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Cultivating Leadership For Closing Achievement Gaps & Some Reasons for Cautious Optimism Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultivating Leadership For Closing Achievement Gaps & Some Reasons for Cautious Optimism Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultivating Leadership For Closing Achievement Gaps & Some Reasons for Cautious Optimism Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD Faculty Co-Chair & Director the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, & Creator and Director of the Tripod Project for School Improvement Leadership for Excellence and Equity for All Annual Conference DuPage County Regional Office of Education January 15, 2008 The Achievement Gap Initiative At Harvard University Web Addresses: and To Contact the AGI,

2 There is an urgent need for: Youth cultures that more consistently support behaviors consistent with academic learning and the pursuit of excellence; Parenting that nurtures intellectual growth and balances warmth and responsiveness with structure and demandingness; Teaching that engages and challenges students; Community supports to supplement parents and teachers; Leadership to organize, guide and motivate others in a 21 st Century Social Movement for Excellence with Equity. Urgency AND Possibility.

3 US Population Shares in 2000

4 US Population Shares Projected for 2050

5 Program for International Student Assessment, 15-Year Olds, 2003, Math Literacy in OECD Nations (Dark Blue = U.S. Students)

6 Program for International Student Assessment, 15-Year Olds, 2003, Math Problem Solving in OECD Nations (Dark Blue = U.S. Students)

7 Any fool can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. Any fool can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. Rev. Robert Schuller effectiveness of cultivation, intensity of the search dedication of effort The bounty of the harvest depends upon the effectiveness of cultivation, and the effectiveness of cultivation depends, over time, on the intensity of the search for effective methods and the dedication of effort to help children reach their full potential.

8 Some Good News Black-white and Hispanic-white test score gaps at the high school level for NAEP and SAT scores narrowed dramatically during the 1970s and 1980s, during a period when the gap in high school graduation rates also narrowed. The black-white IQ gap narrowed by more than 25 percent between 1972 and There are virtually no differences in mental ability by SES or race/ethnicity at 9-11 months of age in the National ECLS. Some More Bad News At the end of the 1980s, black-white and Hispanic-white gaps for high school students abruptly stopped narrowing for NAEP scores, SAT scores and high school graduation rates.

9 Standardized NAEP scores for white 9, 13 and 17-year olds. (Distance below 17-year old whites' scores, as a fraction of white 17-Year olds' scores in 1996 Reading Math WHITES Age 17 Age 13 Age *Note: The horizontal axis is the approximate birth year.

10 Standardized NAEP reading scores for Hispanic 9, 13 and 17-year olds. (Distance below 17-Year old whites' Scores, as a fraction of white 17-Year olds' scores in 1996 Reading Math HISPANICS Age 17 Age13 Age 9 Age 17 Age13 Age *Note: The horizontal axis is the approximate birth year.

11 Standardized NAEP scores for black 9, 13 and 17-year olds. (Distance below 17-year old whites' scores, as a fraction of white 17-Year olds' scores in 1996 Reading Math BLACKS Age 17 Age 13 Age 9 Age 17 Age 13 Age

12 Nine-year olds NAEP reading and math for blacks and whites, by year aged 9. ReadingMath

13 Gain in NAEP reading and math scores from ages 9 to 13, by the year the students were 13 years old.

14 Gains from ages 13 to 17 for synthetic cohorts, by year aged 17 ReadingMath

15

16 Proportions of African American 12th Graders who Report that they Never Cut Class, by Major U.S. Census Region

17 Changes from in black 17-year olds' mean NAEP reading scores, by region, and in the national percentage of black students who read daily or almost daily for pleasure

18 Conclusions Concerning Trends Black-white and Hispanic-white gaps narrowed dramatically during the 1970s and 1980s, showing clearly that narrowing is possible. Progress for black and Hispanic teenagers stopped abruptly at the end of the 1980s, with an apparent (and unexplained) shift in youth culture among black teens: leisure reading levels and class attendance both fell. The birth cohort of black youth that was 13-years old in 1988 had the highest-ever NAEP reading scores as 13-year olds, but then extremely small reading gains by the time they were 17 in It may be just a coincidence, but was the commercial take-off period for hip-hop and rap music. The first few years of the present century have shown higher scores and smaller racial gaps in the NAEP at 4 th and 8 th grades, but not at the high school level. Finally, NAEP data from 1994 and 2002 show that remaining gaps among 12 th graders are large at every level of parental education.

