Improving Education Equity One Goal at a Time

How to Improve Equity: One Step, One Goal at a Time screenshot of the presenters and presentation title slide

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Equity—making sure each student receives the specific resources, support, and opportunities they need to succeed—is a process. It can neither be planned for nor achieved all at once, and the target keeps moving, as was discussed during the edWebinar, How to Improve Equity: One Step, One Goal at a Time.”

Using the pillars of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a base and looking through the lens of literacy, Lexia Learning’s Dr. Liz Brooke, CCC-SLP, Chief Learning Officer, and Dr. Suzanne Carreker, CALT-QI, Principal Educational Content Lead, explained how schools can move towards education equity one step at a time.

Pillar 1: High-Quality Curricula

When selecting literacy curricula, there are three key questions to ask.

  1. Is the curriculum informed by the science of reading? In other words, does the curriculum use the vast research developed over decades that helps educators understand how and why students read and why some children struggle?
  2. Is the curriculum aligned with Structured Literacy? A curriculum that is based on Structured Literacy is explicit in how they teach, systematic, cumulative, and responsive, adjusting as needed.
  3. What is the level of teacher knowledge to deliver evidence-based instruction? Teachers need to have enough knowledge to not only teach the curriculum as is but also to know how to assess students and adjust instruction to help students.

Pillar 2: High-Quality Assessments and Multiple Measures

Before educators administer an assessment, they should consider why they are giving it.

  1. What is the purpose of the assessment?
  2. What are the types of assessments [to achieve that purpose]?
  3. How can redundancy in assessments be reduced?

Most important, teachers should ask what question is the data going to answer. The presenters named four purposes for assessments, no matter the format.

  • Identify who’s at risk.
  • Monitor progress and check in on students more than once.
  • Collect the data to build a profile of strengths and weaknesses (learn why they’re at risk and where to focus instruction).
  • Assess: Did they learn what they’re supposed to learn?

If the assessment isn’t designed for one of these purposes and the teacher doesn’t know how they could use the data, then the assessment isn’t necessary.

Pillar 3: Adequate, Equitable Resources

Here, the presenters suggest asking:

  • Who is struggling and why? What is the plan to address their needs?
  • What is the right level of intensity to meet the students’ instructional needs? Do they need more instructional time, smaller groups, etc.?
  • Are the why, the what, and the how of the literacy instruction visible?

By answering these questions, schools and districts can align their literacy initiatives, plan professional learning opportunities, and make sure that teachers have the time and resources to help all of their students.

Pillar 4: Prevention and Intervention

Prevention is the best intervention. If all of the students are receiving the instruction they need to meet educational goals, then teachers can keep moving all of their students forward. Then, if the assessment shows the need, work on high-quality intervention. (The teacher cannot just continue giving students the regular instruction if they haven’t met their goals because the gap will persist.)

Finally, the presenters explained how schools can support high-quality intervention.

  • Develop a school schedule that allows sufficient time for intervention.
  • Identify or provide sufficient personnel to deliver intervention instruction.
  • Provide appropriate programs and materials to support the intervention instruction.
  • Ensure teachers have excellent professional development in the what, why, and how of intervention.
  • Oversight, energy, and follow-up.

Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, “How to Improve Equity: One Step, One Goal at a Time,” sponsored by Lexia Learning.

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LexiaLexia® Learning, a Cambium® company, is one of the most impactful and highly respected reading-technology companies in the world. Founded over 35 years ago, Lexia’s research-proven programs help educators deliver personalized reading and language instruction for millions of K–12 students across the world.



Blog post by Stacey Pusey, based on this edWebinar