If there was ever a moment to realize the educational gaps that exist in the system, it is because of the pandemic. Children not having access to the same materials, more responsibilities than children should have, a lack of motivation to learn, and more, gaps in education have made their presence known in full force.
And for those who may be wondering if their eldest child is having a hard time in school because of it, knowing what’s causing the academic gaps in middle school is the first step in determining if there are any.
While teachers want to believe that every student arrives eager and ready to learn, that’s not always the case. Between their home lives and expectations, financial struggles, and perhaps even undiagnosed learning issues, the students in the class aren’t usually always on the same page when it comes to learning. And closing the resulting educational gaps requires finding solutions rather than continuing to sweep the problem under the rug.
Here are things that can cause an educational gap in college.
ten Not getting help with homework
Homework is a time for students to review content that has been taught in class and to be able to apply what has been learned by working on their own. The idea is that it builds the skills needed to move on to the next concept in the program. The problem is that if children don’t get help with their homework and they don’t understand it, they do it badly. And then an educational gap begins to form.
According to Assign U, when parents help their children with homework, they can help their children better understand the information by answering questions they might not have thought of in class. This helps children stay focused on their tasks, as they are ready to do their homework knowing that help is available if needed. And when that happens, homework really works because what the teacher taught earlier in the day gets done right at home.
9 Teachers are not prepared to teach children from cultural backgrounds
Children from diverse cultural backgrounds all have different family lives. As such, some parents see school as extremely important, while others see it as something children can do when they are not needed at home. And when teachers are not prepared to teach children from these different backgrounds, educational gaps exist.
Often it’s not the fault of the teachers that they are unprepared. This may be due to a lack of training, depending on X Region Equity Help Center at Education Northwest. When training is too expensive for the district to pay for and it has not been included in the teaching credential program, it can come as a shock to teachers. And until this is no longer the case, educational gaps will exist in college.
8 Low expectations at home
Some children have low expectations at home for what they do in school because their parents weren’t pushed to do well in school when they were younger. As such, working to better understand a subject is not considered important at home. While this is something that can fly in primary school where subjects move a little slower and concepts are handled in different ways, the same cannot be said in middle school.
This means that if there is no internal motivation to do good on the part of the students, no one at home is going to push them to do better. And because of that, the education gap is starting to widen.
7 Lack of school funding
There are very few schools that receive the budgets they need each year to teach to their potential. However, there are schools that do less well than others. And for students who have to use old material, this can create a gap in education.
According to The Foundation of the Century, schools across the United States are underfunded by $150 billion a year. Those in more affluent areas may not feel the brunt of this lack of funding, as parents are able to provide materials, help in classrooms, go on field trips, and more. But for schools not so fortunate, this deficit hurts. It hurts with the efficiency with which teachers can teach and the outdated materials that students have to learn from. And the older the children are when this happens, the less successful they are academically.
6 Technology is not available at home
There are tech deserts all over the United States. For the children living there, it is almost impossible for them to be able to do their homework as they cannot access the internet without much effort. And because many parents can’t give their children the access they need, they fall behind their classmates, their grades suffer.
5 Lack of quiet space to study at home
With siblings of all ages running around the house or shared bedrooms, there can be a lack of quiet space for middle schoolers to study. If so, the information cannot be retained, no matter how hard these children try. This means that they fall behind even if they understand the concepts because they haven’t had the opportunity to study. And this inevitably leads to an educational gap.
4 Older siblings caring for their younger siblings
In some households, parents have to work irregular hours. When this happens, older siblings become integrated babysitters.
When older siblings are assigned to care for their siblings, it is their primary responsibility. They can’t give their homework their full attention because they help siblings with theirs, cook dinner on the table, or have to look after siblings so young they can’t do homework unsupervised . As such, the work isn’t done, grades suffer, and middle schoolers find it very difficult to recover.
3 No review to determine what was retained from the previous year
Teachers may think that what children have learned the previous year they retain over the summer. So they move on to new concepts. And for those who have never had the opportunity to understand what was taught before, they find themselves in an educational gap right from the start.
2 Move on in class before students are ready
In the classroom, there are different levels of understanding among students. When this happens, some are ahead of what is being taught, some are where they need to be for the class, and some are behind.
While some schools take the time to ensure that all students are on the same page, others continue their teaching so as not to slow down the rest of the students. When this happens, without tutoring or other help outside of the classroom, many students are lost. And the more the school year advances, the more the school gap widens.
1 Lack of motivation
If students have the motivation to learn, there is hope that even if there is an educational gap, they will be able to overcome it. When there is a lack of motivation, overall, getting students on the right track can be hard to do.
According to OAI course design manual, when students are not internally motivated to learn, they are hard to reach. No matter the consequences, if the motivation doesn’t exist, classwork and homework won’t get done. In some cases, school will not be attended. And with all this delay, an educational gap will widen, sometimes too large to recover from.
Source: Assign U, Region X Equity Assistance Center at Education Northwest, The Century Foundation, OAI Course Design Workbook
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