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  • In the followingreport,HanoverResearchexaminesbestpractices for improvingstudentachievement,includingstrategiesforengagingstudentsandimprovingstudentoutcomes.Bestpractices and case studies examine achievement levels and approaches for certainstudentsubgroups,academicprograms,andinnovativesolutionsathighneedsschools.

    Improving Student Achievement and Closing the Achievement Gap

    December2014

  • Hanover Research | December 2014

    2014 Hanover Research | District Administration Practice 2

    TABLE OF CONTENTS ExecutiveSummaryandKeyFindings................................................................................3INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................................3KEYFINDINGS.............................................................................................................................4

    SectionI:ClosingtheAchievementGapsforStudentSubGroups......................................5SOCIOECONOMICSTATUS..............................................................................................................5RACEANDETHNICITY...................................................................................................................8LANGUAGEBACKGROUND.............................................................................................................9DISABILITYSTATUS....................................................................................................................11

    SectionII:Profiles............................................................................................................15EXTENDEDLEARNINGOPPORTUNITIES...........................................................................................17NashvilleClassicalCharterSchool...................................................................................18

    PROJECTBASEDLEARNING.........................................................................................................19DetroitPublicSchools(Michigan)....................................................................................21FoxfireHighSchool(Ohio)...............................................................................................22

    CAREERANDTECHNOLOGYEDUCATION.........................................................................................24JackE.SingleyAcademySchoolofLaw&PublicService(Texas)....................................26

    TEACHERINCENTIVEFUND..........................................................................................................27ButlerCountySchoolDistrict(Alabama)PayPLUS.......................................................29

    CURRICULUMMAPPING.............................................................................................................30ChurchillJuniorHighSchool(Illinois)...............................................................................32EastMillsboroElementarySchool(Delaware)................................................................33

    COMMUNITYBUILDINGPROGRAMS..............................................................................................34LittleRockSchoolDistrict(Arkansas)..............................................................................35

    PARENTALINVOLVEMENTPROGRAMS...........................................................................................36ParentInstituteforQualityEducation(PIQE)..................................................................36

    CULTURALAWARENESSPROGRAMS..............................................................................................37HerndonHighSchool(Virginia).......................................................................................39

  • Hanover Research | December 2014

    2014 Hanover Research | District Administration Practice 3

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND KEY FINDINGS

    INTRODUCTIONIn the following report,HanoverResearchexaminesbestpractices for improving studentachievement, includingstrategies forengagingstudentsand improvingstudentoutcomes.Best practices and case studies examine issues of staffing, academic programs, andinnovativesolutionsathighneedsschools,andprofile theuseofprogramssuchasTIF inrecruitinghighlyeffective teachers to these schools.The reportalso includesa reviewofpopular strategies for improving student achievement and outcomes, including in careerandtechnicaleducation.Dr. JosephMurphy, of Vanderbilt University, provides a helpful guiding perspective asdistricts and their schools contemplatenarrowingdisparities in studentperformance.Hecommentsthat,byandlarge,schoolsdonotcauseachievementgapsandthusschoolscannot close achievement gaps alone.1Effective progress in closing achievement gapsmust be nuanced and address both academic and environmental factors: Ultimately,programsthatrelyentirelyon increasingacademicstandardswithoutparallelattentiontosocialemotional factorsassociatedwithachievementmotivationandperformancewillbelesslikelytoimprovestudentachievementoutcomes.2Ultimately,however,Murphydoessuggest that,since lowincomeandminoritystudentsaremoreschooldependent thantheirmoreadvantagedpeers,thereispotentialforschoolstohelpsolvetheproblem.3Thisreportcomprisestwosections:

    Section I:ClosingtheAchievementGapsforStudentSubGroups investigatesthecurrent state of achievement gaps and promising, researchbased approaches tonarrowingperformancegapsbasedonthefollowing:o SocioeconomicStatuso RaceandEthnicityo LanguageBackgroundo DisabilityStatus

