Out-of-School Music: A Theoretical Curriculum for Closing the Achievement Gap

December 8, 2015 / By: Stacy Halter

The achievement gap appertains to an observed significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, English proficiency, familial situations, and community wealth. The achievement gap can be observed on a variety of measures, including kindergarten readiness, standardized testing, grade point average, high school graduation or dropout rates, and college enrollment and completion rates. Schools and home life play a vital role in student success, and can be supported by out-of-school programs. Based on an examination of current data and factors contributing to student achievement, this paper suggests a theoretical curriculum model and sample lesson plans for an out-of-school upper elementary music program, to endorse well-rounded educational growth for underserved children—those with inadequate resources. The lessons are intended to be implemented in communities without financial means to purchase musical instruments, or access to adequate donated instruments. This paper reflects an understanding of past and present literature regarding disparities in education and student achievement, and presents a solution that will sanguinely lead to successfully narrowing the achievement gap.