McMillian, Monique M., Fuller, Sarah, Hill, Zoelene, Duch, Kate, & Darity Jr., William A.
Can Class-Based Substitute for Race-Based Student Assignment Plans? Evidence from Wake County, North Carolina.
Morgan State University
1. Were Wake County schools more racially integrated under the race-based or the socioeconomic-based pupil assignment plan? 2. Was overall student achievement higher under the race-based or socioeconomic-based plan? 3. Did achievement gaps increase or decrease under the race-based or socioeconomic-based plan? 4. Was school racial composition correlated with changes in performance under the race-based or socioeconomic assignment plan?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The overall student achievement was higher for all races under the income-based plan in Wake county and the performances of Black and Latino students improved at a faster rate, narrowing the achievement gap between racial groups.
Achievement gaps decreased more under the income-based assignment plan than under the race based assignment plan.
A modest increase was found in the level of racial segregation in Wake schools under the income-based plan, but compared with other large districts in the state, which had no diversity-based plans, Wake County remained relatively desegregated.
A small increase was found in reading and math test scores and the Black-White test score gap narrowed under the income-based assignment plan.
The analysis indicates that the improvement in math scores may be partially due to school racial composition changes attributable to the income-based assignment plan.
Unique circumstances in the district may have been important contributors to the success of the socioeconomic-based assignment plan. For example, Wake County has a relatively high correlation between race and free or reduced price lunch status, which makes the latter variable a better proxy in comparison to other counties.
The data suggests that the change in assignment plans did not significantly change the number or type of students who were redistricted between schools.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Desegregation, Race, SES, SES Composition, Urban Schools
Method of Analysis:
Interrupted Time Series, Multivariate Analysis
Wake County, Mecklenburg County, Cumberland County, Guilford County, Winston Salem/ Forsyth County
Unit of Analysis:
School District, Student
North Carolina Education Research Data Center.
School level demographic data from the years 1992/93-2008/09.
Student level demographics End of Grade test scores for third-eighth graders from 1994-95 school year through 2004-05 school year.
Independent variables; Race based plan, Socioeconomic based plan.
Dependent variables; Standardized reading and math scores; race gaps in achievement; school district racial diversity (Diversity Index).
Controlled for Students’ race/ethnicity, gender, free-or-reduced price lunch status, limited English proficiency, parental educational level, and linear and quadratic time trends. In the final model the authors also controlled for school racial composition.