Academic Excellence and Continuous Improvement: An Argyll Advantage
Academic Excellence: An Argyll Advantage
Argyll is making huge strides to increase our focus on pedagogy. In a technology-driven environment there can be a strong temptation to count successes in terms of how well we manage technology. By focusing on pedagogy, we shift the view of technology to that of a tool that supports learning. This pedagogical strength pervades Argyll’s learning programs. Key hallmarks of student growth at Argyll is the intentional design of the program focused on student learning, research-based instructional and assessment practices.
Argyll: an Elluminate ELive Centre of Excellence: An Argyll Advantage
The Argyll Centre was awarded the Elluminate Centre of Excellence Best in Class 2008 award. Elluminate Live! is a web conferencing application. Teachers at Argyll schedule online classes through eLive and students and teachers can share information and interact with each other. eLive sessions can also be recorded so teachers can create lessons that students can go back to watch later. Argyll is recognized as a leader in online instruction using strong pedagogical practices and online eLive instructional practice in grades 1-12.
An Argyll Advantage: 123 Learnnet: recognized in 2012 Prime Minister's Teaching Award of Excellence nomination as an Argyll Centre of Excellence
a learning community that gives students freedom to learn, based on their learning styles, allows them to move ahead when they understand a concept, and gives them extra support when they didn't understand a concept. This personalization of student learning means that every student follows their own personal “next step” - the right step for the individual student in their personal learning journey.
a teaching community that provides researched-based instruction and assessment.
A key ingredient to student success is the increased engagement of students in the 123 LearnNet community. An intentional effort to increase participation of grades 1,2 and 3 students by 11 % in provincial achievement tests, over the last three years, has contributed to our school’s overall improved evaluation for meeting student learning needs.
Other Argyll initiatives to improve instruction and results:
- Literacy initiative in K-9: the 6 Write Traits strategy for teaching strong and effective writing skills is now part of our instructional practice in all language arts courses in K-9. Based on our results from the Highest Level of Achievement Tests (HLAT's), a standardized assessment written by all Edmonton Public grades 1-9 students to help our classroom teachers identify what further supports are required to support literacy development. Continuous improvement and measurable excellence at Argyll is demonstrated by our results in 2012:
- students in grades 5 and 6: 95 % of those who wrote the test scored at or above grade level. 26% of students scored above grade level. In reading 89 % of those who wrote scored adequate or above in writing
- In 2012 students in our junior high division are demonstrating that this approach is improving student success in writing. The following chart demonstrates:
- fewer students are scoring "limited" in their writing abilities (in grade 8 for example, a decrease of ~25%)
- more students are demonstrating that their writing skills are at grade level are adequate, proficient and excellent.
- more grade nine students are demonstrating that their writing skills are above grade level.
- Bridges to Achievement teachers worked with students in grades 4 – 9 who were not experiencing success in their learning. At Argyll, students received targeted programming that addressed their learning needs and circumvented or overcame their barriers to learning. With an 85% success rate, we have now expanded these strategies into a Bridges to Achievement for High School students.
- Parents are accessing information and support on a 24/7 basis. No need to wait for the next Parent-Teacher-Student conference or for finding the time to connect by phone. Answers from an accumulated 60 years of experience (from all of our experienced parents and teachers over the last 10 years!) are shared here.
- The user data for the literacy videos alone highlights how these high quality learning tools are supporting parent educators, as part of the Argyll Home Education package.
- since 2002 Argyll students have designed original research projects, presented them to independent judges at local, provincial and national science fairs and been recognized for excellence in science research.
- Since then Argyll students have represented Argyll and Edmonton Public Schools at the national and the international science fairs 10 times!
- our students have won scholarships, been recognized by post secondary institutions and private industry for their excellence in research and science.
- see the student stories by clicking here: students are recognized for their science excellence!
- Argyll tracks its student completion and retention rates and uses that information to improve our instructional and assessment practices, our course design and the supports we offer students to ensure student success
- In 2009 Argyll's high school team was recognised for improving the overall high school completion rates by 31.5 percent from 60.8% to 92.3%. Argyll continues to improve on student completion rates.
- In 2011, High School course completion rate 95.5% (up 1.9% from previous school year)
- In addition our focus this year is improving student retention so that students remain in school and are working towards completion of their individual programs of study.
- This year Argyll students who wrote diploma exams on average successfully demonstrated a level of understanding on their diplomas within 8% of their classroom mark. We continue to close the gap on the difference between diploma marks and teacher awarded marks.
- efforts in semester one to improve student success are reflected in the 13% rise in student contacts and communication with Argyll high school teachers. This is a reflection of the increased number of communication tools used to communicate important information to high school students: face to face, telephone, instant messaging, eLive instruction, email, google chat and voice, text to email, text to text...