Questions Your Eastern Carver County School Board Candidate Should Be Able to Answer, #2

How should the district address the significant achievement gaps for students in certain socioeconomic groups, and how should progress be measured?

Our first post in this series addressed how we should judge the effectiveness of personalized learning and standards-based learning and grading given the district’s performance in standardized testing, which shows some degradation in student performance.

If you looked closely at the data, though, you noticed another serious problem — our district, like most districts around the state is bedeviled by serious achievement gaps.

These achievement gaps don’t show up as much in the overall numbers because we have a less-diverse student body than the urban or inner-ring suburban districts. But the numbers spell it out pretty clearly.

Students in the free/reduced lunch (FRL), special education, African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and English Learner (ELL) populations are faring much worse on these standardized tests. Even in the “best-case” shown here, reading performance for FRL, special education and African-American populations is slightly better than half that of white students in the district. Worst-case, ELL populations are only achieving “meets” or “exceeds” performance about one-fifth as frequently as white students.

Again, these are the types of problems that we would expect — based on what we’ve been told — personalized learning and standards-based learning/grading to be able to impact. Well, it’s not showing up on this measure yet.

So, the question to your school board candidates is: what additional steps need to be taken to closes these gaps, and how will you know if those steps are working?