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The Achievement Gap Going Beyond Socioeconomic & Cultural Factors Dr. Dewitt Jones Associate Professor University of Northern Iowa April 28, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "The Achievement Gap Going Beyond Socioeconomic & Cultural Factors Dr. Dewitt Jones Associate Professor University of Northern Iowa April 28, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Achievement Gap Going Beyond Socioeconomic & Cultural Factors Dr. Dewitt Jones Associate Professor University of Northern Iowa April 28, 2011

2 Today’s Topics 1. Definition of the Achievement Gap for this Webinar. 2. NCLB’s Role in forcing educators to start dealing with the GAP. 3. Existing Internal Barriers 4. What strategies are making a difference and we didn’t really have to learn anything new! 5. Professional Development 6. Caution - High Stakes Testing & Great Teachers & Principals

3 What is the Achievement Gap? “Achievement gap refers to the observed disparity on a number of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The achievement gap can be observed on a variety of measures, including standardized test scores, grade point average, dropout rates, and college- enrollment and -completion rates.” (Wikipedia)educationalgender raceethnicitysocioeconomicstandardized test grade point averagedropout

4 “The ‘achievement gap’ in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. It is most often used to describe the troubling performance gaps between many African-American and Hispanic students, at the lower end of the performance scale, and their non-Hispanic white peers, and the similar academic disparity between students from low-income and well-off families.” (Education Week)

5 Is the Achievement Gap a New Issue? No – let’s explore why the GAP is receiving national attention. NCLB: The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 became a directive for education reform when it was signed into law (# ) by President George Bush on January 8, 2002.law Quick history lesson! The GAP has always been alive and well in our schools, but NCLB exposed the seriousness of the issue.

6 Post WWII High Schools 1/3-1/3-1/3 Opportunities for Drop Outs Then and Now Testing that did not reflect “all our children” Excluded from averages but reported to parents: NIA – Students that drew pictures on tests or could not perform like “other” students. ELL Students Special Needs Students

7 NCLB NCLB requires that districts must test 95% or more of all students with few exemptions. Reporting must be by All Students in the district together and each Building separately, and then depending on the number of qualifying groups like Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Low SES, ELL, Non- Minorities, etc – the data is reported separately by building and by the district. There are penalties and sanctions for not making progress towards proficiency over time. Now the GAP was really exposed!

8 What are the Internal School Barriers? Teaching the same as we always have taught. Lack of: Differentiated Instruction Engaged instruction A plan to work with students Monitoring not performing. AccountabilityImplementation CoachingProfessional Learning Communities Professional DevelopmentParental Involvement Contractual Issues

9 Let’s Explore Some Strategies Dr. Doug Reeves - Michael Fullan wrote, “Reeves doesn’t just tell us what not to do. His research is so carefully documented and so clearly argued that we see precisely what should be our focus...Reeves takes us further and deeper into the critical territory of whole system reform. He does it with such elegance and relentless insistence that we are drawn – indeed, compelled – to want to take action.” “How do you know that the lesson you are about to teach is the lesson your students need?”

10 If the rubrics have the right criteria… 10

11 Implementation & a Plan Reeves and DuFour both agree that we don’t have to learn new strategies for teachers – we need to make sure what we say we are doing is fully implemented. Schools where “laser focused monitoring of implementation” exists are demonstrating higher student achievement. “What is the Plan in your school for helping students who have not mastered a concept?” The plan should be during the regular school day.

12 12

13 Contractual Issues In our schools we find the most at-risk students are being taught by the youngest educators, not the veterans. This is due to the contractual language on transfers. Most open positions in our schools are located in schools with high poverty where veteran teachers have left for other schools, thus meaning high at-risk children are being taught by the least experienced faculty. High schools give the new faculty low end classes like “Traditional Math” where the poorest math students exist. In both cases you will hear veteran teachers say, “I have earned the right to teach higher level classes or in elementary schools where there is less poverty.”

14 14 Hiring effective teachers really matters. Dismissing ineffective teachers, with due process

15 Engaged Instruction "Engaged learning is the process in which students actively participate in their learning. Students are involved, beginning on the first day, in the decision making of the course of their study. Students vigorously research, discuss, create projects, and use technology to make discoveries based on their choices. Students are active participants in the learning process. The teacher serves as a ‘coach or facilitator,’ guiding students to the desired goal.”

16 Not "Engaged learning allows students to participate in "real-life" activities through collaboration, exploration, and discovery with peers. Engaged learning projects do not focus on one subject, but the integration of many or all subjects. Assessment in engaged learning can be very diverse. Assessment should be real, continuing, and encouraging." (Source: Belt, K., et al., Green is Good)

17 Implementation & a Plan Reeves and DuFour both agree that we don’t have to learn new strategies for teachers – we need to make sure what we say we are doing is fully implemented. Schools where “laser focused monitoring of implementation” exists are demonstrating higher student achievement. “What is the Plan in your school for helping students who have not mastered a concept?” The plan should be during the regular school day.

18 Accountability We all know that there are areas in our schools where there is tremendous accountability. Examples include sports, music, debate, etc. Now there is accountability in reporting student proficiencies in math, reading, science and social science. Schools achieving at high levels like the Schools provide and require frequent formative accountability and reporting.

19 Schools In research conducted by Douglas Reeves, he outlines the five characteristics that 90/90/90 schools share. According to Reeves, despite the fact that 90% of the students are free or reduced lunch eligible, 90% of the students are an ethnic minority, and 90% are achieving in the top 10% of the district and state standards, these schools have common characteristics.

20 Reeves outlined the five characteristics 90/90/90 schools share as follows: 1. Focus on achievement 2. A clear curriculum 3. Frequent assessments and opportunities for students to show improvements 4. A focus on writing in all areas. 5. External scoring of student work.

21 Professional Development Data Driven Professional Development and Professional Learning Communities provide teachers vehicles to make sure they have all the right tools in their control to help all students.

22 Parental Involvement One of the leading researchers and authorities on this topic is Karen Mapp, Ed.D, Harvard University. Dr. Mapps’s findings on developing “Home-School Partnerships” indicate “a positive and convincing relationship between family involvement and the benefits for student learning including: improved academic achievement. This relationship holds across families of all economic, racial/ethnic and educational backgrounds and for students of all ages.”

23 Caution High Stakes Testing Great Teachers Great Principals


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