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How to Close the Achievement Gap

Aug 16, 2010 1:00 AM EDT

The world’s best schools offer important lessons about what works.

Zhao Changchun / Xinhua Press-Corbis All over the world, your chances of success in school and life depend more on your family circumstances than on any other factor. By age three, kids with professional parents are already a full year ahead of their poorer peers. They know twice as many words and score 40 points higher on IQ tests. By age 10, the gap is three years. By then, some poor children have not mastered basic reading and math skills, and many never will: this is the age at which failure starts to become irreversible. A few school systems seem to have figured out how to erase these gaps. Finland ensures that every child completes basic education and meets a rigorous standard. One Finnish district official, asked about the number of children who don’t complete school in her city, replied, “I can tell you their names if you want.” In the United States, KIPP charter schools enroll students from the poorest families and ensure that almost every one of them graduates high school—80 percent make it to college. Singapore narrowed its achievement gap among ethnic minorities from 17 percent to 5 percent over 20 years.

If we can learn the lesson of what works. . High-quality preschooling does more for a child’s chances in school and life than any other educational intervention. tracked two groups of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One study. Second. and were less likely to have been in prison or divorced. others were not. Roughly one in three Finnish students also gets extra help from a tutor each year. Thirty-five years later. and even go to school every other Saturday. In Finland. Yamashita / Corbis) These success stories offer lessons for the rest of us. Some were given the opportunity to attend a high-quality preschool. KIPP students spend 60 percent more time in school than the average American student. they invest in training and continuing education. pour lots of effort into training teachers. by category. we can build on it. (Michael S. Third.The best countries. and they award bonuses only to the top performers. Studies in the United States have shown that kids with the most effective teachers learn three times as much as those with the least effective. they evaluate teachers regularly. recognize the value of individualized attention. Mourshed and Whelan are consultants at McKinsey. Finally. They arrive earlier. Systems such as Singapore’s are choosy about recruiting. First. leave later. had better jobs. get children into school early. recognize that the average kid spends about half his waking hours up until the age of 18 outside of school—don’t ignore that time. Chile extended its school day to add the equivalent of more than two more years of schooling. attend more regularly. the kids who went to preschool were earning more. kids who start to struggle receive one-on-one support from their teachers. which began in the 1960s. in 1996. Similarly.

It is suggested that ………………… 3.. No factor …………… b. READING COMPREHENSION In your own words. What does the writer mean by “The Achievement Gap”? Explain. Your chances of success in school and life depend more on your family circumstances than on any other factor. d. find words/ phrases in the text that somehow explain. USE OF ENGLISH. Never ………………… c. a. CLOZE EXERCISE In the following text. ´paraphrase or refer to “The Achievement Gap” b. Many poor children will never master basic reading and math skills. answer the following questions about the passage above a.1. It is …………………. This is the age at which failure starts to become irreversible. USE OF ENGLISH: Paraphrasing Use the words given and rewrite these sentences by adding 2 or more words DO NOT change the meaning. Give examples of success stories in different countries” What can be learnt from them? 2. Also. fill in the blanks with ONLY ONE WORD The Nature of the Reading Process . My suggestion? To recognize the value of individualized attention.

..................... Does education make a difference for peoples? 3..... they are focused3) ..... 2............. if your reading speeds increase as a result of trying to read faster... If. the car.... however... These pauses . along..... cannot............ a line of print....happens when you read... As your eyes move 8)................... trying to read faster. The role of teachers today and their contributions Use and underline the following structures: 1.......a busy road and watch a car pass you from left to right........ on the other hand. you have widened your eye span16) ............ than. watches your eyes 6)......... ESSAY WRITING Write an essay on the following topic: "The value of education and the role of school" • • • Use both the ideas and structures below Be tidy and orderly throughout Write an approximate total word count at the end Include the following ideas (in any order): 1.... you wait until there is no traffic and try to follow an imaginary car as it moves from left to right anyone 5)........ 4).... known......read faster without widening your eye span..... The role of school in an individual’s life and future...... who...................... One follows naturally from the other 4.... they make a series of small jerky movements... your eyes will appear to move smoothly 2)... as/when.......... as you usually15)................. This is 7). has learned to widen his ‘eye span’ and to see written material more in terms of groups of words 12)..... been able to produce evidence that they are any more effective than 14) ... then..... necessarily realising it............. as ‘fixations’. yet... without..................... Whereas/ while. In fact....... Second type conditional 2.9)...as single words..........the efficient reader. stopping momentarily on each word or group of words...... because...If you stand at a window 1).. you do this will tell you that they move in a series of small jerks... what.... on...... The slow reader finds that he has to fixate on every word in 10)... simply.... A sentence including the modal auxiliary “should” for past preference ........overlooking.... No mechanical device claiming to help a reader widen his eye span has 13)....last for about a third of a second................ order.....to understand what he reads 11).......

The expression “Under no circumstances” at the beginning of the sentence. PLUS A WIDE RANGE OF CONNECTORS AND VOCABULARY .3.

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