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Research & Rationale

Achievement Still on the Rise At Catalina Ventura School

Scott Heusman & Don Moenich

To cite this article: Heusman, S. & Moenich, D. Achievement Still on the Rise at Catalina Ventura School. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Summer 2003. www.KaganOnline.com

In the Fall of 2000, we ran an article in this online magazine, titled Kagan Structures Increase Achievement at Catalina Ventura School. The article illustrated impressive gains at Catalina Ventura with the implementation of Kagan Structures. Almost three years, Catalina is not only sustaining the initial gains, they are continuing to improve their scores on standardized tests.

What follows is a letter from Scott Heusman, principal of Catalina Ventura briefly describing his use of Kagan Structures and the impact they have at his school. Plus, Don Moenich shares graphs of Catalina's Stanford Nine scores.

(For the original article on Catalina Ventura, visit the research section of Kagan's Website: www.KaganOnline.com/Research)

To Dr. Spencer and Laurie Kagan,

Catalina Ventura is a K-8 elementary school with over 1,300 students. The school is an inner-city school with a 75% poverty rate. Catalina Ventura has a reputation of excellence due much in part to the last five years. During the past five years, teachers at Catalina have been extensively trained in using Kagan Structures in their classrooms. These structures have provided teachers and students the encouragement they've needed to show parents, the community, and the administration that all students can be actively involved in learning, that all students can be successful, and that many different social skills can be taught while practicing Kagan Structures. Best of all, our students' scores on standardized tests have soared while using Kagan Structures.

The implementation of Kagan Structures over the past five years has taken place in two different ways. One, as recommended by your website, we teach a new Kagan Structure monthly to our entire staff. Some examples of recent structures taught at staff meetings and embraced by teachers include: Fan-N-Pick, Match Mine, and Formations. Teachers at our school look forward to learning a new structure monthly and then using it in their classrooms.

Two, we have a highly trained mentor teacher who works with new teachers in the implementation of Kagan Structures. Our mentor teacher collaborates with new teachers, models structures in their classrooms, and observes teachers using Kagan Structures. Our mentoring program helps new teachers gain the confidence and affirmation they need to use Kagan Structures frequently in their classroom.

Finally, without a doubt, teachers love Kagan Structures, students have fun and learn more as they participate in the structures and standardized test scores have dramatically improved as teachers have become more confident with using these structures. Many thanks to you and your team for providing such a blessing to our school.


Scott Heusman, Principal

Assessment Results

The following graphs are some of the highlights of last years Stanford Nine Achievement Test results. As you can see, Catalina Ventura School scored well above the national average. As poverty continues to increase in our community (72% free and reduced lunch), test scores are also increasing.

In the 1998-99 school year, Catalina teachers began using Kagan Structures in their classroom to get students actively involved in learning and to make learning fun. Since then, teachers have worked diligently to increase the number of Kagan Structures used in their classroom. As a result, test scores have significantly improved.

Additionally, the social skill training and benefits that accompany the implementation of cooperative structures are great. Teachers report that their students are better listeners, more patient with classmates, and genuinely care about the learning of other classmates after using cooperative structures in their classroom.

Don Moenich