School Effects: Examining the Race Gap in Mathematics Achievement
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Relationship between school racial composition and the race-based gaps in mathematics achievement.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Journal of African American Studies
Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 388-405
- Results show that when at least half of the students in a school are Black or Hispanic, all student achievement is lower (for White as well as for ethnic minority students).
- Asian students' achievement remains lowered until the percentage of Black and Hispanic students is less than 15%.
- However, schools that are 30-49% Black and/or Hispanic have more egalitarian achievement between White and Hispanic students.
- Research confirms that being in a school with a high concentration of Black and Hispanic students lessens all students' chances of academic achievement, even for students who otherwise should excel.
- Students with higher 10th grade mathematics scores tend to have higher 12th grade mathematics achievement scores.
- The achievement of students differs by the race of the student, and Black and Hispanic gaps are different across schools. Meanwhile, the Asian-White gap does not vary significantly between schools.
- Results seem to indicate that when at least half of the student body is Black and/or Hispanic, the average achievement within the school is low. Regardless of what traits, skills or abilities students have, all of these attributes are suppressed when they attend schools with 50% or more Black and/or Hispanic enrollment.
- The main determinant of the difference in average achievement scores is the racial composition of the schools; those schools that are 50% or more Black and/or Hispanic are severely disadvantaged.
- The private school effects could say as much about individual student socioeconomic status, which was the largest individual level predictor of mathematics achievement, as contextual factors of schools.
- The overwhelming presence of Black and Hispanic students hinders the achievement of all students in the school, and ensures that the achievement of Black, Hispanic, and White students is not equal. It also keeps Asian students from reaching their highest potential, indicating that Asian students have better outcomes in schools that are overwhelmingly White and/or Asian.
Academic Achievement, Asians, Hispanics, Latinos, Math, Racial Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- High School Effectiveness Study (HSES) data on 3,392 students in 177 schools were analyzed..
- HSES was developed as part of the first follow-up of the Department of Education's National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS).
- Information was also collected from parents, students, teachers, and the head of school administrator.
- Base analytic sample consists of high school students who attended the same school during the 10th and 12th grades.
- DV: 12th grade mathematics achievement.
- IV: Student level (race, gender and SES status (father's & mother's educational level, father's & mother's occupation, and family income)), School level ( composition of who attends school, urban schools, school sector (public, private or Catholic), teacher collegiality, student-teacher relationships, racial compositions).