Successful Well Rounded Rigorous Teaching and Learning

Ogo Okoye-Johnson

Students who are exposed to an excellent well rounded education that is grounded in effective and rigorous teaching and learning that spikes their creativity would learn from the sheer curiosity and desire to acquire knowledge. Any gaps in learning should be immediately identified and addressed through targeted intervention, reinforcements and supplemental instruction. In such a vibrant learning environment, students would respond to learning and excel when tested on what they have been taught.

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Effective Teaching and Learning Gems

Effective student learning occurs with frequent teacher feedback to students that encourages self-reflection on the part of students followed by the reteaching of concepts necessary to ensure student mastery of concepts taught.

The most reliable measure for improving teaching and learning could be derived from frequent and effective teacher observations and constructive feedback from the observers designed to improve teacher performance and subsequently student performance in an atmosphere laden with trust and devoid of fear of reprisals!

Creative and innovative teaching fortified by effective instructional coaching produce a vibrant learning environment where students blossom intellectually and are equipped with college-ready, career and successful life skills.


The Impact of School Composition on Black and White Achievement Gap

According to a recent study conducted by Bohrnstedt, G., Kitmitto, S., Ogut, B., Sherman, D., and Chan, D. published by the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a significant positive correlation between school composition and black-white achievement gap.

Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Mathematics Grade 8 Assessment and the Common Core for 2010–11, the study found that while the achievement gap between white and black students remains significant overall with white students performing higher, the “achievement for both Black and White students was lower in the highest Black student density schools than in the lowest density schools. For Black students overall, and Black males in particular, achievement was still lower in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.”

Policy makers and educational practitioners should use the results of this study to inform both allocation of resources, and instructional practices in this environment of increasing resegregation of public schools.

NAEP is the largest nationally representativ​e and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.

2015 NAEP Scores Take a Dip

The 2015 average scores for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)’s Mathematics assessments are significantly lower than the 2013 scores in grades 4 and 8. The 2015 Reading assessments average scores in grade 8 are also lower than those from 2013 while the grade 4 reading scores are not different in both years. These scores indicate that spending too much time on testing in schools did not improve student achievement.

Spending Time on Testing Does Not Improve Academic Perfomance

The Council of the Great City Schools, launched a survey to determine how much testing is done in US public schools and how the tests are used. The survey result which was released on Saturday October 24, 2015 found that about 112 mandated tests are given to students in US big cities between prekindergarten and 12th grade.  Advanced Placement and ACT tests are not included in the survey’s count.

The survey also found that spending time on tests did not improve the academic performance of students using the National Assessment of Educational Progress, as a measuring tool.

Dyett High School Hunger Strike Comes To An End

After 34 days of a hunger strike protesting the closing of Dyett High School by some residents of the school’s community, the strikers claimed what they call a partial victory as they ended their strike due to the physical body’s limitations according to Juan Perez Jr. of Chicago Tribune.

Chicago Public Schools agreed to reopen the former Dyett High School on the city’s Southeast Side next Fall as a neighborhood arts focused school instead of a high school focused on green technology demanded by the strikers.

“Your body starts to deteriorate,”  Jeanette Taylor-Ramann, a member of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization and one of the leaders of the strike said who helped lead the 34-day hunger strike.

NAEP’s Data Show A Steady Growth in Math for Hispanic Students

A report released on November 10, 2014 by Child Trends Hispanic Institute based on the analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP’s, data covering the past ten years show a significant and steady growth in federal Math tests by Hispanic students. Major cities such as Houston, Charlotte, Boston and the District showed the most gains.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit research center, Child Trends Hispanic Institute indicated that the growth is about one grade level with fourth grade students’ scores going up nine points and eighth grade students’ scores going up thirteen points. NAEP’s report is also known as the Nation’s Report Card and represents the “most consistent measure of K-12 progress” in the United States.

Natalia Pane, the vice president of research operations at Child Trends who authored the report expressed surprise at her findings and said, “It’s really interesting what’s going on in the large cities. Our large cities were able to keep pace when they’ve got such higher proportions of students coming from low-income families.”