An article in yesterday’s New York Times reminds us that the common definition of “achievement gap” is quite limited. We usually define it in terms of proficiency on state tests. (In other words, how many kids passed?) We seldom define it in terms of absolute performance on those tests. (How well did kids do?) You can raise the cut score on the state test and watch your gaps widen overnight, but your absolute achievement gap won’t have changed a bit. That’s what happened in New York State.
It’s an object lesson for every state in the country and a reminder that we always need to keep both definitions well in mind.