School Empowerment Program
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Last modified: January 18, 2017 12:36:11.

This program is designed to provide selected schools high level of expertise, resources, support, and customized school-embedded professional learning activities for their new initiatives and innovative projects.

Bridging the Gap: High School to Higher Education

In the current information and technology-based economy, a high school degree is insufficient as a terminal degree and most jobs that pay reasonably well require at least some postsecondary education. However, students’ high school experiences often do not prepare them adequately for postsecondary education and the world of work.

Hence, special attention should be paid to increasing the rigor, relevance, and engagement of the high school curriculum (Bangser, 2008).

The High School Student Success Program:

  • Strategic Group: Grades 10 to 12 in Independent Schools in Qatar
  • Data Collection, Analysis, and Use of analysis to inform program tailored to meet the needs of the students.
  • Building a grade 10 to12 continuum of support curriculum.
  • Attending to academic, social, emotional needs
  • Focusing on High School success leading to college preparedness.

The framework broadly describes areas in each domain (Conley, 2010) that need to be addressed through modules, over a period of 3 years.

Tentative Framework of the High School Program
Domains
Knowledge (1) Skills (2) Productive Behavior and Disposition (3) (Students) Educational, Career, and Civic Engagement (4)
1.1)  Core subject area content 2.1)  Academic skills in core disciplines 3.1)  Productive self-concepts 4.1)  Engaging in and navigating higher education
1.2)  21st century knowledge: global, civic, environmental, financial, health, and media literacy 2.2)  21st-century skills 3.2) Self-management 3.3)  Effective Organizational Behavior 4.2)  Engaging in and navigating career pathways

The above warranties for a collaboration of resources within and between school, higher education institutions, parents and family (Boroch & Hope, 2010) and other support agencies.

 

Motivation Project : 

The study of motivation is critical to improving students’ academic performance and achievement, especially amongst those lagging behind their school peers and peers in performing school (Al-Attiyah, 2010; Alassar, Qashqoush, & Salameh, 1983; Christodoulou, Duncan, Nelmes, 2013; Ikhlef & Khalifa, 2012; Nasser, 2014) . Empirical evidence documenting the role of motivation in explaining students’ learning outcomes is abundant (Dweck, 1986; Graham & Golan, 1991; Maehr & Meyer, 1997; Pintrich & groot, 1990; Wentzel, 1993; Whang & Hancock, 1994). Current anecdotal reports and available research evidence about students lack of motivation in Qatari independent schools is a major  concern for both educators, parents and policy-makers alike (Baker, Kanan & Misnad, 2008;  Tamimi, 2011; Zellman, Ryan, Karam, Constant, Salem, Gonzalez, & Orr, 2009). The current project is an attempt to address students’ motivation in four low achievement independent schools (2 middle and 2 high schools) currently supported by the National Center for Educator Development (NCED) in Qatar university. Students’ motivational profile will be identified through the use of mixed qualitative and quantitative methods. Further, an intervention to enhance students’ motivation to learn will be developed and implemented.

The need and rationale for enhancing Student engagement and motivation to Learn has its foundation in the education reforms in Qatar. In late 2002, after an extensive analysis by the Rand Corporation of the current Qatari education system (Brewer, Augustine, Zellman, Ryan, Goldman, & Stasz, 2007) a major Qatari educational reform movement called “Education for a New Era”, was enacted through Law Decree No. 37.The decree established key elements of educational reform in Qatar schools including development of national curriculum standards in math, and science, an emphasis on critical thinking rather than rote memorization and recitation as outcomes.

Accomplishment of this goal will require, in part, availability of competent teachers who are prepared to teach children at a level to meet international standards in different curricular areas, and students who are actively engaged in the learning process and are highly motivated and self-regulated to pursue challenging learning goals in order to achieve positive learning outcomes. While considerable effort has been put into the study of organizational structures (see Rand, 2007), and the classroom processes and student outcomes of the Qatari education reform (Ikhlef & Knight, 2013; Knight, Parker, Zimerman, & Ikhlef, 2014; Knight, Ikhlef, Parker, Joshi, Islami, Sadeq, Al-Sai, & Al-Akraf, 2011) relatively little or no attention has been paid to the study of the processes related to the learner’s motivational engagement. Specifically, little or no research has been conducted in Qatari schools to find out how student’ motivation to learn be enhanced to maximize learning potential and achieve positive learning outcomes.

The recent development of the Education and Training Sector Strategy Plan (ETSSP- 2011-2016) provides another strong rationale for developing a program to enhance student’ motivation to learn.  Developed by the Supreme Education Council, the Development of the Education and Training Sector Strategy Plan (ETSSP- 2011-2016), which is aligned with the National Development Strategy 2011-2016, identifies ways to build advanced educational systems, provides distinctive educational and training opportunities to citizens, offers diverse areas to help them realize their potential, and prepares them for success in a changing world. Among the different programs that the ETSSP has proposed are the “Core and Cross-Cutting Education and Training”

One of the key strategic goals listed under the Core and Cross-Cutting Education and Training Program states that there is a need to “Develop and implement a comprehensive sector-wide plan to promote student motivation including the development of a communication plan, targeting parents, and children across the different dimensions of education and trainings”. The performance indicators for this strategic goal include: Preparation and implementation of a comprehensive communication plan to increase student motivation Increase in attendance rates among students.

  • Decrease in drop-out rates among students.
  • Increase graduation rates
  • Increase in higher education entrance rates
  • Increase in parents satisfaction has increased

The following section explain how the current project is consistent with this strategic goal.  

2. The Current Project 
The major goal of the motivation project is to identify the reasons for lack of motivation among middle and secondary school students by assessing the factors that might negatively affect their motivation. Further, in the light of the assessment results an intervention program for enhancing students’ motivation will be designed, and implemented. Furthermore, the motivational intervention program will be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness in enhancing students’ motivation. The current project targets four low achievement schools in Qatar; two middle school one for girls and the other for boys, and two secondary schools one for girls and the other for boys. 
Specifically, the current project aims at achieving the following objectives:

  • Identify students who lack motivation towards educational activities.
  • Assess and identify personal factors that affect students’ motivation and achievement
  • Assess and Identify the contextual factors (family, school, peers) that affect students’ motivation and achievement;
  • Develop and implement an intervention program  for enhancing students’ motivation to learn;
  • Conclude the impact of the motivation intervention program on students’ motivation and learning outcomes;

3. The project Design

The current project will involve the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection including, questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews. The motivational intervention program will include teacher training, workshops for parents and students.

The project will be conducted in three major phases including a follow-up phase. The first phase of the project involves data collection activities using both focus group  sessions and surveys to develop a clear profile of motivation of both schools and determine their needs in terms of motivation enhancing programs. Findings of this survey will inform the development of the motivation intervention program which will be implemented and evaluated in the second phase of the project. Phase 2 of the study involves the development of motivation interventions modules based on phase 1 needs analysis, implementation of PD motivation intervention modules, evaluate the impact on teachers’ classroom behaviors, and evaluate PD program on students’ learning outcomes. Phase three involves evaluation and a follow-up to collect additional data on the effectiveness of the motivation program and writing of the final report.