    Section II: Profiles explores eight types of interventions designed to increasestudent achievement and engagementmore generally. The following approachesspanacrosstheclassroom,theschool,andthegreatercommunity:o ExtendedLearningOpportunitieso ProjectBasedLearningo CareerandTechnologyEducationo TeacherIncentiveFunding

    o CurriculumMappingo CommunityBuildingProgramso ParentalInvolvementProgramso CulturalAwarenessPrograms

    1Murphy,J.ClosingAchievementGaps:ResearchBasedLessonsforEducators.VanderbiltUniversity.[PowerPoint

    Presentation]www.esccc.org/Downloads/ACH_GAP_PARTS_A_B_CMurphy126112.ppt2Becker,B.andLuther,S.SocialEmotionalFactorsAffectingAchievementOutcomesAmongDisadvantaged

    Students:ClosingtheAchievementGap.EducationalPsychologist,37,2002,pp.197214.3Ibid.

  • Hanover Research | December 2014

    2014 Hanover Research | District Administration Practice 4

    KEYFINDINGS

    Socioeconomicstatusisamajorfactorcontributingtostudentachievementgaps.Recentresearch indicatesthatbyfar,socioeconomicstatus(SES)hasthestrongestcorrelation to cognitive scores than any other factor. Arts education and holisticpreschools are among the researchbased initiatives that have proven to besuccessfulinnarrowingthisSESachievementgap.

    Student race/ethnicity,ELL status,and specialeducation statusalsoaccount forstudentachievementgaps.ResearchhasdemonstratedthatwhenELLstudentsarenot isolated in lowachievingschools,andareabletoattendschoolswithacertainpercentage of white students, achievement gaps narrow. For special educationachievementgaps,promisingstrategiesincludethealignmentofcurriculumtostatestandards,anemphasisoninclusionandaccesstothegeneraleducationcurriculum,high standards for student achievement, and effective staff recruitment andprofessionaldevelopment.

    Strategies for reducing achievement gaps span across many levels of studentsupport, including the classroom, the school, and the larger community.At theclassroom level, practices include career and technical education, projectbasedlearning, andextended learningopportunities.At the school level, initiativesmayinclude curriculummapping, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and holistic preschools,while communitylevel strategies include cultural awareness programs, parentalinvolvementprograms,andcommunitybuildingprograms.

    These specific strategiesalignwith theNationalEducationAssociationsbroaderrecommendations for closing achievement gaps, which include comprehensivesupport for students, enhanced cultural competence, outreach to families,supportiveclassroomsandschools,strongdistrictsupport,adequateresourcesandfunding,andaccesstoqualifiedstaff.

  • Hanover Research | December 2014

    2014 Hanover Research | District Administration Practice 5

    SECTION I: CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAPS FOR STUDENT SUB-GROUPS The following section examines the current state of achievement gaps and promising,researchbasedapproachestonarrowingperformancegapsbasedonthefollowingstudentstatuses: socioeconomic status (SES), race and ethnicity, language background, anddisabilitystatus.Aswillbecomeapparentthroughoutthissection,there is largedegreeofcrosssectionality and interrelatedness between types of student achievement gaps. Forinstance, it difficult to isolate SESbased achievement gaps from those based in race orethnicity.Similarly,languagebackgroundandraceandethnicityarelogicallyrelated.SOCIOECONOMICSTATUSThere is an extensive body of research and secondary literature surrounding thesocioeconomicallybased achievement gap in student performance. Several studies haveconfirmed thathousehold income ispositivelyassociated student IQ,achievement levels,andthelikelihoodthatstudentswillgraduatehighschoolandattendcollege.4A2012articlepublished in American Educator a publication of the American Federation of Teachers,examined the question, Why does family wealth affect learning? Author DanielWillingham, professor of cognitive psychology at theUniversity ofVirginia, explains thatthesetypesofassociationsaredrivenbytwobroadcategoriesofeffects:

    First,asonemightexpect,wealthierparentshave the resources toprovidemoreandbetterlearningopportunitiesfortheirchildren.

    Second,children frompoorerhomesaresubject tochronicstress,which researchfrom the last 10 years has shown is more destructive to learning th