Culture and Stalled Progress in Narrowing the Black-White Test Score Gap
University of California at Los Angeles
Investigates whether changes in school-related behaviors, or changes in home environments, may have contributed to black students' stalled progress.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Russel Sage Foundation
Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, Chapter 7, pp. 250-285
- Data for thirteen-year-olds doesn't suggest that changes in Black students' leisure time use or school-related behaviors caused gap to stop narrowing or to widen.
- NAEP-LTT data for seventeen-year-olds are consistent with the idea that increases in problem behaviors among Blacks may have played some role in halting Black progress
- NAEP-LTT data suggest that Black seventeen-year-olds were more likely to get in trouble at school in 1994 than 1998 and the MTF data suggest that they were more likely to have been involved in violent conflicts; White seventeen-year-olds' behavior changed less over this period, so the Black-White gap in problem behavior increased.
- Evidence on whether the Black-White gap in pleasure reading widened among seventeen-year-olds is mixed.
- Spending more time reading for pleasure in eighth grade seemed to pay off in higher reading scores for both Black and White tenth graders.
- Watching television--even lots of television on weekdays--does not seem to cause Black adolescents to learn less reading or math during high school .
- For Whites, and maybe for Blacks as well, having a family computer in 1988 seems to have been associated with scoring higher in math in 1990, other things equal.
- Faster growth in computer ownership for Whites than Blacks may have contributed to the widening of the Black-White math gap during the 1990s.
- Although the Black-White gap in family reading materials also widened a bit during the 1990s, adolescents do not seem to gain more in reading or math when they have more reading materials in their homes.
- Other things equal, problem behaviors in eighth grade are associated with lower reading scores in tenth grade for Blacks and lower reading and math scores in tenth grade for Whites; because the Black-White gap in problem behaviors among seventeen-year-olds seems to have widened around the same time that the test score gap started widening, these results imply that the correspondence between the problem behavior trend and the test score trend may be causal.
- Greater leniency among Black parents with regards to television watching may have contributed to the stalling of Black students' math progress (and maybe also their reading progress).
Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, Culture, Reading, Student Assignment Policies
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- National Assessment of Education Long Term Trend Samples (NAEP-LTT), National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), Monitoring the Future survey (MTF)
- NAELT sample includes seventeen-year-olds at five-year intervals from 1980 to 2005
- MTF survey administered to senior-year high school students
- DV: Black-White test score gaps
- IV: Time spent watching television, after-school leisure activities, reading materials at home, computer ownership, disciplinary problems, violent behavior, time spent on homework, daily pleasure reading