Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students

English language learners

Developing Vocabulary for Latino Students

Categories: School Improvement

This post is part of an ongoing series on the topic of Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students.

By the time the Latino student is six years old the achievement gap has already begun. According to Katherine Magnuson, “Most if not all gaps are due to economic disadvantages.” As teachers, we have no control over students’ economic situations; however, research shows that we can have an impact on their vocabulary by utilizing techniques and strategies that have resulted in academic achievement.

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The key to accessibility

How to Make Academic Content Accessible to Latino Students

Categories: School Improvement

This post is part of an ongoing series on the topic of Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students.

Latino students can and will learn if we, as educators, meet their language and learning needs. Latino students may lack the vocabulary and background knowledge needed to access academic content. The most effective and direct way to build background knowledge is to provide students with experiences outside of the classroom such as field trips. While these exploratory experiences are meaningful, schools may lack the funds to provide students with these powerful activities. In his book, Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement, Marzano provides an indirect approach to building background knowledge that schools can implement to enhance Latino students’ academic achievement. According to Marzano, background knowledge is stored visually and linguistically. Teachers should, therefore, provide Latino students with opportunities to visually and linguistically process big ideas of a unit before delving into an area of study. Before I start a unit of study, I provide my students with multiple opportunities to think critically about the topic at hand, engage in collaborative conversations with their classmates, and communicate their thoughts of the big ideas.

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Demonstrate, Explain, Apply

Common Core and the DEA Teaching Model

Categories: Common Core & Standards, School Improvement

This post is part of an ongoing series on the topic of Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students.

Common Core has opened the door for a different kind of learning experience for both teachers and students. The traditional classroom with the teacher being the keeper of knowledge, and the students being the sponges of information is being flipped. The teacher’s role is shifting away from instructor and leaning more towards facilitator. With this shift, students are transitioning to be the active participant in their own learning, responsible for their own engagement and product. This level of ownership of learning is especially beneficial for English Language Learners. ELL students need to build relevance with new learnings, and this new approach will only solidify connections and provide personal contexts for their new learnings.

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Bridging the gap

A Multifaceted Approach to Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students

Categories: School Improvement

This post is part of an ongoing series on the topic of Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students.

The opening line to Charles Dickens’ classic novel The Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” could be referenced today to describe the state of Latino students in the public education system of the United States. According to the non-profit organization Excelencia in Education’s, 2015 publication of The Condition of Latinos in Education, the following statistics hold true today:

  • The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates that while Latino students have increased both math and reading scores by double digits over the last 10 years, Latino students continue to score below the national average.
  • While Latinos represent the second largest group of the early childhood population, Latino children were less likely to be enrolled in early childhood education than other ethnic groups.
  • While the Latino dropout rate from high school has decreased, it still remains higher than any other ethnic group.
  • While Latinos represented 17% of SAT test-takers for 2013 college bound seniors, they also had lower mean scores in all areas of the SAT than did White, Asian, or American Indians/Alaska Native college-bound seniors.

While significant strides are being made to close the achievement gap for Latino students, an important question remains: What must schools and/or districts serving large Latino student populations do to eliminate the achievement gap for Latino students?

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