Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

6.0 Case 3: The AESN Case Study Assessment

We have strived to make our students visible by developing their voice. Success depends so much on language skills – vocabulary, cadence, tone – when speaking – vocabulary and ability to make sense when writing. Ability to manipulate language often defines how our students succeed at school. In all of the AESN inquiries I have been involved in we have sought to make our students visible by developing their voices in the learning community. We have worked to build language skills, social emotional learning (sense of self) and a connection to the “big ideas” in traditional Aboriginal knowledge. We have seen measurable improvements in reading and writing skills, and we have observed the building of self confidence when we have participated in an inquiry that focuses all members of the learning community, students and adults. We wanted our students to be heard, and listened to with respect.

In this third case study Debbie Koehn, one of the research assistants for this study, completed a detailed analysis of AESN cases from across British Columbia. The purpose of this third case is to more specifically identity how student learning has been impacted by the AESN . Given that the primary goal of the Network is to enhance student learning, this is an important foundation of our analysis of impact.

The cases that were reviewed were provided by the AESN principals, Drs. Kaser and Halbert. They were grouped into three data sets: AESN inquiries completed in 2009/10, AESN inquiries completed in 2010-11 and AESN inquiries completed 2011-12. A total of 56 AESN case studies were reviewed and are summarized below into categories on the basis of the content of their inquiry, as well as the degree to which the inquiries resulted in impacts both within or beyond the boundaries of the school site itself. In each case the name of the school and school district is provided, and as often as possible, the measured outcomes or impact of their inquiry on student achievement are provided. Within these categories the inquiries are sorted by the year of completion. Other specific categories on the basis of their unique approaches were also identified; these include the use of technology, the creation of new rubrics to measure outcomes/achievements, or the use of local Aboriginal languages. At the end of the AESN content assessment, Koehn summarizes the thematic patterns she believes are most evident from her analysis.