Statistically Significant Implementation in Lakeville, MN

Statistically Significant Implementation in Lakeville, MN

Lakeville South High School
Scott Douglas,
Retired Principal
1,849 students
Grades 9 to 12
10% eligible for free/reduced lunch
86% plan to attend four-year college
10% plan to attend two-year or technical college
The Challenge: 

Lakeville South High School is located in Lakeville, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. In the early 2000s, to meet the needs of a growing population, the district began construction of LSHS and enrolled students for the first time in fall 2005. The goal of educators at LSHS is “to foster well-rounded, lifelong learners who will contribute meaningfully to a diverse global society.” To help reach this goal, LSHS strives to provide students with successful educational experiences through a curriculum that integrates technology into daily instruction.

In fall 2009, LSHS initiated an intervention program using Plato Courseware in a proactive effort to prepare students who struggled with math for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments-Series II (MCA-II) and the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) exams. “Schools of the future have to change the delivery of instruction according to the ability of students,” noted retired LSHS principal Scott Douglas. “Instead of changing the delivery model for all students, we wanted to take specific groups of learners with specific needs and target instruction to meet the learning needs of those individual students. Plato Courseware's targeted instruction and prescribed learning paths help us address those needs.”

In fall 2009, Lakeville South High School (LSHS) used Plato Courseware solutions to implement an intervention program for 9th and 10th grade students who were struggling with math. The school’s goal was to diagnose and prescribe individual paths of learning to prepare these students for the state math assessment taken by all Minnesota students in 11th grade. LSHS' students, teachers, and administrators have embraced the new initiative, and results on an external assessments show dramatic learning improvement by students in the program.
How They Did it: 

To help improve students’ Minnesota state test scores, administrators and teachers at LSHS launched a mathematics intervention program. The school’s goal was to provide targeted instruction in algebra and geometry to students identified as at risk for not passing the test. “The interventions we tried in the past (before-school, after-school, and summer school programs) were not working,” noted Douglas. “The typical student who struggles with math doesn’t want to come in after school or on Saturdays.”

In order to create a motivational atmosphere, LSHS added a second period in math every other school day for 9th and 10th grade students in need of additional instruction. In addition to regular classroom instruction each day, these students received targeted intervention every other day using Plato Courseware intervention solutions under the guidance of their classroom teacher.

Students in LSHS' intervention program are given a pretest at the appropriate level as determined by their NWEA™ Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) scores. The results of this Plato Courseware pretest identify basic skills that students have not mastered. Then, Plato Courseware individual prescriptions are generated and monitored by highly qualified math instructors in order to target what each student needs. “Our goal with this program is to support student learning, to provide opportunities to build students up as opposed to tear them down,” said Douglas. “Plato Courseware's prescribed learning paths related to a student’s weaknesses provide our students with the very specific instruction they need.”

Principal Douglas attributes the success of LSHS' intervention program not only to the ability of Plato Courseware to identify areas of instructional need and to provide rigorous and engaging instructional content but also to encourage patience on the part of the school’s educators, excellent teacher buy-in on the program, and students’ enthusiasm for Plato Courseware. “Teachers understand the challenge with these students and see the Plato Courseware program as an extra tool, not a burden,” noted Douglas. “Our teachers are very involved, from setting expectations for student progress to providing positive feedback. As the program evolved during the year, we saw increased levels of motivation in students.”

Our teachers were involved, from setting expectations for student progress to providing positive feedback. As the program evolved during the year, we saw increased levels of motivation in students.
Scott Douglas,
Retired Principal

Overall, 102 students in 9th and 10th grade participated in LSHS' math intervention program during the 2009–10 academic year, while 25 students who were eligible for the program elected not to participate. The average growth for students in the LSHS intervention program between the fall and winter administrations was 5.12 (s =8.1) compared to 2.6 (s=6.4) for students who did not participate in the program. This difference is significant (p < .05), meaning that the intervention produces a statistically significant increase in learning for students in the program compared to students who do not participate.

Plato Courseware's ability to differentiate instruction for every student has made a real and measurable difference for us.
Scott Douglas,
Retired Principal
The Future: 

School administrators at LSHS confronted a problem familiar to schools throughout the country. To prepare struggling students for not only a high-stakes, statewide assessment but also for overall college and career readiness, LSHS implemented a targeted math intervention program during the school day using Plato Courseware's solutions for students at risk of low performance. “Plato Courseware's ability to differentiate instruction for every student has made a real and measureable difference for us,” said Douglas. “Success breeds success—when students struggle in something and then start to have success, they want to keep going. Plato Courseware is helping our students say ‘I can do this!’”

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