Middle school students participating in a 9 week intervention called Skill Builders showed improved self confidence and motivation in math, reports a study of 228 6th graders recently published in Professional School Counseling.
Developed by one of the authors of the study, the school counselor led program builds confidence in math through lessons designed to foster 4 skills: time management, goal setting, study habits and help seeking. Each week, students have one Skill Builders lesson in the last 30 minutes of one of their regular math classes. There are 2 lessons for each of the 4 skills.
Girls showed even greater gains than boys in scores on the 40 item measure, Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory (ATMI). There was no measure of math performance or achievement in this study. The program for all 6th grade classes in the study was led by the same female counselor. Time management lessons are designed to help students budget their time and plan out daily assignments and quizzes using a weekly schedule. Goal setting lessons help students set and reach obtainable goals related to math. Study habits lessons are designed to help students learn to chunk information in order to help organize math concepts and help seeking lessons are designed to help students be aware of when they do not understand a critical concept and to ask questions that will help them get the information they need.
“Skill-Builders: Improving Middle School Students’ Self-Beliefs for Learning Mathematics,”by Lia Falco, Hugh Crethar, et al. Professional School Counseling, Vol. 11, No. 4, Professional School Counseling, Volume 11, Number 4, April 2008, pp. 229 235.