Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bridging the Gap in Standardized Test Results in Math and Reading Can Be Done!

Many students tend to score higher on standardized math tests than reading tests.  English language learners, for example, tend to pass the math section of the California high school exit exam a year or two before they pass the reading/writing section.  However, similar gaps are present in the scores of English only students.  Why is the gap so wide?

As seen in this inforgraphic, READING, poverty plays a big role.  Students from poor households have less access to all the supports that their classmates from households of higher incomes have-books, library cards, iPads, laptops, etc.  Children from low income homes often times are from single family homes where the parents are struggling to just survive.  This scenario does not lend itself to building those crucial literacy skills needed to do well in school.  Parents here are busy just trying to make ends meet with low paying jobs.  Further, parents here often times have limited educations of their own so they are not in the best position to fully prepare their children for school without the support of pre-school and after school programs. 

Does this mean that such students are incapable of raising reading scores?  Of course not.  Within the classroom, teachers can build reading into every lesson. Common core calls for literacy to be covered in all disciplines at all grade levels.  So within the classroom, teachers can address reading skills development through free online reading resources.  Since most schools now have computer rooms or iPad carts for class use, such tools could be used to personalize the reading process by having students not only find reading material of interest to them, but also at an accessible reading level which can advance as they feel more comfortable with the reading process.  Also, when technology is involved, student interest rises.  So it makes sense to address the academic weakness through an instrument which excites students:)



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