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Student AchievementClosing the Achievement GapSelected Research & Readings (Additional Resources)
 
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 CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP
 
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Progress of Education Reform: Hispanic Achievement PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform summarizes several recent studies and analyses that shed new light on the dimensions, causes, and social and economic consequences of Hispanic underachievement. (Suzanne Weiss, The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 5, no. 3, Education Commission of the States, August 2004)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Closing the Achievement Gap PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform provides summaries of the latest research on the causes, dimensions and effects of the achievement gap, along with links to other sources of information. (Suzanne Weiss, The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 4, no. 1, Education Commission of the States, March 2003)...

State Test Score Trends through 2008-09, Part 2: Slow and Uneven Progress in Narrowing Gaps - After eight years of implementing the No Child Left Behind Act and other school reforms, how much progress have states, school districts and schools made in lifting achievement for students from all backgrounds and closing achievement gaps? The authors of this study felt four main conclusions emerged from this study: (1) Achievement gaps are large and persistent; (2) every major student group has made gains in math and reading tests but gaps have not always narrowed; (3) gaps on student tests have often narrowed since 2002. Gap trends vary based on student group and indicator of achievement examined; (4) at the current rates of progress it would take many years to close most gaps. (Center on Education Policy, December 2010) ...

Gauging the Gaps: A Deeper Look at Student Achievement - Using state-level NAEP data, this brief illustrates the pitfalls in one-dimensional appraisals of achievement gaps. Analyzing the gaps from four perspectives is essential to gain a comprehensive, accurate picture of equity. (Anna Rowan, Daria Hall and Kati Haycock, The Education Trust, January 2010)...

Lost Opportunity: A 50 State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America--National Summary Report - Analysis of state-collected education data reveals that 84% of states fail to provide students access to a moderately proficient public education system. The study analyzed student performance data reported by state departments of education to determine both the quality of and access to instruction provided across the United States. The results clearly show minority and low-income students have only half the opportunity to learn in our public schools as their White non-Latino peers. (Schott Foundation for Public Education, May 2009)...

Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools - Many discussions have been held on the causes of the achievement gap and on what the nation should do to address it. We know there are four distinct achievement gaps: (1) Between the U.S. and other countries; (2) between white, black and Latino students; (3) between students in different income levels; and (4) between similar students schooled in different systems or regions. This report shines the spotlight on the economic impact of the achievement gap. The authors point out that the persistence of these educational achievement gaps imposes on the country the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession. (McKinsey and Company, April 2009)...

Getting it Done: Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps in Whole School Systems: Recent Advances in Research and Practice - 2008 conference report. (Harvard University, 2009)...

High Schools for Equity - At a time when the achievement gap in California is large and appears unchanging, some high schools are beating the odds. This paper documents the practices and outcomes of five urban high schools in California that do an extraordinary job of preparing their students for success in higher education, productive careers and a fulfilling life. The schools -- both district run and charters -- serve populations that are predominantly low-income students of color in California’s largest cities. This study focuses on policy conditions and supports that help to create and sustain these and other successful urban schools. (The School Redesign Network, November 2007)...

How Far Behind in Math and Reading are English Language Learners? - Based on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, this report compares standardized test scores of English language learner (ELL) students with white, black and Hispanic students. The data suggests ELL students are among the farthest behind in standardized testing, with about 51% of 8th grade ELL students behind whites in reading and math. Other data show significant gaps between ELL 4th graders and their white peers, and smaller, but considerable gaps compared to black and Hispanics students. The report also examines characteristics of limited English speaking students of different grade levels. (Richard Fry, Pew Hispanic Center, June 2007)...

Beating the Odds: An Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gaps on State Assessments - Results from the 2005-2006 School Year - The seventh edition of this report shows that major urban districts continue to make important gains in math and reading scores on state assessments and may be narrowing achievement gaps. The report also looks at the lowest academic performance levels and at demographic data. (Council of Great City Schools, April 2007) ...

Charter High Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap - Closing the achievement gap between low-income, minority, and special needs students and their peers is a high priority for the nation’s schools. This study examines eight charter secondary schools that are having success toward that end. It looks at similarities between the schools and details their expectations such as a rigorous curriculum, college prep, personal accountability and mastery of subjects. (WestEd, U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement, October 2006) ...

Closing the Achievement Gap Series: Part II Response to Intervention (RTI) Basic Elements, Practical Applications, and Policy Recommendations - Response to Intervention (RTI) refers to an integrated, schoolwide method of service delivery across general and special education that promotes successful school outcomes for all students. This brief provides a broad overview of RTI, beginning with a discussion of the impetus behind RTI, which stems from flaws in the current special education system and specifically in the ability-achievement model for identifying learning disabilities. Next, the authors describe the principal components of RTI and highlight several model RTI programs around the country and provide policy recommendations for the implementation of RTI in Indiana. (Rebecca S. Martínez, Leah M. Nellis, and Kelly A. Prendergast, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Fall 2006) ...

