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What is the Achievement Gap and how to Close it?

What is the Achievement Gap? All of the parents’ concerns about the quality of education in the nation were rekindled in 2020 by the Covid-19 outbreak that swept the globe.

All of the students and professors had to find alternative means to continue their education because, like all other institutions, the schools would have to close in order to stop the virus from spreading. There are still worries that students did not learn much during those months under quarantine, despite the fact that every precaution was made to keep everything online. But for many kids, this is the reality owing to a variety of causes. The accomplishment gap is a term used to characterize this phenomena. We’ll explain what it is and how it affects things below.

What is the Achievement Gap
What is the Achievement Gap?

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What is the Achievement Gap?

The differential in educational attainment between various communities of people is referred to as the achievement gap. The achievement gap exists at every educational level, from kindergarten to graduate school. Due to a lack of education and credentials, students will lose out on excellent employment prospects, which has an adverse effect on both the people and society as a whole. However, society will suffer from the absence of contributions that could have been made if there hadn’t been a gap. Typically, school achievement indicators like test scores, dropout rates, and college enrollment rates provide proof of the aforementioned discrepancy.

The definition of the achievement gap refers to the significant differences in academic performance between particular student groups. The statistics on the achievement gap are derived from academic information including grades, standardized test scores, graduation and dropout rates, and matriculation into higher education. The term “achievement gap” was once only used to describe non-Hispanic white students and African American students, but it has since expanded to include Hispanic and Asian students as well as the disparity in socioeconomic status and gender as a result of the country’s rapidly changing demographics.

It is important to investigate and close the achievement gap among kids because we need to train the next generation of workers and societal contributors. Since education can be directly linked to income through employment, it is also vital to break the cycle of poverty.

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Who is Affected by Achievement Gaps?

The following groups, according to the National Education Association, have considerable academic attainment gaps:

  • Students from families with limited means
  • Schoolchildren with disabilities
  • Minority racial and ethnic groups
  • English-speaking students

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Factors Causing Achievement Gaps

You must be contemplating the causes of the achievement gap in education at this point. There are a few things that, when used collectively, can help it stay wide open. These elements can be divided into three groups:

District or School Factors

Factors related to the district or schools include things like:

  • Unequal funding for schools
  • Uneven distribution of knowledgeable and experienced teachers
  • Lack of a clearly defined curriculum
  • The school’s curriculum and culture don’t take the student’s background into account.
  • Inconsistent tracking process for students who need special education, are gifted, or should be placed in an advanced classroom

Classroom Factors

The following are some classroom variables that contribute to the achievement gap’s persistence:

  • Implied prejudice and racism
  • Lack of confidence in students’ aptitude or ability to learn
  • Using evaluations and interventions with challenging students on a regular basis
  • Teaching methods that are culturally sensitive need improvement.

Students Factors

Here are some examples of the student factors that affect the achievement gap:

  • Stereotypes
  • Societal and professional divides
  • Internalized biases and notions that a locality has few opportunities or resources.

Economic Effects of Achievement Gaps in Education

According to a McKinsey report, the achievement gap has hurt the American economy more than all of the recessions since the 1970s put together.

Similarly, over that same time span, low-income students would have contributed $670 billion to GDP if they had achieved the same level of academic success as their more affluent peers.

This is due to the fact that education raises income, which leads to higher economic expansion. Americans with college degrees make 84% more money overall than individuals with merely a high school diploma.

A 2018 Federal Reserve study examined how several demographic characteristics affected family wealth and income. These comprised one “acquired” characteristic—a college degree—and two “inherited” characteristics—the age of the family head and race.

Compared to hereditary traits, a college degree is a more significant predictor of family wealth and income. A college degree results in an 11% boost in wealth and income for the wealthiest households compared to what they would have obtained based solely on inherited traits. In comparison to other families with the same inherited traits, a college degree increases income by 23 points and wealth by 20 points for poor and minority households.

Families with higher incomes increase consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of all economic activity.29 By increasing production to satisfy the increased demand, manufacturers add jobs. As salaries grow, consumer spending increases. This cycle results in continuous economic growth.

What is the Achievement Gap
What is the Achievement Gap?

How can the Achievement Gap be Closed?

Let’s go on to discussing what we can all do as a society now that we are aware of what the accomplishment gap is and the reasons it persists.

1. Lengthening the School Time

It should go without saying that kids require more time with their teachers the more they struggle. Increased instructional time is therefore one of the strategies that, when employed, can help close the achievement gap. The method of instruction delivery is left up to the teacher, but it must be explicit, scaffolded, and tailored to the needs of the students and their learning preferences. It will undoubtedly be more detailed, repetitious, and intense.

The teachers will need to continuously assess and monitor the kids’ development after the class period is extended. They can only determine whether their students are succeeding and where they might need to improve by doing this. The instructors can determine their students’ strong and weak points through various tests and can then take appropriate action.

2. Fostering Communication between the School and the Families of the Students

Maintaining positive relationships and working together with this shared goal in mind among the school, parents, and community is one of the most important stages to bridging the achievement gap. Parents’ participation in the family, specifically, will surely have an effect on the youngsters’ academic performance.

3. Entertaining and Motivating Students

By implementing techniques, tools, and lesson plans that genuinely complement students’ current skill sets, teachers can help bridge the achievement gap. They can only become motivated to work their way up from where they are by focusing on the skills they have already developed. They will become less engaged if this doesn’t happen.

Overall, the accomplishment difference has persisted since then. Although steps have been done to stop it, this hasn’t stopped from happening. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to help reduce this gap that could have an impact on our future, that much is certain.

What is the Achievement Gap
What is the Achievement Gap?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are examples of achievement gaps?

Children who speak English as a second language do worse on reading and writing tests than native English speakers, as examples of achievement gaps. Another illustration is how poorer socioeconomic background students perform worse academically than their higher-class friends because they lack access to decent schools, after-school activities, or tutors.

Why does the achievement gap matter?

It is important to investigate and close the achievement gap among kids because we need to train the next generation of workers and societal contributors. Since education can be directly linked to income through employment, it is also vital to break the cycle of poverty.

What are the effects of the achievement gap on students?

Since education has a direct correlation to money, students who perform poorly on standardized examinations may become demoralized and decide against enrolling in any higher education school. Additionally, high school dropouts are less likely to find occupations that pay more than the minimum wage.

The Conclusion

Gaps in educational achievement are widespread and costly. Income, social expectations, and structural inequality all contribute to certain inequalities. Even more than all recessions put together, these gaps prevent economic growth.

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