Compensatory Education Programmes 

COMPENSATORY EDUCATION is a program of supplementary instruction designed to meet the individual needs of students performing significantly below expected achievement levels in language arts, maths, and/or reading.

1. Compensatory education, in the form of supplementary instruction, will be provided to selected students who are performing significantly below expected achievement levels in language arts, mathematics, and/or reading. The CEP is intended to be primarily for students who do not require special education services. However, special education students who meet the CEP entrance requirements would be eligible to be considered for the CEP.
2. The CEP is designed to be a program of Supplementary instruction and as such will not be used to provide the primary instruction for regular or special Education students.
3. An ongoing assessment program, which may include criterion referenced tests, will be conducted to identify students eligible for compensatory education supplementary instruction and to determine student progress and program effectiveness.
4. Testing procedures used for placements and progress evaluation of students will be valid and fair.
5. For staffing, budget, and overall program planning, the number of students performing at or below the 40th percentile on norm- referenced standardized tests in language arts, maths, and reading will be used.
6. Compensatory education programs will include a parent involvement component.
7. Instructional priority will be given to students in grades one through four. Preventative measures at these grade levels are proven to be the most reliable.
8. Systematic procedures for annual program evaluation, to include recordkeeping, will be used to ensure maintenance and improvement of compensatory education services.


1. The Director is responsible for:
a. Ensuring the development, implementation, program –evaluation.
b. Coordinating with the chiefs of the Education, Fiscal, Logistics,

2. The regional director is responsible for:
a. Ensuring the development, implementation, program evaluation, and improvement of a regional CEP consistent-with concepts identified.
b. Providing enrollment figures, test data, and other pertinent information, as required, to support staffing and resource allocations.

3. The district superintendent is responsible for:
a. Coordinating with regional office staff regarding the CEP‘s.
b. Ensuring implementation and evaluation of school level CEP's

4. The school principal, where staff is assigned, is responsible for:
a. Ensuring the development, implementation, an annual evaluation, and improvement of a school CEP consistent with the concepts and processes identified.
b. Making recommendations to the district superintendent and/or regional director identifying the school‘s specific needs in compensatory education.
c. Utilizing a committee to develop a plan for a school CEP.
d. Implementing the plan for compensatory education services.
e. Providing the regional director and/or district superintendent with enrollment figures, test data, annual evaluation report, and other pertinent information, as required, to support staffing and resource allocations.

Enriching the Compensatory Education Programme

The development of compensatory education programs has traditionally been informed by the belief that disadvantaged students can benefit most from a less challenging curriculum and limited achievement goals. Evaluations “effectiveness" reinforce the curriculum deficiency by measuring only the improvement in scores on reading and arithmetic tests, and by failing to deal with the overall achievement of students.

Coordination of Regular and Compensatory Education Classes

Often there is a lack of clarity about the purpose of compensatory education services, with divergent perceptions found among the support staff, the core classroom teachers, and administrators. Most studies indicate that there are few efforts to coordinate various special or supplementary programs with core or regular programs, few procedures for cooperative/joint planning among the various program teachers at the school, and even fewer district- or building-level policies to foster cooperative planning among the various suppliers of programs or services. Thus, students often end up with less instructional time than other students.

For instance, regular classroom teachers often report that the reading resource teachers rarely offer instructional information, suggestions, or materials. Support program teachers are often unable to identify the reading instruction material their remedial students use in the regular classroom. Regular classroom and reading resource teachers are often confused about who is responsible for which aspects of instructional planning and delivery. Reading is often taught as an "unrelated skill"--i.e., reading of reading texts--not as a skill needed for other learning and study areas. What is needed is congruence between curricula what is to be taught, in what order, and using which materials, and between the methods of instruction (Ellington & Johnson, 1986). Conflicts arise when the reading strategies taught and learned in one setting are radically different from those in the second setting, such as emphasis on decoding versus a focus on comprehension.

