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Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap

Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap
How to Measure Equity in Our Schools

Foreword by Anne Wheelock

March 2014 | 336 pages | Corwin
`If the goal of all students reaching high standards is to be met, Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap should be required reading for all teachers and administrators. It should also be an integral part of the course of study for those preparing to teach in the United States' - Vinetta C Jones, Dean, School of Education, Howard University

One of the primary goals behind the standards and accountability movement is to narrow the achievement gap between low-income, minority, and other students. Educators need the tools and resources to analyze complicated sets of data and then utilize the data to improve student learning. This book is a comprehensive resource that trains educators to analyze data and use it to advance an equity agenda, all with the goal of creating a school culture of high standards and equity. It gives educators the tools to measure disparities in student achievement for diverse populations and examines school practices that hinder equity in education. The book contains numerous tools, including questionnaires, surveys, forms, and instruments.

Anne Wheelock
Foreword: A Strategy to Challenge Inequality
Introduction: New to the Second Edition
About the Author
Part I: Setting Our Sights on Student Achievement
1. The Achievement Gap: Framing Our Minds to Set Our Sights
The Achievement Gap

Some Other Considerations

Rethinking the Issues: Creating the Conditions for Moving Forward

Stages in the Change Process: How Data Offer Help and Hope

2. Building Dissatisfaction and Killing the Myths: Examining Data as a First Step Toward Motivating Reform
The Broader Picture: Societal Implications of Undereducating Certain Populations

Similar Aspirations, Unequal Chances: Data to Dispel Myths and Demonstrate Differential Expectations and Learning Opportunities for Students

Who Has the Opportunity to Go to College?

Changing Practices and Achievement Patterns: Exploding Myths That Perpetuate Underachievement

3. Data in the Reform Process: How and Why
Key Roles for Data

Assessing Data Use and Access

Stages of the Data User Process

Using Technology to Make Strong Presentations

4. Building Leadership and Data Teams
Establishing the Need: A First Step for Highly Resistant Schools

Creating the Team: The First Step in Most Schools

The Role of the Leadership Team

Structuring the Leadership Team's Work

Team Development

The Data Team: Core to the The Data Team: Core to the School's Success in Using Data to Achieve Reform

Planning for Team Success: Team Self-Assessment of Strengths and Needs

Assessing Perspectives of Team Effectiveness

Planning for Team Leadership Development

Part II: Inquiring About Equity
5. Talking About Data
Why the Need for Dialogue

Guiding the Dialogue

Outcomes From Dialogues

Conducting the Inquiry: Measurement Dimensions and Approaches

6. Examining Outcomes
Looking at the Big Picture

Outcome Data From Standardized Test Scores: Peeling the Data

Standardized Tests for College Going

Monitoring Student Grades

Displaying Middle and High School Course Enrollment and Student Overall Progress in College Preparatory Courses

Outcomes: Student Graduation Rates

College-Going Rates

Nonacademic Measures Related to Outcomes

7. Assessing Policies and Practices
Part I: Instruments

Assessing Perceptions of Attitudes, Readiness, and Commitment to Reform at the School

Process Indicators

Assessing Institutional Reform in the Academic Culture of Schools

Other Instruments to Assess Equity

Schools' and Districts' Assessments of Delivery of Precollege Guidance

Characteristics of High-Performing and Low-Performing Counseling Programs

Counselor College Preparatory Record Keeping for Individual Students

Which Counselors Are Providing College Access to Students?

Counselor's Plans for Counselees

Part II: Existing School Documents

How Does the Master Schedule Reflect Practices and Goals?

Assessing Documents, Policies, and Practices on How Time Is Used

Examining School Calendars

Teacher Plan Books

Part III: Assessing Equitable Classroom Practices

Survey--The Equitable School Classroom

Teacher Observations

Observing Students in Class and School

Parent and Student Information

8. Listening to Student and Parent Voices
Student and Parent-Guardian Questionnaires

Aspirations and Reality

Listening to Students' Voices Regarding the Academic Culture of the School

9. Evaluating Programs and Interventions
Analyses of Efforts to Raise Student Achievement

Assessing Elementary Programs and Practices

Assessing the Improvement of College Preparation and College-Going Rates

Professional Development

10. Using School Indicators to Answer Critical Questions
How and When to Gather Indicators

Combining Indicators to Answer Critical Questions

Sample Indicator Combinations

11. Will We Know It When We See It? Visioning, Planning, and Implementation
Planning for Monitoring

Plan for Monitoring the Improvement of College Preparation and College-Going Rates

The Role of the External Resource Person

Resources for Equitable School Reform

"Dr. Johnson’s work provides both the philosophical and practical blueprint for transforming public schools into the learning communities we want and need. Leaders will find the book to be the most useful document to guide and inform their efforts to close the gap and maximize learning for all students." 

Joseph Burke, Superintendent of Schools
Springfield Public Schools, MA

"If the goal of all students reaching high standards is to be met, Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap should be required reading for all teachers and administrators. It should also be an integral part of the course of study for those preparing to teach in the United States."

Vinetta C. Jones, Dean, School of Education
Howard University

"With this visionary and user-friendly resource in hand, all educators—teachers, counselors, and administrators—can and must make data part of a lifelong practice to ensure high achievement for all students."

Laurie Olsen, Chief Program Officer
California Tomorrow

"From her penetrating analysis of current research, policies, and practices, and her wealth of experiences working with school districts around the nation, Johnson clearly makes the connection between using data and achieving equitable outcomes as districts and schools struggle to close the achievement gap." 

Aukram Burton, Diversity/Multicultural Specialist
Gheens Professional Development Academy, Louisville, KY

"This book represents a significant contribution to the national debate around school reform. Ruth Johnson presents a thoughtful, well-documented treatise on how educators, policy makers, and parents can use data to set achievement goals and measure school progress toward these goals."

Walter Allen, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

Ruth S. Johnson

Ruth S. Johnson is a professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles. She has served in a variety of educational settings in New Jersey and California. Ruth received her Ed.D. in 1985 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her dissertation was titled An Exploratory Study of Academic Labeling, Student Achievement and Student Ethnographic Characteristics. At the K–12 level, she served as a classroom teacher, an instructional consultant, a director of elementary education, an analyst, an assistant superintendent of schools in the areas of curriculum and business, and as a superintendent of schools. She initiated... More About Author

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ISBN: 9780761945093