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50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

Third Edition

November 2008 | 336 pages | Corwin
Written for school leaders, this hands-on guide to improving student outcomes and schoolwide performance clearly outlines 50 strategies to achieve high-performing schools. Emphasizing a focus on educational equity for all students, the authors organize the 50 ways for improvement around six critical standards:

establish a well-crafted, focused, valid, and clear curriculum to direct teaching;

provide assessments aligned to the curriculum;

align program and instructional resources to the curriculum and provide student equality and equity;

use a mastery learning approach and effective teaching strategies;

establish curriculum expectations, monitoring, and accountability;

institute effective district and school planning, staff development, resource allocations, and provide for a quality learning environment.

About the Authors
Six Standards for High-Performing Schools
1. Standard One: Establish a Well-Crafted, Focused, Valid, and Clear Curriculum to Direct Teaching
Strategy 1: Embed External Assessment Target Objectives in the Written Content Standards and Link to State Standards

Strategy 2: Have Clear and Precise District Curriculum Objectives - Content, Context, and Cognitive Type

Strategy 3: Deeply Align Objectives From External Assessments

Strategy 4: Sequence Objectives for Mastery Well Before They Are Tested

Strategy 5: Provide a Feasible Number of Objectives to Be Taught

Strategy 6: Identify Specific Objectives as Benchmark Standards

Strategy 7: Place Objectives in a Teaching Sequence

Strategy 8: Provide Access to Written Curriculum Documents and Direct the Objectives to Be Taught

Strategy 9: Conduct Staff Development in Curriculum and Its Delivery

2. Standard Two: Provide Assessments Aligned With the Curriculum
Strategy 10: Develop Aligned District Pre-Post Criterion-Referenced Assessments

Strategy 11: Have a Pool of Unsecured Test Items by Objective

Strategy 12: Establish Secured Performance Benchmark Assessments

Strategy 13: Conduct Assessment Training

Strategy 14: Use Assessments Diagnostically

Strategy 15: Teach Students to Be "Test Wise"

Strategy 16: Establish a Reasonable Testing Schedule and Environment

Strategy 17: Disaggregate Assessment Data

Strategy 18: Maintain Student Progress Reports

3. Standard Three: Align Program and Instructional Resources With the Curriculum and Provide Student Equality and Equity
Strategy 19: Align Programs With the Curriculum to Ensure Congruity

Strategy 20: Use Research Data That Document Results to Drive Program Selection, and Validate the Implementation of Programs With Action Research

Strategy 21: Evaluate Programs to Determine Their Effectiveness in Strengthening Student Achievement of Curriculum Objectives

Strategy 22: Align Textbooks and Instructional Resources With the District Curriculum Objectives and Assessment in Both Content and Context Dimensions

Strategy 23: Use Technology in Design or Selection Procedures to Ensure Strong Connections to System Learning Expectations and Feedback

Strategy 24: Provide Training in the Use of Instructional Resources and Their Alignment With System Curriculum Objectives - Content, Context, and Cognitive Type

Strategy 25: Select or Modify Instructional Resources for Lessons to Ensure Full Alignment With System Objectives and Tested Learning

Strategy 26: Place Students in Programs and Activities in an Equitable Manner and With Equal Access to the Curriculum

Strategy 27: Implement Effective Programs and Strategies With English Language Learners

4. Standard Four: Use a Mastery Learning Approach and Effective Teaching Strategies
Strategy 28: Implement a Mastery Learning Model

Strategy 29: Align Teaching With the Curriculum

Strategy 30: Provide Differentiated Curriculum and Instruction as Well as Differentiated Time to Learn

Strategy 31: Provide Practice to Master the Curriculum

Strategy 32: Use Effective Instructional Practices

Strategy 33: Use Powerful Vocabulary Development Strategies

Strategy 34: Establish Individual Learning Plans for Low-Achieving Students

5. Standard Five: Establish Curriculum Expectations, Monitoring, and Accountability
Strategy 35: Provide for High Expectations for Achievement for Each Student

Strategy 36: Monitor the Curriculum

Strategy 37: Visit Classrooms and Provide Follow-up

Strategy 38: Use Disaggregated Data in the Decision-Making Process

Strategy 39: Focus Staff Appraisal on Professional Growth

6. Standard Six: Institute Effective District and School Planning, Staff Development, and Resource Allocations, and Provide a Quality Learning Environment
Strategy 40: Develop a District Planning Process That Is Strategic in Nature and Provides Guidance for the Development of District and School Long-Range Plans

Strategy 41: Create and Implement a Singular, Focused, Multiyear District Plan That Incorporates Change Strategies for Higher Student Achievement

Strategy 42: Align School Plans With the District Plan

Strategy 43: Implement Aligned Teacher Training to Reach District and School Goals

Strategy 44: Implement Administrative Training Aligned With the Curriculum and Its Assessment and District Plan Priorities

Strategy 45: Provide Differentiated Staff Development

Strategy 46: Link Resource Allocations to Goals, Objectives, Priorities, and Diagnosed Needs of the System

Strategy 47: Provide Qualified and Adequate Personnel

Strategy 48: Remove Incompetent Staff or Help Them Achieve Satisfactory Functioning

Strategy 49: Provide a Quality Learning Environment

Strategy 50: Provide Quality Facilities


"Each of the 50 strategies explains what the strategy is, why it is important, and how it can be implemented. This book will be a tremendous resource for educators."

Cole Pugh, Superintendent
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, TX

"The strategies are a well-designed balance of central office support and site-based implementation that guides the educational leadership through curriculum alignment, mastery learning, and resource allocation in this age of NCLB accountability."

Joe Bazenas, Principal
Booker Middle School, Sarasota, FL

"The authors are the most knowledgeable in the field for quality improvement efforts in an era of high-stakes accountability. This resource will help practitioners maintain focus on the most important strategies for school improvement."

Betty Burks, Deputy Superintendent
San Antonio Independent School District, TX

"A practical, easy-to-follow, but conceptually aligned book that identifies the things we can do to achieve substantial performance improvement in any school."

David Lutkemeier, Educational Consultant

"A very timely and useful resource that offers clear and purposeful direction for those working in the field of student achievement."

Beverley Freedman, Program Manager, Canada’s Outstanding Principals
The Learning Partnership

Sample Materials & Chapters



Chapter 1: Standard One

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ISBN: 9781412958981
ISBN: 9781412958974

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