This study aimed to provide recommendations for solving the problem of low SOL scores of minority students in Granby Elementary School. The present section provides background information about the organization, introduces the problem, discusses its significance, and declares the purpose of the study. This section also states the central research question and lists the key terms utilized throughout the study.
Granby Elementary School is one of the schools in Norfolk, VA. According to the school’s official website, “Granby Elementary School is located in a quiet multi-ethnic neighborhood with an array of well-kept dwellings with wooded lots and neatly landscaped yards” (Granby Elementary School, n.d.). The school currently has 581 students, among which 59.2% are African American, 22.7% are white, and 8.1% are Hispanic (Virginia Department of Education [VDoE], 2020). Almost 97% of the students qualify for free or discounted lunch, which demonstrates that the majority of students are from financially disadvantaged families (VDoE, 2020). In terms of students’ success and quality of provided education, School Digger (2021) rates the school 996 among 1,105 elementary schools. The students-per-teacher ratio was dropping for three consecutive years since 2017, reaching 13.5 in 2020 (VDoE, 2020). In 2019, the school’s SOL scores in both mathematics and English reading were below the county’s and the state’s averages (VDoE, 2020). In summary, Granby Elementary is an underachieving school in terms of standardized test results.
Introduction to the Problem
The broad problem under analysis is that African American students demonstrate lower academic achievement than their White counterparts. The education gap is a considerable issue in the United States that came to the attention of educators and policymakers more than half a century ago (King, 2017). Gilar et al. (2019) describe academic achievement as the extent to which a student achieved short-term or long-term educational goals. Academic achievement is usually quantified using test scores of grade point averages (GPAs) depending on the situation. The achievement gap is dangerous not only for African Americans but also for the well-being of the entire nation, as it spreads inequality (King, 2017).
The problem of the achievement gap is present in Virginia, which was confirmed by SOL scores. According to the Virginia Department of Education (VDoE, 2020b), African Americans have lower average scores on achievement tests. In particular, in Virginia, the average SOL scores of Whites were 86 in reading, 85 in writing, 91 in history and social sciences, 86 in mathematics, and 89 in science (VDoE, 2020b). At the same time, African Americans scored 67 in reading, 65 in writing, 75 in history and social sciences, 68 in mathematics, and 69 in science (VDoE, 2020b). In other words, the average scores of African Americans in all subject areas were lower by 20 points. In Granby Elementary, the SOL score also demonstrated a significant gap in the academic achievement of minority students and their White counterparts. In particular, in 2019, the SOL reading score of Whites was 79, while African Americans’ proficiency level was 56, and Hispanics’ proficiency level was 67 (VDoE, 2020a). Similarly, in mathematics, the Whites’ level of proficiency was 74 against 60 for Hispanics and 61 for Blacks (VDoE, 2020a). Thus, the problem of academic underachievement is evident among the minority students of Granby Elementary.
Granby Elementary School. (n.d.). School history. Web.
Gilar, R., Veas, A., Miñano, P., & Castejón, J. L. (2019). Differences in personal, familial, social, and school factors between underachieving and non-underachieving gifted secondary students. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2367-2377. Web.
King, L. J. (2017). The status of black history in US schools and society. Social Education, 81(1), 14-18.
School Digger. (2021). Granby Elementary. Web.
Virginia Department of Education. (2020a). Granby Elementary. Web.
Virginia Department of Education. (2020b). SOL test results. Web.