Middle School Achievement Gap Widens

At the Board meeting on April 4 there was a presentation on the “progress” being made in closing the achievement gap.  The results were not encouraging.  In fact, the gap has actually widened instead of closed in our middle schools.

Here is the link to the presentation;


You’ll notice a few things;

The fall snapshot in Reading; White 84 Kids of Color 59

In the winter snapshot both groups fell; White 82 Kids of Color 53

Not only did both groups fall slightly but the achievement gap widened from 25 points to 29!  Remember the goal for the 2011 year was to decrease the gap to 20.  In other words we are nine points off.

The math results aren’t any better;

The fall snapshot in Math; White 80 Kids of Color 50

In the winter both fell slightly as well; White 79 Kids of Color 46

Again the gap widened from 30 to 33.  The goal was to lower it to 22.  So in math we are now 11 points off the goal.

Superintendent Dr. Aldo Sicoli was clearly not happy;

“Obviously these scores from the fall to winter Map scores at the middle school level are not where I hoped they would be.  We need to continue to look at what things do we continue to and implement and as effectively and quickly as possible and what additional things we can look at……this is one set of data, but it’s important data and we need to do what we can to help our students be as successful as possible.”

In fairness as Dr. Sicoli pointed out, the elementary scores were better and they are further along in the district’s “Response to Intervention” program.  We still think Dr. Sicoli has his head screwed on straight and one or two tests shouldn’t mean everything, but something has to turn around fast.  Going backwards is just not acceptable and if the gap doesn’t close, there needs to be accountability from Sicoli on down.

Mark Bomchill asked an intelligent question about the importance of early childhood education in relation to the test scores;

“There’s been a lot of talk about the relationship between early childhood education and performance in later years, on both sides of the issue, can we see if there is greater academic progress, specifically in non-Caucasians, if they attended early education through 281?”

Nobody had an answer for Mark, but it’s a good question.  The public school types get orgasmic anytime early childhood education is mentioned and it would be interesting to see if it really does make a huge difference 7-9 years down the road.  All day kindergarten has already been proven to make no difference by the 3rd grade so if anyone has any info on it please send it our way.

Overall, we don’t see how this news on the achievement gap can be spun as a success and parents, students, teachers, administrators, and policy makers all have to share in the blame.

One Response to “Middle School Achievement Gap Widens”

  1. numbersguy Says:

    The presenters were very down playing of the NEGATIVE Growth trend of the Middle school MAP results (Fall vs Winter). The results are moving backwards to 2007 (reading) and 2006 (math). This is not a good trend and it is in my opinion are VERY CONCERNING result!!!!

    Please, if you are also concerned with these results, contact School Board members and school administration with those concerns.

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