Plucker discussed the excellence/equity gap in his podcast. Plucker has done a lot of research on the topic, which can be read about in his articles or listened to through his podcast; both have links listed below. The bulleted list is notes taken from the information in Plucker’s podcast.
Notes during the presentation:
– Not the minimal results, but the highest results!
– Opportunity and achievement to everybody, not losing the kids with the highest potential
– Achievement Gaps = Minimum Competency Gaps
– How many students are really performing at their best/highest competency?
– Excellence gaps
– Students race, ethnicity, socioeconomic (free/reduced lunch vs not) status- white and Asian American students often perform advanced on national tests. Other groups have 0-2% score high…HUGE gaps!
– Socioeconomic gap is huge- minority students and poor students- not performing at high levels. Will become a huge economic problem as they become majority of our citizens and they haven’t been given the opportunity to develop their skills
– If not born in a certain group, then you’re chance of scoring advanced on tests is almost impossible.
– There is a moral and ethical requirement to make sure every student can perform at their level. The point here is that that shouldn’t be the sole focus of 90% of American education policy, and it is.
– Untapped talent- We aren’t bringing them to the level they could be at!
– Equity vs excellence- this is equity and excellence!
– The Law of Unintended Consequences- Think about it when creating these new policies. How does this affect everyone?
– Now we think about how does this affect special education students?
– The KEY to what policy makes need to think about- What’s the impact on advanced students? How would this policy help us get more students performing at advanced levels?
– Accountability Systems- How do they treat excellence?
– Get kids to the highest level they can handle! Not just the top of their grade.
– Excellence is one of the most important things in America!
– Why would you limit students? Pretty good and pretty well is NOT enough! Excellent opportunities!
The huge achievement gaps that he discussed at the beginning were very surprising. I did not realize the achievement gaps were so large for different races and socioeconomic classes. I loved the passion he has for making certain every student performs at their highest achievement level. The issues he discussed are so real for us as gifted educators. Just getting by seems to be more of a focus than excellence. As gifted teachers, I think that we should advocate for excellence and equity. We should be working to help others understand more about excellence for every student. I was shocked when he explained that some teachers have a rule that students can only go so far ahead. Students should be given the chance to excel if they are able. We must help our students excel and advocate for their rights! All educators and administrators need to be aware of the needs of gifted students. Gifted teachers and specialists must take it upon themselves to educate others on ways to best reach gifted students.
Link to Plucker’s reports: http://cepa.uconn.edu/research/mindthegap/
Link to Plucker’s podcast: http://school4schools.com/blog/student-success-podcast-no-5-talent-on-the-sidelines-the-excellence-gap/
Link to Plucker’s article: http://webdev.education.uconn.edu/static/sites/cepa/AG/excellence2010/ExcellenceGapBrief.pdf