The Achievement Gap:
A "Wicked Problem"
Some problems are so difficult to solve that they can be described as 'Wicked." Another term that means the same but sounds a bit friendlier to the ear is "ill-structured problem. Sometimes when there really is no solution, an attempt might still be made to come up with "the least bad choice."
The wicked problem that our group decided to take on was the achievement gap. Our first team opportunity was to come up with a definition. Our definition was: The achievement gap is defined by the difference in academic performance between various groups of students (i.e. race, socioeconomic status, geographic location, etc). Standardized test scores are mainly how the gap is measured between minority students and their white middle class counterparts. Dropout rates, graduation rates, enrollment in honors, advanced placement and “gifted” courses, and admittance to college and professional programs are also compared when analyzing the achievement gap.
The steps that we followed included some brainstorming of Why questions, then What If questions, and finally How Questions. Ultimately the How questions lead our group to some actionable potentials for closing the achievement gap. The video that follows describes our process.