David Perkins said:
What did you learn during your first twelve years of education that matters in your life today?
The achievement gap asks, “Are students achieving X?” whereas the relevance gap asks, “Is X going to matter to the lives learners are likely to live?”
If X is good mastery of reading and writing, both questions earn a big yes! Skilled, fluent, and engaged reading and writing marks both a challenging gap and a high-payoff attainment. That knowledge goes somewhere! However, if X is quadratic equations, the answers don’t match. Mastering quadratic equations is challenging, but these equations are not so lifeworthy. Now fill in X with any of the thousands of topics that make up the typical content curriculum. Very often, these topics present significant challenges of achievement but with little return on investment in learners’ lives.
Here’s the problem: the achievement gap is much more concerned with mastering content than with providing lifeworthy content.
The achievement gap is all about doing the same thing better. . . the relevance gap asks us to reconsider deeply what schools teach in the first place.
via Future Wise, Chapters 1 and 2
Hat tip: Mike Crowley