Monday, October 4, 2010

The "Achievement Gap"

I'm curious as to what educators would define as "Achievement".  One of our building goals is in line with increasing student achievement.  Just what is achievement?

We can define student achievement as making sure that we have less students failing this year than we've had before.  Also, we can look at the number of students that have earned straight A's and compare it with last year.  These would all potentially show increased levels of student achievement, thus, our building has met its goal, and we can proceed with business as usual.  If I go into my Gradebook tomorrow and change all the C's to A's, I have generated an amazing level of student achievement.

Schools becoming all about achievement undermines them as institutions of learning.  Is this a result of the demand placed on schools (by stakeholders) for some type of result that justifies the increased contribution of resources?  By demanding accountability and results, we aren't demanding higher levels of thinking and learning.

I'm in a school for at least 7.5 hours each day, approximately 180 days a year.  I NEVER hear a discussion about learning.