05 SES 03, Extending Schools
Inclusive policies and practices seek to remove contextual barriers to foster student participation and achievements. In this sense, educational support is fundamental in removing these barriers and accelerating the learning of disadvantaged students (Gómez-Zepeda, Petreñas, Sabando, & Puigdellívol, 2017). One of the most likely group of students to suffer this educational system inequalities are those from low socio-economic backgrounds. Their personal or social circumstances are obstacles to achieve their educational potential (Ainscow, 2016). The Europe 2020 Strategy, among other things, aims to achieve broader equity. To do this, they are proposing to reduce the school dropout under 10%. Current research seems to emphasize on how policies and practices contribute to equity.
Internationally, the extension of learning time (ELT) is a kind of support generally aimed at improving academic achievements, positive social and emotional development and/or educational attainment (Durlak, Weissberg, & Pachan, 2010;. Consequently, most of these public initiatives are being developed in high poverty, low-performing schools (Kaplan, Farbman, Deich, Padgette, 2014). Research in Spanish context has reported two experiences of ELT. Both targeted at low-performing students of these schools (Lahoz, 2015; Manzanares & Ulla, 2012). Therefore, ELT initiatives are often addressed to vulnerable students. This can have negative connotations since it is pointing to those more likely to underachieve at school, not to mention the effects of supporting students in homogeny groups even in out-of-school programs. Roda, (2017) reports an experience that discriminates, offering creative activities or school reinforcement, according to school socio-economic characteristics. This left the most vulnerable students without the most imaginative or according-to-interests activities, not considering the effects on student’s self-efficacy. However, in other studies, improvements on self-efficacy are perceived because the ELT provides to them with successful experiences (Manzanares & Ulla, 2012).
ELT practices to support vulnerable students in reduced groups can be considered a kind of Additional support. In Catalonia (Spain), supports are classified in three levels depending on their intensity. First, the most restrictive ones are Intensive supports usually linked to children with severe and permanent afflictions. Secondly, they have Additional supports and, thirdly, Universal supports for all students. Within ELT it has been an increase in interactions in school activities, accelerating learning processes. This learning through interaction is supported by Vygostki’s theory. Thus, the quality of learning activities and time is important (Leos-Urbel, 2015; Roda, 2017).
Different investigations have identified quality criteria for practices highlighting the following aspects: program and climate management, self-reported positive experiences (Cross, Gottfredson, Wilson, Rorie, & Connell, 2010); positive staff-child relations, available activities, programming flexibility (Pierce, Bolt, & Vandell, 2010); A sequenced set of activities, active forms of learning, program components focused on objectives, explicit targets (Durlak et al., 2010); and, UDL guidelines. These characteristics for promoting higher quality ELT practices can be grouped in the following points proposed by Smith, Peck, Denault, Blazevski, & Akiva (2010): supportive environment, purposeful engagement, and structured interactions.
The purpose of this communication is to make a first insight into the deployment of a public city-wide ELT policy, contrasting it with the instructors’ perception of student achievements. This way, we can identify what can be beneficial for improving ELT policies and practices. We also shed light on how contextual variables are interacting in order to place this ELT initiative for future research. The data used is part of a larger study the purpose of which was to analyse supportive interactions between ELT professionals, vulnerable students and their context.
This proposal is part of a mixed method research about interactions occurring when non-graduate professionals support vulnerable students. We have two research lines: one analysing interactions with those paraprofessionals supporting students during the school day and another one studying those supporting students in a public ELT initiative. For this second line we had secondary information about children experiences through a questionnaire by an external entity; ELT professional performance through rubrics and classroom environment assessments, reported from a guide with semi-structured questions, by centre-coordinators. After a literature review, we created two questionnaires: one from ELT professionals and another for the teachers of youth enrolled in this ELT program. In this communication we analyse and discuss the data provided by the ELT professionals questionnaire. This instrument was enriched and validated by two experts and, also, by the seven district-coordinators. It had closed questions about demographics, habits, the functioning and changes perceived on the pupils. There were opened questions to allow respondents to explain in depth their situation. This data was from the 2016-2017 school year. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 24.0 software (IBM,SPSS) was used to perform statistical analysis. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables. This city-wide public ELT program was created in 2001 based on an agreement among different Catalan public institutions. Currently, the program has been deployed in 43 secondary schools and 105 schools in Barcelona, having 279 groups of students. Students at risk of school failure due to low-school-performance and/or socio-economic disadvantaged contexts are prioritized. Therefore, ELT is a reinforcement scholarship for these students. It is also a scholarship for ELT instructors. They have to apply to a public merit competition with the requirements of studying an education related degree, having prior experience with students, and being under 30. Instructors can have up to two scholarships. This means that the same monitor can be working in two different centres, two days a week in each. Thus, each group of students is supported twice a week after class in their secondary school building, being there a total of three more hours per week. From the 279 groups of ETL, 176 (63,08%) questionnaires were returned. They were answered by 126 instructors. Therefore, 50 instructors had a double instructor-scholarship. Among these groups, there were 66 primary education groups, with fifth and sixth grade students (10 to 12) and 110 secondary education groups (12 to 16).
