Closing Achievement Gaps – A Shared Responsibility

Closing achievement gaps is a shared responsibility. The purpose of this website is to provide research, resources, and recommended reading for educators, parents and the community that will empower collaborative efforts toward improving the success of all students.

Achievement gaps is a term for a complex set of problems referring to disparities in achievement between a high-performing demographic group and all other demographic groups. The disparities can occur on a number of measures, such as graduation rates, school achievement, test scores and participation in college preparatory coursework and other challenging curricula.

Achievement gaps are a pervasive problem with deep roots in our social history. Any review of the literature on achievement gaps reveals a number of probable causes that exist both within and outside of schools. The variables are many; they are complex in nature, and they are intricately inter-related. Gaps exist in Ohio schools at all economic levels and in urban, rural and suburban settings.

Ohio’s State Board of Education created an Achievement Gaps Task Force in which parents and representatives from over twenty organizations studied the achievement gap problem in Ohio and issued a report with recommendations. The report, issued in May, 2003, provided recommendations for strategies in three areas:

•    Drive focus toward high achievement for all.
•    Ensure that educators are well prepared and supported.
•    Adapt structures to the needs of the students served.

In response to the recommendations from the Achievement Gaps Task Force, the Ohio Department of Education launched the State Superintendent’s Schools of Promise Initiative. This initiative recognizes Ohio schools that are closing achievement gaps and producing high achievement for all students. Those schools have demonstrated that it is possible to close achievement gaps, despite having student demographics often associated with low performance.  A study of these schools revealed evidence of the following elements:
•    Rigorous standards and instruction
•    Strong instructional leadership;
•    Instruction designed for all students’ success
•    Parent and community involvement;
•    A positive school culture

Find out more here.