Action Research as Professional Development: Examining Support Services to Dual Enrolled Students | Secondary School | Homework

A collection of brief case studies describing our school

Support services that improve student success while participating in dual enrollment education opportunities Susie Orr, Michael Nguyen, And Chong Thao Action Research

Spring, 2013 Summary: High school students in Minnesota have various opportunities to experience post- secondary courses while still attending high school usually during their junior and senior years of high school. Our school has been partnering with Northeast Metro Intermediate District 916. Northeast Metro 916 is one of Minnesota’s three intermediate school districts. This intermediate school district provides specialized programs and services to member districts that are not able to offer such specialized programming on a smaller scale. During the fall of 2012, four students were enrolled in the Northeast Metro 916 program through our school. Our school, at no extra charge to the student, covered the tuition, books, and transportation for the students. Description: Staff collected a variety of data pre-surveys, progress reports, grades, teacher comments, and student questionnaires from both our school and Northeast Metro 916. These data focused on identified student support services such as transportation and the progress and grades of enrolled students. Pre-Survey Results: Each student participating at Northeast Metro 916 completed a pre-survey. Four particular questions were especially illuminating. Question Number Question 3: Time spent on Northeast Metro 916 classes Question 4: Differences between Northeast Metro 916 and City Academy Responses Two hours, about the same as at our school, I don't know, one or two hours, and none 916 classes are faster, larger, stricter, less personal attention and have more course requirements (Taken from all responses). A student also stated that not knowing any other students in the class was a major difference. Teachers ( three responses), principal, and I don't know. "I don't really talk to my family", " I don't usually ask for help", I don't need help from my family", and "Our school and 916 offer similar support".

Question 6: Support from our school Question 7: Support from family

It became apparent after reviewing the pre-surveys that the enrolled students recognized and could articulate the difference between our school and Northeast Metro 916 in terms of class size, course work, and less attention from the instructor. However, these students could not articulate what support services we offered besides general support. The students didn't recognize that tuition, door to door transportation, and materials were considered support services. The inability to consider these as support services was surprising and provided a key into understanding why they continued to struggle being successful in dual enrollment.

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Progress Reports: Quarter One Grades from Northeast Metro 916 indicated that two out of the four students were failing their class. Both of these students were absent over fifteen times despite door-to-door transportation. Also, both of these students had instructors that commented on their frequent absences which impacted their progress. The other two students with passing grades appeared to have more success in attending classes and completing course work. However, one of these students was tardy ten times even with door-to door transportation. When questioned about being tardy so frequently the student explained that he wasn't always ready when his ride came, stopped to purchase food and drink before class, and was "slow" getting to class. Therefore even with daily door-to-door transportation it became clear that other factors were impacting these students' successes. Quarter Two Grades from Northeast Metro 916 indicated the two remaining students ( two students were pulled from the program due to lack of attendance and completion of work) while still having attendance issues also had "low test scores" which impacted their final grades. The combination of missing class and performing poorly on tests which could be a result of incomplete assignments and not communicating their need for help seems to be a trend for both students. Quarter Three Midterms from Northeast Metro 916 indicated that one student had an unsatisfactory grade(U) and the comments provided were "late or missing work". In addition, this student had eight unexcused absences. While attendance issues are still apparent, uncompleted work and/or missing work became just another reason why students were not successful in dual enrollment. Staff continued to offer assistance with any outside homework, online assignments, etc. yet these students didn't accept any help nor ask for help either. Student Exit Surveys: Two students who signed up for Quarter Three cosmetology courses both quit after three days of class. One student stated that the course was not what she expected and decided to quit .The other student didn't provide a reason for wanting to quit but made it clear that she was not happy with the course. Yet, both of these students had high attendance at our school and were initially excited about participating in this dual enrollment program. Evidently there was a disconnect between the idea of dual enrollment and participating in the actual course but these students were unable to verbally explain this issue. Action Plan: Initially providing transportation to students was thought to be a support service that would greatly improve student participation and thus student learning. However, it appears that while this support service was helpful, other issues such as soft skills, completion of assignments, and finally test taking skills were equally as important if not more so for ensuring student success. In addition, the duration of 916 courses proved to be an issue as the students were having a difficult time lasting an entire semester or visualizing an end to their program. Our school provides some students with the opportunity to complete and earn Stackable certificates i.e. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). These certificates appear to be more helpful for our students making transition from high school setting to post-secondary setting. Students have the ability to see an end of a course in a shorter time frame. (We have had three students who have successfully completed a CNA program this year). Also, these types of certificate programs may be a stepping stone for students interested in participating in duel enrollment programs.

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