Results of Peak Achievement’s diagnostic assessment of 1450 students in a single high school. We assessed all students, grades 9 through 12. The high school is in urban Denver.
In this high school, only 21% of students could successfully add 1/6 and 2/3. The most common incorrect answer was 3/9 or 1/3, obtained by adding numerators and denominators, and sometimes reducing the result. That translates into 1145 students in grades 9 through 12 who cannot add simple fractions.
Another question was 4 – 5 = ? 42% of students could not successfully answer this question. The predominant incorrect answer was “1,” showing that these students think subtraction is commutative.
Our conclusion from these and similar results in poor performing middle and high schools is that the problem is different from what most people think. The problem is not that students need more and better grade level instruction. The problem is that poor performing students have gaps in their critical building blocks, their CBBs.
The positive news is that the problem is easier to fix than most people realize. Filling the gaps and strengthening the CBBs leads to dramatic improvements in student growth.
3. Peak Achievement’s diagnostic assessment
This assessment takes five to ten minutes. A single student model is available online with immediate scoring and feedback.