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How can we increase quality educational opportunities for Black students? Conduct a gap analysis

Increase educational opportunities through gap analysis

By Cora Goldston
July 5, 2018

Black students across the country come to school ready and eager to learn, and schools and districts are prioritizing high-quality educational opportunities for these students. Yet practice doesn’t always align with what research has shown to be effective. To help schools and districts constructively evaluate their policies, programs, and practices, REL Midwest created an infographic that outlines the process for conducting a gap analysis with the goal of reducing barriers and increasing outcomes among Black students.

The infographic was informed by a coaching and consultation project that REL Midwest provided for educators in Wisconsin. The REL Midwest Achievement Gap Research Alliance (MAGRA) was interested in better understanding the policies and practices that Wisconsin schools and districts use to provide Black students with better educational opportunities and foster Black students’ academic success.

The infographic provides a roadmap for stakeholders to complete a policy and practice scan and a research review to identify gaps between current school or district practices and evidence-based interventions. An important part of each step is to think deeply about educational practices and the types of students in your school or district.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has several resources for finding evidence-based policies and programs:

Finally, the infographic prompts educators to compare what they learned from the scan and the review to identify potential next steps through a gap analysis. For instance, one of the prompts asks: “What did you uncover in the research review that could work for your school/district?”

In addition to supporting MAGRA in scanning current policies and practices, REL Midwest conducted a systematic literature review to identify interventions with evidence to support their effectiveness. MAGRA and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will use the results of the scan and literature review to complete a gap analysis to inform future projects and continue to work with educators on this pressing issue.

Check out our infographic on conducting a research-practice gap analysis!

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Author(s) Information

Cora Goldston Staff Picture

Cora Goldston

Communications Associate | REL Midwest


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