Yes We Can: Telling Truths and Dispelling Myths About Race and Education in America - This report soundly rejects the myth that low academic achievement is inevitable among children of color and students from low-income families and provides examples of high-minority and high-poverty schools where children perform at high levels. (The Education Trust, September 2006) ...

Reforms That Could Help Narrow the Achievement Gap - Policymakers almost universally conclude that persistent achievement gaps must result from wrongly designed school policies – either expectations that are too low, teachers who are insufficiently qualified, curricula that are badly designed, classes that are too large, school climates that are too undisciplined, leadership that is too unfocused or a combination of these. This report argues that an exclusive focus on schooling is wrong, and that without complementary investments in early childhood preparation, health care, housing, after-school and summer programs and other social and economic supports, the achievement gap will never be closed. (Richard Rothstein, WestEd, 2006) ...

Achievement Gaps and Correlates of Early Mathematics Achievement: Evidence from the ECLS K–First Grade Sample - In light of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, this 2005 study estimates mathematics achievement gaps in different subgroups of kindergartners and first graders, and identifies child and school-level correlates and moderators of early mathematics achievement. This is the latest volume of Education Policy Analysis Archives published by the University of South Florida’s College of Education. The study found significant mathematics achievement gaps in Hispanics, African Americans and high-poverty students at the end of kindergarten. At the end of grade 1, mathematics gaps were significant in African-American, high-poverty, and female subgroups, but not in Hispanics. (Madhabi Chatterji, College of Education, University of South Florida, 2005)...

Examining Gaps in Mathematics Achievement Among Racial-Ethnic Groups, 1972-1992 - This report examines several nationally representative senior high school student cohorts between the early 1970s and early 1990s to understand trends in mathematics scores among black, Latino and white students. Main research questions addressed include: (1) test score changes of blacks, Latinos and whites between the early 1970s and early 1990s; (2) changes in selected family and school measures; (3) the extent to which changes in these measures associated with convergence of the black-white and Latino-white test score gaps occurring during this period; and (4) the policy implications arising from the empirical analysis. A summary of the report also is available. (Mark Berends, Samuel R. Lucas, Thomas Sullivan and R.J. Briggs, RAND, June 2005)...

Names, Expectations and the Black-White Test Score Gap - This paper examines the role of teacher expectations in affecting the black-white test score gap, investigating whether teachers treat children differently on the basis of factors other than observed ability – specifically student names - and whether this differential treatment translates into differences in student outcomes. The author finds that students with names having attributes of lower socioeconomic status score lower on standardized tests, even when compared to siblings whose names have fewer indicators. This outcome negatively affects black children more frequently, as they tend to have names with more attributes associated with lower socioeconomic status. The author makes a comparison to Asian children, finding that students with identifiable Asian names tend to face higher teacher expectations and also tended to score higher on examinations. (David N. Figlio, University of Florida and the National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2005)...

All Students Reaching the Top: Strategies for Closing Academic Achievement Gaps - Documenting the achievement gap in the United States, the authors maintain that the gap is due not to hereditary traits or unchangeable aptitudes but a lack of development of individual students’ ability. This report proposes closing the gap through relationship building, high-quality teaching and instruction, and environmental supports. The authors provide information on the research base supporting this approach, as well as specific activities to be conducted at the classroom, school and community level to bring about these changes. Recommendations for the national, state and local level also are offered. (Albert Bennett, Beatrice L. Bridglall, Ana Mari Cauce, Howard T. Everson, Edmund W. Gordon, Carol D. Lee, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Joseph S. Renzulli and Judy K. Stewart, Learning Point Associates, 2004)...

Beating the Odds IV: A City-by-City Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gap on State Assessments - The fourth in a series, this report provides the results on reading and math assessments in the 2002-03 academic year for students in the 61-member urban districts of the Council of the Great City Schools. It provides student demographic and staffing data for every district, compares district data and results with those of their respective state overall, and disaggregates scores by race, income, English proficiency and disability. The results indicate that, while the districts reported on are still scoring as a group below state and national averages in math and reading, they are both raising student performance levels in these subject areas and narrowing achievement gaps. An executive summary and summary tables are also available, as well as profiles for all 61-member cities. (Michael Casserly, data collection by Sharon Lewis, Janice Ceperich and Jack Jepson, Council of the Great City Schools, March 2004)...

Closing the Gap: High Achievement for Students of Color - This four-page brief summarizes the research on causes of the achievement gap and provides examples of successful programs—all offering “a demanding curriculum and a strong social support system”—that are closing the gap at the elementary, middle, high school and postsecondary levels. Graphics on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores for grades 4 and 8 from 1994 to 2002 indicate gains have been made in narrowing the achievement gap, but also that more work remains to be done. (American Educational Research Association, Research Points, Fall 2004)...

