As teachers, we set out to raise student achievement and I initially noticed that a few students that were under-achieving were already disengaged at the beginning of the year, with a negative attitude towards mathematics. The school, as high stakeholders decided to provide professional development for teachers to raise achievement.
The initial assessment data of student’s results at the beginning of the year showed that twenty percent of students were below the expected level. The initial Action Research question posed was about how student engagement and student achievement could be improved.
An App game were planned to raise engagement and student achievement including the traditional mathematics games and activities.
The latest quantitative data on the standardised assessment, Junior Assessment of Mathematics (JAM) showed that twenty percent of student’s quick recall of basic facts still required attention. We also used student observations and student conferences as formative assessment to collect qualitative data that confirmed the JAM quantitative assessments. This provided a triangulation of assessments to confirm data analysis that some students still need to improve the quick recall of their basic fact knowledge. Forty percent of the cohort that were under-achieving overall did not make enough progress, even while playing online games. These students were not retaining the required knowledge.
The next Action Plan question posed was, “Does peer-to-peer teaching help student engagement and achievement in mathematics?” We discussed solutions with colleagues, researched and implemented mathematics buddy helpers. These buddy helpers would have a list of learning outcomes to cover on a rubric with their buddy daily.
In the first two weeks, we noticed that students were showing progress that had not shifted over several months. This success resulted in us training up more buddy helpers who felt a greater sense of engagement and purpose in their learning. We also found that students being helped were more engaged in the process because of their peer-to-peer relationship with the other students.
This led to the inquiry question, “If I set up buddy helpers in peer-to-peer teaching, how will it affect student engagement and achievement?” These students, they required ongoing use of mathematics materials practice with daily assistance.
The social action that was decided on with my colleagues and co-action research, was to initiate buddy helpers between classes, to select students who would be able to assist other students through selected practice materials from a rubric that met the next steps in their learning.
My colleagues and myself have created a learning circle where we interact regularly by discussing and sharing teaching ideas collaboratively. We are also all part of a wider junior school Circle that is Participant Lead where the leader analyses and compares data throughout the year.
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Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufaRaDuhQ0M&feature=share
Riel, M. (2014). Analysing Data. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwWPwyv60E4&feature=share
Te Kete Ipurangi. (2018). Teaching Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms, Part 2: Peer Tutoring. Special Education. The Three Rs of Diversity – accessed by TKI. Retrieved from: https://www.inclusive.tki.org.nz/assets/inclusive-education/MOE-publications/teaching-strategies2.pdf
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