← Back

Do Kids Fall Behind in Math Because There Isn’t Enough Grade-Level Material, or Because There’s Too Much?

September 24, 2019

By: Daniel Weisberg & Joel Rose, The 74

Walk into almost any classroom in America, and you’ll find at least some students who’ve fallen behind the academic standards for their grade — meaning they’re at risk of not learning everything they’ll need to be ready for college and the lives they want to lead. Helping these students get back on the path to grade-level proficiency is one of the most urgent challenges teachers face every day.

But as our organizations revealed in separate reports over the past year, it’s a challenge few schools and school systems have a real strategy to meet. By examining the quality and rigor of the work students are asked to do in class each day, our reports reached two conclusions — contradictory, at first glance — about the ways schools let struggling students down.

TNTP’s 2018 report The Opportunity Myth found that when students don’t meet grade-level standards, the problem usually isn’t that they tried and failed but that they were never given a real chance to try in the first place. The 4,000 students TNTP studied across five school systems spent hundreds of hours each year on work that was below their grade level. Those who started the year behind academically were the least likely to have grade-appropriate assignments — even when they were capable of succeeding on them — making it nearly impossible for them to ever catch up to their peers.

Read the full article here.