Closing the achievement gap
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Closing the Achievement Gap. Kristi Krohn & Beth Paige. Which Achievement Gap?. Refers to differences in scores on state or national achievement tests between various student demographic groups Two kinds of gaps at the school level:

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Closing the achievement gap l.jpg

Closing the Achievement Gap

Kristi Krohn & Beth Paige

Which achievement gap l.jpg
Which Achievement Gap?

  • Refers to differences in scores on state or national achievement tests between various student demographic groups

  • Two kinds of gaps at the school level:

    • Internal: average differences between specific racial/ethnic groups and their white peers within a school

    • External: average differences between aggregate school scores for each student subgroup in the school and aggregate scores for white students across the state

      (Anderson, Medrich, & Fowler, 2007)

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No Child Left Behind (2001)

  • Increased accountability for states, school districts, and schools with the purpose of increasing achievement

  • State assessments in public schools (grades 3-8 and at least once in HS) are required in order to receive federal funding

  • Schools are required to use “scientifically based research” strategies in the classroom and with staff (professional development)

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Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

  • A set of performance targets that schools must achieve to meet NCLB requirements

  • Students must be tested in Reading, Math, and Science (new in 07-08)

  • 10 Student Subgroups:

  • Whole school (all students)

  • White

  • Black

  • Hispanic

  • American Indian

  • Asian

  • Multi-Racial

  • Economically Disadvantaged (free and reduced lunch)

  • Limited English Proficient

  • Students with Disabilities

  • ***NC ABCs also counts the following subgroups:

    • Male

    • Female

    • Not Economically Disadvantaged (NED)

    • Migrant Students

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NC ABCs of Public Education

  • NC’s accountability program to improve student achievement, reward excellence, and provide assistance to schools that need extra help

  • Began in 1996 and was revised in 2006, comparisons to results prior to 2006 may be problematic

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NC ABCs, Cont’d

  • Performance labels:

    • School of Excellence (90-100% above Level III)

    • School of Distinction (80-89%)

    • School of Progress (60-79%)

    • Priority School (50-59%)

    • Low Performing (less than 50%)

    • Monetary incentives to certified staff and teacher assistants based on performance level

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The Education Trust

  • Philosophy: All children will learn at high levels when they are taught to high levels.

    • Website contains fact sheets and resources for educators, fact sheets on achievement for each state

  • In general, results show that schools that get results:

    • Have clear goals (standards)

    • Provide all students challenging curriculum aligned to the standards

    • Give extra instruction to students who need it

    • Provide teachers who are well prepared to teach the subject

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Keep in Mind

  • Schools closing the gap are not necessarily the highest performing schools

  • Schools closing the gap are not necessarily making AYP

  • Schools making AYP are not necessarily closing the achievement gap

  • Comparisons across states are inappropriate

    (Anderson, Medrich, & Fowler, 2007)

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Local Examples

  • Pittsboro Elementary


  • Shepard IB Middle School


  • Cedar Ridge High School


      *What “scientific research based” programs are being implemented in your school to close the gap?

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Dismantling the Achievement Gap: What Counselors Need to Know

  • ASCA and Ed Trust are holding SC accountable for assisting students placed as risk (SPARS) and the teachers in the schools.

  • There is disagreement as to whether or not SC are prepared for the significant role in educational reform….well we have news for them….WE ARE

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What SC need to know! Know

  • Author Pedro Portes envisions that in order to close the gap SC need to make sure adolescents graduate with a set of critical thinking skills and social knowledge.

  • SPARs in most schools feel academically alienated and unmotivated because they are already behind.

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What can SC do to help.. Know

  • Counselor education programs represent ideal field for preparing experts in primary intervention.

    • This is a challenge because few policy makers understand and support primary prevention as a long term approach.

    • We need to have effective prevention, promotion and collaboration to be successful!

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Mediation as guidance Know

  • Huge focus of the mediation of students comes from not only targeting the problems of SPARs but also their future roles as parents of SPARs and society.

  • Include concept development for SPARs who are ready to create zones for proximal development.

    • Videos or plays

    • Counselor led peer groups

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Our roles…. Know

  • Important for SC to work proactively with students, teachers, administration, parents and communities.

  • Two new roles to take on to help reduce AG:

    • Extend guidance activities by organizing and overseeing a new human growth and development curriculum in secondary education.

    • Role in primary school is to focus mainly on not allowing the gap to emerge by organizing support for SPAR’s over time.

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IDP? Know

  • Believed that SPAR’s students should have an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) to determine the level of external support needed for academic learning. Mainly done at elementary level

  • Thoughts on IDP’s?

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Secondary level Know

  • Its important for SC to learn about curriculum development and work with principals and teachers to design district level programs and evaluation procedures. (Lucky for us we know how to do this!)

  • Curriculum must be values-free and must be linked with the community!

  • Have human development workshops for teachers, parents and others who want to be aware of the growing concerns. Stress the importance of peers in adolescence.

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What is being done to help: Know

  • DeWitt Reader’s Digest initiative in counselor education aims to transform counselor education programs by having them play a direct role in raising test scores.

  • Some resources available today:

    • Books

    • Journal articles

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Resource Know

  • Book: School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap: A Social Justice Framework for Success, written by Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy.

    • SC have multicultural training that places us at an advantage to help close the achievement gap.

    • We have the power and tools to influence students!

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Social Justice Approach Know

  • Six key functions of school counselors:

    • Counseling and Intervention Planning

    • Consultation

    • Connecting Schools, Families and Communities

    • Collecting and utilizing data

    • Challenging bias

    • Coordinating student services and support

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Programs that help! Know

  • The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) is a “non-partisan, non-profit professional development organization based on Washington, DC that provides varied learning opportunities for individuals working on policy issues affecting youth at the local, state and national levels”

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Successful programs Know

  • Target:

    • Attendance and dropout rates

    • Grades

    • Credits earned

    • Standardized test scores

    • High School Graduate

    • College Admission or completion

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5 Overarching keys to success Know

  • High expectations for youth, program and staff

  • Personalized attention

  • Innovative Structure/Innovation

  • Experiential learning

  • Long-term support

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Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Career Academies: CA

College Bound

Gateway to Higher Education

I Have a Dream

Upward Bound

Youth River Watch

Maryland’s Tomorrow


Student Support Services


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Conclusion Know

  • We as SC need to advocate for our roles in closing the achievement gap. Go out and let your principal know that you have training to help participate in this arena.

  • Through consultation and collaboration we can all work to help make positive change.

  • Set a goal for yourself!!!!

    • What you can do to help close the achievement gap?