Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning
Student population: 625; Grades: 7–12
- St. Benedict’s is a Grades 7–12 Catholic secondary school located in Sudbury’s south end. The school’s catchment area stretches over 100 kilometres to the south and west and includes the communities of Espanola, Massey and Killarney.
- St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School offers both French Immersion and English programming, the school board’s Grades 7–12 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) communications class, a Grades 7–12 life-skills class and two Specialist High Skills Major programs.
“The Grades 7 and 8 math model has allowed me to see students flourish in math. I have seen many students enter my classroom filled with anxiety and apprehension around math. … These same students have come to see me after writing [Grade 9] EQAO thrilled with how they were able to complete the test with confidence.”— Grade 8 Teacher
- EQAO Data: In September, the Grade 7 teachers and administration review the Grade 6 EQAO data from feeder schools. EQAO data is used as a springboard for conversation. The Grades 8 and 9 staff work with administration to closely examine cohort data from the Grade 9 EQAO assessment.
- Teacher Collaboration: Teachers from all grades collaborate continuously. When the Grade 9 teachers receive their class lists, they speak to the Grade 8 teachers to develop a better understanding of the students. Similarly, the Grade 8 teachers reach out to the Grade 7 teachers. Dialogue and conversations between teachers is critical at all grade levels to ensure increased achievement and ongoing success.
- Diagnostic Assessments: In Grades 7 and 8, a diagnostic assessment is administered prior to the beginning of each strand to determine what students already know and any areas of need. Students are then grouped based on the results of the diagnostic assessment. Teachers use targeted strategies to address specific needs, with gap closing as the primary focus.
- Checking In: At each reporting period (progress reports, mid-term, final), the Student Success Team meets to discuss student achievement and assign each student to a caring adult in the school, who then supports and monitors the student’s success. This is done for both elementary and secondary students.
Guided Math Model
Helping students do better in Grade 9 mathematics begins in Grades 7 and 8, where 60-minute math classes are timetabled all at the same time in each grade. A diagnostic assessment is administered on the previous year’s curriculum, and students are grouped based on their needs.
Teaching strategies support the learners by closing gaps, increasing math confidence for both the students and the staff, increasing perseverance, increasing student voice and participation, and ultimately building engagement.
At the end of each strand, regardless of which groups the students are in, the students all write the same final assessment. Teaching strategies change depending on the needs of the group.
When this model started in 2012, teachers met every 6–8 weeks to monitor student progress. Teachers tracked student progress with teaching strategies to determine the number of students who were meeting the provincial standard. The school also administered attitudinal surveys to the students, using the same questions from the Grades 6 and 9 EQAO questionnaires to measure growth throughout the year. Students who had previously indicated that they disliked math began to report that they were enjoying it and that their confidence was increasing.
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