The “Achievement Gap” in reading has received some attention in the past few years. It is generally thought of as the gap in reading achievement between children who are economically disadvantaged (aka “poor”) and children who are not. Most recently the attention has been focused on children who are not meeting grade three reading standards and the proposal that they be “held back” in 3rd grade. I have repeatedly suggested that “we can’t wait” until 3rd grade to pay attention to children who are not progressing at the expected rate–relative to their grade level standards. We need to pay attention to progress from preschool on throughout a child’s education.
I’d like to add to that issue other issues I think should be addressed by “The (?) Achievement Gap.”
Why is the standard “grade level reading.” What happened to the concept of the gap between potential and achievement. We sometimes see that schools pay attention to “potential” when they recognize “gifted” children–whether in academic subjects or “arts.” At the high school level we offer “A.P.” courses. We recognize some children’s abilities by offering them scholarships or options for how to use some of their school time. Ideally, we recognized some dimension of “giftedness” in all children I think that was what “Multiple Intelligences” was supposed to be about.
Don’t all kids have the potential to be achievers–relative to their potential? So, is there an achievement gap for children who aren’t currently reading at “grade level” but have potential to read at and, equally important, above that level, given the kinds of instruction and opportunity to learn that they need. Here’s a perspective on another group of children who experience an achievement gap.