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Closing the gap in education

Effective strategies to close the achievement gap.

What is the achievement gap in education?

The achievement gap in education is the performance disparity we often see among students when grouped together. The achievement gap takes many forms. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one student won’t work for all. However, by meeting the individual needs of our students, we can give them the boost to perform at the level we know they’re capable of and work toward reducing the disparities observed in student outcomes.

Equality versus Equity

"There is a major difference between equality and equity. Equality is giving everyone the exact same opportunity. If we had a running race, we would both start at the same spot, begin running at the same time, and try our hardest to place first as we headed towards an equal pre-determined distance. When we take this analogy and consider equity, it is an understanding that perhaps one of us had to run an entire race even before getting to the starting line of this new race. When we realize that some people have had obstacles in their way even before 'starting at the same spot and racing the same distance' as a peer, we can begin to understand that equality is not the same thing as equity." Matthew R. Morris, Teacher

How EdTech tools can help support DEI in our classrooms

This free guide gives an introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the classroom.

It will also show you how you can use technology to help students to fully engage with learning and reach their full potential. We’ll answer the following questions and more:

  • What does it mean for a learning environment to be equitable and inclusive?
  • How can technology help in a diverse classroom?
  • What if I am not the right person to get involved with DEI?

How edtech tools can help DEI in your classroom

Over the past several years, DEI has become a hot topic of conversation, and the recent coronavirus pandemic highlighted the inequalities and barriers that many of our learners face in the classroom.

Empowering our students begins with creating equitable and inclusive learning environments.

This guide gives an introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the classroom. It shows us how we can use technology to help our students to fully engage with learning and reach their full potential. You will learn:

What DEI is?

  • What does it mean for classrooms to be equitable and inclusive?
  • How to design a classroom where everyone has the conditions they need?
  • How can technology help in a diverse classroom?
  • How to make learning more personal?

How can we close the learning gap?

Creating equity in the classroom is no easy task. Our students all come from different backgrounds, with different learning preferences, and with different opinions of our classes. By getting to know our students, and building relationships, we can start to close the achievement gap, class by class.

Closing the achievement gap at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

Technology can be a great leveler. That’s why we’re passionate about getting the right tech into the hands of our students who need it. We also need equitable access to the technology. In this impact study with educators and students at Plymouth-Canton they talk about how they’re creating equity in the classroom with their technology tools.

Simple ways to close the achievement gap in the classroom

Set goals and track progress

Progress looks different for every student, that’s why data is king. By tracking our students’ progress (in tangible terms like reading age, math proficiency, attendance, or behavior), we can set challenging targets for how our students develop. Technology is a great tool here to allow students to hold themselves accountable for their own learning and improvement. Simple tools like a spreadsheet to track test scores will help to get you started.

Give students time to reflect on their progress

We always encourage students to look over their work, as well as the feedback from us as educators. But building in time and a culture of self-reflection can help to ensure that students are taking their mistakes on board and working on correcting them. Exit tickets are a great way to add self-reflection in your classroom.

Develop relationships with caregivers

They say it takes a village to raise a child. We believe that that same village is needed to educate our children. That’s why it’s vital to develop relationships with our students’ caregivers. Including parents and caregivers we’re giving our students more opportunities to develop and progress with more people in their corner. Keeping caregivers updated with student successes can come in many forms, invite them into school for a chat, send home a quick email, or arrange a catch-up call.

Personalize the learning experience

Personalized learning aims to customize learning for each student’s strengths, skills, interests, and background. The practice of personalized learning allows us to provide our students with tailored learning opportunities. Technology is a great way to support personalized learning as students can pick tools to help them learn at their own pace, find challenging activities, and work both independently and collaboratively. The tools and strategies our students choose to use now will follow them into their future.

Keep reading

Why does equity in education matter?

Discover the difference between equal opportunity and equity in education. Learn how technology can help DEI in our classrooms.

What is student engagement and student agency?

Discover how student agency and engagement ultimately have effects on classroom outcomes.

Why is inclusive education important?

Learn about varied learning experiences and best practice in teaching and learning.