State education officials are taking a closer look at the largest student achievement gaps in Mississippi.
The largest student achievement gap on state testing is between African Americans and whites. That’s according to a data presented to the Mississippi Board of Education last month, but the state Department of Education is releasing a more in-depth analysis of student achievement gaps to local districts.
She says school officials can use the information to target instruction at those students who need the most help.
“It’s going to be beneficial to them because they’re going to be able to see where their gaps are and what sub-groups they need to focus on the most to improve education achievement,” says Paula Vanderford with the Education Department. “So what it looks like in Oxford may be completely different than what it looks like in Clinton although they’re both A districts.”
Looking at the data, the schools that have the highest achievement gaps are in some of the state’s best performing schools.
“The gap analysis may be misleading because the smaller gaps may not necessarily be good,” Vanderford says. “The lower performing districts and schools have the smaller gaps because most of their students within those schools are lower performing.”
The collection of the achievement gap data is part of a requirement from the federal government’s Every Student Succeeds Act.