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Equity and quality in top-performing schools

Using data from Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools, Education Week reports on methods which ensure that schools have high levels of both equity and quality. According to the data, the United States is at the bottom when it comes these two characteristics.

Here are the key strategies to fix it, according to Education Week:

Postpone tracking until upper secondary.
Students that show promise in math in seventh grade are often placed in algebra in eight grade, which then leads to higher level coursework in high school, meaning they are held to higher educational standards than the rest of the student body. By getting rid of tracking and expecting high standards from all students, and not just the ones that show high ability, lends itself to all students meeting those expectations. Education Week notes that in other countries with high equity and quality have the same curriculum for students in grades nine and ten.

Eliminate grade repetition
The article states, “The solution to eliminating grade repetition is not pushing students ahead who are not ready. It turns out to be making sure that all students are pursuing a demanding curriculum and all students are keeping up with that curriculum.” This means that teachers are consistently assessing their students to make sure they understand the coursework. Using this method, teachers would be able to catch students who are falling behind more quickly and have one-on-one time with the student.

Make funding responsive to needs
As it is now in the U.S., schools in wealthy areas tend to get more funding. In top-performing countries, they make sure that most of their educational resources go to more difficult and low-come areas.

Manage school choice to avoid inequities
In top-performing countries, school choice is highly valued. These countries also take steps to make sure hat school choice is also fair, using strategies such as moving high performing principals and teachers to low-performing schools or limiting choice when it negatively impacts equity.

Design equivalent upper secondary pathways
According to the article, “The most successful nations design their upper secondary school programs so that all paths lead to jobs that can provide a good living and a rewarding career.” This means ensuring that all students are enrolled in a rigorous curriculum and are college and career ready.

Read the whole article here.

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  1. Charlie Mas May 25, 2012

    Many of these strategies are labor intensive and will cost much more money than Washington State legislature has been willing to invest. Many others require a community commitment to equity which is not in evidence here in Washington and lacks leadership. Our leadership is built largely around self-interested parties and political gestures.

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