Solving Title I schools' problems still achievable by low-tech means
- When Dr. Christy Beaird took over one of Nevada’s lowest performing schools, she used low-tech solutions and research into proven educational strategies to convert it into one of the fastest improving schools in the state, EdSurge reports.
- In order to prepare her teachers for changes to come, Beaird led teacher leaders at her school in a year-long book study of “Visible Learning for Literacy” by researchers Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie, focusing on applying the rsearch in a targeted way in the classroom to determine if students were improving under the instruction.
- Beaird also brought teachers on board with a new intervention model that monitors student progress and provides intervention for students who are not performing on grade level.
Beaird's approach seems especially effective because she took the time to bring teachers on board by having them study the research together. She also systemically replaced teachers who could not adapt to the new approach, effectively putting everyone on the same page.
Beaird chooses to focus primarily on the "effect size" research conducted by Dr. John Hattie. However, she applied the research regarding effect sizes in an intentional way to help determine if a student was making progress under a particular method of instruction rather than just reacting to test scores at the end of the testing period. The realization that a student was making progress could reassure teachers that they were on the right track, rather than assuming a method was not working just because test scores were not yet showing the results.
If schools are measuring student success by end of year test results alone, they are often looking at only an autopsy of the results when it is too late to do anything about it. By monitoring the effect of instruction along the way, schools can focus on the growth of students, offer early interventions to correct the path of instruction if needed, and be confident that this growth will eventually cause performance scores to improve.