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The Achievement Gap Closing the Gap.

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Presentation on theme: "The Achievement Gap Closing the Gap."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Achievement Gap Closing the Gap

2 Fact: All of the districts in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, which report scores for the African American subgroup, are experiencing gaps in achievement scores between whites and blacks.

3 Fact: Gaps between averages for whites and blacks range from 18% to 38%

4 Fact: According to the No Child Left Behind Act, All subgroups are expected to rise to 100% proficient.

5 NOT A FACT: African-Americans are intellectually inferior to the white race and will never achieve equity in scores.

6 Today’s Agenda: What is the Achievement Gap?
Why Should I Be Concerned? What Causes the Gap? What Are the Effects of the Gap? What Can We Do About the Gap?

7 What Can We Do About the Gap?
Split into groups Each group will discuss one question, finding ways to address it within the context of their own classrooms. Create a visual or other means of presenting findings. Present to whole group.

8 What is the Achievement Gap?
( “When educators talk about the “achievement gap,” they are usually referring to the fact that poor minority students, as a group, score lower on student achievement measures than do middle-class non-minority students…etc. However, the term “achievement gap” means different things to different people.”

9 What is the achievement gap?
Gaps in achievement between whites and any other dissagregated group African-american, Hispanic, Native American, Special Education… Focus today is on African-American/low socioeconomic backgrounds

10 What is the Achievement Gap?
According to the School Matters website,, the following slides are statistical NCLB data for local area districts What do you notice?

11 A Sample of Inner-City School District’s 2004 NCLB Data: AYP Reading Proficiency

12 School District 1: 2004 AYP Reading Proficiency

13 School District 2 NCLB Data: 2004 AYP Math Proficiency

14 School District 3 NCLB Data: 2004 AYP Math Proficiency

15 School District 4: 2004 AYP Reading Proficiency

16 School District 5 NCLB Data: 2004 AYP Math Proficiency

17 Why Should I Be Concerned?
Taking measures to ensure equitable quality education for all students is the right thing to do. [document] developed by the Research Practitioner Council and approved by the Governing Board of the Minority Student Achievement Network in June 2003 “Eliminating the gap is not only the right thing to do, but it is essential to ensure the future of our democracy…etc. Because achievement is not innately determined, children will achieve when they are effectively taught how to learn…”

18 Why Should I Be Concerned?
According to Daggot, the minority population of today is tomorrow’s majority population. Without adequate education, they will be unable to find good paying jobs. If they are not earning high enough pay, they cannot contribute adequately toward social security.

19 Why Should I Be Concerned?
Without adequate contributions toward social security, the fund will run out. When we are ready to retire, there won’t be enough money to fund our social security retirement.

20 Why Should I Be Concerned?
Self-Improvement as a Teacher/Professional Striving for Excellence Making a Difference in the Lives of All Children

21 It’s the Law! ( The No Child Left Behind Act mandates the improvement in academic performance of disadvantaged students. “States must develop a system of sanctions and rewards to hold districts and schools accountable for improving academic achievement… Consequences for schools that fail to educate disadvantaged students will first receive assistance, and then come under corrective action if they fail to make progress. If schools fail to make adequate yearly progress for three consecutive years, disadvantaged students may use Title 1 funds to transfer to a higher-performing public or private school, or receive supplemental educational services from a provider of choice.”

22 Causes of the “TAG”: Parental Influences Socio-economic factors
Cultural factors Prejudice / racism School environment Student attitudes Teacher Factors

23 Parental Involvement:
Single Parent Family Two or more jobs Lack of caring Lack of involvement knowledge Lack of involvement invitation Personal/Special reasons

24 Socio-Economic Factors
Low-parent income contributes to low educational resources at home Broken family structure is influence in unstable environment…leads to concerns that are lower on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs than the level, “Need to Know” which is a major motivational state of being for a child to want to learn.

25 More social factors: Surrounded by friends with same parental/economic background

26 More social factors: If the student is within a different cultural learning environment than his own, feelings of “will I fit in?” and the need to be part of a group may supersede learning. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the need to belong and feel loved supersedes the Need to Know stage.

27 Cultural factors: ( Interview with Dr. Ruby K. Payne, author of A Framework for Understanding Poverty “Teachers often come from vastly different social and economic classes than their students, which can lead to culture clashes in the classroom.”

28 Prejudice/Racism: Cultural attitudes and racism also play a part in the achievement gap. …etc., some minority students perceive that the majority culture sees them as less capable and expects little of them. These students may not try in school, since they believe they won’t succeed anyway.

29 More prejudice/racial factors:
Some researchers believe minority students may maintain low levels of achievement purposely to avoid “acting white” and gain the approval of their peers…

30 More cultural factors:
“…etc., behavior of some low income students might seem wrong to teachers from middle-income backgrounds, but made sense in the context of students’ lives.” “Misconceptions about low-income students and a middle-income frame of reference can hamper the education of students in poverty.”

31 School Environment: There are many factors in the school environment that contribute to the achievement of minority students. Ownership Belongingness Feelings of being singled out, or prejudiced against Feelings that punishment for a circumstance is always worse for African Americans

32 More student-environmental factors:
Feelings that doing well means “acting white” Use of students culture in the context of learning (are cultural names used in both written or verbal examples?) (are there representations of and from minority students in academic text, school art, and library books?)

