What did I want to know and how did I know when I would know it?
To provide a context, the most central problem was perceived lack-luster achievement in maths. However, this perception was fueled by multiple factors both internal and external. There exists a growing hyper-anxiety and concern around the implications of grades and the weight they bear on future academic prospects. Although partially accurate per the expectations of post-secondary institutions, this sensitivity has gone to the extreme and fostered a sense of student infallibility. This is not wholly to blame on students as online gradebooks, the immediacy of a point’s impact, and excessive weighting of assessments has nurtured this trait. Furthermore, in the school of this study, historical grade distributions in the beginning levels of maths, particularly Integrated Maths 1, validated claims of poor student outcomes as the traditional bell curve shifted its peak to the D and F range. Also contributing to the perceived dearth in achievement is the pressure for improved results regardless of comparative statistics that show far better outcomes on summative assessments to similar schools demographically and all schools locally and regionally. This pressure was elevated given the false assumption by decision makers and stakeholders that there is a direct correlation between a district’s financial resources and heightened student achievement. Lastly, recognizing the unintended omission of contributing factors unseen or deemed trivial, there exists a host of social circumstances related to staff and student attributes that have created a proverbial powder-keg of emotions warranting coordinated action on the part of all school-community members.
Back to the question, I wanted to know if our new intervention program, given the context described above and supported by other program changes, made an impact on student achievement and mindset. To that end, here is what we set out, noting the What, Why, and Success Indicators:
Mindset motivators, practices, & like examples
Our surveys & success criteria