Closing Student Achievement
Gaps: C.A.R.E. Strategies for
Success
Linda Cabral
NEA Human & Civil Rights
Mid-Atlantic Equity Conference
April 2007
Objectives
• Examine teaching & learning
factors that help close
achievement gaps
• Become familiar with NEA
resources for closing
achievement gaps
WHAT ARE ACHIEVEMENT
GAPS?
• Achievement gaps exist when groups
of students with relatively equal
ability do not achieve in school at the
same levels.
• In fact, one group often far exceeds
the achievement level of another.
Let’s Talk about Gaps…Not “A Gap”
Gaps in achievement exist across the nation
and within our communities, school
districts, and schools.
– Race/ethnicity
– Income levels
– Language background
– Disability status
– Gender.
EVIDENCE OF GAPS?
Achievement
gaps appear in
the data on
• Performance
• Access
• Attainment.
WHAT CAUSES THE GAPS?
There is no simple explanation. Various factors
contribute to or underlie the gaps—
•
•
•
•
•
The multiple effects of poverty
Poor home and community learning opportunities
Discrimination
Inadequate healthcare, and
Substandard housing and high rates of mobility.
C.A.RE.: Strategies for Closing the
Achievement Gaps
A New Vision of the Learners Who
Experience Achievement Gaps
Deficit View:
 Culturally deprived
 Failing or low
achieving
 At-risk
 Unmotivated
Assets View:
 Culturally enriched
 Unrecognized or
under-developed
abilities
 Resilient
 Engaged/selfmotivated
Chapter 1: Opportunities and
Challenges in Public Education
• Background on NEA’s work
• Closing the Achievement gaps research
references
• “C.A.R.E. for All Students” focus of guide
• Priority Learner framework
• Connection to CREDE research
• Structure of theme chapters
What’s in My Name?
(Page 2–20)
• Share with a partner the
story of your name:
– What does it mean?
– Who were you named for
and who named you?
– If you could choose any
name, what would it be,
and why?
What Does Chapter 2 Talk About?
• Why is it important for educators to know and
understand diverse cultures?
• Why is an understanding of the role of culture in
learning so important now?
• How is culture connected to language?
• What can educators do?
• Why is advocating for the understanding of the
culture of our students important?
C.A.R.E.
Theme
• Culture:
The sum total of one’s
experiences,
knowledge, skills,
beliefs, values,
language, and interests.
Learning is greatest
when the cultures of
home and school
connect.
CREDE
Standards
• Contextualization:
Connect teaching and
curriculum to the
experiences, values,
knowledge, and needs of
students
• Learning through
Observation-Modeling:
Promote student learning
through observation by
modeling behaviors,
thinking processes, and
procedures
Culture Check-In
Page 3–4
• Rate yourself on
each item 1-5, with
1 being “not at all”
and 5 being “I do
this regularly.”
• Discussion: at your
table, share one
thing you do really
well.
Purpose of Culture Activities
• They establish a community of learners
and leaders, incorporate student
perspectives, and establish procedures,
norms, and assumptions
• They help you know your students and
their families and engage families as a
resource for learning
What Does Chapter 3 Talk About?
Challenging closely held beliefs about student
learning:
• How Sally scores on the standardized test tells
me what she knows and what she can learn.
• We all know what intelligence is. You either have
it or you don’t. Whatever a child’s IQ is, well,
that’s it.
• My students don’t speak English: How can I
expect them to grasp math concepts and other
complex topics?
C.A.R.E.
Theme
•
Abilities:
Intelligence is modifiable
and multidimensional.
Abilities are developed
through cultural
experiences; culture
affects thoughts and
expression.
CREDE
Standards
•
Challenging
Activities/Teaching
Complex Thinking:
Challenge students toward
cognitive complexity.
•
Language and Literacy
Development Across the
Curriculum:
Develop student
competence in the language
and literacy of instruction
across the curriculum.
Purpose of Abilities Activities
• Promote higher order
thinking
• Hold high expectations
for all students
• Look at multiple
measures of
assessment for multiple
intelligences
Educator Reflection:
Deficits into Strengths [Pg.
