ERIC Number: EJ766831
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
Reference Count: 3
Challenging Students to Achieve
VanSciver, James H.
Principal Leadership, v4 n7 p39-42 Mar 2004
With the specter of No Child Left Behind hanging over their heads, educators should be wary of using disaggregated data to track selected populations of students and their progress through school. Such data can be misleading by showing that students are doing well, although they may be taking classes that are not challenging. Although the myth of public education as the "great equalizer" is alive and well, the notion of public schools as the savior of the less fortunate is fundamentally compromised when institutional decision-making does more to suppress low-income and minority students through low expectations demonstrated by the scheduling process than to advance their academic opportunities. An analysis of the adequate yearly progress data for Seaford (DE) Middle School for 2003 revealed that although 77% of the school's White students in grade 8 were proficient in English and Language Arts, only 47% of the Black students and 48% of the low-income students were. Similar results were demonstrated for mathematics: Sixty percent of the White, 24% of the low-income, and 13% of the Black students in grade 8 were rated as proficient. Reasons for the achievement gap in the Delaware school district include a lack of advocacy by parents and low expectations and underscheduling by the schools. A proactive program by which minority and low-income students are chosen for AP classes on the basis of their standardized test scores and supported with counseling and monitoring has helped close the achievement gap in the district.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Grade 8, Minority Group Children, White Students, Standardized Tests, Public Education, Academic Achievement, High Risk Students, Middle School Students, Low Income Groups, African American Students, Reading Achievement, Mathematics Achievement, School Districts, Parent Role, Teacher Expectations of Students, Advanced Placement, Scores, School Counseling
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001