|achievement gap can be narrowed further|
Whenever an inner city school or poor rural school adopts an exemplary program that helps students achieve, Title I funding almost invariably made it possible.
what will drecrease educational inequality?
A study predicts a decline in the black-white achievement gap but educational inequality by socioeconomic background may persist.
The Coleman Report, Forty Years On
Recent papers by UW-Madison professors Adam Gamoran and Geoffrey Borman review the 1966 “Equality of Educational Opportunity” report on the 40th anniversary of its publication, and both reach provoking conclusions. Published in 1966, the EEO report is also known as the Coleman Report, after its principal author, sociologist James Coleman. It found that U.S. schools were highly segregated and noted inequalities in American public schooling, not only between schools but also within schools.
Multiyear Summer School
In a 3-year study of the Teach Baltimore Summer Academy, UW-Madison education professor Geoffrey Borman and colleagues measured how much a multiyear summer school program counteracts the cumulative effect of the “summer slide” on reading achievement of students from low-SES families—the drop in students’ performance that occurs over the summer. The Teach Baltimore program enrolls students in kindergarten—before they have the opportunity to fall far behind.
Familism Helps and Hinders Hispanic College Success
Some college-bound Hispanic students find themselves pulled in two directions: They want to cultivate themselves. They’re willing to leave home, if the best education requires it. At the same time, another impulse encourages them to stay at home and uphold family ties that help shape their identity. In a study of high school seniors, López Turley found that Hispanics are the most likely to say it’s important to live at home during college, even those with college-educated parents. But students who say it is important to stay home are significantly less likely to apply to college, especially to selective institutions.
New Directions for Mixed-Ability Instruction
How can teachers best organize students for instruction? After a century of research on tracking and ability grouping, one might expect a definitive answer to this question. Yet every approach has disadvantages as well as advantages, and the consequences vary by context. Here’s the dilemma: On the one hand, schools are asked to provide all students with a common set of cognitive and social skills essential for full civic and economic participation in adult society. On the other hand, schools are structured to sort and select students for different career paths based on their individual orientations and capacities. This tension between commonality and differentiation underlies the tracking debate. The former aim is consistent with mixed-ability teaching. The latter is consistent with tracking. The debate has no simple resolution because school systems embody both goals.
UW-Madison education professor Adam Gamoran says recent research has advanced knowledge of tracking in three areas. First, international scholarship offers new knowledge about the consequences of tracking in contexts beyond the US and the UK, where most prior research has been conducted. Second, studies of attempts to reduce or eliminate tracking and ability grouping yield important insights into why tracking resists change. For example, teachers oppose detracking when they believe they are not equipped to successfully instruct students of widely varying abilities in the same classroom. Third, studies on classroom assignment and instruction point toward new possibilities. These new approaches don’t resolve the tension between commonality and differentiation.
How Does Desegregation Help Reduce the Achievement Gap?
Peer effects are important determinants of student achievement, but it remains difficult to calculate the actual effects of desegregation directly. WCER researcher Jane Cooley uses a new approach to identify the effect of peer behavior on individual student achievement.
Studying a group of public elementary school students in North Carolina, Cooley found that
1. Peer group effects exist primarily within race-based reference groups,
2. Their influence diminishes across range of student achievement, and
3. Desegregating peer groups narrows the achievement gap only marginally, on average, but this average masks important gains for lower achievers.