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ERIC Number: EJ883980
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 104
ISSN: ISSN-0091-732X
Defining Equity: Multiple Perspectives to Analyzing the Performance of Diverse Learners
Jordan, Will J.
Review of Research in Education, v34 n1 p142-178 2010
Defining equity within the context of a diverse, multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural society, and one where social class strongly influences one's life chances is problematic. This chapter reexamines equity in an attempt to advance the discourse beyond the debate about strategies to close the achievement gap between White students and students of color. The author situated the issue of equity within an analysis of broader social forces that cultivate inequality throughout society--in employment, housing, criminal justice, and so forth--so that educational inequality is part and parcel of overarching social ills. The notion of equity will be unpacked by asking a more basic and fundamental question about the ultimate purpose of education. If people assume the end game of education is producing student learning, then it is important to ask whether learning outcomes are distributed randomly across race, ethnicity, and social class. Moreover, the author will explore whether No Child Left Behind (NCLB)-like assessments or high-stakes tests measure real learning necessary for social and economic success, or do they measure something else. The role of increased accountability via state-based systems as an approach to obtaining equity is hotly debated. Although advocates are many, several studies have found the consequences of high-stakes testing, which are nonobvious and perhaps unintended, have not helped advance the nation toward equitable schooling. Without diminishing the need to refine standards of educational equity and excellence within a diverse society, the author believes the more important aim is creating a context within which students are nurtured socially and intellectually and given real opportunities to learn high-content, standards-based material. Equity then, could be measured in terms of "quality of care" and rigor, as well as via individual achievement indicators. Perhaps ongoing work to create standards-based assessments in diverse educational settings may hopefully lead to an evolution of the current accountability policy framework. (Contains 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001