Closing the Racial Achievement Gap: The Role of Reforming Instructional Practices - This study applies the technique of Hierarchical Linear Modeling to a nationally representative sample of 13,000 fourth graders who took the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress in mathematics to identify instructional practices that reduce the achievement gap. The author concludes that instructional practices can affect within-school gaps but not between-school gaps and that the practices that make the most difference are in specific topic areas, such as instruction on measurement and working with data. (Harold Wenglinsky, Education Policy Analysis Archives, November 2004)...

Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress - Gaps in school achievement among racial and ethnic groups and between low-income and higher-income students are well documented. This publication examines the conditions that help create and perpetuate these gaps and identifies 14 factors that correlate to student achievement. "Before and Beyond School" factors include: birth weight, lead poisoning, hunger and nutrition, reading to young children, television watching, parent availability, student mobility and parent participation. "In School" factors include: rigor of curriculum, teacher experience and attendance, teacher preparation, class size, technology-assisted instruction and school safety. Statistical data indicated that children's experience with each factor differed based on race/ethnicity and income. A larger purpose of this framework is to encourage a periodic assessment of progress in closing gaps on each factor between student groups. (Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service, October 2003)...

The 1998 High School Transcript Study Tabulations: Comparative Data on Credits Earned and Demographics for 1998, 1994, 1990, 1987, and 1982 High School Graduates - Examining transcripts from students in both public and nonpublic schools, the researchers note trends in high school coursetaking from 1982 to 1998, as well as the correlation between NAEP proficiency estimates and student coursework in specific subject areas, grade point average, days absent in each grade 9-12 and overall and class size. Transcript data are broken out by gender, race/ethnicity, student program (academic, vocational, both or neither), community type, public vs. nonpublic and census region) Northeast, South, Midwest, West). According to the report, differences in coursetaking among racial/ethnic groups in 1998, while still present, were not as pronounced as in 1994. (Stephen Roey, Nancy Caldwell, Keith Rust, Eyal Blumstein, Tom Krenzke, Stan Legum, Judy Kuhn, Mark Waksberg, Westat, Jacqueline Haynes, National Center for Education Statistics, May 2001)...

Middle School Practices Improve Student Achievement in High Poverty Schools - The purpose of this study is to establish a relationship between team and classroom practices and student achievement as measured by standardized test scores. The authors find that income level of student families is the predominant influence on student achievement, but that schools can ameliorate this through several combined factors: (1) implementation of interdisciplinary teaming and common planning time; (2) higher levels of team and classroom practices; and (3) sustained engagement in teaming by teachers. (Steven B. Mertens and Nancy Flowers, Middle School Journal, September 2003)...

Addressing Racial Disparities in High-Achieving Suburban Schools - This report addresses racial and ethnic achievement differences in high-performing suburban school districts. Based on the findings, the author suggests four recommendations for schools, communities, and state and federal policymakers: (1) assume no motivational differences, (2) address specific skill deficits, (3) supply ample encouragement routinely, and (4) provide access to resources and learning experiences. (Ronald F. Ferguson, NCREL, December 2002)...

Beating the Odds II: A City-by-City Analysis of the Student Performance and Achievement Gaps on State Assessments - This report, the second in a series, presents achievement data on 55 urban school systems in 35 states. It finds that progress is being made in some school systems, but faults districts for inconsistent tracking of achievement by race, language, gender and income. (Council of the Great City Schools, June 2002)...

Bridging the Achievement Gap - This new book brings together the findings of renowned education scholars who show how various states, school districts and individual schools have lifted the achievement levels of poor and minority students. The most promising strategies include focusing on core academic skills, reducing class size, enrolling students in more challenging courses, administering annual achievement assessment tests, creating schools with a culture of competition and success, and offering vouchers in big-city school districts. (John E. Chubb and Tom Loveless, eds., Brookings Institution Press, 2002)...

Foundations for Success: Case Studies of How Urban School Systems Improve Student Achievement - This study examines four districts — Houston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Sacramento and the Chancellor’s District in New York City — for answers to the question: How did they manage to raise student achievement, given the challenges all urban districts face? The researchers identify prerequisites for change, as well as common strategies the four districts used to raise student performance. The report also analyzes the preconditions and strategies of comparison districts that did not see improved student achievement over the same period of time. Links to the full report and other resources are also available from this page. (Jason Snipes, Fred Doolittle and Corinne Harley, MDRC, September 2002)...

One School District's Plan for Closing the Achievement Gap MS Word PDF - The Cherry Creek School District in suburban Denver, Colorado, is implementing a five-point strategy to boost the achievement of the district's black and Hispanic students. The strategy focuses on raising academic achievement expectations, creating extended-learning opportunities for students, providing opportunity for academic acceleration and meeting the needs of diverse learners, increasing staff development and support, and providing support to students and families. (Cherry Creek School District, 2002)...

States Address Achievement Gaps MS Word - This "Stateline" article provides a snapshot of what some states are doing to maximize the abilities of all children and close the achievement gap. (Kathy Christie, Phi Delta Kappan, October 2002. Reprinted with permission.)...


Selected Research & Readings Current

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