Closing the Achievement Gap Using Students' 21st Century Skills: How Fidelity to Rigorous Curriculum Design Units Affects Student Outcomes

Eckersall, Michele Anna
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The purpose of this research project was to implement rigorous curriculum design to deliver instruction that effectively results in academically successful and engaged students who take ownership of learning. The goal in implementing rigorous curriculum design was to create academically successful students who were well-practiced in the formative process and 21st century skills in order to increase metacognition as well as college and career readiness. The 90 students in this study were from three junior high schools within the same district in Southern California. The study was conducted over eighteen weeks. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected in the form of teacher grades, teacher and student surveys, and state testing results. The data provided by these instruments were analyzed during this process. The results indicated a slight increase in state test scores by gender, for Hispanic students, and for African-American students. There was little to no change in survey results from the beginning to the end of the study. Teachers also rate student ability in 21st century skills higher than the students do. Student responses indicated that more opportunities to practice 21st century skills are needed.