North Tahoe High School has been considering how to implement a mathematics literacy program for at least the last five years, and we are proud to say that we think we have developed a program. There are a lot of standards to cover in each math course, and finding the time within the school day to work on foundational math skills has always been a challenge. An additional impediment to creating a mathematics literacy program is the fact that for a student body of over 400 students, that may be 400 different levels of math competencies. In order to get over these impasses, the NTHS math department (along with the support of the Principal) is asking for support from Excellence in Education to purchase an online math literacy program for all students at NTHS. The program is called IXL math and has the ability to run a diagnostic test for each student, and then assign them problems to practice to make up for any deficiencies they may have in their math competencies. Additionally, teachers can create assignments (or skill sets) for individual students or groups of students. The math department is modeling this literacy program somewhat in accordance with the reading literacy program already in place at NTHS.
Mathematical literacy is an important component to both success in and outside of school. Inside school: skills build off one another, and once concepts and procedures start to break down for a student then the math starts to get increasingly more difficult and frustrating. Enhancing ones mathematical literacy also enhances a students overall experience at school and creates more options and pathways for life after high school. Another benefit of IXL math is that it has several real world examples where a student gets a chance to apply the math they know. If a student answers a problem incorrectly, the online program will provide them with an annotated example of how to do the problem correctly. An ancillary benefit of the program is that students enjoy changing it up in math class by doing their math online and taking a break from the usual pencil and paper regimen.
Success of the mathematics literacy and intervention program will be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. The quantification aspect of the program is tracked within the online program. After a student takes the initial diagnostic test, they will be given an overall score from 0-1,300 and six sub-level scores as well (also 0-1,300). Success on this front would be defined by all students making progress on their levels as the year progresses. Additionally, success on this front would be measured by the students respective math teacher who will be able to respond timely to a students' math deficiencies, react accordingly by assigning them skills associated with this concept and track the students progress toward mastery.
Qualitatively: One of the main qualitative measurements will be teacher observations. As the program is implemented and systematized, teachers will pay attention to how students are doing with their foundational math computations in the background of each assessment on a concept. The prediction is that as students practice more with the online interface, their foundational math fluency will increase and consequently help them to perform better on the math concepts that are taught and learned during class time. Another qualitative measurement of the success of the program will be student interviews. Teachers will create a set of interview questions for the students regarding the engagement of the program, and student impressions of the effectiveness of the program.
Both of these types of measurements will help to enhance the classroom by allowing the students to work on the concepts at their own level of understanding. By paying attention to the two measurement aspects, teachers can adjust how they use the program in an attempt to maximize efficacy.
The program will have three main parts for implementation. Firstly, all math teachers have agreed and are excited about using this tool during class time. That's not to say that it will be used everyday during class time, but most likely on block days as the class period is longer and allows for more opportunities for multiple activities within a class period. A second part of implementation will involve the students using the program outside the school day, most likely at home or after school. The program is online, so students may use the program anywhere there is an internet connection. If teachers set-up weekly growth goals for students, the students will work hard to achieve these goals if there is not enough time during math class. The third part of implementation comes during the school day, but outside of math class. Students will have time twice a week during the morning intervention period to work on their growth goals. Potentially, with more input from the whole staff, time may also be given during pathways which is also twice per week.
Yes. This mathematics literacy intervention tool is the collective thinking of the entire math department at North Tahoe High School, with strong support from the Principal as well.
Thanks for taking the time to read and evaluate this grant proposal. We are very excited to get this long overdue math literacy and intervention program up and running at North Tahoe High School.