A couple of weeks ago, a new analysis of reading and math test score data was released by Stanford CEPA (Center for Educational Policy Analysis). If you didn’t hear about it or get the chance to read the excellent New York Times article on the subject you really should.
The analysis confirms just how much socioeconomic conditions matter to academic achievement. Students (particularly minority students) from areas with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of four grade levels below children in the richest districts. Far too often, students from poorer neighborhoods have math skill gaps two or more grade levels below their current grade.
I’ve said this before and will continue to say it. These students cannot successfully begin to compete with their peers without an individual study plan that focuses only on their skill gaps. Without a plan that guides them through their unique study path at each grade level they will continue to fall further and further behind.
According to the NY Times article, “The study found that by contrast, the communities with narrow achievement gaps tend to be those in which there are very few black or Hispanic children, or places like Detroit or Buffalo, where all students are so poor that minorities and whites perform equally badly on standardized tests.” Many rural areas are affected in the same way. But this simply means that the need for individual study is even more pronounced.
There is hope. Schools that use a product like Ascend Math to assess individual student skill gaps and guide each student to successfully complete their unique gaps at each grade level are seeing tremendous improvement. http://ascendmath.com/gold_2016.html