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IMPROVING HIGH SCHOOL: IS IT REALLY THAT IMPORTANT? IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO?
SETTING THE CONTEXT: PRETEST • WHAT SHOW IS ALWAYS AMONG THE TOP 5 CABLE SHOWS? • IN THE WORLD IS FLAT, THE 4TH MOST GOOGLED ITEM FOR APRIL OF 2004 WAS? • $8, 777,221,240,095 ($29,200 Per Citizen) REFERS TO? • WHAT ___% OF STUDENTS REPORT, AS 9TH GRADERS, WANTING A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION? • THE EMPLOYMENT RATE OF ALL DROPOUTS IS ____ THAT OF PEERS WHO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL • A LIFE OF CRIME COSTS OVER $___ MILLION • WHAT PERCENTAGE OF ADULT SERVICES OR PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACTIVELY RECRUIT SCHOOL DROPOUTS? • 70% TO 80% OF WHOM ARE SCHOOL DROPOUTS? • $380,000 MORE TO $1.3 MILLION MORE REFERS TO _______ • LAST MONTH, OSEP REPORTED AN ‘OFFICIAL GRADUATION RATE OF ____%
THE BASIS FOR OUR THINKING • WE HAVE BEEN LISTENING TOMSTUDENT CONSUMERS • WE HAVE BEEN COLLECTING ‘CONSUMER’ FEEDBACK IN PERSON & THROUGH SURVEYS • WE THINK WE ARE ONTO SOMETHING
INSIGHT INTO IMPROVING HIGH SCHOOL: Five Points of Emphasis • IDEAS from the perspective of former and current students • SUCCESS IN HIGH SCHOOL ALGEBRA • EFFECTIVE TEACHING (from all students) • SUMMATION OF HOW KFC RELATES TO WHAT YOU DO NEXT WEEK • RED PAPER CLIP and your 3rd chance to get a ‘free’ dinner
PART ONE: WHAT FORMER STUDENTS HAVE TAUGHT US • 75% REPORT ‘ DROPPING OUT’ BEFORE 8TH GRADE • 75% ‘OFFICIALLY’ LEAVE 6 – 9 MONTHS WITHIN AGE 16 • 70% LEAVE DUE TO ACADEMIC PROBLEMS OR DIFFICULTIES WITH TEACHERS (OR A TEACHER) • LESS THAN 5% REPORT TALKING TO SOMEONE AT SCHOOL ABOUT DROPPING OUT • TEACHERS AND STUDENTS REPORT VERY DIFFERENT REASONS FOR STUDENTS DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL (PUSH V. PULL) • NO INTEREST IN COMING BACK TO HIGH SCHOOL, YET OVER 67% REPORT AN INTEREST IN FURTHER SCHOOLING • THEIR JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE LIMITED BEYOND BELIEF • NEARLY 50% OF ALL GENERAL EDUCATION DROPOUTS EARN A GED OR A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
WHAT MOTIVATES YOUTH TO BE IN SCHOOL? • PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (3 to 5 times as influential as any other motivation) • SOCIALIZING WITH PEERS (2 times as influential as the remaining 3 motivations) • Miscellaneous • Participate in School Activities • Please another adult (parent or teacher) Note: These results have held across studies on in school students, general and special education, and those who have dropped out.
CURRENT STUDENTS’ BEST PART OF HIGH SCHOOL? • SOCIALIZING WITH THEIR PEERS* • PARTICULAR CLASSES (useful, relevant, successful) • POSITIVE INTERACTIONS WITH TEACHERS (stress individual contacts or ones that generate successful learning) • SPORTS
THE WORST PART? • PARTICULAR CLASSES AND SCHOOL WORK (FAILURE, TOO HARD, LACK OF PERCEIVED RELEVANCE). • INTERACTIONS WITH PARTICULAR TEACHERS (negative, demeaning) • LOSS OF PERSONAL FREEDOM TO MAKE CHOICES (while in class & school)
WHAT WOULD HELP YOU TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL IN SCHOOL • DROPOUTS – A CHANGE IN TEACHER ATTITUDE OR TEACHING STYLE; BETTER INTERACTIONS WITH TEACHERS • CURRENT STUDENTS – ACCESS TO MORE ACADEMIC SUPPORT, MORE RELEVANT CLASSES & MORE ENJOYMENT IN SCHOOL (group activities, hands on learning)
PART TWO: FOSTERING SUCCESS IN HIGH SCHOOL ALGEBRA (math) • Math is reported by nearly 70% of our students as being their least favorite class (nearly 50% of all students) • For Math they see the work as too difficult, too complex, not relevant to their lives, and boring • Algebra is the cornerstone class for post-secondary schooling • Universal Design for Learning (Access, Engagement, & Performance)
THE CONTEXT FOR SEEING IF UDL CAN WORK IN ALGEBRA CLASSES • We published data on student perceptions of 14 UDL-based interventions (8 were technology based) • 714 total responses(12% special education) • What did they like best about the 14 interventions? • It was fun or enjoyable (35%) • Miscellaneous (13%) • The technology in some way (12%) • Collaborating with peers (11%) • No response or nothing (10%)
Continued … • What did you like least? • Activity was boring (25%) • Nothing (40%) • Technology (12%) • In comparison to your other academic classes (strongly disagree to strongly agree): • More enjoyable – 4.35 • Learned more important information – 4.06 • Information will help me more on the EOC – 4.14 • I stayed more on task – 4.21 • I worked harder – 4.17 • Want more of these type interventions: 95% yes
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED ABOUT IMPROVING HIGH SCHOOL MATH • UDL inspired instructional activities generated very high rates of reported satisfaction, including perceived relevance, enjoyment, and helpfulness (as compared to their other academic classes) • Students WANT to be engaged in relevant learning, experience a level of enjoyment, and be successful • It can WORK • There are lots of resources out there to do this kind of stuff
UDL FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF TEACHERS • Change in high schools and adults is TOUGH • High school settings have changed little over the past 30 years (think JAWS) • Most high school teachers do NOT buy into the idea of student engagement as the key to success • Few teachers or administrators buy into the idea of student feedback as means of evaluation (but for these that do it has been amazing) • Most teachers are reluctant to change their habits or beliefs (despite offerings of money, technology, and data)
PART THREE: WHAT IS ‘GREAT’ TEACHING ACCORDING TO STUDENTS • We have asked over 5,500 students and former students to tell us about their best high school teacher • Over 85% of their descriptions fall into one of three areas – positive or individual encounters, helped me to learn in some way, and I KNEW THEY CARED ABOUT ME • Less than 2% of students have described it as someone who was easy and less than 5% have not responded (did not have a best teacher or opted to not answer)
DEFINING GREAT TEACHING IN HIGH SCHOOLS • How do schools define it? How do you define it? • Impact of letters and conversations with these ‘great’ teachers • Are students correct? (if yes, how are we recognizing it)
SEVEN THINGS TO START DOING NEXT WEEK • ACCESS TO SUPPORTIVE ADULTS AND ROLE MODELS THAT ALIGN W/ CAREER AMBITIONS (Personal development) • ACKNOWLEDGING GREAT TEACHING • ENGAGEMENT IN THE NON-ACADEMIC SIDE OF SCHOOL (peers, sports, school groups) • POSITIVE TO NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE RATIO • LINKING SERVICES TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF OUR CONSUMER • HELPING TEACHERS IDENTIFY STUDENT STRENGTHS • INTERVENTIONS OR SERVICES THAT MATCH YOUR UNIQUE SITUATION
IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE? We think so
One Red Paperclip • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_red_paperclip