One of Rocky View School’s (RVS) Director’s, John Burger, has created a tool to measure the risk of disengagement in our students. “We often talk about “student engagement” as a precursor for their ultimate success but now we can assess their risk of disengaging and create strategies to stop it and in fact “reengage” the students”, explains Bev LaPeare Ward 2 Trustee with Rocky View Schools.
Research shows that student engagement, resilience and perception of school safety play an important role in student academic success. If students feel left out, not included or that they are in some form of danger at school, they will disengage which drastically affects their performance at school.
“We now have a questionnaire that we refer to as Student Orientation of School – Questionnaire (SOS-Q). It looks at life through the lens of the student to really see where they’re at and then teachers and administrators can develop evidence-based understanding and strategies for potentially at risk students and help them achieve greater success in school”, says LaPeare.
The SOS-Q gathers information on the following:
Grades 4 to 6:
– Safe and Caring School: student’s perception of school environment
– Peers: perceived supports from friends and ability to get along with peers
– Self Confidence: Student’s conviction that they are capable and able to be successful at school and beyond
– External Resilience: Perceived ability to cope and adapt successfully in the face of challenges
– Internal Resilience: Perceived ability to resist anxiety and maintain internal emotional and mental balance
Grades 7 to 12 add:
– Utility of School: Student’s sense of usefulness of school in relation to future opportunities
– Extra Curricular Activities: Student’s participation in and perceived value of extra-curricular activities
“As you can see, this is completely student centric and really examines areas that could make a student disengage. A paper based version of the SOS-Q has been available for many of our schools already and an online version will be ready in the 16/17 school year. The plan is for the whole division to implement the online version in grades 4, 7 and 10,” adds LaPeare.
Student Orientation to School (SOS) program consists of three elements:
• The SOS questionnaire: This is an assessment tool that captures feedback from students
about their own engagement with school;
• Reports: Once the questionnaires are completed, reports are generated that provide
feedback on cohort patterns relevant for your school and/or for individual students;
• Program Manual: This manual explains how to administer the questionnaire, provides suggested intervention strategies to improve student engagement, achievement and school completion rates, and provides links to on-going research on student engagement.
“I’m excited to see the fallout of being able to collect the data, analyze it and then have strategies put in place to address any areas of concern,” says LaPeare.