Closing the Gap: Reaching Urban Middle School Students

School-Based Interventions for Struggling Readers, K-8

ISBN: 978-1-78190-696-5, eISBN: 978-1-78190-697-2

ISSN: 2048-0458

Publication date: 22 May 2013


Purpose – To provide teachers with an outline of characteristics typically associated with young adolescent students and the nature of effective teaching and learning opportunities appropriate at this distinct level of human growth and development.Design/methodology/approach – The chapter presents concepts associated with differentiated instruction and authentic learning activities; both are examined as central when exploring ways to close the learning gap between students of poverty and their more advantaged peers.Findings – The goals of establishing effective pedagogy and closing demographic achievement gaps based on test scores must be addressed in parallel since closing the latter without addressing the first does not produce lasting effects.Research limitations/implications – The authors present a sampling of researchers’ findings related to effective pedagogy for adolescent learners; these include conclusions on differentiated instruction, developmentally appropriate curriculum, technological literacy, inquiry, project-based, and expeditionary learning.Practical implications – Factors that make particular middle schools in a large urban area effective are examined as well as each school’s partnership connection with a college literacy program.Originality/value of chapter – Teachers’ adherence to research-tested methodologies appropriate for adolescent learners requires knowledge of valid, reliable sources, and successful models of implementation.



Shea, M. and Murray, R. (2013), "Closing the Gap: Reaching Urban Middle School Students", Ortlieb, E. and Cheek, E. (Ed.) School-Based Interventions for Struggling Readers, K-8 (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 241-265.

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