we needed to close the gap between the achievement of a group of students. With the help of our administrator and teachers, we discovered that this group of students struggled to pass the STAAR test when they were 3rd graders.
In order to close the gap with this group of students a needs assessment was done. Most students revealed that they were “bad” test takers. They mentioned getting nervous, feeling anxious, distracted or even forgetting simple instructions. This lead to the creation of a small group for 10 students. The goal for these students was to assist students with anxiety techniques. I conducted a core curriculum anxiety strategies lesson to every class in order to discuss ways to handle classroom anxiety. The after school mentoring meeting was designed to mentor and provide positive motivation to this group. This was designed to help students see themselves in a positive manner in regards to reaching their goals. In addition, on the spot checks were done during lunch and Physical Education class. Whiles students walked the hallway they were reminded to exercise their breathing techniques. Other times, I would give students a motivational card to let them know that they could reach any goal they set their mind to accomplishing. Finally, parent meetings were done to inform parents of the importance of this STAAR assessment due to this being an SSI grade.
After our school received results from the first administration of the STAAR assessments, we were pleased to learn that 6 out of 10 students passed the STAAR reading assessment. Three of the remaining four students were scheduled to take the 2nd administration of the STAAR assessment. Being that these students were not successful taking the paper and pencil test, their 2nd administration was changed to the online version of the STAAR. During the 2nd administration, due to technical difficulties throughout the State of Texas, these students were exempt from having to take a 3rd administration. The 4th student who did not pass, qualified for Special Education services and was no longer required to take the STAAR test. Overall, I feel that students benefited from being part of this closing the gap group.
Looking towards next year, I plan to expand the 5th grade closing the gap group to include students who did not pass the math assessments in 3rd and 4th grade. I believe that targeting too many ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors made my lessons a bit overwhelming for some of the students who did not pass the 1st administration because I was targeting too many behaviors. Next year, I will focus on 2 behaviors.
THE GAP WAS DEFINED THROUGH THE STATE OF TEXAS ASSESSMENTS OF ACADEMIC READINESS (STAAR) DATA. OUTCOME DATA REVEALED THAT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN THE AREA OF STAAR READING WAS AT 0% FOR THIS GROUP. WHEN WE REALIZED THAT THESE STUDENTS EXPERIENCED ANXIETY BEFORE MAJOR EXAMS, I BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER. PERCEPTION DATA PROVIDED ME WITH INFORMATION DURING THE PRE SURVEY ON HOW MANY STUDENTS RECOGNIZED ANXIETY, HOW MANY STUDENT KNEW WHAT TO DO WITH ANXIETY AND HOW MANY STUDENTS KNEW RELAXATION TECHNIQUES. THIS DATA LEAD THE INTERVENTIONS/ACTIVITIES USED TO HELP STUDENTS DEAL WITH ANXIETY. AFTER THE LESSONS, SPOT CHECKS, AFTER SCHOOL MENTORING MEETINGS, PARENT MEETINGS AND CORE CURRICULUM, THESE STUDENTS HAD AN INCREASE IN THEIR READING STAAR TEST OF 60%. NEXT YEAR, I WILL DELIVER INTERVENTIONS/ACTIVITIES MORE EFFECTIVELY BY ADDING LESSONS ON SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-REFELCTION. I WILL COLLECT DATA MORE ACCURATELY BY ASKING BETTER QUESTIONS DURING THE PRE AND POST TEST QUESTIONS SUCH AS, HOW STUDENTS FEEL ABOUT TAKING ASSESSMENTS, WHAT THEY DO TO PREPARE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY AND HOW TO RELAX BEFORE AN ASSESSMENT. THE ASCA MINDSETS AND BEHAVIORS THAT I WILL TARGET WILL INCLUDE, B-LS4, B-SMS6, B-SMS7. I WILL DROP ASCA M&B M6, B-SMS2.