Achievement Gap-Academic Problem or Not?

Most educators are quite familiar with the issue of there being groups of children who underperform on standardized assessments when compared to their peers. We commonly refer to this as the achievement gap. Researchers and educators now trace the roots back to a school “readiness” gap which can be quite evident and pronounced by the start of kindergarten. It would seem that if we know where the inception of this achievement academic tragedy begins, then we should be able to easily fix it. We are making strides in the right direction with the emphasis and importance of early childhood education however, this alone hasn’t been enough.

Is there more to this issue than meets the eye? I would have to say a resounding yes, and this can be surmised with the concepts of parental involvement, specifically the role of parental motivation and expectancy. Simply explained, a parent’s ability to motivate their child, and their expectancy for the child being academically successful, impacts the child’s achievement level.

My parent involvement Instructional At-Home Plan (IAHP)® is especially successful primarily because it is designed to empower the parent in a manner which motivates the parent to motivate the child, thereby fully expecting academic success. Parents must feel and be encouraged to openly convey that their children are intelligent and capable, with endless possibilities for their lives. The damaging effect of the school readiness and achievement gap is all too real however, parents of my students have demonstrated their unique capacity to positively reverse this trend.

Early childhood education is an inroad to eliminating the achievement gap, but it is ONLY when coupled with effective parental involvement that this will become reality.


Tanya Foster-DeMers

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