The Challenge We Face
Success in Eighth Grade Math performance has become an important milestone for future success. Yet today, the mean scale score in math for eighth graders in the ACYI Partnership (5 school districts: Adams 12 FIVE Star Schools, Adams County School District 14, Brighton School District 27J, Mapleton Public Schools, and Westminster Public Schools) is 727. This means that eighth graders in our community, on average, are performing at level 3 (approaching expectations).
Essentially, this means that roughly 3,000 students, around 6 out of 10 of our community’s eighth graders, are NOT meeting expectations in eighth grade math. These rates have major implications for high school persistence, academic achievement, post-secondary enrollment and completion, and general preparedness for the workforce, which in turn impact our economy. Without the human capital necessary to attract and retain primary employers, we do not have the jobs that improve the economic base of Adams County.
Why Mean Scale Score?
The Middle Grade Math Collaborative Action Network (CAN) opted to look at mean scale score as their baseline to measure effective shared work instead of percent of students at benchmark because it is more reflective of all students’ achievement levels and changes in scores for ALL students impact the mean scale score. Instead of just looking at the percent of students meeting expectations, which is only impacted by moving students above or below the cut score for “met expectations,” the mean scale score provides higher incentive within the accountability system to focus on all students, not just those meeting expectations, to better inform the work that every student succeeds in eighth grade math. Learn more about mean scale scores HERE.
What Are We Doing About This?
Cross-sector partners, who understand and agree that collective action is needed to support more young people to meet math milestones critical for cradle to career success, have assembled to strategically align their action to results. The CAN has utilized StriveTogether’s outcomes focused approach to:Understand the current state and identify a baseline and key data indicators of eighth grade math performance in Adams County.
Understand the current state and identify a baseline and key data indicators of eighth grade math performance in Adams County.
The average score in math for eighth graders in the ACYI Partnership is 727. On average, eighth graders in the ACYI Partnership are performing at level 3 (approaching expectations).
Key Indicators: Educator Effectiveness, Staff Retention Rate, Suspensions and Expulsions, Chronic Absenteeism, Truancy, Attendance Rate
Develop time bound, measurable targets to improve performance.
DRAFT Global Target: By 2025, the mean scale score of eighth grade math students in the ACYI Partnership will be 750. This equates to increasing the mean scale score by four points every year.
DRAFT Short-Term SMART Target: By 2020, the mean scale score of eighth grade math students in the ACYI Partnership who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch will be 723.
Understand WHY Adams County students are not at grade level in eighth grade math.
After completing a factor and root cause analysis (including garnering perspective from youth) on what supports youth middle grade math success, the CAN identified that quality instructional strategies and methods, self-directed learning/student ownership, and positive school context/climate support youth success in eighth grade math.
Determine the strategies and interventions that will yield the highest results.
Long-Term Strategy: In the long-term, the CAN will work to address systems barriers that impact eighth grade math success, first starting with systems change related to the key indicator of Educator Effectiveness.
Short-Term Strategy: The CAN is currently working to identify the initial short-term strategies to focus on.
Youth, Parent, and Community Voice and Perspective
The Middle Grade Math CAN is utilizing Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors (TEGA) to evaluate factors identified during factor analysis and further understand the key indicators associated with success in eighth grade math. TEGAs are young women aged 18-24 who are trained to conduct research via a mobile application, which allows them to serve as digital interviewers, collecting real-time data about their communities in the form of audio, videos and photos, as well as traditional survey data.
The specific objectives of this fieldwork are to:
- Evaluate the factors middle school students identify as impacting their success in math
- Further understand key indicators associated with success in eighth grade math
Our SITES Set On Targets
Rocky Top Middle School
To improve the percentage of free and reduced lunch eligible students and students with an IEP meeting or exceeding expectations on 8th grade math tests, the Rocky Top team enhanced their tutoring program to provide additional support to these students. The team employed substitute teachers to shadow math classrooms during the day and then serve as tutors for that same content after school. The students who are not performing well receive a personal invitation from their teachers to attend tutoring, and the goal is that this targeted outreach increases the number of these target students who attend tutoring, and by attending tutoring, these students will increase their math test scores.
Stuart Middle School
To improve overall culture and climate at the school, the team is looking at attendance and behavior measures in real time to tell if their interventions related to the culture and climate are working. The team has developed a risk tracker to help identify a targeted cohort of students to focus their efforts on.