ERIC Number: ED491863
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Closing the Achievement Gap: Lessons from Successful Schools
Billig, Shelley H.; Jaime, Ivonne I.; Abrams, Andrew; Fitzpatrick, Matthew; Kendrick, Ellen
US Department of Education
This report recounts how four high schools were able to narrow or completely close the achievement gap and sustain their success over time. The four schools are all large, comprehensive public high schools that serve large percentages of minority students. They were selected based on their four-year record of narrowing or closing the achievement gap in reading and/or mathematics. To understand how they were able to narrow or close the gap, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) held a series of focus groups with administrators and teachers in December 2004. The groups explored teaching and learning strategies in the content areas, culture and school climate issues, leadership for change, and the change process itself. Common themes included the following: high expectations for student achievement; curriculum alignment and standards-based instruction; and leadership for change. Panelists recommended schools use data to identify deficiencies and to drive instructional decisions; talent, creativity, and resources present in schools must be channeled in constructive ways to address the academic and social needs of minority students; working collaboratively in developing and aligning the curriculum should be paramount; and leadership can come directly from the departments charged with narrowing the gap, given appropriate resources, professional development, and administrative support. (Contains 2 exhibits.)
Descriptors: High Schools, Minority Groups, Leadership, Educational Improvement, Educational Change, Focus Groups, Academic Achievement, Student Needs, Educational Administration, Teaching Methods, Decision Making, Data Analysis
ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827 (Toll Free); Web site: http://www.edpubs.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED), Washington, DC.; RMC Research Corp., Arlington, VA.