Focus on Achievement #1-Entry for November 1, 2007

Achiever in Training


Definition of Gap [a problem caused by some disparity]

Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun


Gap Closure=Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips (S.M.A.R.T)

Learning is an ongoing process and a test no matter how well designed is not going to measure everything about a human soul. There are factors such as validity and reliability to be considered in test design. Yet a test provides a benchmark of measurement. It has been said that people “re-spect what you in-spect”. So the NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act) has provided very defined measurements that various educators are inspected upon routinely.

I have learned a great deal lately of how this actually impacts my munchkin. She has a human soul yet she also is a great 5 year old test taker. Most important to me is that she loves to learn new things and is constantly asking questions about what she does not know. However, it is a fine line a parent with a mission must walk. You can’t help someone else in today’s society unless you have helped yourself first.

Some people think that if you help someone else then you are giving away your own personal power. Some people think that unless someone has visible platform, job title or media blitz their thoughts, opinions and advice is useless. Some people think “I’ve got mine and they have got to get their own!”

So I take a chance at walking this thin line amongst my people. I want to start a discussion this month on “Why are there such large gaps in standardized test scores between black students and white students?”

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks

  • 105 point gap in SAT Math scores between black students and white students
  • 96 point gap in SAT Verbal scores between black students and white students

Is it a cultural bias? Is it lack of formal preparation with tools such as Kaplan or Princeton Review? Is it a lack of commitment to achievement? Is it a conspiracy to keep the % of educated blacks in this country at or below 2%? Is it because black students are not as smart as white students? Is it because the black students do not care? Is it because white people administer and grade the tests?

There are lots of additional questions that one could spend a decade pondering. The most important question to me is “What can will I do today to close the gap for my baby when she takes that test in 2020?”   

I learned while working over a decade in the pharmaceutical world that sometimes prevention is more important and easier to develop than a cure. However, that fact does not make the cash register ring very much so diseases without many options from which to choose for a cure continue to be spread. Preventing academic gaps is more important and easier to do than to try to answer complex questions once the test results face public scrutiny.

For example, the art of logical thinking and reasoning begins at birth and must be nurtured at home. It cannot be ignored at home and then pre-tested in the 10th grade of high school.

There are a lot of naysayers about when to start programming a child for academic success. If we look around and outside of the black community, we will find that we are often very late in our efforts. We must start being more proactive with our babies. Love and nurture their gifts and talents earlier in life! Build them up so that they can achieve in any environment and on any test! It takes extra work!

I admit that it is challenging to constantly stay abreast to what is happening to my child in the classroom. I do it lovingly so that she does not lose her excitement of learning new things and is treated fairly.

This Focus on Achievement series is intended to be a work in process. What I am doing as an individual and how others can do something too. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew.

1 Comment

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One response to “Focus on Achievement #1-Entry for November 1, 2007

  1. Anonymous

    I like this…I too am a believer that it begins at home… One challenge that I believe blacks are facing today is we have a generation of young people trying to be parents…they want to be part time parents. I know this from my own two brothers Terrence and Anthony…although my mother was a single parent she was very involved in our lives.. her motto was if her children could not go then she could not go…I was a cheerleader, sang in the choir…girl scouts..McKnight Achiever..etc. my brothers were also involved in church, basketball, soccer, football…However, they have chosen to become thugs that is their career…and they have children…Anthony has three girls Jalia, Monica, and Ariel…Anthony has one son Anthony Jr…they do not invest nearly the time and resources that my mother did in us…because they are busy living their young life caught up in the world and material possessions…I feel for my nieces and nephew..My mother and I try to be involved as much as we can but we are not the parents… Sorry so long.

    College Graduate
    Professional Medical Student


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