Sociology of Education, v91 n2 p132-158 Apr 2018. 27 pp.
Educational Opportunities, Equal Education, Low Income Students, Minority Group Students, Teacher Effectiveness, Elementary School Teachers, Public Schools, Value Added Models, Educational Benefits, Racial Differences, Achievement Gap, Low Achievement, African American Students, Hispanic American Students, White Students, Socioeconomic Background, Observation, Statistical Analysis, and North Carolina
Are equal educational opportunities sufficient to narrow long-standing economic and racial inequalities in achievement? In this article, I test the hypothesis that poor and minority students benefit less from effective elementary school teachers than do their nonpoor and white peers, thus exacerbating inequalities. I use administrative data from public elementary schools in North Carolina to calculate value-added measures of teachers' success in promoting learning, and I assess benefits for different students. Results suggest that differential benefits of effective teachers uniquely exacerbate black-white inequalities but do not contribute to economic achievement gaps. Racial differences are small, on average, relative to the benefits for all groups; are not explained by differences in prior achievement; and are largest for low-achieving students. Teacher-related learning opportunities are crucial for all students, but these results point to a disconnect between typical school learning opportunities and low-achieving minority students.
Sociology of Education, v88 n2 p120-139 Apr 2015. 20 pp.
Racial Differences, African American Students, White Students, Socioeconomic Status, Achievement Gap, Educational Quality, Longitudinal Studies, Regression (Statistics), Scores, Short Term Memory, Reading Achievement, Mathematics Achievement, Kindergarten, Interviews, Questionnaires, Parents, Teachers, Principals, Asian American Students, Hispanic American Students, Ethnic Groups, Family Characteristics, Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, and Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability
Black-white test score gaps form in early childhood and widen over elementary school. Sociologists have debated the roles that socioeconomic status (SES) and school quality play in explaining these patterns. In this study, I replicate and extend past research using new nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011. I find black-white test score gaps at kindergarten entry in 2010 in reading (SD = 0.32), math (SD = 0.54), and working memory (SD = 0.52 among children with valid scores). Math and reading gaps widened by approximately 0.06 standard deviations over kindergarten, but the working memory gap was constant. Multivariate regressions show that student SES explained the reading gap at school entry, but gap decompositions suggest that school quality differences were responsible for the widening of the reading gap over kindergarten. SES explained much of the math gap at school entry, but the widening of the math gap could not be explained by SES, school quality, or other hypotheses.
Hanselman, Paul, Bruch, Sarah K., Gamoran, Adam, and Borman, Geoffrey D.
Sociology of Education, v87 n2 p106-124 Apr 2014. 19 pp.
Self Concept, Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Ethnicity, Middle School Students, Racial Differences, Grades (Scholastic), African American Students, Hispanic American Students, Standardized Tests, Educational Environment, Stereotypes, Racial Composition, Student Characteristics, Writing Exercises, Language Arts, Intervention, Disadvantaged, Experimental Groups, Prediction, Statistical Analysis, Grade 7, Regression (Statistics), and Wisconsin
Schools with very few and relatively low-performing marginalized students may be most likely to trigger social identity threats (including stereotype threats) that contribute to racial disparities. We test this hypothesis by assessing variation in the benefits of a self-affirmation intervention designed to counteract social identity threat in a randomized trial in all 11 middle schools in Madison, Wisconsin. We find that school context moderates the benefits of self-affirmation for black and Hispanic students' grades, with partial support among standardized achievement outcomes. Self-affirmation reduced the very large racial achievement gap in overall grade point average by 12.5 percent in high-threat school contexts and had no effect in low-threat contexts. These self-affirmation activities have the potential to help close some of the largest racial/ethnic achievement gaps, though only in specific school contexts.
Sociology of Education, v83 n3 p248-270 Jul 2010. 23 pp.
Academic Achievement, Calculus, Low Income Groups, Racial Differences, Course Selection (Students), Mathematics Instruction, African American Students, Hispanic American Students, High School Students, Equal Education, Achievement Gap, Longitudinal Studies, Socioeconomic Status, Family Influence, Institutional Characteristics, School Segregation, White Students, Social Class, Advanced Courses, Grade Point Average, Educational Attainment, Parents, Gender Differences, Immigrants, and Family Income
Despite increases in the representation of African American and Hispanic youth in advanced math courses in high school over the past two decades, recent national reports indicate that substantial inequality in achievement remains. These inequalities can temper one's optimism about the degree to which the United States has made real progress toward educational equity. Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), the authors find that the math achievement gap is most pronounced among those students who take the most demanding high school math classes, such as precalculus and calculus. The authors explore the roles of family socioeconomic status and school composition in explaining this pattern. Findings suggest that among those students reaching the advanced math high school stratum, Hispanic youth from low-income families and African American youth from segregated schools fare the worst in terms of closing the achievement gap with their white peers. The authors discuss potential explanations for the achievement differences observed and stress the need for more research that focuses explicitly on the factors that inhibit minority/majority parity at the top of the secondary curricular structure. (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables, and 14 notes.)