A Revolution in Education

 

 

 

BILINGUAL EDUCATION SPECIALISTS, LLC

2006-2007 PERFORMANCE CASE STUDY AND REPORT

 

INTRODUCTION

 

On January 8th 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 became the governing Public Law regarding America’s educational policy. Among the many provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Sec. 5101 part (2) and part (3) calls for educational materials to be based on “scientifically based research.” Quoting the U.S. Department of Education, “To say that an instructional program or practice is grounded in scientifically based research means there is reliable evidence that the program or practice works.”1

To the extent of our resources, we have prepared this case study and report which follows the educational development of sixteen fifth-grade ELL students in an intercity Texas school for one academic school year (2006-2007). This study offers clear and empirical evidence as to this group of students’ performance on their state assessment exam – the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS test, where the tested variable is the usage of our internet-based simulation software – BES Interactive Software.

 

This report is organized in the following (5) sections:

(1)   About this Study – details and information about the focus group, control group, and software usage.

(2)   Methodology and performance analysis of the reading section of the TAKS test.

(3)   Methodology and performance analysis on the math section of the TAKS test.

(4)   Comparisons of the focus group to their state peers.

(5)   Conclusion

 

About this Case Study

 

Blind Study

 

As a control to a possible motivational variable and to limit as many outside coefficients as possible, none of the students were informed about any investigation being conducted during their academic 5th grade year. Although the on-line BES interactive program was used on a daily basis and as a primary method of instruction, the students were not aware of any ongoing comparative investigation so as to not influence their behavior. In addition, no other classes at the 5th grade level on campus used the BES materials or the BES software service. 

 

Privacy

 

To protect the privacy of the participating students and to keep in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)2, the identity of all of the participating students will be held in strict confidence. Any and all tables and/or exhibits presented in this report will refer to the participating students as Student A, Student B, Student C, etc. and do not discuss their identities or location.

 

The Participants

 

The 5th grade class consisted of 11 female and 5 male students. Of this study group, only 12.5% of the students had actually met the Texas standards to be promoted to the 5th grade. 87.5% of the class was either, placed, retained, or referred into the special education program. Only 25% of the group had actually met the TAKS reading standard as fourth graders, and only 25% of the group had actually met the math standard as fourth graders. All of the students were classified as Limited English Proficient while 2 students were at the most basic level of English proficiency. All of the students were administered the 2007 English version of TAKS exam despite early recommendations that the 2 basic level students participate in the Spanish reading version. (See Exhibit A).

 

 

The Software Program Overview

 

The BES interactive software program used by this group of students is primarily an internet-base software skills assessment program; however, for this evaluation, the program was also used for vocabulary development, board presentations, as well as the on-line assessments. The students were taught a skill (i.e. sequence of event in a story) then they used the computer interactive program to practice and develop their aptitudes of said skill by using the on-line TAKS simulations. Every individual skill in reading and math was individually taught and then assessed. Cumulative assessments were given as benchmarks, but only on the skills that had already been taught and simulated on the interactive program. The students’ grades were kept on record for each simulation and used as an indicator and forecast for their real state exam performance and subsequently compared.

 

  

Methodology and Performance analysis for Reading

 

One of the principal components for enhancing student performance through the BES software program was the extensive development of the students’ vocabulary throughout the academic year. Every on-line interactive story the students worked with, contained key vocabulary that the students had to learn. Their initial assignment for every interactive text was always to copy the hyper-linked words along with their definitions onto a study tablet. The words to all the texts contained their definitions and a Spanish translation to provide them with clarification when needed. The students were then given one day to study their vocabulary words and then given the on-line test for the vocabulary for that story. The students repeated this process throughout the year for all the interactive stories on the website as to strengthen and build their vocabulary. Once the students finished their vocabulary assessments, they were taught the individual skills that were to be assessed by the software. The students were instructed on the recognition of cause and effect in a story, and then they were sent to the computers to take the cause and effect skills test. The students were then instructed on the successive skills for each story or text and then given the skills assessment exams. This entire process was repeated for all the skills, and for all of the interactive stories on the website. After the students completed the skills assessment area of the website, they were then assigned to the TAKS simulation area for each of the stories and texts. In this area, the students practiced taking the TAKS simulation questions for each of the stories. Their results were evaluated and then they received additional reinforcement in those areas where they scored below the passing level. The following table illustrates the class’ actual performance on the reading section of the 2007 TAKS test and compares it to their prior year’s performance. The results show a performance improvement of 225%.

