50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap / Edition 3

50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap / Edition 3

by Carolyn J. Downey, Betty E. Steffy-English, William K. Poston, Fenwick W. English

"Each of the 50 strategies explains what the strategy is, why it is important, and how it can be implemented. This book will be a tremendous resource for educators."
—Cole Pugh, Superintendent
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, TX

"The strategies are a well-designed balance of central office support and site-based implementation that

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"Each of the 50 strategies explains what the strategy is, why it is important, and how it can be implemented. This book will be a tremendous resource for educators."
—Cole Pugh, Superintendent
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, TX

"The strategies are a well-designed balance of central office support and site-based implementation that guides leaders through curriculum alignment, mastery learning, and resource allocation in this age of NCLB accountability."
—Joe Bazenas, Principal
Booker Middle School, Sarasota, FL

Clear, updated guidelines for increasing academic performance and providing educational equity for all students!

Confronting gaps in school achievement requires a systematic examination of the entire school system and a comprehensive problem-solving approach. Written for school leaders, this completely revised and expanded edition outlines 50 detailed, researched-based strategies for developing high-performing schools.

Emphasizing the provision of equal educational opportunities for all learners, this book is organized around six critical standards:

  • Teach a well-crafted, focused, valid, and clear curriculum
  • Align assessments, programs, and instructional resources with curriculum
  • Promote student equality and equity
  • Focus on mastery learning and effective teaching strategies
  • Provide resources for establishing curriculum expectations, monitoring, and accountability
  • Institute effective district and school planning, staff development, and resource allocation to create a quality learning environment

With field-tested best practices and an expandedbibliography and research base, this hands-on guide provides school leaders with strategies that give all learners the opportunity to succeed.

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Product Details

SAGE Publications
Publication date:
Edition description:
Third Edition
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn J. Downey is professor emeritus of educational leadership in the College of Education at San Diego State University. She formerly was the superintendent for the Kyrene School District, Phoenix-Tempe, Arizona. Downey has written several books and numerous articles. She is the author of the training program "The Three-Minute Walk-Through and Reflective Feedback for Higher Student Achievement." Her most recent book with Betty E. Steffy, William K. Poston Jr., and Fenwick W. English is 50 Ways to Close the Achievement Gap. She was the major architect of the CMSI Individual School Audit using the 50 Characteristics for Higher Student Achievement. She is the author of several of the Principal-Teacher Series for Higher Student Achievement training materials. She received her MS from the University of Southern California and her PhD from Arizona State University.

Betty E. Steffy is a retired professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State University. She formerly was a dean of a School of Education at a regional campus of Purdue University and served as deputy superintendent of instruction in the Kentucky Department of Education. She served as a superintendent of schools in New Jersey and as a director of curriculum for a regional educational agency in Pennsylvania. She created the professional development model entitled Life Cycle of the Career Teacher. She is the author/coauthor of ten books in education and numerous articles and symposium papers at UCEA and AERA. She earned her BA, MAT, and EdD from the University of Pittsburgh.

Learn more about William Poston's PD offerings

William K. Poston Jr. is an Emeritus Professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he served for 17 years. A former math and physics teacher, he accumulated 25 years of experience in educational administration including 15 years as a superintendent in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, and in Billings, Montana. His experience includes serving as executive director of the Iowa School Business Management Academy—the licensure program for school business managers in Iowa—for 15 years. He is the originator of curriculum-driven budgeting, and he has led over 75 curriculum audits. Poston has written 13 books and over 40 journal articles and continues to provide extensive service to schools in the areas of evaluation, curriculum management auditing, performance-based budgeting, and organizational quality improvement.

Fenwick W. English (Ph.D.) is the R. Wendell Eaves Senior Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a position he has held since 2001. As a scholar/practitioner he has held positions as a school principal and superintendent of schools in California and New York and as a department chair, dean, and vice-chancellor of academic affairs at universities in Ohio and Indiana. He is the former President of the University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA) and of the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA). His research has been reported in national and international academic forums. He edited the 2006 SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration, the 2009 SAGE Library of Educational Thought and Practice: Educational Leadership and Administration; and the 2011 SAGE Handbook of Educational Leadership (2nd Ed.). In 2013, he received the Living Legend Award from NCPEA for his lifetime contribution to the field of educational leadership.

