(Photo: Allison Shelley / for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Students of color consistently receive less demanding education and schoolwork than their better-off white classmates, a new study found, often leaving them unprepared for college, even though they scored higher.

The report used an in-depth survey of students, who wore vibrating watches that prompted them to take surveys during class. Their responses suggest that failing to engage young people from low-income and minority families in middle and high school helps explain why the rise in high school graduation rates in recent years has failed to materialize. is not translated into better college results.

“While many students have obstacles to overcome in order to be successful in school, some of the biggest obstacles are created by decisions that are within our control,” said the nonprofit organization. TNTP, who published his report, “The myth of opportunity,” Tuesday.

“As a field, we have covered the racist, classist and just plain unfair choices we made in telling parents and students – especially students of color – that they are doing well, when all evidence of their class work and their exam results suggest they are not, ”the report said.

TNTP said it surveyed 30,000 students in Grades 6 to 12, analyzed 20,000 samples of student work, and observed 1,000 lessons in five school districts, mostly in the 2016-17 school year. He did not name the districts but described them as “rural and urban, district and charter”. He said chartered “district” referred to a charter network.

• Find out more: What is the value of being able to identify highly effective teachers? Q&A with Daniel Weisberg, Education Advocate and CEO of TNTP

Perhaps more strikingly, the report found that most students in these districts typically received below-grade classwork designed for students several years younger, often because teachers didn’t think they could do well at school. a higher level.

They successfully completed missions more than two-thirds of the time. However, with few opportunities to process appropriate material, they submitted assignments that only met grade level standards 17% of the time.

TNPT said the capacity was not a barrier. In classrooms with more schoolwork, students gained about two months of learning compared to their peers.

Preparation for university “a myth”

The report says more than 90% of students surveyed in each district plan to attend college, a figure almost the same across different groups. Adding a cry of heart, he described the four-year college remediation rates for black students at 66% and Latinos at 53% as a broken promise made by a company that exaggerates the value of a college degree. ‘secondary studies.

Students surveyed by TNTP believe that “showing up, doing the job and meeting their teachers’ expectations will prepare them for the future,” the report said. “They believe this for a good reason. We told them. Unfortunately, this is a myth.

TNTP determined that college struggles are rooted in inequalities in four overlapping areas: college and high school assignments that reflect grade level standards; teaching that requires careful thought; student engagement, described as “cognitive and emotional investment” in schoolwork; and high expectations from teachers.

Racial differences intersect each of these elements. White students had a 65% pass rate on grade-level assignments, while students of color had a 56% rate. But 4 out of 10 classrooms where students of color were the majority, or 40 percent, never received grade-level assignments, compared to 12 percent of predominantly white classrooms.

Teachers in predominantly white, high-income classrooms were offering three and a half to five times as much of what TNTP called “strong teaching practices” that forced students to find answers rather than having them watch passively. Higher levels of engagement and expectations were also reported in classrooms with predominantly white students.

The biggest variations in these areas were within districts, not between districts, according to the report.

Completed teaching and grade-level homework was scarce for everyone in the districts: TNTP calculated that students received solid instruction for only 29 out of 180 hours in a year in a core subject, and spent 133 of 280 hours on homework that did not match their grades.

All students have benefited from better practices, but students who started the year behind grade have made huge gains, according to the report. Access to more solid teaching and up-to-date homework added the equivalent of six and seven months of learning, respectively.

“The ‘success gap’ is not inevitable,” the report says. “It’s built into a system where some students get more than others.”

Vibrating watch means it’s time to investigate

TNTP recommended that districts undertake ‘fairness audits’ of their schools, incorporate student experience into school decision-making, commit to diversity in hiring – the report finds that teachers have higher expectations of students of the same race – and make assignments appropriate to the classroom. an urgent priority for all students.

While visiting participating schools at different times during the school year, TNTP interviewed students in Grades 6 to 12 during the day about their school activities.

“Throughout the week of our second and third site visits, all students with parental consent received a vibrating watch and a survey at the start of class,” the report said. “At six points in class, a handful of watches were vibrating. When a student’s watch vibrated, it was their signal to respond to the inquiry into their current activity and perceptions. “

He continued, “We could capture experiences throughout the class rather than at a separate point in time.”

As for the surprisingly variable quality of courses in districts with high standards – four out of five use the common core – TNTP CEO Daniel Weisberg said: “Just signing a set of standards or adopting a curriculum does not guarantee that students receive grade level assignments.

“That’s why it’s so important for district leaders to do what we’ve been doing here: take a close look at what students are really going through day in and day out. If you don’t know exactly how much time students spend doing work that meets your chosen standards, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on a lot of inconsistencies and inequities in the cracks. “

This article was published in partnership with The 74.

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