Cognitive Development

A sound educational program provides for learning opportunities in both cognitive and affective areas, in skills of learning how-to-learn and learning how to be a "student."

However, the services emphasize mastery learning techniques that may improve scores on standardized tests, but fail to help students learn how to work independently and develop coherent mental representations for school work in general (Doyle, 1986).

If there is a trend, at least among the theorists and researchers, it is that curriculum and instruction for the disadvantaged should emphasize developmental over remedial learning. Cognitive science research in mathematics and reading underscores the importance of emphasis on meaning and understanding beginning in the early elementary grades. The Commission on Reading (Anderson, Hilbert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985) concluded that from the beginning children should be given all of the elements necessary for constructing meaning because they must be made aware that reading is always directed toward meaning. However, students receive more instruction in factual and lower-level skills--drill and practice--and less in higher-order skills.

Peterson (1986) concluded that low achieving students can successfully be taught a variety of cognitive strategies, such as memory, elaboration, self-questioning, rehearsal, planning and goal setting, comprehension, problem-solving, hypothesis generating and study skills; and that compensatory education should give greater emphasis to their development. Adams (1986) encourages teaching thinking skills to allow students to create the "schema" necessary for the mind to store, order, and make sense of various observations, facts, and events that they are exposed to.

It should be noted, however, that, as another pullout activity taught by someone other than the regular classroom teacher, a "thinking class" can create as many problems as it solves; compensatory education should give greater emphasis to the development of students' cognitive strategies- -the strategies needed for learning (learning how-to-learn skills).

Reading :

Despite efforts over the last quarter century to improve the reading achievement of disadvantaged students, the correlation between economic status and reading achievement remains (Calfee, 1986). In addition, Calfee asserts, literacy does not begin with a concept of basic skills or minimum competency; a literate person has "an approach to language that transcends the medium of print" (p. IV-51). Nevertheless, disadvantaged students are taught relatively low-level skills that do not transfer to the higher level knowledge and skills that comprise literacy (Calfee, 1986). More attention needs to be paid to integrating the reading, writing, and oral language elements of literacy and comprehension.

Mathematics :

If remedial reading programs fail to provide opportunities for cognitive development, their mathematics counterpart narrows the students' focus even further. Romberg (1986) observed that compensatory programs in mathematics fall into three broad categories: enrichment programs, which are supposed to provide low-income children with experiences and intellectual challenges that the middle-class have; differential programs, which treat disadvantaged students differently from middle-class children, and are comprised of mastery learning that uses computers and other aids as management tools and standardized tests as assessment instruments; or direct drill methods that teach arithmetic skills by emphasizing right answers rather than appropriate processes; and developmentally based programs, which are geared to the level of a child's conceptual thoughts after his or her cognitive functioning has been determined.

Romberg (1986) argues that a mathematically sound program should not fragment math into literally thousands of pieces as these methods do. Rather it would provide all children with an opportunity to learn mathematics by emphasizing the interdependence of ideas and the use of reasonable procedures to arrive at an answer. Math should be conceived as "a language and a science that orders the universe, a tool for representing situations, defining relationships, solving problems, and thinking”.

Challenge and Coherence :

The curriculum for disadvantaged students should not be limited to pullout instruction in reading and math. It should be as rich and balanced as that provided high achieving students. While student success on basic tests of reading and achievement is important, such minimal competencies are only a part of the total educational goals and objectives for all students.

Disadvantaged students need access to a sound core curriculum of reading and language arts, writing, mathematics, social studies, science, fine arts, health, physical education, and even possibly a second language. They also need access to vocational and technical curricula, and a rich array of electives. The skills, knowledge, understanding, and insights that constitute a general and common education (especially at the elementary level) are essential for all children. They constitute the "cultural imperatives," and the remediation services of compensatory education should provide access to them.

 Education as a right and as an element of social stratification

There exists some social differentiation in all human societies. Societies are divided into ranks corresponding to the social positions they have for their individual members.

