Middle Grade Math – Work in Action
The Challenge We Face
Success in Middle Grade Math performance has become an important milestone for high school persistence, academic achievement, post-secondary completion, and general preparedness for the workforce. Yet today, only 29% of youth 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) are at grade level in eighth grade math.
Essentially, this means 7 out of 10 of our community’s middle school students are NOT meeting the math milestones they need for continued cradle to career success. 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.
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:
|1. Understand the current state and identify a baseline and key indicators of eighth grade math performance in Adams County.
|29% of youth in the ACYI Partnership meet or exceed state expectations in eighth grade mathKey Indicators: Educator Effectiveness, Staff Retention Rate, Suspensions and Expulsions, Chronic Absenteeism, Truancy, Attendance Rate|
|2. Develop time bound, measurable targets to improve rates.||Global Target: in development
Short-Term SMART Target: Increase percentage of eighth grade students in the ACYI partnership who meet state expectations in eighth grade math from 27% to 29% by Spring 2019. This equates to approximately 130 more students.
An updated SMART Target for the 2019-2020 school year is in development.
|3. Understand WHY Adams County students are not at grade level in middle 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 middle grade math.|
|4. 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.
Zoning In On Youth In Need
Utilizing the Continuous Improvement framework to drive its focus, the CAN set its SITES on intentional efforts to meet its Short-Term SMART Target. Instead of trying to eat a monstrous elephant (increasing enrollment across the board), the CAN zeroed in on students in eighth grade who are currently not at grade level in math. The CAN zoned in on students from school districts who are actively engaged in the CAN. The CAN’s mantra. “Focus on what is within our sphere of influence and control.”
|Students Who Are Not At Grade Level
In alignment with the Short-Term Target, the CAN is focused on getting 130 more eighth grade students to meeting state expectations in eighth grade math by Spring 2019.
|What We Know Works –
The CAN is currently working to identify strategies we know work.
Youth, Parent and Community Voice & 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
|Students Who Are Not At Grade Level
The CAN is currently assessing support available to students here in our community.
|A Call For Support-
“We should be doubling down on providing these types of support to students as we know they yield results.” said Becky Hoffman, CEO of ACYI
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.