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Table of Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xi

About the Authors xiii

Introduction 1

Six Standards for High-Performing Schools 9

Standard 1 Establish a Well-Crafted, Focused, Valid, and Clear Curriculum to Direct Teaching 15

Strategy 1 Embed External Assessment Target Objectives in the Written Content Standards and Link Them to State Standards 17

Strategy 2 Have Clear and Precise District Curriculum Objectives-Content, Context, and Cognitive Type 20

Strategy 3 Deeply Align Objectives From External Assessments 24

Strategy 4 Sequence Objectives for Mastery Well Before They Are Tested 28

Strategy 5 Provide a Feasible Number of Objectives to Be Taught 30

Strategy 6 Identify Specific Objectives as Benchmark Standards 34

Strategy 7 Place Objectives in a Teaching Sequence 36

Strategy 8 Provide Access to Written Curriculum Documents and Direct the Objectives to Be Taught 38

Strategy 9 Conduct Staff Development in Curriculum and Its Delivery 41

Standard 2 Provide Assessments Aligned With the Curriculum 45

Strategy 10 Develop Aligned District Pre-Post Criterion-Referenced Assessments 48

Strategy 11 Have a Pool of Unsecured Test Items by Objective 51

Strategy 12 Establish Secured Performance Benchmark Assessments 53

Strategy 13 Conduct Assessment Training 57

Strategy 14 Use Assessments Diagnostically 61

Strategy 15 Teach Students to Be "Test Wise" 64

Strategy 16 Establish a Reasonable Testing Schedule and Environment 68

Strategy 17 Disaggregate Assessment Data 71

Strategy 18 Maintain Student Progress Reports 75

Standard 3 Align Program and Instructional Resources With the Curriculum and Provide Student Equality and Equity 81

Strategy 19 Align Programs With theCurriculum to Ensure Congruity 83

Strategy 20 Use Research and Data That Document Results to Drive Program Selection, and Validate the Implementation of Programs With Action Research 88

Strategy 21 Evaluate Programs to Determine Their Effectiveness in Strengthening Student Achievement of Curriculum Objectives 96

Strategy 22 Align Textbooks and Instructional Resources With the District Curriculum Objectives and Assessments in Both Content and Context Dimensions 106

Strategy 23 Use Technology in Design or Selection Procedures to Ensure Strong Connections to System Learning Expectations and Feedback 110

Strategy 24 Provide Training in the Use of Instructional Resources and Their Alignment With System Curriculum Objectives-Content, Context, and Cognitive Type 116

Strategy 25 Select or Modify Instructional Resources for Lessons to Ensure Full Alignment With System Objectives and Tested Learning 120

Strategy 26 Place Students in Programs and Activities in an Equitable Manner and With Equal Access to the Curriculum 124

Strategy 27 Implement Effective Programs and Strategies With English Language Learners 129

Standard 4 Use a Mastery Learning Approach and Effective Teaching Strategies 139

Strategy 28 Implement a Mastery Learning Model 141

Strategy 29 Align Teaching With the Curriculum 156

Strategy 30 Provide Differentiated Curriculum and Instruction as Well as Differentiated Time to Learn 162

Strategy 31 Provide Practice to Master the Curriculum 171

Strategy 32 Use Effective Instructional Practices 176

Strategy 33 Use Powerful Vocabulary Development Strategies 188

Strategy 34 Establish Individual Learning Plans for Low-Achieving Students 198

Standard 5 Establish Curriculum Expectations, Monitoring, and Accountability 205

Strategy 35 Provide for High Expectations for Achievement for Each Student 206

Strategy 36 Monitor the Curriculum 211

Strategy 37 Visit Classrooms and Provide Follow-up 216

Strategy 38 Use Disaggregated Data in the Decision-Making Process 219

Strategy 39 Focus Staff Appraisal on Professional Growth 224

Standard 6 Institute Effective District and School Planning, Staff Development, and Resource Allocation, and Provide a Quality Learning Environment 229

Strategy 40 Develop a District Planning Process That Is Strategic in Nature and Provides Guidance for the Development of District and School Long-Range Plans 231

Strategy 41 Create and Implement a Singular, Focused, Multiyear District Plan That Incorporates Change Strategies for Higher Student Achievement 235

Strategy 42 Align School Plans With the District Plan 238

Strategy 43 Implement Aligned Teacher Training to Reach District and School Goals 244

Strategy 44 Implement Administrative Training Aligned With the Curriculum and Its Assessment and District Plan Priorities 248

Strategy 45 Provide Differentiated Staff Development 254

Strategy 46 Link Resource Allocations to Goals, Objectives, Priorities, and Diagnosed Needs of the System 259

Strategy 47 Provide Qualified and Adequate Personnel 264

Strategy 48 Remove Incompetent Staff or Help Them Achieve Satisfactory Functioning 271

Strategy 49 Provide a Quality Learning Environment 275

Strategy 50 Provide Quality Facilities 280

Summary 286

References 293

Index 306

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