Upper Scioto Valley High School enriches math curriculum with ACCUPLACER®//MyFoundationsLab® to boost persistence and college readiness

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Upper Scioto Valley High School enriches math curriculum with ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab to boost persistence and college readiness

Key Findings

  • Pre- and post-test results show learning gains; on a range of skills, a majority of students progressed from “Needs Improvement” to “Limited Proficiency” or “Proficient.”
  • Example: on Arithmetic Word Problems and Applications, 77 percent of students scored “Needs Improvement” and 9 percent scored “Proficient” on the pre-test; on the post-test, 35 percent of students scored “Needs Improvement” and 28 percent scored “Proficient.”
  • Teachers and staff noted significant improvement in students’ confidence. Students’ engagement and motivation progressively increased as they mastered math skills in ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab.

Institution
Upper Scioto Valley High School, Upper Scioto Valley Local School District, McGuffey, OH

Course name
Math Foundations

Course format
Face to face

Course materials
ACCUPLACER®//MyFoundationsLab®

Administrators and Faculty
Dennis Recker, Superintendent
Craig Hurley, 7–12 Principal
Michelle Underwood, Student Services
Jen Hopton, Curriculum, Resident Educator, Transition Coordinator
Mary Lynn Schumm, Teacher

Results reported by
Lauren Gill, Senior Results Manager, Readiness, Progression, & Employability

Setting

Upper Scioto Valley Local School District is located in the rural farming community of McGuffey, Ohio in the southwest corner of Hardin County and includes the villages of Roundhead, McGuffey, and Alger, Ohio.

Median household income is $32,815, and the free and reduced lunch participation rate is 57 percent. The percentage of the district’s population with a college degree or more is 7.4 percent, per Ohio Department of Education’s “Similar Districts Grouping.”

Challenges and Goals

Superintendent Dennis Recker and his leadership team are working to reverse a persistent pattern of their high school graduates failing to meet college readiness standards.

“We recognize that 65 percent of jobs require college-ready skills while only 15–20 percent of our students graduate from high school college-ready. As educators and as members of the community, we feel there is a professional and a moral imperative to intervene to close that gap,” stated Dennis Recker, Superintendent.

Recker continues, “Fewer and fewer industry leaders in our region just want workers. Employers want evidence of college-ready skills. We want to prepare our students to navigate capably, to survive and even thrive in a demanding economy.”

District leadership experimented with a math enrichment intervention for high school seniors but decided that a twelfth grade intervention was too little, too late. In Fall 2015, they implemented ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab as an early intervention for high school freshmen to improve performance in math and prepare students to reach a target ACT math score of 22, compared to the current average of 17.5.

Curriculum Director Jen Hopton explained, “We administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills annually. The ITBS is not identical to the ACT, but it delivers a score that is predictive of students’ eventual ACT score in grades 6+. As we reviewed our current students’ past performance on the ITBS, we found that students were already deficient in math facts in the third grade.”

She continued, “If students exit elementary and middle school without automaticity of math facts, they are in jeopardy. If a student lacks the math fluency to perform a simple operation like single number multiplication or work with fractions and decimals, the student becomes stuck and  simply doesn’t have the mental resources available in that teaching moment to learn and understand higher operations. Basic skills deficits over time open a chasm that separates students from progressing toward college readiness. These processes are found in everyday living, and students must be proficient.”

Implementation

Students worked in ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab for the entire 2015–16 academic year as a required part of their ninth-grade math curriculum. Students took the pre-test diagnostic at the beginning of the year and worked in ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab during one full period each day.

Jen Hopton noted, “Students progressed slowly at first. Late in the fall, over half of the students were still working through the first module of the ten assigned. We redoubled our efforts to keep students motivated and on pace. As students acclimated to our expectations and as they began to experience success in ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab, their pace picked up.”

Recker says, “As educators, we take a holistic view of students’ needs and of our roles. Our students are part of a larger community, and that community has become inured to mediocre student performance. We are trying to grow students’ grit and to communicate a sense of urgency in the community at large about the importance of raising the bar. This is a heavy lift, but we’re determined that the buck stops with us, in our schools, to help students become college ready and prepared for the jobs of the future.”