4-18]
• Review the list of “deficits” in the
handout “Our Words Matter”
• Table discussion: find a way to
change your perspective and
describe each deficit as a strength
What Does Chapter 4 Talk About?
• What is resilience and why is it important?
• How do schools provide caring relationships for
students?
• Why are high expectations important?
• How can you provide students with opportunities
for participation?
• Personal resilience strengths
C.A.R.E.
Theme
• Resilience:
Displayed when
protective factors alter a
person’s response to risk
(poverty, crime, etc.)
factors in the
environment. Resilient
students exhibit social
competence, problem
solving skills, and a sense
of future.
CREDE
Standard
• Instructional
Conversation:
Teaching through
conversation.
Characteristics of Resilience
•
•
•
•
•
Social competence
Problem-solving skills
Critical consciousness
Autonomy
A sense of purpose and
future
Purpose of Resilience Activities
• They build resilience through developing
strengths-based practices.
• They apply equally to building resilience in
educators as in students.
What Does Chapter 5 Talk About?
(1)
Assumptions we make about students and what
energizes them to learn:
• Students don’t put a lot of effort into the work
that they turn in.
• My students are unmotivated.
• There is nothing I can do to motivate my
students.
What Does Chapter 5 talk about?
Moving beyond the assumptions:
• How does an understanding of our students’
culture help us motivate them to excellence?
• How can we tell if students are making an
effort when we can’t see them doing it?
• Are grades the only reward students should
be trying for?
(2)
C.A.R.E.
Theme
• Effort:
The energy used in reaching a
goal. Maximized when
students receive
educator
encouragement
and high
expectations for
quality work.
CREDE
Standards
• Joint Productive
Activity/Teachers
& Students
Producing
Together:
Facilitate learning
through activity
shared by educators
and students.
• Student Choice:
Encourage student
decisionmaking.
Purpose of Effort and Motivation
Activities
• They build on students’ unique interests.
• They incorporate authenticity in the
curriculum.
• They help you differentiate instruction based
on students’ academic needs and their
interests.
Chapter 6: Community Support for
C.A.R.E. Strategies
• Research on parent and community
involvement
• Connection of ESPs to the community
• Community connection activities
• Connecting the classroom to the family
and community
Parents in “hard-to-reach”
families:
• May not have initiated
contact with the school to
work together on the
child’s education.
• May have low-self esteem.
• May not realize the
importance of their role in
their child’s education.
• May be overwhelmed by
trying to meet the basic
needs of the family.
Chapter 7: Developing a Systems
Perspective for School Organization
• Core values
• Continuous improvement
• Policies, procedures, and
practices in your school
Next Steps for Leaders
How will you use what you have learned
when you return to your school or work
site?
What Can We Do Collectively to
Close the Gaps?
• In our classrooms?
• In our schools?
• In our school districts?
• Communities?
• States?
NEA Achievement Gaps Resources
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
C.A.R.E.: Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps
http://www.nea.org/teachexperience/careguide.html
Closing Achievement Gaps: An Association Guide
www.achievementgaps.org/nea/Associationguide.pdf
NEA’s achievement gaps Web site: www.achievementgaps.org
Strengthening the Learning Environment: A School Employee’s
Guide to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues, 2nd
Edition
http://www.achievementgaps.org/nea/StrengtheningLearningE
nvironment06.pdf
A Report on the Status of Hispanics in Education: Overcoming a
History of Neglect (see www.achievementgaps.org)
Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Education:
Beyond the “Model Minority” Stereotype (see
www.achievementgaps.org)
The Status of American Indians and Alaska Natives in
Education (see www.achievementgaps.org)
Public engagement projects – What Can We Do to Close
Achievement Gaps and Make Sure that All Students Learn? A
Community Conversation: [email protected]
2004–2005 “Focus On” publications on closing the gaps
www.nea.org/teachexperience/achievgapfocus0405.html
HCR Achievement Gaps Team
Key Contacts
Sheila Simmons, Ph.D., Director,
Human & Civil Rights, [email protected]
Senior Policy Analyst & Program Consultants:
•Denise A. Alston, Ph.D., [email protected]
•Linda Bacon, [email protected]
•Linda Cabral, [email protected]
•Marcella Dianda, Ed.D., [email protected]
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