Palardy, Gregory J.
Classroom-Based Inequalities and Achievement Gaps in the First Grade: The Role of Classroom Context and Access to Qualified and Effective Teachers
University of California, Riverside
1) What are the magnitudes of URM (underrepresented minorities) achievement gaps in reading and math at the beginning of first grade, and to what degree do they change during first grade?
2) Do student inputs vary across classrooms and schools? What are the magnitudes of school based achievement gaps that develop in the first grade? Do URM have equitable access to classrooms with contextual characteristics conducive to learning? Highly qualified teachers and effective teachers?
3) And if not what degree does each contribute to the achievement gaps that accumulate during the first grade?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Teachers College Record
Vol. 117, No. 2, Pp. 1-48
- The results show that underrepresented minority students enter elementary school lagging behind White children in terms of cognitive skills. At the start of first grade Black students are behind by .45 standard deviations or 3.05 months in reading and .69 SD or 4.83 months in math.
- Similarly, Hispanic children are behind 0.42 standard deviations or 2.85 months for reading and 0.53 SD or 4.06 months for math.
- Results show that 20% of the variance in reading achievement gains and 13% of the variance in math gains are attributable to classroom and school factors combined.
- Approximately 52% of the Black-White reading gap that accumulated during the first grade and 45% of the math gap were due to classroom and school factors.
- Similarly 55% of the Hispanic-White reading gap and 34% of the math gap were due to classroom and school factors.
- Black and Hispanic children are members of classrooms with significantly higher mobility rates, lower mean achievement in reading and math, larger class enrollment, and less adequate instructional supplies.
- URM were less likely to have attended preschool, had lower teacher ratings on interpersonal skills and self-control, and spent less time reading outside of school.
- Compared to White children in the same school, Black children tended to be members of a classroom with more negative contextual characteristics and a less effective teacher
Journal Article Empirical Research
Achievement Gap, Classroom Composition, Inequality, Teachers
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
First graders from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS)
Unit of Analysis:
Classroom, School, Student
- This Study uses first Grade data from ECLS. The final sample of this study includes 3,496 students, 887 classrooms, and 253 schools.
- DV: Achievement gains in both reading and math
- IV: Student Characteristics, Classroom Context, Teacher Qualifications