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Effective Practices in Closing Achievement Gaps

NEA offers a wide range of programs, products, and resources to engage and support state affiliates and members in closing the achievement gaps. The question most often heard when educators confront the reality of the achievement gaps in their school is "What can I do in my classroom?" NEA resources provide support for answering this question by:
  • Offering research-based suggestions for what educators can do now to create a learning environment in which diverse students can learn;
  • Providing training and resources that challenge educators to meet accountability demands while still offering quality instruction to those students who need the most help;
  • Developing training and materials to help educators meet the needs of English language learners; and
  • Providing connections to additional resources that spark even more ideas for how to be successful with all students.
The following resources are available to educators from NEA and its organizational partners.

NEA Resources

  • Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps
    What do schools or districts that close achievement gaps have in common? They employ these strategies from Closing Achievement Gaps: An Association Guide.
  • 2011 C.A.R.E. Guide: Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps
    Research-based ideas for educating culturally diverse students and students from low-income families.
  • "I Can Do It!"
    This training program from the NEA Academy is designed for new K-12 teachers in their first five years of teaching. Included in the curriculum is information about the elements necessary for successful classroom management.
  • Teaching for Understanding: A Guide to Video Resources (2006) (PDF, 916KB, 42pp)
    Authors Judith W. Segal, Elizabeth J. Demarest, and Andrea I. Prejean describe recent videos portraying teaching practices that are consistent with the most recent research on learning and teaching and with professional standards, and how they are used in professional development.
  • NEA Achievement Gaps Discussion Guides
    NEA created a series of short guides designed for members to use in leading discussions about achievement gaps in their schools and communities.
    1. Identifying Achievement Gaps in Your School, District, and Community
    2. Identifying Factors that Contribute to Achievement Gaps
    3. Identifying Factors that Contribute to Achievement Gaps (District and School)
    4. Identifying Stakeholders’ Responsibilities for Closing Achievement Gaps (Out-of-School)
  • Special Education Resources
    NEA is deeply committed to the notion that all students should have access to a free, appropriate public education that promotes student achievement. When parents, teachers, administrators and related service providers work and plan together, focused on matching the educational environment and appropriate supports with the learning needs of students with disabilities and those without, the specialization process yields programs and services that maximize the success of every child.
  • Looking into Learning-Centered Classrooms: Implications for Classroom Management (PDF, 452KB, 28pp)
    Recent research is revealing a great deal about how changes in educational practices and policies can revamp classrooms and schools to close the achievement gaps and promote excellence in learning for all students. This NEA report, by Carolyn M. Evertson and Kristen W. Neal, describes what research says about managing learning-centered classrooms to foster student engagement, autonomy, community and responsibility.
  • Characteristics of Teachers Who Are Effective in Teaching All Students to Read (PDF, 580KB, 15pp)
    Research from the 1970s and1980s on the characteristics of effective elementary school teachers highlighted the importance of a strong academic focus, explicit instruction,and high levels of pupils on task (Hoffman, 1991). Extending this earlier research, recent largescale studies on effective teachers of reading have highlighted the importance of motivating and balanced instruction, the teaching of strategies as well as skills, the encouragement of higher-level thinking, and the use of coaching as children are reading and writing.
  • Steps for School-Wide Reading Improvement (PDF, 910KB, 20pp)
    The question of what makes schools successful in improving students’ reading achivement has been a key area of inquiry at the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA). The process for school-wide reading improvement described in this booklet is based on the framework for change used in the CIERA School Change Project.

Resources from Other Organizations

  • Class Matters: In and Out of School (2008) ( PDF) - Closing gaps requires paying attention to race and poverty. Phi Delta Kappa.
  • Teaching Teachers: Professional Development to Improve Student Achievement (Summer 2005) (PDF, 4pp)
    This issue of AERA's Research Points examines the connection between professional development for teachers and student achievement and remarks that teachers are the foundation of good schools.
  • 'Reading Don't Fix No Chevy's': Literacy in the Lives of Young Men (Heinemann Books, 2002)
    The problems of boys in schools, especially in reading and writing, have been the focus of statistical data, but rarely does research point out how literacy educators can combat those problems. That situation has changed. Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm, two of the most respected names in English education and in the teaching of reading, worked with a very diverse group of young men to understand how they use literacy and what conditions promote it. In this book they share what they have learned.
  • Teaching Mathematics and Science to English Language Learners: It's Just Good Teaching
    Part of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory's series "It's Just Good Teaching," this publication offers teachers research-based instructional strategies with real-life examples from Northwest classrooms.
  • The Inclusive Classroom: Mathematics and Science Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities (PDF, 47pp)
    The Inclusive Classroom provides strategies to ensure that students engage meaningfully in science inquiry and mathematics problem solving and all other aspects of the mainstream classroom. Teachers can use strategies that draw on key principles of inclusion, special education, multiculturalism, and standards-based reform to promote mathematics and science achievement for all students.
  • IRIS Center - Resources for Working with Students with Disabilities
    Research-based, high-quality resources for higher ed faculty and professional development about students with disabilities. Content is also relevant for preK-12 educators who work with students with disabilities. It has free, online, interactive training modules on such topics as Response to Intervention (RTI), Classroom Management, and Differentiated Instruction. A federally funded project housed at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
  • Assessing Kindergarten Children: A Compendium of Assessment Instruments (SERVE) (PDF, 82pp)
    Schools and state departments of education often need information on assessment instruments and lack a comprehensive resource that provides consistent information on many different instruments. The Compendium is designed to provide a starting point for gathering information on assessment instruments.
  • Great Science for Girls
    This Web site is designed to build the capacity of after-school centers and intermediaries to deliver evidence-based programming that will broaden and sustain girls' interest and persistence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).