This week I'm writing a series on technology and "The Achievement Gap"
on my social desktop
. This is the first part of the series which introduces the concept of "The Achievement Gap" and some methods high level administrators are using to combat the problem.
"The Achievement Gap" is a theory that observes educational performance of children in the United States in public K-12 schools. The foundation of this theory is based on research that shows certain economic and sociological conditions that lower academic performance. "The Achievement Gap" shows that the most common factors that negatively effect student performance are: poverty; limited family experience with education; cultural norms and values; racism, prejudice and segregation; inequalities between school resources; school and teacher attitudes; student motivation; and school environment.
"The Achievement Gap" spans educational indicators that include test scores, grades, graduation and dropout rates, college entrance, and completion rates (D’Amico, 2001). Observations that support this theory as a general trend have been documented over the last 30 years and have shown "The Achievement Gap" to primarily affect students from a background that is poor, disenfranchised, or a minority.
Oregon Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo, has been openly battling the education gap for nearly five years now. She has stated publicly that "closing the achievement gap [is] a top instructional priority." Her biography on the Oregon Department of Education website states that "[t]hroughout Susan’s first four years in office, Oregon has experienced steady growth in reading and math performance across the grades, and is seeing significant progress in closing the achievement gap." Her achievements have been made by "launching a comprehensive literacy plan so students not only learn to read but also read to learn; increasing the number of families in Head Start and expanding full-day kindergarten to every school in the state; revamping the high school diploma to ensure that graduates get a more rigorous, relevant education to prepare them for college and/or careers; improving guidance and counseling at high schools; and cultivating new leadership in schools and district through training and mentoring."