SNAP Update: Part 2
*SNAP = Student Numeracy Assessment & Practice
This post builds on Part 1 (published in the spring of 2017). If you are interested in further context please read Part 1. The journey towards math excellence continues…
Last May/June (2017) over 5000 students (grade 2-7) in Chilliwack completed a year-end SNAP assessment. Ideally, students practiced the assessment throughout the year, and it was not a summative event. We consider the SNAP a ‘snapshot’ of where a student is at on the learning continuum at one moment in time.
Our district goal for our students is proficiency on two foundational outcomes (Number Sense & Operations). These outcomes are clear, attainable, curriculum based, and non-negotiable. During the creation of SNAP, multiple teachers at each grade level assisted in the identification of the outcomes.
Number Sense outcomes at each grade level. See chart below:
|Grade 2||0 – 100|
|Grade 3||0 – 1000|
|Grade 4||0 – 10 000|
|Grade 5||0 – 1 000 000|
|Grade 6||Thousandths to Billions|
|Grade 7||Negative Integers|
Operation outcomes at each grade level. See chart below:
|Grade 6||Division of Decimals|
|Grade 7||Calculating a % of a number|
These outcomes are further explained with accompanying templates, exemplars and rubrics on the SNAP Website.
Our results from Year 1 were interesting. We naively anticipated that we would be close to achieving our goal of most, if not all, students demonstrating proficiency (deep understanding) of these foundational outcomes. Unfortunately, that was not the case. When we studied the results from our students’ performance, less than 40% of our students were proficient in these basics across all 4 curricular competencies. See chart below.
Why the low results?
It is not surprising that the results are low to begin with, once we overlay change management principles over the SNAP initiative. The BC Curriculum has changed, introducing curricular competencies (thinking strategies) into all aspects of the curriculum. Our SNAP assessment focuses on these curricular competencies. Both teachers and students are learning how to adapt to new standards, and changes in practice take time. When we assess our students using more traditional assessments, our students perform well. However, our new approach to assessment is most certainly a change in traditional practice – and the process of change runs a predictable course. See image below:
So, Where Are We Now?
- That we are starting to come out of the “dip” shown above.
- That our professional staff are implementing the new curriculum in meaningful and practical ways.
- That our math teachings have progressed to a point where we are teaching deep, meaningful, balanced, and thoughtful math lessons.
- That our students are working with SNAP and/or SNAP based activities throughout the school year.
The goal of successful change implementation is to lessen the amount of time spent in the implementation “dip”. In Chilliwack, we have been supporting our staff & students in a variety of ways to make this transition as quickly and smoothly as possible.
What Are We Doing to Support?
Since September of 2016 we have 2 curriculum helping teachers (50% FTE each), supported by a team of release teachers, who have trained over 200 of our teachers. The training has included:
- Administration of SNAP
- Assessment of results
- Intervention lessons
- Whole class/small group high yield routines
- Evidence based best practices in balanced numeracy instruction
- Use of the SNAP website where all resources are stored for easy access
Training has taken the form of teacher released workshops (initial and follow up training sessions), after school workshops, one on one meetings, in class co-teaching, as well as marking/intervention meetings.
We believe that our results will show improvement this Spring (2018). Our school-based and district leadership has continued to support this initiative and our teachers are continuing to innovate. See here for a variety of innovative examples that our teachers have shared: Click Here.
How much improvement can we expect? Are we coming out of the implementation dip, or are we still stuck in the change process? We know that our approach to math instruction works because our pilot classrooms have shown remarkable results over the years. The big question is:
Can top notch assessment & instruction be replicated and adopted throughout a large organization; and be attributed to improved student learning?
I believe the answer is yes. However, time will tell. In Chilliwack, we will have our 2nd large scale data set in about 5 months. Stay tuned…