Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning
Student population: 438; Grades: JK–8
- St. Gabriel is an urban elementary school where parents are highly motivated to support their children and the school as a community.
- One of the school’s priorities is to focus on the success of students by creating positive, welcoming and safe learning environments where every child can achieve success. Each morning, administrators, teachers and educational assistants form a welcome committee to greet students.
“My teacher makes math fun. She gives us hands-on activities and fun games that help us learn. My teacher gives us tests that are small activities, and she does not tell us it is a test. When we have tricky tasks that we have to do, my teacher will give us a hint to try and figure it out. Homework helps me to exercise my brain and helps me to understand. Sometimes I do extra homework. I really think I have a talent for math.”— Grade 3 student
- Lagging Data: Early in the year, staff review EQAO data and consider three-year trends to help determine any areas that may need improvement. Staff look at assessment questions that presented a challenge and consider how they relate to the big ideas and concepts in the mathematics curriculum.
- Leading Data: After reviewing EQAO data, staff also consider teaching practices that can close the gaps in students’ mathematical understanding in their Grade 4 or 7 classroom.
- Cohort Data: Teachers also look closely at data for students who demonstrated a drop from the provincial standard from Grade 3 to Grade 6. They discuss possible reasons for the drop and monitor the implementation of strategies moving forward. Likewise, teachers leverage strategies that allowed students to rise to the provincial standard from Grade 3 to 6.
- Attitude/Behaviour Data: The school celebrated as EQAO data indicated a marked increase in students’ positive attitudes about mathematics. EQAO behavioural data helped to inform the school’s focus during Renewed Math Strategy sessions that made students feel confident when choosing manipulatives that will work well for a math task.
The First 10
After reviewing three years of EQAO data, teachers decided to develop consistency in students’ fact fluency, their ability to name mental math strategies and their ability to think through problems. They wanted students to use appropriate math vocabulary when making their thinking visible. The teachers’ strategy was to provide students with 10 minutes of purposeful mathematical practice focused primarily on Number Sense and Numeration tasks. Students were engaged in math activities throughout the week: math games (two times), Number Talks (two times), and Math Talks (one time). Together this helps make students’ thinking more visible while boosting their engagement and confidence.
Focused Intentional Approach
The board’s Renewed Math Strategy Support Teacher worked with the school to customize and facilitate sessions for professional learning teams. Together they discussed how to monitor and support student understanding and engagement. They also discussed mathematical content. Teachers used instruction in small, flexible groups to engage all students and build their confidence. Teachers made focused observations of students’ learning as they worked. Intensive support with the small groups helped clear up student misconceptions while providing greater challenges to students who were ready for them.
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