Sunday, February 12, 2012

AYP...feeling the pressure???

As midyear assessments roll around, we have been talking a lot about math and reading.  Are we making growth? Yes!  Will they all pass the state assessment?  Hmmmm....In Virginia we are up to needed 90% of our students to pass the state assessments in math and reading in order to make AYP. 
My school just had our annual review of our School Improvement Team and we realized that we need more time for intervention groups.  Should we take time away from social studies and science to ensure that they are ready to pass the tests??? This is a BIG QUESTION on a lot of teacher's minds.  No one wants to do this...but let's face it, many are.

I want to share some knowledge that I have about why it is important NOT to take away science education.  Research at the Lawrence Hall of Science has shown an increase in reading scores for students using effective science programs - such as FOSS, Seeds of Science, or STC. 

But my own research shows the same results.  When I first came to fourth grade we were switching classrooms and everyone taught one unit four times.  I taught Earth, Sun and Moon.  My reading scores...were okay.  I had 80% meeting the benchmark.  At that time, the reading specialist and her team were pulling kids daily for 45 reading intervention.

The next year I said:  Stop the madness!  I taught my own class all the science units and used quality science curriculum along with science notebooks.  I asked the reading specialist to push in, rather than pull out.  I began to embed literacy strategies within my classroom - using vocab posters, pocket charts, anchor charts, science notebooks, reading non-fiction science books, oral presentation and reflection.  Guess what?  My reading scores soared.  For the next two years I had 96% passing rate of my students (not counting the children who were taught reading in the LD room - I did not teach them reading.) This year, I am expecting 100% to pass. 

So think about this when you are asked to give up something that you know is working.  Do your students light up when you pull out a light bulb and wires? (ha ha) Are they engaged and interested in school mainly due to projects going on in your science classroom?  Then DO NOT stop it...keep it up...the results are worth it...

1 comment:

  1. This post really made me think. What are my students losing when we don't find the time for science? This definitely something that needs to be planned differently in my district for next year.

    Thinking Out Loud