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.

1 comment:

Moose said...

School as it stands now was created by Otto von Bismarck as a way of holding children in their cells (schools are designed the same way as minimum security prisons). Learning was never an objective. The only reason students are there for 7 hours a day is because they have to be trained to sit in a desk doing menial tasks all day. That's how all of the well-respected white collar office jobs are.

And when they go home, they don't want the kids to think and explore. They would much rather have them do even more menial "busy work" than to learn, go out, explore, form revolutionary ideas that might question the government, or any other such abominations.

The whole "achievement" debate is nothing but hogwash. All it does is further legitimize the institutionalization of students, and put more and more control over everything.

You remember all the curiousity you had as a small child? What do you think going to school did to it?