Berends, Mark, Lucas, Samuel R., Sullivan, Thomas, & Briggs, R.J.
Examining Gaps in Mathematics Achievement Among Racial-Ethnic Groups, 1972-1992
Empirically examine several family-and school-based explanations for black-white and Latino-white test score differences over the past 20 years.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
- The gaps have narrowed, but the average achievement gap between different racial-ethnic groups remain large.
- Changes in schooling characteristics, when measured by self-reported track placement, suggest important improvements in the schooling experiences of Black and Latino students vis-à-vis their white counterparts. A greater proportion of Black and Latino students report academic-track placement in 1992 compared with 1982 and 1972. the Black-White and Latino-White gaps in this regard have closed dramatically.
- Differences in attending schools of varying minority composition corresponded to about a 13 percent decrease of the Black-White mathematics gap in 1992.
- Academic track revealed important relationships to Black-White test score differences.
- Analyses reveal that the increases in the minority composition of high schools that Black (and Latino) students attended between 1972 and 1992 corresponded to an increase of the test score gaps.
- Increased enrollments of Black and Latino students in the academic track corresponded to a 60% decrease of the Black-White mathematics gap between 1972 and 1992 and to a 34% decrease of the Latino-White gaps.
- The improved socioeconomic conditions of Black students -such as parents' occupational status, educational attainments, and income- corresponded to the significant amount of convergence in Black-White test scores. Changes in the family background measures we analyzed corresponded to a 54 percent decrease of the Black-White mathematics gap between 1972 and 1992.
- Analyses suggest that educational policy and reform need to be attentive to educational opportunities within schools and between schools by addressing issues related to secondary school tracking and the increasing isolation of minority students in predominately minority schools.
Ability Groups, Academic Achievement, Family, Math, No Child Left Behind, Racial Composition, SES, Tracking
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
High School Seniors
Unit of Analysis:
- Review of studies that examine measures for which we have data between 1972-1992. Studies focused on how changes in families and schools between 1972 and 1992 are related to student achievement trends.
- Several national cohorts of high school seniors between 1972 and 1992.
- NLS of the high school class of 1972.
- HSB senior cohort of 1982.
- NELS senior cohort of 1992.
- Sample resulted in 14,469 students in 875 schools.
- DV: Individual student mathematics test scores (Mathematics Achievement)
- IV: Individual Variables, Family Variables (race-ethnicity, gender, parents' education, parent occupational status, family income), School Variables (school socioeconomic composition, school minority composition, school sector, school urban locale, high school track placement).