The Local School Plan for Improvement (LSPI) goals were developed by our administration and Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) at the beginning of the year. Written in SMART goal format, they are developed based on the academic needs of our school. The local District Assessment (DA) and standardized test known as the Georgia Milestones (GMAS) are usually the referenced tools of measure. Both of the goals (one ELA, one math) state that “students who participate in DAs (1-5) will make expected or high growth in mathematics. Students in grades 3-5 will score in the proficient/distinguished range as measured by the Math Georgia Milestones Assessment.” The big focus was to increase the “proficient” and “distinguished” categories on these assessments, and ultimately moving students out of the “beginner” category.
During a leadership meeting we discussed how a lack of motivation was contributing to many of our students underperforming on the DAs. It was concerning as the DA results are a good predictor of how students will perform on the GMAS in April. We consulted with administrators and teachers, and used the fall DA scores to identify the students who scored “Beginner” or “Developing.” We decided to use this subgroup of students, because we were familiar with most of them and believed they lacked many fundamental test taking skills in preparation for such tests. The goals and objectives of our lessons aligned with the Crosswalk Tool and ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors which addressed learning strategies and self-management skills
Small group sessions were held during school hours and were part of the school’s Extended Learning Time interventions (ELT). Majority of the students also received additional math and/or reading interventions from other certified teachers. We had a total of 54 students and ran the groups every day for 10 weeks, ending the week before Spring Break and just in time for GMAS. Each group met once a week for about 35-45 minutes and each school counselor took on a grade level. In addition to the small group intervention, students already also received the following services: ELL, EIP, SPED, Academic Contracts (graph attached).
Only 4 students (7%) did not receive any additional intensive academic interventions throughout the year. Considering the various interventions these students have received and yet, continue to perform below grade level standards, it was clear why they may be lacking motivation or have heightened anxiety when it comes to tests. The Student Engagement Instrument (SEI) is administered in the fall and measures student response in the following areas: Teacher/Student Relationships, Future Aspirations/Goals, Family Support of Learning, Peer Support at School, and Intrinsic Motivation. Results showed that 32% of our subgroup scored below the 25th percentile on Intrinsic Motivation and 27% on Future Aspirations/Goals in comparison to other students in the district. Results of significance on the pre and post tests are shown in the attached charts.
Our goal was to have 100% of the target group move at least one level up in either one or both categories on the spring DA. Results show that only 55% moved up one level in either content area. Although we did not meet our goal it is also notable to mention that more students improved in math than in reading across all three grade levels. Most of the students are currently reading below grade level and entered their current grade a full grade level behind. During a Title 1 Needs Assessment meeting, teachers and coaches discussed how word problems are a continuous area of improvement in math for all grade levels. This is a good indication that student’s reading level can hinder all academic areas, but also contributes to stress and anxiety as they move on in grades and continue to further fall behind.
In addition to the already mentioned interventions, all students in grades 3-5 received at least two core curriculum lessons addressing academic success and/or test taking. Furthermore, counselors attended Student Support Team (SST) meetings for 11 of these students to implement more Tier 2 or Tier 3 interventions. Although we did not meet our program goal, we still believe this type of intervention is successful considering how far below grade level these students were. In the future we will also use SEI data when considering students for participation. The curriculum was easy to implement and helpful because it allowed us to collect insightful data. In the future we will use pre/post tests that completely aligned with the goals and objectives of our lessons.