Having read a fair amount of articles in the field of educational psychology and taken a few sociology classes focus on inequality in the school system. I've noticed that there is one group of students that has been consistently skipped. Because of their social-economic status and academic achievements, they are just not that interesting to be looked at.
Stereotypically speaking, when investigating school performance and students’ academic achievements, a dichotomized method is often used. Generally, researchers study high performance schools vs. low performance schools, and/or high academic achieving students vs. low academic achieving students. Many significant findings are found from these comparisons between the high and the low. Educational psychologists study high-achieving students from high performance school because they want to know what contribute to these students’ success and assure they reach their potentials. These students can be found in the GATE program. High-achieving students from low performance schools are often studied to figure out why they are able to perform well in an environment that is not optimal for studying. These students were often rewarded with scholarships to pursue higher education. Low-achieving students form low performance schools become an interest of study for people’s desire to help, to close the gate between the high and the low, and to reach social equality. Many intervention programs are the results of this line of study.
One group in this 2X2 matrix is missing.
Few studies have investigated the low-achieving students from high performance school. Why is that? I don’t have an empirical answer for this question. This question has been in my mind for quite a while. I was in this group. I was a so-so student in a high performance high school. I will not go so far by saying nobody cared about my well-being, but I believe this is one area where a lot of educational psychologist and sociologist missed. In depth qualitative researches in the form of interviews (but not inclusively) have been done on all other three groups but not so much in this group. I would like to know more about this group’s emotional development, self-esteem formation, perception of schools and peers, future outlook…etc
As a person who is studying to become an educator, my responsible is to make sure schooling is as rewarding as possible to all students. When there is a group of people that has been consistently overlook because of their fortune being in a nice school, I want to make sure they are receiving equal amount of attention as everybody.
-SEAN KAO, ED261