Within-School Segregation in an Urban School District
The George Washington University
Examine patterns in and evaluate the severity of within-school segregation across ethnic groups, grades, boroughs, and years.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 225-244
- The segregation of Blacks and of Whites across schools is higher than the segregation of Hispanics and Asians
- In NYC, rates of across school segregation at the elementary level are primarily driven by residential segregation because students are typically assigned to their neighborhood schools.
- Although within-school segregation is lower than across-school segregation, the relative severity of these two types of segregation varies considerably by race.
- Hispanics are 40% less exposed to non-Hispanics in their classrooms than in the school district, and within-school sorting processes account for almost 20% of total segregation.
- Total segregation between racial groups far exceeds total segregation between native-born and immigrant students.
- The actual segregation levels are two to five times higher than the levels achieved under the random assignment simulation, suggesting that segregation is partially driven by non-random processes, such as systematic segregation or other sorting practices.
- If test scores were the only criterion used to sort students, Blacks and Hispanics would not be very isolated.
- A system based strictly on ability grouping would lead to higher Asian and White segregation, and conversely, lower Black and Hispanic segregation than current levels.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Ability Groups, Classroom Composition, Elementary School, Segregation, Tracking
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Elementary School Students
Unit of Analysis:
- NYC elementary school students in the years 1995-1996 and 2000-2001
- 3 different simulations to compare within-school segregation across ethnic groups, grades, boroughs, and years.
- 1) assigns students to their classrooms randomly,
- 2) assigns students in a manner that maximizes segregation,
- 3) Assigns students to their classrooms based strictly on their prior year test scores, resulting in perfectly ability-grouped classrooms.
- DV: Within school segregation (measured as segregation Index, segregation of students across schools and segregation of students within schools)
- IV: Race, grade, year, neighborhood