October 23, 2017

Programs help close Hispanic Achievement Gap

by Rosalie Chan, Web Editor

Throughout the Northwest suburbs, Hispanic students have improved on standardized test scores, but an achievement gap remains between them and their peers.  However, WHS has worked to close this achievement gap.

On average, Hispanic students at WHS have performed better on standardized testing for math than Hispanic students in the district and state, with 56.3 percent of them meeting or exceeding expectations on the math portion of the PSAE, compared to 50.5 percent of Hispanics in District 214 and 36.2 percent in the state.

WHS works to close this gap by offering courses with career pathways, such as engineering and health careers.  Also, staff works to target growth in different areas, and WHS has programs to help students, such as the Academic Literacy Program, AVID, the Learning Center and the English Language Learners resource center.

“As a school on the whole, the main focus on our teachers is to enhance students’ skills in reading, writing, critical thinking and inquiry,” Erin DeLuga, associate principal of instruction and curriculum, said.  “That’s why we see this continuous improvement.  We’re still continuing to achieve at higher levels.”

In addition, Dr. Steve May, assistant principal of student activities, started the Hispanic Athletic Council, where Hispanic student athletes discuss their needs for participating in co-curriculars.

“Students involved in activities and athletics do better in school.  We’ve been trying to work with Hispanic students on getting more involved in co-curriculars,” Dr. May said.

According to Gabriela Medina, guidance counselor, Hispanic students may face problems from socioeconomic, family and language factors.

“One thing that impacts students is family support and the type of family structure in place,” Ms. Medina said.  “When you’re talking about the education background of families, it’s difficult to promote a college-bound mindset.  There’s always those financial barriers, too.  There are misconceptions that if I don’t have money, I can’t go (to college).”

Despite these barriers, according to data for the Classes of 2008-2013, the low-income group has experienced a per-year growth of 18.8 percent in academic improvement.

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One Response to “Programs help close Hispanic Achievement Gap”
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