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The U.S. Achievement Gap. Mary Poplin, Claremont Graduate University March, 2014 . Policy and Pedagogy. POLICY ISSUES. History of Attempts to Close Gap – US Government Rulings . State Governments in charge of US education Supreme Court Ruling 1954 – separate not equal

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the u s achievement gap

The U.S. Achievement Gap

Mary Poplin, Claremont Graduate University

March, 2014

history of attempts to close gap us government rulings
History of Attempts to Close Gap –US Government Rulings

State Governments in charge of US education

Supreme Court Ruling 1954 – separate not equal

Desegregation – Busing

attempts to close gap special national projects
Attempts to Close GapSpecial National Projects

Early Education – Head Start

Compensatory programs

Tracking and De-tracking

Special Education

Bilingual /education

Free Lunch

Various Remedial Programs

the history of the gap

The History of the Gap

Achievement Data Graphs


Black / White Achievement Gap

ETS Black White Achievement Gap – July 2010

hispanic white achievement gap 8 th grade mathematics
Hispanic White Achievement Gap8th Grade Mathematics

NCES Hispanic White Gap – June 2011

hispanic white gap 8 th grade reading
Hispanic White Gap 8th Grade Reading

NCES Hispanic White Gap – June 2011

three historical movements
Three Historical Movements

Early movement after desegregation

Problematic Dismantling of Neighborhood Schools

Remedial curriculum, not same

Grade inflation

late 80s effective school movement r on edmonds
Late 80s Effective School Movement – Ron Edmonds

Strong administrators

High expectations for teachers and students

Orderly school climate

Time on academic tasks

Basic skills

Frequent assessments to check progress

accountability for special programs
Accountability for Special Programs

Did you do what you said you would do?

Did you serve the right students?

Did you serve the right number of students?

nclb new accountability
NCLB – New Accountability

Achievement analyzed by race and class

Not average scores of all students

Requirement to increase each subgroup

Tied to evaluation of states, districts, schools and teachers

purpose of education
Purpose of Education

Education leading to college

Education leading to career

pedagogical debates
Pedagogical Debates
  • Transmission of Knowledge
  • Construction of Meanings
transmission pedagogy
Transmission Pedagogy

Set of knowledge and social virtues passed from generation to generation

Carefully planned presentation of content

Class Discussion and Individual Practice

Teacher Feedback

Teacher controls the learning

constructivist pedagogy
Constructivist Pedagogy

Students learn through experience

Assimilation, accommodation, equilibration

Depends on social and language contexts

Student controls the learning

constructivist methods
Constructivist Methods

Experiential education

Project Based

Cooperative Learning

Flipped Classrooms

Student discussions

research findings validate transmission over construction
Research Findings Validate Transmission over Construction

Both effective schools movement and NCLB used more transmission

Validates frequent monitoring of student progress

Validates teacher feedback – immediate and content directed

Need for background knowledge

achievement in ineffective urban schools
Achievement in Ineffective Urban Schools

In three high schools:

53% of the English teachers and 60% of the math teachers

have 30%-75% of their students moving down a level in a single year.

highly effective teachers in ineffective urban schools
Highly effective teachers in ineffective urban schools

Use transmission

Lecture and whole class discussion


High expectations

Move around room

Give extensive feedback

Disposition to work hard


Every child in my classroom is underachieving based on what I see as their potentialAnd it is my job to do something about itI can and I want to.

highly effective teachers according to their students
Highly effective teachers according to their students


Explain things over and over

Believes in me

Wants me to go to college, have a good life, be successful


When I was in first grade and second and third when I cried my teachers coddled me.When I got to Mrs. T’s room, she told me to suck it up and get to work. I think she is right, I need to work harder.

other teacher data
Other Teacher Data

1/3 were immigrants

1/3 were African American

No particular age or years of teaching

Not necessarily better degrees

1/3 had similar lives as their students

Neither far left or rightpolitically

Most were religious and said their religion was a significant reason for their work.

theoretical explanations for why transmission works best
Theoretical Explanations for Why Transmission Works Best

Kirschner, Mayer, Hirsch, Hattie

Students are novices, not experts

Lack of background knowledge

Active learning does not mean action

Transmission can engage minds

Cognitive overload

Critical importance of immediate feedback

constructivism may be the right learning theory but not the wrong pedagogy
Constructivism may be the right learning theory but not the wrong pedagogy

If students do learn by constructing new meanings, they may be more able to do that with a more active teacher who is skilled in transmitting information.

trends for asian americans
Trends for Asian Americans

CEP Trends for Asian American Students – June 2010