Closing achievement gaps requires exposing students to rigorous grade-level work and to personalized Learning that meets them where they are, writes Britt Neuhaus of the Overdeck Family Foundation on LA School Report.
Throwing them in the deep end won’t work, she argues. Neither will keeping them in the shallows.
In schools with strong implementations of more personalized models, flexible use of time, talent and technology can Support a range of learners. However, there is also evidence that without adequate structures and supports, a focus on meeting students where they are can compromise academic rigor and increase teachers’ reliance on a hodgepodge of materials. Overlaid with issues related to implicit bias and low expectations for students of color, a personalized approach without an anchor in grade-level curricula means some students may grow from their starting point but may not be challenged to reach their highest learning potential.
Citing a new Bellwether report, Neuhaus calls for providing “a caring relationship with their teacher, with frequent 1:1 and small group learning opportunities,” access to grade-level work and coherent learning materials and experiences.
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