Narrowing the achievement gap

Explanations for the phenomenon—and levels of concern over its existence—vary widely, and are the source of much controversy, especially since efforts to "close the achievement gap" have become some of the more politically prominent education reform issues. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 focuses on standards, aligned tests and school accountability to ensure that all students have the same educational opportunities. A number of other interventions have been implemented in various schools, districts and states including pre-kindergarten programs, class size reduction, small schools, curricular reform, alignment of pre-kindergarten through college standards and expectations, and improved teacher education programs.

Many schools have started using after-school tutoring sessions and remedial programs to help narrow the achievement gap between different groups of students. In order to narrow the gap, teachers and schools must accelerate the learning of minority students in order to close the gap and raise achievement for all students. Other schools have started de-tracking their students in order to provide the same quality education for all students, regardless of race. By de-tracking schools, all students are more likely to have equally qualified teachers, expectations, curriculum, and resources.

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