19 Leadership And Framing the Work

20 Percentages of teachers checking each listed statement, concerning the last professional development program that had little or no effect on teaching or learning in their classes.

21 Reason Ineffective:What leaders can do: The way it was introduced didn t inspire me to try it. Introduce ideas in ways geared to foster interest and positive anticipation. Teachers were not held accountable for doing it. Confirm agreements, including on design & use of monitoring and feedback mechanisms. There was too little support and training. Offer appropriate training & assistance and organize teams for peer support & sharing. It was just too much, on top of everything else the school was trying to do. Establish priorities, streamline assignments, foster coherence of systems. IMPLICATIONS

22 Teacher engagement in professional development, such as addressed on the previous slides, is especially important when professional development might serve to expand instructional repertoires for topics that students find difficult to learn.

23 They need to get their act together! We need to get our act together! Society at LargeNarrative A [behaviors, lifestyles, etc] Narrative B [e.g., policy, respect,...] Group MembersNarrative C [e.g., policy, respect,...] Narrative D [behaviors, lifestyles, etc]

24 Acting White: Realities, Myths and Challenges

25 Percent within each race/ethnic group selecting each response to, My friends think its important to work hard to get high grades. MALES NeverUsually Not Some- times UsuallyAlwaysRow Total Black (n=1095) % White (n=2776) % Hispanic (n=562) % Asian (n=220) % Source: Calculations by Ron Ferguson, using Tripod Project data for 6 th to 12 th graders collected spring 2005 from 17 secondary schools in NJ, CT, OH, NM, MA and CA.

26 Percent within each race/ethnic group giving each response to, My friends think its important to work hard to get high grades. FEMALESNeverUsually Not Some- times UsuallyAlwaysRow Total Black (n=1088) % White (n=2732) % Hispanic (n=624) % Asian (n=184) % Source: Calculations by Ron Ferguson, using Tripod Project data for 6 th to 12 th graders collected spring 2005 from 17 secondary schools in NJ, CT, OH, NM, MA and CA.

27 Why black high school students with A-range GPAs agree somewhat more than black students with C-range GPAs with the statement that, At this school, students like me get accused of acting white. Percentages of the predicted difference attributable to each listed factor.

28 Considering all black high school students, why some respond that people like themselves usually or always get accused of acting white, while others say usually not or never. Percentages attributable to each listed factor.

29 Percentages of black female high school students agreeing that it is at least somewhat true that, "I sometimes hold back from doing my best in this class, because of what others might say or think." Shown by GPA and by whether students responded "never" to the statement, "At this school, students like me get accused of acting white."

30 Percentages of black male high school students agreeing that it is at least somewhat true that, "I sometimes hold back from doing my best in this class, because of what others might say or think." Shown by GPA and by whether students responded "never" to the statement, "At this school, students like me get accused of acting white."

31 Youth Culture beyond Acting White Who are black youth trying to be? What gives them self esteem? i.e.,: 1.On the whole, I am satisfied with myself. 2.I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others. 3.I take a positive attitude toward myself.

32 Self-Esteem, by GPA for black and white High School Students

33 Self-Esteem for male and female teenagers, related to whether rap or hip- hop music is always usually, sometimes, usually not or never an important part of my life. Source: Calculations by Ron Ferguson, using Tripod Project data for 6 th to 12 th graders collected spring 2005 from 17 secondary schools in NJ, CT, OH, NM, MA and CA.

34 Self-Esteem for male and female teenagers, related to whether rock music is always usually, sometimes, usually not or never an important part of my life. Source: Calculations by Ron Ferguson, using Tripod Project data for 6 th to 12 th graders collected spring 2005 from 17 secondary schools in NJ, CT, OH, NM, MA and CA.

35 Self-esteem, by GPA and by whether Hip-Hop music is usually or always an important part of my life, for black teenagers.

36 Racial and SES Differences in School Behavior

37 BlacksWhites Male Female Mothers Years of Schooling Percent responding, somewhat true, mostly true, or totally true, that, My behavior is a problem for the teacher in this class.

38 BlacksWhites Male Female Mothers Years of Schooling Percent responding that at least sometimes, People would probably describe my behavior style as ghetto.

39 Percentage who agree that at least sometimes, Some teachers seem afraid of me,


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