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Roel Bosker: is there anything we can do about the persistent problem of educational disadvantage?

Is there anything we can do about the persistent problem of educational disadvantage?

Too many children start school with a serious delay in language development, sometimes up to two years. This is especially the case for children growing up in difficult circumstances as a result of poverty and socio-economic problems. Many children never recover from this and continue to suffer from it for the rest of their lives. After all, language is the basis of all school learning, and later of social functioning.

Roel Bosker

The government gives schools extra resources to be able to provide the best education. Unfortunately, this has had little or no effect over the last half century. This is why the Department of Educational Sciences, together with a number of primary schools in the city of Groningen, has developed a school-wide approach. The approach is inspired by the American programme Success for All, which was developed by UG honorary doctor Bob Slavin and his team. The programme has already proven itself in America and England.

Success for All is a smart mix of educational interventions that are all beneficial: collaborative learning, extended time for language, monitoring progress, reading at home with family members, correcting delays in time, using informative books for history or world orientation also in language lessons, and flexible multi-level groups in language education. So far over a thousand hours of material has been developed. In our research we see favourable results in the children who participate. Children in group 3 perform better in technical reading, oral language skills and collaboration. Success for All seems to be a good method for reducing educational disadvantages in the Netherlands too.

prof. dr. R.J. (Roel) Bosker
First name
Professor Educational Sciences
Inequality of educational opportunities, movement and learning, evidence based education, achievement standards, assessment, educational evaluation, multilevel modelling.
Last modified:03 September 2019 11.40 a.m.
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