How Do We Eradicate Gaps in Student Outcomes?

Eradicating Gaps in Student Outcomes Showing a Group of Kids Interacting

School is one of the most influential institutions in a child’s ecological system. Award-winning developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner placed school in a child’s “microsystem,” also defined as his or her immediate surroundings and a concept which also includes immediate family. Bronfenbrenner understood that schools, like families, shape children’s development. So the mission to ensure that every child has the school experience that supports their growth and prepares them to meet their future with vigor, is paramount.

To support that goal, throughout history, scientists have looked at the connection between the science of psychology and the practical application of learning theory in educational settings. Instructional theories are still evolving today; however, the belief that all students deserve instruction of the highest quality remains constant. And yet equitable access to instruction remains one of the many barriers faced by students today. At least partially because of the research of today is slow to reach the classroom and teachers are without the bandwidth for professional development. But, memorization is not enough. How do we support a raising up of instruction?

The quality of instruction in schools and districts can be improved by changing how we think about student learning and teaching the standards.

Students must develop conceptual understandings so that they can apply the knowledge they have acquired, analyze information, synthesize what they have learned, evaluate the content, and most importantly, create new knowledge and new understandings.


Donyall D. Dickey, Ed.D.


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