Closing Opportunity Gaps

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Virginia’s Equity Framework, or the Road Map to Equity, prioritizes our strategy into two categories that are informed by Virginia achievement data, best practice, and research: (1) Closing Opportunity Gaps for Virginia Students, and (2) Increasing the Cultural Proficiency of Virginia’s Educator Workforce. The Roadmap is guided by the EdEquityVA Compass, which articulates the essential competencies necessary to advance these equity priorities.

Opportunity Gap describes the complex issues that contribute to achievement gaps and recognizes the historical and societal implications of the way race and class influence the kind of education and access to support a student is likely to receive. (Adapted from Mike Yates’ ‘Let’s Stop Calling It an “Achievement Gap” When It’s Really an Opportunity Gap‘).

Opportunity Gaps often manifest as:

  1. lack of equitable and consistent access to rigorous courses and learning opportunities;
  2. lack of access to high levels of support that measurably increase achievement levels for all students; and
  3. lowered expectations for underrepresented/marginalized students.

Opportunity Gaps Cause Academic Achievement Gaps

Many conversations related to disproportionally in student outcomes have focused on achievement gap, disparities in test scores, graduation rates, and other success metrics. This focus has neglected the basic truth that achievement follows from opportunities to learn. Gloria Ladson-Billings, esteemed pedagogical expert, argues instead that the achievement gap is the outcome of the historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral decisions and policies that created the current education system

The Virginia Department of Education is shifting away from a focus on “achievement gaps” to addressing the conditions of the educational system that perpetuate inequities. Closing opportunity gaps in Virginia schools is the only way we will make progress toward eliminating the academic achievement gaps that exists.

Our strategy will focus on the following tactics as the primary vehicles for closing opportunity gaps for Virginia Students:

  • -Ensuring academic rigor and high expectations for ALL students.
  • -Mitigating enrollment barriers for under-represented students into accelerated, advanced, and selective, academic programs.
  • -Resourcing targeted supports for students.
  • -Incentivizing equitable assignment of experienced teachers.
  • -Tailoring technical assistance to support differentiated and scaled instruction.
  • -Evaluating state levers to advance equitable resource distribution.
  • -Ensuring equitable school facilities and technology resources for ALL students.
  • -Developing and implementing social-emotional learning standards for Virginia.
  • -Developing and implementing accountability for equitable educational opportunities.
  • -Monitoring & reporting on disproportionate access and outcome data (Equity Dashboard).




Access to Advanced Coursework

Advanced Academic Programs in Virginia include; Gifted, IB, AP, Dual Enrollment, Academic Governor’s Schools, and other advanced specialty programs

College and Career Readiness

Some of the links on the EdEquityVA pages lead you to websites not associated with the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education. VDOE does not necessarily endorse the views expressed or the data and facts presented on these external sites. In addition, VDOE does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services.

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