33 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (http://www. awa

34 School Environment If a student has to concentrate more on his or her fear of being in school situations, or if he or she feels a lack of belongingness, it will be more difficult to focus on learning.

35 Teacher Factors: (
“…etc., teachers often have low expectations of these students, leading them to have low expectations for themselves. In some cases, there is a belief that the mainstream culture is the standard, and therefore, better. When there is no use of the minority culture’s environment, students will feel that it must be unimportant to the teacher.”

36 More teacher factors: ( “...etc., they often have teachers who give them less academic attention and are unprepared to address their diverse cultural needs.”

37 More teacher factors: “African American student achievement may suffer because school staff misread or use inappropriate teaching strategies that do not capitalize on students’ culture orientations or learning styles.”

38 More School Factors: ( “Students do not shed their cultural skins at the school door. Many schools have difficulty trying to create a school culture that incorporates diverse cultural orientations. For example, many Black students are more socially interactive in the classroom than White students whose behavior more closely fits the White, middle-class school norm for appropriate classroom behaviors.”

39 More Teacher Factors: “Teachers may view students in special educations programs or in the lower-academic tract, where students of color are overrepresented, as having less intellectual ability.” (

40 More Teacher Factors: “Teachers often expect more from middle-class students.” “Teachers tend to reject students who they perceive as overly active and distractible” [sic].

41 Racism: [document] developed by the Research Practitioner Council and approved by the Governing Board of the Minority Student Achievement Network in June 2003 “Racism within schools continues to be a significant barrier to student achievement.”

42 What will happen if “TAG” continues to exist?
( “...etc., the test score gap is large enough to have important social and economic consequences.”

43 What will happen if “TAG” continues to exist?
( “Achievement gaps are a life-limiting tragedy for the children who have been left behind. They are also tangible evidence of institutional racism and social alienation in America’s public schools.” If the Achievement Gap continues to exist, as well as the factors that support its existence, it will continue to perpetuate many race-related problems that exist today.

44 So what? What can we do? It is important to remember that the Achievement Gap is due to factors that helped support it. While some of these factors include socioeconomic and cultural factors, the school related factors, such as student attitude, school atmosphere, teacher expectations, and prejudice/racism are factors that are within the control of the school district, its programs, and employees.

45 Ahhh… There is a rainbow…

46 And we can help put it there…

47 What can we do about the Achievement Gap?
( Dr. Ruby Payne says that some strategies that we can employ to help make lessons more relevant and understandable for children of all social classes are:

48 What can we do about the Achievement Gap?
Build relationships of mutual respect with students Use direct teaching processes. This means that you are very specific in the steps and procedures needed to do something. Use “Mental” modes.

49 What else can we do about the Achievement Gap?
( “Understand the role of prejudice, bias, and stereotyping in their lives.” “Use the unique abilities, skills, talents, and strengths of all students to expand and extend their learning and achievement, using in culturally appropriate ways questioning strategies, critical thinking, and the application of knowledge.” “Take advantage of social skills that children typically bring to the classroom.” “…etc., ensure equitable academic attention by developing a system for calling on students.”

50 What else can we do about the Achievement Gap?
( Take advantage of social skills that children typically bring to the classroom.” “…etc., ensure equitable academic attention by developing a system for calling on students.”

51 What else can we do about the Achievement Gap?
( One school district, Fort Wayne, “implemented diversity training for staff, developed school improvement plans with the input of representative groups across age and racial lines, and revised curriculum to include better representation of the cultural contributions of people of color.”

52 What else can we do about the Achievement Gap?
Use of a student attitude survey will help determine if a need exist in the area of school atmosphere.

53 What else can we do about the Achievement Gap?
( “The most promising school-related strategies for reducing the black-white test score gap seem to involve changes like reducing class size, setting minimum standards of academic competency for teachers and raising teachers’ expectations for low-performing students.”

54 Resources… Resource: Education World. Wire Side Chats. How Understanding Poverty Can Help Low-Income Children Learn. Internet Explorer. April Resource: Educational research Service. What Can Schools Do to Reduce the Achievement Gap? ERS On the Same Page Series. Internet Explorer. April 23, 2005. Resource: KY Department of Education. Background on Closing the Gap. Internet Explorer. April 23, 2005. he+Gap/Background...

55 More resources… Resource: State Education and Environment Roundtable. Closing the Achievement Gap. Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning. Internet Explorer. April 17, 2005. Resource: NW Regional Educational Laboratory. Closing the Achievement Gap Requires Multiple Solutions. Internet Explorer. April 17, 2005. Resource: document. “What is the Relationship Between Race and Achievement in Our Schools? Minority Student Achievement Network Statement of Purpose. Adopted June 2003.

56 More resources… Resource: Harvard Educational Letter. Research Online. Past Issues. Closing the Gap One School at a Time. Internet Explorer. April 17, 2005 Resource: United Church Press. A reflection on academic achievement gaps in public schools. June 12, Internet Explorer. April 17, 2005 Resource: PBS. The Debate. Minding the Gap. Internet Explorer. April 17, 2005

57 More resources… Resource: Bridging the Gap. A Champaign-Urbana Town Hall Meeting. Internet Explorer. April 23, 2003. Resource: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Internet Explorer. April 24, 2005.

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