Get on Board for Academic Excellence
|Author: Julia Roberts|
Date: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
|Return to Archive|
Julia Roberts was guest writer for Stu Silberman's blog Public Engagement and Ed Reform originally posted on April 3, 2014. You can find the original post at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/engagement_and_reform/2014/04/get_on_board_for_academic_excellence.html.
Julia Link Roberts is the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. Dr. Roberts is the Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies and theCarol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky. You may contact her at email@example.com.
Americans have long celebrated excellence in athletics and enjoyed excellence in the arts. However, they have been far more reluctant to celebrate and enjoy excellence in academics. In fact, barriers are often intentionally or unintentionally placed in the way of children and young people reaching excellence in mathematics, science, language arts and social studies.
Over the past decade, as schools have singularly focused on reducing achievement gaps, they have overlooked the potential for high achievement among students who were ready to learn at advanced levels. Students in the "gap" groups - children from families who are eligible for free and reduced lunch as well as children who are African-American and Hispanic - have so seldom achieved at advanced levels that barely 1-2 % of these students score at the advanced level on NAEP tests, while 8 - 12% of white students and those not eligible for free or reduced lunch are reaching those achievement levels of excellence. (NAEP tests are administered to a sample of students in all states.) Unfortunately, the gaps between subgroups on state assessments are similar to the gaps on NAEP. Mind the (Other) Gap (2010) and Talent on the Sidelines (2013) , produced by Jonathan Plucker and a team from the University of Connecticut, provide rich descriptions of the Excellence Gap. The data are discouraging and appalling for the future of our country at a time that our country has greater percentages of children from these gap groups than ever before. Now, in some states, more than half of their population is from these groups who are no longer the minority.
So how do we get academic excellence ratcheted up as a priority in all of our schools? How do we remove barriers, intended and unintended, to elementary, middle and high school students learning at advanced levels?
- We talk with school board members, superintendents, principals and other educators about the importance of students learning new things every day they are in school, and that includes children and young people who are already proficient or way beyond proficient in whatever is being studied; for some, they know the concepts and skills even before the year begins.
- We celebrate high academic achievement in addition to exceptional achievement in athletics and the arts.
- We examine decisions and policies being considered and ask:
* How will this [decision] impact our highest achieving students?
* How will the proposed [decision] help more students achieve at the highest levels?(Plucker et al, 2010, p. 30)
* How do we identify students with high ability in every population and support them to become high achievers?
Students with gifts and talents - both manifest and latent - deserve opportunities to learn at appropriately challenging levels every day they are in school; just as every other student expects and deserves to do. Students from the "gap" groups have the potential to achieve at the highest level if educators develop their skills and enhance their understanding in mathematics, science, language arts and social studies from the time they start school.
Our country cannot afford to leave talent on the table. Our country cannot succeed if only a small percentage of students achieve at top levels. It is time to get the conversation going about achieving excellence, in all academic areas, in all schools across the United States. Let's start the conversation about academic excellence and celebrate all steps along the way as students work for and achieve excellence. Focusing on excellence bodes well for the future of our country!
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Event & Training Services
The Kentucky Folklife Program, housed in WKU’s Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology in Bowling Green, is serving as a regional host partner for the 2017 Rural-Urban Exchange Community Intensive.
WKU Top Life welcomes our newest employees, hired in May 2017.
Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students are spending their summer completing research internships in South Korea. The 10-week internships are in the Chemistry Department of Changwon National University.
This year for Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class, the students had some extra support in the form of WKU’s new crowdsource funding project, Spirit Funder.
The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special budget approval meeting and committee meetings on June 23 in the Martin Regents Room, Jody Richards Hall.
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,