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Closing the Achievement Gap One Teacher at a Time


by Bridget K. Hamre & Robert C. Pianta — October 28, 2005

Of great concern to society is whether experiences in the early grades of school can close the gap between students of varying demographic, experiential, and developmental backgrounds. In this commentary we present the results of a recent study providing evidence that for kindergarten children at risk of problems in first grade the instructional and emotional aspects of interactions in first grade appeared to help close the achievement gap. Yet, it is worrisome, in this age of high-stakes testing of children, that national-level studies report exceptional variability in the nature and quality of everyday instructional and social–emotional supports offered to children in the early grades. It appears unreasonable to expect universal levels of minimal performance for students when the opportunities to achieve such levels are so unevenly distributed. If schools are going to close achievement gaps, then efforts to improve student performance must address this variability in the quality of everyday classroom experiences. Our impression is that achieving that goal will require a reconceptualization, redesign, and refocusing of how teachers are trained and supported to do the very difficult job they have chosen.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 28, 2005
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12224, Date Accessed: 11/22/2014 11:25:21 PM

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About the Author
  • Bridget Hamre
    Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning, University of Virginia

  • Robert Pianta
    Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning, University of Virginia
    E-mail Author

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