Scores on MAP math tests jump

Success reflects benefits of the flipped classroom model, OLL says

At Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, this fall’s MAP test results showcased math improvement that staff and administration found exciting.

According to OLL Principal Becky Kennedy, the math improvement can be contributed to students learning at their “just-right” level, the implementation of blended learning through the flipped classroom model and a “great and dedicated math teacher.”

The MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) test provides personalized assessments and measures student growth over time. It is different than the MCA test which compares students to Minnesota state standards.

According to the MAP test, in the spring of 2013 75 percent of eighth graders were at or above the grade level. In the fall of 2015, 100 percent of OLL eighth graders were at or above grade level.

In 2013, 22 percent of seventh graders were at or above grade level and, in 2015, 100 percent were at or above grade level.

For sixth graders, 12.5 percent were at or above grade level in 2013 while 100 percent were at or above grade level in 2015.

For fifth graders 62.5 percent were at or above grade level in 2013 while 91 percent were in 2015.

“We have put an increased focus on meeting our students at their just-right level and teaching them where they are,” Kennedy said.

A big player in this improvement has been Melinda Young, who teaches grades 3-8 math and is OLL’s testing coordinator.

“She has been the brains of the operation for the past three years,” Kennedy said.

Young implemented a flipped classroom concept in the fall of 2013.

“I immediately found that the students were able to dive deeper,” Young said.
In the flipped classroom model homework time is moved into school hours while lecture time is moved out.

“Students are given online videos of the lectures,” Young explained.

Students are instructed to watch the videos at home. While doing so they are able to pause, take notes and rewind the videos as needed to make sure the they are understanding what they’re listening to.

“They are able to really get the lectures at their own pace,” Young said.

Some of the lecture videos she has created and some are from other teachers.

Then, “We do what would normally be considered homework in class,” Young added.

Young implemented the flipped classroom model in her second year of teaching at OLL. She noted that in her first year, students would come to class with questions or problems with the homework, using up to 20 minutes of the class time for those questions instead of that day’s material. The flipped model has incorporated student questions into class time while they are working on the problems.

“This eliminated frustrations they might be having,” Young said.

She noted that the flipped classroom arrangement is also easier for parents who probably haven’t seen algebra since high school or college and may not be able to provide helpful answers to their children’s questions.

Short quizzes taken at the beginning of each class period are a key indicator of whether students are watching the lectures and keep them accountable since the quizzes are part of each student’s grade.

Young noted that she has seen improvements from the flipped classroom approach beyond positive test results.

“They’re wanting to dive in deeper,” she said. “Their fluency and vocabulary and how they approach asking questions has changed.”

This flipped classroom approach is delivered with a math curriculum, like all of OLL’s curriculum, that follows Minnesota state standards

Also, Young has seen that many more students moving from the K-8 OLL to Holy Family Catholic High School have placed in their desired math class after taking the placement test.

Overall, improved math proficiency is definitely helpful for the future of OLL students, even beyond high school.

“Having a strong math background is vital to finding success in science, technology and any problem solving,” Kennedy said.

Contact Katie Morford at [email protected]