Results and Data

In the cohort of forty-seven students, forty-five percent met the qualifications for economically disadvantaged. Twelve percent of the students had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and twelve percent had a 504 plan; sixty-five percent were general education students, and ten percent were categorized as gifted.

Proficiency rates: Arithmetic topics

Upper-Scioto-Valley-Arithmetic (1)

Figure 1. Arithmetic Proficiency Rates ACCUPLACER Diagnostic Pre-test Fall 2015 (n=47)

 

ACCUPLACER diagnostic pre-test results: Arithmetic topics

Arithmetic topics Needs Improvement Limited Proficiency Proficient
Computation w/Integers and Fractions 53% 34% 19%
Computation w/Decimal Numbers 53% 34% 19%
Problems involving Percent 66% 32% 2%
Estimation, Ordering, and Number Sense 79% 15% 6%
Word Problems and Applications 77% 15% 9%

Table 1. ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab Arithmetic Pre-test Scores, Fall 2015 (n=47)

 

ACCUPLACER diagnostic post-test results: Arithmetic topics

Arithmetic topics Needs Improvement Limited Proficiency Proficient
Computation w/Integers and Fractions 5% 16% 79%
Computation w/Decimal Numbers 2% 14% 84%
Problems involving Percent 26% 42% 33%
Estimation, Ordering, and Number Sense 23% 49% 28%
Word Problems and Applications 35% 37% 28%

Table 2. ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab Arithmetic Post-test Scores, Spring 2016 (n=43)

 

Proficiency rates: Algebra topics

upper-scioto-valley-algebra-1

Figure 2. Algebra Proficiency Rates ACCUPLACER Diagnostic Pre-test, Fall 2015 (n=47)

 

ACCUPLACER diagnostic pre-test results: Algebra topics

Algebra topics Needs Improvement Limited Proficiency Proficient
Real Numbers 72% 23% 4%
Linear Equations, Inequalities, Systems 57% 36% 6%
Quadratic Expressions and Equations 98% 2% 0%
Algebraic Expressions and Equations 81% 19% 0%
Word Problems and Applications 85% 13% 2%

Table 3. ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab Algebra Pre-test Scores, Fall 2015 (n=47)

 

ACCUPLACER diagnostic post-test results: Algebra topics

Algebra topics Needs Improvement Limited Proficiency Proficient
Real Numbers 30% 43% 27%
Linear Equations, Inequalities, Systems 25% 45% 30%
Quadratic Expressions and Equations 86% 14% 0%
Algebraic Expressions and Equations 75% 18% 7%
Word Problems and Applications 66% 18% 16%

Table 4. ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab Algebra Post-test Scores, Spring 2016 (n=44)

What went well

Math teacher Mary Lynn Schumm reports, “I was surprised and very pleased to see how much students improved. Our students had become math-phobic after years of sub-par achievement. We witnessed a subtle transformation in students’ attitudes and self-confidence. Each skill the students mastered motivated them to persist, and they began to overcome their math skill deficits one by one. To watch our students express pride in their accomplishments was really gratifying.”

What could be improved

Jen Hopton says, “Common Core necessitated changes in our math sequence. Quadratic equation type standards are being pushed out of Algebra II and into Algebra I. But, without eighth grade math, students were not exposed to linear equations, let alone anything to prep them for quadratics. The sequence these students followed—Algebra 1 in eighth grade and Geometry in ninth—will change. Next year’s freshmen will complete Math 8 in eighth grade and take Algebra 1 as ninth graders.”

Principal Hurley notes, “We’re hopeful that the revised course sequence will lead to stronger performance, especially with the boost of our ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab intervention.”

Conclusion

Superintendent Recker sums up, “We do not consider our ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab intervention remediation but rather enrichment. We’ve intentionally focused the ACCUPLACER// MyFoundationsLab intervention at the ninth grade to give students time to acquire the skills they’ll need to score college-ready on the ACT and to pursue their career aspirations after graduation. We chose to implement ACCUPLACER//MyFoundationsLab to offer the most enriched educational experience possible.”

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