Standard 16

STANDARD 

PROGRAM EVALUATION: School/program conducts evaluative activities to ensure the effectiveness of STEM implementation. 


INITIATIVE NAME: 
Test data for evaluating resource management



Regular analysis of and reflection on our school-wide student achievement and engagement data is undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs we have in place, including our STEM programs and initiatives. Students’ performance on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test gives a snapshot three times per year to gauge the progress that students are making with math skills (directly related to STEM) and ELA skills (a secondary benefit of the communication skills built though our STEM initiatives, particularly with our large ELL population, who have broader opportunities to communicate with content and peers through hands-on, inquiry-based activities than with traditional learning methods. MAP scores, along with annual SC Ready scores for math in third, fourth, and fifth grades, and SC PASS scores in science in fourth grade, are focus areas in professional learning communities at each grade level in the fall and spring. Instructional decisions and resource management decisions are then guided by student performance and demonstrated areas of most need.


During the 2014-2015 school year, a Root Cause Analysis by the State Department of Education identified Michael C. Riley as a Gap Focus School within the Title I Schools. We qualified as a gap school due to the percentage of LEP students that fell below the mean gap plus a standard deviation. Listed below is a table documenting the mean state gaps between subgroups and our school’s gap within subgroups.

Group

Average GAP

Our GAP

African American

40.9

36.1

Hispanic

41.3

38

American Indian

21.1

-

Disabled

61.5

51.3

LEP

24.9

30.1

Subsidized Meals

45.2

36.6


Based on that information, a plan was developed to offer students in the LEP subgroup additional STEM instruction through an after-school enrichment program and a summer learning STEM camp. Analysis of test scores after implementation of these programs demonstrated their effectiveness, as the percentage of LEP students falling below the gap decreased, and we have closed the achievement gap between the performance levels of our LEP learners and native English speakers.

Similarly, our analysis of SC PASS science scores over the past four years (during schoolwide STEM implementation) has shown overall growth in fourth grade science scores for all students, including our LEP subgroup and other groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM education. Much of that growth can be attributed to the hands-on experiences and opportunities to build background knowledge that the STEM Summer Program and Afterschool Enrichment Program offered to students. The use of resources to fund these experiences helped to close the gaps and promoted achievement growth for many of our LEP students.

One other data point related to our English Language Learners is the growth in English communication skills that our students have made over the past few years, as demonstrated by their ability to exit the ESOL program by scoring 4 or higher on all domains (reading, speaking, listening, and writing) and scoring 4.4 overall. STEM activities offer students with limited English opportunities to interact with other students and solve problems in ways that may not materialize as often during traditional instruction. As our STEM lab program has increased from 3-5 to K-5, and more inquiry-based teaching strategies are used in classrooms, our English Language Learners have shown increasing growth in the number of students able to demonstrate proficiency in English on the ACCESS test to the level of exiting the ESOL program. As shown in the attached document, the percentage of fourth and fifth graders exiting the ESOL program has increased over the past three years from 17.9% (2017) to 22.7% (2018) to 24.4% (2019). By the time students reach fourth and fifth grades, many of them have participated in the many programs that we support at M.C. Riley, such as the above-referenced STEM camp and enrichment program, STEM labs, and student-driven instructional models. The interactive components of these programs are proving successful in helping students practice essential communication skills and make significant progress.

Such demonstrated growth from multiple data sources (attached) validates our resource allocation toward STEM programs and encourages our continued focus on spending available funds on STEM initiatives and prioritizing STEM in staffing decisions. 


While reflection on this data provides much support for our STEM programs and daily initiatives, more frequent reflection on this data and recognizing this growth throughout the school environment are ways to keep improving our reflective practice.

SC PASS Science Growth 2016 - 2019 
Students exiting ESOL due to ACCESS Scores 2016 - 2019