One-to-One Learning, Interventions, High Expectations This study investigated the impact of regular, structured, five-to-seven-minute, one-to-one conversations between a special educator and student, over a period of 6 years. This special education intervention prepares students for success in the post-secondary transition and includes cultivating learning habits in each student, such as self-direction, self-regulation, and self-awareness. The […]23 Nov 2023
Learner growth affected by frequent targeted one-to-one learning conversations
November 4, 2022
One-to-One Learning, Interventions, High Expectations
This study investigated the impact of regular, structured, five-to-seven-minute, one-to-one conversations between a special educator and student, over a period of 6 years. This special education intervention prepares students for success in the post-secondary transition and includes cultivating learning habits in each student, such as self-direction, self-regulation, and self-awareness.
The term MARIO describes an intervention that is Measured, Ambitious, Research-Informed, Innovative, and One-to-One centered. Each component of the MARIO intervention is both learner-driven and based on research evidence.
Measured – As part of every class, students reflect on, and measure, the efficacy of their interventions and the impact of those interventions on their learning habits.
Ambitious – Research has shown that students with disabilities achieve greater academic success and increased autonomy (Rubie-Davies et al., 2007) when educators share high expectations for their achievement.
Research-informed – The high-impact strategies embedded in the MARIO intervention are supported by Marzano’s (2007) The Art and Science of Teaching, Hattie’s (2009) synthesis of evidence-based research as well as considerable research including the works of Panadero et al., 2017; Siegesmund, 2017, and Turnbull et al., 2010.
Innovative – Innovation in educational research is how practitioners implement alternative ways of increasing outcomes for learners if/when the current method of teaching is not effective (Findikoglu and Ilhan, 2016).The goal of the one-to-one conversations is to foster learners who can think critically, take control of their learning, monitor their progress, and co-create innovative pathways that will lead to their success.
One-to-One – The structure of every one-to-one conversation, using the MARIO intervention, is focused on students driving the dialogue and the educator listening, reflecting, and providing feedback.
One-to-one conferences – the foundation of growth
During the one-to-one conference, the educator asks questions that require the student to provide evidence of their level of performance as reported on the ‘Habits and Attitudes Towards Learning (HAL)’ rubric. Based on this discussion, the student records their levels of performance on the rubric to accurately reflect their performance. The student also records notes related to their learning directly on their rubric. At the end of the conference, the student shares the most important actions they intended to sustain or change moving forward.
The variables involved in the study
A six-year retrospective cohort analysis of student grade point average data was used to measure the effectiveness of the one-to-one conversations. The independent variable was the Intensive Studies course in which each student was enrolled, called ‘the intervention’, and had one of three values in each semester for each student: not enrolled, enrolled in control intervention, or enrolled in MARIO intervention. The dependent variable was the average weighted GPA in core courses, such as science, math, English, or social studies.
Positive results that improve over time
The MARIO intervention led to a statistically significant increase in average GPA in core courses as compared to the students enrolled in control intervention or limited intervention. The
control intervention and the limited intervention groups did not show a significant increase in GPA as compared to prior to intervention. Statistical analysis revealed a significant improvement (Cohen’s effect +0.83) in academic outcomes in the one-to-one conversations cohort as compared to student outcomes prior to the course and in comparison to the control cohort. These increases persisted in the after-transition period (Cohen’s effect +0.99). Data from student feedback surveys revealed that students perceived one-to-one conversations as helpful and self-identified gains in self-reflection and independence.
1. “Seventy-eight percent of students responded that the one-to-one sessions helped a ‘significant amount’.”
2. “MARIO intervention students further identified their teacher as someone who pushed them to do their best, held them accountable, and with whom they had a good relationship.”
3. “The feedback survey data also indicated that the MARIO intervention promotes students’ awareness of their own development of strategies for learning.”
As an elementary special educator, I have used the MARIO intervention routinely with my students, and have seen them grow in self-awareness, reflective practices, and in developing the foundational skills needed for later self-directed learning. They are beginning to take ownership of the learning process, and through frequent teacher collaboration set personalized goals. – Erin Madonna
Bowman, P., Farrar, E., and Novak, K. (2022). The impact of frequent, targeted one-to-one conversations on special education learning support. Vol.37 Iss. 3, pp. 464-479. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.12421.