Partnering to End the Early Education Achievement Gap

MetaMetrics is a proud partner of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign. This annual campaign calls to end the early education achievement gap in America. With a Lexile measure of 360L, Llama Llama Red Pajama is Jumpstart’s 2011 featured book.  This Thursday, October 6th, Llama Llama Red Pajama will be read to over two million children nationwide

Participating in Read for the Record, MetaMetrics is dedicated to working towards closing the achievement gap. Reading is essential to preparing children for a successful academic career so please join us in encouraging every child to read.  Take a stand for America’s children by taking a seat to read with them tomorrow.

Hats Off to Cincinnati Public Schools

Earlier this month Joe Natham of Education News reported that schools in Cincinnati Public Schools have significantly raised their graduation rates.   In fact, according to Elizabeth Holtzapple, Cincinnati Public Schools Director of Research, Evaluation and Testing, “…the district’s public schools increased overall high school graduation rates to a bit over 81% in 2010.  That’s up from 51% [in] 2000.  She also reported the district also has eliminated the graduation gap between white and African American students.”  CPS made these gains despite more stringent graduation requirements in the years between 2000 and 2007, including statewide standardized testing across multiple areas of study.

This is great news.  In looking at the broader picture, Natham points to several important strategies, including:

  • Focusing on just a few goals (increasing overall graduation rates and reducing the high school graduation gap)
  • Focusing staff development on a few key areas, including literacy, numeracy and ways to work effectively with urban students
  • Partnerships between schools, businesses and community groups focused on project goals
  • Creating small schools or small learning communities in large buildings

Hats off to all students, teachers, parents, administrators and supporters that contributed to the amazing success of the Cincinnati school system in the last decade.  They are to be commended for all of their hard work.

The Focus on Mathematics Achievement: A Rising Trend

Last year I wrote a blog post  for the National Associsation of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) titled “Math Education Needs More Emphasis”.  In the post I made a number of contrasts between the areas of reading and math. As those contrasts make clear, there is clearly more attention, in terms of money, print, and resources, that is allocated to reading than to math.  As further evidence of the disparity between the attention devoted to these two skills, I just used Google’s new Ngram viewer , which allows users to compare the occurrences of certain words in written English text, to compare the terms ‘reading achievement’ and ‘mathematics achievement’ from 1800 to 2000. As the graph below indicates, there is both good news and bad news.  

While the graph clearly demonstrates a disparity, the good news is that there is cause for hope.  The graph documents an increasing level of attention on mathematics achievement.   Slightly discouraging, however, is the fact that the graph also indicates a declining level of attention on reading achievement.  There is clearly a rising trend in the occurrences of the term ‘mathematics achievement’ in print from 1980 through 2000.  That’s a good sign.  More promising still, the last decade has seen the rise of NCLB, more detailed international comparisons of student achievement, and now the Common Core.  It will be interesting to see the total and relative impact of these two constructs when books from this decade are included in this new Google search feature.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.