EDU 530: Adv. Techniques in Instruction and Assessment
Root Causes of Student Achievement Problems
Due: March 1, 2011
This is an average American fourth grade class. Most students complete their homework every night, are proficient in Reading and Math, and come from stable homes. There are a few advanced students, and a handful of low-performing students. I asked their teacher to identify the root causes to the lack of performance in her-lowering performing students. The following is a report of her responses and rationales. #1. Student’s ability to process
The first thing she sited was the students’ ability to process the information. #2. Home environment
Secondly, without much of a pause, she listed the home environment. “Home is the biggest factor. Their parents are not involved and school is not a priority. I can only do so much,” the veteran teacher explained. “Teachers can’t go home with them.” #3. Curriculum rigor – (math and grammar)
As the conversation continued, this teacher began to evaluate the role of the curriculum. While she has been teaching for 20+ years, this is only her second year teaching the district’s newly adopted Everyday Math program. The third root cause she noted was this math program. So far, she has found it to be inefficient when it comes to her struggling students. While her high level students do well, as they would likely do with any program, it is “too scattered” for her special education and low-level students. She also feels it is so rigorous that it does not allow for enough basic skills practice because there simply is not enough time. The grammar component of the district’s reading curriculum is also a source of tension for this teacher, who has a certification as a Reading specialist and teaches an Education course at a community college. She feels the district’s grammar program is not on grade-level, not concrete enough, and is too abstract for her...