Rumberger, Russell W., & Palardy, Gregory J.
Does Segregation Still Matter? The Impact of Student Composition on Academic Achievement in High School
University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Georgia
Whether racial and socioeconomic segregation is still contributing to the achievement differences among students.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Teachers College Record
Vol. 107, No. 9, pp. 1999-2045
- Segregation still matters but it is the socioeconomic composition not the racial composition of high schools that impacts student achievement.
- Effects of socioeconomic segregation can be largely explained by its association with such school characteristics as academic climate and teacher expectations.
- What matters the most is the socioeconomic, not the racial, composition of schools.
- A number of structural features of high schools, such as school size and sector, predict achievement growth, although none of the resource variables had a significant effect.
- Schools influenced the achievement of students from all backgrounds.
- Results suggest that the reason school SES matters is that it is related to a number of school processes that predict achievement growth.
- School policies and practices (teacher expectation and academic climate ) did account for the effect of school SES.
- Desegregation may not be necessary if it were possible to alter those policies and practices that are associated with schools SES.
- The average socioeconomic level of students' schools had as much impact on their achievement growth as their own socioeconomic status, net of other background factors.
- School socioeconomic status had as much impact on advantaged as on disadvantaged students, and almost as much impact on Whites as on Blacks.
- Schools serving mostly lower-income students tend to be organized and operated differently than those serving more-affluent students, transcending other school-level differences such as public or private, large or small.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Composition, Expectations, Math, Reading, SES, School Characteristics, Science, Segregation, Teachers
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
Classroom, School, Student
- Data from NELS of 1988.
- 14, 217 students who attended 913 High schools in 1990 from across the country.
- First entire sample of High Schools, then divided in 3: 1) high SES schools (151), 2) middle SES schools (641) and 3) low SES schools (121)
- DV: Student scores on standardized achievement test in math, science, reading, and social science administered in the spring of 1988, 1990, and 1992. And a composite score for each year based on the mean of the four tests in that year.
- IV: Various aspects of individual, family, and school characteristics. Characteristics of school: composition, structure, resources, and processes.