Asking the Unasked: Reflection on a Series About Closing the “Achievement Gap”

Meeting Notes • April 2016 • By Curtis Johnson

In October of 2015, Education Evolving (EE) produced a three-session series in partnership with the Achievement Gap Committee, each session examining a different dimension of the challenge to close the gap in achievement across different categories of students.

The series was moderated by Robert Wedl, a former Minnesota commissioner of education and a long time senior associate with EE. Wedl set the context of chronic frustration with achievement gaps, in both urban and suburban schools.

He outlined the three-part series, starting with a session defining what the achievement gap means and also what it means for a school to ‘beat the odds’—examining one school that consistently does. The second session explored complications with using standardized tests for accountability purposes. The third session featured actual examples of strategies that reduce, if not close, gaps.

This report is a selective summary of the main points and questions highlighted in this series.