Data and Schools: A Journey of LearningStudent population: 500; Grades: 9–12
- Sudbury Secondary School’s student population reflects a broad mix of socio-economic realities. The school is an arts education magnet school and offers French Immersion programming. One-quarter of the school population identifies as Indigenous, and the N’Swakamok Native Alternative School operates as a satellite in partnership with N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre.
- A third of the school’s student population has an Individualized Education Plan. The school works to identify and meet the academic, social and emotional needs of all students.
“It was much easier to get into the work. If it was an entire month on one subject, I would get bored, but spiralling makes math much easier.”— Grade 10 student
- Transition Planning: High school teachers meet with feeder schools to help students transition smoothly to Grade 9. These meetings allow educators to connect regarding students’ learning needs.
- EQAO Data: Staff members use the previous year’s assessment data to inform teacher practice. They analyze trends over time to determine areas of strength and areas of need.
- Diagnostic Assessments: Staff members administer diagnostic assessments to identify students needing additional instructional support and any learning gaps.
- Monitoring and Refinement: Staff members hold collaborative inquiry meetings to discuss data. They also distribute a student survey at the end of the initiative. This ongoing monitoring and collection of student feedback supports their success.
Spiralling of Curriculum
Sudbury Secondary School built a more effective teaching and learning model by shifting to teaching key concepts repeatedly (spaced practice) and with deepening layers of complexity throughout the course. Irregular attendance affects some learners, and spiralling is more conducive to success than a unit-based delivery.
Staff members monitor the success of the spiralled curriculum. Progress of this initiative is reviewed through daily spiral check-ins (assessment of learning). According to surveys, 71% of students said that math taught through spiralling helped them retain information and that the initiative had a positive impact. This impact was also evident through analysis of EQAO data.
Staff developed a continuum of algebra concepts. Each stage of the continuum covers basic skills that students work on throughout the semester.
Students start at Stage 1 and do not advance to the next stage until they’ve mastered the necessary skills. Students who struggle to master these skills meet with their teacher for remedial support.
Students advance by completing a skill card at each stage. These cards are kept in bright-coloured folders hung on the classroom wall. The folders make the continuum a visual focal point in class, motivating students to master the skills and reach the next level. Teachers monitor students’ ability to transfer these skills to their other work.
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