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Teacher Development and the Achievement Gap

Abstract

"Despite much investment aimed at closing the achievement gap between ethnic minorities and white students (see Kitchen & Berk, 2016), success stories are rare. Research (e.g., Balfanz & Byrnes, 2006; Symonds, 2004; Desimone & Long, 2010) suggest that a focus on conceptual learning, in-class time spent on teaching, teachers' analyses of students' difficulties and strategies, activities on measurement and geometry, and teacher collaboration may contribute to closing the achievement gap. However, by and large, research has failed to identify specific aspects of teaching that promote learning among underperforming minority students and we still need studies clarifying how teacher development programs may play a constructive role. This paper describes a mathematics teacher development program and its contribution towards narrowing the gap between grades 5-8 minority students and their white counterparts. Even though the program wasn't specifically designed to address the achievement gap, its results suggest that it would contribute to better learning among all students, including those performing at the lowest levels."

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