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K-8 Programs to Reduce Achievement Gaps: What Works Best?

George Farkas, Professor of Education, University of California, Irvine

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Jun 01, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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In this presentation, Professor Farkas reviews recent literature on the cost effectiveness of programs that aim to reduce K-8 achievement gaps for low income and ethnic minority students.  These initiatives include preschool and kindergarten programs, instructional innovations and interventions, social and emotional learning programs, summer instructional programs, accountability and choice, supplemental educational services, particularly tutoring, and whole school reforms, including charters and complete reorganizations. He argues that closing achievement gaps requires more than one approach and that narrowing the gap at a young age is essential.


George Farkas is Professor of Education at UC Irvine. He received his PhD in Sociology from Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and a past president of the Sociological Research Association. He has authored or co-authored four books and more than 100 articles in peer reviewed journals. His research has made a major contribution to understanding the school achievement gap for low income and ethnic minority students, and was one of the first to show that the gap emerges in early childhood. His research has also examined students’ learning-related behaviors, and their causes, consequences, and relationship to the achievement gap. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Education, the Spencer Foundation and other foundations and agencies.


Professor Farkas developed a successful tutoring program that improved reading skills of low-income, minority, and limited English proficient elementary school students. This tutoring program, Reading One-to- One, was widely implemented throughout the country, and helped invent President Clinton’s “America Reads” initiative. He has recently implemented this program in two Orange County school districts, with UCI undergraduates serving as reading tutors.

Click here to view the video.

Please click here for the Policy Brief.

Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

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