Theoretical Perspectives on Achievement Gap – postmodernism

The postmodernism school of thought represents a major shift in the perception of the role of schools in society. Postmodernist approach does not entail a specific view of role of education since a specific view would be contrary to the postmodernism discourse that advances that there exists no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ position on the role of education (Kretchmar, 2008). The postmodernism discourse considers the relationship existing between two divergent processes. On one hand, is the perspective that schools serve multiple purposes all seeking to provide the state with a means to exert social control to its citizens, thus centralizing the education system (Kretchmar, 2008). On the other hand is a resistance to such centralized systems as evident in the decentralizing attitudes of students and teachers. Accordingly, the education system attempts to balance the state’s need to achieve control with students need to achieve decentralization.

An example of this approach is Paolo Freire’s work. Freire for instance argues for a system where individuals do not assume the other individuals to have no knowledge thus being the prerogative of the ‘knowledgeable’ individuals to impart knowledge on the ‘unknowledgeable’ individuals (Hooks, 1994; Freire, 1981). Such an approach demystify the need for standardized curriculum to achieve better knowledge status. Freire accordingly encourages the use of dialogue to enhance the realization of new forms of knowledge (Hooks, 1994). Therefore, Freire’s perspective implies that existing forms of knowledge may not be the only right approaches to learning.

In explaining the achievement gap, the postmodernist perspective would thus consider the achievement gap to be a result of the consideration of the existing test measures as the only right way to assess performance. Accordingly, the postmodernist theory explains the achievement gap to result from an approach of measurement that encompasses only one perspective (the assessors) in assessing knowledge. The narrow assessment approach, according to the postmodernism theory, may classify individuals with higher knowledge levels as having lower levels thus leading to the perception of a high achievement gap. Go to conclusion here.

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