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What Can We Learn From Today’s Most Depressing Piece Of News?

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Though it could easily fit the label of “today’s most depressing piece of news,” the title of this post is not referring to the Michigan Governor’s signing of awful “right to work” legislation.

No, it’s referring to a major new report summarized by Sarah Sparks at Education Week in a post titled Students Who Struggle Early Rarely Catch Up, Study Says.

Here’s an excerpt:

ACT found that only 10 percent of students who were far behind their peers in college- and career-readiness benchmarks in reading in 8th grade were able to meet readiness benchmarks in 12th grade. Other subjects were even harder to recoup: only 6 percent of students far behind in science and 3 percent of those far behind in math had caught up by the end of high school. Moreover, they found that only about 1 in 10 students who were “far off track” in reading or math in 4th grade met the on-track benchmarks in 8th grade, suggesting these children’s academic gaps start early and never close.

Granted, the study seems to base all their conclusions on standardized test score results, which are not the best measure of student learning (see The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad) ). Nevertheless, it still doesn’t indicate anything good….

The researchers recommend earlier interventions, but that doesn’t help those of us who teach in challenging secondary school environments now, and it certainly doesn’t help our students today. And I’m not holding my breath on when those “early interventions” might be starting.

It does seem to me that these research results can point to the importance of us helping our students develop the lifelong learner skills of grit, self-control, handling stress and other social-emotional learning skills.

What do you think we can learn from this report?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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