Jan 14, 2010 by Bill Jenkins, Ph.D.

The Achievement Gap

The achievement gap begins for many students before they enter the Kindergarten classroom. Children aren´t born with a vocabulary, yet educators and reading researchers have long identified the differences in word knowledge and vocabulary as key indicators of student readiness. Here are a couple of key findings:

A gap of 30 million words in language experience exists for some children prior to entering school. In 1995, Hart and Risley published findings from a study showing vast differencesin the quantity and quality of language experience in the homes of children during the first 4 years of life.

Infants and young children with inadequate language development are at-risk for developing academic difficulties. 1Without effective intervention, the majority of these students will exit high school with academic skills well below grade level. 2

1 - Catts, 1993; Rissman, Curtis, and Tallal, 1990
2 - Shaywitz et al., 1999