These ranks are based directly or indirectly on the division of labour and influenced by the historical context. This vertical hierarchy is called “social stratification”. The concept of stratification is usually applied to studies of structural social inequality. That means studies of any systematic inequalities between groups of people, which arise as unintended consequences of social processes and relationships. The major variables in this respect are social class, gender and ‘race‘ (or ethnic group). Gender and ‘race‘ cannot be reduced to social class.

In contemporary societies education is one of the most important elements for social stratification because the knowledge, skills and attitudes learnt in school are considered important for the sustaining and development of a society. However, basic education is also a social right by e.g. the United Nation‘s Declaration of Human Rights. Every individual should have right to education despite her/his social class, income and place of residence. Globally, we are far from this goal. Nearly one third of world‘s adult population is illiterate. In industrially developed societies, equal opportunities to education have realized rather well in many areas.

The reason to the expansion of education is not, however, only justice, but also a particular ideology called meritocracy (Halsey et al. 1997, 632). Meritocracy has become the major justification for the process of socialization, selection and control exercised by education system. According to meritocracy individuals should be treated by their abilities. It should be allowed to an individual to make efforts for her/his success based on her/his personal abilities or as an equation:


By the educational expansion the number of students from lower social classes and from different ethnic background as well as the number of female students has increased tremendously. In terms of relative and relational differences inequality is still there and often it has increased.

Definitions of educational equality

1. Provision (quantity and quality of education available, organization of education system),
2. Access (selection and its criteria), 3. utilization (meaning of education in people‘s life) and
3. Outcomes (degrees and performances and the definitions of them). The perfect equality of outcomes would be both impossible and undesirable, but still it is grounded to analyze the outcomes.

We can identify a narrow or conservative and wide or radical definition of educational equality depending on whether an intervention into conditions to inequality is included or not the definition of equal opportunity (Husen 1972).

One way to assess equal opportunity from a wide perspective is to compare the distributions of students and graduates by social class, sex and ethnic group to the corresponding distributions in the whole age group. This practice is common in social research as is connecting this analysis to intergenerational social mobility by including parents‘ social and cultural background.

The highly optimistic view of education‘s role in reducing social inequality prevalent in 1960‘s and early 1970‘s has not realised. A more pessimistic view is well expressed in Shavit‘s and Blossfeld‘s (1993) comparative study on education and intergenerational mobility in 13 countries. The title of this book is ‘Persistent Inequality‘.

Explanations of inequality

On the comparative level, patterns of social mobility are very similar in countries where a market economy and a nuclear family are central social institutions . morel remark is that it seems to have been rather similar also in those communist countries in Eastern and Central Europe that participated in comparative studies. Does it mean that a nuclear family is a sufficient condition to inequality or are there other explanations.

An accelerated economic competition and globalization have been influencing social inequality in general and thus less and more indirectly educational inequality. There is a female majority among secondary and higher educated population in some countries, An understanding of the expansion of the number of women in education must consider, in addition to the structure of the educational system, recent economic, demographic, social and cultural changes in contemporary Europe (Jonsson 2003).

The first conclusion was that Sweden is not a very different case but an extreme case within the same pattern. Second, equalization has not touched all social classes and not the whole after World War II period. In a detailed statistical analysis of the survey data, two variables explained more than 50% of the correlation between social class and participation in education in all countries. Those variables were school achievement and attitude to transitions.

In several studies, including my own studies on educational life courses and life histories, it has been observed and interpreted, that since the early school years an individual often follows the cultural manuscript of her/his social class and its way of life with images of self and personal abilities. Theoretically, Pierre Bourdieu‘s concept of habitus as a system of cognitive ( ‘eldos‘), ethical and moral ( ‘ethos‘) and body ( ‘hexis‘) schemes dispositions could explain this phenomenon (Bourdieu 1990).

The first habitus, primary habitus, has been formed already in early (class-based) family socialization. The secondary habitus acquired at school and among peers can be different, but not without struggle against structural constrains. Often, the change of habitus requires a change in life course in the form of challenge or even crisis.

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