The most frequent routines during the ELT time are to support students with their homework (93,75%;n=165) and exams (82,95%;n=146). In a significant majority of the groups instructors support students in what they care about (68,75%;n=121). They also do classroom-related (42,61%;n=75) and based-on-interests and needs activities (39,77%;n=70), and study skills (42,04%;n=74). There are fewer groups that invest part of the time on less academic focused activities such as doing theatre (1,7%; n=3) or leisure activities (11,36%;n=20). Most monitors perceive improvements in study habits and autonomy of their pupils, the completion of homework assignments and behaviour (67,79%,n=120; 54,8%,n=97; 52,54%,n=93; respectively. Almost half of the respondents point to improvements in learning (49,72%, n=88) and 44.06% (44,07), in well-being. However, in 26 groups (14,69%) some students remain the same, and 5,08%(n=9) have worsened during this period. Noteworthy, among those who value with an excellent the ELT as a work space to support students, there is a higher proportion of perception of achievements, representing in all cases more than half of the groups. Nevertheless, other factors can affect student achievements (Patall, Cooper, & Allen, 2010). Pearson correlation analysis showed significant positive moderate relationship between how ELT is evaluated as a work space to support students (M=7,8;SD=1,668) and the valuation of the program in terms of doing homework and studying (M=8,27;SD=1,082;r=.499,p<.01), and in terms of achieving study habits and organization (M=7,65;SD=1,344;r=.501,p<.01). These correlations were strongest when considering supportive environment variables such as group management (M=7,39;SD=1,473; r=.595, p<.01) and respect for classroom rules (M=7,34;SD=1,642; r=.621,p<.01). Literature highlights the importance of providing a stimulating and safe environment (Saar, 2014). It is not only the time invested but the manner in which programs are implemented and structured that is important (Leos-Urbel, 2015). Further in-depth research is needed to put emphasis on variables of quality ELT within support networks.
Ainscow, M. (2016). Collaboration as a strategy for promoting equity in education: possibilities and barriers.Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 1(2),159–172.https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-12-2015-0013 Cross, A.B., Gottfredson, D.C., Wilson, D.M., Rorie, M., & Connell, N.(2010). Implementation Quality and Positive Experiences in After-School Programs.American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3–4),370–380. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9295-z Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., & Pachan, M. (2010). A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs That Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents.American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3–4),294–309.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9300-6 European Comission.(2010).Europe 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.Retrieved fromhttp://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/ES/TXT/?uri=URISERV%3Aem0028 Gómez-Zepeda, G., Petreñas, C., Sabando, D., & Puigdellívol, I. (2017). The role of the Support and Attention to Diversity Teacher(SADT) from a community-based perspective: Promoting educational success and educational inclusion for all.Teaching and Teacher Education, 64,127–138.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2017.02.002 Kaplan, C.,D. Farbman, S. Deich, and H.C. Padgette. 2014. Financing Expanded Learning Time in Schools: A Look at Five District Expanded-Time Schools. New York:The Wallace Foundation Lahoz, P.M. (2015). Teacher’s conceptions of students: a research of the support and reinforcement programs of Castilla y León.Revista de La Asociación de Sociología de La Educación, 8(3),425–436.Retrieved fromhttps://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=5200266&info=resumen&idioma=SPA Leos-Urbel, J. (2015). What Works After School? The Relationship Between After-School Program Quality, Program Attendance, and Academic Outcomes.Youth & Society, 47(5),684–706.https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X13513478 Manzanares, A., & Ulla, S. (2012).National Evaluation of the PROA Programme for Reinforcement, Support and Guidance. Analysis After Six Years of Continued Assessment.Revista de Educacion,89–116. https://doi.org/10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2012-EXT-208 Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Allen, A. B. (2010).Extending the School Day or School Year: A Systematic Review of Research (1985-2009).Review of Educational Research, 80(3),401–436.https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654310377086 Pierce, K. M., Bolt, D. M., & Vandell, D. L. (2010).Specific Features of After-School Program Quality: Associations with Children’s Functioning in Middle Childhood.American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3–4),381–393. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9304-2 Roda, A. (2017). “More [Time] is better or less is more?” Neoliberal influences on teaching and learning time.Journal of Education Policy, 32(3),303–321. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2016.1255917 Saar, T. (2014). Towards a new Pedagogy in the after-school setting.European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22(2),254–270. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2014.883722 Smith, C., Peck, S. C., Denault, A. S., Blazevski, J., & Akiva, T. (2010). Quality at the Point of Service: Profiles of Practice in After-School Settings.American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3–4),358–369.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9315-z
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