According to an Education Week report, even at high-performing, wealthy high schools, students who have fallen far behind academically in 4th and 8th grade have less than a 1 in 3 chance of being ready for college or a career by the end of high school, according to a new study by the national testing group ACT Inc.
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.
- Many “under-resourced” students enter school with a language deficit.
- Many of these students have severe deficiencies in reading and particularly vocabulary.
- Even if schools catch them up by third grade, those students still need dircect, explicit, age-appropriate literacy instruction every year or they will begin to fall behind again.
- These “critically ill” educational patients often go untreated until the problem is so acute that a cure is highly unlikely.
- When students fall behind it is extremely expensive (in terms of time and resources) to catch them up and we are rarely successful.
The key is to do everything within our power to ensure that we do not allow students to fall behind.
“Relatively few high schools even got over 25 percent of their far-off kids caught up, and generally those were the more advantaged high schools,” Doughtery told me. “The lesson is that the needle of academic achievement moves slowly, because essentially you are building knowledge and skills that develop over time. It’s one of those pieces of research that when you tell people, they say, ‘We knew it all along,’ but they don’t know it, because if they did, and they acted as if they knew it, they would be much more focused on early interventions.”
See on blogs.edweek.org