 

 

Of those students that did not meet the state passing standard (18.75%), 2 of them were the ones at the most basic level of English and had been recommended to take the Spanish version in early October of 2006.

 

Methodology and Performance analysis for MATH

 

The BES Software math modules were use much in the same way as the reading modules. Each of the skills (i.e. algebraic concepts, geometry, factors, etc.) were first introduced and explained to the students. The students worked on each concept to attain mastery, and then they were given the choice of either printing the tests and doing them on paper, or taking the tests on-line. All except one chose to take the tests on-line. Over the next few months, the same process of skill introduction and assessment via the internet was used until all of the skills modules were exhausted. Those students that showed a weakness for any particular skill received additional reinforcement and clarification. Once the students exhibited mastery on the collection of skills tested by the TAKS exam, they were assigned to the TAKS modules on the website.  The following table illustrates the actual class’ performance on the math section of the 2007 TAKS test and compares it to their prior year’s performance. The results show a performance improvement of 250%.

 

 

Of those students that did not meet the state passing standard (12.50%), 1 of them was at the most basic level of English.

 

comparisons of the Focus group and state peers

 

The following table compares performance results of the BES study group to their state peers. With the intent of making our comparison as accurate and appropriate as possible, we have matched up our group of students to identical students around the state. That is, 100% of our study group was designated as LEP, and took the English version of the TAKS test. We, therefore, used the 5th Grade Reading Cumulative Report3 that disaggregated the state LEP students who took the English version TAKS test. This comparison reflects the performance level of identical students around the state of Texas.

The results show that our software users were 15.25 points above the state average in their English reading assessment.

 

Reading

 

 

In their English math performance4, the BES software users were 7.5 points above the state average for their group of students. 

 

MATH

 

 

Conclusion

 

Under every tested condition, the BES software users outperformed their peers in both their reading and math TAKS assessment exams; moreover, given their prior year’s performance, the group underwent a substantial and dramatic escalation in their academic performance, permitting them to narrow the achievement gap with all other student groups. Notwithstanding educational debates, if our educational goal is really to leave no child behind, then we, at Bilingual Education Specialists LLC, are extremely proud of our contribution in helping all students succeed.

 

 

To view past years’ performance tables and larger group score aggregations, please visit our website at www.bilingualedspecialists.com and click on the performance drop-down button located at the bottom right of the navigation bar, and then select any desired year.

 


 

Exhibits and References

 

Exhibit A (Group TAKS Performance Table)

 

Student Reference

Prior Year Performance

Reading

Prior Year Performance

Math

2007

Performance Reading

2007

Performance

Math

Student A

No Data

No Data

Failed

Failed

Student B

Failed

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student C

Failed

Failed

Passed

Passed

Student D

Failed

Failed

Passed

Passed

Student E

Passed

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student F

Passed

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student G

Failed

Failed

Passed

Passed

Student H

Failed

Failed

Passed

Passed

Student I

Failed

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student J

No Data

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student K

Failed

Failed

Failed

Passed

Student L

Passed

Failed

Passed

Failed

Student M

Passed

Failed

Failed

Passed

Student N

No Data

Passed

Passed

Passed

Student O

No Data

No Data

Passed

Passed

Student P

Failed

Failed

Passed

Passed

 

References:

 

1. U.S. Department of Education definition of - What is scientifically based research? http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/whatworks/doing.html (Question #2)

2. U.S. Department of Education – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

3.    Texas Education Agency Student Assessment Division 5th Grade Reading Cumulative
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/reporting/results/summary/sum07/taks/gr5_cumulative_apr07_tagged.pdf

4.    Texas Education Agency Student Assessment Division 5th Grade Math Cumulative       http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/reporting/results/summary/sum07/taks/gr5_math_cumulative_may07_tagged.pdf

 

 

 

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Revised: November 10, 2007