Addressing Student Achievement Gaps In Sub Cells


Rigor and student engagement are two key components of education that continue to be identified as significant factors in addressing the achievement gap.

Dr. Robert Marzano, executive director of the Learning Science Marzano Center for Teacher and Leader Evaluation, shares his wisdom by clearly stating,

“We have identified the essential classroom instructional strategies to assist teachers in helping students achieve the required level of rigor. These pedagogical strategies build a clear focus on the necessary skills – analysis, reasoning, hypothesis generation and testing, decision-making in real-world applications, that are the basis for states’ college and career readiness standards.”

Dr. Marzano goes on to explain the essence of how many districts and schools are trying to align their culture and past practices with student-centered instruction:

“These strategies also clearly move toward a student-centered pedagogy where students have increasing autonomy and responsibility for their own learning. In essence, the strategies offer a detailed map of the instructional shifts necessary for success with rigorous standards.”

Moving toward this student-centered pedagogy is a culture shift that takes time, training, and resources. It is important for schools to identify and creatively allocate resources according to need in all areas of education; because, we are always asked to do more with less. Therefore, it is essential that educational leaders think outside of the box and see if we are using educational teams to the maximum capacity possible, starting with breaking down data and identifying where the systemic rigor-weaknesses are and ask the toughest question: “Why?”

Over the past four years, Mora Elementary Schools have conducted a number of data retreats, had guest speakers, as well as conducted monthly data digs in Professional Learning Communities to assist in aligning the data with the Marzano Instructional Framework. Teachers have identified the standard being taught and communicated this to the students, then created a scale for how to achieve this target, and allowed children to self-reflect on performance in comparison to where they need to go.

Throughout the subjects and grades, Mora has created a common language and taught students how to respond to their learning through the use of scales and rubrics. The third step beyond identifying data and creating a common language is establishing sound progression scales for students to use as road maps to achieve the level of rigor necessary by addressing each individual’s growth score, student’s role in the achievement gap, and allowing staff freedom to create the art of aligning instructional practice to a student-centered pedagogy.

With education and training, Mora has changed the instructional delivery model to an inclusive model push-in model with a student-centered focus that includes student-centered service from Title I, EL Services, and Special Education. Scheduling for this Integrated Service Delivery time and SPIE (Special Education, Interventionist, Enrichment – Intermediate) / WIN (What I Need – Primary) time is a complicated process. Addressing the importance of having appropriate rigor for all students, student-centered focus, and kept students engaged is worth the time leaders invest in closing the achievement gap for all students, even in the variety of sub cells we are all accountable for.

Sources: Quotes from

nichole laven picBlog post by:

Nichole Laven, Principal
Fairview and Trailview Elementary Schools
Mora, Minnesota 55051
Twitter: @nlaven21

What strategies are you using the close the achievement gap in your building? Leave a comment below ↓

This entry was posted in Achievement Gap, Instructional Leadership and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Addressing Student Achievement Gaps In Sub Cells

  1. Merry Tilleson says:

    I agree with having a common language is so important.


  2. Pingback: Closing the Achievement Gap |

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